Science in Eastern Religions
For years there has been debate and argument between religion and science. In his article “Are Eastern Religions More Science-Friendly?” Huffington Post, 25 April 2011 (www.huffingtonpost.com/philip-goldberg/are-eastern-religions-mor_b_628533.html), Philip Goldberg makes the claim that eastern religions and science can not only coexist, but that they work together and have even embraced each other for years. In the east at least.
It seems that the largest sticking point as to why most scientists and religious groups cannot find common ground is due to the fact that scientists believe that the historical facts of religion are not provable and therefore are just stories. Although most western religions do not address this, eastern religions, specifically Buddhism and Hinduism have responded directly. According to French Nobel laureate, Romain Rolland, “Religious faith in the case of the Hindus has never been allowed to run counter to scientific laws.” This concept can then be extended to Buddhism because the two traditions come from the same Vedic roots (Goldberg).
Many eastern religious leaders and scientists have become friends and colleagues. A couple of examples of these seemly unlikely relationships are that of Swami Vivekananda and Nikola Tesla, and Paramahansa Yogananda and botanist Luther Burbank. It is not surprising to hear that eastern religious leaders are open to exploring science when one digs a bit deeper into their personal history. Many significant religious leaders come from scientific backgrounds themselves. Swami Sivananda was a well-known doctor before becoming a monk and Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna (a sect of Hindu), was a pharmacist before he renounced his work and family to become completely devoted to Krishna.
I believe that the true path to knowledge comes from a place of openness and being willing to at least try and understand a different view or opinion. Eastern religions seem to have realized that science does not have a negative impact on their beliefs. They have embraced it as another amazing gift from a higher power. Slowly but surely, Eastern religions are having an impact on Western science. Stress reduction, psychology, physics, and the treatment of some chronic illnesses have already been influenced in some way by Eastern spiritual traditions. It is my hope that this relationship will continue and the western world will be able to benefit from practices that have been effective in increasing overall quality of life for centuries in the east.
Link to more info: http://calgary.iskcon.ca/