Scientific Buddhism

Lama Jampa Thaye Lama Jampa Thaye is a scholar, author, and meditation master from the UK. He is trained in both the Karma Kagyu and Sakya traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.

In this article from the Tricycle blog, he emphatically speaks out against scientific Buddhism.

What is scientific Buddhism?

It is the effort to radically alter Buddhist ideas to correspond to scientific materialism.

The Dalai Lama, himself, has had dialogues with scientists for many years. These dialogues have been sponsored by the Mind and Life Institute since 1987.

They occur every two years and prominent scientists meet with his holiness to present their research and to listen to the teachings of the Buddha.

His point of view is that if science overturns something in the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, it is Buddhism that must change.

He has worked with scientists to set up a curriculum for Tibetan monks to learn science.

Lama Jampa Thaye says,

While science itself is not dangerous to the dharma, the appeal for a “scientific Buddhism,” an insistence that Buddhism must accord with the materialist propositions often paired with scientism, most definitely is. Such a Buddhism is not the dharma. Having abolished many of the key teachings to these ends, we are left with nothing, except, maybe, sitting cross-legged and talking peaceably about peace! Such an activity fits into the “Buddhism” sold at the expensive workshops on “spirituality” that currently litter this part of the world, but it’s not a Buddhism that’s ever been known to our predecessors.

and concludes,

In short, the understandable wish to advance the dharma by linking it with the prestige of science might obscure its actual power. The unique force of the dharma lies in its diagnosis of suffering and its causes and its prescription of the path to the cessation of that suffering. In this regard, Buddhism can speak for itself—even in the modern marketplace of ideas. It follows from this that the best way we can help sustain the dharma is to stay true to it. Right about now that might be the most radical we can do. [Read More…].

In my personal opinion, I don’t see any danger of Buddhism suffering from scientism. I think that the dharma is strong enough to stand on its own.

What are your thoughts on scientific Buddhism? Please share.

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