Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quotes from the Dalai Lama regarding Science and Spirituality

The following quotes are from:  a Book called: "The Universe in a Single Atom" by the Dalai Lama:

begin quote (page unnamed at very beginning of book)

"in each atom of the realms of the universe,
There exist vast oceans of world systems."

From: The Great Flower Ornament
an ancient Buddhist Scripture.
end quote.

Begin quote on page 3 of prologue near top of page:
"---if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."
"Because I am an internationalist at heart, one of the qualities that has moved me most about scientists is their amazing willingness to share knowledge with each other without regard to  national boundaries.
Even during the Cold War, when the political world was polarized to a dangerous degree, I found scientists from the Eastern and Western blocs willing to communicate in ways the politicians could not even imagine. I felt an implicit recognition in this spirit of the oneness of humanity and a liberating absence of proprietorship in matters of knowledge.

The motivation for my interest in science is more than merely personal. Even before I came into exile, it was clear to me and others in the country that one of the underlying causes for Tibet's political tragedy was its failure to open itself to modernization. As soon as we arrived in India, we set up Tibetan schools for refugee children with a modern curriculum, which included scientific education for the first time. By then I had come to recognize that the essence of modernization lay in the introduction of modern education, and at the heart of modern education there must be a command of science and technology. " end quote.

next quote page 4:
"---The great benefit of science is that it can contribute tremendously to the alleviation of suffering at the physical level, but it is only through the cultivation of the qualities of the human heart and the transformation of our attitudes that we can begin to address and overcome our mental suffering. In other words, the enhancement of fundamental human values is indispensable to our basic quest for happiness. Therefore from the perspective of human well-being, science and spirituality are not unrelated. We need both, since the alleviation of suffering must take place at both the physical and psychological levels." end quote.

next quote top of page 5:
"The dialogue between science and spirituality has a long history--especially with respect to Christianity. In the case of my own tradition, Tibetan Buddhism, for various historical, social and political reasons, the full encounter with scientific worldview is still a novel process. The implications of what science has to offer are still not wholly clear. Regardless of different personal views about science, no credible understanding of the natural world or our human existence--what I am going to call in this book a worldview--can ignore the basic insights of theories as key as evolution, relativity, and quantum mechanics. It may be that science will learn from an engagement with spirituality, especially in its interface with wider human issues, from ethics to society, but certainly some specific aspects of Buddhist thought---such as its old cosmological theories and its rudimentary physics--- will have to be modified in the light of new scientific insights. I hope this book will be a contribution to the critical project of enlivening the dialogue between science and spirituality." end quote on page 5.

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