Letters

[6] How A Great Scientist, Philosopher And Psychologist See The Buddha’s Teachings

buddhist in ghora katora lake
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TDE’s Dharma Dialogues: Issue [6]

[As continued from the previous issue…]

Question [11]: If the Buddha’s teachings are so wonderful, why are they not the most widespread ones today? 

Answer: The Buddha’s teachings were certainly tremendously popular in his time. Although they have yet to  become the most popular ones worldwide, Buddhism as a major world religion never lost popularity on the whole, due to its great practicality and profound depths. Great truths are never discovered or won in subjective popularity votes, while fewer yet wiser ones, be they ancients or contemporaries, always appreciate them objectively.

Question [12]: Can you offer a few major examples?

Answer: In terms of science, as attributed to physicist and mathematician Albert Einstein, winner of the Nobel Prize, who is popularly regarded as the most outstanding scientist of the twentieth century, ‘The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description… If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.

In terms of philosophy, as complimented by mathematician and social critic Lord Bertrand Russell winner of the Nobel Prize, who is popularly regarded as the most outstanding philosopher of the twentieth century, ‘Of the great religions of history, I prefer Buddhism… Buddhism is a combination of both speculative and scientific philosophy. It advocates the Scientific Method and pursues that to a finality that may be called Rationalistic. In it are to be found answers to such questions of interest as “What is mind and matter? Of them, which is of greater importance? Is the universe moving towards a goal? What is man’s position? Is there living that is noble?” It takes up where science cannot lead because of the limitations of the latter’s instruments. Its conquests are those of the mind.’

In terms of psychology, as remarked by the founder of Analytic Psychology Carl Gustav Jung, who is popularly regarded as one of the most important psychologists of the twentieth century, ‘As a student of comparative religions, I believe that Buddhism is the most perfect one the world has seen. The philosophy of the theory of evolution and the law of karma are far superior to any other creed… It was neither the history of religion nor the study of philosophy that first drew me to the world of Buddhist thought, but my professional interest as a doctor. My task was to treat psychic suffering and it was this that impelled me to become acquainted with the views and methods of that great teacher of humanity [i.e. the Buddha], whose principal theme was [breaking] the chain of suffering, old age, sickness and death.’

[To be continued in the next issue…] / See issue [1]

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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