03. ONE FAMILY
Updated: Apr 18
Isn't it lovely that genetic science has proved that we all belong to the same family? That's really worth celebrating.
But what do we know about that solitary symbolic woman from whom we are all descended? The Bible calls her Eve. Maori call her Papa which, for English-speakers, sounds like it should be her partner's name, but no. Her full name is Papatuanuku, mother of the earth and all things.
Both stories show what an influential role this woman had. But how did that work out for her?
Somewhere along the way, Eve's female descendants got relegated mostly to the home and child rearing whilst men went out with their bows, arrows, and tiaha to kill the enemy which, thanks to our new genetic understanding, very often happened to be their own cousins.
Progress in DNA science shows that we are all little more than 50th cousins of one another.
Now, after conquering threats to our very existence, shaping the lives of the next generation has got to be the most important thing we could be doing.
It would be nice to think that there was lots of support for shaping, and a diminishing need for conquering these days. But no. Our screens show a never-ending procession of soldiers in Yemen, Syria, Korea, Somalia... and the list goes on.
Men never suffer from a want of employment when there's a good war to carry on, and it does big things for many economies who do a great trade in weapons of war.
The real-life picture captured on camera is truly appalling as during the past few years we were gripped by footage of exhausted Rohingya trudging ankle deep through mud and driving rain, carrying frail elderly relatives strapped to their own emaciated bodies as they abandon a country established in the spirit of Buddha. Restricted from freedom of movement, state education, and civil service jobs, the legal conditions faced by the majority Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar have been compared with apartheid.
Most recently Amnesty International reported on the dreadful situation confronting the Baha'is of Yemen , saying that "Once again, we are seeing trumped up charges and flagrantly unfair proceedings used to persecute these Baha’is for their faith. And it is particularly abhorrent that some of these men and women could face the death penalty for their conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities."
We need the true spirit of Buddha now more than ever, He of the golden head, whose visage is so well loved of exclusive interior designers, who appears in countless glamorous interiors and designer courtyards, exuding peace and tranquillity, but also a comforting unattainability.
We need to find our way back to the true spirit of the Eightfold Path and its eight practices of right view, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right "samadhi" or meditative absorption.
And when we do, we will find that the spiritual reality of the Teachings of the Buddha are at one with the Teachings of all the Divine Messengers. At that time we, and all our 50th cousins, will recognise that we share a common spiritual reality and can learn to be at one with each other.