Buddhism is a religion and a tradition where salvation is reached by an insight in final nature of realism; it includes a number of traditions, practices and beliefs based on Buddha teachings. Followers (adherents) and diehard of Buddha recognize him as awakened instructor and teacher, with teachings to help end all sorts of sufferings. Buddhism sharing commonalities with philosophical thoughts and science of the 21st century has increasingly become a subject of discussion, as it has found it is way into the ongoing discussions and debates about the collaboration and confrontation of religious dialog and science. Therefore, psychological and philosophical teachings of Buddhism and Modern science have something in common to share.
The similarities between Buddhists religion and Physics
Buddhism and science agree in unison that, the creator do not exist. However in science, the conservation theory of energy and matter states; energy and matter cannot be created or shattered or destroyed, but only altered and transformed. The Buddhists completely concur to this by extending the principle, ideal and opinion to it is mind as well. Mind means being aware of the phenomenon, either unconscious or conscious as defined by Buddhism, and this act of awareness cannot be created or destroyed, but only able to undergo transformation.
Buddhists and neurologists both make a note of the arising relationship and connection of things. When neurologists look at or examine the brain in an effort to find or discover what leads to decision making in our life, the finding is that there is no separate device in the brain for decision making. But rather decisions by the brain are as a result of complex interactions and connection of enormous and huge network of the nerve impulse, electrical and chemical processes, to bring about the decision. It occurs with no a distinctive unit that is a verdict- maker. Buddhism emphasizes and supports the same idea: saying there is no ‘me’ that is permanent and concrete in the heads for decision making. This underscores the close relationship of Buddhism and science.
According to Dalai (2007), science and spirituality are complementary, only with different approaches of investigations with a similar goal and objective of seeking and finding the truth. He further says that science assist us to interpret the physical universe, while religion (Buddhism) do assist in coping with the day to day realities of the world. Though, the extreme or great and tremendous of either spirituality or science is impoverished. Both Buddhism and science started a first line emphasis on direct experience, they later entrenched in dogmatism based on different ideas, as science dogma was based on materialism, whereas Buddhism dogma was based on medieval scholasticism.
It is accepted widely among both physicists and scientists that the appearance of human being physical senses, of sounds, colors, smells, tactile sensations and tastes do not naturally exist objectively, but solely and only in relation to their sensory experience. Such appearances exist not in the external objects, in space between those sense organs and objects, or in the sense organs. Thus some physicists have come to conclusion that interdependence between Buddhism and Physics plus other sciences holds the truth for scientific knowledge.
The objective field of finding and subjective researcher has interrelated and existed always only to each other, especially on the point and basis of discoveries in science thus Physics. As a result of this, world leading scientists concluded that physics say nothing to do with the world independently existence. This further suggested that both ordinary and scientific observations on the physical world and environment are just but illusions in that the world appear and exist inherently, distant and independent from all modes and ways of conceptualization and observation, but do exist on relative to peoples’ methods of conceptualization and observation ways only, thus making intellect experience.
Classical physics, time, matter, space and energy are thought to exist and to have appeared in absolutely objective world. Number of modern physicists are recognizing that scientific definitions are imagination of human mind, thus not part of pre- existing, objective universe of natural discovery.
Comparison between Buddhism and science
Buddhism has a history of investigating the nature of consciousness and a number of it is aspects, their approach of investigation is based primarily from first-hand experience (first person experience) dissimilar from modern science. The meditative methods, developed by Buddhists are pragmatically employed in the introspection, continued by exact practice in the technique and vigorous testing of dependability of experience. The contemplatively applicable subjective experiences to be confirmed through replication and other individuals, in order to be able attain the similar state by similar practice. The Buddhist understanding of the brain, mind or consciousness is mainly derived from pragmatic observations stranded in the phenomenon of experience that includes the pensive techniques of deliberation. Working models of the mind and its various aspects and functions are generated on this source; they are then subjected to continued philosophical and critical analysis and empirical testing through both meditation and mindfully observation. This process offers a first-person experiential method in relation to the mind.
Buddhism and science both began with a primary emphasis on direct experience, but later entrenched different dogma leading to their incompatibility, as science dogma addressed materialism while Buddhism dogma addressed medieval scholasticism. Buddhism has fundamental and serious incompatibility with the basic scientific materialism, as even some of these rails against and beyond the religious creeds, the believers in Buddhism embraces own dogma with all blocked- minded prejudice of their religion fanatics. Dogmatism has therefore become a primary and prime obstacle for the successful, compatibility and collaboration between science and Buddhism, therefore the only antidote or solution is to restore the genuine sense of empiricism together with willingness of putting one’s cherished assumptions and beliefs to examine the experience.
Buddhism offer a great challenge to the scientific establishment which began with direct experience as their primary emphasis and later entrenched the dogma of materialism, making it to go back to earlier commitments (direct experience).This challenge will force the science to go above experience realm of the available physical senses.
Buddhism is seen as a key to the inner happiness, prosperity and success, whereas scientific knowledge is viewed and seen as the key outward prosperity and success. Today the values to determine methods and goals of scientific research are materialistic to a larger extend, whereas in these modern times they are religious, therefore science has never been value free since it is conception.
Buddhism understands that consciousness or mind has been a central concern always and their investigating methods, liberating and transformation of the mind depends heavily on utilization and refinement becoming an inward telescope. Most scientists assume that the states of consciousness are functions or emergent characteristics of brain, and that mind is just but the brain, but can not this verify question (Fritjot, 1975).
Lesson learnt from the comparisons of Buddhism and science?
Buddhism religion may encourage the science sector to rethink about their assumptions of materialism and to incorporate classy systems of meditative inquiry in the community, which may lead to the very first realistic change in the minds of scientist and science in general; this will largely affect the humanity and rest of the science. In the same way, science may assist in making and motivating the Buddhists to query their hypothesis, and to rejuvenate their traditions and practices of a thoughtful inquiry and integrate with empirical systems of new science. In short, scientist and Buddhists can assist each other to overcome their traditions of dogmatism, replacing it with new, and fresh and acceptable unbiased strength empiricism.
- Buddhism as a “Science of the Mind” (bigthink.com)
- 10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion. (elephantjournal.com)
- Impact of Buddhism on Civilization (bodhikaram.wordpress.com)