September 24, 2005



graphite on paper

Not only does the Dalai Lama’s newly released book, “The Universe In A Single Atom," initiate the fulfillment of its subtitle, "The Convergence Of Science And Spirituality,” it also offers a timely antidote to the scourge of fundamentalism.

So, what does a non-fundamentalist spiritual leader look like? This statement renders a potential portrait:

“My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism; understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”

The congruence between advanced quantum physics and Buddhist cosmology has been popularly noted, at least since the publishing of “The Tao of Physics” and “The Dancing Wu Li Masters” in the 1970s. What the Dalai Lama is saying in this newest book is that the time has come for these two traditions - one born of observational inquiry, the other of, oh, yeah... observational inquiry - to embark on a collaborative endeavor to help humanity meet the challenges we face now.

And how does His Holiness recommend that science avoid the lure of its own brand of fundamentalism?

“Perhaps the most important point is to ensure that science never becomes divorced from the basic human feeling of empathy with our fellow beings.”

His Holiness The Dalai Lama is currently on a speaking tour in The States. A Sunday speech at Rutgers will be titled “Peace, War And Reconciliation.” But you can catch a stream of his thoughts on “Individual Responsibility in the Global Community” at The University of Texas radio station, KUT.

Posted by mark at September 24, 2005 12:55 AM