That is really almost exactly the way that the Buddha talked about it. Now, our discussion topic was, 'What science has to learn from Buddhism.' I am just giving you a few of the ideas we have been putting forward to scientists as we are having discussions. The first is that we have been saying that you (scientists) have not been critical enough of your own assumptions. Buddhism would be much more critical of the assumptions that you have been working under.
For instance, the concept of chance is simply an out for you as a scientist to not explain the cause and effect which are really enormous and actually much more complicated. If you have not thought about it already, chance is the big out for science—it actually prevents a deeper explanation of cause and effect.
So, in fact, every time scientists use the concept of chance, they are covering a whole deep layer of cause and effect of complexity.
In fact the layers of complexity of cause and effect are probably close to infinite. As soon as you bring that level of infinity to it, you can bring the questions of ethics, value and human issues of causation back into play. For instance, the five precepts might relate to scientifically verifiable patterns of cause and effect in human experience. On a certain level of causation we should work within scientific frames of reference with the causation understood on a marginal scale and indefinite scale.
To conclude, I am going to bring up one more issue. We have been having a lot of discussion with physicists, psychologists, geneticists and others on the question of meditation, concentration and wisdom. If you look at the quantum physics model, it is a particular model. Each time a human being perceives the world in a context, we create a theoretical construct from that, thus limiting our scope of understanding the large context of causation. In other words, you understand cause and effect in that frame of reference, but you are possibly missing all other frames of reference of cause and effect.
In deep meditative samadhi, one actually transcends limitations of seeing causation in immediate frames of reference, so that causation may be seen at a more profound level, beyond the limitations of sense data. That is one important area. Another concept of obvious importance is that of a Bodhisattva. If the universe is totally interconnected, and my mind right now as I am talking is intercon nected with the entire universe, then the thoughts of compassion, peace, quiet, silence, aggression, hatred or so forth in my mind are having a profound effect on the universe. The concept of a Bodhisattva is a very profound concept in a unified universe of interrelated events, for it means that, through our thoughts, each of us is responsible for the nature of the universe. That is enough.
Thank you for your patience.
Questions and Answers:
Ms. Yang from Free Times: From the point of view of quantum physics, what is karma?
Mr. Powers: Actually, quantum physics is totally about karma. In other words, quantum physics is a deep understanding of karma. If we could spend the next two hours on quantum physics, at the end of it, we would have a very profound understanding of what is called karma, the cause and effect of the universe, which is in constant flux and change as the Buddha taught. Our human suffering is based upon our attachment to something that is in constant flux.
Any place that we attach to in our desire–whether it be sense data or emotion or whatever–is bound to be lost, by the nature of karma, whether we explain from a quantum physics or a Buddhist perspective.
Stapp stated in his book, "According to Heisenberg's cosmology, the law of necessity that entails the processes of creation is internally determined but is not externally predetermined." As we think about that, we begin to see it is not internally determined.
Why? Because you have the free will of your next karmic act. Once you make that act, you set in motion the rule that governs the entire universe of causation; you set that act into karma, which is interacting and vibrating in that universe. In fact this statement of Heisenberg through Stapp is incredibly close to the Buddhist idea.
Prof. Ji from Chang Hua Normal University: The Dharma Master mentioned memorizing classics earlier. Taiwan has always promoted the memorization of the Chinese Four Books and Five Classics. In particular, Professor Wang Cai-gui from Eastern Taiwan Normal Institute is contributing a great effort toward that end.
The second piece of news that I would like to report is that I have been to Fukien and Shantung in mainland China for meetings during April and May this year. Both conferences focused on propagating traditional culture and ethics education in various parts of mainland China in the midst of economic growth. I was greatly delighted. It is similar to the concept of the Venerable Master Hua. It would be of great help to the morality of the world.
The third issue concerns filial piety. This is still regarded as very important in Taiwan. Of course in this modern age, we think that communication between parents and children need not be as authoritative as before. While we say that "great filiality means first of all to revere one's parents, second to care for them, and third to never humiliate them," more importantly, Buddhism teaches one to aid one's parents to be reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss. Those concepts are particularly important in Taiwan. As Earthstore Bodhisattva says, one should not allow one's parents to revolve in the six paths of rebirth, but should rather help them to end birth and death. That is extremely important. In the past, it was a taboo for the Chinese to mention death. In recent years, Taiwan has promoted the idea of hospice. There is concern for the elderly and patients who are seriously ill. On a more upbeat note, the education of children and adults is promoted. Our school offers philosophy courses for young people, so that they have a better understanding of birth and death. That is our emphasis.
Finally, I was a guest professor at the Dharma Realm Buddhist University in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas for four months in 1994. I also taught Chinese at Developing Virtue High School. I admire the foresight of the Venerable Master. Students of Developing Virtue High School and Instilling Goodness Elementary School are the best candidates for propagating Buddhism in the West. They have a Chinese background. They understand Western culture and lifestyle. They also have a good command of languages. Most importantly, they investigate Buddhism in a systematic manner in school. At the same time, they participate in the evening recitation. They practice Buddhism in their daily lives. Hence, I think they are a wonderful group of people, the best candidates to propagate Buddhism in the West.
To be continued