Dhamma and Science
Writings of Nanavira Thera
Reproduced by Kingsley Heendeniya
I have not read this piece before but I feel it is appropriate to reproduce it.
My observation is very similar but I would tend to disagree with his analysis of Relativity and Quantum Physics (there is no relevance in Dhamma).
The reason being, (of lately) certain individuals (mostly after retirement) posing as erudite, making his/her own interpretation of Dhamma and rendering meanings out of context.
One of them has published a book locally in English on Suttas and has said there is no Rebirth concept or Kamma in Buddhism.
I just had a peep of this book in a local bookshop.
I must state that there was a conspiracy in a certain sect of a religion that envisaged that best way to “Kill Dhamma” is to infiltrate (kill within and not from without).
In Secret Service (CIA, KGB terminology) this is called planting a mole. There are many moles planted already.
In another book in English from India one author from India (this was pointed out to me by a Christian friend) has said that Buddha as a young man raped a woman.
This is the level and intent of misinformation, with Internet in its Bubble State, this campaign would expand and intensify.
I need to pen few pieces before my digital hibernation.
I do not want to be a part of this sinister game plan.
I am afraid even Dalai Lama has succumbed to this plot.
Beginning of the Reproduction
It is very common these days to find educated professional indulge themselves in claiming able to forge links with scientific developments in quantum physics, astrophysics, biochemistry neuroscience etc and the Dhamma.
There is for example a pre-occupation with ‘research’ into rebirth through records of anecdotes under hypnosis suggesting that neuroscience should one day reveal the secrets of memory and prove rebirth.
I cannot understand why anyone wants to prove rebirth?
After that What?
Many of these persons having misled themselves in the Dhamma are thus misleading others and additionally by that egregious habit of offering certificates to the Buddha by quoting from scientists and eminent persons and brow beating.
The Dhamma is about 2500 years (Buddha c 563-488 BC). If we agree to begin with Aristotle (c384-322 BC), science may be regarded as about the same age. But whereas one person, the Buddha taught Dhamma for 45 years,thousands of persons have been involved in the discovery and teaching of science, many contradicting each other. Their disputes, assumptions, running into blind alleys and mistakes have not ceased or are likely to ever cease,
Conversely there is nothing to add or take away from the teaching of Buddha. According to him, it will last for 5000 years after his death and disappear.
The bogus scientific discussion is evidence that this process of decay has begun.
Buddha said, ‘I divine (better term is Noble One) makes known the noble world Transcending Teaching as the business of man’.
The business of science is strictly worldly.
And all worldly endeavours have no value in the Dhamma.
They are obstructions to the realization of the purpose of the Dhamma.
When speaking of akusala and kusala action (skillful and unskillful) the Buddha declared; ‘That action leads to arising of action and the action does not lead to cessation of action.
Skillful action not rooted in lust, hate and delusion leads to cessation of of action, not to arsing of action.’
In an advance warning of ‘five fearful things,not arisen at present but which will arise in future leading to the death of Dhamma
Buddha said, “Again monks there will be monk in time to to come who will be undeveloped in body,virtue, mind and understanding. The being undeveloped in body, virtue, mind and understanding when these discourses uttered by the Thathagatha are preached,profound in meaning,beyond the world, concerned with voidness-they will not listen to them.
It is unthinkable that any scientist would make such declaration.
Science is thought to be progressive.
The Buddha taught the Dhamma is to one purpose Orly- for its practice through reflection,to stop birth
he ends many discourses with the words:
Bhikkus, ‘there are these roots of trees, the empty huts, meditate, do not delay lest you regret later’.
Dhamma is not taught in thousands and more modules for generating doubts,assumptions,debate, theorizing,analyzing, academic discussions, scholarship or speculation.
Also it matters little to to the scientist whether others find any use for his science.
The pompous self satisfaction of the scientist and scholar coincides.
Venerable Nanavira has written thus: “only a vertical view strait down to the abyss of his own personal existence.,is a man capable of apprehending the perilous insecurity of his situation; and only a man who does this is prepared to listen to the Buddha’s teaching.
Why are we cast in this world to die?
Dhamma is the general nature of Things.
All determinations are impermanent (Anitta).
All determinations are suffering (Dukka).
All determinations are not self (Anatma).
Understanding this the Buddha says, is the Seeing.
It is private knowledge unlike science.
The material world is public and common to the sense experience of everyone.
Natural Science writes Nanavira,’in taking this as its starting point and polishing it a little to remove irregularities,has no place for the individual and to sense experience (let alone mind experience or imagination) for the material world of science is by definition utterly a point of of view or reference.
In relativity theory,every point is a point of view,which comes to mean the same thing.
It is uniformly communal.
Science is essentially public.
Consciousness,intention,perception and feelings not being public are not part of the universe of science.
Science is inherently incapable of understanding the nature of material change due to conscious action(Kamma)- which is concisely reflexive exercise of preference for one available mode of behaviour (or set of them) at the expense of others (beings).
Quantum physics he says in hoping to reinstate the-observer- if only as a point of view-is merely locking the stable door after the horse has been stolen.