04 January 2007

Buddhism and Science: Bodhicitta

From Choosing Reality by B. Alan Wallace:

In all of human experience two types of aspiration bear an integrity and nobility beyond all others: the yearning for understanding and spiritual awakening, and the longing to be of service to others, to dispel suffering and bring joy. Modern science, as developed and expressed by the greatest of its exponents, is motivated by both these aspirations. Intellectually and practically it stands, at its best, as a model of freedom and inquiry and ingenuity; and if put into active balance with religion and philosophy, it may well serve us long into the future.
It is possible to integrate one's yearing for truth with one's wish to help others so taht tehy become one's
abiding motivation in solitary and active life. This is achieved through a cultivation of a 'spirit of awakening' [bodhicitta]: the aspiration to attain full awakening in order to be of most effective service to others. This longing may lead one into the deepest states of contemplation as well as the most active ways of service. It implicitly acknowledges the interdependence of self and others and the kinship of all that lives, and is the sole motivation with which one can attain the full spiritual awakening of a Buddha. Just as it is the supreme motivation for spiritual practice, so is it the finest incentive for scientific research. As physics and Buddhism encounter one another in the modern world, it may in this spirit of awakening that they find their deepest affinity and sense of integration.

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