Evolution and Dhamma

I think species cannot exist, survive, when the body and mental aspects are not seen as me, mine, myself (and also not me, not mine, not myself) because then a reason to protect it is missing. And such a being who does not protect body and mind as me, my self, mine, how can that be viable? I think this branche falls from tree of life, the tree of evolution. Such beings, i think cannot exist, or will be deleted from life, as it were.

So, I think we as humans would not exist without seeing the body and mental aspect as me, mine, myself.

I also think there is much evidence that we as humans stem, at least bodily, from an ape-like creature.
We still have a rudimentairy tale-bone , for example. How do you deal as a buddhist with this information? Is it in spite of this still tenable that we as humans are a seperate specie and have always existed?

Buddha acknowledged that we have the long standing habit to see the physical and mental aspect of our lives as me, mine, myself (SN12.61). I can see this in myself as Truth. I feel it is because of evolution. There is no other way of evolution, i think. This is just how nature works.

Buddha also says…this is a mistake…seeing body and mental aspect as me, mine, myself

Is it a mistake an -sich, Or is it a mistake if one wants to stop existing?

Would we, or any other beings, be without that mistake? I do not think so. That’s why for me it is hard to see it as a mistake. Because the existence of lifeforms, being, i cannot see as a mistake, as wrong, as something evil, as sinn, as bad, as Mara. I see it as a blessing, although there is inevitable suffering.

Why would the absence of any lifeform, any being, any personal existence be a holy goal? I must admit that i cannot see any holiness in that.

If a child does not see body and mind as me, mine, myself, does that protect against misery? I think the opposite. This child is again and again in the hospital. His parent are becoming desperate.

I also do not think Buddha was really totally fully liberated from me and mine making. How can someone not want to teach because he forsees that this will be tiresome and wearisom for him and at the same time would have no sense of Me and mine? (“i will experience this difficulties when i start teachings people who do not care and understand”).

Why would someone who has no sense of me and mine regarding pain even want to alleviate the pain (backpains and lying down), etc.

I do not have the same thought as you do.

That’s an interesting remark. This is only my own explanation, maybe it can convince you or maybe it can not: The Buddha does not have a “need” or “craving” to teach. He only decided to teach when he knows that it’s wholesome and it’s do-able. We know from the sutta that his body experienced a lot of roughness and also tiresome with all the arguments in the vinaya. Yet, he still taught us the Dhamma despite all those roughness and tiresome, it proves he is worthy of the title “Sugato”

Also another interesting remark. Maybe the time has not come yet for him to discard his body (parinibbana)? His task as the Buddha has not finished successfully and completely yet so abusing the body makes no sense.

Again, just my own explanations. I am open to other interpretations.


The sutta says it like this: "If I were to teach the Dhamma, others would not understand me, and that would be wearying and troublesome for me.’ (MN26)

So he clearly conceived a me who would experience weariness and troubles. He also was involved in conceiving. “I wil”…

I now see it like this:

I suspect this is because as long as one is alive, and body and mind function in a combined way, there remains a personal perspective on things. This personal perspective is not the same as an ego-perspective. It just means, i now think, that that the combined workings of body and mind create an
inevitable personal way of experiencings things. This personal way of experiencing things just depends on the personal and unique character of the senses, nerves, brain which act like a lens. When asmi mana ends this does not end.

Does that make sense?

There is at least another way to express what was saying in the sutta MN26 without giving out the impression that the Buddha conceived a me or involving in conceiving “I will…”.

Instead of saying “If I were to teach the Dhamma, others would not understand me, and that would be wearying and troublesome for me”, it can be said like this “If this body and mind were to engage in the action of teaching the Dhamma, other body and mind would not understand the teaching. That would be wearying and troublesome for this body and mind”. Of course saying like this will be tiresome for us (the sutta reader and Dhamma listener). So the Buddha chose to adopt the normal language.

I kind of agree what you wrote there.

For this statement, we don’t have an agreement. I don’t think that we know how the mind of the Buddha actually experienced. As the Buddha is unfathomable.

Also the notion of “lens” is quite a misleading there, the Buddha has done away with “view”. When you used the notion of “lens”, it gives the impression that the Buddha still has something related to “view”.

It’s fine to say “I am doing x”. It’s another to be deluded by the concept. Awakening doesn’t mean you stop using language which requires nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives etc. One simply isn’t deluded by language anymore, by taking the words to be substantially existent.


Yes, maybe something like this.

I believe it is better to see it like this that a Buddha has still a sense of me and mine while alive. This in a way that suits this life. The Buddha still threats body and mind as me and mine, but this is totally different from how ordinaire beings do this. Because their me and mine making of body and mind is based upon desire, conceit and views, based upon fetters. Not by the Buddha. His me and mine making is not based upon defilements but is only practical and suits this last life.

When there is a total lack of me and mine making regarding body and mental aspect, that does not suit any life, and i do not see how this prevents sufferings.

I used ‘lens’ in a way to describe that body and mind working together while processing sense-info, create a kind of lens, a personal and local perspective from where the world is being experienced. One might say that any living being represents such a personal perspective.

Meditation masters and mystics describe the cessation of this personal perspective while not sleeping, not unconscious, not death.


What does it mean when every living being is freed from samsara? Suppose this happens, does this mean there is still life but now without living beings? Does life never ever bring forth any livings beings now?
Does this really depend upon us?

That’s interesting question. I think there is a sutta somebody asked the Buddha similar question like 1/3 or 1/2 or all of sentient beings will be liberated and then the Buddha was silent and let Ananda answer the question. If you find that sutta please post it here, thanks :smiley:

By the way, not sutta related, just my own question, I think your “every living being” is begging another question "What makes you think the total number of every living being is countable and limited?

I cannot count them:-) But i have seen the idea that according the Buddha it is impossible that new beings come into existence.

How does that work according the Buddha? Are they created? Are they formed from matter over many many years? How are new beings caused?

I have learned that birth in buddhism is always rebirth.

It is not like humanity begins by Adam and Eve. Or that once there was nothing.

What to do with the information that our bodies show all kinds of signs that we once were just animals? We have a tale bone, we have chicken skin, in a certain phase of embryo we also have gill like structures. Chicken skin reflex is understood as a rudimentary reaction of having a hide.

Some people are also born with tales and hide. On wikipedia i read the longest tale was 30 cm.
Our dna is very similar to certain apes. What to do with this information? Must we believe that all life on Earth stems from beings who once were flying freely through the air, were fed by delight, but in who with time longings grew and they became increasingly coarses. Is that the evolution of life on Earth?

The sutta is AN 10.95.

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Thank you for the sutta. It describes it is not really Buddha’s concern how many beings are extinguished. It does not really answer the question what it would mean when every living ceature would be ‘extinguished’ (i do not like this translation). But i find it a strange idea that when every living being would be exstinguished, from that moment on, life is without the forces that can bring forth living beings. At this moment i do not see this.