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The Many Faces of Causality

May 14, 2008

Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies
May 12, 2008

Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies Presents
"The Many Faces of Causality"

A Saturday Intensive with Professor Vic Mansfield -- May 17, 2008

-- Saturday, 9:00 AM - Noon: Causality and Acausality in Buddhism and Quantum Mechanics

Although there are many profound harmonies between Buddhism and quantum mechanics, we are now at the stage in the dialogue where we must address the dissonances.  In this lecture/discussion, Professor Vic Mansfield [Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Physics: Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge (2008)], will discuss the divergence between Tibetan Buddhism and quantum mechanics on the issue of causality.  Causality is central to both the theory and practice of Buddhism and thus this conflict concerns many people, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  Understanding the Buddhism/quantum conflict over causality deepens our appreciation of each tradition and prepares the way for a resolution.  Professor Mansfield will also carefully present the Tibetan Buddhist view of causality, contrast it with quantum indeterminacy, and explore some of the medical implications of the conflict.  No technical knowledge of science or Buddhism is required.

-- Saturday, 2:00-5:00 PM: Causality and Acausality in Buddhism and Synchronicity

Some of the most important lessons on our path to Buddhahood arise when the meaning incarnating inwardly also finds expression in events in the outer world.  For example, a mature person dreams of a father who abandoned him decades ago as an infant and the next day receives a phone call telling him the long-estranged father is dying.  This mysterious experience encourages him to move from bitterness to rapprochement.  Such transforming synchronicity experiences, as C.G. Jung called them, express the same meaning both inwardly and outwardly and give us an empirical experience of emptiness.  Jung claimed that the inner and outer events were not causally connected.  Through first-person accounts, lecture, and discussion, Professor Mansfield will help clarify Jung’s notion of synchronicity in order to understand what he means by saying it is acausal. As we will see, synchronicity is not in conflict with Tibetan Buddhist causality as it directly expresses emptiness.  This presentation assumes no previous understanding of Jung or synchronicity. Throughout the day, there will also be several short meditations.

-- Free Friday Evening Talk, May 16, 2008, 7:00-8:30 PM
Einstein and Quantum Nonlocality: A Doorway to Emptiness and Compassion

Einstein’s most influential challenge to quantum mechanics involved his rejection of the lack of independent existence of quantum objects.  His biographer wrote, “We often discussed his notions on objective reality.  I recall that during one walk Einstein suddenly stopped, turned to me, and asked whether I really believed that the moon exists only when I look at it.”  Einstein’s rejection of a central feature of quantum mechanics (quantum object’s lack of independent existence) ignited a debate about the philosophic foundation of science that lasted for a half century, and culminated in the famous experiments that conclusively revealed nonlocality in nature.  We can now experimentally demonstrate that “quantum moons” do not exist when unobserved.  Such “experimental metaphysics” has an extraordinarily detailed resonance with the Middle Way Buddhist principle of emptiness, the very heart of Buddhism.  What Einstein found to be the most troublesome feature of quantum mechanics is, for Middle Way Buddhists, the ultimate nature of reality and the foundation for universal compassion. This lecture assumes no technical background in physics or Buddhism.
 
Vic Mansfield, professor emeritus of physics at Colgate University and winner of Colgate’s most prestigious teaching award, the French Prize for Inspirational Teaching, has practiced and studied with spiritual leaders in the United States, Europe, and India for more than four decades.  In addition to physics and astronomy courses, Vic has taught a popular course at Colgate on Tibetan Culture and Buddhism for over two decades.  He has written three interdisciplinary books and scores of papers, including his first book Synchronicity, Science, and Soul-Making (1995), and his most recent book, Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Physics: Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge with an introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2008), which will be translated into Tibetan and Chinese by the Office of His Holiness.  Vic warmly invites you to his website at www.lightlink.com/vic.

Cost $85.00 -- Pre-Registration is Required

Saturday, May 17th, 9:00 AM - 12 Noon and 2:00-5:00 PM
Friday, May 16th, 7:00-8:30 PM: Free and open to the public -- Donations are welcomed.

412 North Aurora Street, Ithaca, NY 14850  
(607) 273-0739  
www.namgyal.org
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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