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  • #5246
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    I have a question. Part of the conclusion that I perceived in the course is that Buddhist postulates are thought patterns compatible with quantum physics. Therefore, if these Buddhist schemes are brought and adapted to the schemes of “European” thought and modern science, this would allow a deeper understanding of the phenomena in the quantum world. I am right?
    If so, regarding this process of “adaptation of cultural schemes”, please could you provide me with more information and some current bibliographies on the subject.

    #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.
    #5996
    Roberto Rubio
    Participant

    Dear Francesca, Thank you very much for your answer. Continuing with the cultural theme, I believe that the epistemological schemes that support modern science have reached their limit, which is why quantum physics seems so strange. In this sense, the Buddhist epistemological scheme is configured in a very different way, especially the postulates of Nagarjuna and Dharmakirti. In this way, I believe Buddhist epistemology and the assumptions it has about the world and reality are more suitable for interpreting quantum phenomena.
    Therefore, the proper understanding of these elemental Buddhist assumptions when adapted and integrated into Western scientific epistemology could allow not only a scientific revolution, but a reinterpretation of reality. What do you think about this idea?
    In your opinion, what would be some of these basic Buddhist assumptions that could be incorporated into science?

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