The Buddhist and the Buddhologist

Donald Lopez

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His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited the University of Michigan from April 21 to April 23, 1994. One of the events planned for his visit was a private seminar with the faculty and graduate students of the Buddhist Studies program on the topic of the origins of the Mahayana school of Buddhism. In the past, His Holiness has shown great interest in the discoveries of Western science, going so far as to say that on those points where Buddhist doctrine and scientific findings diverge, the Buddhist position should be discarded. For example, according to Buddhist cosmology, humans inhabit an island to the south of Mount Sumeru, a geography not confirmed by satellite photographs. The traditional map should, therefore, be replaced by the one accepted in the West. His Holiness' position on this matter is quite liberal by Tibetan Buddhist standards.

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