Critical Review of the Book: Buddhism and Science
The great Marxist sinologist Joseph Needham blamed Buddhism for stifling science and technology in China while they flourished in Europe. In claiming that everything is an illusion, Buddhism ‘played a part in strangling the development of Chinese science’. Zen Buddhism, in ‘rejecting all philosophy’ was also unfavourable to a scientific view. Since the Buddha refused to speculate, Buddhism discouraged scientific research. Above all, its main object is to escape from this world, not to try to understand it. A ‘despairing’ and ‘perverse’ philosophy, he concludes. Needham's analysis stands in marked contrast to all the sixteen contributors to this book [Buddhism and Science], and indeed to the prevailing view today that of all the religions Buddhism is the most compatible with science.