In this article I am going to set out the framework and content of a series of articles on the topic of Science and Buddhism.


The intention is to encourage dialogue between the two communities of people interested in one or both of these topics, by comparing and contrasting the different approaches that each takes towards a description of 'The Reality of Life'.

So sharpen those e-pencils and get ready to contribute. I don't have any particular agenda and hopefully this will go in several different directions simultaneously.

It is probably best to set the context by describing what I intend to cover.

From the Science aspect we are are going to look at:

Basic World View - Epistemology in terms of Time, Space, Matter and Energy

And then by turn:









From the Buddhist aspect we are going to look at:

Basic World View - Epistemology The Three Truths

And then by turn:
The Ten Worlds
Buddhahood (The life state Buddhists aspire to)
Mutual Possession
Ten Factors (Mechanics of a moment)
Three Realms (Self, Society and Land)
Ichinen Sanzen (3,000 worlds in a moment of life)
Birth and Death
The Eternity of Life
Myo-Ho-Renge-Kyo (Title of the Lotus Sutra)

From the Science aspect I am going to draw on the work of: Bateson, Bohm, Capra, Einstein, Gleick, Lorenz, Lovelock, Margulis, Maturana, Peat, Penrose, Prigogine Sapir, Varela & Whorf.

From the Buddhist aspect I am going to draw on the work of: Gautama, Ikeda, Kawada, Kitagawa, Nichiren, T'ien-T'ai & Watson

The hope is that the cross fertilization of ideas, will provide for a extension of interdependent conceptual dimensions, and for a new understanding of all aspects of Life.

To be sure, a lot of physical, philosophical, and meta-physical heavy lifting has already been done. But as far as I know, not all of this work has been put on the same page - where I hope that the brilliance of one concept can illuminate a completely unexpected aspect of another concept. An example of this would be, what I see as the similarity between the mathematics of non-linear dynamics (a.k.a.Chaos) and the Buddhist concept of Karma for instance. I realise that, suggesting how people behave and the decisions that they make; might have a link to anything mathematical could be anathema to some folks, but please wait until I have made my case later.

So maybe it's worth noting that both Scientists and Buddhists operate different belief systems. These systems are both fantastically complex to be sure and they have been arrived at in completely different ways. And I know that some scientists get a bit twitchy, when someone like me has the temerity to suggest, that what they have spent their entire life on is as 'soft' as a belief - when they have an independently verifiable proof for heavens sake! And that, that's completely different to what they may see as the 'making up of stuff as you go along' common to many life philosophies. In fact - and just for the record; Nichiren Buddhism offers an all encompassing explanation of 'The Reality Life' via the concepts used in a theory known as Ichinen Sanzen and - Actual Proof. But more of that later.

So let's start with the basic Physical concepts of the world view of modern Science.

1) It's defined in the OED as "a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena".

2) Many scientists (and people in general) believe in an objective reality (particularly at the medium scale e.g. 1 metre) whose characteristics are independently verifiable by experiment. This reality conforms to the laws of conservation, motion, gravitation and thermodynamics.

3) An example of the above would be the Newtonian world view which is valid in a specific domain.

e.g. In terms of size from a grain of rice and in terms of speed to those much less than the speed of light.

4) Many scientsts also belive that absolutely true knowledge about how the world is, is compatible with a deterministic world view.

5) The general theory of relativity is the geometric theory of gravitationAlbert Einstein in 1916. It is the current description of gravityphysics. published by in modern

6) Combined with other laws of physics, the two postulates of special relativity predict the equivalence of matter and energy, as expressed in the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2, where c is the speed of light in a vacuum.

7) Quantum phenomena are particularly relevant in systems whose dimensions are close to the atomic scale, such as molecules, atoms, electrons, protons and other subatomic particles. Exceptions exist for certain systems which exhibit quantum mechanical effects on macroscopicsuperfluidity is one well-known example. scale;

8) In quantum physics, the Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that certain pairs of physical properties, like position and momentum, cannot both be known to arbitrary precision.

9) In quantum mechanics, the EPR paradox (or Einstein–Podolsky–Rosen paradox) is a thought experiment which challenged long-held ideas about the relation between the observed values of physical quantities and the values that can be accounted for by a physical theory. "EPR" stands for Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen, who introduced the thought experiment in a 1935 paper to argue that quantum mechanics is not a complete physical theory.

10) Quantum entanglement is a possible property of a quantum mechanical state of a system of two or more objects in which the quantum states of the constituting objects are linked together so that one object can no longer be adequately described without full mention of its counterpart — even though the individual objects may be spatially separated. This interconnection leads to non-classical correlations between observable physical properties of remote systems, often referred to as nonlocal correlations.

11) The Higgs boson is a massive scalar elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model in particle physics. At present there are no known fundamental scalar particles in nature. The Large Hadron ColliderCERN in Geneva, which came online on September 10, 2008 is scheduled to become fully operational by late 2009, and is expected to provide experimental evidence either confirming or refuting the Higgs boson's existence. (LHC) at

12) A critique of most of the above was written by David Joseph BohmDecember 20, 1917October 27, 1992) was an British quantumphysicist who made significant contributions in the fields of theoretical physics, philosophy and neuropsychology, and to the Manhattan Project. David Bohm proposed a cosmological order radically different from generally accepted conventions, which he expressed as a distinction between the implicate and explicate order, described in the book Wholeness and the Implicate Order: 

(Points 5-12 courtesy of Wikipedia)

Where as the scientific world view concerns itself with Time, Space, Matter and Energy

Buddhism postulates that there are three essential aspects to reality as it is, including all of life and they are: Appearance, Nature and Entity


1) The physical world of matter which can be defined in terms of existance an non-existance e.g. physical DNA

2) It is bounded by space and time

3) The physical structure that embodies a persons pattern of organisation - their body.

4) All physical form is changeable and temporary. The world of continual flux.


1) Neither existence nor non-existence not bounded by time or space.

2) Has the capacity to be activated by stimuli

3) Dormant or latent potential e.g. information in DNA

4) Spiritual nature of life especially a person and their changing moods

5) Qualitative aspect of a physical system e.g. Charcoal and Diamonds are both made of carbon but with a different molecular relationship

6) Synonomous with mind or the continuous movement of the subconcious

7) Unlimited potential

8) Transmission of knowledge, wisdom and experience through the collective unconcious

9) Capacity for good or evil at any moment

10) Latent information holds the potential for it's own manifestation

11) Pattern of organisation i.e. the configuration of relationships that determine a persons character

Entity (of the Unchangeable Self)

1) This entity gives rise to Appearance and Nature

2) It is consistent and unchangeable over time even though our mood changes

3) A persons identity as a unique instance of life.

4) Self powered and self actualizing individual

5) Life process that maintains the continual embodiment of a living systems pattern of organization.

6) Similarities to the authentic existential self of Jaspers and Heidegger and Nietzsch's superman

7) Buddha is Life itself

Appearance, Nature and Entity (a.k.a Santai theory) are known as 'The Ultimate Priciple of the Lotus Sutra' and are enfolded together in such a way, that reference to any one implies reference to the other two - they are not components of a system. This theory is inherently connected to a full description of life and all of its' functions and manifestations.

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