Buddhism for scientific mind

- Buddha Web

Usefull Resources:

- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell
- Buddhism, the only real science by Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera 

Quotes of Albert Einstein

 "The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. The religion which based on experience, which refuses dogmatic. If there's any religion that would cope the scientific needs it will be Buddhism."

 " I assert that the cosmic religious experience is the strongest and the noblest driving force behind scientific research."

 " I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind."

 "Few are those who see with their own eyes and feel with their own hearts."

 " Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

 " Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."

 " If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."

 " In order to be an immaculate member of a flock of sheep, one must above all be a sheep oneself."

 " It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge."

 " Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."

 " Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."

 " Anger dwells only in the bosom of fools."

 " True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, with all one's goodness and righteousness."

 " As far as I'm concerned, I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue."

 " The important thing is not to stop questioning."

- Albert Einstein

Does Buddhism conflict with modern science?

"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. The religion which based on experience, which refuses dogmatic. If there's any religion that would cope the scientific needs it will be Buddhism."
 - Albert Einstein

Among all the major religions of the world, the Buddhist teachings do not have any conflicts with the discoveries of modern science.  It does not have any creation myths, nor does it attempt to attribute any natural phenomena to supernatural agencies.

It embraces fully the Theory of Evolution which in fact clearly demonstrates the Buddhist doctrine of Impermanence.  Thus, it has no difficulties with fossil remains, carbon-dating and geological evidence with which modern science uses to date the age of the earth to be around 4.5 billion years. 

The Buddha had said specifically that there are countless star systems in existence, and that our world is like a speck of dust compared to the vastness and diversity of the universe.  He never said that the earth or the human species were created by an unseen deity to hold a special place in the universe.  Using modern astronomy, satellites and radio telescopes, we can observe the trillions of stars and billions of galaxies in the universe; and see clearly that the Buddha made a very accurate observation of our place in the cosmos.

The Buddha's concept of time, in the context of the universe, seems to be very much in accordance with modern science.  Buddhism measures the timescale of the universe in 'kalpas' which are inconceivably long periods of time.  He gave the analogy of a silk cloth brushing the top of a mountain once every hundred years.  The time it takes for the mountain to be worn down to nothing is approximately the duration of one 'kalpa'.  Therefore Buddhist cosmology is quite in line with current scientific estimates of the age of the universe, which is taken to be about 13.7 billion years old.

Also very interestingly, The Buddha mentioned that the universe is in a continual state of expansion and contraction and that these cycles last for unimaginably long periods of time, or for many, many 'kalpas'.  It seems that He anticipated the Oscillating Universe Theory by more than 2,500 years.

In one of the suttas, the Buddha held up a cup of water and said that there are countless living beings in the water.  For a long time, nobody understood what He meant, but today we can see through a microscope that there are in fact countless micro-organisms in any cup of water.  Thus there may still be many things the Buddha said that we have yet to discover and comprehend.

Scientists are, for the most part, brainwashed by their education and their in-group conferences to see the world in a very narrow, microscopic, way. The very worst scientists are those who behave like eccentric evangelists, claiming that they alone have the whole truth, and then demanding the right to impose their views on everyone else.

Buddhism is more scientific than modern science. Like science, Buddhism is based on verifiable cause-and-effect relationships. But unlike science, Buddhism challenges with thoroughness every belief.

The famous Kalama Sutta of Buddhism states that one cannot believe fully in "what one is taught, tradition, hearsay, scripture, logic, inference, appearance, agreement with established opinion, the seeming competence of a teacher, or even in one's own teacher".

How many scientists are as rigorous in their thinking as this? Buddhism challenges everything, including logic.

It is worth noting that Quantum Theory appeared quite illogical, even to such great scientists as Einstein, when it was first proposed. It is yet to be disproved. Logic is only as reliable as the assumptions on which it is based. Buddhism trusts only clear and objective experience.

Clear experience occurs when one's measuring instruments, one's senses, are bright and undisturbed. In Buddhism, this happens when the hindrances of sloth-and-torpor and restlessness-and-remorse are both overcome. Objective experience is that which is free from all bias.

In Buddhism, the three types of bias are desire, ill will and sceptical doubt. Desire makes one see only what one wants to see, it bends the truth to fit one's preferences. Ill will makes one blind to whatever is disturbing or disconcerting to one's views and it distorts the truth by denial.

Sceptical doubt stubbornly refuses to accept those truths, like rebirth, that are plainly valid but which fall outside of one's comforting worldview.

In summary, clear and objective experience only happens when the Buddhist 'Five Hindrances' have been overcome. Only then can one trust the data arriving through one's senses.

Because scientists are not free of these five hindrances, they are rarely clear and objective. It is common, for example, for scientists to ignore annoying data, which do not fit their cherished theories, or else confine such evidence to oblivion by filing it away as an 'anomaly'.

Even most Buddhists aren't clear and objective. One has to have recent experience of Jhana to effectively put aside these five hindrances (according to the Nalakapana Sutta , Majjhima No. 68). So only accomplished meditators can claim to be real scientists, that is, clear and objective.

Mind is the sixth sense in Buddhism, it is that which encompasses the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, and transcends them with its own domain. It corresponds loosely to Aristotle's "common sense" that is distinct from the five senses.

Indeed, ancient Greek philosophy, from where science is said to have its origins, taught six senses just like Buddhism. Somewhere along the historical journey of European thinking, they lost their mind! Or, as Aristotle would put it, they somehow discarded their "common sense"! And thus we got science. We got materialism without any heart. One can accurately say that Buddhism is science that has kept its heart, and which hasn't lost its mind!

Thus Buddhism is not a belief system. It is a science founded on objective observation, i.e. meditation, ever careful not to disturb the reality through imposing artificial measurements, and it is evidently repeatable.

People have been re-creating the experimental conditions, known as establishing the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path, for over twenty-six centuries now, much longer than science. And those renowned Professors of Meditation, the male and female Arahants, have all arrived at the same conclusion as the Buddha.

- Buddhism, the only real science by Ajahn Brahmavamso Mahathera


The Parallel sayings

Lord Buddha  Einstein
If there is only empty space, with no suns nor planets in it, then space loses its substantiality. 
According to general relativity, the concept of space detached from any physical content does not exist. 
All such notions as causation, succession, atoms, primary elements...are all figments of the imagination and manifestations of the mind. 
Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world. 
By becoming attached to names and forms, not realising that they have no more basis than the activities of the mind itself, error rises…and the way to emancipation is blocked. 
Time and again the passion for understanding has led to the illusion that man is able to comprehend the objective world rationally by pure thought without any empirical foundations—in short, by metaphysics. 
I teach that the multitudinousness of objects have no reality in themselves but are only seen of the mind and, therefore, are of the nature of maya and a dream. ...It is true that in one sense they are seen and discriminated by the senses as individualized objects; but in another sense, because of the absence of any characteristic marks of self-nature, they are not seen but are only imagined. In one sense they are graspable, but in another sense, they are not graspable. 
In our thinking...we attribute to this concept of the bodily object a significance, which is to high degree independent of the sense impression which originally gives rise to it. This is what we mean when we attribute to the bodily object "a real existence." ...By means of such concepts and mental relations between them, we are able to orient ourselves in the labyrinth of sense impressions. These notions and relations...appear to us as stronger and more unalterable than the individual sense experience itself, the character of which as anything other than the result of an illusion or hallucination is never completely guaranteed. 
While the Tathagata, in his teaching, constantly makes use of conceptions and ideas about them, disciples should keep in mind the unreality of all such conceptions and ideas. They should recall that the Tathagata, in making use of them in explaining the Dharma always uses them in the semblance of a raft that is of use only to cross a river. As the raft is of no further use after the river is crossed, it should be discarded. So these arbitrary conceptions of things and about things should be wholly given up as one attains enlightenment. 
The belief in an external world independent of the perceiving subject is the basis of all natural science. Since, however, sense perception only gives information of this external world or of "physical reality" indirectly, we can only grasp the latter by speculative means. It follows from this that our notions of physical reality can never be final. We must always be ready to change these notions—that is to say, the axiomatic basis of physics—in order to do justice to perceived facts in the most perfect way logically. 


Einstein A N D   Buddha- The Parallel sayings Introduction by Wes Nisker

Buy: Einstein and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings