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Buddhism and Science: Allies or Enemies?

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Buddhist teachings and modern science are analogous both in their approach to the search for truth and in some of the discoveries of contemporary physics, biology, and psychology. However, despite these congruencies and the recognized benefits of science, Buddhism reminds us of the dangers of a tendency toward scientific reductionism and imperialism and of the sciences’ inability to deal with human moral and spiritual values and needs. Buddhism and science have human concerns and final goals that are different, but as long as the boundaries between them are not trespassed, they can be mutually corrective and allied to benefit humankind. Buddhism must be open to the discoveries of science about the physical world as must all religions today, but no matter how much it may have to modify some of its ancient beliefs, its basic truths—the truths about human suffering and its release—will remain untouched.

Keywords: boundaries; law of conditionality; moral law; open enquiry; release from suffering; verifiable truth

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-9744.00415

Affiliations: Mahidol University. His mailing address is Center for Religious Studies, Thailand; pinitratanakul@hotmail.com.

Publication date: March 1, 2002

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