Biocentrism and Buddhist Teaching on Reality and Consciousness

Are you interested in the science behind Buddhist teachings on reality and consciousness?

You may be interested in reading more about Biocentrism – a “theory of everything” by Robert Lanza MD if you are.

Robert Lanza is an American medical doctor, scientist, Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technology and Adjunct Professor at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine – source Wikepedia.

“The whole of Western natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory. At the same time, these findings have increased our doubt and uncertainty about traditional physical explanations of the universe’s genesis and structure.

Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around. In this new paradigm, life is not just an accidental by-product of the laws of physics.” – source Biocentrism – Robert Lanza’s Theory of Everything

“Probably the most remarkable thing for me about this book is that it sounds so much like Nyogen Roshi, the Zen teacher I have been listening to for some 13 years now. This teacher, who has read the book and who has no background in science, has said that the author’s words mirror his own experiences in the practice of zazen as closely as anything he has encountered in a modern writer.” – source – Nick Shindo Street

Lanza’s work seems to strike a chord with the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh. Some of the key principles of Biocentrism are listed in the table below and compared with a talk given by Thay.

Principles of Bio Centrism(From Biocentrism 2009 by Robert Lanza and Robert Berman; BenBella Books inc) The Buddhist Understanding of Reality talk by Thay reproduced in “the Mindfulness Bell” #52 Autumn 2009 edition
What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness. An “external” reality, if it existed, would – by definition- have to exist in space. But this is meaningless, because space and time are not absolute realities but rather tools of the human and animal mind “We usually believe that consciousness is something inside of us, and we go and look for the world outside. We think there is an objective world outside and there is a subjective world inside. Remember when we read from “Winnie the Pooh”? Winnie the Pooh thought he saw the footprints of a hostile animal, and he became afraid. But with the help of Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh discovered that the footprints he found on the snow were his own footprints! The same thing is true with the object of our inquiry – the so-called objective reality of the world. We think it is something distinct from our consciousness, but in fact it is only the object of our consciousness. It is our consciousness.”
Our external and internal perceptions are inextricably intertwined. They are different sides of the same coin and cannot be divorced from one another “The world outside is our consciousness, is us. It is not something separate and distinct. The object and the subject of perception inter-are. Without subject, there is no object; without object, there is no subject. They manifest at the same time. To see means to see something. The seer does not exist separately from the seen; they manifest at the same time. If you imagine that the seer is independent and goes out in order to see the seen, that is a mistaken perception.”
The behaviour of subatomic particles – indeed all particles and objects-are inextricably linked to the presence of a conscious observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves 


“Consciousness is like an elementary particle, like an electron; its nature is non-local. Nonlocality is a word used by scientists about time in quantum physics. An elementary particle can be everywhere at the same time. We think that one thing cannot be several places at once, but scientists have agreed that an elementary particle – an electron – can be both here and there at the same time. It can be both this and that at the same time. It can be you, it can be me.”
Without consciousness, “matter” dwells in an undetermined state of probability. Any universe that could have preceded consciousness only existed in a probability state In Buddhism we speak of karma as the threefold aspect of action; thinking, speaking and acting. When we produce a thought, that thought can change us and can change the world in a good way or in a bad way. If it is right thought, if that thought is produced in line with right thinking, then it will have a healing, nourishing effect on our body and on the world. Just by producing right thinking you can change the world. You can make the world a better place to live, or you can transform the world into hell. That is karma, action; this is not something abstract. For example, the economic crisis is born from our thinking. There is a lot of craving and fear, and the value of the dollar, of the euro is largely created by the mind. Everything comes from the mind. That is why thinking is action and speaking is action. Speaking can release tension and reconcile, or speaking can break relationships. Speaking can destroy someone’s hope and cause that person to commit suicide. Physical action is also energy.


Worth a read maybe if you can make the time………

2 Responses on “Biocentrism and Buddhist Teaching on Reality and Consciousness

    1. Ryan Godlonton-Shaw says:

      Thank you – excellent article and great comparison to Buddhist teaching.

      Consciousness used to be a topic that seemed to me to be overlooked by the scientific community, now someone has realized that consciousness is everything, consciousness is the key.

      I also like this article here…which backs it up..

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