By David P. Barash
Many high-profile public intellectuals -- together with "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the overdue Christopher Hitchens -- have argued that faith and technological know-how are deeply adverse, representing international perspectives which are completely incompatible. David Barash, a popular biologist with 40 years of expertise, mostly has the same opinion with them, yet with one very titanic exception: Buddhism.
In this attention-grabbing e-book, David Barash highlights the fascinating universal floor among clinical and spiritual inspiration, illuminating the various parallels among biology and Buddhism, permitting readers to determine either in a brand new approach. certainly, he exhibits that there are many locations the place Buddhist and organic views coincide and make stronger one another. for example, the cornerstone ecological inspiration -- the interconnectedness and interdependence of all usual issues -- is remarkably just like the elemental perception of Buddhism. certainly, a massive Buddhist textual content, the Avatamsaka Sutra, which is composed of ten insights into the "interpenetration" among beings and their atmosphere, may well good were written via a educated ecologist, simply as present insights in evolutionary biology, genetics and improvement could have been authored through the Buddha himself. Barash underscores different remarkable similarities, together with a shared mistrust of easy cause-and-effect research, an appreciation of the "rightness" of nature, in addition to an acknowledgment of the agony that effects while common techniques are tampered with. Buddhist Biology indicates how the concept that of "non-self," so complicated to many Westerners, is totally in step with smooth biology, as is the Buddhist point of view of "impermanence." Barash either demystifies and celebrates the biology of Buddhism and vice versa, displaying in a concluding tour-de-force how glossy Buddhism --shorn of its hocus-pocus and abracadabra -- not just justifies yet really mandates either socially and environmentally "engaged" inspiration and perform.
Buddhist Biology is a piece of certain highbrow synthesis that sheds impressive gentle on biology in addition to on Buddhism, highlighting the awesome methods those views come jointly, like strong searchlights that provide complementary and beautiful views at the international and our position in it.
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Extra resources for Buddhist Biology: Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science
By contrast, Buddhism promotes a worldview in which the dharma simply existsxvii — gravity, strong and weak forces, photons and electrons and Higgs bosons, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the phenomenon of natural selection, and, of course, the laws of karma—such that our job is to reveal and understand these realities, without worrying that, like Galileo or Darwin, we might run afoul of prior assertions of God’s will as revealed in his perfect and immutable creation. This in turn ought to lend itself to a more liberated, exploratory, and productive approach to understanding all that is, imperfect and unplanned as it may be.
Every religious tradition struggles with differences between its early scripture and later versions and interpretations. Take Christianity: originally pacifist, it then found itself transmuted—especially via St. Augustine—into a religion that endorsed the notion of the just war. This transition took place largely out of political necessity when the Roman emperor, Constantine, converted to Christianity, whereupon that faith suddenly found itself responsible for defending Rome. Similarly, Buddhism in the twenty-first century finds itself confronting social, economic, demographic, and political realities in addition to the scientific realities of modern biology.
A Science Sutra 19 it—or the rest of Buddhist teaching—should similarly be discarded. In this book, I hope to biologize the Buddha, pointing respectfully as a biologist to the useful and insightful teachings of Buddhism, once shorn of its magical trappings. ”11 My goal is something analogous to the Jefferson Bible, which refers to Thomas Jefferson’s amendation of the Bible so as to retain what he saw as its powerful insights, once the supernatural nonsense was edited out. When it comes to Buddhism, however, such a project is easier said than done, if only because Buddhism lacks a single, readily identified canon of liturgically agreed-upon sacred writings, analogous to the Old and New Testaments.