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"I'm coming out of science. So my way of thinking about this unmanifest realm is that it is actually what in physics we call the "quantum vacuum," which was discovered in the twenties. When we think of a vacuum in Newtonian terms, we think of it as being a place empty of things. But in quantum physics, it turns out that the vacuum is actually pure generativity. It's constantly foaming forth with reality, elementary particles that then cascade back into non-existence. You can't go anywhere with this in science because you can't study it. There's nothing to study. But it's there. It's real. So what we do is study its effects or manifestations, which we began to do in the forties. There's no question now for a physicist about the reality of the quantum vacuum. Right now in the room, there are all kinds of particles that are foaming into existence and foaming back out of existence. That's what we mean by the unmanifest. So you could say that at the root of reality is space, time, and foam." From 'What is Enlightenment' , Newsletter - 2001, Moksha Press ; Emptiness and the Quantum Vacuum
The paradoxical nature of reality revealed in both the Buddhist philosophy of emptiness and modern physics represents a profound challenge to the limits of human knowledge. The essence of the problem is epistemological: How do we conceptualize and understand reality coherently? Not only have Buddhist philosophers of emptiness developed an entire understanding of the world based on the rejection of the deeply ingrained temptation to treat reality as if it were composed of intrinsically real objective entities, but they have also striven to live these insights in their day-to-day lives. The Buddhist solution to this seeming epistemological contradiction involves understanding reality in terms of the theory of two truths. Physics needs to develop an epistemology that will help resolve the seemingly unbridgeable gulf between the picture of reality in classical physics and everyday experience and that in their quantum mechanics counterpart. Dalai Lama on "Emptiness, Relativity and Quantum Physics"
Listen, Shariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form; form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true with feeling, perception, intention, and consciousness. "Hear, Shariputra, all dharmas [phenomenon] are marked with emptiness...
...it would be illogical to conclude that life is possible only on this planet...Buddhist scriptures mention the presence of life in other world systems and an infinite number of universes. - Dalai Lama
Microtubules are considered to be key components in non-local, quantum processes critical to human consciousness. Discovery of the liquid crystalline nature of the human body provides further support for our model. Microtubules, DNA and the entire brain are described as communicating non-locally with virtually unlimited memory storage capacity. Quantum Consciousness
According to the Buddhist explanation, consciousness is said to be nonabstructive and nonphysical... Although our bodies are an aggregation of chemical or physical components, a kind of subtle agent of pure luminosity constitutes the life of living beings. ~ Dalai Lama "The Way to Freedom" pg.79.
Moving right along, then. What would you think about Tibetan UFO's?
Publication Date: December 4, 2001
Matthieu Ricard trained as a molecular biologist, working in the lab of a Nobel prize—winning scientist, but when he read some Buddhist philosophy, he became drawn to Buddhism. Eventually he left his life in science to study with Tibetan teachers, and he is now a Buddhist monk and translator for the Dalai Lama, living in the Shechen monastery near Kathmandu in Nepal. Trinh Thuan was born into a Buddhist family in Vietnam but became intrigued by the explosion of discoveries in astronomy during the 1960s. He made his way to the prestigious California Institute of Technology to study with some of the biggest names in the field and is now an acclaimed astrophysicist and specialist on how the galaxies formed.
When Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Thuan met at an academic conference in the summer of 1997, they began discussing the many remarkable connections between the teachings of Buddhism and the findings of recent science. That conversation grew into an astonishing correspondence exploring a series of fascinating questions. Did the universe have a beginning? Or is our universe one in a series of infinite universes with no end and no beginning? Is the concept of a beginning of time fundamentally flawed? Might our perception of time in fact be an illusion, a phenomenon created in our brains that has no ultimate reality? Is the stunning fine-tuning of the universe, which has produced just the right conditions for life to evolve, a sign that a “principle of creation” is at work in our world? If such a principle of creation undergirds the workings of the universe, what does that tell us about whether or not there is a divine Creator? How does the radical interpretation of reality offered by quantum physics conform to and yet differ from the Buddhist conception of reality? What is consciousness and how did it evolve? Can consciousness exist apart from a brain generating it?
The stimulating journey of discovery the authors traveled in their discussions is re-created beautifully in The Quantum and the Lotus, written in the style of a lively dialogue between friends. Both the fundamental teachings of Buddhism and the discoveries of contemporary science are introduced with great clarity, and the reader will be profoundly impressed by the many correspondences between the two streams of thought and revelation. Through the course of their dialogue, the authors reach a remarkable meeting of minds, ultimately offering a vital new understanding of the many ways in which science and Buddhism confirm and complement each other and of the ways in which, as Matthieu Ricard writes, “knowledge of our spirits and knowledge of the world are mutually enlightening and empowering.”
The Universe in a Grain of Sand
excerpted from The Quantum and the Lotus
The Interdependence and Nonseparability of Phenomena
The concept of interdependence lies at the heart of the Buddhist vision of the nature of reality, and has immense implications in Buddhism regarding how we should live our lives. This concept of interdependence is strikingly similar to the concept of nonseparability in quantum physics. Both concepts lead us to ask a question that is both simple and fundamental: Can a "thing," or a "phenomenon," exist autonomously? If not, in what way and to what degree are the universe's phenomena interconnected? If things do not exist per se, what conclusions must be drawn about life?
Trinh Xuan Thuan: Buddhism rejects the idea of a principle of creation, as well as the radical notion of parallel universes—though it may accommodate the idea of multiple universes. To Buddhism, the extraordinary fine-tuning of the physical constants and the initial conditions that allowed the universe to create life and consciousness are explained by "the interdependence of phenomena." I think it's time to explain more about this idea.
Matthieu Ricard: To do so, we should first return to the concept of "relative truth." In Buddhism, the perception we have of distinct phenomena resulting from isolated causes and conditions is called "relative truth" or "delusion." Our daily experience makes us think that things have a real, objective independence, as though they existed all on their own and had intrinsic identities. But this way of seeing phenomena is just a mental construct. Even though this view of reality seems to be commonsense, it doesn't stand up to analysis.
Buddhism instead adopts the notion that all things exist only in relationship to others, the idea of mutual causality. An event can happen only because it's dependent on other factors. Buddhism sees the world as a vast flow of events that are linkebeing.publicradio.org...