Greetings to those of you who are taking the time to read my Buddhist lecture. Our aim is to take complicated Buddhist theory and teach it in a format that is easy and fun to read. Please note that I enjoy having fun when I teach Buddhism and I teach Buddhism in a cultural fashion and I do not adhere to strict rules of English or standard practices of writing. First I hold no official position in Nichiren  Buddhism, secondly there are those in Nichiren Buddhism who resent the fact that I take it upon myself to write a non sanction article about Buddhism, in fact there are many Nichiren  Buddhist who resent the fact of our entire website  and many who do not agree that we have a website period.

Please understand that our teachings are from Nichiren Buddhism and we who are Nichiren  Buddhist consider “Nichiren Daishonin” who was born in 13th century Japan to be the “A Saint” of our time. There have been countless Buddhas through out space and time but in the time of Mappo or our time Nichiren Daishonin is  Bodhisttvas Jogyo” The entire essence of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism is the one single phase “Nam myoho renge Kyo.” The teachings of Nichiren Daishonin's Buddhism were left in his writings called the Gosho (Buddhist Bible) and these writings are actual letters that he wrote to his disciples that he used to teach them about Buddhism.

Let me get to my lecture. A few days ago when I opened up yahoo to look on the Internet I noticed an advertisement whereas the Discovery Channel was premiering their special on Ardi or Ardipitecus ramidus the oldest human fossil pointing to the evolution of us as humans. This fossil was even more fascinating because many scientists consider Ardi to be the “Missing Link” in the evolution as man made its appearance on earth from an “Ape like” creature to that of being the humans that we are today. In 2008 my wife Bogalech and I was at a lecture with the famous Paleoantropologist Dr. David Johanson who discovered the famous "Lucy Skeleton" in Ethiopia in 1974. Dr. Johanson made mention about this new finding in Ethiopia and I was excited to learn and share about this teaching.  This teaching too is Buddhism.

In the world and especially in America there is a bone of contention of science vs. religion. Are we to believe in the Bible or are we to believe in science and accept the concept of evolution? Nichiren Buddhism clearly delineates science and religion. This masterful religion never contradict science because it is a “True Religion,” however because it is a “True Religion” it can travel beyond the reaches of where our science has not yet evolved. Buddhism is a science as well as a religion. If science is defined as the search for truth then Buddhism is a science. We borrowed these definitions of evolution from wikipediea.

Anthony & Bogalech Elmore pose for picture at a lecture by famous paleoanthropologist Dr. Donald Johanson who discovered the Lucy skeleton in Ethiopia in 1974.  Ardi was discovered later is believed to predate Lucy by over a million years.

Artist sketch of Ardi or Ardipitecus ramidus the oldest human fossil pointing to the evolution of us as humans.Some call her the Missing Link.

What is Evolution?

Biological evolution is genetic change in a population from one generation to another.  The speed and direction of change is variable with different species lines and at different times.  Continuous evolution over many generations can result in the development of new varieties and species.  Likewise, failure to evolve in response to environmental changes can, and often does, lead to extinction.

When scientists speak of evolution as a theory they do not mean that it is a mere speculation.  It is a theory in the same sense as the propositions that the earth is round rather than flat or that our bodies are made of atoms are theories.  Most people would consider such fundamental theories to be sufficiently tested by empirical evidence to conclude that they are indeed facts.  As a result of the massive amount of evidence for biological evolution accumulated over the last two centuries, we can safely conclude that evolution has occurred and continues to occur.  All life forms, including humans, evolved from earlier species, and all still living species of organisms continue to evolve today.  They are not unchanging end-products.

For those who have difficulty in accepting evolution because of what they perceive as contradictions with their fundamental religious beliefs, it may be useful to distinguish the ultimate origin of life from its later evolution.  Many, if not most, biological scientists accept that primordial life on earth began as a result of chance natural occurrences 3.5-4 billion years ago.  However, it is not necessary to believe in that view in order to accept that living creatures evolved by natural means after the origin of the first life.  Charles Darwin modified his religious beliefs, as did many others, as a result of the discovery of convincing proof of evolution.  Darwin's religious faith was also severely challenged by the death of his 10 year old daughter Annie in 1851.  Apparently, he came to believe that his God created the order of the universe including the rules of nature that result in biological evolution.  His famous book, On the Origin of Species, was not a denial of his God's existence.  However, he did reject a literal interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible.  His religious beliefs were probably very similar to those who advocate "theistic evolution" today.

Evidence of Evolution

The Nobel Prize winning scientist Linus Pauling aptly described science as the search for truth.  Science does this by continuously comparing its theories objectively with evidence in the natural world.  When theories no longer conform to the evidence, they are modified or rejected in favor of new theories that do conform.  In other words, science constantly tries to prove its assumptions to be false and rejects implausible explanations.  In this way, scientific knowledge and understanding grow over time.  Religious explanations for the order of things are not science because they are based primarily on faith and do not subject themselves to be objectively falsified.  Because of this fundamental difference in the approach to understanding our natural world, the U.S. Supreme Court in effect decided in 1987 that the Biblically based "creation science" is not a science and cannot be taught as such in public schools as an alternative or in addition to the mainstream evolutionary theory of the biological sciences.  However, religious creation stories and the idea of "intelligent design" can be taught in philosophy, religion, or history courses.  Religion and Science provide different approaches to knowledge.  It is important to understand both.

Ardi A Buddhist Lecture Decribing Nichiren Buddhism As A Science and Religion
By Anthony "Amp" Elmore

Ardi (ARA-VP-6/500) is the fossilized skeletal remains of a female Ardipithecus ramidus, estimated from radiometric dating to be 4.4 million years old. Fossils of A. ramidus were first found in Ethiopia in 1992, but it has taken 17 years to assess their significance. [ 1 ] Ardi is a more primitive hominid than the well-known Australopithecine skeleton, Lucy. Standing at 4 feet tall (120 cm) tall and weighing around 110 pounds (50 kg), [ 2 ] Ardi was slightly shorter than Lucy but almost double her weight. The skeleton was discovered at a site called Aramis in the arid badlands near the Awash River in Ethiopia in 1994. Although it is not known whether Ardi's species developed into Homo sapiens, the discovery is of great significance as Ardi is the oldest known hominid fossil. The discovery was made by a team of scientists led by UC Berkeley anthropologist, Tim D. White [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] and was analyzed by an international group of scientists that included Owen Lovejoy heading the biology team. On October 1, 2009, the journal Science published an open-access collection of eleven articles, detailing many aspects of A. ramidus and its environment. [ 5 ]

Researchers infer from the form of Ardi's pelvis and limbs and the presence of her opposable big toe that she was a facultative biped: bipedal when moving on the ground, but quadrupedal when moving about in tree branches. [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ] Ardi had a more primitive walking ability than later hominids, and could not walk or run for long distances. [ 4 ] The teeth suggest omnivory, and are more generalized than those of modern apes. [ 8 ]

The word Ardi means "ground floor" and the word ramid means "root" in the Afar language. [ 9 ]