People are very familiar with stress right now due to how difficult things are in modern pandemic times. Many people are trying to cope with stress by using meditation practices. Buddhists have been doing this for thousands of years, but some people think of it as a religious practice. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Buddhism is different from religions because it is mostly about reflection and examining the human condition through the natural laws. Gotama Buddha’s teachings are not based on “belief”. There is no blind faith in its true nature and that is the beauty of it. We are to learn, practice, and apply the right efforts to discover the truths for ourselves.
The reason why Buddhism is more compatible with science than religions is that it educates us on the human condition of the mind. The original teachings of Gotama Buddha have nothing to do with blind faith or belief. In fact, he did not want us to believe things just because he or another teacher had said it. The Buddha gave us practices, an instruction manual, a blueprint or a road map rather on how to navigate life. The way forward is called The Eightfold Path. The teachings are rather simple and straightforward. People tend to make things more difficult than they are.
Gotama Buddha advised us to try certain practices and discover what the truth is for ourselves. His teachings are meant to be practiced, not interpreted, so that we can independently observe the truth to acquire wisdom. When you learn these teachings, and then practice them, you will obtain “wisdom”. You will see the “truth” for yourself without having a “belief”. In this way, all can liberate the mind with teachings that allow us to acquire “wisdom”. This is the same wisdom that Gotama Buddha understood during his lifetime that leads to Enlightenment. Buddhism is the path to achieving a higher consciousness, a mind that is peaceful, calm, serene and content with joy – permanently.
Most people see science and religion as antagonistic in the western world, but things are much different with Buddhism. Buddhism is about learning, self-discovery, and approaching things with humility. One would not be wrong in saying that Buddhism is likely the most compatible “religion” to science. It is about understanding the impact of attachments, The Natural Laws of Existence, impermanence, discontentedness and the suffering it causes.
Buddhism Itself is Subject to Impermanence
As stated earlier, ‘Gotama Buddha’s teachings are rather simple and straightforward. People tend to make things more difficult than they are.’ Nearly everything is subject to impermanence. Impermanence is the first of three Universal Truths as taught by The Buddha. It teaches us that everything is impermanent except The Natural Laws of Existence (gravity, karma…) and the permanent mental state of Enlightenment.
The Buddha’s teachings are also impermanent. Over time the original teachings have formed into 10 different schools of thought. The closest lessons known on Earth to what The Buddha actually taught during his lifetime comes from the Theravada school. Other schools over the last 2,500 years have been impacted with time, unEnlightened ideas and concepts. Philosophers and others have changed lessons around with their own words, interpretations and perceptions. (This holds true for all Religions especially with the involvement of politics and institutions.) Many have interjected their own geographic beliefs in some. This is why some schools have rites and rituals and perhaps show worship of Deities. None of that helps the human mind attain Enlightenment, nor is it what The Buddha taught. (This is part of the phenomena called, The Five Disappearances, as Gotama Buddha predicted would happen. There is a prophecy that basically states that after the fifth disappearance a new Buddha will arise. The Buddha is quoted on his prediction to occur 2500 years after his death in 483BCE. This puts the prophecy to the year 2017. In 2020 a global pandemic ensued. Supposedly, new Buddhas arise when the world needs one. I think it is safe to say that this world is in need, as it is full of greed and attachments, anger and hostility, and the unknowing of true reality. There is suffering across the globe and everyone’s minds are discontent. The pain in this world is our own Karma. UnEnlightened beings do not know the harm and suffering they cause to others and the planet.)
Buddhist Teachings and Techniques Are Useful
Recently, scientists are even discovering just how useful Buddhist teachings and techniques can be. Meditation techniques have proven to be highly useful for those who are dealing with stress. Many scientists use Buddhist teachings and techniques to help people in modern times. Aside from the techniques being useful, the way that Buddhists think is similar to the way that scientists think.
In closing, Buddhists are taught to be skeptics, and they’re only supposed to accept teachings once they have found them to be true by examining evidence. This is pretty much the same as the scientific method. There one test things, makes observations, and then develops theories based on what was seen. Many religions are incompatible with science, but Buddhism is far different. It is a Science of the Mind.
As mentioned, currently there are 10 schools of thought in Buddhism. One school is not better than the other. However, if training the mind to be peaceful, calm, serene and content with joy – permanently, with Enlightenment as your goal, it is advised to seek guidance from an Enlightened Teacher. For this, a Teacher from the Theravada school in particular is recommended. Not many schools these days are producing Enlightened beings. Things are about to change. There is a free and excellent online Teacher for all from the Thereavada School at https://www.buddhadailywisdom.com/ and a Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/DailyWisdom999 that you are encouraged to explore.