Future Directions in
Study of Buddhism and Science
Bhikkhu P. A. Payutto
I would like to suggest
some areas in which science could be improved upon, beginning with a
discussion of "insufficiency." Science is not sufficient to remedy the
problems of the modern day world. To illustrate, let us look at the
situation in the environment. The problem of conservation is one of the
major issues of our time, and science must play a leading role in dealing
with this problem, especially in terms of research and proposals for
Scientific knowledge is
invaluable. It can warn us of the dangers that exist, their causes, and
the ways in which we have to deal with them. Technology is an essential
tool in this work. But such valuable tools alone are not enough to solve
the problem. Indeed, we may find that the problems have largely arisen
from science and technology.
Science and technology are
not able to correct their own handiwork. In spite of having the necessary
knowledge at our disposal, we do not use it. In spite of having the
technical capability to solve problems, we continue to use the kind of
technology which aggravates them. Scientific knowledge is incapable of
changing human behavior. Attempts to solve these problems always flounder
on indecision. Science may have to open up and work in conjunction with
other disciplines, by providing them with data for use in a collective
effort to address these problems.
From a Buddhist
perspective, any attempt to solve human problems, regardless of type, must
always be implemented on three levels.
To give an example,
environmental problems must be addressed on three levels:
2. the mind
These three levels must be
integrated in the process of problem solving, thus:
1. On the level of
behavior, there must be social constraint, that is, restraint on the
outward manifestations of bodily and verbal behavior.
There are two ways to
constrain behavior in society:
Firstly, restraint from
without, through regulations and laws, including punishment for
lawbreakers and so on. In Buddhism this is called "vinaya." The second way
is restraint from within the individual, through intention. Usually such
intention arises from religious faith. With belief or confidence in
religion, there is a readiness and willingness to restrain behavior. In
Buddhism such internal restraint is called sila.
In short, the first way is
vinaya -- regulations and standards for constraining destructive actions,
and the second way is sila -- the conscious intention to be restrained
within the restrictions thus imposed.
Both of these levels are
related in that they are concerned with the control and training of
behavior. On a social level it is necessary to establish regulations, but
alone they are not enough. There must also be sila, restraint from within,
moral conduct that is fluent and regular.
2. In terms of the mind,
since it is one of the factors involved in causing problems, solving
problems by control of behavior alone is not enough. We must also deal
with the mind. In our example, our aim is to conserve nature. If we want
all people to contribute in the conservation of nature, we must first
instill into them a desire to do so. So from "conservation of nature" we
arrive at "wanting to conserve nature."
A desire to conserve
nature is dependent on a love of nature. With an appreciation of nature,
the desire to conserve it will naturally follow. But that's not the end --
people will only appreciate nature when they can live happily with nature.
It seems that most people have realized the importance of appreciating
nature, but if that is all they see they are not seeing the whole chain of
conditions. Failing to see all the factors involved, their attempts to
address the problem will also fail. We must search further down to find
the beginning of the chain, to see what needs to be done to encourage
people to appreciate nature.
A love of nature will
arise with difficulty if people are not happy living with nature. Our
minds must be at ease living with nature before we can love nature, and we
must love nature before we can a develop a desire to conserve nature,
which is a necessary prerequisite for the actual work of conservation.
Even though there may be
other factors, or some discrepancies, in our chain of conditions, this
much is enough to convey the general idea. It seems, though, that so far
scientific work has obstructed this process from taking place. The desire
to seek happiness from the exploitation of nature has caused people to
feel, deeply within, that they can only be happy through technology, and
that nature is an obstacle to this happiness. Many children in the present
day feel that their happiness lies with technology, they do not feel at
all comfortable with nature. They may even go so far as to see nature as
an enemy, an obstacle to their happiness. Nature must be conquered so that
they can enjoy the happiness of technology. Take a look at the minds of
people in the present age and you will see that most people in society
feel this way. This is a result of the influence of science in the recent
The beliefs in conquering
nature and seeking happiness in material goods, which are represented and
advocated by technology, have held sway over the minds of human beings for
such a long time that people have developed the feeling that nature is an
enemy, an obstruction to human progress. As long as this kind of thinking
prevails, it will be very difficult for us to love nature. Our ways of
thinking must be changed. If we are to continue living in a natural world
we must find a point of balance, and in order to do that we must develop
an appreciation of nature, at least to see that nature can provide us with
happiness. There is much beauty in nature, and technology can be used to
enhance our appreciation of it.
In order to be more
effective, constraint of behavior needs to be supported by mental
conviction. If there is appreciation of skilful action and a sense of
satisfaction in such behavior, self-training need not be a forced or
3. In terms of
understanding, wisdom refers to an understanding of the process of cause
and effect, or causes and conditions, in nature. This is of prime
importance. In order to understand the pro's and cons of the issue of
conservation we must have some understanding of the natural order. In this
respect Pure science can be of immense benefit, providing the data which
will clarify the relevant factors involved in the deterioration of the
environment, in what ways the environment has deteriorated, and what
effects are to be expected from this deterioration.
An understanding of the
situation will open people's minds and make them receptive. If there is
understanding that a certain action causes damage to the environment, and
that this will in turn have a detrimental effect on human beings, there
will be an incentive to change behavior.
Sometimes, however, in
spite of understanding the ill-effects of something, we cannot change our
behavior because the mind has not yet accepted the truth on a deep enough
level. That is why it is important for the mind to have both an
understanding of the situation on an intellectual level, and also an
emotional feeling, an appreciation, an ability to be happy with nature.
Scientific knowledge alone is not enough to induce people to change their
ways, because of attachment to habits, personal gains, social preferences
and so on. With enjoyment of nature as a foundation, any intellectual
understanding of the ecological system will serve to deepen or fortify all
qualities on the emotional level.
The methods of Buddhism
are a comprehensive solution to the problem at all levels. There are three
prongs or divisions of the Buddhist path. In Buddhism we call the first
level sila, the constraint or control of moral behavior through vinaya,
laws and regulations. Restraint of action is achieved through intention,
which is the essence of sila. Both these levels, regulations and moral
intention, are included under the general heading of sila, training in
The second level concerns
the mind, training the feelings, qualities and habits of the mind to be
virtuous and skillful. This division is known as samadhi, the training of
The third level is wisdom,
pañña, or knowledge and understanding. Wisdom is the quality which
monitors the activities of the first and second levels and keeps them on
the right track. On its own, wisdom tends to be inactive. It must be
supported by training in moral conduct and meditation.
Wisdom not only supervises
the practice of moral restraint and meditation, but also examines the
negative side of things, seeing, for example, the harmful effects of
unskillful behavior patterns, even when such behavior is enjoyable or
profitable. If such pleasure is seen to be in any way harmful, wisdom is
the voice which tells us that such behavior should be given up or
corrected, and in which ways it can be done.
These three divisions work
together and are interdependent. Initially we train our actions,
cultivating skillful behavior and giving up the unskillful. At the same
time we train the mind, instilling in it skillful drives and a feeling of
joy or satisfaction in the practice. We also develop understanding of
reality and the reasons for practice, seeing the benefit and harm of our
actions as they are. As we train and the practice becomes more and more
consistent, the mind takes joy in the practice, which causes faith to
increase. When faith increases, the mind is keen to contemplate and
understand our actions. When wisdom or understanding arises, seeing the
benefit in practicing skillfully and the harm of not practicing, faith is
enhanced once again. When faith is increased, we are more able to control
and adapt our behavior and make it more in accordance with the right path.
Now we come to the quality
of "too late." I would like to give an illustration of what I mean by this
statement to show what it has to do with science. As an example I would
like to compare the attitudes of Buddhism with the attitudes of science,
which have some strong similarities.
In science we have
scientific knowledge on one hand, and scientific attitude on the other. In
many cases the scientific attitude is more important than scientific
knowledge. Why is this? Because the data or knowledge obtained by science
has sometimes proven to be wrong and had to be corrected. This tends to be
an ongoing process. This scientific attitude or objective is a constant
principle, one which has been of immense benefit to human beings. Whether
individual pieces of knowledge can actually be used or not is not a sure
thing, but this attitude is a condition that can be used immediately and
is of immediate benefit. However, the attitudes of science and Buddhism
have some slight discrepancies.
Firstly, let us define our
terms. What are the attitudes of Buddhism and science? Both attitudes have
the same objectives, and that is to see all things according to cause and
effect, or causes and conditions. On encountering any situation, both the
Buddhist attitude and the scientific attitude will try to look at it
according to its causes and conditions, to try to see it as it really is.
For example: You see your
friend walking towards you with a sour look on his face. For most of us,
seeing a sour expression on our friend's face would normally be an
unpleasant sight. We would think our friend was angry with us, and we
would react in negative ways. An awareness of unpleasant experience has
taken place, and a reaction of dislike arises. Thinking, "He can get
angry, well so can I," we wear a sour expression in response.
But with a Buddhist or
scientific attitude, when we see our friend walking towards us with a sour
expression, we do not look on it with an aggravated state of mind, through
liking or disliking, but with the objective of finding out the truth. This
is the attitude of looking at things according to causes and conditions
... "Hmm, he's looking angry. I wonder why my friend is looking angry
today. I wonder if something's bothering him. Maybe somebody said
something to upset him at home, or maybe he's got no money, or maybe ..."
That is, we look for the real causes for his expression. This is what I
call the Buddhist attitude, which is applied to mental phenomena, and
which correlates with the scientific attitude, which applies to the
material plane. It is an attitude of learning, of looking at things
according to causes and conditions.
If we look at the
situation in this way no problem arises. Such an attitude leads to the
relief of problems and the development of wisdom. Searching for the causes
and conditions for our friend's sour expression, we might ask him the
cause or act in some other intelligent way, initiating a response which is
attuned to solving the problem.
This is an example of an
attitude which is common to both Buddhism and science. But how do their
attitudes differ? The scientific attitude is one that is used only to gain
knowledge, but the Buddhist attitude is considered to be part and parcel
of life itself. That is, this attitude is part of the skillful life, it is
a way of living harmoniously in society. In short, it is ethics.
The scientific attitude is
one clear example of how science avoids the subject of ethics or values
while in fact containing them. That is, the scientific attitude is in
itself an ethic, but because science does not clearly recognize this, it
fails to fully capitalize on this ethic. More importantly, science fails
to see ethics as an essential factor within the process of realizing the
truth of nature.
Buddhism does not use its
attitude simply for the acquisition of knowledge, but incorporates it into
daily life, in the actuality of the present moment. This brings us to the
quality I call "too late." Because the scientific attitude is an attitude
and means simply of finding knowledge, any practical application must wait
until science finds out all the answers. As long as we don't know the
answers our hands are tied. If we don't yet know what something is, we
don't know how we should behave towards it.
But in this world there
are so many things that science does not yet have the answers for, and
there's no telling when science will have the answers. In the meantime,
mankind, both as an individual and as a society, must conduct life in the
present moment. To put it simply, the conduct of life for human beings in
a skillful and proper way, within the space of one individual life-span or
one society, in real time, cannot wait for these answers from the
The Buddhist attitude is
to search for knowledge in conjunction with living life, holding that to
look at things according to cause and effect is part and parcel of the
process of living a good life, not simply a tool to find knowledge.
Therefore, with the Buddhist attitude, whenever we meet something that is
not yet known clearly to us, or has not yet been verified, we have an
outlook which enables us to practice skillfully towards it. We do not lose
our standard in life.
The scientific attitude
seeks knowledge only, but does not give an outlook for living life.
Buddhism teaches both levels, giving a path of practice in relation to
things in present day life. I will give an illustration, one which has
troubled mankind throughout the ages and toward which even we, as
Buddhists, fail to use a proper Buddhist outlook. I refer to the subject
of heavenly beings [devata].
The subject of heavenly
beings is one that can be looked at in terms of its relation to verifiable
truth, or it can be looked at in relation to human society, in the light
of everyday life. Looking at the subject with the scientific attitude, we
think of it in terms of its verifiable truth, that is, whether these
things actually exist or not. Then we have to find a means to verify the
matter. The subject would eventually become one of those truths "waiting
to be verified," or perhaps "unverifiable." And there the matter ends,
with mankind having no practical course to follow. As long as it remains
unverified, it becomes simply a matter of belief. One group believes these
things do exist, one group believes they don't. Each side has its own
ideas. Take note that those who believe that there are no such things are
not beyond the level of belief -- they are still stuck on the belief that
such things do not exist. Both of these groups of people are living in the
one society. As long as they hold these differing and unresolvable
beliefs, there is going to be a state of tension.
In this instance, science
has no recommendations to offer, but in Buddhism there are ways of
practice given in graded steps. On the first level, looking for truth by
experimentation, regardless of who wants to prove the matter one way or
the other, there is no problem. Those who are looking for the facts are
free to continue their search, either in support of the existence of
heavenly beings or against it.
On the second level,
finding a right attitude for the conduct of everyday life, what should we
do? In Buddhism there is a way of practice which does not contradict the
case either for or against the existence of heavenly beings. Our lives
have a standard which is clear and can be applied immediately. We are
always ready to accept the truth, whether it is eventually proven that
heavenly beings do exist or they do not, and our way of life will be in no
way affected by such a discovery.
Most people are easily
swayed or put on the defensive because of doubts about issues such as
this, which tends to make them lean towards either one of two extreme
views -- either that heavenly beings do exist or that they don't. If you
believe that heavenly beings do exist, then you have to make supplications
and perform ritual ceremonies to placate them. If you believe that there
aren't any heavenly beings, then you must argue with those who do.
But in Buddhism we
distinguish clearly between the search for facts, which proceeds as
normal, and the conduct of everyday life. Our life does not depend on the
heavenly beings. If there are heavenly beings, then they are beings in
this universe just like us, subject to birth, aging, sickness and death,
just like us. We Buddhists have a teaching which encourages us to develop
kind thoughts to all beings in the universe. If there are heavenly beings,
then we must have kind thoughts toward those heavenly beings.
The essential teaching of
Buddhism is self-development and self-reliance. The objective is freedom.
If we are practicing in accordance with the principle of self-reliance, we
know what our responsibility is. It is to train ourselves, to better
ourselves. The responsibility of the heavenly beings is to better
themselves. So we both have the same responsibility, to better ourselves.
We can coexist with the heavenly beings with kind thoughts. At the same
time, whether heavenly beings exist or not is no concern of ours. In this
way, Buddhism has a clear outlook on the matter, and Buddhists do not have
to worry about such things.
Without this attitude, we
get caught in the problem of whether these things do exist or not. If they
do exist, how should we conduct ourselves? We might create ceremonies and
sacrifices, which is not the duty of a Buddhist. The Buddhist
responsibility is to practice to better oneself. If a human being succeeds
in fully bettering himself, then he becomes the most excellent of all
beings -- revered even by the heavenly beings.
This is an example of
Buddhist attitude, which in essence is very similar to the attitude
described in the simile of the man wounded by the poisoned arrow. If you
have been pierced by an arrow, your first duty is to remove it before the
poison spreads throughout the body and kills you. As for searching for
data in relation to that incident, whoever feels so inclined can do so,
but first it is necessary to take out that arrow.
This is very similar to
the thinking of Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington. He had a similar idea,
although he did not put it in Buddhist terms. He wrote:
"Verily, it is easier for
a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a scientific man to
pass through a door. And whether the door be barn door or church door it
might be wiser that he should consent to be an ordinary man and walk in
rather than wait till all the difficulties involved in a really scientific
ingress are resolved."
In Christian texts it is
said that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a
needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. Eddington rephrased this a
little, saying that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye
of a needle than for a scientific man to go through a door and into a
room. What did he mean by this?
I stress here that
Eddington is talking about a scientific man, not a scientist. The reason
it would be so hard for a scientific man to enter a room is that a
scientific man would have to first stand in front of the door and wonder,
"... Hmm, I wonder if I should go through this door?" He would have to
consider all the physical laws. He might try to figure for example, how
many pounds of air pressure per square inch would be on his body if he
walked through the door, how fast the earth would be spinning at the time,
how this would effect his walking into the room ... he would be thinking
for ever. In the end the scientific man would find it impossible to go
through the door, because he would never finish his scientific
calculations. That is why Eddington said it would be even easier for a
camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a scientific man to
pass through a door. He concluded that scientists should behave as normal.
Whether it be the door of a church, a barn door or any other kind of door,
then just to go through it.
If things continue as they
are, science is in danger of becoming another kind of "higher philosophy."
That is, one of those "truths" which are impossible to use in the
situations of everyday life, because they are forever waiting to be
verified. Pure science maintains that it is void of values, but it is well
known how important the role of science has been in the development of
society in recent times, even though this development has been the
activity of human beings, imbued as they are with values. When we look
closely at history we find that values have been exerting a subtle
influence over the birth and development of science, beginning with faith
and the aspiration to know the truths of nature, up until the most
destructive value, the desire to conquer nature and produce an abundance
of material goods.
The solution to the
problem of values in science is not to try to get rid of them. It is not
necessary for science to try to evade values. It is more a matter of
trying to clarify the values that science does, or should, have.
Otherwise, science may unknowingly become the victim of other values,
values which obstruct the truth, and cause it to become a negative
influence, one that could even threaten the complete destruction of the
In the preceding parts of
this lecture I have tried to show the connection of science to values on
two levels, the highest value and the provisional value. This highest
value is one that science must adhere to in order to attain to the highest
truth, because the highest value is in itself the truth and thus an
indispensable factor in the attainment of ultimate truth. However, this
highest value, the highest good, or freedom, is an ideal, it is an
objective, and as such will not exert a major influence on the quality of
science in general.
The value which will have
the most immediate influence over science is the secondary value, of which
there are two kinds: that which is derived from, and harmonious with, the
highest value; and the phony value which has infiltrated into science as a
result of a lack of reflection on values.
While scientists have no
understanding of values, and fail to see the relationship between them and
the truth they are seeking, science will, in addition to limiting the
scope of knowledge to which it aspires and rendering the search for
highest knowledge fruitless, be taken over by the lesser and more
counterproductive values, some inherited from previous generations, and
some fed by desire and the search for happiness within the minds of
present-day scientists themselves. When these inferior values dominate the
mind, not only do they throw the search for true knowledge off course, but
they lead to destructive tendencies, causing problems either in the
immediate present, or if not, then at some time in the future.
Conversely, if scientists,
or those seeking truth, realize the connection between abstract values and
the physical world, they will also realize that to search for and
understand natural truth is to understand the nature of man; that for man
to understand himself is to understand the nature around him. When there
is this kind of realization, the secondary value which is derived from the
highest value will arise of itself. It will automatically be fulfilled.
When there is right understanding, the result will be twofold, namely:
1. The search for
knowledge will not be limited or misdirected, but will be set straight on
the course for the highest kind of knowledge.
2. The correct kind of
secondary value will automatically arise and human development will
proceed in conjunction with the search for knowledge.
If research is based on
this right understanding, the right kind of value will automatically be
The highest kind of value
is a condition that will be attained on the realization of truth. It is
not necessary to strive to attain this value in itself, simply to bear it
in mind. When this is realized, a balanced kind of secondary value, which
is congruous with the highest value, will arise.
Even though in the path
that is directed toward, and harmonious with, the truth, the assurance of
values is not necessary, being already included in the awareness of truth,
in practical terms, such as when scientific knowledge is transferred into
technology, it may be necessary to emphasize some values in order to
clarify the direction of research and to prevent the infiltration of
inferior and destructive values. Examples of some of these positive values
might be: the search for knowledge in order to attain freedom from human
imperfection, or to search for knowledge in order to solve problems and
further the development of mankind and even such lesser values as striving
to do everything as circumspectly as possible, with minimal harmful
At the very least, the
realization of the importance of values will enable scientists to be aware
of and to understand the way to relate to the values with which they have
to deal in their search for knowledge, such as greed, anger, hurt,
jealousy, envy and so on, such as in the case of Newton. More importantly,
they will see the benefit of a correct set of values and know how to use
them effectively, even in the advancement of the search for knowledge. At
the very least, scientists will have a sense of morals and not become the
mere servants of industry.
One value which is of
prime importance to humanity and its activities is happiness. The value of
happiness lies deeply and subconsciously behind all human activities and
is thus an essential part of ethics. Our conception of happiness will
naturally influence all our undertakings. For example, the values of the
Industrial Age saw that happiness lay in the subjugation of nature, after
which nature could be used as humanity wished. This has led to the
developments which are presently causing so many problems in the world.
In order to address
problems successfully we must see the truth of happiness and suffering as
they really are. Conversely, if we do not correct our values in regard to
happiness and suffering, we will have no way of addressing the problems of
To correct our definition
of happiness means, in brief, to change our social values, no longer
trying to find happiness in the destruction of nature, but instead finding
happiness in harmony with nature. In this way we can limit the
manipulation of nature to only what is necessary to relieve human
suffering rather than to feed pleasure-seeking.
Mankind must realize that
if he continues to seek happiness from the destruction of nature, he will
not find the happiness he is looking for, even if nature is completely
destroyed. Conversely, if mankind is able to live happily with nature, he
will experience happiness even while developing the freedom from
Roughly speaking, there
are three main values with which scientists will inevitably have to deal.
1. Mundane values, which
scientists, as ordinary people, have in common with everybody else. This
includes incentives or motivations, both good and bad, occurring in
everyday life, and also in the search for and use of knowledge. Such
values include selfishness, the desire for wealth, gains, fame or
eminence, or, on the other hand, altruistic values, such as kindness and
2. Values which are
adhered to as principles, and which guide the direction of learning, such
as the idea of subjugating nature, the values of the industrial age, the
belief that happiness can be obtained through a wealth of material goods,
or conversely, the principle of addressing problems and improving the
quality of life.
3. The highest value,
which scientists should adhere to as members of the human race, is the
ideal of the human race as a whole, which, as I have said, has so far been
neglected by the world of science. Science is still only half way, with an
aspiration to know the truths of nature solely on an outward level. Such
an aspiration does not include the matter of "being human," or the highest
Science has still some
unfinished business to do in regard to these three values.
On the level of everyday
life, or satisfying the everyday needs of humanity, science plays the
vital role of paving the way for technological development and encouraging
the production, development and consumption of lopsided technology. On the
other hand, social preferences for a particular kind of technology
encourage scientific research aimed at producing, developing and consuming
From what we have seen,
science, supported by the beliefs in the efficacy of conquering nature and
producing an abundance of material goods, has spurred the production and
development of technology along a path resulting in serious problems.
Science and technology may have actually done more harm than good.
The kind of production,
development and consumption of technology which has caused these problems
is one geared to feeding greed (selfishly and wastefully catering to
desires on the sensual plane), hatred (causing exploitation, destruction,
power mongering), and delusion (encouraging heedlessness, time-wasting
activities, and the blind consumption and use of technology).
In the development of
science on the technological level, it will be necessary to change some of
the basic assumptions it is based on, by encouraging the development of
constructive technology, which is free of harmful effects, within the
constraints of these three principles:
1. Technology which is
2. Technology which is
used for creating benefit.
3. Technology which serves
to develop understanding and improve the human being.
I would like to expand on
this a little.
1. We must acknowledge the
needs of the ordinary human being. Ordinary people want to be able to
satisfy their desires for sense pleasures. We do not want to suppress or
deny these sense pleasures. The important point is to encourage the
constraint of behavior to a degree which is not destructive or
extravagant, by encouraging restraint on the mind, keeping it within
moderate limitations. It must be a limitation in which self-created sense
desires are balanced by an awareness of what is of real benefit to and
truly necessary in life. This is expressed in the words "know moderation."
This value is closely related to the development of wisdom. In particular,
there should be some principles governing the production, development and
consumption of material goods wherein they are directed towards real
benefit, aimed at bettering the quality of life rather than satisfying
inferior values. In short, we can call this, "technology which is
moderate," or technology which puts a limitation on greed.
2. In addition to
selfishness and greed, mankind has a tendency to covet power over others,
and to destroy those who oppose his desires. The human potential for
hatred has found expression in many ways, causing the production,
development and consumption of technology which facilitates mutual
destruction more than mutual cooperation. Mankind must turn around and
change this direction of development, by establishing a clear objective
and creating a firm and decisive plan to encourage the production,
development and consumption of goods which are constructive and beneficial
to human society. This technology for benefit will help to do away with or
diminish the production of technology which caters to hatred.
3. So far, the production,
development and consumption of technology has mostly been of a kind which
leads people to heedlessness, intoxication and dullness, especially in the
present time, when many parts of the world have stepped into the
Information Age. If mankind practices wrongly in regard to this
information technology, it becomes an instrument for promoting
heedlessness rather than an educational aid. Witness, for example, the
gambling machines and video games which abound in the cities of the world,
completely void of any purpose other than to waste time and money. Witness
also the ignorant use of technology, without any awareness of its benefits
and dangers, leading to environmental damage. These things not only
degrade the environment, they also debase human dignity.
For this reason we need to
effectuate a conscious change of direction -- to stress production,
development and consumption of technology which promotes intelligence and
development of the human being, using it as a tool for the communication
of knowledge that is useful, and which encourages people to use their time
constructively. There must also be conscious use of technology, with an
awareness of the benefits and dangers involved in it. In this way,
technology will be an instrument for enhancing the quality of life and
protecting the environment. Society will become an environment which
supports and encourages mental development. This third kind of technology
can be called, "technology which enhances intelligence and human
development," which is directly opposite to the technology which
If production, development
and consumption of technology can be channelled in this way, and if
science opens the way to this kind of technology, then sustainable
development will surely become a reality.
12. Sir Arthur Stanley
Eddington, "Defense of Mysticism," in Quantum Questions, ed. Ken Wilbur
(Boston: New Science Library, 1984), p. 208.
[Taken from Bhikkhu P. A.
Payutto., Toward Sustainable Science, A Buddhist Look at Trends in
Scientific Development. (Bangkok: Buddhadhamma Foundation, 1993), pp.
Sincere thanks to
Ti.nh Tue^. for transcription of this article.