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The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,105 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
This fascinating dialogue reveals how the ancient philosophical ideas of Buddhism can be joined harmoniously with the revelations of the most cutting-edge science of today, the science of quantum physics, and how together they can offer powerful answers to the most beguiling questions about life.
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by Crown (first published 2000)
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Demi
Aug 24, 2009 Demi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Buddhists
Recommended to Demi by: Eddie
Shelves: mind-science
I really enjoyed this read. Lately, the discussions in my Buddhist class have inspired me to brush up on my physics/neurobiology knowledge. When we talk about the mind and Emptiness, there's a lot of assumptions that people throw about the classroom - not realising that these assumptions don't agree with the current findings of modern science. I wanted to clear up my own doubts and confusion. The Quantum and the Lotus really revived my love of science & philosophy. Both have a lot to offer a ...more
Jen B
Oct 17, 2012 Jen B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most important books I have ever read in my life. The correlation between quantum physics and Buddhism is astounding and was very eye-opening for me. It really helped me to gain a new perspective on life, and helped me get over some of the disconnect a lot of North Americans can feel every day, simply from how our society is set up. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone that wants to feel a little more connected with everything.
Frank Jude
Jul 20, 2009 Frank Jude rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of Buddhism and science.
Of all the books I've read about Buddhism and science (most especially Physics) this may be the most useful and accessible. I was delighted to sit in on the conversation between this monk and physicist to see both their differences and the profound similarities in their understanding of reality.

Ricard is a penetrative thinker and he can strongly present the Buddhist view. At times I felt like Thuan, while certainly extremely competent as a physicist, may not be up to Ricard's philosophically ast
...more
Brandon T.
May 23, 2009 Brandon T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in Buddhism or science
Recommended to Brandon T. by: Lillie Nguyen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
haley
My kind of philosophical discourse...the intersection of buddhism and science. As told by a buddhist monk and an astrophysicist. Highly recommended. I read a lot of it in the car today on a massive road trip, and I have to admit, it helped put some of my recent life changes into perspective. The part on time actually blew my mind, and re-encouraged me to get my future tattoo.
A
Oct 25, 2011 A rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: astronomy, physics
I was quite eager to read this book, but I found it hard to follow because of the conversational way it was written. I have issues with when the Buddhist Mr. Ricard says things along the lines of "why limit science to things than can be rationalized and proven with mathematics?" That is the definition of science. Anything claiming to be science yet does not meet those criteria is either pseudo science, conjecture, or a lie. It is akin to calling a turkey-burger a hamburger. They might look simil ...more
Sarah Tran
Aug 30, 2012 Sarah Tran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For great minds that question the integration of moral ethics and logical science, this would be an extremely interesting read for you. The Quantum and the Lotus provides deep insight from both perspectives, in a way that makes it as relatable as two friends discussing something over lunch rather than the traditional research report. The discussion brings up many arguments that all kinds of views would bring up in a debate room, except everything is answered and there is no violent debate. Quite ...more
Chad Carson
Feb 23, 2011 Chad Carson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very fascinating read and perfect for the inquiring mind that enjoys balancing spirituality and science. Although it took me a while to read, because it's a bit left-brained, I absolutely loved it.
Snufkin
Jul 18, 2016 Snufkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thought-provoking and inspiring dialogue between two people with more in common than at first meets the eye. The book covers a large range of topics, sometimes heavy and at other times humorous. Very grateful to have been gifted this book by a dear friend!
Tonia
Jan 01, 2012 Tonia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved this book! While I didn't necessarily agree with everything presented here, it's a great dialogue between two of my current interests - science and Buddhism. An excellent read. This book made me want to be a better person.
Ormond College Library
Peter Edwards: Another book I am interested in reading is The Quantum and the Lotus by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan – they discuss the meaning of life from the viewpoint of a biologist and a Buddhist monk.

James Griffiths
Jan 11, 2010 James Griffiths rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great dialogue between a scientist turned monk and a buddhist turned scientist. A long and sometimes slow read, but very profound in its treatment of some very deep and important topics.
Robin Friedman
Mar 11, 2017 Robin Friedman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Buddhism And The Discussion Between Science And Religion

The nature of the relationship, and the compatibility, between the scientific and the religious outlook continues to fascinate scientists, religious people, and philosophers. Most of the many books on this subject deal with religion in general terms or concentrate on Western theistic religions (primarily Christianity and Judaism.)

"The Quantum and the Lotus" is a fascinating discussion of Buddhism and science told through articulate and inte
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David
May 15, 2017 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are 'looking at the rainbow' of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle applying physical properties to a universe which is constantly changing and unpredictable to enable our conscious to understand. I'm not sure that I'm a Buddhist but I do see how it works well with the current scientific theories.
Ben Worsley
Mar 17, 2017 Ben Worsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think that Ricard was very persuasive at times, particularly in his discussion of math, "the grammar of the universe" not having inherent existence and his discussion of the Leibniz's famous query, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

Overall, however, I found this to be a fascinating account of modern science and Buddhism's striking parallels.
Bernhard Geiger
Der Start war schonmal schlecht: Der Buddhist scheint verbittert ("Viele kluge Köpfe diskutieren zwar ununterbrochen über ethische Fragen, doch hast dies keinerlei Auswirkungen mehr, vor allem nicht, wenn die Interessen der Politik oder die sakrosankten Imperative des Marktes bedroht sind") und der Physiker ist Kreationist (wenn auch in einem etwas abgeschwächten Sinn). Diese Aspekte beeinflussen natürlich den Verlauf des Buchs, und man muss sich darauf einstellen dass viele Meinungen ausgetausc ...more
Manlio Pi
Awkwardly pretentious title aside, the framework for this book is the one of your typical Western philosophy manual, heavy on citations despite the always-fashionable dialogue style and with catchy, though not very informative, chapter titles. Some spare thoughts:

- The book is a dialogue between Science and Buddhism, but if they find a common ground (as they do) is because most of the focus is on ontology. The first 3 chapters are centered around good old Leibniz's question “Why is there somethi
...more
Frank Talaber
Feb 23, 2015 Frank Talaber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
one of those books I read to open my eyes and my writing mind and it did that. Have to read it again, on my to do list. Makes you really wonder what life, the universe and everything inside us is really all about and we really don't know much. I read a long time ago, the more you learn, the less you realize you know. Ain't that the truth.


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...more
Brittannia
Jul 16, 2015 Brittannia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good. I wish I had been more versed in philosophy before I read it, but that's ok. I'm learning. I actually found myself agreeing more with the scientific perspective rather than the Buddhist perspective. There are many things I appreciate about Buddhism. It has been so helpful while I have been learning to deal with loss in a healthier way; allowing myself to experience loss and seeing its importance, rather than pushing it aside, sticking up a metaphorical middle finger, or throwing mys ...more
Quiver
Nov 04, 2016 Quiver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-english
Is there such a thing as reality — a unique, hard, objective, scientific reality? This question is central to the book.

Matthieu Ricard trained as a scientist, but left this life to become a Buddhist monk. Trinh Xuan Thuan was brought up in the Buddhist tradition, but went on to become an acclaimed astrophysicist.

The entire book is in dialogue form, alternating between the two authors. Their conversations are based on scientific facts and on Buddhist texts and accounts. The level of discourse i
...more
Enkai
Jan 18, 2009 Enkai rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
This book is interesting, but I really disliked the dialog-style that the book is written in. Also, the dialog was fake at times, which I guess could be understood given the fact that it was probably transcribed from memory at a later time, but then my question is "why did they write it in dialog-style at all?" Furthermore, I was disappointed because the concepts were over-simplified and described at a very low level, which is great for someone who's never read a popularized science book, but I ...more
Ivy
Jul 25, 2010 Ivy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
Great book for students of Buddhism in the west. As someone that's never taken a physics class, there were areas of the book that I had to re-read in order to make sure I understood the scientist's perspective correctly. None-the-less I was able to see where these two minds met, which was fascinating. Ricard does a fantastic job explaining the Buddhist belief in Emptiness and lays out a strong case on the need for compassion and ethics in science (and really all areas of life).

Some reviews have
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Yan Art
Apr 11, 2013 Yan Art rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contemporary Physics, Buddhism, and Metaphysics

"The Quantum and the Lotus" is a dialogue between a Buddhist monk, who has a doctoral scientific background, and an astrophysicist, who had a Buddhist upbringing. Their dialogue covers a broad range of ontological philosophies and questions such as: what does it mean to be human; the origin of the Universe; the existence of a creator; inter-connectivity and interdependence of the entire Universe; the nature of atoms and subatomic particles; string t
...more
James Connor
Mar 10, 2015 James Connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply the best book on the market for exploring the consistencies of thought between quantum physics and the Buddha's teachings on interdependence.

Both conclude there is no outside world independent of observation. The debate is lively and insight. Professor Trinh Thuan does a superb job explaining surprising findings in quantum physics in a way a layperson can understand. Matthieu Ricard is a witty and accomplished debater who superbly represents Buddhist thought. Their wonderful collaboration

...more
Karen
Dec 10, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I pretty much geeked out the entire time I read this. I loved the give and take between the two authors. I especially liked how Buddhism can bring compassion to science, and science can bring evidence to Buddhist philosophy.

It also made me realize a few points of divergence I have with Buddhism. Of all the major religions, I probably agree with Buddhism the most, so I don't view these points as deal-breakers, though. Ricard (the Monk) seems to take as a given that human consciousness is the hig
...more
Mae
Jun 14, 2012 Mae rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish
Read it in Spanish.
I have heard so many good things about Belli, but I was a bit dissapointed with this book.
Gioconda, wrote a novel about Adam and Eve. I have always had a hard time with this story, but her attempt to explain it and make it real, using modern sensitivities and trying to reconcile it with evolution, was weak to say the least. At times it was so ridiculous that I almost wanted to throw it against the wall. Predictable and simplistic. Can't imagine how it could be done... to make
...more
Tsanu
Jul 22, 2016 Tsanu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scientifical,Mathematical minded interested in spirituality
Very good jumping off point for those with a scientific and mathematical mindset and looking to delve into the world of spirituality. It is a simple and profound explanation of how science and spirituality can AT TIMES just be two ways of saying the same thing. What modern physics is saying about the universe, time and space, some eastern religions have been saying for thousands of years. It takes a sharp yet open mind to pick up some of the similarities between science and Buddhism/eastern reli ...more
Isla McKetta
Three and a half stars, really. I had very high expectations for this book about blowing my mind by finding a common ground between Buddhism and science. I learned some things, especially in the beginning, but eventually the conversations felt repetitive and not in the "by repetition you will take this into your heart" sort of way. Definitely a good read. I probably would not have been sorry had I stopped halfway through.
David Tracey
Dec 17, 2012 David Tracey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting approach -- all text in the form of a conversation -- helps this deep probe into the true nature of reality from two players at the top of their games in philosophy (Tibetan Buddhist variety) and science (astrophysics). The back-and-forth makes it an easier ride than might otherwise be expected for some very heavy themes, although this book will probably be enjoyed most by those who invest the most into it. You can treat it as a fast cruise through some of the most probing questions ...more
Ralph Stoever
Mar 15, 2012 Ralph Stoever rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reference-books
The books is a series of dialogues between a biologist turned Buddhist monk and a physicist about the universe, large and small, consciousness, human behavior and society.

M. Ricard (the monk) sounds a little dogmatic in some of the middle chapter, hence the deducted star. His conclusion, however, seemed to me more thoughtful and open. It makes me wonder whether and how some of his opinions will evolve.

Whilst this was my first book by M. Ricard, it is the second by co-author Trinh Xuan Thuan and
...more
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Born in 1946, Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, an author, translator and photographer. He has lived, studied and worked in the Himalayan region for over forty years.

The son of French philosopher Jean-François Revel and artist Yahne Le Toumelin, Matthieu grew up among the personalities and ideas of Paris’ intellectual and artistic circles. He earned a Ph.D degree in cell genetics at the renowned
...more
More about Matthieu Ricard...

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“I think what everyone should be doing, before it's too late, is committing themselves to what they really want to do with their lives.” 4 likes
“our Earth is taking part in a fantastic cosmic ballet. First, it pulls us through space at a speed of nearly twenty miles per second during its annual journey around the Sun. The Sun then drags the Earth with it during its voyage through the Milky Way at a speed of 140 miles per second. The Milky Way is falling in turn at approximately fifty-five miles per second toward Andromeda. And there's more to come. The Local Group that contains our galaxy and Andromeda is falling at about 375 miles per second toward the Virgo cluster of galaxies, which is in turn moving toward a large complex of galaxies called the Great Attractor.” 4 likes
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