The Scientific Approach To Buddhist Study
Key to Genetics
/ Sun Don Lee (Leader of Forshang Buddhism)
Compiler / Chang-Ming
M.D.（Attending Physician, Neurological
Institute, Veterans General Hospital-Taipei）
Translator / Helena Chou (Resident
Instructor of Forshang Buddhism World Center, LA Branch)
Chen . Shu-Hua
ancient times, man has had unceasing longings and curiosities about
life. In the course of the long stream of history, many great
philosophers and men of religion, astounded by its abundant diversities,
could not help but pause and ponder over the nature and meaning of life
and expounded on various ideas and theories about it. These thoughts
have greatly enriched human spirit and civilizations, enabling many
souls continue to blossom even under tremendous pressure and leaving
behind immortal chapters along the passage of time.
Renaissance, with the rapid development of science, scientists have been
trying various ways to explore the common rules of living subjects that
might help reveal the mystery of the origination of and how it ends.
However, despite their life long efforts, many outstanding scientists
failed to understand the nature and meaning of life by observing the
phenomena and ways of life. Men of religion often take a different
approach. Although many of them might have only little or no
understanding of the modern science, they keep immovable faith in the
entity of life, taking as examples the belief in eternal life for
Christians and the pure land and reincarnation for Buddhists.
The Future of Human Life Science
review the history of Western civilization, it becomes obvious that
religion and science often at odds. As science progressed, many
infallible rules in religions were not spared from the fate of being
thrown into the discard. For example, the religious theories based on
the Ptolemaic system could no longer sustain when evaluated under the
development of astronomy. However, these conflicts are not necessarily
inevitable. As with Buddhism, Buddha represents perfect and ultimate
wisdom as well as beings that testified the reality and truth, that
should agree with the spirit of science which also aims at seeking the
truth. For example, many of Sukyamuni's observations on the phenomena of
universe and life have been validated by recent findings with the
advanced technologies. Therefore, the scientific approach to Buddhist
study led by Forshang Buddhism is going to be a justifiable and
essential tendency. Buddhism and science will reach a perfect union.
next millennium just around the corner, Master
Sun-Don Lee of Forshang Buddhism has been contemplating how Buddhism
and human life science could be united to best contribute to the
civilization and evolution of mankind. As a result, the Ninth Seal will
begin from this issue to gradually disclose: The Scientific Approach to
Buddhist Study - the Chapter on Human Life Science. This series of
articles comprise Master Lee's explanation on human life science in
answer to questions during his lectures of the Forshang doctrines, and
are based on his own achievements in cultivation and insight from deep
meditation. Whether they are about his revolutionary scientific theories
on human life science, the physiological changes in our body and mental
development in cultivation, or research directions in the scientific
approach to Buddhist study, Master Lee has endowed the prospect of
Buddhism and human life science with great vitality.
science ranges widely from medicine, genomics, neuroscience, immunology,
cytology, physiology, and so forth. Facing the rapid advancement of
human life science and in recognition of the immense impact of its
development on civilization and human evolution, the best way to guide
human life science in the right direction is to disclose the Buddhist
doctrines of Supreme Hua-Yen with the scientific approach and apply
Forshang doctrines in validating its results. We are engaged in
achieving that the scientific perspective of reality in the Supreme Hua-Yen
will be directing human life science, which is currently inclined to
seeking superficial phenomena. We are also engaged in the making of a
new era in human civilization inspired by the perfect union of Buddhism
and human life science.
Survey of Fundamentals of
know that most of the cells use deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as their
genetic material. DNA is a long, threadlike macromolecule made up of a
large number of deoxyribonucleotides, each composed of a nitrogenous
base, a sugar, and a phosphate group. The sugar in a deoxyribonucleotide
is deoxyribose. The deoxy prefix indicates that this sugar lacks an
oxygen atom that is present in ribose at the C2 position. The
bases of DNA molecules carry genetic information, whereas their sugar
and phosphate groups perform a structural role (Figure.1).
purines bases in DNA are adenine (A) and guanine (G), and the
pyrimidines bases are thymine (T) and cytosine (C). Each DNA chain is
polarized with its own direction: one end of the chain has a
5'-phosphate group and the other a 3'-OH group, neither of which is
linked to the other (Figure.2).
James Watson and Francis Crick analyzed x-ray diffraction photographs of
DNA fibers taken by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins and derived a
structural model that has proved to be essentially correct. This
brilliant accomplishment ranks as one of the most significant in the
history of biology because it led the way to an understanding of gene
function in molecular terms. The important features of their model of
helical polynucleotide chains are coiled around a common axis. The
chains run in opposite directions.
purine and pyrimidine bases are on the inside of the helix, whereas the
phosphate and deoxyribose units are on the outside. The planes of the
bases are perpendicular to the helix axis. The planes of the sugars are
nearly at right angles to those of the bases.
3. The two
chains are held together by hydrogen bonds between pairs of bases.
Adenine is always paired with thymine; guanine is always paired with
diameter of the helix is 20A (1A = 10-10 m). Adjacent bases
are separated by 3.4 A; along the helix axis and related by a rotation
of 36 degrees. Hence, the helical structure turns after 10 residues on
each chain, that is, at intervals of 34 A. The precise sequence of bases
carries the genetic information. The most important aspect of the DNA
double helix is the specificity of the pairing of bases. Watson and
Crick deduced that adenine must pair with thymine, and guanine with
cytosine, because of steric effects and hydrogen bondings.
now from the storage and transmission of genetic information to its
expression. Genes specify the kinds of proteins that are made by cells.
However, DNA is not the direct template for protein synthesis. Rather,
the templates for protein synthesis are RNA (ribonucleic acid)
molecules. The flow of genetic information in normal cells is from DNA
to RNA to protein. The synthesis of RNA from a DNA template is called
transcription (Figure.3), whereas the synthesis
of a protein from a RNA template is termed translation. Cells contain
several kinds of RNA: messenger RNA (mRNA), transfer RNA (tRNA), and
ribosomal RNA (rRNA).
RNA is a
long, unbranched macromolecule consisting of nucleotides joined by 3',
5'-phosphodiester bonds. As the name indicates, the sugar unit in RNA is
ribose. The four major bases in RNA are adenine (A), uracil (U), guanine
(G), and cytosine (C). Adenine can pair with uracil, and guanine with
cytosine. Most RNA molecules are single-strand. The smallest RNA
molecules are the tRNAs, which contain as few as 75 nucleotides, whereas
the largest ones are some mRNAs, which may have more than 5000
nucleotides. Different RNAs have different functions. mRNA is the
template for protein synthesis. tRNA carries amino acids in an activated
form to the ribosome for protein synthesis, in a sequence determined by
the mRNA template. There is at least one kind of tRNA for each of the 20
amino acids. rRNA, the major component of ribosomes, plays a catalytic
role in protein synthesis.
genetic information flow from DNA to mRNA? The answer is the base
sequence of mRNA is complementary to DNA template (Figure.4).
So that if the base sequence in DNA is GAATGGCTC, then the paired base
sequence in mRNA is CUUACCGAG. Maybe someone notices that base sequence
shows an opposite information in mRNA, however, one strand of the double
helix is template, the other is called coding strand. In previous
example, mRNA is complementary to template strand, and the coding strand
has the same sequence as the mRNA transcript except for T in place of U.
transcribed nucleotide is denoted by +1. The adjacent nucleotide on the
5' side is numbered -1. DNA templates contain regions called promoter
sited that specifically bind enzyme and determine where transcription
begins. In bacteria, two sequences on the 5' (upstream) side of the
first nucleotide to be transcribed are important. One of them, called
the Pribnow box, has the consensus sequence TATAAT and is centered at
-10. The other, called the -35 region, has the consensus sequence TTGAGA.
The transcription stop signal is also encoded in the DNA template. There
are a lot of sequences might never be transcribed and we have no idea
about their functions.
genetic information is passed to mRNA, but these mRNA are primary forms.
They have to be modified and spliced in cytoplasm so that they can
translate to protein. Most genes in higher eukaryotes are discontinuous.
Coding sequences (exons) in these split genes are separated sequences (introns),
which are removed in the conversion of the primary transcript into mRNA
and other functional mature RNA molecules. We have seen that mRNA is the
template for protein synthesis.
does it direct amino acids to become joined in the correct sequence? The
adapter in protein synthesis is tRNA. tRNA contains an amino acids
attachment site and a template-recognition site. The
template-recognition site on tRNA is a sequence of three bases called
the anticodon. The anticodon on tRNA recognizes a complementary sequence
of three bases on mRNA, called the codon (Figure.5).
A three-base code can determine 64 kinds of amino acids (43 =
64). Proteins are built from a basic set of 20 amino acids, and so that
many amino acids are designated by more than one codon. In 64 codons,
UAG, UAA, and UGA are the only three codons that do not specify an amino
acid. The start signal for protein synthesis is more complex. AUG (or
GUG) is only part of the initiation signal. In bacteria, the initiating
AUG (or GUG) is preceded several nucleotides away by a purine-rich
sequence that base-pairs with a complementary sequence on rRNA molecule.
Thus, the genetic code is nearly universal. Proteins play key roles in
biological systems. For example, specific macro molecules called enzymes
catalyze nearly all chemical reactions in biological systems.
proteins transport many small molecules and ions. For instance,
hemoglobin transports oxygen in erythrocytes. And proteins are also the
major component of muscle. Antibodies are highly specific proteins that
recognize and combine with such foreign substances as viruses, bacteria,
and cells from other organisms. Hence, proteins mediated a wide range of
other functions, such as generation and transmission of nerve impulses,
control of growth and differentiation. Proteins indeed play crucial
roles in virtually all biological processes.
Note: For readers who are interested in
obtaining related basic information, please refer to the following two
1..Campbell, N.A., J.B. Reece, and L.G.
Mitchell.1999.Biology: chapter 21 and 22.The Benjamin/ Cummings
Publishing Company. pp 344-387.
2.Msthews, C.K., and K.E. van Holde. 1990. Biochemistry:
chapter 24-28. The Benjamin/ Cummings Publishing Company. pp 817-1032.
The Main Subject of
Future Studies on Genetics:
To initiate the 95% of
Watson and F. Crick reported the double helix structure of DNA and its
duplication mechanism in 1953, scientists have, step by step, deciphered
the hereditary secrets and the mechanisms of genetic expression. They
have also developed many innovative techniques to expedite the gene
researches. It is expected that within the next few years the sequencing
of three billion base pairs and the 50,000 to 100,000 genes in the 23
pairs of human chromosome would be completed. A gene is a segment of
base pairs in DNA, of which the hereditary message determines the amino
acid sequence of a particular protein molecule or polypeptide chain. The
base pairs in these 50,000 to 100,000 genes are approximately 5% of the
three billion base pairs in somatic human cells. DNA between each gene
is called intergenetic area, or junk, because of its function is still
years, genomics has contributed tremendously to medicine. Thus many
diseases with specific genetic defects have been discovered. The
completion of the Human Genome Project will further widen the range
where genomics can be applied in the field of medicine. The prospect of
genetic therapy is becoming brighter and many illnesses will have the
chance to get better treatment. Besides, since the cloned sheep, Dolly,
was born, many other animals have been successfully cloned as was a
human embryo. To face these major breakthroughs in human life science,
many elite scientists, including Stephen Hawkings, predicted that the
ideal evolution of mankind will soon be realized with the help of
genetic engineering and the redesign of genes. Despite ethical
considerations, the tendency, the scientists think, is perhaps
rapid advancement of genomics while anticipating the next millennium, we
have to consider the possible impacts this tendency will bring to human
civilization and evolution. For instance, will humans reach the goal of
evolution in this artificial way? Will the future society become a Brave
New World stated by Aldous Huxley, where all humans are manipulated by
technology so that everyone's fate (including social rank, wisdom, mode
of thought, and countenance) is controlled and conditioned by technology
beginning with the fertilized egg. Or, will it become what is foreseen
in other science fiction where parents have to apply and purchase each
newborn baby's genetic repertoire, pre-determining the appearance,
height, wisdom, and personality of their children when grown up? Will
the present humankind be superseded by the revised human species? Are
there better ways for the evolution of mankind? Nothing but the highest
wisdom will provide answers to these questions. Therefore, we would like
to share with you Master Sun-Don Lee's elaboration on the evolution of
human life. In these articles, he directly points out the future
directions that human developments should take, providing a path to the
true, the good, and the beautiful and guiding humans to activate the
infinite potential within DNA to safely realize the evolution of
decades, there have been many important researches on the human genes
and the results are remarkable. However, with the current comprehension
and definition of genes, the total amount of genes make up only 5% of
the three billion base pairs contained within the DNA while the
remaining 95% with unknown physiologic effects is called junk in jest.
In fact, this 95% of the 3 billion base pairs is not useless but the
unexpressed component of DNA. This part of DNA could be activated with
the practice of Forshang doctrines. In the activating process, the
related physiologic functions will also be expressed. Classic gene
expression usually follows the central dogma, that is, DNA serves as the
template for its duplication and RNA synthesis, and again, RNA serves as
the template for protein synthesis. Expression of the genes in the
intergenetic area does not follow this rule. The expressed genetic
products and physiologic functions are beyond imagination from the
current scientific point of views and will be a major research interest
in human life science in the next century.
might be other methods besides Buddhist practice that could activate DNA
expression in some of the intergenetic areas. The problem is that you
may never know what will happen afterwards and you dare not even to
think of controlling the results, whether beneficial or disastrous. The
greatest advantage of Forshang approach is that this practice helps and
controls the DNA to express in a favorable sequence. This is because
Forshang doctrine is structured on a complete cultivation system. The
key point is the state of mind. A virtuous mental state yields good
effects whereas an evil state yields evil effects. Let us take the
practice of the Buddha Light of Innate Nature Empowerment Doctrine as an
example. It initiates the activities of this 95% of the 3 billion base
pairs in DNA with photons in a specific frequency. The Nine Word Zen
Sound Dharani also has a similar effect on DNA but using sound/melody as
the activator. There will be various physical and mental development in
the process of initiating DNA activities, including transforming bio-
energy to Chi-energy, to spiritual energy, psycho-energy, and then light
energy. As in Buddha, his DNA had been thoroughly (100%) initiated and
activated, and therefore he possessed the highest wisdom as well as
immense energy and effect.
represents the ultimate state of evolution of life, it is conceivable
that evolution of life is indeed closely related to whether DNA
activities could be accurately initiated. Biodynamic studies how a
practitioner could generate various energy and effect in the process of
activation, and its impact on the internal and external universe.
Whether it is one's internal physical and mental well being or the
energy and effect of Buddha nature (supernatural powers) being exerted
externally, all can be reached through activating this 95% of the 3
billion base pairs in DNA. In addition, this can be verified
scientifically with modern technology. Therefore, genetics and
Biodynamic will be the two key areas in the study of human life science
in the next millennium and eventually these two fields will be perfectly
(Excerpt from Master Lee's 6/26/99
and 7/16/99 class lectures in the Mental Doctrine Class in Taipei)
Structure of a Nucleotide. (Larger)
Model of DNA Structure. (Larger)
Transcription Synthesizes mRNA.
RNA-DNA hybrid be Formed.
diagram of an aminoacyl-tRNA.
||Recite the above
Nine Word Zen Prayer
to unite with the universal energy.