Dialogue between Modern Science and Buddhist Science

Yokohama, Japan - Immediately after His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined the other panellists on the stage at the National Convention Hall this morning, Ms Youko Yamaguchi welcomed the participants and the 5000 strong audience as she introduced the event. She invited His Holiness to make his opening remarks.

“I’ve been engaged in discussions with American, European and Indian scientists such as Richie Davidson and Wolf Singer for many years. Ancient Indian science as embodied in the Nalanda Tradition advocated reasoned investigation particularly with regard to the mind and emotions.

During more than 30 years of these talks proponents of modern science and Buddhist science have achieved mutual benefit. Having learned a great deal about the physical world, Buddhist scholars and contemplatives have acquainted modern scientists with qualities of the mind. The Mind & Life Institute that emerged from these interactions continues to organize conferences and workshops.

“Dialogues like these have two purposes. Scientists’ brilliant minds have predominantly focussed on the physical world. But human beings are not just physical beings. We also have feelings and consciousness. It’s appropriate that scientists learn about the inner world of mind and emotions.

“Secondly, the world is passing through an emotional crisis as reflected in the violence still taking place. During the 20th century there were two world wars, Japan was twice attacked with nuclear weapons and 200 million people lost their lives in violence. If this had resulted in a better world, it might have been justified, but violence necessarily means suffering.

Since there are still people who believe that problems can be most efficiently solved by use of force, there’s a risk of repeating the errors of the 20th century. Therefore, we must endeavour to make this 21st century an era of peace.