Buddhist Biology

Buddhist Biology

Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science

Book - 2014
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An eye-opening look at the crossroads of religion and science, illuminating the unexpected common ground shared by biology and Buddhism.Many high-profile public intellectuals - such as the well-known "New Atheists" Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens - have argued that religion and science are highly antagonistic, two views of the world that are utterly incompatible. David Barish, a renowned biologistwith thirty years of experience, largely agrees with them - with one very big exception. And that exception is Buddhism.In this fascinating book, David Barash highlights an intriguing patch of common ground between scientific and religious thought, illuminating the many parallels between biology and Buddhism, allowing readers to see both in a new way. Indeed, he shows that there are numerous places where the Buddhistand biological perspectives coincide. For instance, the cornerstone ecological concept - the interconnectedness and interdependence of all things - is remarkably similar to the fundamental insight of Buddhism. Indeed, a major Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra - which consists of ten insights intothe "interpenetration" between beings and their environment - could well have been written by a trained ecologist. Barash underscores other similarities, including a shared distrust of simple cause-and-effect analysis, a recognition of life as transient and as a "process" rather than permanent andstatic, and an appreciation of the "rightness" of nature along with a recognition of the suffering that results when natural processes are tampered with. After decades of removing predators to protect deer and elk herds, ecologists have belatedly come to a Buddhist realization that predation - andeven forest fires - are natural processes that have an important place in maintaining healthy ecosystems.Buddhist Biology sheds new light on biology, Buddhism, and the remarkable ways the two perspectives come together, like powerful searchlights that offer complementary and valuable perspectives on the world and our place in it.
Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, [2014]
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780199985562
Branch Call Number: QH331 .B244 2014
Characteristics: 204 pages ; 25 cm


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Jul 28, 2014

The author, a UW prof in psychology and evolutionary biologist, describes this book "is concerned not only with identifying parallels and convergences between Buddhism and biology (its avowed purpose), but also with promoting this wider focus, aligning itself with a gently subversive movement with mainstream Buddhism that Stephen Batchelor calls 'Buddhism 2.0.' ... For all the similarities, and convergences that characterize Buddhism and biology…, there are some notable differences, including the easily overlooked fact that biology—like other sciences—makes use of objectively quantified data, whereas Buddhism employs the subjective inout of personal experience.” David P. Barash provides us a clearly written account of his thinking.


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