A Grade-One teacher once asked her class “What is the biggest thing in the
world?” One little girl answered “My daddy”. A little boy said “An elephant”, since he’d recently been to the zoo. Another girl suggested “A mountain”. The six-year-old daughter of a close friend of mine replied, “My eye is the biggest thing in the world”! The class stopped. Even the teacher didn’t understand her answer. So the little philosopher explained “Well, my eye can see her daddy, an elephant, and a mountain too. It can also see so much else. If all of that can fit into my eye, then my eye must be the biggest thing in the world”! Brilliant.
However, she was not quite right. The mind can see everything that one’s eye
can see, and it can also imagine so much more. It can also hear, smell,
taste and touch, as well as think. In fact, everything that can be known can
fit into the mind. Therefore, the mind must be the biggest thing in the
world. Science’s mistake is obvious now. The mind is not in the brain, nor
in the body. The brain, the body and the rest of the world, are in the mind!
Mind is the sixth sense in Buddhism, it is that which encompasses the five
senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, and transcends them with
its own domain. It corresponds loosely to Aristotle’s “common sense” that is
distinct from the five senses. Indeed, ancient Greek philosophy, from where
science is said to have its origins, taught six senses just like Buddhism.
Somewhere along the historical journey of European thinking, they lost their
mind! Or, as Aristotle would put it, they somehow discarded their “common
sense”! And thus we got science. We got materialism without any heart.
Onecan accurately say that Buddhism is science that has kept its heart, and
which hasn’t lost its mind!
Thus Buddhism is not a belief system. It is a science founded on objective observation, i.e. meditation, ever careful not to disturb the reality through imposing artificial measurements, and it is evidently repeatable. People have been re-creating the experimental conditions, known as establishing the factors of the Noble Eightfold Path, for over twenty-six centuries now, much longer than science. And those renowned Professors of Meditation, the male and female Arahants, have all arrived at the same conclusion as the Buddha. They verified the timeless Law of Dhamma, otherwise known as Buddhism. So Buddhism is the only real science, and I’m happy to say that I’m still a scientist at heart, only a much better scientist than I ever could have been at Cambridge.
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