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Space and Eternal Life
with Chandra Wickramasinghe

Space and Eternal Life
Pub. Year

1998

Publisher

Journeyman Press

ISBN

1-85172-060-X

Astronomer Chandra Wickramasinghe and Buddhist Daisaku Ikeda discuss the nature of human existence from two vastly different perspectives. Their dialogue reveals side-by-side comparisons between the ways science and Buddhism approach cosmology, life after death, the challenges posed by scientific and technological advancement, and the future of the human community.

In his foreword to the book, Sir Fred Hoyle reflects on the historical relationship between science and philosophy in the West. He proposes that a new worldview is needed in the 21st century to embrace the “connection between the Earth and the Universe at large.”

"If science is to recover its lost vitality,” he writes, “new attitudes will be needed. . . . As this dialogue exemplifies, the older philosophies of Asia are set to play an important role in the emerging scientific culture of the twenty-first century."

The two interlocutors are scholars in their own right and share the cultural heritage of Asia. They probe every human activity and universal phenomenon—from the fear of death to nuclear arms, from the Big Bang theory to life beyond Earth. Throughout the dialogue, astronomer and Buddhist converge in their thinking about the relatedness of the “inner cosmos” and the “outer cosmos.”

They conclude on the complementary aims of astronomy and Buddhism toward a broadened and deepened awareness of cosmic existence. That greater awareness can inspire, in the words of Ikeda, “a worldview and a sense of ethics appropriate to taking responsibility for a global community."

Space and Eternal Life is also available in Japanese.


CONTENTS

Foreword by Sir Fred Hoyle

1 The Universe and Human Beings
  • The Universe and Science
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • The Buddhist View of the Universe
  • A Fifth Dimension in the Universe?
  • The Existence of Extraterrestrial Beings
  • A Universe Possessing Both Harmony and Rhythm
  • The Theory of Evolution

2 Science and Religion
  • The Quest for a New Worldview
  • Modern Science and Christianity
  • Modern Science and Greek Philosophy
  • The Crisis Confronting Science
  • The Various Forms of Science in the East and West
  • Chinese and Indian Medicine
  • Science and Buddhism
  • The Fruits of Twentieth-Century Technology

3 The Eternity of Life
  • Life after Death and the Oneness of Body and Mind
  • Near-death Experiences and Conquering the Fear of Death
  • On the Concepts of Karma and Rebirth
  • Informing Patients of a Cancer Diagnosis
  • Brain Death and Organ Transplantation
  • The Comatose State, Death with Dignity and Suicide
  • Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilization, Fetal Diagnosis and Abortion
  • The Future of Genetic Engineering

4 Buddhist Pacifism
  • Dialogue in Accord with the Speech of the Sage—I
  • Dialogue in Accord with the Speech of the Sage—II
  • The Buddhist Mission for Peace
  • Religion for Humanity’s Sake
  • Ashoka and Sri Lanka
  • Peace of Mind
  • The Sanctity of Life
  • Buddhist View of Society
  • Shakyamuni and Mahayana Buddhism
  • Meaning of Shakyamuni’s Reticence
  • Buddhism and the Arts

5 The Creation of a Global Civilization
  • The Present in the Context of the History of the Human Race
  • Nuclear Arms: Absolute Evil
  • Coexistence with the Earth’s Ecosystem
  • Challenges of Dealing with AIDS
  • Youth and the State of Education
  • The Family
  • Contemporary Society and the Correct Way of Life
  • The Age of Democracy and Human Rights
  • The Mission of Astronomy to Develop a Sense of Human Community

Notes
Index