If a theory can be explained verbally or in writing, it may be believable; if it is inexplicable or inexpressible, it is doubtful. According to Chan Buddhism, once you are in doubt, keep it up incessantly with full attention, until at the advanced level of development, your mind is unobscured and completely clear. The research work of Buddhism is extraordinary and broadly extensive for it covers both the material and psychological phenomena of the world. Ordinarily people have the notion that scientists are the most critical people who ask mostly Why questions. Actually this is not ture, for scientists are not so much concerned with Why as with What questions; it is noteworthy that nowhere the bold question-word Why may be seen so oftentimes as in the Buddhist Texts. For example, while as Electrical Science says that particles of iron, if arranged in good order, would produce magnetism, it never asks, why is magnetism produced? or why would particles of copper, if systematically arranged, not produce similar effect? Again, science tells us that water boiled at 100 degree c. would turn into steam, but it does not explain why water should absorb the latent heat before it becomes steam nor would it ask why is it possible for latent heat to be dormant in the steam? Regarding Newtons discovery of the gravitation of the earth, so far, there is still no answer to this question: Why is the earth in possession of the gravitational force? In view of the fact that even on material things, numerous Why questions have been left out by science unanswered, nor have scientists ever attempted to discuss them openly among themselves, therefore, to say that science has covered practically all the why questions about the phenomena of the world and that scientists have satisfactorily dealt with them all is utterly untrue. Buddhists, however, like a lion wounded by an arrow, are wiser and more courageous, for not only they would cure the wound, they would also find out who shot the arrow and why he did it. In dealing with every question, Buddhism is on the look-out for the cause; in other words, Buddhism raises the bold question Why every time without fail. If the vital question of life and the universe was confined to material phenomena alone, never could we arrive at any satisfactory solution at all. Therefore, it is only by studying both the spiritual and material aspects of the question that we may tackle it in the right way. Now we can see that as far as the spirit of research is concerned, science is incomparable to Buddhism.
(A) RESEARCH METHODS
In science there are two research methods of Logic, namely, Induction and Deduction. Induction is to discover general laws or commonly accepted theories by inferring from the phenomenal change of a particular case or thing. On the other hand, Deduction, a priori reasoning, is to infer from general truths and proved theories to arrive at a particular theory or conclusion. Although scientists take every care to work out their experiments by these two methods, nevertheless, some conclusions reached by deductive reasoning are not absolutely reliable. For instance, in Newtons Law of Universal Gravitation, the speed of movement of things was left out. Also, in the old Physics, two Laws, Conservation of Matter and Conservation of Energy were repudiated by modern science because of their fallacy. However, Mathematics, based on Deductions, are free of those errors; for in Maths. Although the way it infers general truths by deduction is different from the Buddhist Method of Direct Inference by Wisdom and Pure Mind, nevertheless, it is in conformity with direct apprehension of the reality of the world. Hence, in the eyes of Buddhists, all the theorems and conclusions of Mathematics are correct and true.
In comparison, the research methods of Buddhism are more rigid than those
of science. According to Adhyatmavidya (a Treatise On the Inner Meaning of Buddhism),
it is only by eliminating both vexation-and-passion-hindrances by wisdom and
pure mind that the reality of all mental and physical phenomena may be clearly
perceived. In order that this vital question may be more easily understood,
Buddhism offers us the aid of Hetuvidya (the Science of Understanding the Cause),
which incorporate Preposition, Reason and Example in tri-form of reasoning;
the method of reasoning for the second form is Direct Inference and that for
the third form is Comparison of the Known and Inference of the Unknown; both
of these methods not only are in line with the logical reasoning of scientists,
but are also accepted as general truth. Identically, the tri-statement formula
of Hetuvidya corresponds to the three syllogisms of logic but in reverse order.
In Hetuvidya, the first statement is the preposition, the second is the cause
and the third is examples subdivided into (a) analogy and (b) opposite; in Logic,
the major premise comes first, then the minor premise and the last is conclusion.
For illustration, two charts are given below:
A) The Chart of Syllogism In Logic
1. The major premise: All metals conduct electricity.
2. The minor premise: Aluminum is a metal.
3. Conclusion: Therefore aluminum can also conduct electricity.
B) The Chart of Tri-statement Formul of Hetuvidya
1. Preposition: Aluminum can conduct electricity.
2. Cause: because aluminum is a metal.
a) analogy: as far as they are known up to date, other metals can also conduct electricity. e.g. copper.
b) contrast: as far as they are known up to date, those things which cannot conduct electricity are non-metals. e.g. glassware.
Apart from some slight difference between the major premise and the example statement, the other parts of these two systems of deductive reasoning are correspondingly the same. However, in Chart B, examples, classified into a. analogy and b. contrast, compared with what is given in Char A, are more comprehensive; moreover, the conditional clause as far as they are known. Indicates that the example statement is sound and flexible. On the other hand, in Chart A, the major premise is arbitrary and weak, as far as deductive reasoning is concerned; pending a conclusion whether aluminum can conduct electricity or not, to say that ALL metals can do so is illogical and contradictory. From this, it can be seen that as far as Logic is concerned, the Syllogistic Method is incomparable to Hetuvidya. In short, because of its exactitude, the research method of Buddhism is unsurpassable.