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The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2005)

by Dalai Lama XIV

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1,3842711,757 (4.09)14
Gallileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr, Einstein. Their insights shook our perception of who we are and where we stand in the world and in their wake have left an uneasy co-existence: science vs. religion, faith vs. empirical enquiry. Which is the keeper of truth? Which is the true path to understanding reality? After forty years of study with some of the greatest scientific minds as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual and philosophical study, the Dalai Lama presents a brilliant analysis of why both disciplines must be pursued in order to arrive at a complete picture of the truth. Science shows us ways of interpreting the physical world, while spirituality helps us cope with reality. But the extreme of either is impoverishing. The belief that all is reducible to matter and energy leaves out a huge range of human experience: emotions, yearnings, compassion, culture. At the same time, holding unexamined spiritual beliefs-beliefs that are contradicted by evidence, logic, and experience-can lock us into fundamentalist cages. Through an examination of Darwinism and karma, quantum mechanics and philosophical insight into the nature of reality, neurobiology and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws significant parallels between contemplative and scientific examination of reality. "I believe that spirituality and science are complementary but different investigative approaches with the same goal of seeking the truth," His Holiness writes. "In this, there is much each may learn from the other, and together they may contribute to expanding the horizon of human knowledge and wisdom." This breathtakingly personal examination is a tribute to the Dalai Lama's teachers-both of science and spirituality. The legacy of this book is a vision of the world in which our different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.… (more)
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English (26)  Finnish (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Nicely written; enjoyed the discussion of a potential crossover of Buddhism (subjective 1st person experiences) and science (objective 3rd person observations). ( )
  ds_db | Apr 25, 2022 |
Interesting concepts presented about man and our quest for truth (science) and how spirituality and science either agree/support each other and how we must rein ourselves in as a matter of ethics. At times, this book is very dry and hard to plug through. ( )
  swbesecker | Feb 28, 2022 |
Tibetan Buddhist writings frequently state that many of the things we perceive in the world are in fact illusory, as illusory as echoes or mirages. In Twelve Examples of Illusion, Jan Westerhoff offers an engaging look at a dozen illusions--including magic tricks, dreams, rainbows, and reflections in a mirror--showing how these phenomena can give us insight into reality. For instance, he offers a fascinating discussion of optical illusions, such as the wheel of fire (the "wheel" seen when a torch is swung rapidly in a circle), discussing Tibetan explanations of this phenomenon as well as the findings of modern psychology, and significantly clarifying the idea that most phenomena--from chairs to trees--are similar illusions. The book uses a variety of crystal-clear examples drawn from a wide variety of fields, including contemporary philosophy and cognitive science, as well as the history of science, optics, artificial intelligence, geometry, economics, and literary theory. Throughout, Westerhoff makes both Buddhist philosophical ideas and the latest theories of mind and brain come alive for the general reader.
  Langri_Tangpa_Centre | Feb 5, 2021 |
Beautiful. Simplistic. Thoughtful. Interesting.
I am envious of the wonderful conversations the Dalai Lama has been able to have to the greatest thinkers of the 20th century.... and also, of the conversations those men and women have been able to have with him. If you are already a believer in a holistic picture of universal complexity and completeness... this book is not a surprise, but if you've never considered such a thing (or don't know what I'm talking about) you may enjoy this particular picture as provided by the synthesis of current science and how they dovetail with classical ancient Tibetan Buddhist teachings.
Also a small history on Buddhism and the beliefs of a number of different sects of Buddhist philosophy. ( )
  ZanaDont | Nov 5, 2020 |
The main argument is that both science and spirituality at their core are efforts to combine wisdom and compassion, and that both ways of knowing the world give value to what it means to be human. ( )
  dasam | Jun 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
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I was never myself trained in science.
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There are no subjects without objects by which they are defined.
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Gallileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr, Einstein. Their insights shook our perception of who we are and where we stand in the world and in their wake have left an uneasy co-existence: science vs. religion, faith vs. empirical enquiry. Which is the keeper of truth? Which is the true path to understanding reality? After forty years of study with some of the greatest scientific minds as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual and philosophical study, the Dalai Lama presents a brilliant analysis of why both disciplines must be pursued in order to arrive at a complete picture of the truth. Science shows us ways of interpreting the physical world, while spirituality helps us cope with reality. But the extreme of either is impoverishing. The belief that all is reducible to matter and energy leaves out a huge range of human experience: emotions, yearnings, compassion, culture. At the same time, holding unexamined spiritual beliefs-beliefs that are contradicted by evidence, logic, and experience-can lock us into fundamentalist cages. Through an examination of Darwinism and karma, quantum mechanics and philosophical insight into the nature of reality, neurobiology and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws significant parallels between contemplative and scientific examination of reality. "I believe that spirituality and science are complementary but different investigative approaches with the same goal of seeking the truth," His Holiness writes. "In this, there is much each may learn from the other, and together they may contribute to expanding the horizon of human knowledge and wisdom." This breathtakingly personal examination is a tribute to the Dalai Lama's teachers-both of science and spirituality. The legacy of this book is a vision of the world in which our different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.

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