By Donald S. Lopez, Jr.

Starting within the 19th century and carrying on with to the current day, either Buddhists and admirers of Buddhism have proclaimed the compatibility of Buddhism and technology. Their assertions have ranged from modest claims concerning the efficacy of meditation for psychological healthiness to grander declarations that the Buddha himself expected the theories of relativity, quantum physics and the massive bang greater than millennia ago.
In Buddhism and Science, Donald S. Lopez Jr. is much less attracted to comparing the accuracy of such claims than in exploring how and why those doubtless disparate modes of realizing the interior and outer universe were so many times associated. Lopez opens with an account of the increase and fall of Mount Meru, the good height that stands on the middle of the flat earth of Buddhist cosmography—and which was once interpreted anew as soon as it proved incompatible with smooth geography. From there, he analyzes the best way Buddhist thoughts of religious the Aristocracy have been enlisted to aid the infamous technology of race within the 19th century. Bringing the tale to the current, Lopez explores the Dalai Lama’s curiosity in clinical discoveries, in addition to the consequences of analysis on meditation for neuroscience.    Lopez argues that through offering an historical Asian culture as appropriate with—and even anticipating—scientific discoveries, ecu fanatics and Asian elites have sidestepped the debates at the relevance of faith within the smooth global that started within the 19th century and nonetheless flare at the present time. As new discoveries proceed to reshape our knowing of brain and subject, Buddhism and Science can be fundamental studying for these fascinated with faith, technology, and their frequently vexed relation. (20081113)

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Additional info for Buddhism and Science: A Guide for the Perplexed (Buddhism and Modernity)

Example text

Suzuki. In his address to the parliament, Shaku Sōen did not speak about Bodhidharma coming to the West, the koan mu, the practice of zazen, or the experience of satori. He spoke about causation. If we open our eyes and look at the universe we observe the sun and moon and stars in the sky; mountains, rivers, plants, animals, fishes and birds on the earth. Cold and warmth come alternately; shine and rain change 20 introduction from time to time without ever reaching an end. Again let us close our eyes and calmly reflect upon ourselves.

The second chapter discusses Buddhist attitudes toward social class, and the representation of those attitudes by both European and Buddhist thinkers in the nineteenth century. The Buddha’s apparent rejection of caste distinctions was described by Eugène Burnouf as early as 1844 as “this celebrated axiom of Oriental history,” and would be repeatedly invoked in portrayals of Buddhism’s harmony with the principles of the European Enlightenment. As some of the early orientalists noted, the Buddhist attitude toward caste was not as simple as it was often depicted.

It was Bud32 introduction dhism, in fact, that was the scientific religion, the religion best suited for modernity, throughout the world. It was an Asian, the Buddha, who knew millennia ago what the European was just beginning to discover. This latter point was only made possible through the strange international network that invented the Buddha as we know him (described in chapter 4). A century later, the missionaries have not gone away, but their inroads into Buddhist societies are largely confined to specific times and places of the past: Japan in the sixteenth century, Sri Lanka in the early nineteenth century, Korea in the late nineteenth century.

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