Critical Review of the Book: Buddhism and Science

Dharmacari Ratnaprabha (Robin Cooper)
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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.