GEIFN | REPORTS | HCWPRLM | DIALOGUE | The Beginning and Origin of all things | Saturday 24 March 2018 | 4-6pm

[Report is compiled from multiple public addresses, multiple sources made over multiple publication dates]

Civic, Religious, Community Leaders and Guests assembled at 36th WARP Office to address The Beginning and Origin of all things.

Discussing questions:
  1. Should there be record about how mankind and all things began in the scripture?
  2. Is the present appearance of mankind and all things in the world the same as its appearance from the very beginning?
  3. What is the purpose of the existence of all things and mankind? 
  4. Are we living in accordance to the purpose recorded in the scripture?

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are referred to more frequently as The Abrahamic Religions. They all accept the tradition of a god, Yahweh/God/Allah, that revealed himself to the prophet Abraham.

The Presbyterian and Global Ministry representatives discussed the Christian view of a Creator God taking 6 days with the 7th as day of rest.

The Islam representative talked of the Koran's describes life as shortening from 1,000 years to merely 100 years and Prophet Mohammed’s visitation to 7 heavens to receive deeper understandings at each level before proceeding to the next.

The Abrahamic traditions all embrace that there has been a historical “fall from Paradise/Grace/Mercy” so the purpose of an individual’s life is to return to “being in a state of enduring Grace” or being "at one with Divinity/God/Allah".

As that is a commonly available narrative in Australia, more attention will be supplied here to provide a glimpse of various different Buddhist views.

Over 2,600 years ago, in Ancient India a Hindu Prince Siddhārtha Gautama was born. His conception, birth and childhood was surrounded by auspicious circumstances. Ensconced in Palace life, providing certain conditions were met, he was destined for future scholar warrior king. Instead, at age 29 after a series of 4 insights (referred to as The Four Noble Sights), the prince abdicated his responsibilities for a 6 year pilgrimage as an apprentice to wandering sages and forest ascetics to find a lasting end of Suffering. Becoming Enlightened, the former prince became commonly referred to as Buddha (Sanskrit: Awakened One), historical Buddha (as today’s history commonly speaks of), or Buddha Sakyamuni (Buddha of the Sakya Clan),

It was some time after his bodily death before the teachings were recorded at what became known as The Great Assembly. It was here, for the first time among his wide and diverse disciples, students and adherents:
  • discovered the Buddha had taught many different things to many different students, in different languages, counting over 84,000 different teachings
  • that if the teachings could be considered as pathways, then the teachings could be sorted into 3 schools/pathways/vehicles: Theraveda (Pali: School of Elders or First Ones), Mahayana (Sanskrit: Great Way) and Vajrayana (Sanskrit: Thunderbolt, Diamond or Lightening Way)
The Buddha’s primary teaching: The Four Noble Truths. Here explained as: 
To live is to feel. To feel means we can feel pleasure, pain and indifference. We mistake this experience for real, attach to expected outcomes and from this Confusion create more Suffering. We are born and die into an endless sea of Suffering (Pali: dukkah; Sanskrit: Samsara), continuing in an unbroken loop/circle until choosing to end the Suffering (Pali: Nibbana; Sanksrit: Nirvana; English: Enlightenment) by Awakening Mind.

So to be an informed Buddhist, before quoting, researching, practising Scripture, we must first settle on whose Buddha, whose scriptural language and whose scripture?

To simplify, a sample of 3 diverse views are offered.
  1. Some traditions view the origin of pre-Buddha things as the cosmic interaction of Vishnu, Siva and Brahma. Brahma opening his eyes is the beginning of life, living and universe. Brahma closing his eyes is the end of that universal existence. This period is known as a kalpa (Sanskrit: eon, Age). In this version, Buddha, having became Enlightened, was implored by Brahma to engage in daily world to teach others about Suffering, its Causes, Antidotes and realisability of freeing themselves from their individual Suffering. Essentially, Creator God first, Paradise 2nd, human 3rd.
  2. Another view is a result of primordial conditions coming together on their own accord. Once in place, now overseen by a Jade Emperor and Heavenly Palace populated with Gods, Goddesses, Angels and Fallen Angels, and Human Earth and Demon Underworld. Building on the success of the introduced Original Scriptures (Version 1), especially selected are 3 x Heaven-Appointed and 1 x King-Appointed ambassadors. Waiting until the time to unite to undertake a Journey to the West to get Version 2. Essentially, Creatorless or Spontaneous Universe, Gods and Angels vs Demons playing endless game of chess with Earthly Humans as pieces.
  3. Another view is all concepts are flawed, human conceived tools to point to the unlimited and enduring, but we must start somewhere. So things are just simply the way things are. Beginning-less and coming together as a result of conditions that came together to make that result. Staying while conditions agree, modifying or ceasing as conditions change. There is individual and collective responsibilities, choices and consequences. Individual life is precious, fragile and finite with time of death unknown. Being born, living and dying into a sea of unlimited Suffering, until individual aspirants wish to break the cycle. In this version, Buddha, having became Enlightened, liberated Brahma from universal responsibility squarely onto the shoulders of individual-self-determination. In this view, Humans, Animals, Gods, Demi-Gods (sometimes called War Mongers) and Hungry Ghosts suffer under the weight of their respective burdens and are deserving of liberation.
Regardless of the guide, guidebook or vehicle, the purposes of role-models, scripture and rituals is for individuals to realise within themselves an open-heartedness that comes from deeply understanding Truth, spontaneous joyfulness that comes from omnidirectional kindness, with evenhandedness that comes from growing non-selfishness. All aspirants are directed to free themselves from their Suffering, and grow blessings by sharing surpluses with a greater number of beneficiaries for longer term societal benefit.

On behalf of Buddhist Council Victoria Interfaith (bINTER) and Glen Eira Interfaith Network (GEIFN), thankyou to Organisers and Participants working to reduce misunderstandings, build collaborations, celebrate diversity and foster team approach to addressing today's society. Received with gratitude.

Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light
Ivan Tan, Regional Director of Victoria