Here, Dr. Eric Amidi reviews the book “The Quantum and The Lotus”. This book is a series of thought-provoking dialogs between a scientist and a Buddhist. Is Time an illusion? Can consciousness exist separate from the brain? How is the reality of world viewed by a Buddhist and a quantum physicist? If questions such as these intrigue you, this book is for you. What is most amazing is how the teachings of those who set out to explore human psyche over 2500 years ago coincides with the findings of the modern science exploring the external world. Perhaps, the external world and the universe are not too far from inner workings of our minds. Could they be actually one and the same? Is it possible that we create the reality of the universe in our minds?
Before leading you down that rabbit hole, let’s explore Buddhism a bit…
What is Buddhism?
Wondering what Buddhism teaches and whether it’s a religion, philosophy or possibly something else entirely? Let’s go on a journey below to explore Buddhism, understand how it was established and learn how it can help you live a happy life.
While many people refer to Buddhism as a religion, others refer to it as more of a philosophy. The reason for this is that anyone interested in philosophy naturally has a yearning to gain more wisdom.
This falls perfectly in line with the life path Buddhism helps you live. This life path includes being moral, being aware of your actions and thoughts and the importance of developing a deeper wisdom about life itself.
When Did Buddhism Begin?
The person known as the Buddha, Siddhartha Gotama, was born in 563 BC into a royal family residing in Nepal (known then as Lumbini). By the age of 29, Gotama came to realize that happiness didn’t automatically result from possessing great wealth.
He went on a personal journey to discover the key to unlocking happiness. After studying various philosophies and religions for 6 years, he found what is called the “middle path” and became enlightened. Gotama then invested the rest of his life (to age 80) teaching the Dharma, or Truth, which are the basic principles of Buddhism.
What is the Overall Goal of Buddhism?
Enlightenment, which is a lasting and unconditional state of happiness, is your goal as you move through the life path taught inside Buddhism.
Buddhism points out that you live inside a world where nothing is permanent. Change is constantly occurring all around you. Meditation is used to help gain insight into impermanence, to develop wisdom and compassion and to move closer to enlightenment.
In order to understand these principles, you’ll want to think carefully about how nothing in our world stays the same. It might take a long time for you to notice change in something like a tree, but it is changing. Watching a candle blow out is an example of change happening in an instant. The point is that everything is changing at various intervals. Nothing ever remains exactly as it is now.
Applying this same principle to your inner world of thoughts and feelings is a bit more difficult. The concept is the same, however. If you aren’t proactive in controlling your thoughts and feelings, they are apt to change with each shift you experience in your outer world.
Buddhism helps teach you to pay attention to what really matters, which is to stay anchored in the “awareness” that represents the essence of whom you are inside. It’s this awareness that is the actual constant in all of life.
Rather than having your feelings and thoughts swayed by any change experienced in your outer world, the goal is to discover how to feel an underlying feeling of happiness no matter which direction your outer experiences try to sway you in.
Again, it’s the recognition of this timeless awareness existing inside of you right now that allows you to become “enlightened”. Can you find that place inside of you where you’re just as happy with very little physical possessions as you might be with many physical possessions? If so, you’re getting close to that state of enlightenment.
How Does “Karma” Fit Into Buddhism?
Karma is cause and effect. We say it was “Karma” when a person harms another and then later experiences some sort of harm in return. Or when someone treats someone well, we say it was “Karma” if that person experiences something wonderful in return.
Buddhism teaches that Karma is a “law” in the same way that the law of gravity exists. Taking this idea of Karma further, it’s through the cause and effect principle that your words, thoughts and actions shape the way your future develops. The way you think or take action right now accumulates positive or negative impressions inside your mind.
Buddha explained that this gives you complete control over your life’s direction. It provides a feeling of freedom because Karma doesn’t equate to fate. You create your own fate by the actions and thoughts you allow yourself to do and think.
You are free to choose non-harmful thoughts and actions in order to realize future events you enjoy. On the other hand, if you choose negative thoughts and actions today, you can expect future suffering in some manner.
If you have been mired historically in negative thought patterns, Buddhism teaches you that meditation allows you to remove these negative impressions inside your mind and body.
Understanding Karma Helps You Develop Compassion
As you practice meditation and fully understand how much suffering appears from a lack of understanding about cause and effect, it develops within you a wisdom about feeling compassion for others.
Buddhism teaches that regular meditation produces more “space” within your mind and helps create distance from negative feelings and thoughts. This process in turn allows you to better see that all people have the same basic challenges. As that understanding strengthens, your compassion toward other people becomes stronger as well.
You know what happens when you think and act from a place of compassion? You start benefiting from the cause and effect of Karma because you begin to receive better, more positive feedback from the outside world.
You discover that you fall into those old emotions of pride, jealousy, anger and attachment far less frequently. When the space inside your mind is no longer filled with negative thoughts and emotions, there’s more space for wisdom to appear. It’s this combination of compassion and wisdom that help support you on your path to enlightenment.
Achieving Enlightenment is the Ultimate Goal Inside Buddhism
You have the ability to achieve the state of enlightenment. The Buddha taught that your feelings, thoughts and body are always changing. He taught that all of it is “empty” in the sense that they shouldn’t be the basis for how you identify in terms of “self” or “ego”.
Enlightenment will happen for you when you gain the ability to not only understand these concepts intellectually, but also in a very lasting and deep way. When you’re able to stop identifying with a solid ego state, you’ll no longer take anything personally and will instead open up an everlasting state of joy within yourself.
Ultimately, Buddhism teaches that the answer to your happiness already lies within you and the tool to unlocking it is to master the art of meditation.
While Buddhism guides you through a journey within, modern science maps out the universe for you. How these two seemingly different worlds mirror each other is the subject of this book. This book is a treat for those with thirst for not only knowledge but also the truth.
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Buddha is love
I love this book. Our universe is conscious. We send out waves of intent with our thoughts. They come back to us. That’s Karma.