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Quantum and the Lotus

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  768 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Matthieu Ricard trained as a molecular biologist, working in the lab of a Nobel prize-winning scientist, but when he read some Buddhist philosophy, he became drawn to Buddhism. Eventually he left his life in science to study with Tibetan teachers, and he is now a Buddhist monk and translator for the Dalai Lama, living in the Shechen monastery near Kathmandu in Nepal. Trinh ...more
ebook, 320 pages
Published February 11th 2009 by Crown Publishing Group (first published 2000)
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Aug 24, 2009 Demi rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
Brandon T.
May 27, 2009 Brandon T. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Frank Jude
Jul 20, 2009 Frank Jude rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
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
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
Frank Talaber
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.

MuseItUP Shaman's Lure:

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
James Connor
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

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.

Chad Carson
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.
James Griffiths
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.
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
Yan Art
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
Ivy Dally
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
Great book, interesting dialogue, lots of cool stuff giving a little bit more insight into science and Buddhism and how the two can complement each other. I really don't have a reason to dock the book to a four other than that it just didn't really give that "zing" I sometimes get from really great books and unfortunately I can't put my finger on why that is. It was a very good read, though, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in either subject.
Gervase Gallant
An interesting topic with an unusual format, a discussion between a Buddhist monk and an astrophysicist. It seems a little dense at the beginning, but has some intensely inspiring moments towards the end.
David Tracey
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
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
Ralph Stoever
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
An excellent examination of the similarities and differences of Buddhism and Science - can they work together? Is there overlap? Great discussion!
this is just the kind of discussion of science and spirituality that is most important. Science, as an instrument of inquiry, needs to be integrated into a greater "science of the mind" or spirituality. Here, instead of confusing two different modes of inquiry, Ricard and Thuan discuss the similarities and differences between modern science and Buddhist thought, striving to understand how and where their disciplines meet. This kind of discussion allows us to ground science in a greater spiritual ...more
Apr 29, 2008 Glen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people wondering about God
I enjoyed this quite a bit. It gives a good description of the Buddhist belief structure and a nice look at some of the latest physics theories. Ricard describes how Buddhism is not nihilistic, just dependent upon consciousness to observe it. Without a consciousness the physical universe would not exist. Thuan describes the uncertainty principal and how it ties in so closely with this concept.

Overall it was more very provoking but was oriented more for people interested in Buddhism since most of
Beautifully written by a Buddhist monk and a physicist; more of a dialogue between great minds. An outstanding look into the connections between quantum mechanics and Buddhism.
The Quantum and the Lotus is a great introduction to the shared philosophies surrounding science and buddhism. Ricard and Trinh are able to explain the basic interconnected ideas of each subject simply, eloquently and compellingly. The dialogue between the two scientists certainly sparked an interest in learning more about buddhism and physics within me and helped to illuminate what had heretofore seemed to be inapproachable subjects.
Koen Van damme
Mindblowing book that opens up perspectives about knowledge from an Eastern and Western point of view with mutual respect of both traditions. Must read for anyone who is into science and spiritualism.
Jul 02, 2011 Trina marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
This is not the book to pick up and read when you only have a week off in between rigorous school terms and all the textbooks they entail. My brain needed a nice fluffy read, not this. But I will most certainly return to it post graduation! Great concept. It's an interesting back-and-forth discussion between two guys that sort-of swapped cultures and are trying to get to the truths of existence. Pretty cool stuff.
Informed discussion between buddhist monk and scientist as to the similarities, differences, and limits of their respective ways of knowledge. Each knows whereof he speaks, each is open without being solicitous, each learns a great deal in the process of dialogue. Best read slowly, especially for those of us not fluent in both areas. Well worth the effort and a model for dialogue between many differing world views.
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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 about Matthieu Ricard...
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“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.” 1 likes
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