Science

Current scientific research affirms, and challenges, traditional Buddhist teachings
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    The Semantics of Samadhi Paid Member

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) With all your science can you tellhow it is, and whence it isthat light comes into the soul?Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862) 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 »
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    The Science of Enlightenment Paid Member

    Beginning in the 1970s science, and especially physics, became a favorite topic of conversation among students of Eastern religion. The first, and still the most interesting contribution to the vast Physics & Eastern Philosophy genre, Fritjof Capra’s influential Tao of Physics, explores parallels between the Avatamsaka Sutra and modern physics. The Avatamsaka Sutra teaches that mind, universe, and Buddha are identical. Capra was struck by a seeming parallel with quantum theory: “A careful analysis of the process of observation in atomic physics has shown that the subatomic particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but can only be understood as interconnections between the preparation of an experiment and the subsequent measurement. Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.” Now a widely accepted truism among non-scientists, the idea is regularly invoked by modern-day Buddhists. More »
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    Emotional Bandwidth Paid Member

    A FIRST-RATE DEMONSTRATION of the World Wide Web—which shows instantaneous global access to information about any conceivable subject—presents a dizzying realm of connective possibility. For some, the Net embodies a way to physically wire together human consciousness into All-Embracing Mind, the culmination of human evolution elaborated by the French Jesuit and mystic Teilhard de Chardin in The Phenomenon of Man. Yet actual experience quickly dashes the promise of reaching Teilhard’s Omega Point of converging consciousness. The wealth of information that lies out there seems poorly organized and largely inaccessible. Much of the conversation on the Net seems inane, confused, or just plain rude and hostile. The frequency of angry outbursts of flame wars suggests failure to communicate rather than an ideal communications medium. More »
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    The Science of Enlightenment Paid Member

    My introduction to Tibetan psychotherapy (lojong) occurred during an encounter with the late Serkhong Rinpoche, His Holiness the Dalai Lama's philosophy tutor. Serkhong's brow wrinkled up in a smile that made him seem like a giant, red-faced Yoda, the gnome-like teacher in The Empire Strikes Back. When I brought him home to meet my family, the Rinpoche was visibly moved upon meeting my mother, who greeted us at the door. When he lifted her outstretched hand up to his cheek, tears filled his eyes as if she were a long-lost child. For years I’d been inspired by the Buddhist teaching of recognizing every living thing as kin, but what had seemed a great idea suddenly hit home as a profound way of being. More »