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

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 2 13:15:25 MDT 2012

> Show me an atom that has reached nirvana and I will accept the idea that a 
> collection of atoms, a human in the scientific sense, can do the same.

Show me a person who has reached nirvana, and we'll examine his/her atoms 

Asanga's Yogacarabhumi is filled with the cutting edge medical theories of 
his day to explain everything from how cognition works, to what causes 
premature death, to what causes insanity, intoxication, lightheadedness, 
etc. -- even the key to how he defines perception -- this ridiculous schism 
between "science" and "spirituality" is a product of the renaissance, when 
religion had to either radically update its cosmologies and authority to 
explain the history and circumstances of the human condition or divorce 
itself from observable-verifiable evidence and sequester itself in its own 
domain, which it called "faith" -- a quarantined room impervious to demands 
for evidence. It chose the latter, and people are still swimming in the 
aftertides of that decision. If you approve of science, then you will want 
your Buddhism to be comfortable with science; if you think being spiritual 
means transcending science's limitation, then the opposite. (Joanna's 
complaint about the misuse of science could even more pointedly be aimed at 
"religions", Buddhism included [cf. Critical Buddhism, for instance]).

Descartes split the universe into two discrete, isolated substances --  
matter and mind (extension and cognition in his terminology), and everyone 
has been trying to put the two back together ever since. Most typical 
response is to think that task consists in reducing one to the other, so 
materialists reduce thought to byproducts of physical processes while 
idealists reduce physical stuff to cognitive impressions or creations. 
Buddhism instead advises a middle way...

Buddhism is not science and not not science...


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