These evaluations cannot stand any longer. We can no longer accept scientists in the role they have built for themselves as the arbiters of truth. It is not only that scientific “truth” changes every decade as the “proofs” of reality are propounded. It is more that scientists have given us nuclear bombs, chemical and biological weapons, ecological destruction, wanton cruelty in the laboratory, and the creation of monstrous life-forms through bio-engineering. The givers of such gifts cannot expect that their claim to wisdom will be granted forever. The creators of horrors cannot be the tellers of truth. To believe that simply bends the idea of truth too far. To continue to believe in science now, after it has brought so much grievous harm, is to leave humanity with too little hope. And so the modern mind is turning back to religion in its eternal search for something it can trust.
The profound truths of honest and straightforward religions are veriable according to exacting standards far more rigorous than those employed by scientists. Moral and ethical purity and perfection are the first requisites. Causing no harm to others and bringing benefit to all are the fundamental vows that must be embodied in one’s conduct. True religion is the teaching of living beings about their own true natures. Every being shares the same fundamental nature, which the Buddha called the Buddha-nature. Therefore, every being who examines his true nature with discipline and perseverance is capable of discovering the same thing – the same bright light, the same purity, the same compassion, and the same wisdom. Buddhism teaches us the steps we must take in order to become our true selves and to put our true selves into use for the benefit of all beings.
These steps have been taken by all the sages and worthies throughout history, and again and again the path has been verified. These are theories that do not change, for every successful experiment in sincere religious cultivation brings renewed proof. These are experiments that cannot be cruel and discoveries that cannot bring horror and destruction, because their guidelines are compassion and wisdom, and only with moral purity can the path be entered at all.
By David Rounds from Proper Dharma Seal, 1983, issue 1