What's the Buddhist view of evolution of mankind? Why can't we accede to the theory of evolution? Can we get same path of an evolution theory and aggajha sutta?

5 Answers 5


Why we can't accord theory of evolution??

The Buddha's Teaching is a not a theoretical teaching but a practical teaching. The Buddha invites one to come and see1 for oneself.

In SN 1:20 - Samiddhi Sutta, its taught that; "This Dhamma is here-present, out of time, inviting inspection, leading onward, to be realized by the wise each for himself".

Human beings, mankind and evolution are all concepts that do not have any real reference point, ie. a reference to Ultimate reality.

The question becomes meaningless when observed from a practical/meditational point of view. The question belongs to the Four Imponderables, namely the origin-element.

The Buddha teaches only about suffering and how to become free from it.

What's the Buddhist view of evolution of the mankind?

Insight meditation will show that "the evolution of mankind" is merely a concept belonging to the 4th aggregate of mental formations.

1"Ehipassiko" is a Pali word used to describe the investigative nature of Buddhism. Discouraging blind faith alone, the Buddha encouraged his disciples to "come and see" his teachings for themselves, to witness the fruits of this practice through direct experience.


Aggañña Sutta covers the Buddhist perspective on evolution.

Darwinian theory covers the evolution from the perspective of the evolution of physical creatures with corporeal bodies. Aggañña Sutta takes this further and discusses this how the world system forms and how being with finer material bodies from higher places come to take corporeal form. More on this see the discussion of Piya Tan's commentary on Aggañña Sutta.

Related Suttas include:

  • Agganna Sutta and Darwinian theory reveal different way of origin of human beings.We have thought only about Darwinian theory in school. So what We accept among both of them? Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 5:24
  • I would believe in the Buddhist rendering. Any way they are perhaps compatible. Dawin only touchers origin of life on earth with coarse bodies, i.e., bodies leaving fossils. Buddhist perspective include more subtle being in other planes of existence and how progressively lower realms came to being. Also there would be simplification and analogies so the contemporary people could understand also so some rendering may not be literal. Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 15:07

The Aggañña Sutta is superstition, not spoken by the Buddha or, otherwise, merely a parable.

Since suttas such as AN 4.77 & MN 122 criticise talk about 'creation', why would the Buddha contradict these teachings and speak the Aggañña Sutta?

Conjecture about [the origin of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it. AN 4.77

If, while he is dwelling by means of this dwelling, his mind inclines to speaking, he resolves that 'I will not engage in talk that is base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unbeneficial, that does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, calm, direct knowledge, self-awakening or Nibbana — i.e., talk about kings, robbers, & ministers of state; armies, alarms, & battles; food & drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, & scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women & heroes; the gossip of the street & the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity, the creation of the world & of the sea; talk of whether things exist or not.' In this way he is alert there. MN 122

  • Most of The Aggañña Sutta can be able in science theory without parable. Buddha also is not anti-superstition, too. Just the western who try to distort theravada tipitaka decided that Buddha is anti-superstition.
    – Bonn
    Commented Jul 23, 2017 at 13:01

Ordinary people with ignorance will not know the nature Dhamma and will make a dispute over matter wasting valuable time in vain. Buddha teaching is simple and timeless. By practicing(not by just reading, thinking or discussing) insight meditation, one will surely come to know what is rupa/nama, how it come and go incessantly and how it will end suffering. Science will need more time to prove this but not yet. With spear piercing in the chest, one cannot get chance to trace back the source. All the being passing through the beginningless/endless samsara not only as human but also as other being in different abodes(including animal life) in countless number will have an answer. Some being nearer to human will have more closer to human in general. If one like the habit of an animal(eg. a cow/monkey/dog) surely with ignorance will lead to that life in after-birth and vice versa. Kamma is simple if one know the absolute truth, if not it is probably thought as miraculous.


Over the years, the Dalai Lama has attended many International Symposiums for Contemplative Research sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute. During these symposiums, the Dalai Lama has listened to many world class scientists talk about science. In response to these symposiums, he has written several books. In one of these books, he clearly recommended that, when science and Buddhism disagreed, consider science to be correct. If someone could recall in which book he said this I would appreciate it.

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