Science & Religion: having my cake and eating it, too…

5 Feb

Can you guess where the quote below comes from?

I’ll give you a hint: he’s a famous religious figure.

“Given that one of the primary characteristics of consciousness is its subjective and experiential nature, any systematic study of it must adopt a method that will give access to the dimensions of subjectivity and experience.

A comprehensive scientific study of consciousness must therefore embrace both third-person and first-person methods: it cannot ignore the phenomenological reality of subjective experience but must observe all the rules of scientific rigor. So the critical question is this: Can we envision a scientific methodology for the study of consciousness whereby a robust first-person method, which does full justice to the phenomenology of experience, can be combined with the objectivist perspective of the study of the brain?”

Survey says:

His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

The quote is from his fascinating book The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. It’s relatively new – circa 2005 – and I’m about half-way through it at the moment.

It boggles my mind how intelligent and fearless the Dalai Lama is in integrating science with Buddhism. Other famous religious figures walk away with their tail between their legs when it comes to the realm of science – that is, even they even dare to acknowledge science!

Yet the Dalai Lama actively pursues the scientific community and a scientific understanding of Buddhism.

For me, an integration of Buddhist practices with a scientific understanding of the world is like….having my cake and eating it too.


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  1. Dreaming Life: Lucid Dreaming, Dreamwork, Personal Development, Psychedelics, Meditation - December 8, 2008

    […] Dalai Lama says it best in his book The Universe in A Single Atom, when he asks: “Given that one of the primary characteristics of consciousness is its subjective […]

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