The following is copied from the Tao Of Physics. I'll try to make it as short as possible without losing its meaning:
Modern physics has confirmed most dramatically that one of the basic ideas of Eastern teaching; that all the concepts we use to describe nature are limited, that they are not features of reality, as we tend to believe, but creations of the mind.
Greek geometry continued to exert a strong influence on Western philosophy and science. Euclid's Elements was a standard textbook in European schools until the beginning of this century. It took an Einstein to make scientists and philosophers to realize that geometry is not inherent in nature, but is imposed upon it by the mind.. In the words of Henry Margenau, "The central recognitions of the theory of relativity is that geometry is a construct of the intellect. Only when this discovery is accepted can the mind feel free to tamper with the time honoured notions of space and time.
Eastern philosophy, unlike that of the Greeks, has always maintained that space and time are constructs of the mind. The Eastern philosophers treated them like all other intellectual concepts; as relative, limited and illusory.. In a Buddhist text, for example, we find the words.
"It was taught by the Buddha, oh Monks, that the past, the future, physical space...and individuals are nothing but names, forms of thought, words of common usage, merely superficial realities."
Thus in the East, geometry has never gained the status it had in ancient Greece, although this does not mean the Indians and Chinese had little knowledge of it. They used it extensively in building altars of precise geometrical shapes, in measuring the land and mapping out the heavens, but never to determine abstract and eternal truths.
Thus the ancient Eastern philosophers and scientists already had the attitude which is so basic to relativity theory...that our notions of geometry ARE NOT ABSOLUTE AND UNCHANGEABLE PROPERTIES OF NATURE, but are intellectual constructions. In the words of Asvaghosha:
"Be it clearly understood that space is nothing but a mode of particularisation and that it has no real existence of its own...space exists only only in relation to our particularising consciousness.
What then, is this new view of space and time which has emerged from relativity theory?It is based on the discovery that all space and time measurements are relative. The relativity of spacial specifications was, of course, nothing new. It was well known before Einstein that the position of an object in space can only be defined relative to some other object.
The general notions about human understanding illustrated in the discoveries of atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar or wholly unheard of, or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. What we shall find is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom. (Robert Oppenheimer)