Buddhist Biology

Author: David P. Barash
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199985561
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Compares teachings of Buddhism with principles of modern biology, revealing many significant points of compatibility.

Buddhist Biology

Author: David P. Barash
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199985588
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
Many high-profile public intellectuals -- including "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens -- have argued that religion and science are deeply antagonistic, representing two world views that are utterly incompatible. David Barash, a renowned biologist with forty years of experience, largely agrees with them, but with one very big exception: Buddhism. In this fascinating book, David Barash highlights the intriguing common ground between scientific and religious thought, illuminating the many parallels between biology and Buddhism, allowing readers to see both in a new way. Indeed, he shows that there are numerous places where Buddhist and biological perspectives coincide and reinforce each other. For instance, the cornerstone ecological concept -- the interconnectedness and interdependence of all natural things -- is remarkably similar to the fundamental insight of Buddhism. Indeed, a major Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra, which consists of ten insights into the "interpenetration" between beings and their environment, could well have been written by a trained ecologist, just as current insights in evolutionary biology, genetics and development might have been authored by the Buddha himself. Barash underscores other notable similarities, including a shared distrust of simple cause-and-effect analysis, an appreciation of the "rightness" of nature, along with an acknowledgment of the suffering that results when natural processes are tampered with. Buddhist Biology shows how the concept of "non-self," so confusing to many Westerners, is fully consistent with modern biology, as is the Buddhist perspective of "impermanence." Barash both demystifies and celebrates the biology of Buddhism and vice versa, showing in a concluding tour-de-force how modern Buddhism --shorn of its hocus-pocus and abracadabra -- not only justifies but actually mandates both socially and environmentally "engaged" thought and practice. Buddhist Biology is a work of unique intellectual synthesis that sheds astonishing light on biology as well as on Buddhism, highlighting the remarkable ways these two perspectives come together, like powerful searchlights that offer complementary and stunning perspectives on the world and our place in it.

Buddhist Biology

Author: David P. Barash
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 019998557X
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
Download Now
Many high-profile public intellectuals -- including "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and the late Christopher Hitchens -- have argued that religion and science are deeply antagonistic, representing two world views that are utterly incompatible. David Barash, a renowned biologist with forty years of experience, largely agrees with them, but with one very big exception: Buddhism. In this fascinating book, David Barash highlights the intriguing common ground between scientific and religious thought, illuminating the many parallels between biology and Buddhism, allowing readers to see both in a new way. Indeed, he shows that there are numerous places where Buddhist and biological perspectives coincide and reinforce each other. For instance, the cornerstone ecological concept -- the interconnectedness and interdependence of all natural things -- is remarkably similar to the fundamental insight of Buddhism. Indeed, a major Buddhist text, the Avatamsaka Sutra, which consists of ten insights into the "interpenetration" between beings and their environment, could well have been written by a trained ecologist, just as current insights in evolutionary biology, genetics and development might have been authored by the Buddha himself. Barash underscores other notable similarities, including a shared distrust of simple cause-and-effect analysis, an appreciation of the "rightness" of nature, along with an acknowledgment of the suffering that results when natural processes are tampered with. Buddhist Biology shows how the concept of "non-self," so confusing to many Westerners, is fully consistent with modern biology, as is the Buddhist perspective of "impermanence." Barash both demystifies and celebrates the biology of Buddhism and vice versa, showing in a concluding tour-de-force how modern Buddhism --shorn of its hocus-pocus and abracadabra -- not only justifies but actually mandates both socially and environmentally "engaged" thought and practice. Buddhist Biology is a work of unique intellectual synthesis that sheds astonishing light on biology as well as on Buddhism, highlighting the remarkable ways these two perspectives come together, like powerful searchlights that offer complementary and stunning perspectives on the world and our place in it.

Payback

Author: David P. Barash
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199752980
Format: PDF, Docs
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From the child taunted by her playmates to the office worker who feels stifled in his daily routine, people frequently take out their pain and anger on others, even those who had nothing to do with the original stress. The bullied child may kick her puppy, the stifled worker yells at his children: Payback can be directed anywhere, sometimes at inanimate things, animals, or other people. In Payback, the husband-and wife team of evolutionary biologist David Barash and psychiatrist Judith Lipton offer an illuminating look at this phenomenon, showing how it has evolved, why it occurs, and what we can do about it. Retaliation and revenge are well known to most people. We all know what it is like to want to get even, get justice, or take revenge. What is new in this book is an extended discussion of redirected aggression, which occurs not only in people but other species as well. The authors reveal that it's not just a matter of yelling at your spouse "because" your boss yells at you. Indeed, the phenomenon of redirected aggression--so-called to differentiate it from retaliation and revenge, the other main forms of payback--haunts our criminal courts, our streets, our battlefields, our homes, and our hearts. It lurks behind some of the nastiest and seemingly inexplicable things that otherwise decent people do, from road rage to yelling at a crying baby. And it exists across boundaries of every kind--culture, time, geography, and even species. Indeed, it's not just a human phenomenon. Passing pain to others can be seen in birds and horses, fish and primates--in virtually all vertebrates. It turns out that there is robust neurobiological hardware and software promoting redirected aggression, as well as evolutionary underpinnings. Payback may be natural, the authors conclude, but we are capable of rising above it, without sacrificing self-esteem and social status. They show how the various human responses to pain and suffering can be managed--mindfully, carefully, and humanely.

The Attraction of Religion

Author: D. Jason Slone
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1472529685
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Religion is an evolutionary puzzle. It involves beliefs in counterfactual worlds and engagement in costly rituals. Yet religion is widespread across all human cultures and eras. This begs the question, why are so many people attracted to religion? In The Attraction of Religion, essays by leading scholars in evolutionary psychology, anthropology, and religious studies demonstrate how religion may be related to evolutionary adaptations because religious commitments involve fitness-enhancing behaviours that promote reproduction, kinship, and social solidarity. Could it be that religion is wide-spread, at least in the modern world, because it helps to facilitate cooperative breeding? International contributors explore the philosophical and theoretical arguments for and against the use of costly signalling, sexual selection, and related theories to explain religion, and empirical findings that support or disconfirm such claims. The first book-length treatment that focuses specifically on costly signalling, sexual selection, and related evolutionary theories to explain religion, The Attraction of Religion will be an important contribution to the field and will be of interest to researchers in the fields of evolutionary psychology, religion and science, the psychology of religion, and anthropology of religion.

Through a Glass Brightly

Author: David P. Barash
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190673737
Format: PDF
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Human beings have long seen themselves as the center of the universe, the apple of God's eye, specially-created creatures who are somehow above and beyond the natural world. This viewpoint--a persistent paradigm of our own unique self-importance--is as dangerous as it is false. In Through a Glass Brightly, noted scientist David P. Barash explores the process by which science has, throughout time, cut humanity "down to size," and how humanity has responded. A good paradigm is a tough thing to lose, especially when its replacement leaves us feeling more vulnerable and less special. And yet, as science has progressed, we find ourselves--like it or not--bereft of many of our most cherished beliefs, confronting an array of paradigms lost. Barash models his argument around a set of "old" and "new" paradigms that define humanity's place in the universe. This new set of paradigms range from provocative revelations as to whether human beings are well designed, whether the universe has somehow been established with our species in mind (the so-called anthropic principle), whether life itself is inherently fragile, and whether Homo sapiens might someday be genetically combined with other species (and what that would mean for our self-image). Rather than seeing ourselves through a glass darkly, science enables us to perceive our strengths and weaknesses brightly and accurately at last, so that paradigms lost becomes wisdom gained. The result is a bracing, remarkably hopeful view of who we really are.

Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory

Author: Joanna Macy
Publisher: SUNY Press
ISBN: 1438411634
Format: PDF
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This book brings important new dimensions to the interface between contemporary Western science and ancient Eastern wisdom. Here for the first time the concepts and insights of general systems theory are presented in tandem with those of the Buddha. Remarkable convergences appear between core Buddhist teachings and the systems view of reality, arising in our century from biology and extending into the social and cognitive sciences. Giving a cogent introduction to both bodies of thought, and a fresh interpretation of the Buddha’s core teaching of dependent co-arising, this book shows how their common perspective on causality can inform our lives. The interdependence of all beings provides the context for clarifying both the role of meditative practice and guidelines for effective action on behalf of the common good.

The Quantum and the Lotus

Author: Matthieu Ricard
Publisher: Broadway Books
ISBN: 9780307566126
Format: PDF, Docs
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Matthieu Ricard trained as a molecular biologist, working in the lab of a Nobel prize—winning scientist, but when he read some Buddhist philosophy, he became drawn to Buddhism. Eventually he left his life in science to study with Tibetan teachers, and he is now a Buddhist monk and translator for the Dalai Lama, living in the Shechen monastery near Kathmandu in Nepal. Trinh Thuan was born into a Buddhist family in Vietnam but became intrigued by the explosion of discoveries in astronomy during the 1960s. He made his way to the prestigious California Institute of Technology to study with some of the biggest names in the field and is now an acclaimed astrophysicist and specialist on how the galaxies formed. When Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Thuan met at an academic conference in the summer of 1997, they began discussing the many remarkable connections between the teachings of Buddhism and the findings of recent science. That conversation grew into an astonishing correspondence exploring a series of fascinating questions. Did the universe have a beginning? Or is our universe one in a series of infinite universes with no end and no beginning? Is the concept of a beginning of time fundamentally flawed? Might our perception of time in fact be an illusion, a phenomenon created in our brains that has no ultimate reality? Is the stunning fine-tuning of the universe, which has produced just the right conditions for life to evolve, a sign that a “principle of creation” is at work in our world? If such a principle of creation undergirds the workings of the universe, what does that tell us about whether or not there is a divine Creator? How does the radical interpretation of reality offered by quantum physics conform to and yet differ from the Buddhist conception of reality? What is consciousness and how did it evolve? Can consciousness exist apart from a brain generating it? The stimulating journey of discovery the authors traveled in their discussions is re-created beautifully in The Quantum and the Lotus, written in the style of a lively dialogue between friends. Both the fundamental teachings of Buddhism and the discoveries of contemporary science are introduced with great clarity, and the reader will be profoundly impressed by the many correspondences between the two streams of thought and revelation. Through the course of their dialogue, the authors reach a remarkable meeting of minds, ultimately offering a vital new understanding of the many ways in which science and Buddhism confirm and complement each other and of the ways in which, as Matthieu Ricard writes, “knowledge of our spirits and knowledge of the world are mutually enlightening and empowering.” From the Hardcover edition.

Out of Eden

Author: David P. Barash
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190275502
Format: PDF, Docs
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In this changing world of what is deemed socially and politically "correct," polygamy is perhaps the last great taboo. Over the course of the last thousand years, monogamy - at least in name - has been the default setting for coupledom and procreation. And yet, throughout history, there havebeen inklings that "one-man, one-woman" may not be the most natural state-of-being for humans. The recent Ashley Madison "cheaters website" hacking, coupled with the high divorce rate of the last half-century, provide more than enough evidence to convince even a hopeless romantic that monogamy, andthe institution of marriage which props it up, is doomed to be a bygone remnant of a more socially conservative past.Esteemed writer and evolutionary biologist David P. Barash tackles this uncomfortable finding: that humans are actually biologically and anthropologically more inclined toward polygamy. With years of research in the field to back up this argument, Barash presents hundreds of anecdotes from bothevolutionary biology and human history that guide the reader through the societal impacts of monogamy and polygamy - some expected (sexual behavior) and others unexpected (the most successful models of parenting). Despite this natural inclination of humanity, Barash is reassuring throughout thisfascinating read in his resolution that "biology is not destiny."

Buddha s Brain

Author: Rick Hanson
Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com
ISBN: 1459624157
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Gandhi, and the Buddha all had brains built essentially like anyone else's, yet they were able to harness their thoughts and shape their patterns of thinking in ways that changed history. With new breakthroughs in modern neuroscience and the wisdom of thousands of years of contemplative practice, it is possible for us to shape our own thoughts in a similar way for greater happiness, love, compassion, and wisdom. Buddha's Brain joins the forces of modern neuroscience with ancient contemplative teachings to show readers how they can work toward greater emotional well-being, healthier relationships, more effective actions, and deepened religious and spiritual understanding. This book will explain how the core elements of both psychological well-being and religious or spiritual life-virtue, mindfulness, and wisdom--are based in the core functions of the brain: regulating, learning, and valuing. Readers will also learn practical ways to apply this information, as the book offers many exercises they can do to tap the unused potential of the brain and rewire it over time for greater peace and well-being.