The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

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

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  4,199 ratings  ·  318 reviews
Gallileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr, Einstein. Their insights shook our perception of who we are and where we stand in the world and in their wake have left an uneasy co-existence: science vs. religion, faith vs. empirical enquiry. Which is the keeper of truth? Which is the true path to understanding reality?

After forty years of study with some of the greatest scienti...more
Audio
Published September 13th 2005 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Amy Drew
very few people are able to give me hope about mankind and our future as a species. the dalai lama delivers that and so much more in all his books, but this one stands out to me because of my interest in science, and especially my fascination with (if complete misunderstanding of) the universe and quantum physics, etc. this book contains all those big universe questions that are usually way too scary to ask (where did time begin? how big is space? what existed before the big bang?) but presents...more
Steven Stark
This is a brilliant book. The Dalai Lama's theme is that science's emphasis on non-personal, "third-person" study and religion's emphasis on "first person" experience and awareness could be complementary.

If you have heard the Dalai Lama speak in his non-native tongue (English), he is a fantastic personality and he smiles a lot, but his communication is limited. It is a pleasure to read his ideas written first and then translated into English. This book reveals a mind that sparkles with wit, inte...more
Walter
Dec 03, 2007 Walter rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: scientists and students of religion
This was a pretty nice exploration of the intersection of Science and Buddhist religion. The Dalai Lama came at this material from a very humble standpoint and makes that his religion could be greatly improved by approaching it from the standpoint of science (e.g. he admits that Buddhist cosmology is hopelessly archaic and should be replaced with current models).

Interestingly, he also points to some current research where Buddhist monastic disciplines have made contributions to the science of t...more
Chelsea
I can't remember the last book I read that so far exceeded my expectations. As soon as I finished the book I flipped right back to the first page and started all over again. I'm about half-way through the second read now, and I still find myself jotting down notes, re-reading passages, and taking long moments to pause and contemplate the profound ideas put forth in this text. I've never read a book by the Dalai Lama before, and to be honest I wasn't expecting him to be all that skilled of a writ...more
Mark
For all my introspection and soul-searching on the subject of how to integrate Western science into my philosophical views of the world, I wish that I had read this book years ago – it would have saved me a lot of hard thinking on my own. Ouch. As it turns out, the Dalai Lama has been on a decades-long campaign to import much of the Western science canon into the training of new Tibetan Buddhist monks. A large part of the book is spent discussing where science fails (reductionism/materialism) an...more
Mazola1

With this book, the Dalai Lama shows that he is at once the most spiritual of persons, and the most practical. In
The Universe In A Single Atom, he shows one possible method for people living in the modern age of nuclear power, quantum physics and genetic engineering to combine the knowlege of science with the wisdom of spirituality. Just as Einstein thought that religion without science is blind and science without religion is lame, the Dalai Lama believes that "spirituality and science are dif...more
Christopher Wojcik
Fresh off of reading books by the likes of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, this was an interesting change of scenery.

The Dalai Lama draws comparisons between the disciplines of science and Buddhism. Buddhism, he notes, has many schools of thought and is comfortable with the idea that there can be competing viewpoints and no exclusive claim to the final truth. If one is compelled to engage with spirituality, this seems to be the only sensible mindset.

Less convincingly, he draws parall...more
Mozzarella
I've been a Hawking fan for years, but couldn't quite reconcile science with religion till I read this book. This was my introduction to the Dalai Lama, and I felt very comfortable first understanding his background and his curiosity, and, of course, his wisdom, as he explains, explores how empirical science and spirituality can coexist. In fact, one cannot exist without the other. I still have a lot of trouble with the Big Bang Theory, but am able to wrap my head around it a little better when...more
Laura K
The author writes with compassion, depth, and frankness. This is not a light and easy read, as the book contains some heavy scientific discussion. His assertion that science and spirituality do not have to be at odds with one another resonates with me. When a religious dogma conflicts with scientific proof, I believe, a religion can prove its strength (and does not show weakness) by acknowledging the expansion of our knowledge base and adjusting accordingly, rather than denying reality or confli...more
Shirari Industries
Sep 24, 2009 Shirari Industries rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: buddhists, scientists, philosophers
Recommended to Shirari by: isaac
I'm a humanistic skeptic and an anarchist, so I have an uneasy relationship with organized religion. And yet, many people who are dear to me care deeply about and believe in one religion or another, and I really dig certain aspects of many religions. So I try to keep an open mind. A Buddhist friend loaned this book to me and it was just what I needed. It made me love the Dalai Lama. He's a smart guy, a science lover, who's changing the way that Buddhism is taught (he hosts science and spirituali...more
Kush
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bill
This is the first book I've read by HHDL. I was most interested in his descriptions, conceptions, and usages of quantum mechanics and metaphysics. HHDL starts off with a strong discussion of the people in his life, many of them being prominent religious and scientific scholars, that introduced him to scientific fields and theories leading to important philosophical paradigm shifts.

His discussion of ramifications of these shifts was the most profound and thought-provoking aspect of the book. HHDL...more
michael spencer harmon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne
Apr 20, 2008 Anne rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: those interested in science and/or spirituality
Shelves: spirituality
I enjoyed the book and probably would have given it a higher rating had I had more of a science background. Despite the fact that the Dalai Lama has had no offical science training, he is quite knowledgeable on the subject. I respect his attempt at tying in the spiritual world with the world of science. He believes it is important to extend science to the understanding of all humanity, whether, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc. etc. The Dalai Lama is clearly highly intelectual......more
Jaime
Apr 23, 2008 Jaime rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: someone with insomnia
I really wanted to like this book, but I decided to quit about 50 pages in. I skimmed the rest and decided that I had made the right decision. I found that the majority of this book was a bland and unfocused account of the Dalai Lama's friends who happened to be scientists over the years. It reads more like a biography than an intellectual exploration of the compatability (or lack thereof) between science and religion. I was hoping for a Jared Diamond-like narrative of facts and insights, but I...more
Ezra
Fantastic reflection on and insight to various popular topics in science such as the Big Bang, genetic modification of crops, and consciousness. Through these examples, he shows how science and Buddhism agree in areas and disagree in others. Throughout, he expresses the joy conversations with scientists have brought him in learning about another perspective and integrating that knowledge with his already extensive understanding of Hindu and Buddhist knowledge.[return][return]It reads much like a...more
Rachel
I had really, really high hopes for this book, and I feel awful for giving the freaking Dalai Lama a bad book review (of all things), but it was a major disappointment. I couldn’t help but continuously wonder where the narrative was going, the anecdotes and stories weren’t particularly intriguing or compelling, and it was frankly hard to finish. There are other, more interesting books on this and related topics. I hope this assault on the Lama’s writing doesn’t mean that I’m slated to reincarnat...more
Randy
The Dalai Lama has a first-rate mind, and this book shows that mind at work. He takes scientific phenomena like quantum physics and relativity and links them to Buddhist concepts like emptiness and dependent origination. He is fascinated with science (particularly brain science) and with achieving a synthesis of science and spirituality. The Dalai Lama's worldview is sufficiently flexible and mature that he is able to ditch or reinterpret Buddhist teachings that are disproven by scientific disco...more
Andi
I am so glad that I stumbled across this book on the library's digital website. It is a fantastic read. It's thoughtful and thought-provoking. It's one of those books that I wish would be required reading for all, though how that meshes with my belief that very little of anything should be "required for all," I'm not sure.

While I am not a Buddhist, I find many of the things he says about Buddhism and the ways that it compliments science compelling. I don't subscribe to the tradition or the myths...more
Aimee
This book would have been more enjoyable had I a deeper background in physics, biology or Buddhism. That said, however, I think everyone should read the Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2, and the chapter on science and ethics. The Dalai Lama brings out a number of issues that modern science isn't equipped to deal with, and makes a compelling argument for the inclusion of compassion as a criterion for guiding the direction of scientific discovery and application.
Patrick Barker
As someone very into science and zen ideology, I was very excited to read this book. This was my first experience reading anything by the current Dalai Lama, and I found it much different than I expected. I found it kind of astonishing how ordinary he is, such as how he likes working on cars. It is also interesting how aware he is of the current state of physics. I think he has a good understanding of how quantum physics and Buddhism are both looking for the same thing. He offers up some good su...more
Matthew Flowers
Oct 30, 2007 Matthew Flowers rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Enlightenment Thinkers
I almost gave it a four because of the Lama's scientific name dropping but it does such a good job of dealing with the importance of incorporating science into religion(or religion into science if you are so inclined). I would love to talk to this man and you can be sure that I'd drop his name everywhere I went.
Katie
I was just too confused with the concepts and details in this book. I really gave it an honest effort and read as much as I could. This is probably the first book in 8 years that I have started and not finished. I just didn't have it in me.
Henry Lau
I read this in conjunction with "The Emotional Life of Your Brain" and it was cool to see the how they intertwined together when the Dalai Lama spoke about compassion and how Richard was doing the research for it.

Great books.
Andre
This book draws parallels between the scientific theories and buddhist dogma/theories. The effort could be made between any religion and anything else if you select bits and pieces as he did. A waste of time and paper.
Will
Difficult to understand at times, but I love the comparison between Buddhism and quantum physics. Taught me a lot of information concerning science that I was not aware of before.
J. Benjamin
Jul 21, 2007 J. Benjamin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone interested in physics, metaphysics, and how it relates to Budhism.
I thought this audiobook was ok, though I kept forgetting from time to time that I wasn't listening to a book written by Richard Gere. Guess I'm just not used to listening to my books.
Jeff
I really like the beginning of this book, the early life of the Dali lama was very interesting, as was his introduction to science. I also like his ideas of science needing to be balanced with compassion and ethics.

Unfortunately I don't think he explained scientific principles well enough and the Buddhist teaching were to in depth and full of jargon for me to get into. To be fair he seems to have a great grasp of meta physics and I think it's on me for not understanding all the Buddhist princip...more
Jason
More on this later. The Dalai Lama has really blown my mind, like phenomenologically blown my mind. I am seeing things in a dimensional hyperspace now. I'm cumming out my ears.
Spyros
It's a disgrace that "Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Niels Bohr and Einstein" are even in the same sentence as the Dalai Lama. What the hell does a self proclaimed reincarnated theocratic ruler (albeit in exile of course) have to do with some of the greatest SCIENTIFIC minds of the century. And what the heck is with the Dalai Lama trying to appropriate science via associating himself with scientists? Does the man have anything more to say than any half decent monk or serious longtime buddhist prac...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet
  • The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret and Science of Happiness
  • The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation
  • The Way of the Bodhisattva: A Translation of the Bodhicharyavatara
  • The Monk and the Philosopher: A Father and Son Discuss the Meaning of Life
  • The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
  • Awakening the Buddha Within: Tibetan Wisdom for the Western World
  • Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment
  • No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
  • What Makes You Not a Buddhist
  • Essential Tibetan Buddhism
  • Buddhism without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening
570218
Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the...more
More about Dalai Lama XIV...
An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life Ethics for the New Millennium Freedom in Exile: The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World

Share This Book

“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.” 86 likes
“What we do and think in our own lives, then, becomes of extreme importance as it effects everything we're connected to.” 13 likes
More quotes…