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The Universe in a Single Atom the Universe in a Single Atom the Universe in a Single Atom

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  6,946 Ratings  ·  463 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, faithvs. 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
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 13th 2005 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Amy Drew
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Vimal Thiagarajan
A thought-provoking analysis and exposition on why the subjective, first person investigative methodology of spiritual tradition without its fundamentalist trappings and the objective third person investigative methodology of scientific tradition without its reductionist trappings are both indispensable and must go hand-in-hand if we are to fully comprehend reality and genuinely alleviate suffering. The ease and sharpness with which the Dalai Lama draws parallels and acute phenomenological simil ...more
Steven Stark
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This book might seem a strange reading choice since I am an atheist. During my years of life and travels around the world, I have found that of all the world's multitude of religious beliefs it is generally Buddhism that seems most comfortable with the concept of a coterminous relationship, if not a synergistic symbiosis, with science. This is not meant to imply that Buddhists make better scientists than say a Hindu or a Muslim, rather that the religion itself seems comfortable with the concepts ...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
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 03, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  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
Mar 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Cassandra Kay Silva
I find it encouraging that the Dalai Lama is so open to new scientific ideas. Our world is changing at such a rapid rate. The ideas exploding into the field of physics are absolutely revolutionizing the way we view reality. It is interesting to hear some Buddhist commentary on the advancements of our age. I really enjoyed the last bit where he talked about some of the ethical consequences of bio genetic engineering, and was proud that he addressed this issue with such a strong stance for both pl ...more
Silvia GONZALEZ Delgado
El cosmos budista es visto de otro punto de vista, según ellos primero fuimos seres etéreos, luego comimos materia, tuvimos que defecar y nos salieron órganos, finalmente la comida y el contexto nos hicieron diferentes y de ahí nacen las emociones: la envidia, el amor!! Està padrísimo!!!
Apr 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A very insightful and meaningful look at the role of ethics (buddhist as well as secular) of science in the current global context. His Holiness presents a very strong argument why ethical responsibilities have "become, for the first time in world history, a matter of survival". I didn't really understand or enjoy several of the essays in this collection but others have a lot of merit to them. The ones on the nature and source of consciousness outlined particularly interesting overlaps between c ...more
Laura K
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Eduardo Santiago
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eduardo by: Sarah
This guy really gets it! And: aaaaargh, no he doesn't. And: hmmmm, maybe it's me who doesn't get it. Those were my reactions, often simultaneous, and I'm in awe of the Dalai Lama for his ability to think, reason, and express himself so clearly. Would that any other religious authority (or religious person, for that matter) be willing to put his beliefs under scrutiny. He does, sometimes despite discomfort, and that is what makes a scientist. This is an admirable man.

Unfortunately, there's a litt
michael spencer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shira and Ari Evergreen
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: buddhists, scientists, philosophers
Recommended to Shira and Ari 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
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, owned, spiritual, physics
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
David Haller
Well, the Buddhism and physics thing has been done to death; frankly, it's a little old-fashioned now. Fortunately, "Universe" doesn't dwell on this entirely, but it's a big theme. When it's there, the Dalai Lama sounds a bit like a smart, scientifically-inclined teenaged boy - I can certainly recognize much of his speculation.

The book is stronger in its exploration of the moral and ethical dimensions of science (predictably, the D.L. is staunchly *not* a scientific materialist), though it tends
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Prior to this, the only books I had read by His Holiness were his two outstanding autobiographies. This was the first of his books I have read that is more philosophical in nature and as usual, His Holiness does not disappoint. Science and religion can be seen as two opposing views, but this book brings the two together as compliments to one another. The Dalai Lama looks at both from the perspective of his own encounters with each, and also within the context of this modern age and th ...more
Apr 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  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
Ken Rideout
Mar 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the intersection of religion and science
Recommended to Ken by: Shan
A great read. The falseness of mental constructs that we create (and seek to get rid of through meditation) juxtaposed with what physics tells us that the basis of "solid" matter: the nothingness of the space between the particles. Fascinating stuff, but a bit weaker when the Dalai Lama turns his attention to consciousness and neuroscience. His contention that the self must be more than the sum of the physical processes in the brain were less convincing to me, but nonetheless what a positive and ...more
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
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
Noah Rasheta
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maybe my favorite read so far about how science and faith can work together. The Dalai Lama is rapidly becoming one of my favorite religious figures.
Derek Allen
His Holiness is so enlightened as he explains how Budisum strides side by side with science in it's explanation of our place in our universe.

This book makes me want to become a Budist.
Excellent! I will certainly reread this and found myself (on Gere's audio edition) moving back to hear what was said again. Highly recommend, particularly the final chapters on Ethics & Science.
Adam Floridia
Jul 31, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Adam by: Sam Sirois
While he attempts to reconcile science and religion, the Dalai Lama also tries to bridge the gap between personal narrative and scientific analysis. He succeeds in the former but fails in the latter.

After reading this, I came away with a much better understanding of Buddhism and, consequently, a greater respect for it--hell, it definitely kicks Christianity's ass as far as logical religions go! Despite some of the interesting philosophical questions and various schools of thought discussed by t
Jen Bojkov
Feb 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting topic. I didn't always follow the religious philosophy- but I think that may have been an issue of word choice. I always find the areas where science and religion overlap or meet to be of interest.
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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
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“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.” 160 likes
“What we do and think in our own lives, then, becomes of extreme importance as it effects everything we're connected to.” 21 likes
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