Buddhism and Science

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Buddhism and Science

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:24 pm

Buddhism and Science :

Compatible?

Incompatible?

or do they belong to different "camps"
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby Jechbi » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:27 pm

A few thoughts can be found here.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby clw_uk » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:38 pm

Oh thanks, i forgot about that thread lol



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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:04 pm

should be compatible if the buddha was right... but i think a lot of religious stuff is just out of the realm of sience
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:50 pm

I'm generally unimpressed by writings on Buddhism and Science. In most cases I've seen the author has little idea of one or other (or both).

I quite like B Alan Wallace's books, since he has a Physics degree, so has a reasonable understanding of Physics.

His book "Choosing Reality" is good, as is the collection that he edited called "Buddhism and Science."

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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby green » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:58 pm

Two very different forms of knowing.

All knowledge is compatible for the knowledgeable -- it's those who are ignorant and assume there can only be one valid way of knowing and not others is when we have a problem.
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby Element » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:28 am

Bikkhu Buddhadasa was interested in science. He said: "Buddhism is a science and not a philosophy because it studies real things" (see You Tube)

Also, try the essay: "Scientific cure for spiritual disease' on the internet.
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 02, 2009 12:33 am

Greetings,

Generally speaking, science is ontological and Buddhism is phenomenological.

Thus, they both aim to learn more about reality, but via different methods.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby Element » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:36 am

retrofuturist wrote:ontological.... phenomenological.

:shrug: Please define.
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:44 am

Greetings Element,

Phenomenology - A philosophy or method of inquiry based on the premise that reality consists of objects and events as they are perceived or understood in human consciousness and not of anything independent of human consciousness.

Ontology - philosophical inquiry into the nature of being itself, a branch of metaphysics.

Actually, ontology probably wasn't the best choice of words to represent science. That would be more relevant for Philosophy. Allow me to change that to...

Empirical
- Relying on or derived from observation or experiment: empirical results that supported the hypothesis. Verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment

All definitions from: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby Element » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:46 am

Why is Buddhism not empirical?
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Mar 02, 2009 1:55 am

green wrote:Two very different forms of knowing.

Yes, I should have added that. Wallace is careful to distinguish places where there might be some worth in making comparisons and some where there is not.
green wrote: All knowledge is compatible for the knowledgeable -- it's those who are ignorant and assume there can only be one valid way of knowing and not others is when we have a problem.

I definitely agree that there are different forms of knowledge, but I think we can (not necessarily accurately) make some distinction between "useful" and "useless" forms of knowledge. I.e., just because one accepts different forms of knowledge doesn't mean one has to accept ANY form of knowledge that comes out of someone's mouth (or keyboard)...

For example, some forms of "alternative medicine" may be helpful for certain ailment, though almost impossible to prove "scientifically". Some others are most likely to be dangerous quackery.

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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Mar 02, 2009 2:45 am

Greetings Element,

Element wrote:Why is Buddhism not empirical?


It is, but only subjectively. Your observations cannot be proven to anyone but yourself.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby zavk » Mon Mar 02, 2009 10:56 am

Hi Retro and others,

On the topic of phenomenology vs. ontology, there are some nuances that need to be teased out. The two are not mutually exclusive.

I was browsing E-Sangha and it turns out there is a discussion about the very topic in the Buddhist philosophy forum. I shan't paste the url here; don't know if it is appropriate. But it is worth a read.

Metta,
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With metta,
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:52 am

Greetings zavk,

Feel free to post the link if you think it would be of interest to members.

:coffee:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby Individual » Tue Mar 03, 2009 3:21 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Element,

Element wrote:Why is Buddhism not empirical?


It is, but only subjectively. Your observations cannot be proven to anyone but yourself.

Metta,
Retro. :)

That is only a paccekabuddha's limitations.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:48 pm

Greetings Individual,

Even a Buddha can only show the way.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby Individual » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:20 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Individual,

Even a Buddha can only show the way.

Metta,
Retro. :)

The ability to influence a mind merely requires the right technology and the right know-how -- either alter its physical components (modern western approach) or alter its surrounding conditioning factors (i.e. the Buddha's dialectical arguments which caused people to spontaneously snap out of ignorance, meditation as a tool for enlightenment, seclusion, vinaya and the five precepts, etc.).

If the Buddha is more than than merely a good scientist, then he should be (and is) capable of doing more than merely appealing to the evidence at hand, only to have it fall on deaf ears. The miracle of instruction is truly a miracle.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby Mawkish1983 » Wed Mar 04, 2009 4:38 pm

Just thought I'd mention: I'm a scientist and I'm a Buddhist.
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Re: Buddhism and Science

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Mar 04, 2009 7:00 pm

It is true that we cannot use science to verify if someone is enlightened or another noble state, but there have been studies that compare meditators to non-meditators and there have been findings of positive results for those who meditate.

For example, A study reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, in year 2004 showed that meditation not only produces calming effects, but also lasting changes in the brain.

Researchers found that monks who spent many years in Buddhist meditation training show significantly greater brain activity in areas associated with learning and happiness than those who have never practiced meditation. The researchers measured brain activity before, during, and after meditation using electroencephalograms. They compared the monks to a group of people who had no meditation experience. They found striking differences between the two groups in a type of brain activity called gamma wave activity, which is involved in mental processes including attention, working memory, learning, and conscious perception.

The Buddhist monks had a higher level of gamma wave activity before they began meditation, and this difference increased dramatically during meditation. In fact, the researchers said that the extremely high levels of gamma wave activity were the highest ever reported. The monks also had more activity in areas associated with positive emotions, such as happiness.

(Warner, Jennifer. Reviewed by Nazario, Brunilda, M.D., for WebMD. Meditation May Bolster Brain Activity. WebMD, 2004)

The practice itself follows scientific method in many ways, including direct observation and study, analysis.
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