The Clergy Letter - from American Buddhist Clergy
– An Open Letter Concerning Religion and Science
“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims or adopt them as metaphor.”
The Universe in a Single Atom
Tenzin Gyatso - The Dalai Lama
As the above quote indicates, the Buddhist tradition is primarily a rational religion. The earliest Buddhist teachings are intended to help all sentient beings to live a life of integrity in harmony with reality. While the specific science of evolution is not explicitly taught in our faith, it is implicit in the core teaching of interdependent origination, which demonstrates that all things are interconnected and contingent upon one another for their form and development. Likewise, a creator deity is not relied upon for a creation story. The ancient Indian fables of the Buddha’s various incarnations from animal to human are readily understood not as a literal history but as metaphor describing the evolving nature of life. In fact, the concept of Buddha itself is best understood as a symbol for humanity’s evolutionary potential. For all of these reasons, we admonish public school boards to affirm their commitment to teaching the science of evolution. We understand the role of public schools is to educate students in the established principles of science and in other subjects of general knowledge.
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