Varieties of Buddhist Experience: Dzogchen and Quantum Emptiness

Choosing Reality: Ontological Extremism, a Middle Way,

and the Light of the Mind

 

 

In Buddhism the Abhidharma of the Sarvastivada and Vaibhashika Schools, along with Democritus and his master Leucippus, and Western functionalist Material Realism (Metaphysical Scientific Realism/Scientific Materialism/Physicalism), all hold the realist atomist position wherein reality consists of indivisible, physical/material atomic baryonic matter particles (atomism) that have an ultimately physical, objectively real, permanent, even absolute and eternal existence. This is the ontological legacy of Greek Materialism/Physicalism that has almost entirely colonized the Western mind. Here, appearing reality is ultimately only physical, or reducible to purely physical electrochemical brain structure and function. Dismal metaphysics indeed. 

        We shall see that this Modernist European Enlightenment paradigm known to the philosophy trade as Scientific Materialism, is a failed paradigm that not even post-Standard Model particle physicists and quantum cosmologists take seriously, at least theoretically; although most are still ideologically committed. Scientific and sociocultural paradigm shifts require a couple of generations. (Thomas Kuhn 1962)

        So some Buddhist schools believe that atoms are eternal; and some particle physicists believe that electrons and protons within these atoms are eternal, that they do not decay. In the case of recent particle physics, the existence of ordinary atomic baryonic matter—our beloved protons and neutrons—is believed to be observer-independently arising from the “empty space” of the quantum vacuum potential, the zero point energy field (ZPE), apart from any perceiving, experiencing, experimenting consciousness, or mind. Such realists, whether Theravada Buddhists, Hindus, or physicists, are essentialists, believing that reality exists essentially and independently of  an observer-experiencer—just as it appears from its own side, of its own power, independent of any observer consciousness. A tree in the forest exists when there is no one about to observe it. This view is known as “common sense realism”—Bertrand Russell’s “Metaphysics of the Stone Age”. 

        On the other hand, Mahayana Middle Way Buddhists argue that physical and mental reality arises  observer-dependently as a result of an infinite sequence of interdependent prior causes and conditions arising within a vast interconnected physical and mental causal matrix. Appearing stuff is dependent upon a conscious observer. It is an observer consciousness that reifies and imputes reality. This is the view of Niels Bohr’s Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Field Theory (QFT). 

        In other words, the realist, materialist, essentialist view is observer-independent. This world of spacetime stuff is a separate “real world out there” (RWOT), whether or not it’s observed by a sentient consciousness, while the Middle Way  Madhyamaka view, and the quantum view is observer-dependent or ontologically relative—relative to our linguistic semiotic deep cultural background “global web of belief”. (W.V. Quine 1969) For this view, stuff exists not independently, but relative to the consciousness of an observer/perceiver.

        Spooky “consciousness” is thereby introduced, by both Buddhist and quantum philosophy, into four centuries of settled European Enlightenment scientific realist/ materialist dogma. Einstein hated it. Bohr loved it. 

        On the essentialist, usually realist and materialist/physicalist view, reality as it appears to our senses is a perfect “mirror of nature (Rorty), a kind of immaculate perception that represents an eternal barrier between inherently unitary human consciousness and an essentially separate Platonic RWOT. This observer-independent, theory-independent, realist/materialist view is opposed by the omtological idealism of the Hindu Sanatanadharma—the hoary Vedas, the Upanishads, and the dualistic Vedanta of Madhva’s Dvaita Vedanta, but not Shankara’s nondual Advaita Vedanta.

        This essentialist materialist view is also opposed by Buddhist Idealists, the Yogachara/Chittamatra  or “Mind Only” school of Asanga and Vasubandhu. (Boaz 2020, Ch. V) It is as well opposed by Western Objective Idealists—Bradley, Royce, McTaggart—who also construe arising material objective reality as unreal, a subjective apparition or illusion of a sober, sentient perceiving consciousness.

        For Buddhist Chittamatra Idealism, appearing relative-conventional physical spacetime reality is relative and illusory (avidya maya) as it arises from our concept of its basal nondual ultimate “groundless ground” (vidya maya), which is also illusory. 

        Ironically, for Middle Way Madhyamaka Realism, both form and emptiness are mere illusory concepts. Neither of these Buddhist Two Truth reality dimensions—Ultimate Truth and Relative Truth—is ultimately real, although relative spacetime is relatively real. As The Buddha famously told in his nondual Heart of Wisdom Sutra: 

 

Form is empty (stong pa, shunya) ; emptiness 

(stong pa nyi, shunyata) is form…all dharmas

are emptiness; there are no characteristics.

There is no birth and no cessation…

In emptiness there is no form…no ignorance,

no end of ignorance…no path, no wisdom, no

enlightenment, and no non-enlightenment…

 

        Well, ontologically speaking, what is real? What indeed. Buddha asks us to “abide by means of Prajnaparamita“, numinous indwelling clear light primordial wisdom Presence, always already present in the mindstream of the human being. It is through practice of the Buddha’s love-wisdom Path that we “Fully awaken to unsurpassed, true, complete enlightenment.” And yes, it takes a bit of trans-conceptual practice to understand the depth of the prior and present ontic unity of the Buddha’s Two Truths—Relative form and its Ultimate emptiness—as utterly empty of essence; or as Nagarjuna told, without “a shred of inherent existence.” The good news? While form is ultimately empty and absent of intrinsic existence, it is, fortunately for all of us, relatively, conventionally  real. So we have a qbit of relative time in which to wake up.

        We’ve seen that for Chittamatra, this appearing phenomenal reality is “mind only.” There can be no objectively knowable real things in themselves. And for realistic centrist Middle Way Prasangika, spacetime phenomena do indeed exist relatively, conventionally, just not absolutely or ultimately. This then is the great Madhyamaka Middle Way, a fine centrist balance between the nihilistic non-existence of Indian Idealism, and substantialist eternalist permanence of the existing stuff of Scientific Local Realism, and of Scientific Materialism.

        Immanuel Kant’s Transcendental Subjective Idealism—a duality of realist, material objective phenomena, and the perfectly subjective and unknowable, utterly transcendent noumenon—is a Western (Platonist) version of our Primordial Wisdom Tradition’s “Two Truths” duality—objective relative and subjective ultimate. Kant’s ontology parallels the “Neutral Monism” of William James.

        Kant’s incipient middle way “Subjective Idealism” also parallels the non-essentialist, yet pragmatically realist centrist Buddhist Middle Way Prasangika Madhyamaka view of Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti. As we have seen, here reality arises and appears interdependently—Buddha’s “Dependent Arising” (pratitya samutpada). It is ontologically relative and observer-dependent, that is to say, our realities are dependent upon the linguistic semiotic “global web of belief” (Quine 1969) of the consciousness of a reflexively self-conscious observer—whether Buddhist, or quantum.

        Is such a middle way between these perennial Two Truths of relative form and ultimate emptiness/boundlessness cognitively realizable? Is there a centrist position between our seemingly competing paradigms, the epistemic extremes of descending, substantialist, objective Science (form) and the ascending idealism of subjective Spirituality (emptiness)?

        Yes. Between these two philosophical extremes—the realist/materialist reification of a permanent,  absolute, substantial, eternal and independently existing physical and mental phenomenal reality “out there”, and the idealist nihilistic negation of it—abides the mean that is  Prasangika Madhyamaka, the centrist Nalanda Buddhist Middle Way Consequence School. (H.H. Dalai Lama 2009)

        Prasangika is the foundation, according to Longchen Rabjam (2007), and His Holiness Dalai Lama (2009) of the utterly nondual view and praxis of Buddhist Nyingma School’s Dzogchen, the Great Perfection, or Great Completion. Dzogchen Ati Yoga is often viewed as the acausal, trans-conceptual “correction” or completion of the inherent duality of the Two Truths trope that is Middle Way Prasangika, and indeed of the entire great Buddhist Causal Vehicle. (Boaz 2020) Indeed, His Holiness advises that Prasangika is the Middle Way foundation of the great nondual Dzogchen teaching. (2009)

        Thus, in Dzogchen we have not only a centrist Prasangika synthesis of the Two Truths—Relative and Ultimate—that constitute exoteric Realism/Materialism (matter), and esoteric Idealism (mind/spirit), but an optimistic and freeing soteriology—an “innermost secret” or greater esoteric view and praxis for an expedited human liberation/enlightenment, selfless Ultimate Happiness itself—the harmless happiness that cannot be lost.

        Happiness Secret: human happiness is present only here and now. The past is gone beyond, but a present memory. The future is but a present anticipation of that which has not yet arisen. The future never shows up! It’s always too busy becoming the present, and then almost immediately it is past. Therefore, we cannot become happy and enlightened in the future; we can only be happy and enlightened now. Human happiness, along with nearly everything else, happens only here and now. 

        Yes, wonder of wonders, as Dzogchen founder Garab Dorje told, “It is already accomplished from the very beginning”, deep within us, here and now. Our inherent happiness abides in our indwelling Presence of the primordial ground, nondual whole itself, by whatever name or concept. The dualistic spiritual path is our trans-conceptual nondual awakening to That! And 500 years before, Shakyamuni Buddha told: “Let it be as it is and rest your weary mind, all things are perfect exactly as they are.”

        As things are far from perfect in the spacetime dimension of Relative Truth, Buddha was describing the realm of Ultimate Truth. And these are always already an ontic prior, and epistemic present unity. As Nagarjuna told, “There is absolutely no difference between (relative) samsara and (ultimate) nirvana. 

        Leibnitz’ view of such a perfect “best of all possible worlds”, and recent cosmology’s  tautological but non-trivial Anthropic Principle (both weak and strong versions), point out that our unlikely  universe with its highly improbable “super-fine-tuned” physical constants that favor life forms must perforce exist in order that human consciousness arise to reflexively observe and ponder it all. Both Leibnitz and the Anthropic Principle suggest that a nondual noetic (no essential subject-object separation) view of this ineffable perfect subjectivity is a good bet. (Boaz 2021b).

        On the accord of Buddhist Vajrayana epistemology, this perfect understanding is Buddha mind (buddhajnana), the Great Perfection of Dzogchen, nondual mind of Ultimate Truth. Indeed, this is the very Nature of Mind (cittata, sem nyid, sugatagarbha) in whom this all arises. And That is who we actually are. Heady wine indeed to dualistic concept mind ensnared as it is in the prodigious quest for absolute objective certainty within this dimension of merely realist/materialist “concealer” Relative Truth.

        It is perhaps a bit sobering to remember that all of this heady conjecture is mostly just self-stimulating concepts prior to contemplative direct experience (yogi pratyaksa). Still, there is this unreasonable brightness of the mind that is always present now.

        “Everything that exists lacks an intrinsic nature or identity” asserts Alan Wallace (2003) explicating Nagarjuna’s Buddhist selfless (anatman) centrist Mahayana Madhyamaka Middle Way ontology. The appearance of objects arising from the basal primordial ground (unbounded whole, dharmadhatu, dharmakaya, chittadhatu) aide in a relation of interdependence (pratitya samutpada)—their reality is dependent upon other related events and processes in a vast matrix of “prior causes and conditions”.

        Moreover, human discursive mind conceptually imputes, designates, then reifies these appearances into independent, objectively “real” physical/mental/emotional spacetime existent realities in accordance with our atavistic, deep background cultural assumptions. Thus arises what W.V. O. Quine (1969) terms our “global web of belief”.

        We habitually reduce our bright subjectively real original noetic direct experience to objectified discursive semiotic/linguistic cognitive entities abiding in an emblematic, seemingly separate “real world out there”. With a bit of mindfulness meditation practice we may learn to choose our reality; that is, we learn to maintain the initial nondual noetic purity of our basal primordial wisdom ground as it arises spontaneously through ordinary direct perception, prior to conceptual intervention and judgment. With a bit more practice we can do this simultaneously with the distractions of our parallel conceptual dualistic relative-conventional dimension of a RWOT.

        So we live in these two worlds—objective real/material, and subjective mental/spiritual—at once; whether we are cognizant of this prior and present unity, or not. That is our human condition. Is not our noetic imperative the recognition, realization and then compassionate expression of the primordial unity of these two reality dimensions? To divide or not to divide, that is the noetic question of nondual primordial wisdom (gnosis, jnana, yeshe)—this very light of the mind. 

        Hence, from the epistemology you choose, arises the ontology you deserve. Just so, from the metaphysical ontology you choose, arises the phenomenal world you deserve. Thus do we choose our realities.

 

The Two Truths and Dōgen’s Being-Time

 

        Dōgen, perhaps Japan’s greatest Zen master, spoke of this arising, descending dimension of relative time and its phenomenal contents—the spacetime dimension of Relative Truth (samvriti satya)—as “a being-time moment flashing into existence” from the vast spacious expanse of the basal, non-logocentric, primordial emptiness (shunyata) base or ground, boundless whole that is nondual reality being itself—the all-embracing dimension of Ultimate Truth (paramartha satya).

        This “Ultimate Truth” is nothing less than his Ugi, or Being-Time. Dōgen’s Ugi is the here now, always already present prior and present unity of the Buddhist Madhyamaka “three times”—past, present, future. So there is no beginning, and no end to this vast expanse of reality itself. The dimension of spacetime Relative Truth, including all of us, instantiates this vast primordial “groundless ground” of everything that arises and appears to sentient participating consciousness. Yes, we are luminous primordial awareness instantiations of That (tathata). Human consciousness necessarily intends That.

        For Dōgen Zenji (and for Tibetan master Padmasambhava), the eternal present exists for us only relative to a past and a future. Being-Time/Ugi is a simultaneous array of all three. Thus we live in a single vanishing instant now. Yet, this precious moment now derives its meaning from the inter-subjective context of a personal and even collective past, and of a possible future. This momentous moment now is significant because all of our past and future are interdependently, causally enfolded within it, while always unfolding in the timeless continuum of this present moment now. Yes, we live in the moment, but not only in the moment. To live only in the moment now, without  awareness of our past and future (karma) is to “make our life meaningless.” Not to live in the moment now, is “to lose reality itself.” We must learn from our personal and collective past; and we must learn not to fear the future. 

        Philosophers of physics and cosmology, if not always physicists and cosmologists, are now discovering a post-empirical kosmic “presentism”—reality is only now—in Dōgen Zenji’s syncretic Being Time/Ugi. Such a view unifies the timeless Three Times, past, present, future; and bespeaks the prior unity of our two cognitive voices—objective and subjective—of this inherently reflexive, all-embracing spacious consciousness whole (basic space of dharmadhatu) of reality being itself, the very Nature of Mind and all that arises within it. That is after all who we are, our “supreme identity”.

        Dōgen’s great insight is this: prior to the superimposition (vikshepa, distraction) and intervention of concept-belief cognition, ordinary direct perception bestows the inherent (sahaja), immediate, luminous, “primordially pure” noetic  emptiness/shunyata Nature of Mind, ultimate ground of relative mind and all its relative conventional experience. Dzogchen masters would agree. Here, in the “bare attention” of basal “naked awareness”—ontologically prior to subject/object separation and habitual conceptual imputation and reification—abides trans-rational nondual noetic reality itself. This pristine awareness is our very aperture to our primordial wisdom ground (jnana, yeshe, gnosis). This vast dharmakaya whole is our nondual intrinsic awareness love-wisdom mind, Suzuki Roshi’s “Big Mind”, Buddha mind that always already knows this great truth. We awaken to That, breath by mindful breath, through the practice of the Path. 

        Such immediate perception, an instant prior to conception and naming, is pure perception. And we all do this, all the time, with every perception! Wonder of wonders, we are all “primordially awakened” (bodhi, vidya) to this always “already accomplished” innate and perfect clear light mind. That is our actual “supreme identity”. The rub? We must recognize, realize and awaken (bodhi) to this great “perfectly subjective” truth. How shall we accomplish this? We consult the experts and follow their injunctions, of course. As H.H. Dalai Lama (2009) told, “The clear light mind which lies dormant in human beings is the great hope of humankind.” Lord Buddha,  Dōgen Zenji and Guru Padmasambhava have taught this great nondual truth.

        Hence, there is always, through all of our cognitive mind states and life stages—perceptual, conceptual, emotional, and transpersonal trans-conceptual contemplative—an ontic prior unity of past, present, future, always being here now. We learn to be present to the nondual noetic Presence of That. And yes it requires a little selfless mindfulness (shamatha/vipashyana) contemplative practice. Who am I? That I Am. But don’t believe it. Buddha told, “Don’t believe what I teach; come and see (ehi passika).” 

 

Toward an Integral Noetic Science of Matter, Mind and Spirit

 

        Physics and cosmology are quantitative. “The qualitative” (value, volition) is active yet largely suppressed and denied in the common orthodoxy of the physical sciences. Physics is now beginning to recognize and strategically develop the inherent qualitative dimension  in science!

        What is now urgently required for recognition of the prior and present interdependent unity of science and spirit/spirituality is a settled integral noetic quantum ontology with a centrist epistemology and methodology that accounts for a trans-rational, trans-conceptual yet contemplatively knowable nonlocal perfectly subjective ultimate or universal trans-physical reality matrix emptiness base. This “groundless ground”—the implicate, enfolded, ultimate boundless whole and “supreme source” of our wisdom traditions—may be seen as that “basic space” in which, or in whom unfolding objective physical relative spacetime particulars (energy, mass, force, charge, waves, particles and people) arise, participate, and interact. Viewed mereologically (part-whole relations), the panpsychic prior ontic unity that is this great whole subsumes yet embraces its parts, while the parts perforce participate in and instantiate the vast nondual primordial whole itself. (Appendix C)

        Clearly, such a Noetic Science of Matter, Mind and Spirit requires a methodological, “post-empirical” relaxing of the adventitious limits of obsessively objective positivist “scientific” view and praxis with its prosaic “taboo of subjectivity” regarding a priori contemplative knowledge. This waning “old paradigm” Scientific Local Realism and Scientific Materialism/Physicalism dogma still obstructs our emerging inchoate 21st century Noetic Revolution that now arises phoenix-like from the ashes of Greek ontic Materialism. New Paradigm indeed. Such a Kuhnian “scientific revolution”, and our buddic Noetic Revolution is now upon us. (Boaz 2021b)

        The basal “quantum zero point energy (ZPE)” vacuum energy field—constant density dark energy, Einstein’s cosmological constant Λ of Quantum Cosmology’s “lambda CDM Standard Model”—along with the parallel pre-modern wisdom of Buddhist boundless emptiness (shunyata/dharmakaya/kadag) is a good beginning for a unified understanding of that diaphanous primordial ground of physical, mental, spiritual kosmic reality in whom this all arises. 

        The physical quantitative cosmic spacetime ground that is the empty ZPE vacuum field is itself thereby grounded in a subtler, all subsuming trans-quantitative, trans-rational, “post-empirical” primordial emptiness kosmic “groundless ground” in which, or in whom it arises and participates. This of course requires noetic contemplative research methodologies that utilize both quantitative objective third person data sets, and the qualitative, though still objective data sets of personal, subjective, introspective, even contemplative first person reports of highly experienced meditation masters who weave their nondual primordial wisdom mindstream into the lovely fabric of sociocultural space and time. (Ch. 4 above)

Thus are the Mahayana Middle Way Madhyamaka Two Truths—spacetime Relative Truth, and post-empirical, Ultimate Truth—unified in the Buddhist “Perfect Sphere of Dzogchen“, spacious unbounded whole (dharmadhatu), nondual ultimate reality itself (dharmakaya) in which this all arises and participates. Mereologically speaking, multiplicity or the particular cosmic parts are perforce subsumed by the greater all embracing selfless boundless kosmic whole itself.

        The Copenhagen Interpretation of Relativistic Quantum Field Theory (QFT); Stephen  Hawking’s 2010 Model Dependent Realism (MDR) view of QFT; Dirac’s unification of Einstein’s Special Relativity with Bohr’s early quantum theory that resulted in quantum electrodynamics (QED); and recent Quantum Bayesianism (QBism) interpretations of QFT are Science’s inchoate relative cognitive architecture for accomplishing such a middle way centrist methodology. It must now be integrated with the trans-physical ultimate whole itself—nondual primordial Dzogchen. (Boaz 2021a)

        The immeasurable challenge is this: that greatest of human intellectual achievements, the prodigious Standard Model of particles and forces, with its recent Λ-CDM (cold dark matter) Standard Model of Cosmology still clings to the orthodox, old paradigm dogmatic materialist metaphysic that is extreme objectivist Scientific Local Realism—the metaphysical Physicalism/Materialism of a bygone classical Newtonian cosmos of objectively “real” purely physical objects existing observer-independently, permanently, and eternally in an absolute, objectively real 4-D spacetime manifold; although this is quickly changing with the advent of our 21st century Noetic Revolution in Science and Spirit. A purely objective spacetime has fallen on hard times. Physicists are at last beginning to hear Einstein on time: “Time is an illusion; albeit a very persistent one.” With new work on Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), many physicists have thrown out space as well. (Boaz 2021c) 

        Be that as it may, the notoriously perverse mathematical incommensurability of QED with Einstein’s General Relativity Theory (GRT)—required to unify these two great pillars of modern physics—the two will continue to remain separate and contradictory without a continuing ideological softening of Modern Science’s hyper-objectivist monistic Metaphysical Materialism/Physicalism. Such a view is now considered by most philosophers of physics, and a few theoretical physicists, to be a failed ontology. How is this so? It contradicts the inherently random trans-causal or acausal and therefore non-objectivist quantum theory, to wit, always correct QED. 

We desperately need a unifying quantum gravity theory (QGT) to heal this epistemic split between the minute micro realm of Bohr’s Planck scale quantum, and the vast large scale cosmic dimension ruled by Einstein’s gravity.

        Twentieth century Quantum mechanics has subsumed three of the four fundamental forces/particles of the wondrous Standard Model of particle physics, namely Electromagnetism, the Strong Nuclear Force that atomically binds the worlds, and the Weak Nuclear Force of radioactive decay. Only the Newton-Einstein “Big G” gravity “force” remains to be tamed by the sublime quantum theory. 

        Quantum theory clearly obtains in both of these dimensions—the three forces of the very small, and large scale gravity. But we need a providential new math theory of the relative in the quantum. How can relative gravity be shown to be quantum in nature?

        In short, we require a new quantum spacetime that reveals how the hitherto smooth non-quantized classical gravity continuum of Aristotle, Newton, and of Einstein’s GRT may be quantized—course grained into discrete quantum bits, Einstein’s “lightquanta”, discrete foundational qbits, like photons and gravitons. 

        Einstein himself failed to accomplish this syncretic mathematical consummation, though his GRT predicted the discrete particle gravitons of his continuous gravity waves, which have now been discovered. (LIGO gravitational wave detectors 2015) None of the twenty or so epistemic interpretations of QED have done any better. What in heaven and earth could a qbit particle of space possibly be? We might visit Buddhist Abidharma and explore their “space particles”. (Boaz 2020)

        What is certain is that at the miniscule Planck scale, the classical, smooth spacetime continuity of Aristotle, Newton, and Einstein is now kaput, a new scientific quantum paradigm emerges, and the waning objectivist, Greek materialist dogma  finally becomes relegated to the trash bin of history. May it rest in peace. 

        The bad news is that at the empirically and even logically impossible Planck scale, time and distance are utterly immeasurable. How then may we determine which, if any, of the several quantum gravity theories are tenable? Here the spooky subjectivist quantum anomalies of quantum nonlocality/entanglement and the logically defying quantum superposition—a point-like particle existing in two places at the same time—will continue to play an important role. If gravity can be shown to possess either of these theoretically related quantum properties, then it must be quantum in nature.

        Richard Feynman, QED physicist and creator of Feynman diagrams, suggested that if gravity, the warping of spacetime, is indeed quantizable then a superposed particle arising in its logically absurd two locations at the same moment in time must produce two co-existing entangled spacetime gravitational fields simultaneously. If this subjective superposed quantum eigenstate does not instantly collapse into an objective reality state, then it must be nonlocally entangled revealing that gravity is indeed a quantum phenomenon. Many recent experiments have settled the matter. Gravity is indeed a “spooky” nonlocal quantum event. However, we still need a mathematically consistent Quantum Gravity Theory (QGT) to show how this is so. (Boaz 2021b, The Collapse of Objective Reality: Quantum Nonlocality and Buddhist Emptiness, Ch. 8)

        But what if our much valorized quantum theory itself is in need of modification? What if it breaks down in the mathematically impossible infinite gravitational extremes of neutron stars, and black holes, and at the primordial Big Bang singularity? What if it is QED that must be modified and adapted to General Relativity as a few theoretical physicists believe? Time—if it exists at all—will tell. And so it goes.

        Our understanding of gravity was greatly enhanced by Einstein’s GRT. Kuhnian scientific revolution or no, what is painfully slow to change is science’s cultural zeitgeist, namely classical, objectivist Platonic Scientific Local Realism, and Realism’s epistemic handmaiden, monistic physicalist Metaphysical Scientific Materialism/Physicalism. Notable exceptions to this unwholesome course may be the antirealist, ontologically relative quantum views of Bohr, von Neumann, Wheeler and Barbour. Not to mention Buddhist “ontologically relative” Middle Way philosophy. 

        Of the many physicists and cosmologists in recovery from this afflictive obsessive “scientific” physicalist/materialist view,  relativistic physicist and cosmologist  Stephen Hawking’s story is perhaps the most inspiring. Upon analysis of Kurt Gödel’s two 1936  incompleteness theorems Hawking became disabused of his grail quest for a logically impossible Theory of Everything with its realist/materialist metaphysical presupposition, and embraced an antirealist view. This epistemic reversal of his hitherto ardent Scientific Local Realism of A Brief History of Time (1988) became an ever so reticent antirealist “Model Dependent Realism” (MDR) ontology revealed in his excellent book, The Grand Design (2010). Such rare intellectual openness and honesty in a great mind is indeed a joy to behold. Stephen Hawking, you will be missed! 

        Well, what might the culture of old paradigm Modern Standard Model physics and cosmology, and post-Standard Model physics—Supersymmetry/M-Theory, Multiverse Theory,  dark sector vacuum energy—look like with this methodological enrichment of the ontology, psychology and contemplative science of Pre-modern Buddhist Middle Way philosophy? Let particle physicists, cosmologists, neuroscientists and Buddhist scholar-practitioners dialogue in academic symposia. That such symposia are nonexistent demonstrates the tenacious grip of Scientific Materialism that so profoundly hinders our emerging Noetic Revolution in Science and Spirit.  

        Still, there is now arising in the West a providential coming to meet of Eastern Buddhism and Western Science. The resultant, if inchoate unified integral noetic ontology, epistemology, and methodology, with its new science of consciousness, presents a propitious opening for the noetic science of matter, mind and spirit of our emerging Noetic Revolution; and the healing wisdom that abides therein. May it be so. (Boaz, 2021c, The Noetic Revolution: Toward an Integral Science of Matter, Mind and Spirit)    

David Paul Boaz Dechen Wangdu    davidpaulboaz.org    info@coppermount.org

 

Bibliography

 

Boaz, David Paul. 2020. The Noetic Revolution: Toward an Integral Science of Matter, Mind and Spirit, www.davidpaulboaz.org.

_______________. 2015. Being and Time: Toward a Post-Standard Model Noetic Reality. www.davidpaulboaz.org.

Dōgen Zenji. Shobogenzo. 1986. Thomas Cleary. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Hawking, Stephen. 2010. The Grand Design. New York: Bantam.

H.H. The Dalai Lama. 2009. The Middle Way. New York: Wisdom Publications.

___________________. 2005. The Essence of the Heart Sutra. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Klein, Anne C. 2006. Unbounded Wholeness.  New York: Oxford Press.

Longchen Rabjam. 2007. Mind in Comfort and Ease (Samten ngalso). Translated by M. Ricard and R. Barron. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Penrose, Roger. 2004. The Road to Reality. New York: Vintage Books.

Quine, W.V.O. 1969. Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. New York.

Wallace, B. Alan. 2003. Buddhism and Science. New York: Columbia University Press.

Wald, Robert M. General Relativity. 1984. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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