Drawing parallels with nature to rationalize Buddhism

To reconcile some of the faith-based teachings, I’ve sought ways to link them with nature.

A couple examples:

  • Perhaps kamma and rebirth are linked to natural selection, and natural selection can also apply to behavior.
  • Perhaps there is a multiverse, and this multiverse encompasses the thirty-one planes of existence, and all combinations of life—including devas.

I can’t comfortably accept something without grounding it in something tangible, and these interpretations have worked for me.

Have you attempted similar reconciliations?


In Dublin in 1952, Erwin Schrödinger gave a lecture in which he jocularly warned his audience that what he was about to say might “seem lunatic”. He said that when his equations seemed to describe several different histories, these were “not alternatives, but all really happen simultaneously”. (source)

Over time, the idea of a multiverse has gone from “lunatic” to a legitimate scientific theory.

This is an example of how the standards for what is legitimate and scientific change over time, according to Kuhn these changes follow predictable patterns (paradigms and paradigm shifts).

Since our current paradigms have been unable to explain consciousness or subjective experience, we are probably going to see a paradigm shift in these fields in the future.

So, rebirth and kamma may well be considered legitimate and scientific concepts 50 years from now.

I guess maybe seeing the similarities between the methods described in the EBTs and methods of science.

Since I have access to my own experience, I can try out the EBT practices and see if I am able to reproduce the causal sequences described there, for example the sequence in AN 11.2.

I think the EBTs are extremely rational in this sense; here is the practice, here is the causal sequence of experiences that arises due to the practice.

In this sense, the EBTs are less faith based than science. I am not able to reproduce the experiments done to verify evolution, I have to take textbooks and scientists on faith, i.e. trust that they’re not deceiving me.

However, I can (at least try to) reproduce the experiments of the EBTs (though maybe one has to ordain to do it by the book). All I need is a mind and body :slight_smile:


Simulation theory works well with karma - it’s got its rewards and disincentives. Multiverse works well with the multiple Buddhas idea/devas and pretas etc. , for me. Evolutionary theory has parallels in the agganna sutta, at least to me :slight_smile:.

With metta


disclaimer: what follows is simply my own rough idea framework and has absolutely no bearing on the EBT’s

There’s a show on TV now called “Westworld”, it takes place in a future where a corporation builds a themepark with Artificially Intelligent robots (androids/gyndroids) that are mostly indistinguishable from humans. In the park, humans can do whatever they want (including exploring the darker parts of human nature). When the robots are “killed” or decommissioned for some reason, they go into a kind of sleep-state and their memories are wiped until they are ready to be brought back to play their roles in the park. At some point in the show some of the robots start to remember their previous existences, and there’s even an aspect of free will involved as they realize they can go against their programmed routines, roles, and scripts to be more “free”. Those robots who have realized this are called “awake” (in Pali bodhi/buddha). Kind of similar to the simulation theory (but with an element of hardware too). Anyway, I was thinking about this in relation to rebirth, just seems a more modern metaphor.

Another way I have thought about an interpretation of rebirth (since I have trouble accepting the EBT version even as a hypothesis/faith) is just the simple fact of going to sleep each night and waking up in the morning. In some ways going to sleep is like dying and waking up is like being born.

As for kamma, I have just thought of it like the workings of conscience. Do bad things — feel bad; do good things — feel good. Of course, this doesn’t work for psychopaths or those without conscience.