Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 1: The Physical World

Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics, Vol. 1: The Physical World


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Explore the nature of our material world in a unique sourcebook, conceived by the Dalai Lama, collecting the scientific observations found in classical Buddhist treatises.

Under the visionary supervision of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics brings together classical Buddhist explorations of the nature of our material world and the human mind and puts them into context for the modern reader. It is the Dalai Lama’s view that the explorations by the great masters of northern India in the first millennium CE still have much that is of interest today, whether we are Buddhist or not.

Volume 1, The Physical World, explores of the nature of our material world—from the macroscopic to the microscopic. It begins with an overview of the many frameworks, such as the so-called five aggregates, that Buddhist thinkers have used to examine the nature and scope of reality. Topics include sources of knowledge, the scope of reason, the nature and constituents of the material world, theories of the atom, the nature of time, the formation of the universe, and the evolution of life, including a detailed explanation of the early Buddhist theories on fetal development. The volume even contains a brief presentation on early theories about the structure and function of the brain and the role of microorganisms inside the human body. The book weaves together passages from the works of great Buddhist thinkers like Asanga, Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Dignaga, and Dharmakirti. Each of the major topics is introduced by Thupten Jinpa, the Dalai Lama’s principal English-language translator and founder of the Institute of Tibetan Classics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781614294726
Publisher: Wisdom Publications MA
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Series: Science and Philosophy in the Indian Bud Series , #1
Pages: 552
Sales rank: 1,153,475
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and a beacon of inspiration for Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. He is admired also for his more than four decades of systematic dialogues with scientists exploring ways to developing new evidence-based approaches to alleviation of suffering and promoting human flourishing. He is the co-founder of the Mind and Life Institute and has helped to revolutionize traditional Tibetan monastic curriculum by incorporating the teaching of modern science. He is a great champion of the great Indian Nalanda tradition of science, philosophy, and wisdom practices.

Thupten Jinpa is a well-known Buddhist scholar and has been the principal English-language translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama for more than three decades. A former monk and a Geshe Lharampa, he also holds a BA in philosophy and a PhD in religious studies, both from Cambridge University. His is the author and translator of many books and teaches at McGill University in Montreal.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama 1

Part 1 Overview and Methodology 33

1 Systems of Classification 47

2 Methods of Inquiry 51

3 Reasoning in the Collected Topics 63

Part 2 Knowable objects 71

4 Phenomena in General 83

5 The Essential Nature of Physical Entities 87

6 The Five Sense Objects 93

7 The Five Sense Faculties 113

8 Mental-Object Forms 119

9 The Causal Primary Elements 125

10 Nonassociated Formative Factors 141

11 Causes and Effects 151

12 Unconditioned Phenomena 159

13 Other Presentations of Ascertainable Objects 163

Part 3 Subtle Particles 195

14 How Subtle Particles Are Posited 207

15 How Coarse Matter Is Formed 217

16 Analyzing Whether Indivisible Particles Exist 225

Science and Philosophy in the Indian Buddhist Classics

Part 4 Time 239

17 The Definition of Time 251

18 Positing the Three Times 259

19 The Shortest Unit of Time 267

20 Positing Subtle Impermanence 273

Part 5 The Cosmos and its Inhabitants 283

21 The Cosmos and Its Inhabitants in Abhidharma 293

22 The Development of the Cosmos in Kalacakra Texts 307

23 How Worlds End 313

24 Motion of the Celestial Bodies 319

25 Measurement and Enumeration 325

Part 6 Fetal development and the Channels, Winds, and Drops 337

26 The Birth Process 347

27 Fetal Development in the Sutras 355

28 Fetal Development in the Kalacakra Tantra 369

29 Fetal Development in Buddhist Medical Texts 375

30 The Subtle Body of the Channels, Winds, and Drops 381

31 Channels and Winds in Buddhist Medical Texts 395

32 The Brain in Buddhist Medical Texts 405

33 The Relation of Body and Mind 417

Appendix: The Eighteen Topics of Chapa Chökyi Sengé 429

Notes 435

Glossary 465

Bibliography 481

Index 491

About the Authors 531

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