Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Origin of the Universe

The Kevatta Sutta says:

"Then the Great Brahma, taking the monk by the arm and leading him off to one side, said to him, 'These gods of the retinue of Brahma believe, "There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not know. There is nothing that the Great Brahma does not see. There is nothing of which the Great Brahma is unaware. There is nothing that the Great Brahma has not realized." That is why I did not say in their presence that I, too, don't know where the four great elements... cease without remainder. So you have acted wrongly, acted incorrectly, in bypassing the Blessed One in search of an answer to this question elsewhere. Go right back to the Blessed One and, on arrival, ask him this question. However he answers it, you should take it to heart."

When we talk about the origin of the universe, a Creator always comes to mind. Depending on your religion, your creator can be known as God, Jehovah, Allah, Brahma, Ahura, Panggu etc. The names that people give their Creator are endless. In Buddhism, there is also a "Creator", but in actual fact he is not really who we believe him to be. In the scriptures there is a deity called Maha Brahma, who believes he is the creator, but in reality he is just the first sentient being that appears in our world. Being the only one around, he reigns over the Brahma heavens and all the celestial beings that subsequently appear mistakenly think that because Brahma was there before them, he must be their Father & Creator. And because all these subsequent beings revere him, Brahma also believes himself to be the Creator. This deluded view was later corrected when the Buddha taught the truth to Brahma & gave him the light of wisdom.

The origin of the universe is not caused by one person or deity, but by our own fundamental ignorance. From fundamental ignorance arose flucuating ignorance, which manifest as the 4 elements & the 5 aggregates, the constituents of our physical & mental world. Fundamental ignorance has no beginning and existed along with the Buddha-nature since time immemorial - that's why it is called "fundamental". But unlike the Buddha-nature, which has no beginning & no end, it is ultimately unreal and can one day be destroyed. When fundmental ignorance is vanquished, we become Buddhas and fluctuating ignorance is absorbed back into the Buddha-nature, transforming into pure Panna. Not having a "God" or a "Creator" is also what differentiates Buddhism from all other religions.

1 comment:

hoangkybactien said...

You want to be a buddhist scholar or you want to be an awakened beings?

Make a U-turn, my friend! you seem to go very far now. Don't know if it helps practioners much!