Tuesday, March 31

The Dalai Lama on Science and Religion

The Dalai Lama "favors scientific evidence over classical Buddhist concepts" (from SciAm.com):
Editor's note: We are posting this feature from our February 2006 issue to commemorate the 50th anniversary this month of the Dalai Lama's forced exile from China.

Many years ago a curious boy looked through a telescope and, on seeing the shadows in the craters of the moon, realized that he had to make a choice. His religion taught him to respect the moon as a generator of light, but science taught him that the moon reflected the sun’s rays. The subtle clarification offered by science ultimately trumped the Buddhist interpretation for Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama.

Today when this political and religious leader is faced with conflicting explanations of life’s mysteries, the Dalai Lama still favors scientific evidence over classical Buddhist concepts. At a time when Americans are battling state by state for religion-free science education, he urges people to take a path of peace between the perspectives. An estimated 14,000 people attended his lecture on November 12, 2005, at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C., with most of them watching from overflow rooms where the talk was broadcast on large screens. Dressed in gold and crimson robes, he suggested a healthy dose of skepticism toward religious pronouncements. Although science can overturn spiritual teachings, people can benefit from scientific understanding without losing faith, he reasoned. Read more...
More on the 50th anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama (from npr.org):
China has overseen a "brutal crackdown" in Tibet since protests shook the Himalayan region last year, part of decades of Chinese oppression that have driven Tibetan culture to the verge of extinction, the Dalai Lama said Tuesday in a speech to mark the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising that sent him into exile. Read more...
NPR podcast on 50th anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama

On the topic of the Dalai Lama and the influence of Western culture on his views...if you haven't seen Seven Years in Tibet, watch it NOW!

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