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Karma and Natural Selection

Natural selection is the biological model represented by random genetic mutation and subsequent competition between organisms leading to the “survival of the fittest.”

Survival of the fittest is based on negative emotions such as aggression and competitiveness. Why does the theory reject altruism and compassion as a driving force for the development of living beings?

There is still a debate about whether natural selection is the sole mechanism of change or whether other factors are involved as well.

Buddhism is based on the concept of the Four Noble Truth: All sentient beings seek happiness and want to overcome suffering.

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as the “soul”. Therefore all sentient beings have consciousness. So the difference between humans and other sentient beings lies not of the kind, but a matter of degree of consciousness.

Three realms of existence

In the earliest Buddhist scriptures, there is a story of the Buddhist cosmos which consists of three realms of existence -

the desire realm (human and animals realm),

the form realm (free from any pain, is permeated by an experience of bliss),

the formless realm (no physical sensations). All three realms are impermanent.

The evolution in Buddhism is based on generating positive karma, which helps the sentient being to achieve rebirth in the higher realms.


The theory of Karma has crucial importance in Buddhism. Karma is a physical, verbal, or mental act.


Karma doesn’t act like a god. You are the only one who is responsible for your happiness and suffering. You created the causes and conditions that lead you to this particular moment.

According to Vajrayana Buddhism, our bodies represent microcosmic images of the greater macroeconomic world. That’s why the Kalachakra tantra pays great attention to study astronomy.

While the Darwinian theory of evolution is correct, it doesn’t answer the fundamental question of the origin of life. Karma can have a central role in understanding the relationship between energy and consciousness.

Recommend reading: Rebirth and Science


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