TALK: Summer Institute on Buddhism & Science

Dr. Sheehy presented at the Summer Institute on Buddhism & Science: Putting the Buddhism / Science Dialogue on New Footing. Mangalam Research Center for Buddhist Languages. Berkeley, CA. July 2017.

Inner Knowing and the Way of Humans: Epistemologies on the Horizon of the Buddhism / Science Dialogue

Considering the interface of Buddhism / science, we begin with historical and semantic reflections on Tibetan Buddhist understandings of science (tshan rig) and inner knowing (nang rig) in contrast to “the way of being human” (mi chos), i.e. the humanities. Within this broad frame, we focus on the Tibetan cultural cognition of science through the looking glass of a recently compiled Tibetan language anthology of Indian and Tibetan canonical sources on Buddhist Science, and the introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Having introduced Buddhist paradigms of science and being human, the discussion examines the possibility of science as a transcultural language that situates its users within a shared lifeworld. This introduces the concept of “dialogue zones,” discrete regulated spaces wherein a shared lifeworld of alternative modes of knowing probe and enact, and a discussion about what the operating principles of redaction in such zones might compose. It is here that we pause to consider the Mind & Life Dialogues as such zones for dynamic transcultural and transdisciplinary interaction between contemplatives and scientists. We conclude with thoughts about the horizon of cross-cultural enaction between indigenous and first-person epistemologies with science, and such necessities within the broader field of the contemplative sciences.