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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A pure science of mind and matter | Daily Mirror

An objective analysis of Buddhism and science  

Buddhism is undoubtedly the most profound and wholesome educational path available to mankind. It explains the true nature of life and the universe. In the Buddhist doctrine “life” refers to ourselves and the “universe” refers to the environment in which we live. Buddhism begins with mindfulness. One has to be mindful of the moment that is now, connected with what one is doing outside and what one is thinking and feeling inside. Thus, Buddhism is not only about withdrawal or detachment from this world but is also about living each moment meaningfully.   

Buddhism has been described by Buddhist Scholar S.N. Goenka as “a pure science of mind and matter”. He substantiates this on the basis that Buddhism uses precise, analytical, philosophical and psychological terminology and reasoning . The Buddha explained the reality of things in terms of cause and effect. Buddhism is firmly founded on the principle that effects arise from causation. The existence of misery and suffering in any given individual is due to the presence of causes.

Buddhism is essentially a teaching for the intelligentsia. It is based on a systematic and rational analysis of the problems of life and the way to their solution. The Buddha emphatically admonished everyone to “come and see”; not to “come and believe”. Buddhism does not rely on blind faith. On the contrary one is encouraged to probe and verify personally what the Buddha preached.

Buddhism has totally rejected belief by faith while encouraging personal conviction by investigation. Buddhism stands out singularly alone as the only system of thought that can be accepted by strict rationalization and comparison with already known phenomena. Every other religious system can be scientifically and rationally doubted. Buddhism is unique as in that not a single facet of its teaching can be disproved or even rationally doubted. On an intellectual basis, Buddhism has only one real contender to convince and that is the materialist. One does not need Buddhism to obviate the sparse rationalism of most religious systems. In fact most religions other than Buddhism are engaged in a desperate and pathetic struggle to keep up with the concepts of modern Science; so much so that with every new scientific discovery they have to adjust their sequence of thought and at times even the dogma.   

Buddhism today is a hot topic in the science and religion dialogue. There is a basic understanding between Buddhist scholars and eminent scientists regarding the compatibility of Buddhism and science. The case is made that the philosophical and psychological teachings contained in Buddhism share commonalities with modern scientific and philosophical thought. For example Buddhism encourages the impartial investigation of nature or Dhamma Vicaya; the principal object of such study being oneself. In fact some popular conceptions of Buddhism connect it to discourses regarding evolution, quantum theory and cosmology. Moreover, Buddhism has been described as rational and non – dogmatic. There is ample evidence to prove that it has been so from the earliest period of history. Among the common philosophical principles shared between Buddhism and science are causality, empiricism and suspicion of absolutes. 

Great scientist Albert Einstein has spelt out the common thread that binds Buddhism and science as follows. “The religion of the future will be cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal god and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and spiritual it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual and a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers to this description. If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism”.Likewise, many scientists have observed similarities between science and Buddhism. The American physicist Robert Oppenheimer saw in Buddhism a scientific parallel to the puzzling riddles of modern physics.

Wijayadasa end the article with following, "The trend to link Buddhism and science has continued unabated so much so that today Buddhism and science are considered to be rivers leading to the same sea. Hence, the dire need for greater dialogue between Buddhist scholars and scientists to realize the importance of Buddhist wisdom to advance scientific wisdom."  
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Additional resources
Buddhism and science - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Source: Daily Mirror