Excellent article on an interesting overlap between Buddhism and neurology.
Buddhism is also based on meditation a great deal, which entails working with the imagination and thought experiments to train the mind. empirical facts are great when you're trying to understand conciousness and the workings of the brain, but imagination is key when you're trying to work with and develop your own cociousness. In that sense a lot of things in buddhism may seem redundant and superstitious from a scientific perspective, but useful for the mind.. . or so i'm led to believe.
This one requires a little more effort than most of things I put up but it is worth it. Sometimes we need to examine just we mean when we talk about "reality".
Over the last few decades many Buddhists and quite a few neuroscientists have examined Buddhism and neuroscience, with both groups reporting overlap. I窶m sorry to say I have been privately dismissive. One hears this sort of thing all the time, from any religion, and I was sure in this case it would break down upon closer scrutiny. When a scientific discovery seems to support any religious teaching, you can expect members of that religion to become strict empiricists, telling themselves and the world that their belief is grounded in reality. They are always less happy to accept scientific data they feel contradicts their preconceived beliefs. No surprise here; no human likes to be wrong.
Buddhism = Quantum Physics
(read "The Tao of Physics")
From the page:
... but science isn't supposed to care about preconceived notions. Science, at least good science, tells us about the world as it is, not as some wish it to be. Sometimes what science finds is consistent with a particular religion's wishes. But usually not.
Despite my doubts, neurology and neuroscience do not appear to profoundly contradict Buddhist thought. Neuroscience tells us the thing we take as our unified mind is an illusion, that our mind is not unified and can barely be said to "exist" at all. Our feeling of unity and control is a post-hoc confabulation and is easily fractured into separate parts. As revealed by scientific inquiry, what we call a mind (or a self, or a soul) is actually something that changes so much and is so uncertain that our pre-scientific language struggles to find meaning.
Buddhists say pretty much the same thing. They believe in an impermanent and illusory self made of shifting parts. They've even come up with language to address the problem between perception and belief. Their word for self is anatta, which is usually translated as 'non self.' One might try to refer to the self, but the word cleverly reminds one's self that there is no such thing.
From the page: Buddhism's success was to apply the world's impermanence to humans and their souls. The results have carried this religion from ancient antiquity into modernity, an impressive distance. With no fear of impermanent beliefs or constant change, how far will they go?