By Donald S. Lopez, Jr.
Starting within the 19th century and carrying on with to the current day, either Buddhists and admirers of Buddhism have proclaimed the compatibility of Buddhism and technology. Their assertions have ranged from modest claims concerning the efficacy of meditation for psychological well-being to grander declarations that the Buddha himself expected the theories of relativity, quantum physics and the massive bang greater than millennia ago.
In Buddhism and Science, Donald S. Lopez Jr. is much less drawn to comparing the accuracy of such claims than in exploring how and why those doubtless disparate modes of realizing the internal and outer universe were so many times associated. Lopez opens with an account of the increase and fall of Mount Meru, the nice top that stands on the middle of the flat earth of Buddhist cosmography—and which was once interpreted anew as soon as it proved incompatible with smooth geography. From there, he analyzes the way Buddhist strategies of religious the Aristocracy have been enlisted to aid the infamous technology of race within the 19th century. Bringing the tale to the current, Lopez explores the Dalai Lama’s curiosity in medical discoveries, in addition to the results of analysis on meditation for neuroscience. Lopez argues that via proposing an old Asian culture as suitable with—and even anticipating—scientific discoveries, eu fanatics and Asian elites have sidestepped the debates at the relevance of faith within the smooth international that begun within the 19th century and nonetheless flare at the present time. As new discoveries proceed to reshape our figuring out of brain and subject, Buddhism and Science should be crucial studying for these interested by faith, technological know-how, and their usually vexed relation. (20081113)
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Extra info for Buddhism and Science: A Guide for the Perplexed (Buddhism and Modernity)
It was Bud32 introduction dhism, in fact, that was the scientific religion, the religion best suited for modernity, throughout the world. It was an Asian, the Buddha, who knew millennia ago what the European was just beginning to discover. This latter point was only made possible through the strange international network that invented the Buddha as we know him (described in chapter 4). A century later, the missionaries have not gone away, but their inroads into Buddhist societies are largely confined to specific times and places of the past: Japan in the sixteenth century, Sri Lanka in the early nineteenth century, Korea in the late nineteenth century.
Thus the action of mind is like an endless issue of a spring of water. As the phenomena of the external world are various and marvelous, so is the internal attitude of the human mind. Shall we ask for the explanation of these marvelous phenomena? Why is the universe in constant flux? Why do things change? Why is the mind subjected to a constant agitation? 25 Thus, among all the topics that Shaku Sōen, a Zen priest and Mahāyāna master, could have chosen to introduce Buddhism to his American audience, he chose not emptiness or compassion or the Buddha nature, but the comparatively prosaic topic of causation.
Just a century before, Tibetan Buddhism was regarded as the most corrupt and least authentic form of Buddhism, not only by European scholars but by some Asian Buddhists as well. It was seen to have deviated so far from the original teachings of the Buddha that it did not merit the name Buddhism and was called instead Lamaism. Here is the opening paragraph of the entry on Lamaism from the ninth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (published between 1875 and 1888) by Thomas W. Rhys Davids, author of the entry on Buddhism cited earlier: lāmāism is partly religious, partly political.