Beyond a Reductionist Science:
Buddhism and the Study of Life
BY JEFF SU
There is a tension in many fields of science between scientists that hold on to the assumption that the observer is objective, and those who believe that that there is no separation between the observer and the observed.
In a recent article published by Buddhism Today, nRhythm's Managing Director Jeff Su suggests that the Buddhist understanding of the interdependent nature of phenomena may provide some resolution to this tension and (apparent) paradox. Drawing from examples from the fields of biology and ecology, Jeff explores how a Buddhist view can contribute to the process of scientific inquiry.
Here's one of our favorite excerpts:
"One of the most central teachings of Buddhism is that the experience of separation between the observer and the object of observation is not the true nature of phenomena. Lama Ole Nydahl writes, “In the same way that mind’s expression, its clarity, is misunderstood as an object and thus separate, its power of awareness, the experiencer, is misinterpreted as an ‘I.’” Similarly, Maturana and Varela conclude that one cannot observe a living organism as a finite and independent entity separate from its environment. According to Maturana and Varela, a living organism, its environment, and the process of living can only be understood as one totality."
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