Dalai Lama’s Thoughts on Science

Recently the Dalai Lama spoke at a conference on neuroscience. There’s a combination paraphrase/transcript of his talk here plus some comments above that.

I think it’s pretty interesting, and certainly gives a different view of how religion and science relate compared to some of the more outspoken christians in this country.
A pretty good summary of the position is this:

“When I first wanted to talk to scientists, an older monk gave me the advice, “be careful. Scientists are killers of religion—but I thought, scientists are also trying to find reality, and with an open mind. In the same way as we are.”

I really think that’s a good attitude. I am always shocked to see some people let themselves close their eyes to the world because they think their religion thinks something else. There is some much interesting things that we can learn through science, that if someone believes in a religion it makes so much more impressed by how it came about.

I also really liked this idea:

“Love, forgiveness, people often view as part of religion. But this is a mistake. These are true humanity, had at birth by all, while religion comes much later and is part of culture.”

One thing that I have always found really bizarre when I see someone try to argue that only religion can be a basis for morality, as if they only thing keeping society from degenerating into chaos is the threat that if people don’t behave then God will be angry.

One Response to “Dalai Lama’s Thoughts on Science”

This is great stuff, McMillan!

I especially like the final quote you gave, about love and forgiveness being innate. It reminded me a lot of a passage from the Tao Te Ching (not surprising, since the Eastern ideas have been bubbling and brewing together in a pot for centuries) which I’ll quote below.

“Throw away holiness and wisdom,
and people will be a hundred times happier.
Throw away morality and justice,
and people will do the right thing.
Throw away industry and profit,
and there won’t be any thieves.

If these three aren’t enough,
just stay at the center of the circle
and let all things take their course.”

I think we’re all blessed that the current Dalai Lama is around– he’s a knowledgable, approachable, (media friendly) and open gateway to a system of thought that many people would never otherwise get to encounter and appreciate.

*sigh* I miss the Shambhala Center in Boulder. If you live there, go! Use it and love it!

Paradoxdruid - November 22nd, 2005 at 7:47 pm

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