Buddhism, Spirituality, Quantum Physics, Science, and the Dalai Lama

The connection between quantum physics and spirituality is evident to the Dalai Lama. According to him, all the atoms in our bodies include part of that ancient canvas that made up the Universe in the past. We are stardust, and we are biologically connected to any living being; we are beings of invisible energy that vibrates, entities united in turn to everything that exists.

If there is something we all know, science and spirituality are not precisely known for harmonizing their principles. Thus, while in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance it was perilous to progress in the scientific field under a context dominated by the ecclesiastical class (there we have, for example, the sad story of Giordano Bruno), today the most spiritual approaches have been felt during years that critical and skeptical vision from the scientific world.

To say now that these two traditionally antagonistic areas or universes of our society have agreed on something is to take too much risk. However, positions have been approached to converge on some ideas that can undoubtedly invite us to reflect.

“Buddhist philosophy is that framework from which a complex and fascinating area of science can draw closer ties: we are talking about quantum mechanics.”

That first approach took place in 2015 in New Delhi. The Dalai Lama attended a two-day conference on quantum physics and Madhyamaka philosophy. Together with several relevant physicists and scientists from various fields, they explored a wide variety of topics to discover common ground. Axes that complement each other and that somehow further enrich human knowledge.

“When I was about 19 or 20 years old, I developed a great curiosity about science. In China, during the years 1954 and 1955, I met Mao Zedong. He once praised me for having a scientific mind, adding that religion was poison, hoping that it would attract someone who had a scientific mind.

However, more than 30 years ago, I began a series of dialogues focused on cosmology, neurobiology, physics, quantum physics, and psychology. I believe that Buddhism brings more meaning to all this knowledge.”

-Dalai Lama-

The connection between quantum physics and spirituality, what does the Dalai Lama tell us?

The theories that establish a connection between quantum physics and spirituality are not new, nor do they come from the Dalai Lama alone. At our fingertips, we have, for example, books such as Science and Spirituality: A Quantum Integration by Amit Goswami, a retired professor in the Department of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oregon and a pioneer of a new scientific paradigm that seeks to lay the foundations of a science of consciousness.

Likewise, we also have Fritjof Capra, a renowned Austrian physicist researcher in subatomic physics. This scientist is known for his work The Tao of Physics (1975), where a tepid opening of the academic world towards the spiritual world began. Therefore, we are not mistaken if we say that there is an apparent rapprochement between the physical community and Buddhist philosophy.

Physicists like Raja Ramanna, who died a few years ago, but best known for his role in the nuclear development of India, took an interest in the texts of the philosopher Nagarjuna in his last days to discover something astonishing. Many of the founders of the Madhyamaka school of Mahayana Buddhism touched on some principles of quantum physics.

Let’s look at those common ground, those principles that the Dalai Lama spoke about in his 2015 conference in India.

What is quantum physics?

  • The term “quantum” comes from “quantum”, which is the smallest unit that makes up light. Thus, what quantum mechanics seeks above all is to understand the phenomenology of the atom and all those elementary particles that compose it.
  • We are facing a science that began around the twentieth century and where names such as Max Planck settled many of the theories that we have today.
  • It is a discipline as striking as it is complex that aspires to define and understand what is not seen, what cannot be measured, and all that indeterminism inscribed in the particles that make up our reality. In this way, it has been able to know that if we could see an atom under a microscope, we would discover a small tornado. A vortex where quarks and photons rotate.

If we got a little closer to them, we would discover something even more striking: a void because atoms have no physical structure. After all, what they are made of is invisible energy, not tangible matter. That idea that we are energy is one of the pillars that connect quantum physics and spirituality and what the Dalai Lama spoke about.

A consciousness that goes beyond the physical

Today and in almost any store, we can find endless books with the term “quantum”: “quantum computing”, “quantum mind”, “quantum psychology”, “quantum healing”... It is as if that mysterious microworld were orchestrating soon much of our daily activities.

However, the connection between quantum physics and spirituality remains one of the most relevant principles that the Dalai Lama established during his conference in India.

Quantum physics shows us that beyond everything tangible and material, there is energy. Buddhism has always defended that idea and that need, transcending the physical to give greater relevance to our consciousness. It is that psychic imprint that gives meaning and shape to reality itself. We are what we think, and it is thought itself that designs what surrounds us.

A creative mind

Amit Goswani, the professor mentioned above physics at the University of Oregon, tells us that microparticles change depending on what the observer does. When an observer looks at a type of wave that appears, there is no change when the experimenter does not act.

All of this shows how sensitive atoms are to everything we do. Buddhism has always stressed the same point: our emotions and thoughts define us and define the reality surrounding us.

Universal connection

In each of our atoms resides part of that stardust with which the Universe itself originated. Somehow, as the Dalai Lama tells us, we are all connected and are part of the same essence. Conceiving this connection can help us understand the importance of generating good because everything we do would reverberate in the Universe and be returned to us.

To conclude, the connection between quantum physics and spirituality invites us to see this area of science through another lens. It is perhaps a more suggestive prospect, and although it is not acceptable to the most orthodox and rigorous minds, it does not detract from our attention.

“If we think about the possible connection between quantum physics and spirituality, we can see that the mind would no longer be that accidental intruder in the realm of matter but would rather rise as a creator and governing entity of the realm of matter.”

-RC Henry, The Mental Universe -




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