The Universe in a Single Atom 


The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality by His Holiness The Dalai Lama
This book is perfect for critical thinkers and analytical minds like my own. For a very long time I have been trying to integrate my spiritual side with the logical and  inquisitive parts of myself and not doing a great job. This book really hit home for me in that those two parts of myself do not have to be mutually exclusive and that both can somehow coexist in harmony. Somehow. lol.

I’ve always thought The Dalai Lama was amazing, and I feel that even more strongly now after having read some of his works. He is so grounded and honest in his quest to investigate how science and spirituality relate. What’s especially interesting to me is how he says that “if scientific analysis were to conclusively demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.” In that way, this work seems completely open and sincere.
Might the Big Bang only signify the beginning of our universe ? What of others ?

The one confusion I have is that he refers to sentient beings as contained. How can the concept of a bounded being be reconciled with how he said everything is dependent and there are no independent entities ? Or maybe I’m just not well versed in Buddhism and don’t understand. Likely. Maybe those beings are just less enlightened and experience themselves as bounded/don’t see the relational nature of everything?

Either way, definitely worth a read.

4/5 stars.

2 thoughts on “The Universe in a Single Atom 

  1. An ant is a contained being. The existence of the ant is confined to that location in space delineated by the positions of its atoms at any given moment. It is a finite creature, being composed of certain number of atoms at any given moment, and occupying a certain volume of space at any given moment.

    But an ant is dependent on the other ants in its colony and is also dependent on the ecology that the ant and its colony comprise. Without the other ants, the queen will starve or not produce young. And so on.

    Without the local ecology, the colony would die (or the colony would not have existed there in the first place), Without the ants present from which the local wasps glean a few meals, the wasps would die out or leave. And so on.

    Perhaps this small analogy is a help toward getting an understanding of the duality of bounded but interdependent.


    1. That does help.

      I guess when I think of “bounded” I think of it as also people being too much “in their heads” and operating from the confines and limitations that they’ve created for themselves.


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