Doctors and health officials joined by police and security forces in the battle against COVID-19 pandamic
Are we genetically programmed to be religious? Lord of the gods – Sakkra along with his battalion of Almighties, Brahmas, and the rest of subordinates numbering 330 million deities [number ref Buddhist scripts-thistun kotiyak], have been confined to self-quarantine by the genes of COVID-19. All their abodes, invariably packed with devotees are locked-down indefinitely. Religious narratives speak to human desires that science can’t satisfy. Why there are Gods in every religion? The controversial question often asked if there are gods in Buddhism too.
The short answer is, there are no almighty, omnipotent, omnipresent gods in Buddha Dhamma, but plenty in “Buddhism”, burrowed from other religious beliefs, mainly of Hindu origins. The mysterious existence of heavenly and demonic beings however, we cannot find appropriate answers without first finding a definition for Gods. What do you mean by “gods or deities?” But it’s surely the case that there are all kinds of divine beings called devas populating the early scriptures of ‘Buddhism’. Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism still makes use in its obscure practices. Religious dignitaries of all faiths, including the catholic Archbishop, His Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith have appealed to their followers to volunteer in serving the fellow citizens at this crucial juncture.
In 2004, the controversial American Geneticist, Dr. Dean Hamer of the US National Cancer Institute claimed to have found evidence for a genetic influence on religious belief. In his book God Gene Dr. Hamer described a study of over 1000 people, which he said showed that the gene VMAT2 was correlated with increased levels of spirituality authority, while the claim generated media interest, the science behind it has been criticized as week and unconvincing.
Is it all right for a Buddhist to believe in God, denoting the creator God as celebrated in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and all monotheist philosophies? Buddhism is sometimes classified under atheistic religions, although some of us who stick to Buddha Dhamma prefer it to be called a “non-theistic” or Atheist - meaning that faith in a God or gods really isn’t.
The gene-centered view of evolution, gene selection theory, or selfish gene theory believes that adaptive evolution takes place through the differential continued existence of competing genes, with gene defined as “not just one single bit of DNA, but all models of a particular bit of DNA distributed throughout the world.
Altruism and Genetic Egoism -‘In the original introduction to the word meme in the last chapter of ‘The Selfish Gene,’ I did actually use the metaphor of a ‘virus.’ So when anybody talks about something going viral on the Internet, that is exactly what a meme is, and it looks as though the word has been appropriated for a subset of that’-Richard Dawkins
However, understanding what is unique about mythic storytelling requires grasping what differentiates myths from stories. Considering the storytelling background of myth draws attention to the process of telling, listening, and reflection that reshapes people’s beliefs about the unseen forces at work in their daily lives. In customary Buddhist folk religion, the devas are usually portrayed as characters from other realms, separate from the human realm, and having their own problems and with no roles to play in the human realm. There is no use in praying to them because they’re not going to do anything for you.
"COVID-19 made people run behind medical authorities for help, to scientists and research men for a new molecule to cure the affected, state machinery for help find food and essentials, they respect and praise them, worship them, and they have no time to think of their favourite demons, deities, monsters with multiple limbs and heads."
The people of the Middle East told stories now recorded in the holy books, while Eastern myths recorded in old religious scripts. They admitted to themselves that they could not see gods, angels, deities or the demons depicted in those stories; yet they believed presence of divine and demonic creatures during prayer and acts of service.
Scientific practices - the development of falsifiable hypotheses through observation and experiment; the persistent questioning of established views - have proven powerful in revealing the amazing, underlying structure of the world we live in, the subatomic particles, the role of germs and viruses in the spread of disease. We are naturally obliged to infer “intelligent design” when we see complex structure, which obviously makes creationism more tempting than natural selection.
In the wake of thrashing and disaster, we struggle to appreciate the deities who are all-powerful can also be considered good and loving. Why would they allow natural disasters? The Bible says ‘when man fell into indulgence, all of nature was cursed, it was impossible for a wicked man to live in a perfect situation of paradise, so life is cursed’. Are they involved in natural disasters?. Could they prevent them; because natural disasters happen within their providence. Natural disasters teach us various lessons; they show us the uncertainty of life. Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and the earthquake in Haiti 2010, Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist devotees claimed that the disasters happened because of our sins - usually those of adherents to religions, suggesting that the view of tragedies as divine punishment persists, while survivors gave deities the credit for saving them from disaster.
“When you look around and wonder whether God cares, you must always hurry to the cross and you must see Him there.” - Martin Luther King
Nature and Politics
Can we keep on hurting nature, not knowing that we hurt ourselves? The crisis is a distressing but, much-needed wake-up call. Abuse of animals; Cutting down forests; Pollution of the air. We reap what we’ve sown. We are part of nature, and not apart from it. COVID-19 is there to remind us many things, among which, humanity that we have long forgotten.
No parliament, no Provincial councils, No political jargon –just the Executive President and his loyal and dynamic Security Services aided by an efficient and dedicated Medical Fraternity and other members of public officials who run the show. Spread of viruses through verbal diarrhoea by politicians of all political Parties, unceasing babbling by Clergy belonging to all faiths are silenced too by COVID-19 preventing pollution of the environment.
“The Lord gave and the Lord takes away: Blessed be the name of the Lord,” says my neighbour. “It is possible to respect God even without reasons, even when we don’t have an explanation. If we worship God under those conditions we are especially blessed,” he concluded.
Thank the Deities?
COVID-19 made people run behind medical authorities for help, to scientists and research men for a new molecule to cure the affected, state machinery for help find food and essentials, they respect and praise them, worship them, and they have no time to think of their favourite demons, deities, monsters with multiple limbs and heads. The moment the former ensures eradication of the virus, they would rush to places of worship to pay homage and say thank you to thier …
Sakko hi bhikkhave devānam-indo avīta-rāgo avīta-doso avīta-moho, bhīru chambhī utrāsī palāyīti.--Because Sakka, lord of the devas, is not free of passion, free of aversion, or free of delusion. He can be frightened, terrorized, cowardly, quick to flee. The Buddha: Djhajagga sutta [samyuktha nikaya].