The Quantum and the Lotus

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The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby Dharma_Bum » Sat Feb 26, 2011 5:13 pm

My boyfriend bought me this book and I thought it was very interesting. The Quantum and the Lotus is a book about Matthieu Ricard, who is a Molecular biologist, meets Trinh Xuan a buddhist monk. The book is written in dialogue style of these two discussing science and Buddhism.

I thought it was rather thought provoking :sage: and thought I would share it with everyone here.
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby cooran » Sat Feb 26, 2011 7:47 pm

Hello Dharma_Bum,

He is one of the speakers I am looking forward to hearing at the two day ‘’Happiness Conference 2011’’ in Brisbane in June this year.

From the Programme:
‘’Matthieu Ricard is an inspiring French monk, acclaimed photographer and Co-ordinator of the Karuna-Shechen Humanitarian Projects. He is also the best-selling author of Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill. Matthieu is a Buddhist monk who went from a scientific career in France to the study of Buddhism in the Himalayas nearly 40 years ago. His books include, Happiness, The Monk and the Philosopher, The Quantum and the Lotus, The Art of Meditation, and as a photographer, Motionless Journey. Within the Mind and Life Institute, he is an active participant in the current scientific research on the effects of meditation on the brain. He has been the French interpreter for the Dalai Lama since 1989. He lives in Nepal and devotes much of his time to thirty humanitarian projects in Asia (www.karuna-shechen.org) to which he donates all the proceeds of his books’’
http://www.happinessanditscauses.com.au ... e-2011.stm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby Euclid » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:11 am

Watching Matthieu Ricard's TED talk the Habits of Happiness got me interested in Buddhism.

However, as a physicist, I personally don't like people trying to reconcile erudite physics like quantum mechanics and their flavour of spirituality. It is tragic to see such an elegant and incredible theory like QM so misunderstood, and so often used to hamfistedly justify whatever New Age :quote: spirituality :quote: that they take a shine to. Just my opinion, YMMV
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 9:48 am

:goodpost: (of course...).

Unfortunately this sort of thing has been going on for a long time. Some of us are old enough to remember those 70s books like The Tao of Physics, which promptly became outdated when some of the physics theories that were supposedly paralleled in Eastern writings fell out of favour... Oops...

:anjali:
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:16 am

Hello Euclid, Mike,

Interesting remarks. Have either of you read The Quantum and The Lotus?

The Authors:
Trinh Thuan was born into a Buddhist family in Vietnam but became intrigued by the explosion of discoveries in astronomy during the 1960s. He made his way to the prestigious California Institute of Technology to study with some of the biggest names in the field and is now an acclaimed astrophysicist and specialist on how the galaxies formed.
Matthieu Ricard trained as a molecular biologist, working in the lab of a Nobel prizewinning scientist, but when he read some Buddhist philosophy, he became drawn to Buddhism. Eventually he left his life in science to study with Tibetan teachers, and he is now a Buddhist monk and translator for the Dalai Lama, living in the Shechen monastery near Kathmandu in Nepal.

Book Review:
''This transcribed and expanded dialogue between Buddhist monk Ricard and astrophysicist Thuan claims few original insights but provides a good general introduction to science-and-religion issues representing two notably different Buddhist perspectives. At its best, the book is animated by contrasts. Thuan, a Vietnamese-American trained at CalTech, identifies with Buddhist ethics and spirituality, but his worldview often reflects Western science and philosophy. Ricard, a French biologist who emigrated in the 1970s to become a disciple of Khyentsé Rinpoche, speaks from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Although Thuan and Ricard find common ground on many ethical matters and agree in a general way about the "interconnectedness of phenomena," they also run into genuine disagreements about cosmic origins, the nature of consciousness and the orderliness of the universe—all areas where traditional Buddhist beliefs are in tension with scientific theories or their implications as commonly understood in the West. To the authors' credit, they avoid superficial reconciliation of these differences, although Ricard, who renounces "dogmatism" but consistently defends orthodoxy, sometimes claims to "refute" opposing viewpoints a little too neatly. The conversational format also limits the precision and depth of the authors' positions and at times becomes unnecessarily repetitive. Philosophical dialogue is an ancient but exquisitely difficult art, and even the most engaging verbal exchange may occasionally appear banal or rambling in print, especially when the same points of debate arise time and again.''
http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-609-60854-8

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:28 am

Hi Cooran,

I did browse through it in a Buddhist bookstore a few years ago. It did seem like quite an interesting book. I'm just wary about trying to relate rapidly changing areas of science to Dhamma, since, as I explained, the science is likely to be superseded in short order.

Did you read it?

:anjali:
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby cooran » Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:59 pm

Hello Mike,

Yes I did - though many years ago. I found it interesting, though wasn't particularly fired up about it.

I also understand that Matthieu Ricard was a volunteer subject in a study performed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison's on happiness, scoring significantly beyond the average obtained after testing hundreds of other volunteers. (Does anyone have a link?)

I am looking forward to hearing what he has to present at The Happiness Conference in Brisbane later in the year.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby Moggalana » Sun Feb 27, 2011 8:49 pm

cooran wrote:I also understand that Matthieu Ricard was a volunteer subject in a study performed at the University of Wisconsin–Madison's on happiness, scoring significantly beyond the average obtained after testing hundreds of other volunteers. (Does anyone have a link?)


Are you the happiest person in the world?

This could be the study mentioned in the above link:
Long-term meditators self-induce high-amplitude gamma synchrony during mental practice

Another one:
Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners
Let it come. Let it be. Let it go.
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby rowyourboat » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:15 pm

well it might not be the most skillful thing to do -write a book on Buddhism and QM, but it did help dhamma_bum come to this forum, so its got to be atleast a bit useful, right? :tongue:
With Metta

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& Upekkha
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby Freawaru » Mon Mar 07, 2011 3:45 pm

Dharma_Bum wrote:My boyfriend bought me this book and I thought it was very interesting. The Quantum and the Lotus is a book about Matthieu Ricard, who is a Molecular biologist, meets Trinh Xuan a buddhist monk. The book is written in dialogue style of these two discussing science and Buddhism.

I thought it was rather thought provoking :sage: and thought I would share it with everyone here.


I didn't read the book but I heard a talk by him in 2007 on neuroscience and meditation. It was really interesting.
http://80.237.145.35/index.php?id=70&L=1.

Like others, today I am rather sceptic regarding Buddhism and modern physics - though I admit I enjoyed to read "The Tao of Physics" at it's time.
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Re: The Quantum and the Lotus

Postby perkele » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:16 pm

It's a good book in my opinion. It's neither mystifying physics nor making Buddhism a physical theory. It's just a discussion between a Tibetan Buddhist monk and a physicist sharing their worldviews in a humble and friendly manner. Not enlightening, but maybe inspiring for young physicists.
But good or bad is relative, of course. :shrug:
"Unskillful"? I don't really think so.
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