Discussion between Material Science and Buddhist Science, Kathmandu, Nepal

Transcript for the teaching video:

The Buddhist teachings are the principle source for peace and happiness in the world. If you look deeply into what peace and happiness is, what other source can truly provide it other than these teachings of exceptional insight and exceptional compassion? Those are the hallmarks of Buddhist teachings. They provide a unique possibility for peace and happiness to emerge in the world.

The two streams of teachings of sutra and tantra came to Tibet and survived there for a long period of time. These teachings culminated into His Holiness [The Dalai Lama] and then, due to circumstances, His Holiness had to leave Tibet and settled in India. Due to His Holiness’ vision and kindness, through dialogues such as the one of Mind and Life, the whole world has been connecting to His Holiness. Especially because science and Dharma want the same thing, which is understanding the way things really are, the actual basic reality. That is what science ultimately wants, and that is what the Buddha Dharma is ultimately about, discovering the truth of that. And through His Holiness’ vision and kindness and all of these dialogues over the years with scientists, created an atmosphere where all of these respected and amazing scientists come and meet with His Holiness and engage. Their ways and points of view meet with the Buddhist ways and points of view. Now many leading scientists understand the value of the Buddhist approach to discovering the way things really are. And more and more the scientists have come to the conclusion that the way they understand fundamental reality is very much aligned with the Buddhist way of understanding of fundamental reality, so this beautiful interdependence between scientists and Buddhists has come about through His Holiness’ connection with the scientific world. So that all the unbiased and non-sectarian connections have been established. 

This is a meeting between the different points of view of the study of the material world and the study of the fundamental mind or consciousness. A meeting between those who study matter, or material reality and those who study consciousness or the mind aspect of reality.  On the side of the study of material reality, or matter, incredible advancements have taken place. What extraordinary benefits those who study the side of material sciences have produced! Look at all the extraordinary things the world is capable of now through that study. And of course a lot of destructive potential comes from that study as well, the possibility to destroy a lot of things. And then on the other side, the study of mind or consciousness, is also extraordinary, because through the study of mind and consciousness one can arrive at an exceptional insight, prajñā, which you cannot find elsewhere. Through this field of study, you can clearly understand what suffering is and how to completely eliminate suffering. You can discover what true lasting happiness and joy is and take it to levels unseen in any other realm, beyond what we can imagine. The kind of true happiness and joy that comes about when one truly learns how to abandon the causes of suffering and accomplish the causes of happiness and takes that all the way. From the perspective of studying the mind we can understand how visual form, sound, smell, taste and sensation function, how the mind relates to them and either causes suffering from them or creates the causes of happiness from them.  So through that angle and type of study exceptional and mind-blowing achievements of wisdom and compassion are possible. This is why this dialogue is so important. 

It is such an outrageous thing, if we really think about it. On the one angle, the physical body is a product of the three poisons. How did we get this defiled physical aggregate? From the three poisons. And yet it is this very defiled physical aggregate, created by the three poisons, that can completely accomplish the causes of happiness, completely abandon the causes of suffering and even achieve liberation and omniscience. Those two things are both true at the same time.

How many problems do we have on account of our mind, how many emotions, how much suffering, reactivity with attachment and aversion? It is creating endless problems for us in our life, that is part of the reality. And at the very same time within that mind there is this way. If the mind is completely authentic and pointed in the right direction, with extraordinary skillful means of bodhicitta and emptiness, it can completely transcend all those problems. It can completely transcend all of that with bodhicitta and emptiness. How amazing is the skillful means of bodhicitta and emptiness!

However, not seeing those authentic avenues out of our condition, we have our current condition – endless delusion and confusion – how mind boggling. If we see it there is this amazing way and if we don’t see it we are totally deluded, how extraordinary is that? Nowadays in the world there is this amazing bounty of samsara. Even though that bounty is amazing and there are a lot of pleasures and comforts to be had, it is always limited. And if we direct the mind towards the extraordinary true nature of phenomena, the extraordinary true nature of the mind, the happiness and blessings that can come from that are totally limitless. So we have the ordinary limited happiness, no matter how much bounty can be had, it is always limited and can never go beyond that. And then you have this limitless bounty to be had from exploring the nature of reality and exploring the nature of the mind. How extraordinary! It is right there to be seen, and yet we don’t see it, we are deluded. And if we see it, the benefits are totally limitless. How extraordinary is that!

Think about the world at large, what could produce peace and happiness in the world? It is this exceptional compassion and wisdom that can come from seeing things in this way. It really has the potential to unleash peace and happiness in this world.

(Khandro Rinpoche gets told that one of the guests is a professor)

Professors, business leaders, doctors, politicians, students and so forth have a great responsibility to bring peace and happiness into the world. It is in their hands because they have all the tools. It is really wonderful to study and develop the knowledge and the skills in this life to the degree that you are in a position of that like a professor, it is kind of like being a lama. Your job is to eliminate the darkness of ignorance in your students and to benefit them. That is similar to the job of a lama, so it is a very kind thing to have taken that path and responsibility in life, thank you for that.

I don’t use the word lama casually either. In my opinion what a lama means is someone who is actively working to dispel the suffering in other beings’ minds. I don’t particularly place any importance on name, reputation, status and things like that. They are not what makes a lama. It is the ability to share undefiled insights and dispel suffering of other beings. That is what a lama really is. Clarifying what is clear to see, what is readily apparent for their students, and what is hidden, the hidden aspects of reality and teaching those clearly. That is what a lama really is supposed to be doing. 

If the famous scientists come to get interested in Dharma, that is the best thing that can happen to the lamas! The scientific approach that studies reality from the angle of science, gets very, very fine and discovers all these amazing things about what the brain is and how it works. Then when all these different dimensions of studying reality, intersect with the Buddhist approach which studies coarse and very subtle levels aspects of mind and consciousness, they get more and more subtle. And will discover these amazing truths about both the course and subtle levels of mind. And therefore the exploration of mind in dialogue can reveal so much about how reality is, it is a very important and precious endeavor.

This dialogue or meeting is so important because on the one hand, scientists approach goes quite deep and they know so much, it is so precise. They know on a subtle level how the brain works for example, or how visual consciousness works from the scientific point of view and it is amazing that they understand this so well.  However, that’s what they think consciousness is, they don’t know how to go beyond that. Actually from the point of view of yeshe or primordial wisdom, the true underlying nature of the mind, that level of consciousness that they are now studying and mapping out is very coarse. And there are so many subtle levels and depth between basic visual consciousness and primordial wisdom. They don’t know anything beyond basic sense consciousness. And it is amazing that they know how the brain works to that degree, but if people were to think that is the story of the mind, that is as far as we can go and stop there, what a shame that would be! There are so many subtle layers of wisdom and actual direct experience that people can have between coarse visual consciousness and this primordial wisdom nature. For example, look at the difference between our waking and sleeping consciousness. When we fall asleep and we enter the dream realm, consciousness is more subtle. And between the dreaming realm and the fundamental nature, which is just luminosity, there is again all these levels of subtlety and experience, it gets more and more subtle and that can all be experienced and is part of the reality of the mind. So how wonderful would be it be if people from the science side can come to accept that. What a shame if they just stop at the coarse sense consciousness! 

To understand what things fundamentally are the scientific approach uses light through microscopes and technology to study the most subtle particles. This ends up at indivisible particles, the smallest building blocks of reality, we could call them subatomic particles. You could conceptually describe different aspects of them in terms of the five element and in terms of aspects like the that of heat, movement and so on. That is how they explore. They think that they are getting to the raw underlying reality, but all of that only is exploring the confused mind. It never goes beyond the confused mind. Even when they go to the fundamental subatomic reality in that way, it still does not touch the wisdom mind. That aspect is inaccessible by that method or approach. 

By that style or approach of trying to understand things from the outside by breaking it down, things like the capacity within the mind to change confusion to unconfusion, ignorance to wisdom, is inaccessible. When the very same things that we perceive in an impure confused manner, impure perception and confused appearances, transforms within the mind as pure appearances and pure perception, that is amazing. How could they possibly understand that? It is extremely difficult to understand. And that is why this dialogue is so essential, because the understandings that come from this Buddhist perspective that explores the mind from the inside, experientially, through perceptive and experience, can lead there. This can be understood if one goes through experience, but if one just looks at it from the outside, it is almost inaccessible. Scientists understand that matter comes down to indivisible particles, science has already agreed with that, they are already there. They know that you cannot find concreteness within matter when you break it down again and again into its fundamental particles. They know that, but they don’t know from the mind side how to understand the distinction between a confused mind and an unconfused mind, because they do not explore it experientially. So even though they understand that from the outside about that nature of reality, that understanding is still arising in a confused mind. In order to understand beyond that it has to go through the avenue of experience and practice and that is why the dialogue of these two fields of knowledge - mind and material reality - need to cooperate. To really benefit the world, both are necessary

From my point of view there are two ways that blind faith can operate. One avenue that we can call blind faith is like saying “I don’t understand what the causes of happiness are. I don’t understand what causes and conditions produce happiness. I don’t understand what causes and conditions produce suffering, but please help me to have no suffering. Please help me to be happy.” Just asking for it to somehow magically appear from outside. Then you ask them: “What are the causes and conditions of happiness? What are the causes and conditions of suffering? Why do you like happiness? Why do you dislike suffering? What is the interdependence? How does it function?” They have no answer, no idea. But say “Please help me” again and again “I want to be happy, please help me to be happy.” No understanding of what the causality is with happiness and suffering. So that is one kind of blind faith. There is another kind of blind faith that goes: “As long as I cannot see it, it does not exist.” That is also a dangerous kind of blind faith. If after looking, I cannot see it myself and verify it myself, I come to the conclusion that it does not exist and totally deny it and reject it, that is also a type of blind faith and both are very dangerous. So understanding the way that interdependence works is so crucial. We have to understand interdependence and how happiness is a result of gathering certain causes and conditions together, understand it as a result. And suffering is the same: certain causes and conditions gather and suffering is the result. And if those do not gather, suffering is not the result. Not understanding that and just asking for someone else to mysteriously make it go away does not work, that is a dangerous kind of blind faith, because it is not grounded in understanding. So not falling into those two types of blind faith but rather, to use Buddhist terms, understanding the way the ground is, the way the fruition is, the way the Path is, we can understand how exceptional compassion and exceptional insight can bring about the qualities of the fruition. This is something that we can directly experience within ourselves and put into practice. When you really see reality in that way, from the avenue of understanding it but also practicing and experiencing it, then you see the reality and you have no doubt, in a healthy way, because you can confirm it and avoid these two pitfalls of the two types of blind faith. These are just my thoughts and opinions.



Yes, her insight is so precise and accurate for exactly what the situation with, let's say, mind and life. It would be so powerful if Khandro la wouldn't mind giving us some tactical advice because everything she said is exactly right. And as you know, we have the messy business of how to go about creating the causes and conditions that will allow for this current circumstance to grow, as opposed to shrink, and hopefully grow quickly.

This overall purpose of bringing together Buddhist fields of knowledge and scientific experts to dialogue and discuss the points at which they maybe see things same way or different ways, and basically like bringing their respective fields of knowledge into dialogue with each other. She said it's a very important thing, actually. It's a very important thing.

However, I do have a few opinions. I've seen a little bit of these mind and life gatherings. And one thing is that you are bringing together all of these experts in every fields of knowledge and then bringing various sort of Buddhist experts together - so that is the basic framework. And then, you have His Holiness there. But I feel sometimes it's a little uncomfortable. Because the way it’s setup, it's almost like you’re asking His Holiness to help these two sides to find agreement or common ground. But what His Holiness sees with his extraordinary wisdom, love and power, which could benefit the whole world, for him to really share that from his side seems a little uncomfortable.

The discoveries and knowledge held by the scientific material approach has a lot that can benefit those who follow the science of the mind, the inner science or Buddhist science. And for sure, the experiential knowledge and wisdom that Buddhist scholars can offer back to the more hard traditional sciences, that's also very beneficial for sure. But one obstacle is that you're either on this side or you're on the other side. It's very, very rare that one person is able to truly understand these two perspectives in the same mind. It is very, very rare. So that's one obstacle.

From the side of the science of the mind or the Buddhist approach which holds mind is primary, it's not enough to just refer to some texts as great as they are, to just see, look, it says in this text that so there you go. It's not enough. Actually, one has to present that material from an experiential perspective. The subtle experiences that occur when these teachings are put into practice by an actual practitioner, and the knowledge that comes from going into more and more subtle levels of consciousness - to share that, to guide the ones in dialogue into those experiences, so that they finally can start to understand the power that is in these teachings if they themselves start to taste it through experience. That is also very important. That needs to happen.

When you talk about cognizance or consciousness or knowingness, there's many different dimensions of that. Fundamentally, the essence of cognizance has no shape, no color, and no form. It's beyond that. But of course, there's many coarse and subtle levels of consciousness or cognizance. Each have their own support. They each reside on something or somewhere. For example, some aspects of cognizance rely on the brain as a support for their function, and other more subtle aspects of consciousness or cognizance rely on other things in other places and things. To explore those experientially would be an extremely important way that these traditions could bring benefit into the world. Because going that route, experientially exploring consciousness from coarse to subtler levels along with one's own experience, can then really bring peace and happiness into the world because it's really profound. If you don't do that, however, then you can have a situation where you have the materialists over here and the people who talk about mind being primary over there. I think like this and you think like that, and they start to quarrel and disagree and bash heads against each other. Not only will that not bring benefit, it actually can bring harm, harm both of them.

For example, everything in this world is composed of the basic five elements and combinations of the five elements coming together, fire and water, space, wind, and Earth, and these qualities coming together form everything, form our entire Earth, form our bodies, form everything. And where do these five elements come from? They come out of basic space. And where do they dissolve back into? Back into basic space. So that's one thing. Now, let's think about, thousand years into the future. It's basically impossible from the scientific point of view that's looking at material reality and because it's constantly changing for us to know what could possibly happen a thousand years from now. But mind, pure mind, which is not constrained or even relies on physical reality with its own investigation could perhaps see and know what might happen a thousand years from now, just in the mind. But if you try to analyze material reality and figure that out, it's completely impossible because every physical substance is momentarily changing every single moment. So how could you possibly know what might occur if you look at it from that angle in a thousand years? But in the mind, because the mind is not constrained by that, pure cognizance, pure mind through its own kind of investigation or seeing could perhaps know something like that. That's an example of the different aspects within mind one can see.

Now, for example, that the five elements gather together to form this Earth, which is sort of like one of our homes. And then within that country, the place that we live, that's another kind of home. Then we go more, look more inside the body is like a gathering of just a gathering of the elements that supports consciousness or cognizance. Then we go even inside the body and the brain is kind of like a seat, an area that supports the certain kinds of consciousness like the sense consciousnesses and so on. Then you can go more subtle than that, go into mind consciousness, going to subtle consciousness of subtle experience. And that has its own domain, its own home or support. And then more and more and more and more and more and more and more subtle keeps getting more and more subtle. So the knowledge of that, the ability to see that and understand that and all of those different coarser and subtle aspects of consciousness is what the science of the mind or what Buddhist experiential science can bring to the table. And that is completely inaccessible to people who look at things as just material, momentarily changing material substance.

Continuing as part of the description of what the Buddhist mind science can contribute with their knowledge of the mind is also how suffering and happiness arise, and how they cannot arise, and the mind is beyond suffering, and that extraordinary insight and compassion can be all brought to the table by the Buddhist science of mind. Now, even step back - doesn't matter where you're from, what orientation or belief system you have - all beings meet at the point of not wanting to suffer, wanting to be happy. So then, where does suffering arise from? It arises from our experience, from our immediate experience. How does it arise from that? Through our reactions to our experience, basically attachment and aversion, craving and aversion. That's just the constant moment-to-moment source of our suffering. What aspects of appearance are triggering those reactions of craving and aversion? Relative reality, relative appearances. But those same relative appearances can also be experienced in a way that has no suffering, no craving, no aversion, completely without attachment and aversion, and completely without suffering. But when that occurs, relative appearances don't cease, that's extraordinary, that's amazing. Relative appearances continue to appear and yet there's no attachment, no aversion, and no suffering. So, what is happening there, that kind of experience cannot be found without an experiential process. So, one needs to know the knowledge of how to meditate and how to experience - that is part of this Buddhist tradition. That's amazing! How could you possibly explain that to somebody? You could have the same exact things around you, see the same things, and one person has no suffering and the other one is full of suffering. The Buddha has developed this science for the last 2,600 years, and it’s an extraordinary amazing science. And then you have the modern people who have their own extraordinary amazing science. So, of course, coming together a lot of good things are possible if they can dialogue and benefit each other in productive ways.

There are great benefits to be had by this dialogue, bringing these different fields of knowledge together. They both have important things to offer. I mean, for example, from the study of material reality, look at what incredible things they've discovered about health, about how to improve, how to restore human health. Those would really help us [Mind Science people]. We need those things - to benefit our kind of world and ways with that kind of knowledge to sustain and maintain our body's physical health. We really could benefit from that. And we have a lot that can benefit them. So, the dialogue is very important to share what we have that's of value and to benefit each other.

Feeling and sensation should be a point where the dialogue between Material Science and Mind Science of the Buddhist comes together because that's where the rubber hits the road with happiness and suffering - the level of our felt experience, sensations and feelings. Therefore, that should be the point where they converge and discuss their understandings because then it can really be grounded in terms of a constructive dialogue - the level of feelings and sensations where pleasure and pain actually are experienced. So that's where the Buddhist science and the material science should go. That should be like the focal point of their dialogues because that way then they can really see each other's practical consequences. For example, if you think about just the experience of perceiving this flower. The flower has aspects of color, shape, and form, and the material scientists can study that and learn a lot about it, color, and the qualities and the characteristics and the form, the shape, and so on, all these different aspects of the material reality of the flower. And then in terms of our experience of the flower, the flower appears to us as like a mental image in our consciousness, that the mind science or the Buddhist science understands a lot about how that works and what the nature of that is. How something with color, shape and form can have a mental image in mind, which fundamentally doesn't have color and shape and form. That's the domain of knowledge that the mind science or Buddhist science brings.

For example, the Heart Sutra. What does the Heart Sutra say? "Form is emptiness." Scientists have got there. They get that. They understand that. But what comes after that - “Emptiness is form.” Ask a scientist how emptiness is form. What are they going to say? “Blah blah blah...”

It's really great to study things from different points of view. And from one side, this kind of scientific way of like until I see the reality of something, you know, I won't accept it. She said, that's also good, that's fine. We should want to see the reality of something before we accept it. It's also good.

When we think about what is the true reality of things, we could also divide it from one angle into two aspects: the fundamental reality of objects and the fundamental reality of the Observer or the subject. Those both have their own fundamental realities. For example, if you think about the approach of exploring the fundamental nature of objective or apparent reality, reality of appearances, then it's all about studying interdependence. Understanding with greater and greater precision and complexity how causes and conditions produce these objects that we perceive. And that is the study of how they really and that is important. That's valuable - understanding the causes and conditions, the interdependence that defines the reality of appearances, of conventional appearances - that is one thing.

And of course, from the Buddhist science point of view, understanding our own body, speech, and mind, and how it's formed and how it reacts and how it experiences is also very important, like understanding the subject, understanding the reality of the object, and understanding the reality of the subject. They're both very important. Because a certain aspect of the knowingness is not confined to the sense consciousnesses. Where does knowing take place? It actually takes place in mental consciousness. It's not confined to visual consciousness or auditory consciousness or another sense consciousnesses. There's important functions and aspects of knowing that occur in mental consciousness outside of the domain, the constraints of any of the particular senses. So how does that function? What is the nature of that?

For example, we fall asleep every night. What happens in actually in the process of falling asleep, moving from waking consciousness to sleeping consciousness? There's a dissolution that happens. The coarse sense consciousnesses have a certain reliance or causal relationship with substances. Material substances in the eye, the skin, the way that auditory consciousness functions, smell consciousness and taste sensation in the body, these are connected to substances. But then we fall asleep and then everything dissolves. Where does it dissolve to? Mind consciousness. And why isn't that understood and studied by science? There are very important things to learn in that process. It's not just a sudden drop; it's actually a process. I practiced a lot with this and worked into the dream state and practiced in the dream state a lot. It's actually an incredibly subtle process of consciousness getting subtler and subtler and subtler, dissolving and dissolving and dissolving. It’s kind of similar to momentary changes in our consciousness in our waking state. And then the physical supports for the sense consciousnesses that are functioning when we're awake, they're not functioning anymore. And so that dissolution is one thing that's very fascinating and should be studied. And then, of course, where it ends up, where it all dissolves into, where does it all dissolve into? The Mind consciousness. The Mind consciousness contains these subtle dimensions as well. For example, ending up in the eighth consciousness of the Alaya Vijnana, the Storehouse Consciousness. That's just an example. The dreaming state and the states of consciousness experienced in deep sleep and dreaming and so on. In fact, many aspects of subtle perception or subtle experience, subtle vision, are similar to this because it's like what exactly is producing what's experienced? An aspect of the mind is being experienced, which is looking back at the mind itself. Both the generator of that experience and the experiencer of that experience are the mind. And so the way that functions is really interesting and important. And both in the case of dreams and asleep state, which could be accessible to study by science. I am surprised they haven’t done that. And of course, the area of subtle perception or subtle vision and so on, also function that way, in really extraordinary and amazing ways.

So when we think about the physical senses, all have an extent. The furthest extent within our sense consciousness's capacity is visual perception. We can see things that we can't hear. Then, much less than that is our auditory capacity, the extent to which we can hear sounds, in terms of distance. Then comes the sense of smell. We can hear things that we can't smell. We can smell things that are still away from the body. When it comes to taste and physical sensations on the body, until they are actually in contact with the tongue or with the physical body, the skin, then we can't activate those senses. They each have their extent. Using this metaphor of dissolution that occurs into the sleeping and dreaming state, and it all dissolves back into the Mind Consciousness, which is completely vast and surpasses any of the sense consciousnesses in terms of its capacity. That's one very interesting avenue. There's also the case of dying. Somebody dies. What's left over, of course, is kind of like rotten physical flesh, not that nice. But the consciousness departs. How does it depart? Where does it depart? And in what way does it depart? That needs to be studied and understood. Even how we come into this world, basically come into this world through the joining of sperm and egg, but there's also the aspect of consciousness. Is it the mother's consciousness coming in?No. Is it the father's consciousness coming in? No. Is it like half-half coming in and joining together? No, it's not. Something else. How does that happen? Where does that come from? That also needs to be understood and studied. Just so many things need to be understood and studied. There's so many amazing things that need to be uncovered.

For example, this body we have, this brain we have, it clearly develops from the embryo that forms from the mother and father's sperm and egg. So, the substance itself of the brain is clearly developmentally connected to the embryo, which is formed by the sperm and the egg. You could say the substance of the brain comes directly from the mother and father's substance. That's clear. But why then, the same mother and father have three children, completely different mindsets, completely different interests, completely different characters, totally different ways of expressing themselves in their world? So how can you explain that if it comes from the same substance? There's problems with that view, with the material view. You run into problems.

Another problem with just viewing everything as brain tissue is the limitations of that perspective. The brain is subject to momentary impermanence. The brain of yesterday is completely different at a fundamental level from the brain of today. It's constantly changing every single moment. Everything composed of physical matter is subject to constant momentary impermanence. Therefore, the aspect of consciousness or mind is again very important.

The brain matter is composed of physical elements, if you get down to it, fundamental physical elemental building blocks of material reality. Based on those elements or potentials, you have the fully formed functioning of visual objects, visual perception, the functions of sound and hearing, and so on. It's based on the elemental potentiality of the elements. That's what the brain is composed of. If you explore the brain, that's what you end up with. And all of that is momentary, subject to momentary impermanence as well.

So, basically, what this comes down to in terms of study, what we're really interested in the end, what affects us most, is our own experience of pleasure and pain, of happiness and suffering. Who experiences that? The mind experiences that. The experience of sensations and feelings, and happiness and suffering, occurs in the mind. So, to understand what affects us most, we need to study the mind. This dialogue between material and Buddhist science should occur around this issue of experience or sensation or feeling.

There are so many funny misunderstandings. For example, this whole idea that when we try to see value in things, one way that we project value onto things is by saying, "That's really old." When you think about it for a while, that's incredibly stupid. Things don't have value just because they're old. Do we value old stale air? Do we value stale water and the elements that compose them? No, those aren't inherently valuable because they're old. Thinking that something's valuable just because it's old doesn't confer value on it. That's really funny. The oldest thing about us is our Keshas, our afflictions of the mind. Does that mean that they're good because they're the oldest thing we have? Something just being old doesn't mean it's valuable or good. That's really stupid.

Or you could look at it from the opposite point of view and say that the truly most valuable thing is the oldest thing of all, which is the luminous nature of mind. It has been since beginningless time. It's always there. It's always been there from before the beginning. It's there now, and it will always be there, sort of timeless. That is perhaps the most valuable thing that we could possibly discover. Nothing that could be made in the past, something that can be an old thing built in the past, or something we could make now, or something in the future could ever be more valuable than that. It also can't be contaminated in the past, present, or future. It can't be improved upon. It can't be made. That is also the most valuable thing. So you could also look at it that way. In terms of the most valuable thing from the Buddhist perspective, it would be unsurpassable wisdom, unsurpassable love and unsurpassable capacity, like the three qualities of Mind. This beginningless luminous mind is like the most valuable thing from a Buddhist point of view. And those never get old. Look, everyone's still interested in them. They've been around for a long time, and everyone's still interested in them. Those never get old. So if you're really smart, you'd be interested in those things.

So this dialogue is so important for all of these reasons. To have the qualities that His Holiness possesses, these qualities of wisdom, love, and capacity, qualities of Buddhahood that he has, is so rare. It's just like meeting a living Buddha. And when can one have that kind of opportunity in this world? In the past, this kind of meeting of like Buddhist science, modern science, it never happened before. This is such a unique opportunity. And for being like His Holiness, to be able to communicate and spread, like a Buddha, to spread and plant a seed - we have to nurture that seed. Bringing together all of these experts all over, and then the ways that these ideas, that come from this, can benefit. The way that all of the different manifestations and emanations of this wisdom, love, and capacity can appear in the world in the form of teachers, in the form of doctors, in the form of leaders, in the form of spiritual guides. And there's so many wonderful spiritual guides from many different kinds of traditions. His Holiness is yearning to connect with them and spread, and create meaningful connections and so on is so valuable and important.

In terms of value, these days so many important, powerful, wealthy people in the world, what do they have, what did they do? Maybe they got an airplane, maybe they have some kind of palace or amazing place. Okay, that's fine, that's okay, but, you know, in terms of true value, like this kind of wisdom, power and capacity that is coming through His Holiness and spreading of that, so that's really valuable. And then these scientists who are involved in these kind of dialogues, they're really quite amazing. These are really good people. This is an act of kindness. They're not gathering because it's going to benefit themselves. They're not coming for the food, they're not coming for the nice place to stay, they're not coming with some sort of self-centered aim or agenda to benefit their own personal sort of life. They're doing it for others, they're doing it to benefit others, and that's beautiful. That actually is the most valuable thing we have in this world, is trying to benefit others. That's what's really valuable about all of this, that's what the most valuable thing in the world. The most, the greatest, the most, the most, the most. The true wealth is benefiting others, true beauty is benefiting others, true power is all about benefiting others. Any other kind of wealth, beauty, or power, who cares? No point. That's what true wealth is, that's what true power is, that's what true beauty is all about, all about benefiting others, otherwise no point. What's the use?



Where I teach it is very difficult for students to let go of materialism. They think the brain is where is stops. The eternal luminous mind is not real, but yet they have a hunger for it. So the way that I try to engage them is by thinking about love. Thinking love is not anywhere, but yet it is real to them, so I teach a class on love. And I am surprised that many of them are afraid of love. Very afraid of the essence of love, the presence of love, the perception of it. And I see it in myself, I’m afraid. So how do we meet our fear of love?

When you are dealing with students, relying on insight - a vastness of perspective and openness - is very important, because otherwise the mind gets tight and claustrophobic. The education has to be open-minded and connected to insight, opening their mind to a vaster perspective. Then they can find an openness with which to relate to things like the mind and it does not get so tight and won’t feel so claustrophobic. 

It is correct that understanding the original luminosity of the mind is extremely difficult in the beginning. If we start off with teaching something as profound as the ground of original groundless luminosity, they are not going to be able to relate to that or trust it right away. However, using a logic that opens their inner wisdom mind - their prajñā - is essential. Because through prajñā they can be more and more fearless and touch into a fearless kind of love. Studying, contemplating and meditating on interdependence for example can open the insight from within the mind. It can be a way to open the wisdom mind from the inside so more and more fearlessness can come about. That is because they will relate more and more to the way things actually are, rather than incorrect assumptions, superimpositions and their own confused ways of understanding what the nature of reality is. To the degree that you know the nature of reality, to that degree fear can diminish, so it is very important to have an unmistaken view.

They have to learn how to study the causes and conditions of appearances and the causes and conditions of one’s own happiness and one’s own suffering. Everything is changing from moment to moment. And exploring that in a way that is in alignment with the way things actually are is the way to open the wisdom mind from within.

The reason that the wisdom insight is so important is that without it there is no stability in qualities like love. If you introduce a topic such as love and compassion, of course the students will like it and will want to sign on to that. But there is no stability, because it is not connected to causes and conditions of the loving perspective. When the conditions change, it just vanishes. So how do you build stability in something like love, or fearlessness, or compassion? It has to be connected to insight and understanding interdependence, subtle impermanence and so on. All these many good wonderful qualities, like love, patience, ethical discipline, diligence are all good, but none of them are stable, because they are all dependent on causes and conditions. So of course they might not be able to trust it, or feel afraid of it, because they are not stable. The way towards stability in these types of wholesome qualities like love is by connecting it to insight and understanding. Because when the insight and understanding come, there can start to be something that does not change, otherwise everything changes. When they start to intuit something that is not changing, then there is something that they can trust more, and the fear will start to diminish more and more, so then they can have fearless love, based on this wisdom. 

Take–the statement that the nature of mind is luminous for example, it is presented as an assertion, a statement or a belief. Of course it is difficult to relate to that, because if you don’t have context for that, then you just think “this is me” “this body and this situation here is me” and “there is this secret hiding place somewhere inside where this luminous nature could hide”. That does not really make sense, it is not going to be found and people are not going to believe it. So it is tricky. It is true that the nature of the mind is luminous, we all have it and it goes completely beyond any religious tradition, nobody owns that, everybody has access to that. And yet it could be hard to relate to or believe in, because it is presented as an assertion.

Perhaps a way to talk about this that would bring up less resistance is exceptional and limitless compassion and insight. What I mean by that is that it cannot be broken or disturbed by other conditions. And that is why it is universal - whatever conditions it meets in the world, in different contexts, beliefs and religions - it cannot be destroyed, disturbed or overcome, it is limitless. Everything else is limited. An example of something that is exceptional or limitless is a mind that when it encounters suffering, it results in bliss. If you can transform everything you experience from suffering into bliss, that is an undefeatable perspective, an undefeatable mind. How could anything disturb that because anything it encounters gets turned into bliss? That is what I mean by exceptional.

Set aside what you might be doing in your own mind with your own feelings. Imagine the capacity to encounter any kind of experience and be able to transform suffering into bliss, that is exceptional. An example of the other quality I am highlighting here, limitlessness, a metaphor for that is that it is like space, which is completely limitless. Anything on this earth, however big or great we think it is, is like a speck of dust in the face of limitlessness of space. That is what limitlessness is like and it is an analogy for insight or wisdom. Only wisdom has the capacity for that kind of limitlessness. Insight or wisdom is actually limitless in its capacity like space. Anything else on earth that is not that is just like a speck of dust in the end.

If someone comes up here and says “Show me this mind that is not reliant on the brain!” you would just have to turn around and say “You! Look at this mind! Is all that coming from a brain? Really?”

When a scientist says in one of these dialogues: “Show me an evidence of magic, a magical display that proves it is possible”. Then I would say, that is also stupid. It is here all the time! You have produced something that can destroy the entire earth! One hydrogen bomb, one atom bomb, the screens we relate to, you can turn black to white and white to black, you can create any image from nothing and dissolve it into nothing, you have already done it! You are doing it constantly! You don’t need more proof of magic than that! I am just teasing here. 

Getting the right causes and conditions together for a meaningful dialogue and discussion is really important and valuable. Finding the ways to bring peace and happiness into the world, that’s what it should all be about. And it is possible. There are such methods.