Sovietnik wrote:As I am a pan-European patriot and also an admirer of Buddhism, I got one question that has been baffling me for a long time.
As we know, the civilization that is the most advanced in terms of science is the Western civilization. For the last 500-600 years we have been at the forefront of just about every field of human knowledge imaginable - science, technology, arts and political theory. At no point in human history has any civilization achieved such a great advantage over all others, initiating an explosion of knowledge.
Historians are still confused about why such a revolution took place in Europe and not elsewhere, even though before 16th century all of them were equal and had their own basis of knowledge to start their own scientific revolution.
Now my question is related specifically to Buddhism - what is the stance of Buddhists towards the scientific inquiry about the nature of the world? As scientific method requires some specific philosophical stance to be invented, not all cultures may be able to invent it and make the use of it. Buddhism for example is universal and has a solid and very simple moral framework, but many people have found it to be very passive, almost fatalistic.
I've read claims that modern science could have never developed in a society based on Buddhism. In Christianity for example, the world was created by a rational, orderly being so it is orderly and can be explored. There is also a divine command to inquire about the world and make it a better place. On the other hand, many people think that Buddhism views the world as an inherently evil place and also as a kind of illusion. To make scientific discoveries, you must first assume that the world is real.
What do you think? I'm not talking about science in Buddhist texts (no religious text has any science in it) but about the very mindset that is needed for scientific method to develop. So far I haven't found any indigenously Buddhist scientific tradition. Science in India was done by Hindus and Jains and Chinese scholars were more inspired by Taoism.
Your question is very intelligent, but you made a mistake that most Westerners made.
Now, let assume that the West was the root of modern science. The mistake is that you assume that if something was born with it, it is the best to grow with it. For example, if a mother gives birth to a child, she is the best one to grow it up. Totally wrong, the child needs the teaching of the teacher, or else will be grow up as a dumb person.
I will give you another example, many great inventions, TV shows, programs were born outside US, but US market is the best place to make profit, based on inventions from Asia, Europe,..
So what? Christian society may be where the modern science were born, (it is history, not a logical cause and effect) but it may be not the best place to help science to reach it peak. Let face it, based on science and technology, the world changed dramatically, but there are still millions hunger in Africa, human right is not respected in Muslim countries, what can Westerner do about it? Almost nothing, so this is what science and technology can do to human kind? Hungers are still in existence and dictatorships are free? This is the civilization of the world based on the wisdom of the West?
The human civilization is not all about science, and FYI, commercial and politics are very important too, and republic and democracy are not that great. And I believe Easterners are very good on many something else. For example, the US, the leading in science and technology, must based on China to produce its goods. The Chinese is worse in many fields (than the US) but it used a grand strategy to beat the almighty US to it knees. Let face the reality, how many inventions, scientists are needed to make the jobs come back to US? Grand strategy beats anything else, e.g cheap labor beats justice and civilization, sometimes quantity beats quality, sometime quality beats quantity, so who sees the cause and effect will be the strategist. Easterners are very good on strategy, something science and technology can not solve.
I agree that traditional Buddhism is not that good for science, but without Buddhism, monolithic religions can not help science to reach it top level, because monolithic religions are all extremists which are closed minds. Closed minds are not good for science, actually it is against science (they were against scientists in the past). Monolithic religions are and still will be the obstacle for the development of science.
Actually I believe Buddhism is the best for science and almost anything else because it helps people have opened mind. Actually many branches of Buddhism are extremist. It is much easier to direct a Buddhism community into science or facing the truth than Christianity community. The problem is not Buddhism, but people, people don't understand what Buddhism is but worship it like a religion. The best mindset for science is be open minded, it is not only thw best for science but everything else. You have an opened mind because you ask a question, and have the preparation to accept the answer, or reality. Only an opened mind can accept the reality, whether it is in science, or else where. Another important thing is be logical and be innovative. Both of these must be based on opened mind.
Ah, I don't give any value to claims like modern science cant be developed in the Buddhism society, that is the claim of a losers. Oh I were very rich, but now I am very poor. Show me what you have, not what you had. Great people always have visions of the future, they see the future before others and take the chance, only loser inclines to the past. Don't use the past to judge the future. A poor man with will and hard work and wisdom will be rich, and a rich man but stupid and ignorant will become poor.
And believe me, science is not that important. Actually technology changes the world, and businessman and entrepreneurs are much more important than scientist. I will trade a good engineer or an entrepreneurs over a pure scientist, anyday everyday includes Sunday.
I am not in the country or the race the Buddha were born, but I bow down to the truth and the wisdom of him. When you have an opened mind, you will see the cause of many things, it is very different than what fast food historians or scientist claims. The West the East, don't be racist, just be open minded