Are there scientists who are Buddhists, and why?

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Pachomius, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. Pachomius Registered Senior Member

    I have come across people professing themselves or claiming to be skeptics of the kind found among the advocates of skepticism in CSICOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal Claims) and in the JREF forum (James Randi Educational Foundation forum).

    I like to meet scientists who are Buddhists and profess themselves to be Buddhists, to ask them why they are Buddhists.

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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "Buddhism" covers a lot of territory, much more than any of the familiar Abrahamist religions does. I was once a member of CSICOP and attended many lectures by James Randi. A fellow ex-member follows the teachings of Buddha because they are wise teachings and she belongs to a rather large community of American Buddhists who do the same. She is totally rational and objective, with no faith in the supernatural such as spirits, reincarnation or divine powers.

    People define "Buddhism" in many ways but it seems to me that at its core it is a philosophy rather than a religion and it is not inconsistent with science.
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  5. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Buddhism doesnt believe in a creator God, but its debatable whether it believes in something that could be called Spirit.

    There is no formal doctrine of a Soul, but there are nevertheless endless references to the immortality of some life essence that is not material.

    Eastern inscrutability!
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  7. VitalOne Banned Banned

    The Buddha spoke about God or Ishvara to a man, he told him to give up the vain speculations of whether there was a maker or not and simply do good deeds instead of mindlessly speculating...

    Gautama-Buddha also says there is no atman or soul, but there is a mind, there is karma, there is reincarnation, the result of good and bad deeds, fact Buddhism itself is based upon reincarnation or rebirth being true....

    Gautama Buddha also acknowledged there being an umade, unformed, unborn, etc...that is the source of eternal bliss..
  8. infoterror Registered Senior Member

    The original scientists were Hindus...
  9. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    The founder of Buddhism wasnt especially interested in 'good deeds'. First and foremost he wanted to get out of here...'here' being the cycle of rebirth into the material world of suffering. And to guide others to the same objective.
    Yes, but take note of the all-prevading vaguary, which has never been clarified in 2500 years of Buddhist history.

    What does the word 'mind' mean?
    To what/whom does this 'karma' belong?
    Rebirth of what?
    What determines the effect of any given cause?
  10. Lote-Tree Registered Senior Member

    Try Karen Armstrong's "Buddha". The book has an excellent summary about what Buddhism is.

    Buddha accepted the God's of his ancestors but said they are not much use to mankind since they too were caught up in the realm of flux. Nirvana he said was higher than the Gods.
  11. VitalOne Banned Banned

    What are you talking about...Gautama Buddha says that all things happen through cause and effect...the cause is our deeds...if we want to escape rebirth and suffering then we have to perform good deeds until we attain a high enough birth to escape or have a clear mind before death....he says it all the time in Buddhist scripture...

    Mind is chittam or consciousness...Gautama Buddha says consciousness arises from ignorance and that ignorance is the cause of all suffering...
  12. The Devil Inside Banned Banned

    actually, the teachings were to eliminate desire in oneself. doing good deeds for a "reward" would be self defeating in buddhist practice.
  13. VitalOne Banned Banned

    A must be following the hippie-Buddhist movement...Gautama-Buddha never says that....

    Instead if you read the actual Buddhists scriptures he says to eliminate craving, attachment, etc....doing good deeds for an expectation would be self-defeating but still Gautama-Buddha urges people do good deeds as he says all we experience are the result of our past deeds....

    "He who seeking his own pleasure, does injury to the living,
    For such a one there is no happiness hereafter.
    But he who seeking his own pleasure, injures not the living,
    For such a one there is happiness hereafter." - Udana 2.3
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2007
  14. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    I can picture you standing beside the Buddha, as he sat meditating for six years under the Bodhi tree...kicking him in the head every five minutes.

    "Hey dummy, get up! Thats not the way...youre supposed to be doing good deeds!"

    Buddha himself did not practise or preach 'good deeds' in any exclusive manner. That doesnt mean he was against such things, they simply dont have any primary value towards attaining enlightenment.

    And what would be a good deed anyway? Fullfilling everyone material desires...or being flawlessly polite? The great inventors of the 20th century have problably helped more people than anyone in history, in terms of making physical life easier...far more than any spiritual figure.

    Words like mind and consciousness are notoriously difficult to define, but they are usually treated as different in sanskrit philosophy. Enlightenment is often associated with the phrase 'pure consiousness', which means the consciousness is not obscured by the ever changing forms of a pure sky is not obscured by clouds.

    But this doesnt mean an enlightened person has become incapable of thinking, or has no awareness of what is happening around him.
  15. VitalOne Banned Banned

    Actually personally I wouldn't teach doing good deeds if I became some type of world-teacher. I would teach people to destroy their insecurities, then naturally they would be doing good, not because they were thinking in terms of duality (this is good, this is bad), but because they were satisfied with the true happiness that they were always seeking. I would teach them that all your problems only exist within you, caused by the defiling impulses, therefore only focus on within you and not outside of you. All actions and speech spring from thought, focus on changing your unconscious deep-rooted thoughts (or insecurities). I also personally would teach that there is nothing wrong with desire, desire with attachment or craving is what is bad, desire without attachment is no different from a good thought, if you give up and suppress all of your hopes and dreams that will not really help you...suppression is not the way...

    However despite my own personal beliefs I have to go by the actual Buddhist scripture and Gautama Buddha constantly urges the common people to do good deeds, as for those already in a higher existence, those that have the opportunity to achieve enlightenment, he gives them different advice...

    This is not my personal comes directly from the Buddhist texts....

    "Should a person commit evil, he should not do it again and again; he should not find pleasure therein: painful is the accumulation of evil.

    Should a person perform a meritorious action, he should do it again and again; he should find pleasure therein: blissful is the accumulation of merit.

    Even an evil-doer sees good as long as evil ripens not; but when it bears fruits, then he sees the evil results.

    Even a good person sees evil so long as good ripens not; but when it bears fruits then the good one sees the good results." (Dhammapada 117-120)

    Enlightenment is not pure consciousness, it is nirvana, or the state of eternal bliss, the realization of actual truth, the essential, the highest perfection...
  16. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Most integrous spiritual traditions seek to transcend, not supress, and theres no difference between desire, attachment, craving...they all mean the same thing more or less.

    The only kind of desire endorsed by Buddhism is the desire for enlightenment, first for yourself and then for others. Except they dont call it desire, they call it 'aspiration'!

    These hopes and dreams are what pull you back into the physical plane, from whatever dream world you inhabit after death. That and the attraction of the opposite sex!

    The common people? You mean those who chose NOT to be which case they are not Buddhist teachings.

    For those who choose to be Buddhists there is a life of absolute poverty, chastity, study and meditation waiting...not good deeds and charity.

    Buddhist monks have traditionally been the recipients of public charity, not the purveyors.
  17. VitalOne Banned Banned

    Hopes and dreams do not pull you back, craving is different from desire, desire is nothing more than a good thought, you must be following the hippie Buddhist I'm from the east and I know it all movement. They tell people to give up all their hopes and dreams and suppress themselves...Gautama Buddha encouraged people to have good thoughts...

    What really holds you back is insecurities, the defiling impulses, desire in itself does not cause any suffering...

    Even Gautama Buddha had desires...many many desires he even says "I only see what remains to be done" if he had no desires he would have no personal motivation...

    No the common people meaning those who in this lifetime most likely cannot attain Buddhahood....

    The Buddha specifically says he doesn't require people to become monks and join him, he even says you can still be wealthy and achieve enlightenment....

    "The bliss of a religious life is attainable by every one who walks in the noble eightfold path. He that cleaves to wealth had better cast it away than allow his heart to be poisoned by it; but he who does not cleave to wealth, and possessing riches, uses them rightly, will be a blessing unto his fellows. It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power. The bhikkhu who retires from the world in order to lead a life of leisure will have no gain, for a life of indolence is an abomination, and lack of energy is to be despised. The Dharma of the Tathagata does not require a man to go into homelessness or to resign the world, unless he feels called upon to do so; but the Dharma of the Tathagata requires every man to free himself from the illusion of self, to cleanse his heart, to give up his thirst for pleasure, and lead a life of righteousness."

    Gautama Buddha constantly urges good deeds...but then again you don't follow what Gautama Buddha says, rather the hippie-Buddhist pervsion of Buddhism...

    "To speak no ill, to injure not,
    To be restrained according to the precepts,
    To be temperate in food,
    To sleep secluded,
    To dwell on lofty thoughts,
    This is the law of the Buddha." - (Udana 4.6)

    I use the Buddhist scriptures to back up what I say, you on the otherhand simply speak from the hippie Buddhist movement evidence at all to backup anything you say...
  18. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    As far a Buddhist scriptures are concerned I'm only interested in what can be attributed to the founder himself, namely the four noble truths, the eightfold path, the doctrine of dependant origination, a few early sermons, and the rules governing monastic life.

    There are all kinds of sutras and scriptures written hundreds of years after his death which are attributed to Buddha, which is of course nonsense.
    And all kinds of localized cultural baggage built up around the central core of teachings.

    You seem to want to be a Buddhist without giving anything up. You want to be wealthy and fulfill all kinds of desires and still call yourself a Buddhist.

    This might work out in Thailand, where Buddhism has devolved into a popular lay religion, but the origins of true Buddhism are of a rigorous monastic tradition, which speaks in contradiction to your entire philosophical trajectory...sorry.
  19. VitalOne Banned Banned

    I derive this all from the Pali canons (the authentic Buddhist texts) are you talking about...

    It is just like The Buddha says there is nothing wrong with wealth itself, it is the cleaving or clinging to wealth that is all makes sense when Gautama Buddha says it....I don't know why you won't is like Ayn Rand says (although I am not a fan of objectivism):
    "So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?" - Ayn Rand

    I am only seeking the actual truth, I will not label myself under any religious branch...I clearly see how clinging, craving, attachment, desperation, etc...causes suffering but not how wealth itself or desire itself does....I will follow what I've found to be the actual truth....the root of suffering has an internal cause not an external one....the purpose of life is the achieve the highest degree of happiness...
  20. Carcano Valued Senior Member

    Have you ever considered that most of the Pali Canon, (truly gigantic and complied over the course of several hundred years) was neither written nor dictated by the founder of Buddhism?

    I agree with Rand, who underscores the Buddhist emphasis - that wealth is almost never acquired WITHOUT the 'desire' for it.

    Well I dont know if its your first language, but in English the words desire, clinging, craving all mean roughly the same.

    And they are not the root/cause of all suffering, rather they are an 'effect' of suffering.

    For example, supposed someone takes opium. Suddenly whatever pain, fear, and grief they may have disappear!

    There is only blissful contentment.

    And at that moment, what do they want?
    Sex? Money? Status? Desert?

    No! They dont want any of those things, because all those desires are just an attempt to feel good and distract oneself from the suffering that often comes with mortal human existance.

    Drugs are merely a form of cheating....that bites back!

    If Rand had met the Buddha, she may have asked.

    "So you think that desire is the root of all suffering. Have you ever asked what is the root of all desire?"
  21. VitalOne Banned Banned

    It depends how you define desire and craving...I see a very clear difference between desire and craving...desire meaning a wish, request, craving meaning desperation, needing, attachment, etc....

    Desire is really no different from a good thought, hopes, dreams, etc....craving is different in that it is need, desperation, like a desperate survival instinct.....people can derive happiness from desire but no happiness at all from craving...none...

    The Buddha said craving was the cause of all suffering not desire....the root of all craving is survival instinct born in contact with material nature...the desperation to avoid pain....
  22. Rick Valued Senior Member

    why'd you ask?

    One is a profession --> (Scientist) aka "Tied up to False World" but a bread earner.

    Other is where salvation is.

  23. kmguru Staff Member

    A large number of scientists live in Japan and China...Majority of them are Buddhists. It is a family thing....

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