Filmed during Mind & Life Institute’s “Mind & Life XIV: The Universe in a Single Atom” on April 9-13, 2007.
Cosmology and the Relativity of Space and Time
SPEAKERS: George Greenstein, Arthur Zajonc
Two related themes emerge from the Dalai Lama’s writings on cosmology:
1) The relativity of time and space as developed within both Einstein’s relativity theory and Buddhist philosophy. For example, the Dalai Lama refers to the arguments of the Sautrantika School and Nagarjuna concerning the relative nature of time, and to the Kalchakra system’s concept of “space particles” as the source of material existence from out of emptiness or the vacuum. This latter view echoes modern ideas of fluctuations of the quantum vacuum and the inflationary theory and merits further discussion.
2) The Big Bang and the Buddhist idea of a beginningless universe. Like modern cosmology, Buddhism endorses an evolutionary cosmology, but for logical reasons it is held to be one that is without beginning or end. Moreover, there are a “billion fold” universes in various stages of development. One feature of Buddhist cosmology is the central place of sentient beings whose evolution (karma) is served by the development of a world system. In a sense, their view is “anthropic,” that is centered on human development.
INTERPRETER: Thupten Jinpa
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Richard J. Davidson
R. Adam Engle
Bennet M. Shapiro