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Roundtable Series: The (in)compatibility between Buddhism and Science

Brain Scan and Buddha

Led by Dr. Abraham Vélez de Cea: Popular representations of Buddhism emphasize the humanity and the historicity of the Buddha, his rational and scientific attitude, the ethical and psychological dimension of his teachings, the importance of meditation, the value of personal experience and critical thinking instead of blind faith in sacred books, tradition and teachers, and the rejection of the caste system and ritual offerings to gods. The great expert in Buddhism Donald S. Lopez has criticized these popular representations, which he calls “the scientific Buddha”. According to Lopez, “the scientific Buddha” is a European creation that requires the elimination of much of what has been deemed essential by Buddhists in Asia throughout their history. Lopez suggests “that we honor the Scientific Buddha for all he has done over his short life of 150 years (a mere trifle in the cosmology of Buddhism) and that we then allow him to pass away, like a flame going out” The Scientific Buddha: His Short and Happy Life, (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), XI.

In this presentation, we will assess Lopez’s critique of the scientific Buddha, and will propose a new framework to accommodate diverse interpretations of the Buddha without falling into either absolutism or relativism

This event will take place on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, 3:30pm-4:30pm in the Main Library, Room 208.

Please direct any questions to the series organizer: (Phone: 859-622-2979)

Roundtable schedule:

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