Are Genetic Diseases a Manifestation of Ancestral Karma?
Modern medical science believes that genetic mutations are random events caused by chance 'errors' in our genes or by exposures to mutagens like chemicals, radiation, etc. that alters the DNA sequences in our genes. Since DNA are the 'blueprint of life,' mutations that changes the DNA sequence may lead to genetic defects in the human body and genetically inherited diseases.
There are about 4000 known genetic diseases (statistic from Howard Hughes Medical Institute) that are carried and passed down from generation to generation. They range from minor defects to conditions that lead to disabilities, malformations and even death. Whenever I see children afflicted with these diseases, I feel compassion for them. Yet, I also contemplate what they or their ancestors did in their previous histories that brought them these karmic results.
In his book 'Zhuan Falun' Mr. Li Hongzhi talks about a type of karma, 'Another [type of karma] is as if delivered through a pipeline, but this is rarely seen; it is all accumulated from one's ancestors.' (p. 291, March 2000 edition). Since this type of rare karma is delivered through a pipeline through the generations, this may possibly be the root cause only to be manifested as so-called genetic mutations leading to inherited diseases (which are also rare)? If so, are these mutations actually random?
Science can now detect many of these mutations. USA Today reported that there are over 200,000 tests done each year and almost 400 tests for mutations are presently available (Gene tests bring agonizing choices, 4/23/01). Now people can even know whether they are likely to inherit a genetic disease. Science believes that by knowing where and what the mutations are, it can develop ¡°cures¡± for these diseases. Many therapies and drugs are currently being developed to 'cure and prevent' these diseases.
Yet, if we look at this from the perspective of Mr. Li's teachings, we know the only real 'cure and prevention' is through cultivation of virtue and stopping the creation of karma for future generations, 'Throughout the generations in the family, ancestors may also accumulate karma for later generations. In the past, the elderly had this saying: 'One should accumulate de [virtue], and one's ancestors have accumulated de. This person is giving away de and abusing de.' That was said very correctly.' (p. 148).
Our science is currently only able to look at the molecular DNA level. According to Mr. Li, karma and de, both material substances, exist at very microscopic levels beyond the reach of modern science, which can only detect matter to the neutrino level. [Note: this is the writer's understanding] Thus, if ancestral karma is the root cause of genetic diseases, trying to cure them at a molecular level would be difficult. It would be like trying to eradicate weeds in a garden by only cutting them off at the surface and the roots are still there and they will grow back.
Mr. Li states, 'A human body should not become ill, and being ill is an abnormal state.' (p. 140). If karma is a material substance that goes against the characteristic of the universe 'Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance,' isn't it 'abnormal'? If it manifests around one's body, would it not make one's body 'abnormal'? If ancestral karma is piped down through the generations, could it be the cause of 'abnormalities' (i.e. mutations) in one's genes which leads to genetic defects and inherited genetic diseases?
In the future, science may turn its research to these material substances of karma and de that exists at very microscopic levels beyond molecular DNA. If it does, science will come to understand more about these substances and the fact that human morality is not just an ideological or spiritual concept but is of material existence, 'These black and white substances exist simultaneously. What kind of relationship do these two substances have? We obtain that de through suffering, enduring setbacks, and doing good deeds; the black substance is accrued by committing bad deeds and doing wrong things or bullying people.' (p. 33).
[Note: This is a speculative article from a Falun Dafa practitioner working in biological research. Readers are encouraged to read Zhuan Falun to gain their own understandings]