SCIENCE for MONKS

creating science learning communities with tibetan buddhist monastics since 2001

Overview

Cosmology and Consciousness IV – "Quantum Mechanics and Buddhist Emptiness”
October 7 to 9, 2015
Namdroling Monastery, Bylakuppe, India
9:00 AM to 5:00 PM


In 2000, His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, provided a vision and directive for the exiled Tibetan monastic community in India to engage science, and to initiate science trainings that would eventually support new learning at the frontiers of science and Buddhism.

The 3-day conference, Cosmology and Consciousness IV, will delve into the theme “Quantum Mechanics and Buddhist Emptiness.” His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, has emphasized his long-term interest in quantum mechanics and his deep belief of a strong connection to Buddhist epistemology.

What are the building blocks of the universe? What are the Buddhist and scientific theories describing the smallest substances? How do observations of the quantum world inform our understanding of ourselves and each other?

The concept of Buddhist Emptiness is often misunderstood to imply nothingness. But the ‘empty’ in Buddhist philosophy refers to phenomena as empty of having an intrinsic existence. The Buddhists reason that in our process of observation we habitually designate properties onto objects, and then take those properties to be real and independent of our designation. This philosophical position has resonated for decades with physicists, but the connection is not well understood.

Quantum mechanics provides a mathematical description of particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of matter and energy. In science, these observations sparked a revolution from “classical” to “new” and the philosophical implications are still spreading and being understood. Quantum mechanics has resulted in some strange results, particles seeming to interact with each over distances and observation (including those by a detecting device) determining the characteristics of measurement.

The conference themes will include: (1) Foundations of Quantum Mechanics and Buddhist Emptiness; (2) The Role of Observation – The Question of the Observer; (3) The Strange Results of Quantum Mechanics; and (4) The Role of the Mind and of Knowing.

The conference themes will include: (1) Foundations of Quantum Mechanics and Buddhist Emptiness; (2) The Role of Observation – The Question of the Observer; (3) The Strange Results of Quantum Mechanics; and (4) The Role of the Mind and of Knowing.

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Document (English)

Conference Themes

  • Panel Discussion 1: Buddhist Response to the Double-Slit Experiment
  • Featuring Tim Maudlin, Barry Loewer, Thabkhe, Geshe Lhakdor, and the Monastic Graduates
  • Panel Discussion 2: Foundations of Buddhist Emptiness and Quantum Mechanics
  • Featuring Tim Maudlin, Geshe Lhakdor, Barry Loewer, Khangser Rinpoche, Father Mathew Chandrankunnel, and the Monastic Graduates
  • Panel Discussion 3: What does it mean to Observe - The role of the Observer
  • Featuring Barry Loewer, Tim Maudlin, Thabkhe, and Chris Impey
  • Panel Discussion 4: The "Strange" Results of Quantum Mechanics
  • Featuring Barry Loewer, Tim Maudlin, Father Mathew Chandrankunnel, and the Monastic Graduates
  • Panel Discussion 5: The Human Condition and the Nature of Reality
  • Featuring Khangser Rinpoche, Rajesh Kasturirangan, KatalinBalog, Father Mathew Chandran kunnel, Geshe Lhakdor, and the Monastic Graduates.