What was your intention in writing this book?
My intention was to offer people my understanding of the dharma, including the use of the new information from the evolutionary sciences, as possible skillful means and support for liberation. Over the years, I have come to recognize that the discoveries in evolutionary science are really profound teachings of dharma, pointing to the truths of anatta (no-self), or dependent co-arising.
How does understanding or practicing the dharma affect our understanding of the new sciences?
The knowledge of science can be a powerful tool for transforming our lives, but only if it becomes integrated or “realized” within our hearts and minds. Even though we know how completely our lives are co-existent with the sun, the earth, the atmosphere, and the plants, we do not normally experience ourselves in that relationship, as embedded in natural processes. That’s where the Buddha’s teaching comes in. As I say in the book, I think the Buddha can be seen as a spiritual biologist. He instructs us to meditate and reflect on the body and the sense impressions, to examine how perception and cognition take place. He wants us to examine our biological condition, to drop below the individual story line and explore the base line of what we inherit as organic creatures, as human beings. In this process, we can begin to use our understanding of science as support for our medication practices.
Can you elaborate on how the specific practices which you offer in the book can help us realize our identity as an “ecological self?”
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