Re: unilinial evolution

Cliff Sloane (cesloane@MAROON.TC.UMN.EDU)
Thu, 13 Apr 1995 18:16:54 -0500

Tambiah, in his descriptions of Buddhist cosmology in Thailand, puts
humans in an altogether different position. Humans occupy the Middle
World, with various stages of deities/angels/etc in the upper world, and
animals, tormented souls, demons in progressively lower levels of the
Lower World.
What makes the Triloka construct different from Christian unilinear
evolution is the following:
Deities and non-human Upper World beings can go up and down, but never
"out", ie, never achieve extinction (moksha), nor can they ever become human.
Humans can go up and down within the range ascribed to humans, but can
never become deities. They can, however, leapfrog over the deities and
achieve Moksha.

In the beginning of this post, I attributed all this to Tambiah. Permit a
small correction. It was in Tambiah's writings that I got a clear
understanding of this. The information is within the Buddhist canon,
especially sermon called Traiphumlok (spelling?).