February 13, 2006

The Dalai Lama and Science (introduction)

Posted in non-fiction, religion, science, scripture at 5:53 pm by Jerry

This last Christmas, one of the gifts I received was a book written by Dalai Lama (thanks again, Tim & Suzy!). The book is called The Universe in a Single AtomThe Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2005).

Of course, there will be quotes & comments. And I will be focusing on particular topics from the text. As an introduction to the book, here’s my first pick of quotes:

“…as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: 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.” p.3.

“Although Buddhism has come to evolve as a religion with a characteristic body of scriptures and rituals, strictly speaking, in Buddhism scriptual authority cannot outweigh an understanding based on reason and experience. …the Buddha advises that people should test the truth of what he has said through reasoned examination and personal experiment. Therefore, when it comes to validating the truth of a claim, Buddhism accords greatest authority to experience, with reason second and scripture last.” p.24.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if personal experience is everyone’s ultimate authority whether they acknowledge it or not. I say this because every interpretation or reinterpretation of first – our experiences, second – others’ current experiences, and third – standard or traditional experiences from the past (scripture), are always sifted through our individual perceptions of reality. Even our personal experiences of the objective, absolute God are sifted through our subjectivity.

Is it possible that as much as some of us may want God to be our ultimate authority (through whatever means, including scripture), in actuality, our present ultimate authority is our personal experience?



  1. becky said,

    Hey honey, check out this article: “Postmodern spirituality sets experience as lord over Scripture, Whitney tells college students”

    From the article:”Whitney said another characteristic of people who practice postmodern spirituality is that they desire an experience that includes not just the mind, but also the whole person.

    “Postmodern spiritually wants something that is more than just head knowledge, that works in real life,” he said. “It wants a worship that can be felt and relationships that are deep. It realizes that salvation is not just about the head, but about the soul, body and heart.”

    Whitney recognized that this is a positive desire, but argued that experience must not trump biblical theology in determining what practices benefit the entire being.

    “You must evaluate enjoyment by whether or not it comes from God,” he said. “A spirituality that emphasizes the spiritual [experience] heavily is in danger of disconnecting itself from sound theology. This is like cutting off the blossoms of flowers. They are beautiful for a while, and give a fragrant aroma for a while, but don’t last because they have no root.”

    […]Whitney pointed to Scripture as the authority for developing appropriate spiritual practices.

    “The Bible is the measure of the validity of any spiritual experience, and if an experience is not validated by Scripture then there is a conflict,” he said. “Every one of our spiritual experiences should be inaugurated with the Bible or be informed by the Bible.”

    Working from 2 Tim. 3:16-17, Whitney said that Scripture is both profitable and sufficient in the area of developing one’s spirituality.

    “Scripture tells us that the Bible is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” he said. “If Scripture is not profitable for you, the problem is with you, not with Scripture. The Bible also claims that the practices taught in it are sufficient for spiritual life. Any benefit that someone finds from a non-biblical practice at best is not necessary.”

    — How’s them apples?

  2. John said,

    Hi, Im from Melbourne Oz. Please check out Real God Is The Indivisible Oneness of Unbroken Light via:

    1. http://www.dabase.net/spacetim.htm

    2. http://www.realgod.htm

    The Secret Idenity of the Holy Spirit of God

    3. http://www.dabase.net/proofch6.htm

    The Mummery Book: A Parable of The Divine True Love (a “postmodern” novel) via:

    4. http://global.adidam.org/books/mummery.html

    5. http://www.mummerybook.org

    The Restoration of The Sacred

    6. http://www.dabase.net/restsacr.htm

    Grace Shines, John

  3. John said,

    Whoops that should have been:

    2. http://www.realgod.org

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