Friday, November 13, 2009

Buddhism and Science


The Teachings of the Buddha are not to be taken as the ultimate truth, the Truth comes from within, The Buddha himself insisted that no one should accept his teachings on faith without verifying for themselves their validity.

I believe this is the reason why Buddhism and Science are not exclusive of each other. Although there are differences in the path followed by the scientist and the Buddhist, systematic doubt is a common tool used by these 2 disciplines.


The Kalama Sutra relates how the Kalamas of the town of Kesaputta in Northern India , who did not know what to think of different doctrines taught by the various philosophers and teachers visiting their town, asked the Buddha questions about them and their teachings.

Here is the relevant portion of the text:

The Buddha once visited a small town called Kesaputta in the kingdom of Kosala. The inhabitants of this town were known by the common name Kalama. When they heard that the Buddha was in their town, the Kalamas paid him a visit, and told him:

"Sir, there are some recluses and brahmanas who visit Kesaputta. They explain and illumine only their own doctrines, and despise, condemn and spurn others' doctrines. Then come other recluses and brahmanas, and they, too, in their turn, explain and illumine only their own doctrines, and despise, condemn and spurn others' doctrines. But, for us, Sir, we have always doubt and perplexity as to who among these venerable recluses and brahmanas spoke the truth, and who spoke falsehood."

"Yes, Kalamas, it is proper that you have doubt, that you have perplexity, for a doubt has arisen in a matter which is doubtful. Now, look you Kalamas,

do not be led by reports, or tradition, or hearsay.

Be not led by the authority of religious texts,

not by mere logic or inference,

nor by considering appearances,

nor by the delight in speculative opinions,

nor by seeming possibilities,

nor by the idea: 'this is our teacher'.


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