Linking Science And Religion: New Book Suggests Buddha Might Have Been A Data Scientist

First Posted: Sep 07, 2016 03:53 AM EDT

Buddhism started with the 'Buddha', which means 'the one who is awake'. A new book, "Buddha's Diet" suggests that 'Buddha' could have been the first Data Scientist who was trying to improve himself and others to stop our suffering, sometimes even by employing pretty far-fetched techniques.

The 'Buddha' was born as Siddhartha Gautama in Nepal around 2,500 years ago. He did not claim to be a god or a prophet. He was a human being who became Enlightened, understanding life in the deepest way possible. The authors of the book, Tara Cottrell and Dan Zigmond believe that more than two millennia ago, wandering the footpaths of ancient India, preaching in village huts and forest glens, Buddha was actually biohacking his health.

Buddha, The First Data Scientist?

'Buddha' tried holding his breath so long his ears exploded, He tried extreme fasting, reducing down his daily meals until he was living on just a few drops of soup each day. But in the end, he rejected all these crazy extremes as they just didn't work.

He believed in data and evidence, reports TechCrunch. He didn't ask anyone to take his instructions on faith. He explained that the way most other teachers insisted you believe everything they said was like following a procession of blind men. Buddha didn't want us to trust, he wanted us to see so that our beliefs should be based on data.

Every time he tried something new, he paid attention. Buddha didn't give a mystical or supernatural explanation for his odd time restriction. But he was pretty sure it would improve their health. He had tested it on himself. "Because I avoid eating in the evening, I am in good health, light, energetic, and live comfortably," he explained. "You, too, monks, avoid eating in the evening, and you will have good health."

What we can learn

If Buddha were alive today, he'd be surprised to see so many Silicon Valley techies and Brooklyn hipsters embracing intermittent fasting as a new craze. Some of the best researchers studying food and health have been confirming Buddha's original rules. Whether you call it intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating, Buddha's ancient biohacking wasn't an anomaly. The data he collected on himself has now been replicated by countless others. Every day becomes a balance, with a time for eating and a time for fasting.

We can all do what Buddha did: Become our body's own hackers; observe ourself as we eat to see what works for us and what doesn't. Buddhists practise meditation, which is a way of developing more positive states of mind that are characterised by calm, concentration, awareness, and emotions such as friendliness.  Buddhism sees life as a process of constant change, and its practices aim to take advantage of this fact. It means that one can change for the better.

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