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Extended Audio Sample The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality, by Tenzin Gyatso Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,204 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Tenzin Gyatso Narrator: Richard Gere Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 coexistence: science vs. religion, faith vs. 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 scientific minds, as well as a lifetime of meditative, spiritual, and philosophical study, the Dalai Lama presents a brilliant analysis of why both disciplines must be pursued in order to arrive at a complete picture of the truth. Science shows us ways of interpreting the physical world, while spirituality helps us cope with reality. But the extreme of either is impoverishing. The belief that all is reducible to matter and energy leaves out a huge range of human experience: emotions, yearnings, compassion, culture. At the same time, holding unexamined spiritual beliefs—beliefs that are contradicted by evidence, logic, and experience—can lock us into fundamentalist cages.

Through an examination of Darwinism and karma, quantum mechanics and philosophical insight into the nature of reality, neurobiology and the study of consciousness, the Dalai Lama draws significant parallels between contemplative and scientific examination of reality. “I believe that spirituality and science are complementary but different investigative approaches with the same goal of seeking the truth,” His Holiness writes. “In this, there is much each may learn from the other, and together they may contribute to expanding the horizon of human knowledge and wisdom.”

This breathtakingly personal examination is a tribute to the Dalai Lama’s teachers—both of science and spirituality. The legacy of this book is a vision of the world in which our different approaches to understanding ourselves, our universe and one another can be brought together in the service of humanity.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The Dalai Lama lost spiritual leadership in his own country but now exercises it around the world. Like all good teachers, he comes to learn. He found that what Buddhism lacked in his country was a fruitful interchange with reason and modern science. Here he fosters that exchange, at a time when some Christians have turned their backs on science and the Enlightenment. We are losing what he has gained.”

    Garry Wills, Pulitzer Prize–winning author

  • “With disarming honesty, humility, and respect, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has explored the relationship between religion and science and suggested the way in which they can affirm and qualify each other’s insights. By juxtaposing traditional Buddhist teaching with the discoveries of modern physics and biology, he infuses the debate about such contentious issues as the origins of the universe, the nature of human consciousness, the evolution of species and genetic engineering with intimations of profound spirituality and shows how these questions can further our search for ultimate meaning. But above all, his gentle but insistent call for compassion is desperately needed in our torn and conflicted world.”

    Karen Armstrong, bestselling author of A History of God

  • “Wise and humble.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “For all the provocative and detailed reasoning found in this soulful and mind-expanding book, what emerges most powerfully is the Dalai Lama’s belief that science must embrace Buddhism’s mission and work toward increasing compassion and alleviating suffering.”


Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Doug | 2/11/2014

    " Some good information about the roots and purposes of Buddhism. Also, the parallels and constrasts between some aspects of physics and Buddhism were interesting. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Matthew Konkel | 2/11/2014

    " Well, it's prettey effin' dense but extremely engaging. I maybe only really absorbed about 40 percent of it. I recommend this to anyone who thinks that testtubes and laboratories is all that's needed to discovering truth or to anyone who thinks science is just a way to disprove God or whatever. I guess the big thing I got out of this book is that a chair is never just a chair and EVERYTHING is related. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kara | 2/1/2014

    " Extremely interesting and a must read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Paige Bleu | 1/26/2014

    " This was the first book by the Dali Lama I've ever read, so I did find it interesting. But to be truthful, it was a bit over my head. I really enjoyed some of the more personal side of the Lama. It was cool to see another portrayal of him, than what I always assumed, or expected. I just felt sort of lost in certain parts. I will definitely read it once or twice more and that may, or may not change my opinion. I would recommend this book for people who are genuinely interested in an insider peak at the life of the Lama, but not really anyone else. I read it more out of philosophical curiousity, and as mentioned above, at times felt swallowed up. "

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