Buddhism useful for development of science
During our lifetime most of our doings lead to the manifestation of ‚Äėsanskara‚Äô,
which are of course ‚Äėkammas‚Äô with the potential to give ‚ÄėKarma vipaka‚Äô
or consequences later, within this life or in future births, according
to the principles of Karma (‚Äėkamma niyama‚Äô).
The potential of the ‚ÄėKarma‚Äô is emanated from the ‚Äėjavan sith‚Äô of the
‚Äėchiththa veethi‚Äô (according to the way we think about something or
someone, we give effect to Karma. A thought or a Chiththa with a
duration of a fraction of a second, is in fact, composed of seventeen
chiththas and seven of them are called ‚Äėjavan siths‚Äô.)
When the javan siths cease their existence together with other ‚Äėsiths‚Äô,
a form of energy is released which stay related or attached to the
‚ÄėChiththa‚Äô/‚ÄôVinnana‚Äô continuation of the individual and later give
effect to Karma Vipaka at appropriate time and place.
With the passage of the being to the next birth, the potentials of
its good or bad deeds (the Kammas) have to be carried away to the next
birth, because the being cannot escape the consequences (‚ÄėVipaka‚Äô) of
its good or bad deeds or mindful actions (‚Äėchethanathmaka kriya‚Äô).
‚ÄėNa Anthalikke, Na Samuudda Majje, Na Pabbathanan..........‚Äô (Dhammapada
‚ÄúHow the ‚ÄėKamma‚Äô is transferred from one life to the other, with its
potential for giving the ‚ÄėVipaka‚Äô intact‚ÄĚ is a topic discussed by many
scholars and authors. Some were of the view that, the ‚ÄėKamma‚Äô is
accumulated in an energy form in the great space Nabogharbha and later
takes effect to give the ‚ÄėVipaka‚Äô to the being at the appropriate
The only ‚Äėthing‚Äô a person virtually carries from this birth (bhawa)
to the next is the continuation of the ‚ÄėChiththa‚Äô. The last ‚ÄėChiththa‚Äô
in the previous is the ‚Äėchuthi chiththa‚Äô and the first in the new birth
is the continuation of the same as the ‚Äėprathisandhi chiththa‚Äô.
Although the bodily life (rupa) in this ‚Äėbhawaya‚Äô is discontinued
with death; initiated by the ‚ÄėPrathisandhi chiththa‚Äô, the ‚Äėnama‚Äô is
continued in the next birth or ‚Äėbhawaya‚Äô in a new body or a new ‚Äėrupa
(this is based on the concepts related to ‚Äėthanhava‚Äô and the ‚Äėpaticca
The ‚Äėnama‚Äô cannot exist without the ‚Äėrupa‚Äô and vice versa. Their
co-existence or interdependence is aptly illustrated in the Buddhist
text by the example of the ‚Äėtwo bundles of firewood standing inclined to
each other for support‚Äô.
The first form of life in mother‚Äôs womb simultaneously must have both
these components - the ‚Äėnama‚Äô and ‚Äėrupa‚Äô. (Theravada and Mahayana have
different versions about the time lapse between the ‚Äėchuthiya‚Äô and ‚Äėprathisandhiya‚Äô.
Then, as the potential of ‚ÄėKarma‚Äô is carried away to the next birth
(unless it is always present as an energy form in the space to take
effect in any birth of the being) one explanation will be within the
process discussed above.
This can be related to some facts found in the article of Dr. Sunil
Senevirathna Epa, appeared in April 26, 2007 CDN.
‚Äė..... one is born with a set of genes or biological material which
is unique to that particular individual.‚Äô
‚Äė.... what we fail to understand is why then no two genomes are
alike. Why should they be different from each other if they are to
perform the same function in the human body‚Äô.
‚ÄėNot only physical growth, but the behaviour, talents and sometimes
diseases and even the cause of death is decided by our genes.
If ‚Äėnama‚Äô and the ‚Äėrupa‚Äô in the new birth begin the voyage together,
the ‚Äėprathisandhi chiththa‚Äô, with its continuation from the previous
birth might have an influence on the newly formed ‚Äėrupa‚Äô in mother‚Äôs
It can be assumed that, with the simultaneous infusion of ‚Äėnama‚Äô and
‚Äėrupa‚Äô, in the newly formed life, the ‚Äėprathisandhi chiththa‚Äô, following
the ‚Äėchuthi chiththa‚Äô, with all its records of the individual‚Äôs previous
life‚Äôs deeds, makes a mark of that in the ‚Äėrupa‚Äô component - or to be
precise - in the gene structure, which in turn will decide the future of
the new being as mentioned in the aforesaid article, to a ‚Äėgreat
extent‚Äô, (in ‚ÄėAbhidhamma‚Äô, a component called ‚ÄėJeewithindriya‚Äô is
discussed. The resemblance of this to the cell structures of the life
form is worthy considering.)
The ‚Äėmarking‚Äô of the genes could be material or energy process or a
combination of both.
However, this process of marking the genes might explain the carriage
of the ‚ÄėKamma‚Äô only to some extent, it seems. nature - effected
incidents cannot be attributed to gene markings. The following
illustrations where the sheer luck or a Kamma like out-of-gene force
have a hand, are worth considering:
Two persons walk together and only one person gets attacked by the
lightning while other escapes ‚Äėmiraculously‚Äô with no harm. One person is
washed away by the tsunami,while the other person in the same vehicle
One person comes late to the station to find the ill-fated train
already left, while another person awaiting some other train catches the
ill-fated tsunami train, to find his destiny.
These incidents cannot be explained by the gene marking. or can they
too! perhaps the mysterious branded genes emit or release energy-type or
cosmic messages or communications to control the future behaviour of the
being to make sure that its previous birth‚Äôs (good or bad) deeds or
‚ÄėKamma‚Äô are properly compensated in this birth, in some unsuspecting
natural disaster or incident (for better or worse).
Whatever the validity of these assumptions, one fact that is certain
is that, ‚ÄėKamma‚Äô has the potential to give its vipaka‚Äô. Built on solid
foundation like Four Noble Truths and Eight Noble Paths, Buddhism with
its pure form could withstand all the tests the 2500 year time span
offered in many forms (the ‚ÄėNikaya Sangrahaya‚Äô is good testimony in this
By following the teachings of the Buddha, we can lead a decent life
in this ‚Äėbhawaya‚Äô, we can be assured of a good life afterwards and most
importantly, we can get emancipated form all the worldly sufferings (dukkas)
by becoming ‚ÄėArhant‚Äô. the path, practically, is through the ‚ÄėSamatha‚Äô
meditation and specially through the ‚ÄėVidharshana‚Äô meditation.
Therefore obviously Buddhism is miles ahead of modern science, which
is still in the stages of development. Although credited with many
achievements, modern science will take thousands of years to come any
closer to explain the teachings of Buddhism. On the other hand, clearly
defend concepts in Buddhism will be useful for the development of
However, whenever possible discoveries in modern science have to be
considered in the light of the concepts of Buddhism. If scientific
evidence are capable of discussing religious concepts, even to some
extent, they have to be highlighted by scholars and experts in the
field, for the welfare of the general public.
Science based approach will have the benefit of motivating the
members of the present day‚Äôs ‚Äėfast moving, science and technology
affiliated, globalised materialistic‚Äô society towards religious
That will instil a strong ‚Äėshraddhawa‚Äô in the minds of those busy and
preoccupied people, who wouldn‚Äôt find time to read writings on Buddhism,
including the ‚ÄúThripitaka‚ÄĚ. They will further be inspired to study the
Buddhist teachings more and more devotedly.
The above mentioned article, with special emphasis on quantum theory
and gene science is of immense value in this respect. I have come
across, some times back, another article (of the same author)
emphasising the importance of the acceptance in Western Medicine, the
mind body - unity or mind - body relationship which has been readily
accepted in Oriental healing techniques. The imprudence of the
introduction of a Medico - Spiritual Health Model also was highlighted
Quite recently, I came across another Enlightening article in CDN
(09.05.2007) on ‚ÄėScience of meditation‚Äô by Dr. Nimal Rajapakse
highlighting a science - based approach to meditation.
‚ÄúIn essence, modern science has uncovered the reasons behind the
well-known phenomenon ‚Äėthe mind - body connection‚Äô. It can be stated in
simple terms that when practised regularly, over a period of time,
meditation can produce profound physiological efforts‚ÄĚ.
‚Äú.... it is quite satisfying to see that this age old technique has
finally undergone extensive scientific scrutiny...‚ÄĚ.
A Dhamma dialogue
I have thought to write this after a colleague with cancer sought my
help last week. It will help others too.
Q. What exactly did the Buddha teach?
A. The teaching is about the underlying nature of desire and
Q. What is the underlying nature of desire?
A. Desire is insatiable.
Q. What is the underlying nature of feeling?
A. There is a tendency for feelings to change, fade and
disappear, and arise again.
Q. So what?
A. All feelings, happy and sad, bring despair and grief - dukkha
- when there is attachment or holding.
Q. What do you mean by holding?
A. Holding to a thing that has the nature to cease is futile and
Q. What is meant by arising and ceasing?
A. They are not independent. Ceasing inheres in arising just as
all meetings are partings.
Q. Do feelings arise suddenly from nowhere?
A. Nothing arises ex nihilo.
Q. Then where do feelings arise?
A. They necessarily arise in a person - in a self.
Q. How does arising of feeling cease?
A. Ceasing or non-arising of feelings necessarily come from
insight of arising.
Q. What understanding of feeling leads to insight?
A. Every experience is dependently arisen.
Q. Dependent on what?
A. Dependent on not knowing dependent arising!
Q. Does this mean that Buddha teaches only about dependent
arising of experience?
Q. Can you enlarge on this?
A. Experience is consciousness in a unique person or self, and
all things therefore arise in the self.
Q. So what is the problem in that?
A. The self is not a master of experience: let my experience be
this and not that.
Q. Why do I then have control over happy feelings?
A. But you have no mastery over unhappy feelings!
Q. Does this mean it is not rationally that I feel dukkha?
A. It is not a tautology to say it is affectively arisen in the
Q. So, the Buddha is not teaching about dukkha but about
dependently arisen dukkha?
Q. Then, is the teaching a science?
A. If by ‚Äėscience‚Äô is meant ‚Äėlogical‚Äô, the teaching is scientific
- not however as in physics.
Q. What is the difference?
A. By definition, physics - the king of science - leaves out
feeling by an observer!
Q. Does not quantum physics include the observer?
A. It has closed the stable door after the horse is stolen!
Q. Why is the teaching only about melancholy or dukkha?
A. Because, eventually, that is how it is.
Q. How is the body involved in the teaching?
A. Dukkha necessarily arises in mind inseparable from the body.
Q. Does it mean that to understand the mind, there must be
mutual understanding of the body?
Q. What does the Buddha teach about the body?
A. The body is dependently arisen, and whatever is dependently
arisen is inherently unstable.
Q. We know that the body ages, decays and dies, so what is
special about that?
A. But we do not know how to escape from aging, decay, disease
Q. What exactly do you mean by ‚Äėescape‚Äô?
A. It means the end of dukkha.
Q. Is escape possible in this life or in a future limbo?
A. Siddharata Gotama escaped from dukkha at the age of 35 years
and taught how, from compassion.
Q. Was he the first?
A. Yes and why he is called ‚ÄėBuddha‚Äô.
Q. Why is re-becoming or ‚Äėre-birth‚Äô included in his teaching?
A. Like in a jig-saw puzzle, it completes the structure of the
dependent arising of dukkha.
Q. Then, is belief in ‚Äėre-birth‚Äô essential to understand the
A. Buddha teaches about escape from present dukkha and thoughts
of the past and future are irrelevant.
Q. So why this obsession with karma and vipaka, of intention
and result leading to bad and good re-birth?
A. There is vested interest in frightening the gullible that all
intentions are karma with vipaka though all intentions such as breathing
and defecating are not karma - with dire result!
Q. So, is understanding the teaching straightforward?
A. Only a Buddha can analyse dependent arising and ceasing of
dukkha to describe it many ways. It is relatively not difficult for the
prepared mind to penetrate and have insight of it.
Man‚Äôs purpose is within man
Sri Lankan Buddhist monks march during a felicitation ceremony for
soldiers in Colombo. Hundreds of Buddhist monks paraded to bless the
Security Forces that captured the Tigers‚Äô last Bastion in the East.
wisdom: Having practised the ten paramis (perfections) of generosity,
morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness,
determination, loving-kindness, and equanimity in their higher and
highest proportions, over millions of rebirths, the Buddha aspirant
Prince Siddhattha was born for the last time fully matured to launch on
his final mission to break through the barrier of ignorance to see
things in their true perspective.
This stupendous operation required the development of his mind with
insight meditation from which everything unfolds. Insight is mental
penetration which arises with the understanding that all phenomena are
in a state of constant change from moment to moment and what is changing
is unsatisfactory for the reason that in the case of man it brings about
aging, disease, decay and death and what is changing has no permanent
self or entity.
With such insight, the mind gets cleansed of the defilements of
greed, hatred and delusion and is thus fully awakened. In this process,
rebirth producing energy runs its course to a finish and rebirth which
is the cause of misery, ends. A Buddha arises in the world to reveal the
truth of suffering, its cause, its ending and the Eightfold Path leading
to its ending.
The super-human endeavour to reach that supreme state of mental
perfection needed such a strenuous effort and what the Buddha discovered
seemed so profound, difficult to perceive and so subtle that he was in a
quandary not knowing how he was going to disseminate his knowledge among
Casting his all-seeing eye, he saw as a blessing some human beings
with less dust in their eyes to receive the fruits of his labour and he
thus delivered his first sermon - ‚ÄúSetting The Wheel of Law in Motion‚ÄĚ,
to the group of five ascetics who were his erstwhile companions in quest
of the facts of life.
Kondanna who fully understood the substance of the discourse became a
stream-winner and progressed to become an arahant i.e. one who had ended
the round of existence.
What did this discourse deal with? It dealt with the quintessence of
the Buddha‚Äôs teaching - suffering, cause of suffering, cessation of
suffering and the Path leading to the cessation of suffering.
To go into details - birth is suffering, diesese is suffering, death
is suffering, to be united with the unpleasant is suffering, to be
separate from the pleasant is suffering, not to get what one desires is
The cause of this suffering is craving for sensual pleasures, craving
for existence and craving for non-existence. The Eightfold Path
comprises right understanding, right thought, right speech, right
action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right
concentration of mind.
The scientific theory is that nothing happens without a reason. Going
on this principle, one is here not by chance or accident but by one‚Äôs
own making, one‚Äôs own will. One‚Äôs kammic energy together with one‚Äôs flow
of consciousness from past rebirths put one into shape to be what one
In this context it is relevant to know that for the formation of the
embryo in the mother‚Äôs womb re-linking consciousness has to descend
which happens with the past consciousness together with its entire
history linking together with the new existence. It thus follows that
the new life must start from the consciousness of a past life.
One will go on and on with each new rebirth lending the opportunity
to improve oneself. One should not lose sight of the fact that being a
part of the universe what one thinks and does intentionally, has a
definite impact, positive or negative as the case may be, on the world
system making it respond. From this follows the Buddha‚Äôs statement. ‚ÄúHe
who treads the path of the dhamma (truth) is protected by the dhamma.‚ÄĚ
The prime question that arises is, ‚ÄúWhat are we here for?‚ÄĚ The answer
is to observe the five precepts - not to kill, not to take what is not
one‚Äôs own, not to commit sins of the flesh, not to bear false witness,
to shun drinks and drugs that confuse the mind, spread freely among all
living beings metta (loving-kindness) and karuna (compassion) and awaken
one‚Äôs mind with sila (mental discipline), samadhi (concentration) and
Following others blindly for the reason that one is not willing to
develop one‚Äôs strengths to light up one‚Äôs way, does not get on to one‚Äôs
due place. Should one be worthy of being born into the world on account
of one‚Äôs own merit, it necessarily follows that one is equally worthy of
receiving nature‚Äôs bounty without let or hindrance, to one‚Äôs best
The idea is to elevate one‚Äôs mind to think in terms of a winner.
According to Buddhist teaching TRUTH has to be self-analysed,
self-realized, self-experienced. Interpretation of truth according to
those who claim to have found it or for the reason that it is found in
books held sacred has to be stringently tested before acceptance. Faith
alone does not validate such claims.
Faith must arise from the conviction that a thing under scrutiny has
been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
As much as the purpose of the seed is within the seed itself to grow
into a tree, spread its branches, bear flowers and seed and disperse
itself, the purpose of man is within man to work out man‚Äôs salvation
with diligence. Salvation means breaking the bonds that bind man to
samsara (round of rebirths) for -
‚Äú ................. There spring the healing streams
Quenching all thirst there bloom the immortal flowers
Carpeting all the way with joy! there throng
Swiftest and sweetest hours!‚ÄĚ