Bhikkhu P. A. Payutto
From common beginnings to separation
It is commonly asserted that religion arose from the fear
of danger, particularly natural dangers, such as lightning, floods,
earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and hurricanes. These dangers have threatened
human beings throughout the ages. Ancient man, ignorant of the workings of
nature, could not understand the causes of these natural forces. Terrified at
the threat they presented, he began to search for answers. This quest
precipitated an interest in the nature that surrounded man, and a desire to
find some solutions to his problems.
This awareness of danger is the common origin of both
religion and science. The desire for security was the motivating force for the
birth of religion. Together with the fear of danger arose a sense of wonder at
the marvels of nature, which led to the desire to know its truths. This was no
idle curiosity: human beings were forced to find out about nature in order to
address the dangers which threatened them. Thus the aspiration to be free of
danger, which was based on fear, indirectly led to the desire to know nature's
truths, which gave birth to science. Religion was born from the desire to
escape danger, and science was born from the desire to know nature's truths.
History tells us that the earliest forms of scientific
research, in such cultures as in Egypt
and Mesopotamia, were in fact conducted by
priests. They were the first people to take an interest in nature and to devote
time to finding solutions to the dangers that threatened them.
However, the common origin of science and religion is
also the point at which they parted. The reason they parted lies within the
nature of truth itself. The natural dangers which threaten humanity are
immediate concerns, matters of life and death. The threat is tangible and
urgent. Do what you will, we must have an answer right now. Because all people
are faced equally with the same dangers, answers must be relevant to the whole
of society. In such a situation, it is necessary to come up with answers which
can be acted upon immediately, answers which put an end to the urgent demands
for security. When an answer appears that is acceptable, it is
institutionalized as religion.
The practical answers thus provided may take forms, such as
mystic ceremonies, which to the modern eye would seem absurd, but even so, they
are something which can be acted upon immediately. For the mainstream of
society, this is what becomes religion.
Now there are others who take the time to gradually collect
facts, experiment and analyze. These people, through observation and
experiment, arrive at a different set of answers. This is what is known as
"science," the knowledge that comes from gradual and systematic
Here religion and science diverge. One answer serves as a
remedy for an immediate need, for the masses, and, relying heavily on faith and
belief, lacks systematic observation. This is religion. Religion, then, is tied
to faith. Science, on the other hand, is a discipline of gradual and systematic
investigation. It is not concerned with finding immediate answers, and is
available only to the few who are so inclined, not the whole of society. The
systematic observation of natural facts has been carried on through the ages by
interested parties, and the resulting institution has become known as
At this juncture we have one clear distinction
between religion and science: religion is for the masses, whereas science is
for a select few. It may be questioned how religion manages to maintain
uniformity in the letter and the practice of its teachings. This is achieved
through faith. Religion has its roots in faith, and uses faith to preserve its
teaching. Religion provides an unchanging belief system, a dogma, which must be
adhered to and upheld, one that is unquestionable.
Science is accessible to those who are capable of
understanding it, the thinkers. Its essence is preserved through verifiable
truths and valid methods of experimentation. Science thus preserves and
propagates its truths through wisdom, or, more specifically, the scientific
Religion seeks to convey an all-embracing, absolute truth,
an answer which addresses an immediate need. It might be more accurate to say
that the answer thus provided is what becomes known as religion, rather than
that religion provides the answer. There is no institution of religion, as
such, which comes up with these answers. It is rather that the answers proposed
by humanity have become institutionalized as religion.
In one sense, religion seeks to provide one absolute
answer to the fundamental questions of life, covering all levels, from the
highest to the lowest. Science, on the other hand, attempts to observe truth
from its individual manifestations, piece by piece. It is a collection of
piecemeal facts which are hoped will gradually lead to an overall picture.
Even though science, too, wants general principles, its
general principles are conditional. They are confined to specific situations
and conditions, and are only part of the overall, or fundamental, truth. We
could say that religion gives a total answer, science a piecemeal one.
Owing to the limitations of both science and
religion, there arose a third group which, too, aspired to find answers to the
fundamental questions of life and the universe. They were dissatisfied with
religion because, although it gave such an answer, it was not one that appealed
to reason. Science, on the other hand, although providing answers that were
verifiable and appealed to reason, had not yet come up with any absolute
answers. Scientific research had still not reached the fundamental level of
reality. This third group did not want to wait for science's answers, so they
attempted to find answers to those fundamental questions through reasoned
analysis, without the need for verification. This system of thought became
another science, known as philosophy.
We could compare these three disciplines, using the
fundamental questions of nature as a measuring stick, in this way:
1. Science: is still in the process of verification
and observation and is yet to come up with an answer.
2. Philosophy: attempts to give an answer pending
verification by using reasoned analysis.
3. Religion: provides an absolute answer which needs
Both science and philosophy appeared after religion,
and both attempt to give clearer answers. However, both of them fail to give
answers that are satisfactory and fulfilling for everyday life, and that is why
religion still exists and answers a need through faith.
Because religion offers this comprehensive and immediate
truth, an answer that is suitable for the masses, but which at the same time is
not verifiable through any of the five senses, it must hinge on faith. And
because these answers are unverified, they will be constantly changing. At one
time one kind of answer is given: people don't know whether it is true or not,
because it can't be verified. If they believe it they accept it. At a later
time a new answer is given. Nobody knows whether this new answer is true or not
either -- it, too, can't be verified. It boils down to preference. Some prefer
the older belief, some the newer one. Religions, built as they are on faith,
vary in accordance with that faith. For this reason we can see at any one time
many different religions. This is because an all-embracing, absolute answer
cannot be verified, it rests on belief. When a new answer arises there may be
some who believe that, but others won't, and all the answers are equally
In contrast, science answers slowly and methodically,
verifying each point as it goes. It solves problems rationally. At any given
time there is only one science. It is often said, "There are many
religions, but only one science." However, from a historical perspective
it can be said that there are many sciences, because science doesn't give a
total view of truth. Theories about the nature of the universe vary from time
to time. For example, at one time science favored the Ptolemaic universe, which
portrayed an earth-centered model. Then came the Copernican System, with the
heliocentric solar system, and then there were the Cartesian and Newtonian
systems, and now we have the universe of the new physics. Science's picture of
reality has been constantly changing. Nature, or the universe, according to the
modern theories of physics, whether the quantum or relativity theories, is
completely different from the universe in the time of Newton. In this sense there have been many
It is not only from the historical perspective that
there have been many sciences. In the present age there also seem to be many
sciences existing together. There are scientists who now say that the time has
come for science to reappraise some of its basic premises. They reject some of
the old scientific premises and talk of a "new physics" and a
Science deals with the outside world, which is measured by
the five senses. Here religion differs yet again. It not only looks at the
outside world, but also the human being, the one who is observing. While
science concerns itself solely with the objects of observation, religion
concerns itself with the observer, the one who is using these five sense bases.
Thus, religion is not confined to data observable through the five senses, but
is directly related to the level of development of each individual. The way
religion is perceived is directly related to the level of mental development of
the perceiver, which gives it an added level of complexity.
In any case, as far as religion goes, even though it
lays emphasis on the human being, it does so only insofar as the human being is
experiencing a problem, and that problem needs to be dealt with. When looking
for the causes of that problem, however, most religions look, like science, to
the external environment. In this respect, most religions are similar to
science: they look to the external natural world as the source of problems or
Religion's search for truth is in order to solve the human
problem, while science's search for truth is in order to satisfy the thirst for
knowledge. For most religions, which are compelled to have ready answers, the
causes of problems, whether internal or external, are seen as existing behind
that natural world, in the form of spirits, deities, gods or other supernatural
forces. For external disturbances, such as lightning, earthquakes and so on,
sacrifices and prayers are prescribed. For internal disturbances, such as
sickness, mental disease or hysteria, mediums or spirit healers perform mystic
ceremonies. Meanwhile science, not being compelled to find any immediate
remedies, slowly and systematically goes about its search for data.
The natural religions, Buddhism in particular, have a
special interest in the human condition, but they do not see the source of
problems entirely in the external world. Buddhism looks for the source of
problems within the entire process of causes and conditions -- including those
within the human being, such as wrong ways of thinking -- be they internal or
external, material or immaterial, physical or mental.
Among ordinary religions, there are many that teach
the treatment of problems by appropriate means, through morality or ethics,
which seems to indicate an understanding of the internal factors contributing
to them, but this is not necessarily the case. In fact, such practice is often
done not with real understanding of these factors, but out of obedience to some
external, supernatural force. The relationship is one between mankind and an
external power. Ethical behavior in these religions is usually done in order to
avoid punishment, or to gain favors or blessings, rather than through awareness
of the factors occurring in the natural processes.
Religions, many and varied at the one time, address the
needs of different levels of people. At any one time society consists of many
different levels of virtue and understanding, thus the need for many religions,
answering many different levels of need.
In the past, scientific truths were verifiable through the
five senses, but this is no longer the case. With the passage of time it has
become necessary to develop instruments, such as the telescope and the
microscope, to extend the capabilities of these senses. Nowadays even those instruments
have reached their limits, making it necessary to develop even more complex
instruments and test hypotheses with mathematics. Mathematical languages and
computers are the newest instruments of verification.
Science's development of increasingly complex means
of verification has caused it to become a highly specialized field, accessible
to very few people. It has become impossible for the average man to observe the
truths of science, because the instruments are not available to him.
Religion, on the other hand, belongs to the masses.
It is available for the average man, who is free to accept or reject it without
the need for proof. Although it is true that some religions, like science,
reserve their truths for a select few, the priests or monks, and even reserve
the right to spiritual attainments, this is more a result of manipulations by
certain individuals than the nature of religions themselves. In the natural
religions, such as Buddhism, there is no such distinction or exclusion, because
nature is its own master. How can truth be monopolized? Each individual has a
right to understand and attain the truths of nature, depending on intelligence
Note that there are two kinds of inability to verify
truths. One is through an inability to access the instruments of verification,
while the other is because such truths cannot be verified through the means
being used. In the present time science is experiencing problems on both
counts, especially when attempting to make a statement of ultimate truth, or
delving into the realm of the mind.
If the scope of science is not broadened, it will arrive at
a dead end. In science there is a very strong aspiration to answer the
fundamental and ultimate questions of the universe, but we never seem to get
near them. Just as scientific research seems to be getting on the verge of an
answer, the truth seems to slip beyond reach once more.
A clarity that is not free of confusion
In addition to the new science and the classical science,
or the new physics and the classical physics, we have one science for the
specialists and one for the average man. Many of the concepts spoken of in
science are completely beyond the ability of the average man to visualize. Not
only can he not verify them for himself, he can't even grasp the concepts in
question. And this applies not only to the average man: some of the concepts of
science are even beyond the ability of most scientists to visualize! One can
only take their word for it.
Let us take an example. According to science, light is at
once a wave and a particle. Scientists were trying to define the nature of
light itself: it's a particle, right? One group said, "Yes, that's right.
It's a particle, a stream of photons." But another group said, "No,
light is a wave." In the end it seems that it is both a particle and a
wave. But what's that? It has to be proven with mathematics. This kind of thing
is beyond the grasp of the ordinary human mind.
Let's look at some more examples: astronomers tell us
that there are black holes scattered throughout the universe. These are stars
with such extremely high gravitational pulls that even light cannot escape
them, they are absolutely dark. Now what does the average man make of that?
Something that even light cannot escape from?! Now they say that in these black
holes both matter and energy are compacted to such terrific densities that
nothing on this earth of ours can compare. As an illustration, they say that if
all the empty space were somehow pressed out of a skyscraper, like the Empire State
Building, 102 stories
high, its mass and energy could be compacted into the size of a needle! A
skyscraper! Now what is the man in the street going to make of that?
Scientists say that this is how a black hole is. In
fact it's even stranger, because, apart from being the size of a needle, at the
same time it would still weigh as much as the original Empire State
inconceivable -- all we can do is believe them. We've trusted the scientists
for so long, we give them the benefit of the doubt. But deep inside we're all
wondering, "Huh? How is that possible?"
Science is not yet able to provide an explanation of
the totality of life and the world, it is still engaged in the process of
collecting and verifying pieces of data. It can still not explain many of the
basic questions of the universe, such as the nature, or even existence, of the
Science has gone beyond the point where it can be proven
with the five senses. Hypotheses are proven through mathematics, which is then
interpreted by physicists. The truth is reduced to algebraic equations, which
are not in themselves the truth, and don't really clarify the truth in a
convincing way. Mathematical symbols have become the new objects of faith. They
are interpreted without a direct awareness of reality, which is very nearly the
condition that Sir Arthur Eddington spoke of. Sir Arthur Eddington was an
English scientist, credited with being the first person to devise a way to
prove Einstein's Theory of Relativity, on account of which he was knighted. He
"Science is incapable of leading mankind directly to
the truth, or reality as such, it can only lead him to a shadow world of
Even observable phenomena are not a certainty. Scientists
use the scientific method as a means of testing their observations. The main
factors of this method are observation and experiment, which must be done until
there is no longer room for doubt. But, even then, the matter is not closed,
because of the limitations of the experimental method and the instruments used.
Let's take as an example Newton's Law of Gravitation. This was a
universally accepted truth, a Law, until Einstein came along and said it was
not entirely correct. On the subatomic level, the Law of Gravity no longer
applies. In Newton's
time, however, there were no instruments to observe the subatomic level.
Mankind had to wait until the twentieth century and the arrival of Einstein,
using mathematical equations and reasoning, to perceive this truth. So we must
be careful. You cannot ultimately believe even experimentation.
I am reminded of the story of the chicken and Farmer Brown.
Every morning that the chicken sees Farmer Brown, Farmer Brown is carrying some
food for him. He sees this every single morning, so it follows that whenever he
sees Farmer Brown the chicken gets fed. Chicken sees Farmer Brown = gets fed
... this is the equation. But there comes a morning when the chicken sees
Farmer Brown and doesn't get fed, because Farmer Brown isn't carrying food in
his hand, he's carrying a knife. The equation "Chicken sees Farmer Brown =
gets fed" becomes "Chicken sees Farmer Brown = gets throat cut."
So it seems that even verification based on repeated observation cannot be completely
trusted, it's still not a foregone conclusion.
Towards a unity of science and religion
Science is of little direct use to the masses. The function
through which science should really help the people is in the field of
understanding, but the role it in effect plays is by and large through
technology, which does not improve understanding by any means. In what
direction does technology assist humanity? Mostly in consumption, often
nourishing greed, aversion, or delusion. Television is invented, and so we are
able to watch that. But when people watch television they don't look at things
which are going to increase their understanding and intelligence, they prefer
to look at things which make them more indulgent and heedless. We have
communications technology, but rather than using it for developing wisdom and
discernment, it is too often used to encourage delusion.
Science takes no responsibility for the uses its knowledge
is put to, leaving technology to help the masses. Technology, however, doesn't
always help; sometimes it is downright harmful. As I said, instead of becoming
a tool to create benefit, it becomes a tool for seeking personal gain. Thus,
science leaves the people in the hands of religion. Who can you blame? One may
ask, "Why does religion make people so gullible?" but then it can be
countered, "Why does science abandon the people to religion?"
Very few people have access to the more profound levels of
science. All most people can do is believe it, they can't really know it.
Nowadays science has become more and more a matter of faith, not knowledge,
which puts it on much the same standing as most religions.
When science is finally able to arrive at the truth, to
answer mankind's ultimate questions, it will be perfected. Many religions will
no longer be sustainable. Conversely, a religion which points to the highest
truth, to reality, will be in a position to unify with science. At that time
science and religion will have reached another meeting point, their last one,
where religion becomes science and science becomes religion, the division
between the two gone forever.
Too little, too late
The real-life problems in society are in need of an
immediate answer or remedy -- now, in this present life. As individuals we are
only on this earth for a limited time. The situations threatening us give no
time for procrastination.
Even though science is capable of providing many efficient
ways of answering our problems, it is hampered by being "too little, too
late." By being "too little," I mean that the knowledge of
science is insufficient to solve the fundamental problems of life. It cannot
make people good, it cannot make them happy, it cannot show them how to rectify
bad habits, it cannot heal suffering, sadness, anger, sorrow, depression and so
on. It can't even solve social problems.
Scientists may counter that science has helped in many
ways. People with insomnia, depression and mental problems are all helped by
drugs. Science is of great benefit in these areas. It must be conceded that
applied science and technology in the medical fields have helped vast numbers
of people. People with severe mental problems are indeed helped to some degree
by science, and scientists may even believe that in the future it will be
possible to make people happy through the use of drugs. Whenever you feel
unhappy, just pop a capsule and the suffering is gone ... but this is no longer
medicine, it is hedonism. Scientists may conduct research into the nature of
the brain, ascertain which particular chemicals are secreted when certain
emotions, such as happiness, are experienced, isolate the chemical agent and
synthesize it. Then, whenever people have a feeling of depression or sadness,
they can take this drug and be immediately relieved. With chemicals like this
as freely available as food, people will always be happy, and never again have
to experience depression.
But then again, reflecting on the dangers of chemicals,
there are enough problems in the world already with food additives and
pesticides, without adding any more. However, this is not the most important
point. Even more important is the perspective of values, or quality of life.
The objective of religion is to lead people to freedom. Freedom means the
ability to be happy without the need for external agents, to be more and more
independently happy and less and less dependent on externals, to develop a life
free of enslavement to a mass of external trappings. But the use of drugs
forces people to lay their happiness and their fate more and more into the
hands of externals, making them less and less able to live with themselves.
In causing people to depend increasingly on externals,
science is not unlike the ancient religions, which led people to invest their
fate in the gods with sacrifices and supplications. In both cases, the
happiness and suffering of human beings is offered up into the hands of
external agents, and in essence they equally destroy man's independence.
This is what I mean by "too little." Science on
its own is not capable of solving mankind's problems. To use Buddhist
terminology, we could say that science and technology do not encourage people
to have good behavior (sila), do not encourage quality in the mind, or inner
well-being (samadhi) and they suffer from "funnel vision," in that
they seek to amass data, but they do not provide us with the knowledge of how
to lead a happy life (pañña).[*]
The second objection to science is that it is "too
late." Scientific truth is not whole or complete, it is not yet able to
give us definitive and final answers, and there is no indication of when it
will be able to do so. Scientific knowledge is constantly changing. At one time
the truth is thought to be one way, later on it is found to be otherwise. If we
had to sit and wait for science to come up with a final answer to the nature of
the universe, we would all die first without ever finding out how to conduct
Scientists are always looking for a general principle, but
they can only arrive at "sub-principles," only pieces of the overall
picture. In the meantime, while we are waiting for science's explanation of
fundamental truth, we are using it, through technology, to enhance our lives
and pander to our desires. For the moment, it is technology that is actually
giving concrete results rather than science itself. But technology cannot
answer mankind's fundamental questions. For an answer to the truth (or
non-truth) of the natural world, mankind must first rely on religion, using
science only for the convenience offered through technological progress. This
is the situation at the present time.
Religion is still present in this world because mankind is
still waiting for a complete and absolute answer, one that is right for the
situation and which is immediately practicable. Because such answers cannot be
verified, and because science cannot verify them, most people are forced to
resort to belief.
Although science has made such great advances, all it has
done is expand the perceivable limits of the material world. In terms of
answering mankind's fundamental questions and showing man's proper relationship
and position in the world, science seems to have been running in circles and
made no real progress.
Not above blunders
It is not only in the field of pure science that the
problem of mistakes arises from time to time. Within the field of applied
science and technology, mistakes are common. They are usually not wrongdoings
as such, but blunders that arise out of ignorance, oversight or lack of
Take for example the drug chloramphenicol. At one time this
drug was very widespread. It was reputed to be a wonder drug, it seemed to cure
everything. Whenever you were sick, all you had to do was just go and buy some
chloramphenicol, they sold it everywhere. Later on, after about ten years, it
was discovered that this drug would gradually build up in the body and cause
bone marrow to cease production of blood corpuscles, and many people had died
Then there was the case of DDT. At one time it was thought
that with DDT, our problems with the insect world were over-ants, mosquitoes
... all gone. People thought that they could eradicate these creatures and no
longer have to be bothered by them. Many years later it was found that DDT was
carcinogenic, an insidious substance which could prove fatal even to humans.
What's more, while the humans were suffering ill effects from the drug, the
insect population was becoming immune to it. In time it has become less
effective as an insecticide, and is now more likely to kill the human beings.
Many countries have banned the use of DDT, but Thailand is still using it, even
Then there was the case of thalidomide. Thalidomide was a
pain killer and tranquillizer which was highly praised by the medical
profession. It was reputed to have passed the most rigorous tests, and was
trusted so highly that it was announced as an exceptionally safe drug. It was
so lauded that even the developed countries, which are normally very cautious
about drugs and medicines, allowed the drug to be bought without a
prescription. It was sold for about five years, up until 1961, at which time it
was found that this drug, when taken by pregnant women, caused deformities in
babies. Before the danger was realized and the drug recalled from the market,
about 8,000 children were born deformed.
Let's take one more example, the case of CFC's
(chlorofluorocarbons). This group of chemicals is widely used in refrigerators,
air conditioners and "pressure-pack" spray cans, and they have been
used for a long time with complete confidence. By the time we knew what was
going on, these chemicals had risen up into the upper levels of the atmosphere
and caused gaps in the ozone layer, causing great concern among scientists and
environmentalists the world over. And so a new piece of knowledge arises --
what we thought was a good thing turns out to be not so good after all.
The emergence and development of science has undoubtedly
helped to improve understanding and the human intellect, about this there is no
argument. But at the same time, if we look closely we will see that it has also
caused human intelligence and understanding to decline. Previously, when
science was just beginning to develop, people were very impressed with its
achievements. There was a great deal of excitement over the discoveries and
technological achievements of science, and people put all their hopes into
science and technology. All of nature's mysteries were going to be revealed,
and science would lead humanity into an age of perfect happiness. Those who
wholeheartedly trusted science began to doubt religions and the answers
provided by them, and many people lost faith entirely and discarded religion.
Unfortunately, the truth dealt with by science is only a
partial one. It deals only with the physical world. Science has no answers to
the questions dealing with internal human problems, the answers for which
mankind had previously turned to religion. This renunciation of religion in
modern times would not be such a big loss if by religion we simply meant the
institutional forms of religion, but it means that the part of religion which
deals with solving internal human problems has also been discarded. With
science taking no interest in these matters, and people ignoring them, there
arises a break in the stream of knowledge. The answers which had previously
been provided by religions have been ignored, and mankind's mental and
spiritual growth has been retarded and even, in some areas, gone into decline.
The nature of the world, life and human problems, will not
allow mankind to ignore the need for religion. Fundamental, practical and
immediate answers are still as much in demand as ever before. When science is
seen to be incapable of providing an answer to this need, and when human beings
tire of their fascination with science, they may come to their senses and
remember this fundamental need within. They may then turn once more to religion
for their answers. But because the stream of mental development has been
interrupted, or set back, their searching will be very erratic, and a fresh
start may have to be made. Indications of this can be seen in some of the
religious developments in highly developed countries, where there has been a
persistence of religious superstition and gullibility in spite of being
surrounded by a high level of scientific sophistication.
However that may be, science is not without its merits and
blessings in leading to better understanding within religious circles. The
active role religion, especially in its institutional forms, has taken on
occasion in suppressing the development of human intelligence is well known.
Some religions have clung blindly to absurd beliefs and practices, even in the
face of their own fundamental principles.
The development of science and its attitudes and methods
has had some measure of good influence on religions and religious attitudes in
society. At the very least, it has prodded religions to reevaluate some of
their teachings and attitudes. It has also served as a gauge with which to
appraise the answers offered by different religions.
However, from the point of view of the masses, especially
in countries in which outlooks and methods have been heavily influenced by
science, science does not seem to have had a significantly beneficial effect on
life-styles and mental well-being. Science itself is of not much interest to
most people. While they look at science favorably, their belief in it is really
no different from the beliefs of former generations in magical forces and the
occult. It is naive, not based on knowledge. This is "scientism."
When most people think of science, they look straight past it at technology,
which they look on as a means for gratifying their desires. For that reason,
the development of science has had little ennobling influence on the knowledge,
understanding, or attitudes of society.
On the brighter side, people seem to be getting over their
excitement about science and are beginning to look at their needs in relation
to religion. Many religions are addressing these needs on different levels. At
the same time, some members of scientific circles are becoming aware of the
limitations of orthodox science, and are expanding the horizons of their
research to include more religious perspectives, which suggests the possibility
of a fully-developed science merging with a fully-developed religion, together
to lead humanity to reality, peace, and a life free of foolish attachments.
On the other hand, it may be that science is trying to
prove what religion has already predicted. While humanity cannot wait for an
answer, we must provide one of some kind, and this answer has become religion.
As long as the answer is not proven, we must accept it, while science slowly
and methodically tests it out. In this scenario, science is that effort on the
part of humanity to prove the truths (or non-truths) of religion. Looking at it
in this way, the two fields harmonize; having arisen from a common origin, they
eventually merge once more.
As time goes on, the limits of the scientific method
will once again be felt. Science will be unable to prove the truths presented
by religion. A number of leading scientists are now beginning to realize that
this final, ultimate truth spoken of by religion is beyond the reach of science
at any point in time.
2. Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the
Physical World (New York: Macmillan, 1929), p.282. [Back to text]
[*] Sila, samadhi and pañña, or moral restraint,
concentration and wisdom, are the threefold foundation of Buddhist training.
[Back to text]
[Taken from Bhikkhu P. A. Payutto., Toward Sustainable
Science, A Buddhist Look at Trends in Scientific Development. (Bangkok:
Buddhadhamma Foundation, 1993), pp. 27-52].