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Extraterrestrial life

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People of different cultures have long believed that beings of various types – gods, angels, spirits, etc, – have existed beyond the Earth, usually in a place called heaven. Since the development of modern astronomy and after a realistic knowledge of the universe became widespread, people began speculating about whether there could be life, even intelligent life, on other planets. In the Acchariyābbhūtadhamma Sutta, the Buddha speaks of ‘the black, gloomy regions of darkness, between the world systems, where the light of our moon and sun, powerful and majestic though they are, cannot reach’ or what we would call intergalactic space. Then he says that there are beings there (M.III,124-5). This comment seems to refer to gods etc, not to embodied beings actually inhabiting planets. But while nothing the Buddha said suggests that there could be life on other planets, there is nothing in his Dhamma which would cancel out this possibility.

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