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Conceptual Similarities in Buddhism, Science and Neuroscience

The Lecture:

Ceon Ramon, Ph.D., University of Washington, USA and Reykjavik University, Iceland and Lorraine Lester, Seattle, USA, spoke at Tibet House on January 14, 2012. In general, they explored three similarities related to Buddhism, Science and Neuroscience. The first topic discussed was the theory of the creation of matter in space and time in physics. At quantum scales, matter and anti-matter are created and destroyed at every moment. This is known as the potentialities of particle creation, and functions similarly to the empty potentials involved with the creation of matter in Buddhism, as explained in the Kalachakra Tantra. The Universe in a Single Atom, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, refers to this.

Next was a discussion about the similarities between the properties of superluminal physics and the nature of the enlightened mind according to Buddhism. In the theory of superluminal physics, strange things happen, at speeds faster than light. The dimensions of space and time are interchanged and become imaginary; a point in space is spread all over time and a point in time is spread all over space. Functionally, this allows for the possibility to access any type of information at any moment in time, which is similar to the capacity of the enlightened mind of a Buddha.

Finally, the question of observer interaction in physics has been debated for the past l00 years. It is still a controversial topic. However, at present many eminent scientists are beginning to believe that at quantum limits, there is a real possibility of mind-matter interaction. Buddhist philosophy

also details the arising of consciousness and the material world. Science still has a long way to go to understand consciousness and its attributes. Nevertheless, newer scientific theories of consciousness are based on interactions of quantum gravity within the internal structures of neurons in the brain. It is postulated that the wave functions within the neurons reach coherence in about 20-25 milliseconds (0.02 to 0.025 seconds). This time frame might be related to seeing and recognizing an object which appears to be very similar to the time frame description of a conceptual moment as stated by the Indian Buddhist scholar Vasubandhu.

In addition, recent EEG brain research has also demonstrated that microstate phase transitions associated with thought processes in the human brain have similar time frames as the coherence in wave functions inside a neuron. For a normal brain, phase transitions also occur every 20 to 25 milliseconds. Our research has demonstrated that an individual with experience in meditation can prolong the rate of phase transitions. The phase of the brain during the meditation period becomes more quiet (i.e. uses less energy and is more stable during the meditation period as compared to the spontaneous baseline activity). These results indicate that quantum gravity may have a role in human thought processes as well as in the creation of matter. This is consistent with the principles of Buddhism regarding the ultimate indivisibility of mind and matter.


The Speakers:

Dr. Ceon Ramon was born in India and graduated with a B.E. (Hons.) Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. His graduate studies and a PhD. in electrical engineering with specializations in laser and quantum optics were at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City. In the past 30 years, Dr. Ramon’s Ceon’s research interests have shifted to biomedical engineering; primarily focused on the electrical activity of the human heart and brain. For the past 15 years, his research efforts have been largely involved with Neuroscience and the developmental genesis of the human EEG. He is currently involved in developing new technologies for non-invasive electrical stimulation of the brain, to treat epilepsy and stroke. To date, he has published more than 140 papers in the peer reviewed scientific journals. Presently, he is an Affiliate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington and a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Reykjavik University, Iceland. Since early childhood, Ceon has had a growing interest in Buddhism, studying the major root test in Tibetan and Sanskrit with Tibetan masters. Dr. Ramon is keenly interested in developing a collaborative approach to modern physics and Neuroscience, together with Buddhist philosophy, in order to better understand the nature of mind and its applications to human existence.

Lorraine Lester has B.A. in Psychology/Anthropology. Previous professional work in Behavioral Medicine with chronic pain, cardiac and cancer patients. Strong interest in Tibetan Buddhism since l978.



Topic: Buddhism and Science

Speakers: Dr. Ceon Ramon & Lorraine Lester

Chairperson: Mrs Antonella Simonelli Mathur

Venue: Conference Hall, Tibet House

Date: January 14, 2012

Time: 05:30 pm