Similarities and Differences between Buddhist Concepts of Emptiness and Dependent Origination versus Quantum Theory According leading, contemporary theoretical physicists, there is no such thing as space-time, fundamentally
Similarities and Differences between Buddhist Concepts of Emptiness and
Dependent Origination versus Quantum Theory
According leading, contemporary theoretical physicists, there is no such thing as space-time, fundamentally in the actual, underlying description of the laws of physics. Moreover, experiments attempting to isolate and measure the properties of a single elementary particle reveal that it is nowhere to be found as an entity existing prior to and independent of the act of measurement. The attributes of elementary particles, such as their mass or velocity, arise only relative to the measurement of them. From their own side, they are empty. Prior to the act of measurement, one can describe only a probability that some value will be observed. This implies that neither space-time nor any configuration of mass-energy in the universe exists by its own inherent nature. Buddhist philosophers and contemplatives have likewise found through logical analysis and experiential inquiry that all phenomena throughout the universe—including both physical and mental phenomena—are empty of inherent nature. They arise as dependently related events existing only relative to the conceptual imputations of them. While the above scientific finding has profound implications for the entire scientific worldview and for technology, the Buddhist discovery of emptiness and dependent origination cuts the root of all mental afflictions, which are the fundamental causes of suffering, and reveals the profound role of consciousness in the natural world. The scientific discovery of emptiness remains at a conceptual level and is unrelated to any ethical framework, while Buddhist insights are directly experiential and are embedded within the framework of ethics, the cultivation of mental balance and inner well-being, and wisdom.
Date and Time: 7th December 2019, 6pm
Cost: $25 / $20 (VI members)
Alan Wallace is a prominent voice in the emerging discussion between contemporary Buddhist thinkers and scientists who question the materialist presumptions of their 20th-century paradigms. He left his college studies in 1971 and moved to Dharamsala, India to study Tibetan Buddhism, medicine and language. He was ordained by H.H. the Dalai Lama, and over fourteen years as a monk he studied with and translated for several of the generation’s greatest lamas. In 1984 he resumed his Western education at Amherst College where he studied physics and the philosophy of science. He then applied that background to his PhD research at Stanford on the interface between Buddhism and Western science and philosophy. Since 1987 he has been a frequent translator and contributor to meetings between the Dalai Lama and prominent scientists, and he has written and translated more than 40 books. Along with his scholarly work, Alan is regarded as one of the West’s preeminent meditation teachers and retreat guides. He is the founder and director of the Santa Barbara Institute for Conscious Studies and is the motivating force behind the develop of the Centre for Contemplative Research in Tuscany, Italy.
(Saturday) 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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