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The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet Paperback – October 26, 2004
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In this book-length conversation, French Buddhist monk Ricard and Vietnamese-born astrophysicist Trinh explore how Buddhism and modern science address life's big questions. Among the matters they touch on, sometimes fleetingly and sometimes in depth, are the illusory nature of phenomena, the guiding intelligence of nature, and the search for the mechanisms that drive planets and humans alike. Both authors, each conversant in the other's medium, argue against reductionist views of nature. And both provide plenty of data that support Albert Einstein's declaration that "if there is any religion that could correspond to the needs of modern science, it would be Buddhism."
Hard-nosed skeptics will perhaps find Ricard and Trinh's reconciliation arguable. Still, the record of their conversation makes fascinating reading and provides a useful overview of scientific reasoning and spiritual inquiry. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is a fascinating discussion of Buddhism and science told through articulate and intelligent exchanges between Ricard and Thuan. Ricard earned a PhD in chemistry in France before leaving a promising career to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Thuan is a Vietnamese who became enamored of at an early age and is a world-renowned astrophysicist and writer.
The most important sections of this book are the introduction, which sets the problem, and the conclusion. Science does not satisfy the spiritual needs of man -- his need to end suffering, understand himself, and the nature of his world -- to find meaning. How is it possible to find religious meaning in a world where science seems to be the only source of knowledge?
In his introduction, Ricard argues that science and Buddhism approach reality in different ways. He finds Buddhism non-dogmatic, willing to accept scientific findings and based on an introspection into the human condition with Buddha as a guide. Thuan agrees that human beings need spirituality as well as science.
There are fifteen chapters discussing with impressing erudition specific scientific issues and how Buddhists might view them. We get discussions of the "big bang" theory of quantum mechanics, the nature of time, computers and thought, and the nature of consciousness, among other topics. For a book cast in the form of a discussion, the references are copious.Read more ›
The Buddhist in the book is a very intelligent chap, more than capable of explaining/defending his position. And he successfully presents Buddhism in a very intellectual manner. I learned a lot about the Buddhist position with regard to cosmology - which is wonderful because that's what I hoped to get out of the book. I think this book should quiet some of the stereotypes of Buddhists... and it would be most enjoyed by persons who do not draw a hard absolute line between natural science and religious practice.
- The book is presented as a dialogue between a Buddhist (originally trained in science) and a scientist (mainly an astrophysicist), and it often seemed like the two authors were talking past each other, rather than really communicating.
- The dialogue format often seemed like a disorganized way to present the ideas, making the presentation fragmented and repetitive.
- I particularly felt that Ricard's presentation of Buddhist ideas was overcomplicated (compared to other books I've read).
- For the sake of coherence and clarity, it seemed that the book would have been better if written by a single author well acquainted with both Buddhism and science, and organized in a more "standard" way, rather than a dialogue.
- Because of the relatively high intellectual level of the book, a considerable prior knowledge of both Buddhism and science (especially physics) is needed to really benefit from the book. My background was enough to get me past this hurdle, but this definitely limits the audience for the book.
- Largely for the reasons noted above, the book took me a fairly long time to finish.
So, considering all of these apparent negatives, how did the book manage to earn 4 stars? In an odd way, somewhat reminiscent of Zen koans, the struggle involved in reading the book made me work especially hard to understand the authors, and in the process I definitely learned something. I ultimately found that there is indeed much wisdom in this book, but it's somewhat buried, so one has to do some mining to bring it out.Read more ›
Robert Thurman, the Tibetan Schoolar said that Buddhism is "an education system", not a religion. Then the steps that one takes reading this book are like clear concise course work. The authors explain modern quatum mechanics and shows how the notion of
"inherent emptiness" is reflected in a scientific theory that has been rigorously tested.
What I learned from this book is a new way of looking at reality.
This reality is a non-material , non -linear reality that somehow coincides with modern scientific test results. We begin to see how the discipline and rigour with which science is held up to applies just as well to Buddhist thought processes. So that is the beauty of the book. Buddhism is not about faith, the practice is about finding what works through learning and practical experience.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book uses a dialectic method, it style, this can seem odd to folks not familiar with it (a conversion or debate between two voices)
Buddhism... Read more
This book has opened my mind to the path of enlightenment and given me a hope that science and spirituality can coexist. Read morePublished 3 months ago
A few editing changes could be made for accuracy's sake, but very thought provoking and thoughtful conversation.Published 3 months ago by webbates
One of the best books I have ever read.It is well to BELIEVE IN Scientific Empiricism and/or Buddhist Empiricism. Read morePublished 5 months ago by William A Black
Interesting discution to say the least, leading to research more about many questions.Published 10 months ago by fernando lopes de barros
I agree with other reviewers that it is almost essential to know quite a bit about Buddhist epistemology and the now-you-see-it/now-you-don't, probability-field nature of... Read morePublished 11 months ago by James Kenney
Simply the best book on the market for exploring the consistencies of thought between quantum physics and the Buddha's teachings on interdependence. Read morePublished 11 months ago by James Connor