Science

Current scientific research affirms, and challenges, traditional Buddhist teachings
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    First There Is a Mountain (Then There Is No Mountain) Paid Member

    Mount Meru with Mandala, Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), silk tapestry, 33x33 inches. In this Chinese tapestry, Mount Meru appears with a moon and red sun marking the vertical midpoint of the mountain. The funnel-like shape symbolizes the increasingly large realms above the Heaven of the Thirty-Three Gods. A mandala with eight lotus petals is placed in the center of the highest realm, Akanishta Paradise. More »
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    Worlds Apart Paid Member

    View the print version of this article in PDF format More »
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    The World Without Us Paid Member

    Alan Weisman is an award-winning environmental journalist whose reports have appeared in Harper’s, the Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and Discover, and on National Public Radio; he teaches international journalism at the University of Arizona. His New York Times best seller The World Without Us, called by critics an “eco-thriller” and “one of the grandest thought experiments of our time,” considers the fate of the earth were human beings suddenly to disappear. In August, Tricycle contributing editor Clark Strand spoke with Weisman about impermanence, human responsibility, and the initiation into a new way of global thinking. More »
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    The Hot Hand Sutra Paid Member

    Two years ago, while researching an article on sports, I came upon a conundrum that resisted any attempt to confine it to the language of the conventional sports page. It concerns a cherished gospel of the playing field that athletes and their fans call the "Hot Hand." Heat in this case refers to transcendence, an inexplicable escalation of energy and skill. A golfer with a Hot Hand will send his drives twenty or thirty yards beyond his ordinary range; an archer will see her arrows graze each other as they strike the bull's eye; a basketball player will hit a string of shots so acrobatic and indifferent to defense that he seems linked by invisible channels to the basket. More »
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    The Science of Enlightenment: Meditative Medicine Paid Member

    Listening alongside His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a recent conference on meditation, I was inspired by the notion I was hearing that this century may be remembered less for its velvet revolutions than for the more obscure transformations that have softened the mechanized edges of medicine. Lately, new research areas bearing such names as "bio-individuality," "psycho-neuroimmunology" and "the quantum theory of consciousness" have quietly appeared. To many scientists, these areas are independent of the groundbreaking revolution in relativity, which let physicists see matter as part waves and science as pan religion. But if quantum physics has taught us anything, it is that what appears to be continents actually may be just as cohesive as oceans. Some observers of science see such breakthroughs as a "wave revolution" that is shifting Western science toward the wisdom of Asian traditions. More »
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    Life in the MUD Paid Member

    Imagine a world in which the inhabitants create their own physical environments and characters by writing them into existence. In this world, it is possible to converse, exchange gestures, express emotions, and even have sex. Such are the virtual worlds of MUDs (Multi-User Domains)—popular computer-based multi-player simulations which have evolved from the fantasy role-playing game “Dungeons and Dragons.” In “Dungeons and Dragons,” players assume the roles based on characters described in the game’s manual. They have the appearance and abilities defined therein, and game play takes place on a game board that is like a map of the imagined territory of the game. In a MUD, all the action is mediated by a computer. Users invent their own characters as well as create their own physical environment through a combination of textual description, dialogue (like computer chat rooms), and simple programming. More »