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#5281
Anonymous
Inactive

Hi Roberto,

I think your conclusion is definitely right that Buddhist philosophical positions are compatible with quantum physics, but in my view, from that it does not follow that you need to adopt cultural schemes from Buddhism in order to better understand quantum physics.

First of all, it is important to remember that Buddhism has already “migrated” from India to many other Asian countries, adapting every time to the local cultural and philosophical environment. Thus, today you have many different Buddhist lineages, each imbued with its own shade of cultural background from the respective countries where they were practiced (e.g. Tibetan, Chinese, Japanes, Vietnam etc.). Clearly, as Buddhism comes into the West (which has been happening at least since the 50s of last century), inevitably with time it will also adopt specific cultural settings from Western culture(s), whatever these might be.

However, one aspect where I think that an understanding of Buddhism can enrich the understanding of quantum physics is that Buddhist philosophy is never meant to be a mere intellectual excercise, but rather it is closely embedded in an ethical framework and in the overarching Buddhist goal to achieve liberation from suffering. This is also mentioned in Carlo Rovelli’s book “Helgoland” (which is a wonderful read). Of course, whether one wants to adopt Buddhist ethics in their personal life is entirely a personal choice, but it might be interesting to contemplate quantum physics not just in a theoretical perspective, but see what are its implications in our everyday life.

Regarding your second question on current bibliography, my personal suggestions would be the following, depending on which topic is more of interest for you:

– browse through the various Mind and Life conferences which have been happening (more or less) yearly since 1987: in these, the Dalai Lama invites scientists from the West to discuss and compare different perspective on contemporary topics: https://www.mindandlife.org/events/mind-and-life-dialogues/ . You may also want to check their list of published books: https://www.mindandlife.org/books/

– if you have an interest in philosophy, I would definitely recommend the book by Prof. Jay Garfield “Empty Words: Buddhist philosophy and cross-cultural interpretation”: https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Words-Philosophy-Cross-Cultural-Interpretation/dp/0195146727

– Finally, you may also want to have a look at the collection of essays and talks by Alan Watts “Eastern Wisdom, Modern Life”: https://www.amazon.com/Eastern-Wisdom-Modern-Life-Collected/dp/1577311809 (though it’s important to remember that Alan Watts refers not just to Buddhist philosophy, but more to Eastern philosophies in general, so his point of view may have a wider focus than is presented in this course).

I hope this is helpful and that you will enjoy the readings!

Warm regards,

Francesca Paoletti

  • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by SciWiz.