Buddhism and developments of science.

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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Aloka » Sat Feb 01, 2014 3:22 pm

Sovietnik wrote:Can someone write more about Nalanda University? .......and what was taught?


There's something about what was taught at the bottom of the page at the link:

http://nalanda.bih.nic.in/nalandaHeritage.htm

Naropa (born 1016 AD), one of the founders of the Tibetan Buddhist Kagyu lineage, is also said to have been a professor at Nalanda University.

http://www.dharmafellowship.org/biographies/historicalsaints/mahasiddha-sri-naropa.htm


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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Sovietnik » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:30 pm

I wonder how would a synthesis of Buddhism with Aristotle's empiricism look like?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristotle
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby binocular » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:43 pm

Sovietnik wrote:I wonder how would a synthesis of Buddhism with Aristotle's empiricism look like?

Why would anyone want to synthesize the two?
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Sovietnik » Sat Feb 01, 2014 5:56 pm

Nowdays, no one. But in the past Christians and Muslims used to mix their own religions with Greek philosophy. The effect were Averroism and Thomism which still remains an official philosophy of the Roman Catholic Church.
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby suttametta » Sun Feb 02, 2014 1:57 am

Mkoll wrote:
suttametta wrote: We have exchanged the suffering of physical inconvenience for psychological suffering.

People in wealthy nations have access to the Buddha's teachings. And if they follow them they can have less physical inconvenience and less psychological suffering. :thumbsup:

Unfortunately, much of the world doesn't even have access to potable water, much less the Buddha's teachings, so we've got a long way to go in that respect.

Anyway, psychological suffering has existed for a long time. The Buddha did teach successfully 2500 years ago, after all.

:anjali:


Maslow's laws apply here. But in Tibet, folks have little on meager little, but they were very happy due to the teachings of buddha.
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Aloka » Sun Feb 02, 2014 7:52 am

suttametta wrote:
But in Tibet, folks have little on meager little, but they were very happy due to the teachings of buddha.


Not if you look at the history of Tibet. I also have a book of photos taken between 1880 and 1950 and there were huge differences between the rich and the poor, there were beggars and there were horrible punishments for crime. It was probably similar to medieval Europe.

There were also vicious squabbles and intrigues between and in the different schools of Buddhism from time to time. An echo of that can be see in in modern times with the Shugden and Karmapa controversies. I don't think it was all the romantic "Shangri La" that some westerners think it was.

.
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby suttametta » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:07 pm

Aloka wrote:
suttametta wrote:
But in Tibet, folks have little on meager little, but they were very happy due to the teachings of buddha.


Not if you look at the history of Tibet. I also have a book of photos taken between 1880 and 1950 and there were huge differences between the rich and the poor, there were beggars and there were horrible punishments for crime. It was probably similar to medieval Europe.

There were also vicious squabbles and intrigues between and in the different schools of Buddhism from time to time. An echo of that can be see in in modern times with the Shugden and Karmapa controversies. I don't think it was all the romantic "Shangri La" that some westerners think it was.

.


Obviously, it was a place of humans. All these things you mention pale in comparison to what modernity did to them. I have been to their impoverished camps in India. Despite their poverty, they never complain. They effuse welcome and love. They share and give gifts. They are bright and forthcoming. They never stop smiling. They laugh and joke. Even my teacher was placed in a barn by Chinese with hundreds of people, naked and muddy, people died pressed up next to him, rotted and shitting, maggots growing out. People would disappear in the middle of the night. They had to March starving in snow, people dropping dead and losing their toes and fingers. They had to carry the bodies themselves over mountains. Their suffering is exactly a holocaust. Millions of Tibetans were killed. And now they are almost like the native Americans, nearly extinct. Yet, they smile, joke, laugh and show more reverence than ever for Buddha, dharma and sangha. They say their lives were simple, no education, and many hardships to even gather salt, but they took everyday to be an expression of dharma and they were happy. Anyway what do you think is the path to shangrila? It is through a dense thorny thicket, leaches dropping like rain, up a cliff face, to... Exactly where you are. That is the Tibetan way.
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Aloka » Sun Feb 02, 2014 2:36 pm

suttametta wrote:Obviously, it was a place of humans. All these things you mention pale in comparison to what modernity did to them. I have been to their impoverished camps in India. Despite their poverty, they never complain. They effuse welcome and love. They share and give gifts. They are bright and forthcoming. They never stop smiling. They laugh and joke. Even my teacher was placed in a barn by Chinese with hundreds of people, naked and muddy, people died pressed up next to him, rotted and shitting, maggots growing out. People would disappear in the middle of the night. They had to March starving in snow, people dropping dead and losing their toes and fingers. They had to carry the bodies themselves over mountains. Their suffering is exactly a holocaust. Millions of Tibetans were killed. And now they are almost like the native Americans, nearly extinct. Yet, they smile, joke, laugh and show more reverence than ever for Buddha, dharma and sangha. They say their lives were simple, no education, and many hardships to even gather salt, but they took everyday to be an expression of dharma and they were happy. .


I already know what happened to a lot of them and the conditions that some of the Tibetans who are now in the west lived through when they escaped over the Himalayas, because a couple of Tibetan friends have talked to me about it. However I was refering to life in Tibet before the communist take-over.

Anyway what do you think is the path to shangrila? It is through a dense thorny thicket, leaches dropping like rain, up a cliff face, to... Exactly where you are. That is the Tibetan way


Shangri-la is a mythical kingdom from a novel called "Lost Horizon."

End of conversation for me now, thanks suttametta. The topic is about Buddhism and science and I guess we should remember that this is Dhamma Wheel Theravada forum and not its sister website Dharma Wheel Mahayana/Vajrayana forum.

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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby whynotme » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:05 pm

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.


Welcome,

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
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby suttametta » Sun Feb 02, 2014 4:14 pm

Aloka wrote:
suttametta wrote:Obviously, it was a place of humans. All these things you mention pale in comparison to what modernity did to them. I have been to their impoverished camps in India. Despite their poverty, they never complain. They effuse welcome and love. They share and give gifts. They are bright and forthcoming. They never stop smiling. They laugh and joke. Even my teacher was placed in a barn by Chinese with hundreds of people, naked and muddy, people died pressed up next to him, rotted and shitting, maggots growing out. People would disappear in the middle of the night. They had to March starving in snow, people dropping dead and losing their toes and fingers. They had to carry the bodies themselves over mountains. Their suffering is exactly a holocaust. Millions of Tibetans were killed. And now they are almost like the native Americans, nearly extinct. Yet, they smile, joke, laugh and show more reverence than ever for Buddha, dharma and sangha. They say their lives were simple, no education, and many hardships to even gather salt, but they took everyday to be an expression of dharma and they were happy. .


I already know what happened to a lot of them and the conditions that some of the Tibetans who are now in the west lived through when they escaped over the Himalayas, because a couple of Tibetan friends have talked to me about it. However I was refering to life in Tibet before the communist take-over.

Anyway what do you think is the path to shangrila? It is through a dense thorny thicket, leaches dropping like rain, up a cliff face, to... Exactly where you are. That is the Tibetan way


Shangri-la is a mythical kingdom from a novel called "Lost Horizon."

End of conversation for me now, thanks suttametta. The topic is about Buddhism and science and I guess we should remember that this is Dhamma Wheel Theravada forum and not its sister website Dharma Wheel Mahayana/Vajrayana forum.

:anjali:

I like your picture.

I guess the point of my little rant there was to say modernity was no improvement. The opposite. Inner technology of the highest caliber is what they already had. That there are abuses by governors is no surprise. As if the West or modern East were immune to that. The oppression and destruction of peoples by technologically advanced nations is epidemic. I have very little respect for technology. We benefit from the side-effects of military rule; nothing more.
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Sovietnik » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:45 pm

Take a look at this list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ro ... st-clerics
There have probably been more Catholic cleric-scientists over the past 1000 years than all Indian and Chinese scientists combined. And that's only if we don't count laymen scientists who since about 17th century dominate science and technology.
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby pulga » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:17 pm

Sovietnik wrote:Take a look at this list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ro ... st-clerics
There have probably been more Catholic cleric-scientists over the past 1000 years than all Indian and Chinese scientists combined. And that's only if we don't count laymen scientists who since about 17th century dominate science and technology.


It's a shame that the Jesuits have taken such a bad turn.
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Mkoll » Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:20 pm

suttametta wrote:The oppression and destruction of peoples by technologically advanced nations is epidemic. I have very little respect for technology. We benefit from the side-effects of military rule; nothing more.

Shouldn't you have very little respect for how certain people have used technology rather than technology itself?
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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby Moth » Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:45 am

It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him. —Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta: The Shorter Instructions to Malunkya" (MN 63), Majjhima Nikaya


Science aims to understand the patterns of the world, so as to control them. Buddhism aims to understand the patterns of the mind, so as to transcend them. Buddhism ends with the cessation of suffering, but where does science end? How much can one uncover in one lifetime and for what purpose? When death comes, how will their knowledge of matter assist them?

This is not to say that I think science useless, I think it is very important on a mundane level. The scientific method of inquiry is also useful in the spiritual pursuit, and I believe the Buddha employed a version of this and encouraged his followers to do the same. However I think it is fruitless to compare science to Buddhism as they are two completely different things (and in my opinion, non-oppositional). What I find problematic is people taking science as religion itself, as science has nothing to say on the matter of the resolution of suffering. Thus, though one may know a great deal about how matter operates, they may remain clueless as to the consciousness they employ to do said knowning. Most importantly, they will have made little progress in the prospect of understanding and overcoming their subjective suffering, and this is, in my opinion, the more import goal.

As to your comment about the "western" cultures being more scientifically developed, I would ask why the "eastern" cultures have been more spiritually developed. I do not see scientific development as representing some kind of superiority, though many nationalists will take this as evidence of such. Sadly, many western civilizations have historically employed their mastery of the sciences to oppress and eradicate those "less developed" than their own, which in my opinion displays a more important deficiency. I do not mean to say this as a generalization, I too am a westerner. Perhaps I've been reading too many books about the Native American genocide...

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Re: Buddhism and developments of science.

Postby fig tree » Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:24 pm

My impression is that the science-friendly qualities of religion are often more an effect of the nature of the surrounding society than they are a cause.

Success in science seems to live in a symbiotic relationship with various other kinds of success in a society. Economic prosperity for example tends to help it a lot. Science in turn can give rise to technology which allows a society to make fuller use of the resources available to it. I also find the idea that science and democracy have in the long run a mutually helpful relationship very plausible. I had a neighbor who was a retired academic, and who had studied the reasons for economic success of societies. I never investigated his work but he once briefly explained that it seemed that societies in which the general public had been able to gain rights by playing elites off against each other had fared much better than ones in which some one power had been highly dominant.

I think that Christianity and Buddhism in their ideal forms are both good at getting along with science and egalitarian institutions, enough so to make a sound comparison difficult. The gap between the ideal and what we have in practice also serves to mask whatever virtues either one has in principle. Being taught to love your neighbor as yourself should inhibit one from lording it over them, but it seems in practice when the lords are in charge in a society, they manage to explain their dominance as being either God's will or the fruit of good karma, rather than a basic weakness of society. On the other hand, developing within a democratic surrounding society seems to have helped to cure Christianity in the West of many (although far from all) of its vices.

I consider freeing Buddhism from the delusions of one's surrounding society to be one of the fundamental challenges. In traditionally Buddhist societies where Buddhism is used to justify the status quo, we don't need just to go along with that. In the U.S., where Buddhism seems typically to be treated like a consumer good, we don't need just to go along with that either. We should prize those aspects of Buddhism that serve to strengthen our sense of solidarity with others and that encourage us to make an honest investigation of the world.

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