The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality


The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (2005)
        by The 14th Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso)

6.0 hours of CE credit                             Cost = $60.00

(Cost does not include the book which must be purchased independantly.  Links to online sellers are provided below)

Intermediate level

42-question multiple choice + true/false test

This is essentially an essay in ten chapters on the relationship between the quest for knowledge using the methods of science and the methods of contemplative Buddhism.  The Dalai Lama explains to us the methods of Buddhist contemplation and states that the quest, like that of science, is to find the truth.  In Buddhism, he says, the focus is on consciousness and sentience, and the quest is empirical, but internal.  Where Western science sees mind as an expression or function of brain, Buddhism sees it as more and is concerned with where consciousness – which is attributed to all animals, not just humans – begins and what forms it takes.

Much of the focus is on comparisons of scientific and Buddhist thought, and the belief put forward is that science is very good at exploring matter and the external world while Buddhist practice is very good at exploring consciousness and the internal world, and that both would benefit from working together.  Each has half the picture, and without the other half each is incomplete and prone to being wrong or even dangerous.
 1.    Reflection
 2.    Encounter with Science
 3.    Emptiness, Relativity, and Quantum Physics
 4.    The Big Bang and the Buddhist Beginningless Universe
 5.    Evolution, Karma, and the World of Sentience
 6.    The Question of Consciousness
 7.    Toward a Science of Consciousness
 8.    The Spectrum of Consciousness
 9.    Ethics and the New Genetics
10.    Science, Spirituality, and Humanity

Course Objectives

After taking this course readers will be able to

1.  Describe the position the Dalai Lama takes on the potential usefulness of cooperation between Western science and Buddhist inquiry

2.  Explain why the Dalai Lama believes Buddhist meditative inquiry to be empirical.

3.  Describe at least one similrity between Buddhist meditative inquiry and Western science.

4.  Describe at least one difference between the world views of Buddhist practice and science.

5.  Give one example offered by the Dalai Lama of how Buddhist psychology could aid Western practitioners of psychotherapy.

216 pages. 209 pages of text + Index.
Intermediate level
42-question true/false + multiple choice test
6.0 hours of CE Credit

His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual and temporal leader of the Tibetan people. He was recognized at the age of 2 as the successor to the 13th Dalai Lama, and was educated, beginning at the age of 6, to take over this position – which he did at the age of 16.  He describes himself in this book as a person who, since childhood, was interested in science and technology and curious about the knowledge and customs of other peoples.  One has a picture of a very bright little boy being rigorously trained in spiritual matters, while exploring on his own every bit of science or machinery he could find – who grew up to be an equally curious man who has studied with experts in Buddhism, Quantum Physics, Psychology, Biology and other fields.

Currently he lives in exile in Dharamsala, India and has lived there since the Chinese took over Tibet in 1960.  He holds conferences in Dharamsala every other year in which scientists and Buddhist monks deliberate on questions of humanity, ethics and science.  In addition, he participates in research and research-based conferences in the West, learns from quantum physicists such as David Bohm, contributes to research at MIT and other scientific institutions, and collaborates with psychologists and mind-body researchers such as Herbert Benson, Daniel Goleman, Paul Ekman.  He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.


The book is available from Barnes and NobleKenny's Books , Amazon and  Vroman's Bookstore -- and likely many other book sources.