Now more than ever, Buddhists are using scientific tools and scientists are using Buddhist wisdom to uncover truths about the universe. Here, we present a collection of articles on the fruits of those collaborations. Featuring the Dalai Lama, Daniel Goleman, Karen Kissel Wegela, Vincent Horn, Judy Roitman, Jack Kornfield, Judy Lief, Sam Littlefair, and more.
Buddhist practice and scientific inquiry are both based on finding unconditioned truth through empirical observation. The Buddha himself said, “Don’t just believe in something because it has been repeated by many people… even if it is found in holy scripture.”
The dharma teacher Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche considers Buddhism not a “religion,” but a “science of mind.” The Dalai Lama said that if science ever disproves Buddhism, Buddhism must change. And Thich Nhat Hanh has said that science has helped him better understand Buddhism. So Buddhism and science make natural bedfellows.
Buddhism & Neuroscience
While scientific methods are useful, says His Holiness the Dalai Lama, mind should also be studied through rigorous observation of our own subjective experience.
New theories in neuroscience suggest consciousness is an intrinsic property of everything, just like gravity. That development, reports Sam Littlefair, opens a world of opportunity for collaboration between Buddhists and neuroscientists.
Neurosurgeon Werner Doyle changes people’s experience of life for the better by removing parts of their brains. Yet he knows that mind is not matter, cells are not consciousness. Novelist Joseph McElroy watches Doyle at work in the operating room, and together they ponder the mystery of brain and mind.
Barry Boyce reports on the dialogue between cutting-edge science and Buddhism’s 2500-year study of the mind.
Daniel Goleman reports on the Dalai Lama and the dialog between science and Buddhism, especially on how neuroscientists are measuring the effects of meditation.
Steve Silberman’s groundbreaking book, Neurotribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, is changing the way we think about cognitive differences.
Science and religion have been mostly viewed as separate since the Enlightenment, but an increasing number of scientific researchers are referencing and drawing on Buddhism in their studies, especially in the field of neuroscience.
Buddhism & Psychology
Karen Kissel Wegela on therapy that starts with your basic sanity, not your neuroses.
A new study reports that when people are exposed to Buddhist concepts, they show more prosocial behavior and tolerance of outsiders.
Three Buddhist teachers — Jack Kornfield, Judy Lief, and Bodhin Kjolhede — examine the influence of Western psychology on Buddhism. Introduction by Ajahn Amaro.
Buddhism & Technology
Xian’er was developed by Chinese artificial intelligence experts to “sense his surroundings and answer deep questions about Buddhism.”
It won’t be long before you can slip on a headset and enter a new dharma realm. But, says Vincent Horn, we should watch our step.
The giant Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan have been rebuilt — this time with light. Sam Littlefair reports.
Cambridge researchers are using Buddhist singing bowls as a model for creating solar panels that resonate with light.
Physics and Buddhism both posit that it’s hard, if not impossible, to pinpoint “you.” Harrison Blum, the Buddhist spiritual advisor at Northeastern University, has created a new guided meditation that allows practitioners to experience that truth.
Buddhism & Philosophy, Physics, and Math
Nagarjuna’s four propositions tell us that something may be what it is or it may not; it may be neither or it may be both. This is Zen math, and it’s not always easy, says Judy Roitman.
Rev. Tony Stultz on the brilliant mind who models a rich exchange between Buddhism and scientific thought — for the benefit of all beings.
He may have what he’s described as only a “Reader’s Digest knowledge of Buddhism,” but famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is a fascinating thinker in just about any capacity.