My take on Genetics and the Buddhist Concept of Rebirth

I received the following question recently:

As I am reading the 5 Wisdoms, just after the diagram no # 16, in the fifth paragraph the entry of the
consciousness into the fetus is explained. Yet I don’t understand how genetics determine this entry.
How do we connect the genetics of the new fetus to the consciousness that has descended into that
specific fetus. Could you help me understand this please? Thank you. Sophie

Here is my reply:

After the Bardo of dharmata, the consciousness is enclosed in an envelope of the resulting tendencies. These are Mental tendencies and Physical tendencies. It is why, at this point, many descriptions of the 12 links of dependent origination call it Name & Form. Name refers to these Concepts, Volitions, or Mental tendencies, and Form refers to the physical tendencies. They are all tendencies based on the 5 main energies.

These 5 energies become the 5 wisdoms and the 5 neuroses of the Mind and the 5 elements of the Body. Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Space become Form (solidity, shape, colour etc), Circulation, Metabolism, Energy, and Size. Included in these tendencies could be the Longing for greater solidity and hence the quest for rebirth in a realm of Form or Sense Desires, such as the human realm.

The attraction towards certain parents includes the attraction to the mental/emotional and physical characteristics of the parents and their living situation. In the same way that a being is attracted to an environment that supports their underlying tendencies, the consciousness is attracted to a genetic makeup within the parents that matches these tendencies as well – So the genetics are merely supports for the already existing tendencies which now surround the consciousness.

It should be noted that, in the same way that some people buy a car based on the size and type of engine and other people buy a car based on the colour and style, so there may be qualities within the parents that go un-noticed within the attracted consciousness, only to be discovered later.

Hope that helps.



About larryreside

Technical Administrator for the Westport Lions Club Website and Instructor @ the Peaceful Garden Meditation Group - A Group that studies and practices Buddhist Psychology and Meditation in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
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