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Buddhism and Science

By Ian Nance - posted Wednesday, 21 April 2010


In my view, there is a firm link between scientific research, and the awareness, understanding and practicality in Buddhism. I have drawn on the thoughts of the Venerable Dr. K.Sri Dhammananda, a monk and author, and in doing so have tried to simplify some esoteric propositions he presented to fellow Buddhists.

To begin, the Buddha is not some illusionary, supernatural deity.

He was a very real documented person who was born the wealthy son of a Nepalese king around 2500 years ago, questioned the reasons behind human existence, left his luxurious lifestyle, and travelled on a tortuous path to find his answers. During a meditation practice, he became totally aware of the entire nature of existence.

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The term “Buddha” is Sanskrit for “enlightened one.”.

Following this enlightenment, he travelled widely around the Ganges region spreading knowledge about his revelations and still millennia after his death, is respected, particularly in Asia, as an unsurpassed teacher of truth, fact, and logic.

Of course in many countries where Buddhism spread, populations tended to blend its teachings into local cultural rituals and ceremonies which persist even today.

Nonetheless, it is less a religion than a lifestyle. It is centred around psychology, philosophy and spirituality, and sits very comfortably alongside regular scientific research. How?

Today we live in a scientific age in which almost every aspect of our lives has been affected by science. Since the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, science has continued to exert tremendous influence on what we think and do.

Many basic religious concepts are crumbling under the pressure of modern science, and are no longer acceptable to the intellectual or well-informed man.

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No longer is it possible to assert truth derived merely through theological speculation, or based on the authority of religious scriptures in isolation from scientific consideration.

For example, the findings of modern psychologists indicate that the human mind, like the physical body, works according to natural causal laws without the presence of an unchanging soul as taught by some religions.

Some religionists choose to disregard scientific discoveries which conflict with their religious dogmas. Such rigid mental habits are indeed a hindrance to human progress.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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