Intelligence, reasoning and why Buddhism is 'profoundly at home in the modern world'

Last weekend Khaywang Lama Jampa Thaye gave teachings in Bristol UK on the second and final part of Karma Thinley Rinpoche's text 'Telescope of Faith - An expression of views on solar and lunar eclipses and forth'. Organised by Sakya Buddhist Centre Bristol, the event was attended by Dechen and other sanghas, as well as people with an interest in learning more about the Buddha's teachings. 


Beyond science and cosmology to the true nature of reality

Whilst this text was prompted by requests to examine the seeming clash between science and items in the dharma, Lama Jampa explained that in fact Rinpoche's short teaching does something far more profound than merely discuss that. In fact the text helps us to understand the dharma itself better by examining what is provisional and what is definitive within it. Rinpoche also stresses the importance  of not confusing the two. This distinction between provisional and definitive teachings is something really profound about the essence of the dharma that we must not lose sight of.

The necessity of applying reasoning and intelligence  

Karma Thinley Rinpoche's text also reminds us of the need for reasoning and intelligence, that without the free use of these the dharma won’t work. Lama Jampa explained that,

It's not that the use of reasoning and intelligence is just nice, or the modern thing to do. The fact is that to make the Buddha’s teachings work for us, we need to use our intelligence, our critical faculties, or else the dharma won’t release its juice so to speak. This is no different for us as modern students than it was for Buddhists 2000 years ago. The result of our application of intelligence and reasoning to the teachings will be that we can be profoundly at home in the modern world in the sense that we have nothing to fear in encountering all of the ideologies and notions propagated in the modern world. Of course we clash with contemporary ideologies in certain ways, in profound matters on the nature of reality but in many things we have no clash: there’s nothing in the dharma that needs defending from them.

Why do we not need to defend the view of dharma from modern views and ideologies?

Because we’re not defending an outmoded view of the world: the view of the world as emptiness can never be outmoded and that is the source of the dharma and the reason the dharma is true and can liberate us.

Why faith is not the antithesis of reason

So Rinpoche helps us very much to see the point and to equip us to maintain the dharma in the modern world, and to understand that faith is not the antithesis to wisdom, to reasoning: it needs them, it requires them. the deepest faith or conviction is precisely that which has arisen through the use of our intelligence and therefore is unshakeable, unbreakable.

For more information about this teaching see the review of the first part of this teaching given in January 2018.

Initiation of Mahachakra Vajrapani

In the afternoon Lama Jampa gave the initiation of Mahachakra Vajrapani.

Entering the Buddhist Path

On Sunday morning following the regular prayers and meditation Lama Jampa gave a short introductory talk at Sakya Buddhist Centre, followed by a question and answer session. A video of this is now available on Lama Jampa's YouTube channel.