[excerpt] " From the methodological perspective, both traditions emphasize the role of empiricism. For example, in the Buddhist investigative tradition, between the three recognized sources of knowledge - experience, reason and testimony - it is the evidence of the experience that takes precedence, with reason coming second and testimony last. This means that, in the Buddhist investigation of reality, at least in principle, empirical evidence should triumph over scriptural authority, no matter how deeply venerated a scripture may be. "

Personal Note (jem): Ignoring Science, especially esoteric sciences like Quantum Mechanics, Relativity and Neuroscience, is a huge mistake to make with the advent of the 21st century. This Century is unique in that the pieces are coming together to finally unite Science, Brain, Mind and Spirit.


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Dear John,

Interesting topic. I've had my sights on the work of the Dalai Lama in the field of science already for a while because of the involvement of Francesco Varela, a Chilean neuroscientist with a raining in the philosophical school of phenomenology.

Varela was the co-founder with the Dalai Lama of the Mind & Life Institute promoting dialogues between science and Buddhism.

The article by the Dalai Lama, from which you quoted, also has the following great quote:

"Because of this methodological standpoint, I have often remarked to my Buddhist colleagues that the empirically verified insights of modern cosmology and astronomy must compel us now to modify, or in some cases reject, many aspects of traditional cosmology as found in ancient Buddhist texts."

Somewhere else he made a similar point:

"If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”

I think this is a refreshing perspective, something Theosophists should also emulate. For me this means, and that's just my conclusion, that Theosophy as presented by Blavatsky and later Leadbeater, will have to be evaluated from the scientific view and that certain ideas will have to be let go off. For example, the claims regarding Atlantis and Lemuria will have to be abandoned in the face of the scientific theory of plate tectonics. Or the claim made by Blavatsky about the ancient Gallic town Bibracte that it was the 'Thebes of the north' and housed 40.000 students of occultism will have to abandoned too in the face of archeological findings about which I wrote somewhere else. Or the claim about humanity's very old age and the idea that some primates were degenerated humans in the face of paleoanthropology.

I know there are valiant efforts made by some Theosophists like David Pratt and International Theosophy Conferences in the face of modern science to defend and rescue Balvatskyan ideas, but I'm not convinced.

hi -

The Pride of saying "I have never wavered in my beliefs" needs to be replaced by a quote by Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll)

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast"


Monks integrating Math and Science into monastic training.. a new requirement.

see my next post.


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