“Now, there’s one other thing that modern quantum mechanics doesn’t handle. Oddly enough, physics at present has no contact with the notion of actuality. You see, classical physics has at least some notion of actuality in saying that actuality consists of a whole collection of particles that are moving and interacting in a certain way. Now, in quantum physics, there is no concept of actuality whatsoever, because quantum physics maintains that its equations don’t describe anything actual, they merely describe the probability of what an observer could see if he had an instrument of a certain kind, and this instrument is therefore supposed to be necessary for the actuality of the phenomenon. But the instrument, in turn, is supposed to be made of similar particles, obeying the same laws, which would, in turn, require another instrument to give them actuality. That would go on an infinite regress. Wigner has proposed to end the regress by saying it is the consciousness of the actual observer that gives actuality to everything.”
“I think the difficulty is this fragmentation.. All thought is broken up into bits. Like this nation, this country, this industry, this profession and so on… And they can’t meet.… Wholeness is a kind of attitude or approach to the whole of life. If we can have a coherent approach to reality then reality will respond coherently to us.”
Source: Dalai Lama: Spirituality Without Quantum Physics Is An Incomplete Picture Of Reality – Collective Evolution
“Broadly speaking, although there are some differences, I think Buddhist philosophy and Quantum Mechanics can shake hands on their view of the world. We can see in these great examples the fruits of human thinking. Regardless of the admiration we feel for these great thinkers, we should not lose sight of the fact that they were human beings just as we are.”
– The Dalai Lama (source)
For a long time, science and spirituality were considered to be opposing views, creating this polarization of both subjects. You were either a “Man of God” or a “Man of Science,” with no middle ground. However, we’re now observing a merging of both science and spirituality through quantum physics and the study of consciousness, shattering old thought patterns and putting an end to the previous “tug of war” between the two subjects.
Quantum physics is verifying what Buddhists and other spiritual practitioners have been saying for years, helping people to accept their inherent spiritual nature all around the world. We are fundamentally connected to everything around us, and science is finally proving that. Nevertheless, there’s still a lingering dualistic air surrounding science and spirituality: You have religious people denying scientific facts and scientists identifying themselves as self-proclaimed Atheists. However, we’re simultaneously seeing a merging of the two, and it’s truly beautiful.
Many prominent religious figures and scientists have recognized the interconnectedness between spirituality and the scientific community, including the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama has spoken out on numerous occasions about the similarities between quantum physics and spirituality. In fact, he even attended a conference on quantum physics and delivered a speech on the subject.
The Dalai Lama Attends Conference on Quantum Physics and Madhyamaka Philosophical View
In November 2015, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, attended a two-day conference on quantum physics and Madhyamaka philosophy in New Delhi. Madhyamaka translates to “one who holds to the middle” or “the middle way” and belongs to the Mahayana school of thought in Buddhism, which was developed by the Indian Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna during the second century.
The conference explored a variety of topics relating to human consciousness, science, and Buddhism and included a panel of experts, physicists, and monastic scholars. The Dalai Lama was one of the speakers, and according to him, reconciling science and religious philosophies may be essential to the future of our species.
“I hope conferences like this can address two purposes: extending our knowledge and improving our view of reality so we can better tackle our disturbing emotions,” the Dalai Lama said. “Early in my lifetime, science was employed to further material and economic development. Later in the 20th century, scientists began to see that peace of mind is important for physical health and well-being… As a result of combining warm-heartedness with intelligence, I hope we’ll be better equipped to contribute to humanity’s well-being.”
The Dalai Lama also explained how he first came into studying quantum physics:
When I was about 19 or 20 I developed a curiosity about science that had begun with an interest in mechanical things and how they worked. In China in 1954/5 I met Mao Zedong several times. Once he commended me for having a scientific mind, adding that religion was poison, perhaps presuming that this would appeal so someone who was ‘scientific minded’. After coming to India as a refugee I had many opportunities to meet people from many different walks of life, scientists among them. 30 years ago I began a series of dialogues focusing on cosmology, neurobiology, physics, including Quantum Physics, and psychology. These discussions have been largely of mutual benefit. Scientists have learned more about the mind and emotions, while we have gained a subtler explanation of matter.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of this quote is the fact that the Dalai Lama interpreted Zedong’s harsh words against religion as being somewhat appealing to someone with a “scientific mind.” This speaks to the belief system of science and religion being polar opposites. If you were a scientist, it was almost a social norm to make fun of religion, and vice versa, and that still remains true today.
About 15-20 years ago at some meeting, the Indian physicist Raja Ramanna told me that he had been reading Nagarjuna and that he’d been amazed to find that much of what he had to say corresponded to what he understood of quantum physics. A year ago at Presidency College in Kolkata the Vice-Chancellor Prof S Bhattacharya mentioned that according to quantum physics nothing exists objectively, which again struck me as corresponding to Chittamatrin and Madhyamaka views, particularly Nagarjuna’s contention that things only exist by way of designation.
Buddhist View of Interdependence – Alan Watts | Creative by Nature.
Aug 23, 2015
“The Buddhist principle that “form is void” does not mean that there are no forms. It means that forms are inseparable from their context- that the form of a figure is also the form of its background, that the form of a boundary is determined as much by what is outside as by what is inside.
The doctrine of sunyata, or voidness, asserts only that there are no self-existent forms, for the more one concentrates upon any individual thing, the more it turns out to involve the whole universe.
The final Buddhist vision of the world as the dharmadhatu– loosely translatable as the “field of related functions”- is not so different from the world view of Western science, except that the vision is experiential rather than theoretical.
Poetically, it is symbolized as a vast network of jewels, like drops of dew upon a multi-dimensional spider web. Looking closely at any single jewel, one beholds in it the reflections of all the others. The relationship between the jewels is technically called “thing/thing no obstacle” (shih shih wu ai), which is to say that any one form is inseparable from all other forms.
In sum, then, the Buddhist discipline is to realize that anguish or conflict (duhkha) arises from the grasping (trishna) of entities singled out from the world by ignorance (avidya)- grasping in the sense of acting or feeling toward them as if they were actually independent of context.
This sets in motion the samsara or vicious circle of trying to solve the false problem of wresting life from death, pleasure from pain, good from evil, and self from not-self- in short to get one’s ego permanently “one up” on life.
But through the meditation discipline the student finds out that he cannot stop this grasping so long as he thinks of himself as the ego which can either act or refrain from action. The attempt not to grasp rests upon the same false premise as the grasping: that thinking and doing, intending and choosing, are caused by an ego, that physical events flow from a social fiction.
The unreality of the ego is discovered in finding out that there is nothing which it can either do or not do to stop grasping. This insight (prajna) brings about nirvana, release from the false problem. But nirvana is a radical transformation of how it feels to be alive: it feels as if everything- including “my” thoughts and actions- were happening of itself.
There are still efforts, choices, and decisions, but not the sense that “I make them”; they arise of themselves in relation to circumstances. This is therefore to feel life, not as an encounter between subject and object, but as a polarized field where the confrontation of opposites has become the play of opposites.
It is for this reason that Buddhism pairs insight (prajna) with compassion (karuna), which is the appropriate attitude of the organism to its social and natural environment when it is discovered that the shifting boundary between the individual and the world, which we call the individual’s behavior, is common to both.
My outline, which is not just the outline of my skin but of every organ and cell in my body, is also the inline of the world. The movements of this outline are my movements, but they are also movements of the world- of its inline.
“According to relativity theory, space is not regarded as a container but as a constituent of the material universe.” Seeing this, I feel with the world. By seeing through the social institution of the separate ego and finding out that my apparent independence was a social convention, I feel all the more one with society.
Corresponding, then, to the final vision of the world as a unified field (dharmadhatu), Buddhism sees the fully liberated man [person] as a Bodhisattva, as one completely free to take part in the cosmic and social game.
When it is said that he is in the world but not of it, that he returns to join in all its activities without attachment, this means that he no longer confuses his identity with his social role- that he plays his role instead of taking it seriously. He is a Joker or “wild” man who can play any card in the deck.
His [or her] position is thus the same as that of the Atman-Brahman in Vendanta, of the unclassifiable and unidentifiable Self which plays all the various parts in the cosmic and social drama…”
~ Alan Watts ~
Psychotherapy East & West, 1961
You are a Part of the Cosmic Whole – Erwin Schrödinger | Creative by Nature.
With permission from
Feb. 19, 2014
“You are a part, a piece, of an eternal, infinite being, an aspect or modification of it… This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole… This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, You are That…
The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real. Vedantic philosophy… has sought to clarify it by a number of analogies, one of the most attractive being the many-faceted crystal which, while showing hundreds of little pictures of what is in reality a single existent object, does not really multiply that object…
I insist upon the view that ‘all is waves’. The multiplicity is only apparent. This is the doctrine of the Upanishads. And not of the Upanishads only. The mystical experience of the union with God regularly leads to this view, unless strong prejudices stand in the way. Multiplicity is only apparent, in truth, there is only one mind…
The self is not so much linked to its ancestors, it is not so much the product, and merely the product, of all that, but rather, in the strictest sense of the word, the same thing as all that: the strict, direct continuation of it, just as the self aged fifty is the continuation of the self aged forty.
No self is of itself alone. It has a long chain of intellectual ancestors. The “I” is chained to ancestry by many factors … This is not mere allegory, but an eternal memory. Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge… It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion.”
~ Erwin Schrödinger, Quantum Physicist
Source for quotes: Wikiquote