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10 05 2012 THURSDAY LESSON 604 FREE ONLINE eNālāndā Research And Practice UNIVERSITY And THE BUDDHISTONLINE GOOD NEWS LETTER by ABHIDHAMMA RAKKHITA through http://sarvajan.ambedkar.org Dhammapada: Verses and Stories Dhammapada Verse 162 . The Unwise Person Comes To Grief On His Own Verse 161. Evil Action Crushes The Doer
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eNālāndā Research And Practice

Verses and Stories

Verse 162 . The Unwise Person Comes To Grief On His Own

Evil Action Crushes The Doer

162. Evil Action Crushes The Doer

He whose conduct’s very bad
like oak-tree choked with ivy,
so he does towards himself
what enemies would wish.

Explanation: The extremely evil action of the
person lacking in virtue is similar to that of the parasitic maluva creeper.
The creeper grows on the tree and crushes in into destruction. The evil doer’s
action too crushes himself in that way.





Level I: Introduction to Buddhism

Level II: Buddhist Studies


Level III: Stream-Enterer

Level IV: Once - Returner

Level V: Non-Returner

Level VI: Arhat

i.e, PraBuddha Bharath scientific

inentific thought in






Philosophy and Comparative

Historical Studies;

International Relations and Peace

Business Management in relation to
Public Policy and Development Studies;

Languages and Literature;

PraBuddha Bharath scientific thoughts

inentific thought in


The Dhamma—which after all means “law of
nature”—and that

accepted body of
“observed reality” that is slowly being revealed by the scientific method.

Science has been
a fact of life—a human enterprise—for perhaps 400 years if we look back

to the great
Copernican-Galilean revolution during the Renaissance in Europe.
that “event”

as being the
point at which objective observation of the world and rational thought began to

challenge and
eventually overtake the mythico-religious description of the world that had

prevailed in
Europe up until then.
Or perhaps we
should push our timeline further back to the

foundations of scientific thought found in the logical speculations of Thales

Democritus, the
mathematical experimentation of Pythagoras and the Socratic method of inquiry

of the sixth and
fifth centuries BC, in ancient Greece. Even though these early Greek thinkers

were not
practicing what we would recognize today as a fully evolved scientific method

inquiry, the
roots of empirical observation were present in their work and the ancient Greek

philosophers are
generally accepted today as the forerunners of what became the scientific

method. It is
also instructive,

in light of our proposed discussion here today, to recognize that

these thinkers, living on the shores of the Aegean Sea, to
whom we look as the founders of

Western thought and culture, were contemporary with Gotama
the Buddha, who resided a bit

farther east in the Ganges basin of India.


So we can say
that science has been evolving as a factor in human culture for perhaps

centuries and
has been increasingly ascendant as a force in our lives for the past four to

centuries. But
religion has existed and regulated the life of mankind seemingly from the

dawn of the
human species—at least for tens of thousands of years, as archeology continues

reveal. The
roles of religion, philosophy and science are not entirely distinct, though
they have

been defined as
separate disciplines, and though they may occupy different buildings on our

campuses today.
One of the primary purposes of religion in human culture is that it provides us

with a creation
myth. It explains the observable phenomena of the world in which we find

ourselves by
explaining how the world came to be; how and why it is maintained as it is; and

predicting what
its ultimate end will be. In the course of this mythico-religious description
of the

humankind’s place is defined and a moral framework is constructed that gives a

for moderating
our baser behaviors in light of our relationship to the whole of the creation.

It is obvious to
me that in the last few centuries the scientific method has proved so

successful at describing the phenomena of the world around us that it is, in
fact, the

provider of our
current creation myth. Moreover, the scientific view of the world has

perhaps undermined is a better word—all other creation myths on the planet.

This is not to
say that the various religious worldviews of earlier times have easily and

faded away; far
from it! Discoveries of natural laws in astronomy and physics have

removed the
planet Earth from the center of the solar system, relocated the solar system to
the remote edge of an ordinary galaxy among millions of other solar systems and
then discovered

millions of such
galaxies all receding from each other in an expanding universe of previously

dimensions and age. As a result, fundamentalist movements have sprung up in
mostreligions to try to defend the traditional teachings of scripture. We are
all familiar with the sad history of religious upheavals, excommunications,
inquisitions, and fatwahs that have resulted from the clash between traditional
religious beliefs and the findings of various disciplines ofscience. The theory
of evolution has replaced a more personal, theocentric myth of human

microbiology has unraveled the secrets of DNA and found the means of

the very
foundations of life; and the medical sciences continue to probe the
neurological and

chemical basis
of mental activity. As these and other scientific explanations have gained

credibility, the
old expositions of morality, which were hung on the framework of the

creation myths,
have shown increasing signs of stress. If the old myths no longer provide an

rationale for ethical behavior, then what does? Does the scientific worldview
provide us

with an
alternative? This is a question I want to return to before we part today.


Amid all of this
ongoing tension between the scientific worldview and traditional religious

systems, it is
interesting to note that there has not been a development of fundamentalist

Buddhism in any
part of the world. Nor has there been, among Buddhists, a history of

suppression of
modern scientific thought in order to protect the validity of scriptural
doctrine. On

the contrary,
among the followers of the Buddha, there has been a general embrace of the

of all branches
of science. And conversely, there has been an acknowledgement, if not an active

embrace, among
some well-known scientists of the Buddha’s teaching.
1 Let’s explore why that is



There are some
intriguing parallels between the Buddha’s view of the world and the scientific

worldview, but
they are not completely analogous. First and foremost we must recognize that

purpose of a
scientist and the purpose of a Buddha are entirely different. Science, as a

enterprise, sets
about to examine the physical universe in an attempt to discover the laws by

which it
operates. It is an ever-evolving body of theory, each succeeding model lasting
only until

it is disproved.
The great historian of science, Thomas Khun, who gave us the term “paradigm” to

describe the
generally accepted model in any scientific discipline at any given time, also

out that the
concept of “scientific progress” is inherent in any activity that we normally

to be science. A
scientist can never claim to have discovered the truth—only that the paradigm

which he or she
has based her assumptions seems to explain the observed facts as far as is

at present.
Every scientist knows that each unsolved puzzle remaining in his or her field
has the

potential to
overturn the model, leading to a more refined model, and a whole new set of

despite this inherent uncertainty at the core of science, the ongoing quest of

as a whole, if
not of the individual scientist, is to uncover the truth of the universe. The
holy grail

of science
remains the unified field theory that will explain all forces and all matter in
a single

elegant formula.


A Buddha, on the
other hand, sets out with a different purpose. He arrives at a stage of

knowledge of the
universe that is vast, leaving nothing left to explore, but has as its goal the

reform of the
forces of the universe rather than simply the comprehensive knowledge of them.

The Buddha’s
extensive teaching has been preserved in the Pāli literature (also known as the

Tipiaka). In one of his
discourses from the Tipi
aka the Buddha succinctly describes the extent of

his knowledge:


Bhikkhus, the
world has been discovered by the Tathāgata; the Tathāgata is dissociated

from the world.
The origin of the world has been discovered by the Tathāgata; the

Tathāgata has
abandoned the origin of the world. The cessation of the world has been

discovered by
the Tathāgata; the Tathāgata has realized the cessation of the world. The way
leading to the cessation of the world has been discovered by the Tathāgata; the

Tathāgata has
established the way leading to the cessation of the world.


In the world
with its devas, its māras, its brahmas, its ascetics and
brahmins, its devas

and humans,
whatever, bhikkhus, can be seen, heard, sensed, cognized, or reached,

sought out and
encompassed by the mind has been discovered by the Tathāgata…

This bold
statement about the Buddha’s knowledge of the world echoes the formula he uses

when he declares
the Four Noble Truths, the most fundamental statement of his teaching for the

world, in which
he sets out in the most basic terms the purpose of his quest: to find an end to

dukkha, or suffering. Here he substitutes the word “loka” (or “world”) for
the more familiar word

dukkha.” He
then goes on to claim full and complete familiarity with the world, its origin,

cessation and
the means to its cessation.

The Buddha spoke
about the world often and in diverse situations. In fact, in the Buddhavandanā

3 (the “Homage to
the Buddha,” which is traditionally chanted in the morning at

courses and in monasteries and temples everywhere) one of the several epithets
of the

Buddha that is
mentioned is that he is “lokavidu”—that is, that he is “one who knows



And yet, having
declared that he possesses such complete knowledge of the world, he also

states, in
another place, that he does not reveal all he knows:

The Blessed One
was once living at Kosambī in a forest of Si
sapa trees. He picked up a

few leaves in
his hand and he asked the bhikkhus: “What do you think, bhikkhus, which

is greater, the
few leaves that I hold in my hand or those on the trees in this forest?”

“The leaves that
the Blessed One has in his hand are few, Bhante; those in the forest are

far more


“So too,
bhikkhus, the things that I have known by direct knowledge are far more; the

things that I
have told you are only a few. Why haven’t I told them? Because they bring

no benefit, no
advancement in the holy life, because they do not lead to dispassion, to

fading, to
ceasing, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to enlightenment, to Nibbāna. And

what have I told
you? ‘This is suffering, this is the origin of suffering, this is the cessation

of suffering,
this is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’”


He makes it
abundantly clear that his interest is in bringing benefit to the world, in

“advancement in
the holy life,” rather than in merely exploring the mechanics of the universe.

Contained in
these statements are several important elements of the Buddha’s worldview. In

attempting to
compare the Buddha’s knowledge of the universe and the collective knowledge of

modern science,
let us notice first of all that the Buddha uses no instruments to investigate

world. He
performs only internal, experiential experiments and has discovered, “whatever
can be

seen, heard,
sensed, cognized, or reached, sought out and encompassed by the mind.” His

method, as we
see, is radically empirical; it is discovery by direct experience and direct



We must also
note here that the world he describes is multi-layered, containing devas,

brahmas, māras—many other beings besides humans and animals. The worldview of the

and his
followers down through the centuries includes thirty-one planes of existence,
also referred

to as lokas. We
will not spend too much time on all the features of this complex cosmology, but

the outline of
it is important because, as we shall see, the multi-layered aspect of the
universe is

directly related
to the Buddha’s formulation of evolution. As individual beings evolve and move

among the various
lokas, so the universe organizes itself into these planes of existence.
The moral and psychological laws of nature interweave with this system of
realms in an incontrovertible

fashion that
becomes the very mechanics of the universal creation.

As described by
the Buddha, this multi-layered cosmos is divided into three broad groups: the

realm of
sense-desire, the fine-material realm and the immaterial realm.


The sense-desire
realm (or the kāma-loka—so-called because sensual desire prevails there)

made up of
eleven planes. Ranging in ascending order, there are the four undesirable

made up of (1)
various hell realms; (2) the titans (asurā) who are involved in
continual conflict

and combat; (3)
the hungry ghosts (peta) who are afflicted by constant unfulfilled
craving; and

(4) the animal
plane. The desirable destinations within the kāma-loka include the human

and six heavenly
planes of devas.


Above, or higher
than the kāma-loka is the fine-material realm (the rūpa-loka—so-called

because the
grosser forms of matter are no longer present in these planes). The rūpa-loka

of sixteen
planes inhabited by brahmas. The worlds of these beings correspond to
the attainments

of the first
four jhānas, or levels of absorption samādhi.


The final four
planes comprise the immaterial realm, the arūpa-loka. These are planes

without physical
form at all, in which the beings, known as arūpa-brahmas, have only

activity and
dwell in the deep peace of the fifth to the eighth jhānas.


Beings are born
into one or another of these realms based on their accumulated actions from

the past, or
their kamma (better known in the West by its Sanskrit equivalent: karma).

literally, “action” and the Buddha defines it as “volition” (cetanā).
6 The universe

described here
is one based on complete conditionality of action—laws of cause and effect that

cannot be
transgressed. In a succinct definition of the conditional nature of all
phenomena the

Buddha said,
“That comes to be when there is this; that arises with the arising of this.
That does

not come to be
when there is not this; that ceases with the cessation of this.”
7 In this statement of

the abstract
principle of dependent origination the Buddha approaches the purity of
definition of

Newton’s third
law of motion: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The

Buddha would
say, rather, for every action there is an equal and appropriate result.


In his
formulation of this highly structured and complex cosmology the Buddha goes

the universe
that is observable by the five physical senses. The classical scientific
worldview of

the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries was limited to the “observable universe” but we have

developments in
scientific theory in the latter half of the twentieth century that so far

anything that can be tested or observed. In the latest attempts to unify the
theory of

Relativity and Quantum theory, scientists and mathematicians have proposed a

paradigm called
String theory. As they are working out the implications of this new theory they

find that it is
necessary to assume that at least ten dimensions must exist in the universe.

include the
three dimensions of conventional physical space that we all inhabit; time, as a

dimension; and
at least six other dimensions that are not visible. Science, as we have seen,

always refining
its understanding of the universe. Perhaps as time goes on and String theory

replaces it) is refined we will find that more unseen dimensions are


In the Pāli
literature each of these realms, or lokas, whether visible or invisible,
is understood

to be an
objective plane of existence which is a counterpart of some action, whether
physical or

mental, of the
beings who inhabit them. These planes are taken to be destinations for

births of
beings. Each birth is based on the actions, or kamma, accumulated in
previous lives. In

some planes
these lives are said to be extremely long lasting. There is a noteworthy
feature of the

characterization of this cosmology: namely that, while he used aspects of the

Buddhist, Vedic
cosmology commonly accepted in his time, he did not adopt it wholesale as he

set about
explaining the nature of the world. He altered it to suit the reality he had

The most
important and radical alteration he made was that he denied that birth in any
of these realms was eternal. Every being, no matter how long-lasting its life
might be in the higher realms,

was subject to
impermanence, decay and, ultimately, death.


This fundamental
characteristic of all levels of the universe—that all experience and

phenomena are
dynamic and subject to change—is, along with an understanding of the

law of cause and effect, the most important feature of his formulation of the

universe. In a
famous verse from the Sa
yutta-nikāya the Buddha declares:

Sabbo ādīpito

sabbo loko

sabbo pajjalito

sabbo loko

The entire world
is burning,

the entire world
is going up in smoke;

the entire world
is combustion,

the entire world
is vibration.


The description
of burning that we find here is, on the one hand, a metaphor referring to the

dukkha-nature of the world: its suffering, its fundamentally uncomfortable,
unsatisfactory nature.

On the other
hand, it is an accurate description of the absolute nature of impermanence, the

tendency to decay and disorder that we always encounter. It is this same
characteristic of

all phenomena
that is described in the second law of thermodynamics as “entropy.”
Entropy is a

concept that we
all take for granted, but never really understand very exactly. It is defined

energy in a
closed system that is unavailable to do work. It is energy, but too diffuse and

random to
harness productively. The Buddha is describing the same law here as a process

combustion and vibration in the loka, but he is taking this observation
a step further by

relating it to
the human experience of dissatisfaction—dukkha.


This basic
characteristic of radical impermanence (or anicca) throughout the world
is in fact

the linchpin
that joins the Buddha’s basic statement of the Four Noble Truths and his

above: that he
has discovered the world, the origin of the world, the cessation, and the way

leading to the
cessation of the world. The fact that the world is anicca, and can be
experienced as

such, leads to
the undeniable conclusion that nothing in the world is constant, controllable,

productive of
lasting pleasure and happiness. Because all is pajjalito (combustion)
and pakampito

(vibration), all
is therefore dukkha (suffering). This perpetual, unremitting
impermanence is

described in the
Pāli literature at both the microcosmic and the macrocosmic scale.


Long before
Lavoisier and John Dalton formulated and quantified the atomic theory of matter

in Europe at the
turn of the nineteenth century, the Pāli literature had quantified the smallest

particle of
matter. In the Vibha
ga-atthakathā—a commentary on the Abhidhamma ascribed to

Ven. Buddhagosa
and therefore dating to the fifth century of the Christian era—the paramā
u, or

the “smallest
atom,” was defined as a size that works out to 1/581,147,136th part of an a
gula, or

a finger’s
9 Fingers vary in width,
admittedly, but by measuring my own and finding that

they average
just less than 2 cm across, I calculate that the size of the paramā
u was on the order

of .344 x 10-10
meters. This figure corresponds to about 1/3 of an Angstrom, the unit of

that was created
in the twentieth century to express the size of atoms. Atoms are known to be

difficult to measure accurately because it isn’t possible to determine the
location of

the electrons
that surround the nucleus. However, estimates of their radii (which is the way

size is usually
specified) range from about .7 A to 2.9 A. So it seems that, given the problems

measurement of
atoms and without a really accurate estimate of an a
gula, we can conclude

the fifth
century assessment of the size of the paramā
u is at least on
the same order of

magnitude as the
twentieth century assessment of the size of the atom.


But this wasn’t
the smallest particle of matter spoken of in the Pāli texts. There is reference
to a

particle called a kalāpa, or a
ṭṭha-kalāpa, meaning
basically a “group,” or a “group of

eight.” It
seems, at first, counterintuitive that a particle should be named “group” until

recognize that
the name refers to the smallest unit of eight qualities, grouped together,

in flux,
oscillating in and out of existence at an extremely rapid frequency. As Quantum

also tells us,
matter is not substantial; rather it exhibits a dual nature of both waves and

with one aspect
predominating in some situations and the other predominating in other

characterized by extremely rapid fluctuation between the two.

Those who have
listened to S.N. Goenka’s discourses from the ten-day course will have

heard the story
he tells of Prof. Luis W. Alvarez and his Nobel Prize-winning work with the

bubble chamber,
which essentially established the rate of fluctuation of high energy subatomic

particles at the
rate of 1022 times per second. Goenkaji compares this to the period of

of the kalāpa,
and quotes his teacher, Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who wrote, “The life-span of a kalāpa

is termed a
‘moment,’ and trillions of such moments are said to elapse during the wink of a

eye.”10 In a different place, speaking of the
Buddha’s enlightenment, U Ba Khin wrote, “…it

came vividly to
him that there is no substantiality…in the human body and that it is nothing

the sum total of
innumerable millions of kalāpas, each about 1/46,656th part of a
particle of dust

from the wheel
of a chariot in summer.”


I have not been
able to discover exactly which texts Sayagyi U Ba Khin is quoting in these

passages. But we
can be sure it is from the later commentarial literature, just as the

of the size of
the paramāṇu was. The Buddha himself, in keeping with his determination
to speak

only of those
things that lead to the direct benefit of his listeners—to advancement on the
path to

not quoted in the Tipiṭaka on these exact points of size of the kalāpa
and frequency

of its arising
and passing away. It was left to those later editors and redactors of his work

elaborate on
such points. But given the variations of the speed of eye-blinking and the

size of tiny
particles of dust,
12 there can
be no doubt that his method of discovery—even though it

was very
different from the scientific method—arrived at the same essential
characteristics of the

universe as has chemistry and physics in more recent times. The infinitesimal
scale that

is revealed by
each system is basically consistent as regards both space and time.

The Pāli texts
elaborate on the nature of the world at the macrocosmic end of the scale also.

In the Aggañña-sutta
of the Dīgha-nikāya the Buddha speaks of the evolution of the world
and of



Now there comes
a time, Vāseṭṭha, when after a long period of time this world contracts.

When the world
contracts, beings are for the most part born in the Ābhassara Brahmā

loka (plane of Radiance). There they dwell made of mind, feeding on joy,

moving through
the air, glorious; thus they remain for a very long time. But there comes

a time, Vāseṭṭha,
when after a long period of time this world begins to expand again.

When the world
expands, beings for the most part fall from the Ābhassara Brahmā loka

and are reborn
in this world; and they dwell here made of mind, feeding on joy, selfluminous,

moving through
the air, constantly beautiful; thus they remain for a very long



This passage and
the paragraphs that follow it are actually a rather rare instance where the

Buddha departs
from his oft-stated policy of not revealing the details of the beginning and
end of

the world. In
this discourse we see explicitly stated the formulation of vast space and time
that is

implicit throughout
his teaching, though seldom laid out in detail. He lived in the Ganges basin in

the fifth
century BC, in a time and place that was rich with cosmological speculation. It

from many
passages throughout the Tipiṭaka that all of the religious teachers of
the day drew

freely on this
free-floating, evolving mass of cosmological ideas and vigorously debated and

disputed them
among themselves and their followers.


In this
discourse as a whole he is describing the evolution of beings according to their

actions. By
means of this description of the world and its long-range evolution, he makes

that the actions
of each being, no matter what his station in the cosmos as a whole, leads to

in the various
planes of existence. For every action in the world, on any plane, there is an

effect that, as we saw earlier, manifests in the world conditioned by the law
of kamma.

Just as the
physical world, as science describes it, is based on unchanging laws of cause

effect, so is
the Buddhist worldview. The difference is that, unlike the scientific paradigm

there is a
discontinuity between the physical laws of the world and the ethical laws

beings, in the
Buddha’s teaching there is a smooth, consistent continuity of cause and effect
in all

realms, physical
and moral, large and small, human and non-human.


The Darwinian
theory of evolution that has come to be the accepted explanation for the

variability of
life on our planet posits that random genetic variation is sorted out into a

of species based
on their fitness to survive in the various niches of their environments. The

Buddha also
viewed the life of the world as dynamic, evolving and subject to rigorous laws

the selection was based on the moral law of kamma rather than the law of

survival. And
his view of this moral evolutionary principle was not limited to this planet or

to the visible,
physical world. It extended to all the planes of existence and included the



In the later
commentarial literature that was collected in the centuries after the Buddha, a

explication was given of vast spaces and enormous periods of time in which the kammic

actions of
beings play themselves out. The commentaries often speak of the vastness of the

describing our
own world as simply a part of a cakkavāḷa, or “wheel-cycle,” and
alluding to tens

of thousands of
such cakkavāḷas in the universe. Does this term cakkavāḷa refer
to a solar system,

as we understand
it today, or to a galaxy? The literature is not clear on this point. And the

differences in
scale between solar systems and galaxies is so great that no speculative

can be made as
to the extent of space that was under consideration in this literature. Suffice
it to

say that the
traditional follower of the Buddha’s path would understand that space is vast

teeming with
other world systems.


The period of
expansion and contraction of a loka, as described above, was known as a

kappa, or an era. This period itself would be of very long duration by human
standards. The

literature tells
us that while the future Buddha (who eventually took birth in historical times

Gotama) was
preparing himself through innumerable rounds of birth to become a Buddha, the

amount of time
that is said to have elapsed was four asankayas and 100,000 kappas. If
one kappa

itself is a long
period of time, the unit of time designated by an asankaya, (which means

was truly enormous. It is defined as consisting of 10140 kappas.


With this kind
of cosmic space and time as a common backdrop for all the cultures that have

followed the
Buddha’s teaching, is it any wonder that no surprise, concern or backlash arose

among them when
astronomers began estimating time scales of tens of billions of years since the

Big Bang? When
scientists found the size of the visible universe to be billions of lightyears

scale, and
expanding all the time, again it was no surprise to anyone who knew the scale
of the

described by Buddhist cosmology. And as to those astronomers and physicists

who keep
building larger and more precise telescopes, and who keep calculating and

the amount of
mass in the universe versus the rate of expansion of the universe, in order to

whether the universe will keep on expanding, reach a steady state, or
eventually begin

to collapse on
itself again—I suggest that they might want to consider the evidence of the

canon before
flip-flopping once again on this question.


So we see that
in terms of the scale and mechanics of the physical universe—from the tiniest

particle to the great expanses of space-time at the opposite end of the
scale—science has

yet to posit a
paradigm that has been a surprise for the follower of the Buddha. The immutable
laws of cause and effect are entirely in line with the Buddhist worldview, as
is the theory of

evolution. But
we must keep in mind that in the Buddha’s teaching, his purpose was not to

describe the world or to create a metaphysical system.

In a well known
discourse a certain deva, named Rohitassa, comes to the Buddha and asks

him about
finding the end of the loka by physically traveling there:


“Lord, the
world’s end where one neither is born nor ages nor dies nor passes away nor

reappears—is it
possible to know or see or reach that by traveling there?”

“Friend, that
there is a world’s end where one neither is born nor ages nor dies nor passes

away nor
reappears, which is to be known or seen or reached by traveling there—that I

do not say. Yet
I [also] do not say that there is an end of suffering without reaching the

world’s end.
Rather, it is in this fathom-long body with its perceptions and its mind that I

describe the
world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world and the way leading

to the cessation
of the world.”


To research this
paper I used the Chaṭṭha Saṅgāyana Tipiṭaka CD from the Vipassana

Institute to search for this word “loka” (here translated as “world”). I
found that in the

root texts of
Pāli canon, exclusive of the massive commentarial literature, this word occurs
in its

various forms
more than 8000 times. If you include the myriad compound terms in which “loka”

appears it adds
several thousand more occurrences. But very few of these appearances of the

actually refer
to the world in the external, merely objective sense that scientific
objectivity would

require. By far
the majority of these usages are in the sense that the Buddha has described to

Rohitassa: the loka
for him is really this world of mind and matter contained within each



As we have seen,
the Buddha was not concerned, as a scientist is, with merely discovering the

laws of nature.
Instead he teaches Dhamma, which is based on a thorough understanding of the

laws of nature
and is concomitantly concerned with helping people understand how to live in

with those laws.
Since the law of kamma (cause and effect) is the operative force
throughout the

dynamic universe
as the Buddha experiences it, he is more concerned to transform the world by

teaching beings
how to reform their own actions of mind, speech and body. Therefore his

formulation of
the universe, while acknowledging that he has discovered the world, its origin

its cessation,
focuses mostly on the way leading to the cessation of the world—the Noble

Eightfold Path
which is to be practiced within the framework of this “fathom-long body with

perceptions and
its mind.”


All of the
features of the loka that we have touched upon so far can be known
within this

world—and none more so than the most fundamental characteristic of anicca

change, the dynamic energy of the world within. When a sincere individual

comes into
experiential contact with this characteristic directly within oneself, then he
or she has

experienced the
energy of the loka. The diffuse energy—entropy—that could perform no

work beforehand
becomes the very medium of transformation of the individual, who thereby

becomes an
incremental node of reform of the world as a whole. Anicca has to be
experienced to

bring about any
change; intellectual understanding is useful only to the extent that it
inspires one

to practice—to
seek experience.

* * * * * *

You may remember
that earlier I posed the question, “If the old myths no longer provide an

rationale for ethical behavior, then what does? Does the scientific worldview
provide us

with an
alternative?” Let’s return to that question and see if we can address it from
the viewpoint

of science
first. I would like to quote from Albert Einstein, that most eminently quotable

He worried about
the moral undermining that he saw was happening as a result of the growing
ascendancy of scientific, rather than religious explanations of the origin,
nature and destiny of the

Concerning this he said:

The further the
spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me

that the path to
genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of

death, and blind
faith, but through striving after rational knowledge…A man’s ethical

behavior should
be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious

basis is
necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear

of punishment
and hope of reward after death.16


Einstein was a
real optimist when it came to his ideas about reforming human nature. There is

a famous
exchange of letters between himself and Sigmund Freud conducted in 1932,

the topic, “Is
there any way of delivering mankind from the menace of war?” The correspondence

between these
two esteemed figures (which was sponsored by the League of Nations) was

published as a
small booklet entitled Why War? A Correspondence Between Albert Einstein and

Sigmund Freud.
Einstein felt that through education, the
spread of knowledge and the

establishment of
transnational political organizations, such as the League of Nations, mankind

could learn to
leave aside the hatred, the greed and the ignorance that leads to war. He posed

question to
Freud: “Is it possible to control man’s mental evolution so as to make him

against the
psychoses of hate and destructiveness?”


Freud, however,
was not as hopeful as Einstein on the possibility of man’s ability to

overcome his
baser tendencies. He wrote, “The ideal conditions would obviously be found in a

community where
every man subordinated his instinctive life to the dictates of reason. Nothing

less than this
could bring about so thorough and so durable a union between men.… But surely

such a hope is
utterly utopian, as things are….” In the end he concluded, “…there is no

of our being
able to suppress humanity’s aggressive tendencies.”


Time, alas, has
shown Dr. Freud’s view to be all too true. The League of Nations, on which

Einstein placed
so much hope, has arisen and passed away. The rise of Nazism, the subsequent

holocaust and
the devastation brought about by the second world war reduced Einstein’s

optimism to his
later fears about the future of mankind. Surveying the material results of his

theoretical work
on the nature of the atom after the war he said, “It has become appallingly

that our
technology has surpassed our humanity.” Toward the end of his life Einstein’s
view of

humanity and his
concern for reforming it had reached a more mature stage—he was realistic,

while still
hopeful :


A human being is
part of a whole, called by us the “Universe,” a part limited in time and

space. He
experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from

the rest—a kind
of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison

for us,
restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons
nearest us.

Our task must be
to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of

compassion to
embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

This is a
statement that I believe the Buddha could agree with. The problem is that

does not tell us
how to succeed at that task. Neither he, nor Freud, nor any of the myriad

who have used
the scientific method to achieve phenomenal results in the physical realm have

found a
practical method to produce freedom from the prison of our delusions, our

desires and aversions.
For this we must delve deeper than the rational mind is capable of.

Though science
may be the accepted source today for our modern creation myth, though the

method of inquiry provides us with the credible evidence of how the universe came

be and predicts
what the ultimate end may be—it is at a loss to provide us with a method for

peace and harmony while the universe exists, here and now. It is most

when exploring
the extreme ends of the space-time continuum and when converting that
theoretical knowledge into the technologies that have so greatly enhanced our
material existence.

It fails us most
of all at the scale and in the realm with which the Buddha was most concerned.

The teaching of
the Buddha is empirically based and compatible with the scientific

worldview. And
it is focused on exactly this moral and spiritual reform of mankind that

has been unable
to effect. The practice of Dhamma is the perfect completion to the scientific



What is it exactly
that we seek when we say we want peace? “Peace” conjures up scenes of

people living
lives where they can grow their crops and raise their families without

The very word is
synonymous with stability, constancy, immutability. The essence of “peace,” at

the mundane
level, is opposed to change. But all the laws of nature clearly indicate that

universe is
always dynamic, changing, evolving at all scales of experience. Whether derived

the scientific
method or by direct experience of mind and matter in the framework of the body,

the laws of
cause and effect cannot be revoked within the limits of the universe.


However, both
Einstein and the Buddha tell us that there is a situation in which change is

stilled. One of
the more incomprehensible results of solving the formulas for the General

of Relativity is
that, if it were possible to travel at the speed of light, time would not
advance. It is

assumed that it
is physically impossible to reach that ultimate speed, but, theoretically, at the

speed of light,
nothing happens, nothing arises, nothing passes away.

In his attempts
to speak about Nibbāna, the experience beyond mind and matter, the

gives us similar
incomprehensible descriptions:


There is, bhikkhus,
an unborn, unbecome, unmade, uncompounded. If there were not this

unbecome, unmade, uncompounded, then there would be no escape made known

here for one who
is born, become, made, compounded. But since there is…, therefore an

escape is
described for one who is born, become, made, compounded.


Perhaps I am way
out of my depth in comparing the apparent similarity of these two disparate

Perhaps I have gone too far in my speculation about the parallels between
science and

the Dhamma.
After all, I have no experience of the speed of light nor of Nibbāna. But
I am

intrigued by the
fact that one must resort to statements about “what does not happen” in the

situations at
the extremes of each system. A scientist will tell us that it is not possible
to attain the

state of
lightspeed in order to test whether really there is an ultimate peace
prevailing. But the

Buddha asserts
that he has experienced it—not by physically traveling but by mental experience

—and he asserts
that anyone can reach this experience by diligent practice of the Dhamma.


Real peace on
this human plane could only come if and when each human being has

experienced the
subtle but perceptible anicca within; has realized the true nature of
craving and

aversion within
us all; and has transcended the ignorance, the delusion, the illusion in which

are imprisoned
at birth. Peace on Earth must begin with peace in the heart of every one of us

this personal
transformation is within the reach of any sincere practitioner who follows the

and precise
formula laid out by the Buddha. Invoking the sentiments of both Einstein and

Buddha, my wish
is that all beings may come in contact with such a possibility. May all beings

take the
opportunity to understand the deeper nature of reality experientially. May all

widen the circle
of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of the universe in

beauty and its kammically
ordered justice.


1 Professor
Charles Gustave Jung, of Zurich, who was in Colombo lately, told us that,
“as a student of

religion he believed that Buddhism was the most perfect religion the world has
seen. The

philosophy of
Buddha, the theory of evolution and the law of karma were far superior to any
other creed.” But even so eminent a psychologist, not knowing our
Abhidhamma, stated that “in every religion the powers of the subconscious
mind were represented by gods and demons.” “The actual psyche,”
said Jung, “is really unconscious, and greater experience would impress us
of the fact that the consciousness of man was like a little island floating in
an ocean.” Greater experience with the facts of Buddhist philosophy would
show Prof. Jung that actuality is something very different to what he dreams.
And the consciousness of a being is more like an octopus, at the bottom of an
ocean, grabbling and grasping now this, now that, its suckered tentacles ever
seeking to feed that greedy mouth.

—From Foreword
written by Prof. Cassius A. Pereira, 1938; Guide Through Abhidhamma, by
Ven. Nyanatiloka


2 Loko, bhikkhave, tathāgatena abhisambuddho:
lokasmā tathāgato visaṃyutto. Lokasamudayo, bhikkhave,

abhisambuddho : lokasamudayo tathāgatassa pahīno. Lokanirodho, bhikkhave,

abhisambuddho: lokanirodho
tathāgatassa sacchikato. Lokanirodhagāminī paṭipadā, bhikkhave,

abhisambuddhā: lokanirodhagāminī paṭipadā tathāgatassa bhāvitā.

Yaṃ, bhikkhave,
sadevakassa lokassa samārakassa sabrahmakassa sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā pajāya

diṭṭhaṃ sutaṃ
mutaṃ viññātaṃ pattaṃ pariyesitaṃ anuvicaritaṃ manasā yasmā taṃ tathāgatena

tathāgatoti vuccati.

KN, Itivuttaka 85, PTS 122

3 Iti’pi so bhagavā, arahaṃ,

sugato, lokavidū,

purisa-damma-sārathi, satthā deva-manussānaṃ,

—DN 1.44, PTS 1.49.

This reference
is the earliest of numerous repetitions of the Buddha-vanadanā through
out the Tipiṭaka.

4 Ekaṃ samayaṃ bhagavā kosambiyaṃ viharati sīṃsapāvane.
Atha kho bhagavā parittāni sīṃsapāpaṇṇāni

pāṇinā gahetvā
bhikkhū āmantesi– “taṃ kiṃ maññatha, bhikkhave, katamaṃ nu kho bahutaraṃ– yāni

mayā parittāni
sīṃsapāpaṇṇāni pāṇinā gahitāni yadidaṃ upari sīṃsapāvane”ti? “Appamattakāni,

bhagavatā parittāni
sīṃsapāpaṇṇāni pāṇinā gahitāni; atha kho etāneva bahutarāni yadidaṃ upari

“Evameva kho, bhikkhave, etadeva bahutaraṃ yaṃ vo mayā abhiññāya anakkhātaṃ.

Kasmā cetaṃ,
bhikkhave, mayā anakkhātaṃ? Na hetaṃ, bhikkhave, atthasaṃhitaṃ nādibrahmacariyakaṃ

na nibbidāya na
virāgāya na nirodhāya na upasamāya na abhiññāya na sambodhāya nanibbānāya

tasmā taṃ mayā anakkhātaṃ”.

SN 3.499; PTS 5.437

5 The arūpa-brahma-lokas share the
names and the experiences of the four immaterial jhānas: the spheres of

Infinite Space,
of Infinite Consciousness, of No-thingness, and of

6 Cetanāhaṃ, bhikkhave, kammaṃ vadāmi. “Mental volitional action, bhikkhus, is action, I say.”

AN 2.118; PTS 3.415

7 Sādhu, bhikkhave. Iti kho, bhikkhave,
tumhepi evaṃ vadetha, ahampi evaṃ vadāmi–

imasmiṃ sati idaṃ
hoti, imassuppādā idaṃ uppajjati, …imasmiṃ asati idaṃ na hoti, imassa nirodhā


MN 1.133-5; PTS 1.262-4

8 Upacālāsutta:
SN 1.157; PTS 1.133

9 Vibhaṅga-atthakathā, 325; PTS 343. See also
Nāṇamoli, Bhikkhu, Visuddhimagga, The Path of Purification,

(BPS Pariyatti
Edition. 1999), XI n.31: 797.

10 U Ba Khin, Sayagyi, The Clock of
Vipassana Has Struck,
“The Essentials of Buddha-Dhamma in Meditative

(Vipassana Research Publications, 1999): 114.

11 U Ba Khin, Clock of Vipassana, “What
Buddhism Is”: 139.

12 In the case of the “trillions” of moments elapsing
in the blink of an eye, it would appear at first that there is a

very large
difference between 1012, a trillion, and 1022, as reported by Dr. Alvarez.
However, I propose that the

difference can
be rectified by realizing that Sayagyi U Ba Khin was a British trained
accountant in his

Therefore he would naturally express trillions in the British numbering system
where one trillion is

1018 and 1022 is
10,000 trillions.

For the size of
the kalāpa, if we start with the assumption that an average dust
particle is about one

micrometer in
size (10-6m), the size at which various particles can easily remain suspended
in air for some time,

then dividing by
46,656 brings us into the 10-11m order of magnitude. This is still a bit large
for the calculated

size of even the
largest nuclei of atoms, which range from 10-14m and smaller, while the
electron is estimated to

have an upper
size limit of 10-17m.

13 Hoti kho so, vāseṭṭha, samayo yaṃ kadāci
karahaci dīghassa addhuno accayena ayaṃ loko saṃvaṭṭati.

loke yebhuyyena sattā ābhassarasaṃvattanikā honti.

Te tattha honti
manomayā pītibhakkhā sayaṃpabhā antalikkhacarā subhaṭṭhāyino ciraṃ


Hoti kho so,
vāseṭṭha, samayo yaṃ kadāci karahaci dīghassa addhuno accayena ayaṃ loko vivaṭṭati.

Vivaṭṭamāne loke
yebhuyyena sattā ābhassarakāyā cavitvā itthattaṃ āgacchanti. Tedha honti

pītibhakkhā sayaṃpabhā
antalikkhacarā subhaṭṭhāyinociraṃ dīghamaddhānaṃ tiṭṭhanti.

DN 3.69-79; PTS 3.84-85

14 See Fleischman, Paul R., M.D., Karma and
the title essay “Karma and Chaos” (Vipassana Research

1999) for a discussion of how chaos theory can help us to understand from a
scientific perspective

the logic of
cause and effect, or kamma, as it passes from one life to another in the
rounds of rebirth.

15 “Ekamantaṃ ṭhito kho rohitasso devaputto
bhagavantaṃ etadavoca– “yattha nu kho, bhante, na jāyati na

jīyati na
mīyati‚ na cavati na upapajjati, sakkā nu kho so, bhante, gamanena lokassa anto
ñātuṃ vā daṭṭhuṃ

vā pāpuṇituṃ
vā”ti? “Yattha kho, āvuso, na jāyati na jīyati na mīyati na cavati na
upapajjati, nāhaṃ

taṃ gamanena
lokassa antaṃ ñāteyyaṃ daṭṭheyyaṃ patteyyanti vadāmī”ti.

SN 1.1.76, PTS 1.62

16 Albert
Einstein, “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine,
November 9, 1930

17 Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud Why
; translated from the original German by Stuart Gilbert.

Published in
Paris: International Institute of Intellectual Co-operation, League of Nations,
1933. Available from

the Library of
Congress in microform: call number: Microfilm 85/7744 (J)

18 “Atthi, bhikkhave, ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ
asaṅkhataṃ. No cetaṃ, bhikkhave, abhavissa ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ

akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ,
nayidha jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa nissaraṇaṃ paññāyetha. Yasmā ca

bhikkhave, atthi
ajātaṃ abhūtaṃ akataṃ asaṅkhataṃ, tasmā jātassa bhūtassa katassa saṅkhatassa


—KN, Udāna: 163, PTS 80-81




Scientific Philosophy

with reference to Buddhist Thought

Raja Ramanna

Early Buddhist philosophy is very close to scientific
philosophy of modern times, and many a distinguished scientist has expressed
great admiration for the clear exposition of the Buddha on the Nature of the
Universe and the interaction between its various components. The more recent
discoveries of science make it necessary to study Buddhist epistemology in
order to get a proper view of the Universe and man’s position in it.

We start with a classification of the Universe into three
parts, a classification which must have had an early origin but is attributed
to the great Bhakti Philosopher Ramanuja (11th century). This
classification is not only scientifically appealing but is as valid today as it
was a thousand years ago. Ramanuja divides the Universe into three parts: Achit,
Chit and Isvara, and the interaction between the three divisions,
brings Science and Philosophy into a proper focus. In this classification the
original meanings of the divisions are:

Acit: Things which have no consciousness,

Cit: Things which have consciousness, and

Isvara: God.

We interpret the divisions hopefully without any distortion
in the following manner:

Acit: All material things, and whose behaviour is best explained by modern

Cit: All things which have life and exhibit biological behaviour and hence
possess a consciousness. The exhibited consciousness being higher in quality,
depending on the evolutionary status of the concerned object.

Isvara: A power which develops a consciousness with a desire to do good to all

The definitions of the above classifications and the
interactions between the sets, bring philosophy and science to a common plane.
Some of the discoveries in modern science emphasise that a close interaction is
necessary if we have to understand the Universe in all its aspects. There seem
to be contradictions both mutually and internally in both aspects of knowledge
and this paper strives to analyze some of them.

It will be observed that early Buddhist thought, based as
it is on rationality and logic, comes closest to an understanding of the
Universe in all its aspects without many arbitrary assumptions or coming into
conflict with observed data.

Figure 1 shows the division of the Universe
according to Ramanuja by Venn Diagrams. S(A) stands for the Acit set,
S(C) stands for the Cit set and S(I) for the Isvara set.

We note that in its original definition the reality of S(I)
is rejected by the Carvaka materialistic philosophers, Mechanistic Science,
early Buddhism, Jainism and in general by the Sankhya philosophers.


Figure 1 : Universal Classification

S(I) as an Anthropomorphic Absolute Entity isolated from
the world and as a father figure, is the description in the Jewish, and hence
the Christian religions and Islam. The contact with life and the material world
is held through prophets, saints and in the case of Christianity a Messiah (son
of God).

A kind of anthropomorphic entity of a polytheistic nature
exists in Puranic Hinduism, but the entity is not isolated from ordinary life
and is one in which the God or Gods identify themselves with human weakness and
errors, much like the Greek divinities. However, Vedantic influence has brought
all these divinities together by a monism of the most comprehensive type.

The Vedantic interpretation of S(I) is very abstract and as
we shall see later it interacts with the other sets in a very subtle way as interpreted
by Sankara (8th century) and Ramanuja. This interaction is denied by Madhva
(14th century) and God is completely separate from Cit and Acit
and in this sense his interpretation of Vedanta begins to resemble the
conclusions of the Mediterranean religions.

Later Buddhism admits of the Divinity of the Buddha which
seems like an obvious influence of Hinduism. The phase of Buddhism during which
the Sunyata theory was developed, is another interesting phase of
philosophy which has parallels in scientific thought. We discuss this in some

All the interpretations of the interactions between the
sets, depend on the meaning of
This word is a deeply intuitive one. Even in science the word has found no
clear definition and its meaning has been and is still being debated at great
length. One would have expected that Science with its dependence on
quantification, the language of mathematics and possibilities of experimental
verification, would have no difficulty in defining Reality, but this has not
been the case.

To return to the Venn diagrams, Figure 2 gives the
way the Carvaka and Mechanistic Scientists look at the interactions. There is
no Reality for S(I), and S(C) is embedded in S(A), i.e., consciousness is
created by material forces.


Figure 2 : Mechanistic and Charvaka

In Figure 3a and Figure 3b are shown the
interactions as given in Vedanta. S(I) is considered as the only
Reality. It is, however, so pure and isolated that only through the forces of Maya
the material world has become observable/measurable. The Universe has become
observable because of our consciousness. In this way S(A) is a subset of S(C).
The relationship of the abstract Isvara set to that of S(C) and S(A) is
one of projection through maya. The interesting aspect of the Vedantic
theory is that Brahman is in all living things. In fact it leads to the
famous aphorism ‘Thou Art That’. It implies that S(C) and therefore S(A) are a
part of S(I). An important aspect of this interpretation is that it points to a
unification of the entire Universe. Just as all the laws of Physics will
presumably be unified, the Brahman takes the role of that Unification.
The interpretation of Brahman and Maya is due to Sankara (8th
century) but it is clearly enunciated in the Vedanta.

Sankara’s theory has, however, been modified by Ramanuja by
denying that the Isvara set is an abstract one. He believes that the set
interacts with human consciousness in a direct way through Bhakti, i.e.,
love and affection. It is in this way the love of fellowmen and mankind in
general arises. In Advaita Vedanta, S(I) is the only set having
Reality, the rest is a projection of that Reality through Maya. The
Madhva version of Vedanta insists that God and the rest are separate (Dvaita)
and thus S(I) is separate from the other sets. In this way it resembles the
Mediterranean religions.



Supreme, Symmetric, Pure, Unchangable

Projection or

(Due to
Unchangability to Supreme Brahman)

Evolution: Symmetry
to Symmetry (Chandyogya Upanisad)

though some held that chaos alone was before a second, and order come ot it,
how can it ever be so. Order indeed was alone in the beginning….”


Figure 3 (a) : Advaita (Shankara, 8th century)







Consideration to
express human feelings possible in this process


Evolution : From
Chaos to Symmetry



Figure 3 (b) : Visista-Advaita
(Ramanuja, 11th century)

In Figure 4 the view of the Mediterranean religions
is shown

S(I) represents a fatherly anthropomorphic entity whose
relationship with the rest of the world is through parental concern and fear.

God as Father



Evolution : Act
of God

Social Forces, Fear, Inherent Love of

Figure 4 : Mediterranean Religions &
Madhav (Dvaita)

In Figure 5 the Buddhist view is given. To be as
accurate as possible we quote from Stcherbatsky’s1 book on Buddhist Logic,
which effectively summarises the Buddhist standpoint.

At the time of Buddha, India was seething with philosophic
speculation, and thirsty of the ideal of Final Deliverance. Buddhism started
with a very minute analysis of the human personality into the elements of which
it is composed. The leading idea of this analysis was a moral one. The elements
of a personality were, first of all, divided into good and bad, purifying and
defiling, propitious to salvation and averse to it. The whole doctrine was
called a doctrine of defilement and purification. Salvation was imagined and
cherished as a state of absolute quiescence. Therefore life, ordinary life, was
considered as a condition of degradation and misery. Thus the purifying
elements were those moral features, or forces, that led to quiescence. The
defiling ones were those that led to, and encouraged, the turmoil of life.
Apart from these two classes of conflicting elements, some general, neutral,
fundamental elements were also found at the bottom of every mental life, but
nothing in the shape of a common receptacle of them could be detected: hence no
Ego, no Soul, no Personality. The so-called personality consists of a congeries
of ever-changing elements, of a flow of them, without any perdurable and stable
element at all.

This is the first main feature of early Buddhism, its
Soul-denial. The No-Soul theory is another name for Buddhism.

The external world was also analysed in its component
elements. It was the dependent part of the personality, its sense-data. There
were other systems of philosophy which preceded Buddhism and which envisaged
the sense-data as changing manifestations of a compact, substantial and eternal
principle, the Matter. Buddhism brushed this principle away and the physical
elements became just as changing, impermanent and flowing, as the mental were
found to be. This constitutes the second characteristic feature of early
Buddhism: no Matter, no Substance, only separate elements, momentary flashes of
efficient energy without any substance in them, perpetual becoming, a flow of
existential moments.

However, instead of the abandoned principles of a Soul and
of a Matter, something must have come to replace them and to explain how the
separate elements of the process of becoming are holding together, so as to
produce the illusion of a stable material world and of perdurable personalities
living in it. They were in fact, substituted by causal laws, laws of physical
and moral causation. The flow of the evanescent elements was not a haphazard
process. Every element, although appearing for a moment, was a ‘dependently
originating element’. According to the formula ‘this being, that arises’ it
appeared in conformity with strict causal laws. The idea of moral causation, or
retribution, the main interest of the system, was thus receiving a broad
philosophic foundation in a general theory of Causality. This is the third
characteristic feature of early Buddhism. It is a theory of Causation.


To find the place where Buddhist philosophy can be included
in the diagram given in Figure 5 involves the following modifications.
Buddhism does not explicitly assume the existence of a God. Therefore the
interpretation of the Isvara state is not that of a God, but all the
unifying forces based on causal laws which includes the status of Nirvana.
Cit and Acit are clearly defined except that the overlap between
the Cit and Acit takes into account the dynamics involved in the
state of the universe and evolution in the state of conscious matter.

Sunyata Theory

Later Buddhism, through the work of Nagarjuna (around 2nd
century a.d.), Dignaga (5th century), Dharmakirti and Dharmottana (8th
century), has many interesting contributions to make towards the philosophy of
causality (Sunyavada) and logic.

Nagarjuna in a most general way shows in his Sunyavada
that while one can have ontological monism, it is possible for dual states to
exist in epistemology — a conclusion of great implications to science.

In order to be as accurate and at the same time concise, a
note from the Encyclopaedia Britannica2 on Nagarjuna and Sunyavada
is given in the appendix. The note also includes Buddhist views on
ego-consciousness and memory, and pure sensation as perception. All these have
a bearing on what follows on physical reality.

(A) Early Buddhism


No God

No Soul

Interaction purely by Causal Laws

S (C) mainly dealing with Good and Evil and
prosper knowledge as part of Causal Laws. Origin big bang or bangs.

Existence of Nirvana (as absorption
into nothingness)

(B) Buddhism : Middle Period


S (I) now represents
the Buddha as a Divine personality

S (A), S (C)
interaction dealing with individual salvation

Nirvana - close to the idea of Vedantic Brahman

(C) Buddhism : Final Period

Theory of Sunyata

Figure 5 : Buddhist View

One would have expected that in Science there could hardly
be any conflicting views on Reality, but as we shall see from what follows this
is not the case and problems of philosophy enter the domains of pure science in
no uncertain way.

We now consider the problems of Physical Reality.

It is to the credit of physics that all words used have a
meaning defined within the framework of mathematics. However, in recent times
the foundations of physics and the foundations of mathematics have been rudely
shaken by new discoveries which not only make the older definitions ambiguous
but lead to inconsistencies which would just not have been allowed in the past.

The two problems which have caused this situation are in
the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics and the discovery of the Godel Theorem in
mathematics. We consider here only the first of the problems, since it involves
the concept of Reality, a concept which as we have seen has been discussed over
the ages.

Most scientists are very happy with the successes of new
Quantum Mechanics, (Q.M. for short), as opposed to Newtonian mechanics, in
explaining a wide and complex range of physical phenomena. This, however, has
been possible by not only introducing new laws of physics but even revising
basic concepts concerning Reality itself. The scientists are so satisfied with
the way Q.M. has worked, that if any blemish in its foundations is pointed out,
they would rather call the questioner a person of unsound mind than take the
criticism seriously. Even the great Einstein himself was treated in this
manner, when he objected to the claim that quantum theory was a complete theory
of all matter, and pointed out some inconsistencies which could lead to a
paradox of a serious nature. His criticisms, however, require a clear
understanding of Reality which has, as we know, metaphysical overtones.

The other great scientist of the period Niels Bohr,
believed that the inconsistencies pointed by Einstein were the result of an
obsolete method of viewing the methods of Physics. In order to clarify the new
approach, Bohr proposed a principle, known as the Complementarity Principle
which permits different (even contradictory) aspects of physical phenomena,
particularly in the microscopic world to exist. To support this, Bohr suggested
that in the description of phenomena, inconsistencies are bound to come up,
when Quantum effects dominate, but this has to be pictured in a classical
sense. The principle of complementarity envisages situations where a system can
exhibit particle-like properties and wave-like properties, though they are
opposite descriptions of nature. However, it is expected that both the
descriptions never appear simultaneously.

Most scientists have supported the interpretation of Bohr,
since it provided an epistemological base to describe many observed phenomena
quantitatively, particularly in the atomic and nuclear regime. While most
scientists were happy with the new mechanics even if it contained
inconsistencies, only Einstein, Schroedinger and a few others, though impressed
by the predictive successes of Q.M., were never convinced of the validity of
the principle of complementarity. In recent times, more people have come out
against the views of Bohr. One of the ways of raising objections is to discuss
the problem with the aid of ‘imaginary experiments’ and interpret it, based on
Q.M. which would show up the parodoxes, if any. This was the method used by the
above-mentioned scientists. The use of imaginary experiments is a method of
creating idealised situations for the sake of discussion to show the
consistency of the assumptions that have been made. However, in recent time
technologies have greatly advanced, such that these idealised experiments can
now be actually performed and their results are used to clinch issues.

In order to show that the Quantum Theory was at best only a
working theory but incomplete, and would one day have to be modified, Einstein
and two of his collaborators Podolsky and Rosen in 1956, published a paper
(usually referred to in literature as EPR), to show that Q.M. has in its
structure inconsistencies which if properly interpreted could lead to a serious
paradox. The paper generated heat at the time when it was published some forty
years ago, but it was not taken as too serious an objection, because much of it
centered round the almost metaphysical problem as to what is Reality, and
metaphysics is not popular among physicists. Further, the arguments on both
sides relied on idealised experiments. They could only be discussed at a
philosophical plane and not actually performed and the best bet then was that
the results of the experiment would confirm the ideas of Bohr.

Now that new technologies have made difficult experiments
possible, the results of the experiments have to be taken into account and they
do not seem to support the Theory of Complementarity conclusively.

Through this paper, we state the foundations of physics,
first in the way a classical physicist would like to have it. They have now had
to be given up, in view of all the information we now have on microscopic
phenomena, which has clearly shown that classical theory is untenable. The
latest experiments,3 also seem to suggest all is not well with the definition
of Reality as proposed in Q.M. also.

We start by summarising the relevent differences between
the classical (Newtonian) approach to physical problems with that of Q.M., if
at least to show that the latter is an entirely new theory, with a very
different epistemology. Later we indicate why the Complementarity Principle of
Bohr was introduced — in an effort to bridge the gap between the classical and
the quantum views — taking note of the fact that while microscopic phenomena
are governed by Q.M., the observer is however a macroscopic object and thus
guided by the earlier concepts.

The main differences between the two theories can be
summarised as follows:

Classical Theory

1. The theory is deterministic. Given the initial
conditions and the laws of motion, it is in principle, even in the most
complicated of cases, possible to predict the behaviour of the system at a
subsequent time and place.

Quantum Systems and Theory

1. The theory is basically probabilistic and abstract.

2. It requires the intervention of an observer to determine
its state, and this intervention suddenly makes the observation deterministic.

3. Objects under examination can behave in a contradictory
manner from the point of view of classical theory, e.g. an object can exhibit
itself as either a particle or a wave. Such descriptions are mutually
contradictory in the framework of classical physics but it is this duality that
gives Q.M. its flexibility to explain phenomena.

4. A measurement interferes with the state of the object
under measurement. A measurement of one of the parameters, of the object under
study, can make the measurement of an associated parameter uncertain, to the
extent that a simultaneous measurement of both parameters is impossible. This
is known as the Uncertainty Principle.

Since finally the measurement has to be made by an observer
— eventually a macroscopic being, the principles of the two theories come into
conflict. Thus we have a situation where Classical Theory which at first sight
seems to be rational is unable to explain all observed phenomena. At the same
time, we have Quantum theory able to explain nearly all observed phenomena, but
with assumptions which are at variance from the observer’s point of view.

We now take up the question of what is Reality. According
to Classical Physics a system is real if the parameters of the system under
consideration for example Position, Momentum etc. have a definite value even
before it is actually measured. Further the process of measurement should not,
in principle, affect the system.

In Q.M. every observable is somewhat abstractly connected
with a mathematical operation. When this operation is carried out, specific
rules tell one what its likely values are. The moment the measurement is made
the wave aspect of the system collapses and the system assumes a particular
value, which it may not have had earlier (Figure 6).

It is with a view to interpreting these abstract processes,
Bohr proposed his Principle of Complementarity. Essentially it states the
wave-particle duality is something that nature follows. This duality forces on
us the fact that the theory can only give the probabilities of the parameter
that are being measured. But only a measurement determines the value of the
parameter. In this way, we can say that prior to measurement the system had no
particular predetermined value and it is the measurement process that created
the value of the concerned parameters. All these aspects of Q.M. lead up to a
Reality which states that nothing that is not directly observable (measurable)
has an existence. All this happens only because of the dual nature of matter which
gets more prominent as the object becomes smaller. These effects become
negligible as we go into the macroscopic region.


Interaction to allow for:

Collapse of wave function

Immeasurability (Uncertainity)

Holistic Approach

S (C) U  S (A)

Evolution : Molecular and Symmetry Process

Figure 6 : Quantum Mechanics

Several distinguished scientists of the period, like
Einstein and Schroedinger to name only a few, were unhappy with the principle
of Complementarity. They believed Quantum theory can only be an incomplete
theory and one day a new theory would arise in which determinism would return
and duality would disappear.

Reality in Q.M. is thus at variance with Classical Reality
which insists that the system can exist before one noticed it. In Q.M., it
acquires its quantitative existence only after measurement which itself is
restricted by many constraints, e.g. the Uncertainty Principle. In this way
Q.M. Reality depends not only on the system but the measuring instrument and
the observer.

In order to show that Q.M. is an incomplete theory,
Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen (EPR) proposed the following experiment. If
performed, the experiment would show that the assumptions of Quantum Theory
would lead to a situation, where interactions can take place between systems,
which are so far away that the signal from one to the other will have to travel
at a speed faster than the velocity of light, or one has to invoke a
“mysterious superfast interaction at a distance”. Both these
possibilities would be untenable to a physicist. The rejection by the physicist
is based on a fundamental principle known as
Causality, which means that there is a physical cause for
every-thing. A principle of deep significance in a discussion in early Buddhist
philosophy. A more restricted Causality called Local Causality is one when
something is real only if it changes within a system and can be measured within
it or sufficiently near it, so that the principle of the Theory of Relativity,
i.e., no signals can travel faster than the velocity of light, is not violated.

To understand the implications of the ‘imaginary
experiment’ and its consequences requires a knowledge of physics. However, a
very sketchy description of it is given as it introduces the concept of Local

Consider a system which emits two photons, i.e., light
simultaneously in opposite directions. Such systems are now available. Q.M.
states that the position of each of the particles (x), (y) can be
determined by some suitable experiment and another experiment can determine the
momenta (p), (q) of each of the particles. However (x) and
(p) cannot be measured simultaneously, because of the Uncertainty
Principle. Similar is the case with (y) and (q). The paradox
appears when we take into account that the distances between the particles are
always known and the total momenta of the two particles are fixed. If this is
so, by measuring (x) of the first particle and later the momentum (p)
of the same particle, one can know all about the second particle without having
made any measurements directly on the second particle and not disturbing it in
any way. In this way we have already violated the principles of Q.M.

If however, the supporter of Q.M. objects to the fact that
the parameters (x) and (p) have not been measured at the same
time, and what was measured earlier would have lost its validity, the paradox
worsens in that the second particle somehow seems to have got to know the
sequence of measurements made on the first particle, [since any change in (x)
and (p) has to show itself on (y) and (q), because x-y
and p and q are fixed]. With Q.M. as it is presently formulated,
this effect on the other must take place however far off the distance between
the photons, perhaps even thousands of kilometres or more and the interaction
must be instantaneous. This can happen only if the information is travelling
faster than that of light!

The epistemological problems of Q.M. involve the dual
behaviour of matter. In a measurement, the wave function representing the
particle has to collapse. How or why this happens has never received a proper
explanation. It has been pointed out that one may have to accept the existence
of a human consciousness on the completion of a measurement, which is
responsible for the collapse of the wave function, and to make the measurement
deterministic. These are complex issues but are stated here only to show even
physicists wedded to physical reality are forced to invoke the physical
existence of consciousness.

The comparison with Buddhist philosophy becomes relevant if
we consider ontological monism as the situation before measurement and
epistemological dualism as equivalent to wave-particle dualism. These ideas
require greater study especially using the original works of Nagarjuna.
Physicists who are interested in Reality must take these earlier works into
account because of their generality.

As stated earlier the complementarity principle has come
under severe scrutiny in recent years. Some new experiments3 using optical
methods seem to indicate that a particle can be observed to be both wave-like
and particle-like simultaneously and not one or the other as assumed by
complementarity. Figure 7 gives the experimental set-up based on an
earlier experiment done by J.C. Bose, a hundred years ago, to demonstrate the
wave nature of micro-waves.


Figure 7

In conclusion, by referring to Figure 7, we note
that the registrations by the counter 2 to measure the tunnelling rate pertain
to a propagation of light pulses which is consistent with a classical wave picture.
However, at the same time let us consider the rates measured by the coincidence
counter (connected to detectors 1 and 2) when the incident light pulses are in
states that are close approximations to single photon states. If the
coincidence rates are found to be lower than the minimum bound derived from the
classical wave picture (perfect anti-coincidence for ‘ideal’ single photon
states), as reported by Mizobuchi and Otake,3 the propagation cannot be
comprehended using a classical wave-picture, but is amenable to a description
in terms of the particle picture. We, therefore, contend that an understanding
of this experiment in terms of classical pictures [which Bohr’s complementary
principle (BCP) necessarily requires] can only be obtained by using both
particle and wave-pictures; in other words, the experimental data recorded in
the three counters of Figure 7 contain both wave-like and particle-like
information about the propagation of light pulses. It is in this sense that the
experiment ‘confronts’ BCP by showing that there is a situation allowed by the
formalism of quantum mechanics where the notion of ‘mutual exclusiveness of
classical pictures’ is not applicable.

The purpose of referring to the experiment is to show the
methods of science to decide on the complexities of interpretation. Even then
one cannot be sure that the last word has been said about the subject because
one is never sure how ontology affects epistemology which is basically a
philosophical question.

Philosophy has always had a place in science. The following
quotation from Einstein4 on ‘pre-established harmony’ shows how science cannot
quite depend on epistemology alone:

The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those
universal elementary laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure
deduction. There is no logical path to these laws; only intuition, resting on
sympathetic understanding of experience, can reach them. In this methodological
uncertainty, one might suppose that there were any number of possible systems of
theoretical physics all equally well justified; and this opinion is no doubt
correct, theoretically. But the development of physics has shown that at any
given moment, out of all conceivable constructions, a single one has always
proved itself decidedly superior to all the rest. Nobody who has really gone
deeply into the matter will deny that in practice the world of phenomena
uniquely determines the theoretical system, in spite of the fact that there is
no logical bridge between phenomena and their theoretical principles; this is
what Leibnitz described so happily as a ‘pre-established harmony’. Physicists
often accuse epistemologists of not paying sufficient attention to this fact.


Ontological Monism and Epistemological Dualism

Developments in Mahayana, Nagarjuna and Sunyavada.
Though the beginnings of Mahayana are to be found in the Mahasangikas
and many of their early sects, Nagarjuna gave it a philosophical basis. Not
only is the individual person empty and lacking an eternal self, according to
Nagarjuna, but the dharmas also are empty. He extended the concept of sunyata
to cover all concepts and all entities. ‘Emptiness’ thus means subjection to
the law of causality or ‘dependent origination’ and lack of an immutable
essence and an invariant mark (nihsvabhavata). It also entails a
repudiation of dualities between the conditioned and the unconditioned, between
subject and object, relative and absolute, and between samsara and Nirvana.
Thus, Nagarjuna arrived at an ontological monism; but he carried through an
epistemological dualism, i.e., a theory of knowledge based on two sets of
criteria between two orders of truth: the conventional (samratti) and
the transcendental (paramartha). The one reality is ineffable. Nagarjuna
undertook a critical examination of all the major categories with which
philosophers had sought to understand reality and showed them all to involve
self-contradictions. The world is viewed as a network of relations, but
relations are unintelligible. If two terms, A and B, are related by the
relation R, then either A and B are different or they are identical. If they
are identical, they cannot be related; if they are altogether different then
they cannot also be related, for they would have no common ground. The notion
of “partial identity and partial difference” is also rejected as
unintelligible. The notion of causality is rejected on the basis of similar
reasonings. The concepts of change, substance, self, knowledge, and universals
do not fare any better. Nagarjuna also directed criticism against the concept
of pramana or the means of valid knowledge.

Nagarjuna’s philosophy is also called Madhyamika,
because it claims to tread the middle path, which consists not in synthesizing
opposed views such as “The real is permanent” and “The real is
changing” but in showing the hollowness of both the claims. To say that
reality is both permanent and changing is to make another metaphysical
assertion, another viewpoint, whose opposite is “Reality is neither
permanent nor changing”. In relation to the former, the latter is a higher
truth, but the latter is still a point of view, a drsti, expressed in a
metaphysical statement, though Nagarjuna condemned all metaphysical statements
as false.

Nagarjuna used reason to condemn reason. Those of his disciples
who continued to limit the use of logic to this negative and indirect method,
known as prasanga, are called the prasangikas; of these,
Aryadeva, Buddhapalita, and Candrakirti are the most important. Bhavaviveka,
however, followed the method of direct reasoning and thus founded what is
called the svatantra (independent) school of Madhyamika
philosophy. With him Buddhist logic comes to its own, and during his time the Yogacaras
split away from the Sunyavadins.

Ego Consciousness and Stored

Contributions of Vasubandhu and Asanga. Converted by his brother Asanga to the Yogacara, Vasubandhu wrote
the Vijnaptimatratasiddhi (”Establishment of the Thesis of
Cognitions Only”), in which he defended the thesis that the supposedly
external objects are merely mental conceptions. Yogacara idealism is a
logical development of Sautrantika representationism: the conception of
a merely inferred external world is not satisfying. If consciousness is
self-intimating (svaprakasa) and if consciousness can assume forms (sakaravijnana),
it seems more logical to hold that the forms ascribed to alleged external
objects are really forms of consciousness. One only needs another conception: a
beginningless power that would account for this tendency of consciousness to
take up forms and to externalize them. This is the power of kalpana, or
imagination. Yogacara added two other modes of consciousness to the
traditional six: ego consciousness (manovijnana) and storehouse
consciousness (alaya-vijnana). The alaya-vijnana contains stored
traces of past experiences, both pure and defiled seeds. Early anticipations of
the notions of the subconscious or the unconscious, they are theoretical
constructs to account for the order of individual experience. It still remained,
however, to account for a common ‘world-which’ in fact remains the main
difficulty of Yogacara. The state of Nirvana becomes a state in
which the alaya with its stored ‘seeds’ would wither away (alayapravrtti).
Though the individual ideas are in the last resort mere imaginations, in its
essential nature consciousness is without distinctions of subject and object.
This ineffable consciousness is the ‘suchness’ (tathata) underlying all
things. Neither the alaya nor the tathata, however is to be
construed as being substantial.

Vasubandhu and Asanga are also responsible for the growth
of Buddhist logic. Vasubandhu defined ‘perception’ as the knowledge that is
caused by the object, but this was rejected by Dignaga, a fifth-century
logician, as a definition belonging to his earlier realistic phase. Vasubandhu
defined ‘inference’ as a knowledge of an object through its mark, but
Dharmottara, an eighth-century commentator pointed out that this is not a
definition of the essence of inference but only of its origin.

Pure Sensation as Perception

Contributions of Dignaga and Dharmakirti. Dignaga’s Pramanasamuccaya (”Compendium of the Means of
True Knowledge”) is one of the greatest works on Buddhist logic. Dignaga gave
a new definition of ‘perception’: a knowledge that is free from all conceptual
constructions, including name and class concepts. In effect, he regarded only
the pure sensation as perception. In his theory of inference, he distinguished
between inference for oneself and inference for the other and laid down three
criteria of a valid middle term (hetu), viz., that it should ‘cover’ the
minor premise (paksa), be present in the similar instances (sapaksa),
and be absent in dissimilar instances (vipaksa). In his Hetucakra
(”The Wheel of Reason”), Dignaga set up a matrix of nine types of
middle terms, of which two yield valid conclusions, two contradictory, and the
rest uncertain conclusions. Dignaga’s tradition is further developed in the
seventh century by Dharmakirti, who modified his definition of perception to
include the condition ‘unerring’ and distinguished, in his Nyayabindu,
between four kinds of perception: that by the five senses, that by the mind,
self-consciousness, and perception of the yogins. He also introduced a
threefold distinction of valid middle terms: the middle must be related to the
major either by identity (”This is a tree, because this is an oak”)
or as cause and effect (”This is fiery, because it is smoky”), or the
hetu is a non-perception from which the absence of the major could be
inferred. Dharmakirti consolidated the central epistemological thesis of the
Buddhists that perception and inference have their own exclusive objects. The
object of the former is the pure particular (svalaksana), and the object
of the latter (he regarded judgements as containing elements of inference) is
the universal (samanyalaksana). In their metaphysical positions, Dignaga
and Dharmakirti represent a moderate form of idealism.

Notes & References

F. Th. Stcherbatsky, Buddhist Logic,
Vol. 1, Oriental Books Reprint Corporation. pp, 3-5, 1984.

The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago, Vol 21, pp 201-02, 1992.

Partha Ghose, Dipankar Home and G. S.
Agarwal, An Experiment to Throw More Light on Light Implications,

Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions,
Rupa and Co, Calcutta, pp 226, 277, 1992.


Introduction of
Buddhist Philosophy

Buddhist is a form of philosophy nevertheless most people consider it as a form
of religion. As far as I concerned, I would say, “It is neither philosophy
nor religion.” Buddhism is Buddism itself, it could not be defined as
anything else. Buddhism is neither Theism nor Atheism. It refers to neither God
nor Gods. On the other hand, it did not say God doesn’t exist either. Anyway it
is not mainly focusing on that phenomenon instead it focuses on, “Braking
thru illusion then we see reality.” It teaches us how to have good living
(being) and understand the world as reality. What is the reality then?
According to Buddhism stand point, what that we see around us is not real, it
is only perception therefore reality is beyond perception. Perception deludes
us to illusion. Illusion is normal state of the mind that percieves the world
around us. To brake through illusion, we need to understand basic concept of
nature which part of it was found by Buddha, the great philosopher. To say,
Buddism is one of the way to enlightenment. ”

we can look at most religion, it grounds on faith other than reason. On the
other hand, the interesting thing about Buddhism is that it is different. In
Buddist’s Doctrine, reason comes before faith. The great one, the Buddha, said
that when one listens to him one does not have to believe what he said, instead
one listen then one have to think before make up any conclusion by oneself.
Therefore to consider one as a real Buddist, one must know that reason comes
before faith.
For me, Buddhism is a rational religion and as rational as scientific thought.
Around 2500 years ago ( the same time as Socrates of the Western, and the
former of Taoism in China Lao Zhu we can refoer to as the first axail age, of
course, refers to the period approximately 500 B.C., spread two or three
hundred years in either direction, in which the world had seen, in succession,
the appearance of famous philosophic giants), the Great Buddha was trying to
find so-called universal truth of mankind which he found The Four Facts of
Change at first as the base of the Buddist thought. The first of all is the
fact that we, humans, have to be born or the birth. Second, we are growing and
getting older as the time goes by. This change naturally changes us physically
and mentally. Third, change because of illness. This change bring suffer and
sorrow to us mankind. The last is the death which we all have to face. All
these four facts of changes is undeniable to us mankind.From The Four Facts of
Change, the Buddha set it as the basic concept of Buddist Doctrine. He stated
that all things are uncertain to us and especially us mankind.

To deeply view throught the Four Facts of Change in Buddhist standpoint, we
have to understand to concept of emptiness. Heart Sutra, term of emptiness is
most important whose deep meanings are incalculable. Heart Sutra thus: “Form
or corporeality is not different from emptiness, emptiness is not different
from form: and so on.” To say, Form is emptiness, and emptiness is indeed
form, emptiness is not different from form, form is not different trom
emptiness. What is form that is emptiness, what is emptiness that is form. Like
change, what is change really? How can one know that there is such a change? Is
what we face fact or illusion? What is emptiness? How does one define
emptiness? What is form? How does one define it?
Buddhist define emptiness as a state of one’s mind. Once one’s mind is empty
then one can know the world clearer, deeper, and better. In contrast, if there
are so many things in one’s mind just like a teacup which is filled with tea.
How can one get some more new things into one’s mind without emptying out the
old things? Just like, how can one fills more tea into the teacup which is
already filled up? Emptiness is the space that we use to fill more things. That
is one of the most important of Buddhist concept. One might empty out one’s
mind by meditation which is the greatest tool used by the Buddha.
According to emptiness or nothing of Buddist Doctrine, it is the same concept
as zero concept which was discovered in India prior to the sixth century A.D.
It was utilized in Arabia where algebra and logarithm developed and arrived in
Europe in the thirteenth century A.D. to further develop mathematics as we know
it today. Although it is acknowledge and emphasized that the zero simplified
calculation and recording processes, replacing the abacus, there are little, if
any, allusions to the value and strength of the zero in an equation as
depicting the foundation of mathematical thinking. My personal feelings on the
matter is that the discover of the zero- concept in the mathematics is not
simply a shift in the calculation proces from the abacus but that a deeper
meaning lies in the fact that, philosophically, the equation expresses man’s
fundamental mode of thinking, i.e., it reveals, as it is, the nature of the
structure of the mind- base. Put it another way, the zero-concept does not
simply refer to nullity or nothingness but, most significantly, because of it,
everything is possible and, contrarily, if it were not present nothing would
materialize. Thus, it is extremely important to recognize this realiaztion of
the mind-base.
Buddhist philosophy and, at the same time, express the standpoint of that
epistemology based on the realization of the mind-base. More specifically, it
means that without form, there would be no epistemic function of feelings,
imagery, and so forth. And vice versa, without the epistemic function of
feelings, imagery, and so forth, there would be no form. Philosophy is the
pursuit of many diverse ways of thinking, man’s ideas, and, in this sense, it
is the science of ideas. To be sure, man’s way of thinking will differ in
accordance with differences based on history, environmental conditions, and
cultural tradition. Contemperary Western philosophy, especially existentialism,
has come quite close to Eastern views on the philosophy of human nature, in the
function of epistomology.In other word, the realization of ‘emptiness’ was
lacking, and the situation remained similar to the period prior to the
discovery ot the Comprehensive must be considered a great advancement, but it
fell short of the Eastern concept of emptiness as it still carried the notion
of an ontological being and could not rise above the currents of Western
In this situation, the zero is never meant as a nonbeing (nothingness). In
other words, the emptiness of prajna-intuition and the discovery of the
mathematical zero concur in that they are dichotomous opposition between being
and nonbeing.




On Truth & Reality
The Spherical Standing Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) in Space

Site Introduction
(2011): Despite several thousand years of failure to correctly understand physical
(hence the current postmodern view that this is
) there is an obvious solution.
Simply unite Science (Occam’s Razor /
with Metaphysics (Dynamic Unity of
and describe reality from only one substance existing, as Leibniz wrote;
‘Reality cannot be found except in One
single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another’.

Given we all experience many minds and many
material things, but always in one common Space, we are thus required to describe physical
reality in terms of Space
. We then find there is only one solution,
a Wave Structure of Matter (WSM) where the electron is a spherical standing
wave. See Wave Diagrams.
In hindsight the error was obvious, to try and describe an interconnected reality
with discrete ‘particles’, which then required forces / fields to connect them
in space and time. This was always just a mathematical solution
which never explained how matter was connected across the universe.

I realise that there are a lot of ‘crackpot’ theories about truth and reality
on the internet, but it is easy to show that the Wave Structure of Matter is
the correct solution as it deduces the laws of Nature (the
fundamentals of Physics & Philosophy) perfectly
(there are no opinions). While the Wave Structure of Matter is obvious once known,
to begin it will seem strange simply because it takes time for our minds to
adjust to new knowledge.

For those who are religious / spiritual,
I think Albert Einstein expresses the
enlightened view of God
. He writes ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony
of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of
human beings.’
This harmony arises from a Wave Structure of Matter
in Space (we are all interconnected in this space that we all commonly experience).
This unity of reality (God, Brahman, Tao, Spirit, Energy, Light, Vibration) is
central to all major world religions, thus their common moral foundation of ‘Do unto
others as to thyself’
as the other is part of the self.

Please help our world (human
society / life on earth) by sharing this knowledge.

Clearly our world is in great trouble due to human overpopulation and the
resultant destruction of Nature, climate change and
the pollution of air, land and water. The best solution to these problems is to
found our societies on truth and
rather than past myths and customs
(which invariably cause harm).
We are listed as one of the Top Philosophy Websites on the
with around 600,000 page views each week, and rank in the
top 20 in Google for many academic search terms - so we just need a bit of help
to get in the top five. Given the Censorship in Physics /
Philosophy of Science Journals
(founded on the standard model /
particle physics) the internet is clearly the best way to get new knowledge
visible to the world.
A world now in great need of wisdom from truth and reality.
Geoff Haselhurst - Karene Howie - Full Introduction - Email - Nice Letters - Share this Knowledge

In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a
revolutionary act. (George Orwell)

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. (Mohandas

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do
nothing. (Edmund Burke)

Hell is Truth Seen Too Late. (Thomas Hobbes)

Albert Einstein: God, Religion &
Explaining Einstein’s understanding of God as the Universe /

Albert Einstein: Theology, Philosophy of Religion QuotationsA knowledge of the existence of
something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason
and the most radiant beauty - it is this knowledge and this emotion that
constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am
a deeply religious man. (Albert

I do not believe in a personal God and
I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me
which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the
structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals
himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns
himself with the fates and actions of human beings. (Albert Einstein)

Introduction - Albert Einstein Philosophy of
Religion / Theology Quotes
- Science vs. Religion
- Einstein on Jews &
- Top of Page

Introduction: Pantheist Religion of
Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein Theology- A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest.
Albert Einstein: Theology, Philosophy of Religion Quotes
Albert Einstein: Theology, Philosophy of Religion Quotes
Albert Einstein Theology
Albert Einstein: Mysticism, Religion and Science
Albert Einstein Quotes Theology, Philosophy of Religion

Over ten years I have read many
hundreds of great philosophers, but of them all I have special affection for
Albert Einstein. Having now read Albert Einstein’s ‘Special and General
Relativity’, and ‘Ideas and Opinions’ many times, I thought it would be nice to
put up a web page that presented his religious ideas in as simple and ordered
way as possible.
Albert Einstein was a beautiful man, wise and moral, who lived in difficult
times. I think all people will enjoy the great clarity and wisdom of his ideas,
and they will find them very relevant and useful in our modern (and very
disturbed) world. As he writes on humanity and true religiousness;

A human being is part of the whole
called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience
ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A
kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison
for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by
widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole
of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the
measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We
shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.
(Albert Einstein,

The most beautiful and most profound
experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true
science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and
stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us
really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant
beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms -
this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
( Albert Einstein -
The Merging of Spirit and Science)

I share the pantheist religion /
philosophy of Albert Einstein that All is One and Interconnected (Nature, God),
of which we humans are an inseparable part. Perhaps I am a romantic, but it is
my hope that in the future Humanity will live by the truth, with greater
harmony between different people, their religions and cultures, and to life in
all its complex beauty.

Albert Einstein’s ideas on Physics and
Reality are also significant. It was from reading Einstein that I first
realised that matter was not made of tiny ‘particles’. And having also read
Lorentz (whose work is founded on Absolute Space) I realised that a slight
modification of Einstein’s relativity solved many of the problems of modern
physics. Einstein represented Matter as continuous fields in space-time, which
never explained the discrete phenomena of quantum theory.

The solution is simple,
to work from real waves in a continuously connected space.

The articles on the side of the page
show how the Wave Structure of Matter - by explaining matter’s necessarily
interconnected motion in space - solves numerous problems of knowledge found in
postmodern Metaphysics, Physics and Philosophy.

Importantly and profoundly, we can now
understand our true ’spirituality’, our connection to ‘god’, by realising that
we are really structures of the universe (as Einstein knew), that our discrete
and separate ‘body’ is a naive real illusion of the senses.
(Go and look at the stars at night and really think about how you exist in the
universe, that amazing universe you can see is really what you are - that is
why you can see it! It is a very cool spiritual experience - and it is true!)

We hope you enjoy the Kindness, Beauty
and Truth of Albert Einstein - a most wonderful and wise philosopher /


Geoff Haselhurst, Karene Howie, Email

Introduction - Albert Einstein Philosophy of
Religion / Theology Quotes
- Science vs. Religion
- Einstein on Jews &
- Top of Page

Albert Einstein Theology- A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest.Albert Einstein Quotes on Philosophy of
Religion, Theology, God

The religion of the future will be a
cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology.
Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious
sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a
meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion
that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.
(Albert Einstein)

It was, of course, a lie what you read
about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I
do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have
expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then
it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our
science can reveal it. (
Albert Einstein, 1954, The
Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton University

Scientific research is based on the
idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of Nature, and
therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research
scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by
a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being.
(Albert Einstein, 1936, The Human Side.
Responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray.)

A man’s ethical behaviour should be
based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no
religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be
restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
(Albert Einstein, “Religion and
Science”, New York Times Magazine, 9 November 1930)

I cannot conceive of a God who rewards
and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in
ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that
survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism,
cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life
and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing
world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever
so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.
(Albert Einstein, The World as I See It)

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and
punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own
– a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I
believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble
souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.
(Albert Einstein, Obituary in New York
Times, 19 April 1955)

I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals
himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns
himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
(Albert Einstein, responding to Rabbi
Herbert Goldstein who had sent Einstein a cablegram bluntly demanding “Do
you believe in God?” Quoted from Victor J. Stenger, Has Science Found God?
2001, chapter 3.)

One strength of the Communist system
… is that it has some of the characteristics of a religion and inspires the
emotions of a religion.
(Albert Einstein, Out Of My Later
Years, 1950)


I cannot conceive of a personal God who
would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in
judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the
fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt
by modern science. [He was speaking of Quantum Mechanics and the breaking down
of determinism.] My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the
infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our
weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of
the highest importance — but for us, not for God.
Einstein,The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman, Princeton
University Press)

If people are good only because they
fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. (Albert

The idea of a personal God is an
anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously. (Albert Einstein,
Letter to Hoffman and Dukas, 1946)

The foundation of morality should not
be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth
or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound
judgment and action. (Albert Einstein)

I do not believe in immortality of the
individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no
superhuman authority behind it.
(Albert Einstein, The Human

I have repeatedly said that in my
opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, but I do not share the
crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a
painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received
in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our
intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being. (Albert Einstein)

What I see in Nature is a magnificent
structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a
thinking person with a feeling of “humility.” This is a genuinely
religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism. (Albert Einstein)

The mystical trend of our time, which
shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and
Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since
our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory
impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and
devoid of meaning. (Albert Einstein)


I want to know how God created this
world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this
or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details. (The
Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p.202)

It is very difficult to elucidate this
[cosmic religious] feeling to anyone who is entirely without it. . . The
religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of
religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image; so
that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it … In my
view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this
feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it. (The Expanded
Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, p. 207)

I see a pattern, but my imagination
cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision
the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so
how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand
dimensions are as one? (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University
Press, 2000 p. 208)

We know nothing about [God, the world]
at all. All our knowledge is but the knowledge of schoolchildren. Possibly we
shall know a little more than we do now. but the real nature of things, that we
shall never know, never. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University
Press, Page 208)

Geoff - I think Einstein is referring
to the limitations of mathematical physics and his failed attempt of a
continuous field theory of matter (i.e. mathematics does not describe reality,
only its quantities). However, with a wave structure of matter in space we have
further knowledge that Space is a substance with properties of a wave medium.
But we are still imagining space based upon our own limited minds and
imagination, so in a sense the solution is always incomplete.

Then there are the fanatical atheists
whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs
from the same source . . . They are creatures who can’t hear the music of the
spheres. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p.

Geoff - It is interesting that Einstein
refers to the ‘music of the spheres’, a perfect description of the the spherical
standing wave structure of matter in Space!

In the view of such harmony in the
cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognise, there are yet
people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they
quote me for support for such views. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton
University Press, p. 214)

What separates me from most so-called
atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the
harmony of the cosmos. (Albert Einstein to Joseph Lewis, Apr. 18, 1953)

When the answer is simple, God is
speaking. (Albert Einstein)

Introduction - Albert Einstein Philosophy of
Religion / Theology Quotes
- Science vs. Religion
- Einstein on Jews &
- Top of Page

Albert Einstein Theology- A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest.Albert Einstein on Science vs Religion

Einstein observed that specialization is
invariably damaging to Science as a whole;

The area of scientific knowledge has
been enormously extended, and theoretical knowledge has become vastly more
profound in every department of science. But the assimilative power of the
human intellect is and remains strictly limited. Hence it was inevitable that
the activity of the individual investigator should be confined to a smaller and
smaller section of human knowledge. Worse still, this specialization makes it
increasingly difficult to keep even our general understanding of science as a
whole, without which the true spirit of research is inevitably handicapped, in
step with scientific progress. Every serious scientific worker is painfully
conscious of this involuntary relegation to an ever-narrowing sphere of
knowledge, which threatens to deprive the investigator of his broad horizon and
degrades him to the level of a mechanic …
It is just as important to make knowledge live and to keep it alive as to solve
specific problems. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

The individual feels the futility of
human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal
themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence
impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a
single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already
appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David
and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the
wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.
(Albert Einstein, 1930)

The religion of the future will be a
cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology.
Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious
sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a
meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description .. If there is any religion
that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. (Albert

In my view, it is the most important
function of art and science to awaken this religious feeling and keep it alive
in those who are receptive to it. (Albert Einstein, 1930)

Science has therefore been charged with
undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man’s ethical behaviour
should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs;
no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to
be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. (Albert
Einstein, 1930)

There is nothing divine about morality;
it is a purely human affair. (Albert Einstein, 1934)

For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are
related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such
objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capable, and you
will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the
heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet is equally clear that knowledge of
what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the
clearest and most complete knowledge of what is , and yet not be able to deduct
from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations. Objective knowledge
provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but
the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source.
And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our
activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of
corresponding values. (Albert Einstein, 1939)

To make clear these fundamental ends
and valuations, and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual,
seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to perform
in the social life of man. And if one asks whence derives the authority of such
fundamental ends, since they cannot be stated and justified merely by reason,
one can only answer: they exist in a healthy society as powerful traditions,
which act upon the conduct and aspirations and judgments of the individuals;
they are there, that is, as something living, without its being necessary to
find justification for their existence. (Albert Einstein, 1939)

.. free and responsible development of
the individual, so that he may place his powers freely and gladly in the
service of all mankind. There is no room in this for the divinization of a
nation, of a class, let alone of an individual. Are we not all children of one
father, as it is said in religious language? (Albert Einstein, 1939)

If one holds these high principles
clearly before one’s eyes, and compares them with the life and spirit of our
times, then it appears glaringly that civilized mankind finds itself at present
in grave danger. In the totalitarian states it is the rulers themselves who
strive actually to destroy that spirit of humanity. In less threatened parts it
is nationalism and intolerance, as well as the oppression of the individuals by
economic means, which threaten to choke these most precious traditions.
(Einstein, 1954. p43-4)

But if the longing for the achievement
of the goal is powerfully alive within us, then shall we not lack the strength
to find the means for reaching the goal and for translating it into deeds.
(Albert Einstein, 1939)

For science can only ascertain what is,
but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds
remain necessary. Religion, on the other hand, deals only with evaluations of
human thought and action: it cannot justifiably speak of facts and
relationships between facts. According to this interpretation the well-known
conflicts between religion and science in the past must all be ascribed to a
misapprehension of the situation which has been described.
For example, a conflict arises when a religious community insists on the
absolute truthfulness of all statements recorded in the Bible. This means an
intervention on the part of religion into the sphere of science; this is where
the struggle of the Church against doctrines of Galileo and Darwin belongs. On
the other hand, representatives of science have often made an attempt to arrive
at fundamental judgments with respect to values and ends on the basis of
scientific method, and in this way have set themselves in opposition to
religion. These conflicts have all sprung from fatal errors. (Albert Einstein,

But science can only be created by
those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and
understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of
religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the
regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is,
comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that
profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without
religion is lame, religion without science is blind. (Albert Einstein, 1941)

Though I have asserted above that in
truth a legitimate conflict between religion and science cannot exist, I must
nevertheless qualify this assertion once again on an essential point, with
reference to the actual content of historical religions. This qualification has
to do with the concept of God. During the youthful period of mankind’s
spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man’s own image, who, by the
operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to
influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these
gods in his own favour by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the
religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods.
Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men
appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their
Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent,
just, and omni beneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and
guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most
undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses
attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the
beginning of history. (Albert Einstein, 1941)

For a doctrine which is able to
maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark, will of necessity lose
its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress. In their
struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to
give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear
and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests. In
their labours they will have to avail themselves of those forces which are capable
of cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself. This
is, to be sure, a more difficult but an incomparably more worthy task. After
religious teachers accomplish the refining process indicated they well surely
recognise with joy that true religion has been ennobled and made more profound
by scientific knowledge.
If it is one of the goals of religion to liberate mankind as far as possible
from the bondage of egocentric cravings, desires and fears, scientific
reasoning can aid religion in yet another sense. Although it is true that it is
the goal of science to discover rules which permit the association and
foretelling of facts, this is not its only aim. It also seeks to reduce the
connections discovered to the smallest possible number of mutually independent
conceptual elements. (Albert Einstein, 1941)

By way of the understanding he achieves
a far-reaching emancipation from the shackles of personal hopes and desires,
and thereby attains that humble attitude of mind toward the grandeur of reason
incarnate in existence, and which, in its profoundest depths, is inaccessible
to man. This attitude, however, appears to me to be religious, in the highest
sense of the word. And so it seems to me that science not only purifies the
religious impulse of the dross of its anthropomorphism but also contributes to
a religious spiritualization of our understanding of life.
The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it
seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear
of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after
rational knowledge. (Albert Einstein, 1941)

and Science: Irreconcilable?

As to science, we may well define it
for our purpose as “methodical thinking directed toward finding regulative
connections between our sensual experiences”. (Albert Einstein, 1948)

While it is true that science, to the
extent of its grasp of causative connections, may reach important conclusions
as to the compatibility and incompatibility of goals and evaluations, the
independent and fundamental definitions regarding goals and values remain
beyond science’s reach. (Albert Einstein, 1948)

Religion is concerned with man’s
attitude towards nature at large, with the establishing of ideals for the
individual and communal life, and with human mutual relationship. These ideals
religion attempts to attain by exerting an educational influence on tradition
and through the development and promulgation of certain easily accessible
thoughts and narratives (epics and myths) which are apt to influence evaluation
and action along the lines of accepted ideals.
It is this mythical, or rather symbolic, content of the religious traditions
which is likely to come into conflict with science. This occurs whenever this
religious stock of ideas contains dogmatically fixed statements on subjects
which belong in the domain of science. (Albert Einstein, 1948)

For the moral attitudes of a people
that is supported by religion need always aim at preserving and promoting the
sanity and vitality of the community and its individuals, since otherwise this
community is bound to perish. A people that were to honour falsehood,
defamation, fraud, and murder would be unable, indeed, to subsist for very long.
(Albert Einstein, 1948)

When considering the actual living
conditions of present day civilised humanity from the standpoint of even the
most elementary religious commands, one is bound to experience a feeling of
deep and painful disappointment at what one sees. For while religion prescribes
brotherly love in the relations among the individuals and groups, the actual
spectacle more resembles a battlefield than an orchestra. Everywhere, in
economic as well as in political life, the guiding principle is one of ruthless
striving for success at the expense of one’s fellow men. This competitive
spirit prevails even in the school and, destroying all feelings of human
fraternity and cooperation, conceives of achievement not as derived from the
love for productive and thoughtful work, but as springing from personal
ambition and fear of rejection.
There are pessimists who hold that such a state of affairs is necessarily
inherent in human nature; it is those who propound such views that are the
enemies of true religion, for they imply thereby that the religious teachings
are utopian ideals and are unsuited to afford guidance in human affairs.
(Albert Einstein, 1948)

Introduction - Albert Einstein Philosophy of
Religion / Theology Quotes
- Science vs. Religion
- Einstein on Jews &
- Top of Page

Albert Einstein Theology- A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest.Albert Einstein on Jewish Religion
Anti-Semitism and Academic Youth

It is clear also that “serving
God” was equated with “serving the living”. The best of the
Jewish people, especially the Prophets and Jesus, contended tirelessly for
Judaism is thus no transcendental religion; it is concerned with life as we
live it and as we can, to a certain extent, grasp it, and nothing else. It seems
to me, therefore, doubtful whether it can be called a religion in the accepted
sense of the word, particularly as no “faith” but the sanctification
of life in a supra-personal sense is demanded of the Jew.
But the Jewish tradition also contains something else, something which finds
splendid expression in many of the Psalms, namely, a sort of intoxicated joy
and amazement at the beauty and grandeur of this world, of which man can form
just a faint notion. This joy is the feeling from which true scientific
research draws its spiritual sustenance, but which also seems to find
expression in the song of birds. To tack this feeling to the idea of God seems
mere childish absurdity. (Albert Einstein, 1934)

In this case, as in many mental
disorders, the cure lies in a clear knowledge of one’s condition and its
causes. We must be conscious of our alien race and draw the logical conclusions
from it. It is no use trying to convince the others of our spiritual and
intellectual equality by arguments addressed to the reason, when the attitude
of these others does not originate in their intellects at all. (Albert
Einstein, 1934)

Recommended reading: Albert Einstein,
‘Ideas and Opinions’, Crown Trade Paperback 1954

Albert Einstein: God, Religion &
Explaining Einstein’s understanding of God as the Universe /

Physics constitutes a logical system of thought which is in a state of evolution, whose basis (principles) cannot be distilled from experience by an inductive method, but can only be arrived at by free invention. (Albert Einstein, 1936)
Metaphysics of Relativity
Principles in Physics
Physical events, in Isaac Newton's view, are to be regarded as the motions, governed by fixed laws, of material points in space. This theoretical scheme is in essence an atomistic and mechanistic one. (Albert Einstein, 1940)
Einstein on Sir Isaac
Newton’s Mechanics
The greatest change in the axiomatic basis of physics since Newton, was brought about by Michael Faraday's and James Clerk Maxwell's work on electromagnetic field phenomena. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
Michael Faraday’s EM
Field, Maxwell Equation
Special relativity is based on the fact that Maxwell's equations (& thus the law of propagation of light in empty space) are converted into equations of the same form, when they undergo a Lorentz transformation. (Einstein)
Albert Einstein on the
Lorentz Transformations
 If, relative to K, K' is a uniformly moving co-ordinate system devoid of rotation, then natural phenomena run their course with respect to K' according to exactly the same general laws as with respect to K. This statement is called the principle of relativity. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
Albert Einstein’s Theory
of Special Relativity
When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. (Albert Einstein)
Albert Einstein’s Theory
of General Relativity
But the idea that there exist two structures of space independent of each other, the metric-gravitational and the electromagnetic, was intolerable to the theoretical spirit. We are prompted to the belief that both sorts of field must correspond to a unified structure of space. (Einstein, 1954)
Solution to Problems
Relativity Theory
Can we visualize a universe which is finite yet unbounded? ... The supreme task of the physicist is to arrive at those universal laws from which the cosmos can be built up by pure deduction. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
Einstein Cosmology
Finite Universe
All these fifty years of conscious brooding have brought me no nearer to the answer to the question, 'What are light quanta?' Nowadays every Tom, Dick and Harry thinks he knows it, but he is mistaken. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
Quantum Theory
‘Photon’ Light Quanta
I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
Einstein on Theology
God, Religion, Morality
The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Einstein, 1954)
Albert Einstein Quotes
Religion Science Peace
The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty and Truth. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
Albert Einstein Biography
Picture Photo Gallery




http://www.chzc.org/newmondo.gifQuestion: “What are the differences
between philosophy, science, and Buddhism?”

Although not all philosophy is the same, the dominant thrust
of philosophy in the last two hundred years has been a search for logically
certain knowledge: for truths that we can be sure of in the same way we are
sure of the proven truths of mathematics.

Science also depends on logical and mathematical reasoning, but it balances
pure thought with experiment. The truths of science are tested to see if they
are also “true” in the natural world, as well as in the realm of
reason. Buddhism has elements of philosophy and of science, but it does not aim
to discover either logical or empirical (”real world”)

The aim of Buddhism is liberation: to change the way we experience ourselves
and the world. Buddhism respects logical and empirical “facts,” but
Buddha was not interested in knowledge for its own sake. To rely on objective
truth is to be like a man who has been shot by a poisoned arrow but who refuses
to have it removed (and save his life) unless he first knows who shot the
arrow, where his family came from, what kind of poison he used, etc. The
endless real world facts surrounding his circumstances are interesting, perhaps
even fascinating from an historical and scientific point of view, but only
removing the arrow will save his life.

So, when we discuss the human mind, and the nature of our experience,
philosophy, science, and analysis based on meditation and religious experience
(Buddhism) often cover the same ground, using similar words, but the
“truth” they are aiming at is slightly different in each case.

A Buddhist description of the workings of our mind varies somewhat over the
millennia because the systems of thought which are used to help us gain
liberation are “skillful means,” rather than absolute philosophical
truths, or scientific theories to be tested experimentally. As one ancient
teacher put it, if the methods didn’t change from time to time, the weeds would
be growing ten feet high outside the temple!

Nevertheless, there is a great deal of continuity in Buddhist thought over the
centuries because all the systems are attempts to describe the experience of
enlightenment, and the methods for achieving it. Buddhism is always talking about
the world as experience. It does not attempt, as science does, to describe the
world as it exists on its own, “objectively” as we say.

When Gunabhadra, the teacher of Bodhidharma (the “founder” of Zen),
is quoted as saying, “The leaves of a tree can preach the Dharma….A
pillar can preach the Dharma….Earth, wood, tile, and stone can also preach
the Dharma,” he is not laying out logical truths or the results of his
experiments. Nor is he crazy and “hearing things.” He is simply
reporting his non-dual experience of the world: everywhere he looks there is
only oneness.

When Joshu was asked, “What is the meaning of the Patriarch’s
[Bodhidharma’s] coming from the West?” he answered, “The oak tree in
the front garden.” He replies with a “weather report” from the
world of enlightenment at that moment. There is nothing “dark” or
“mystical” going on here; the “everyday mind” is Buddha.
But, he does not say, “Look at that tree,” or “I see an
oak,” or “Coming from the West means…,” or “Enlightenment
is like that oak,” etc. Those statements all assume that we are
“here” and the oak is “there.” In other words, they reveal
our usual experience of a world in which there are “subjects”
(ourselves as witnesses) and “objects” (the oak as witnessed).

Dogen uses a similar device in his famous re-writing of a dualistic,
philosophical statement from the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, “All sentient
beings have Buddha Nature.” This is perfectly correct from our usual
standpoint where we separate our world into objects, and persons, and the
qualities they possess. Dogen’s version of the quote is, “All sentient
beings, all things, are Buddha Nature.” Buddha Nature is not something we
possess, it’s what we are! Mind is everywhere. This is the world as experienced
by the enlightened mind, not the world described by the poet or philosopher, or
weighed and measured by the scientist.

In the same way, the Soto school insists on the non-duality of practice and
enlightenment. Only our ignorance makes us think we are separated from our
Buddha Nature. Sitting in meditation is enlightenment. Our job is to see that,
just as Dogen did.



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welcome science into monasteries

buddhists.jpgThe Sarnath Buddhist monastery, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,
is revered as the site of the Buddha’s first discourse after his enlightment - the stream from which the
teachings of Buddhism flowed

But if you visit the monastery between 20 and 31 January, you could witness the
start of a new stream of teaching.

More than 30 Tibetan monks, plus a handful of nuns, will be collaborating with
a team from San Francisco’s Exploratorium
(”the museum of art, science and human perception”) to build exotic
machines to create patterns from sunlight using cardboard, dowels, reflective
sheets of mylar and electronic components.

If all goes to plan, the monks will return to their monasteries and start
spreading the joys of scientific exploration among other followers of their
The project is the latest reflection of the monks’ spiritual leader’s
fascination with science. In the Dalai Lama’s 2005 book The Universe in a Single Atom,
the Nobel peace laureate argued that science and spiritual inquiry have much to
learn from one other - you can read an excerpt here.

The Dalai Lama is particularly interested in the relationship between the
Buddhist concept of the mind and our scientific understanding of the
physical brain
, and has encouraged his monks to collaborate with
neuroscientists to investigate what happens in the brain during

Under a project called Science for Monks,
backed by a Boston-based charity called the Sagar Family Foundation, western scientists also have
given scientific workshops for exiled Tibetan Buddhist monks in northern India.
The new collaboration aims to spread the appreciation of scientific inquiry yet
further by creating a core of scientifically inspired “learning
leaders”, explains Exploratorium artist-educator Karen Wilkinson.

“These monks are the most extraordinary students,” says Mark St John (pdf
format), who runs a science education consultancy
in Inverness, California, and will accompany the Exploratorium team to Sarnath.
“They are total in their attention, often child-like in their enthusiasm,
and are very used to working together.”

Teamwork will be important to make the most of the exercises planned the
Exploratorium’s Playful Invention and
team. The climax of the workshop will be the
construction of Heath Robinson-esque machines to play with sunlight, incorporating electronic devices known as
, which will be plugged into light sensors and
programmed to control the monks’ contraptions.

You can follow the monks’ progress online, as Exploratorium team members will
be blogging about their experiences.

Peter Aldhous, San Francisco bureau chief

Image: API/Phanie/Rex Features

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