I wasn't sure what to make of the media coverage surrounding the Dalai Lama's visit to the nation's capitol. Here The Washington Post has him speaking on the hot button issue that is science, which from a man in his position as a worldwide religious leader, is not only a great way for the Dalai Lama to break into the headlines, but also an interesting cultural twist. Here's what he had to say:
His talk focused on how he developed his interest in science as a boy in Tibet, within a closed and isolated society, and on his view that morality and compassion are central to science. He pointed out in his prepared text, for instance, that although the atom bomb was great science, it created great moral problems.
"It is no longer adequate to adopt the view that our responsibility as a society is to simply further scientific knowledge and enhance technological power and that the choice of what to do with this knowledge and power should be left in the hands of the individual," he said.
"By invoking fundamental ethical principles, I am not advocating a fusion of religious ethics and scientific inquiry. Rather, I am speaking of what I call 'secular ethics' that embrace the key ethical principles, such as compassion, tolerance, a sense of caring, consideration of others, and the responsible use of knowledge and power -- principles that transcend the barriers between religious believers and nonbelievers, and followers of this religion or that religion," he said.
Here in The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Dalai Lama discussed a "convergence of religion and science" in Palo Alto, Calif. Here's a snippet:
Instead of a conflict between faith and science, this was a virtual love fest.
William Mobley, director of the Neuroscience Institute, put the conference together because he said both neuroscience and Buddhism strive to alleviate suffering.
"Both pursue knowledge about the brain and mind," he said. "They just go about it differently. I think we have something to learn from each other."
The Dalai Lama, one of the most ardent supporters of science among religious leaders, often says that if science proves facts that conflict with Buddhist understanding, then Buddhism must change accordingly.
The mainstream media love this guy. He can speak their language and understands what hot-button issues to steer around and what issues to declare he is firmly for or against. Here's to the first mainstream journalist who will take a critical look at exactly what the Dalai Lama is teaching.