Evolutionary Spirituality

A replica of an ancient statue of Gautama Buddha, found from Sarnath, near Varanasi.

Buddhism is a non-theistic religion and philosophy dating back to the fifth century B.C. From its origin in India it has spread through Asia and now has followers worldwide.

Buddhism and God[]

Buddhism is typically described as non-theistic, although many Buddhists see Buddha Mind as equivalent with God and the many names of God: Allah, Brahman, Tao, Spirit and so on.

As Buddhism is maturing in the west, we see more of an alignment with theistic traditions, including koans such as "see everything as God" and Christian priests and Jewish rabbis studying Buddhism and applying it to their own ministry.

Buddhism can also be said to be aligned with panentheism, seeing God (Buddha Mind) as immanent and transcendent, or rather as beyond and including all polarities of existence and nonexistence, spirit and matter, and so on.

Buddhism and Science[]

Buddhism is seen as largely compatible with western science, and parallels and connections are being explored in a range of areas including psychology, medicine and physics.

Buddhism and Evolution[]

Buddhism does not have a creation story as we know it from theistic traditions. Creation is happening here and now.

Similarly, Buddhism does not appear to have a notion of evolution as we know it from modern science. At the same time, Buddhism is very much compatible with stories of how the world of phenomena unfolds in time, including evolution as told by science.

Buddhism and The Great Story[]

Stellar spire of the Eagle Nebula (NASA).

There are strong parallels between Buddhism and The Great Story.

  • The largest whole is seen as beyond and embracing all polarities, including existence and nonexistence, spirit and matter, mind and body, nature and culture. In Buddhist terms, this is Buddha Mind in its aspects of formlessness and form.
  • The world of phenomena is a seamless process from which we can discern subsystems such as galaxies, solar systems, the Earth, individuals and so on. This is the view of the whole (Absolute). From the view of the parts, we can say that the world is radically interconnected (Relative).
  • The world of phenomena is flux, always new, different, fresh.
  • Everything within the world of phenomena has infinite causes and infinite effects.
  • From the view of the largest whole (Absolute), there is only the doing and no individual or separate doer within this whole. From the view of the parts (Relative), there is the appearance of a doer - although radically interconnected with the larger whole.

And there are aspects of the Great Story which appear compatible with Buddhism.

  • The universe is evolving towards greater complexity.
  • Humans are the universe becoming aware of itself.


Buddhist practices allow us to explore various facets of existence such as radical interconnectedness, impermanence, Big Mind, the Four Directions and so on.

Big Mind Process[]

Among the newer practices is the Big Mind process which comes out of a combination of Zen and Western psychotherapy. Through a series of questions, similar to a guided meditation, we are invited to explore how the mind functions on personal and transcendent levels, including Big Mind - that which is beyond and includes all polarities. It allow us a taste of this largest whole, temporarily functioning through and as a human self.

4Directions System[]

This is a new approach to the concept of mindfulness. One of the models used in this process is based upon the Buddhist philosopher, Nagarjuna and the Emergent theory of evolution, wherein a dynamic tension exists between the holistic aspect (True Self) ground nature of being and the evolutionary,transitory and contingent (Ego Self) aspect. This is utilized to help practitioners reorient their thinking so that their sense of self worth is found in the whole while allowing them to have a more rational and yet playful view of the differentiated experience of self (see Free Your Mind - Anthony Stultz;iUniverse/2007


Metareligious Essay