[Buddha-l] Article: The Death of the Scientific Buddha

Jo ugg-5 at spro.net
Thu Nov 1 12:43:18 MDT 2012

Article in _Parabola_ excerpted from _The Scientific Buddha: His Short and
Happy Life_, by Donald S. Lopez, Jr., copyright C 2012 by Yale University


"...Previous buddhas had increased stress, explaining, "Monks, all is
burning," in the Fire Sermon; that we are trapped in a house on fire, in the
Lotus Sutra; that we should regard the world as a prisoner regards his
prison on the night before his execution. Previous buddhas sought to create
stress, to destroy complacency, in order to lead us to a state of eternal
stress reduction, that state of extinction called nirvana.
The Scientific Buddha is a pale reflection of the Buddha born in Asia, a
buddha who entered our world in order to destroy it. This buddha has no
interest in being compatible with science. The relation of Buddhism and
science, then, should not be seen as a disagreement over when and how the
universe began. It should not be seen, in Stephen Jay Gould's memorable
phrase, as "nonoverlapping magisteria," with science concerned with fact and
religion concerned with morality. It should not be seen, in Buddhist terms,
as the two truths, with science concerned with the conventional truth, and
Buddhism concerned with the ultimate truth. Buddhism and science each have
their own narrative, each their own telos. If an ancient religion like
Buddhism has anything to offer science, it is not in the facile confirmation
of its findings. If the past has a future, it is in its description of an
alternative world, one that calls into question so many of the fundamental
assumptions of our scientific world." 

I would prefer to put this as, an alternative world, one that calls into
question the ways in which science has been used to justify so many of the
fundamental assumptions of our social world.


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