At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, a complex of wave forms and resonances, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet which connects us to everything in the universe. The act of getting in touch with this pulse can transform our personal experience and in some way alter the world around us.
— Friedrich Nietzsche
The convergence between science and mysticism, between Eastern thought and Western pragmatism, and the consequent emergence of a new paradigm in recent times, offers a renewed hope that we may yet be able to transform ourselves and the world around us. The dangers of failing to do so are readily apparent, mostly in the near-destruction of the ecological system of the planet. There are many tools of transformation but the only place where transformation really takes place is in the human heart. The ancient traditions of the East have always sought to understand the nature of reality within one's own heart. It is not an accident that the Chinese word hsin stands for Heart-Mind. In the Eastern way of looking at things, the thinking-feeling process is a unified field, in contrast to the Cartesian dualism of the western scientific mind. Human experience has shown that the heart-mind, being deeply conditioned, is not an easy place for conflicts to be resolved. This was brought out most vividly in the intense emotional and even existential crisis which the pioneers of quantum physics (the post-Einsteinian branch of physics that deals with the molecular structure of organisms at the subatomic level) underwent before they could accept the intellectual findings of their own experiments.
The Heart Sutra, an ancient scripture from the Mahayana wisdom schools of Buddhism, is an insight into the nature of ultimate reality through intuitive wisdom. The spaciousness of this insight allows the heart to beat in its naturalness, beyond disputations and ideological arguments. Now that quantum physics has found some very interesting parallels to the basic insights of the Heart Sutra, perhaps the intellectual and the intuitive can meet in the new paradigm. At the same time, while this commentary offers to view the insights of Mahayana Buddhism in the light of quantum physics, it carries no suggestion that the two are complementary or interchangeable. They are, at best, two entirely different orders of reality, each reflecting completely different underlying processes that happen to converge. In his pioneering book, The Tao of Physics, Frithjof Capra has observed:
The conception of physical
things and phenomena as
transient manifestations of an underlying
fundamental entity is not only a basic element of
quantum field theory, but also a basic element of
the Eastern world view ... the intuition behind
the physicist's interpretation of the subatomic
world, in terms of the quantum field, is closely
paralleled by that of the Eastern mystic who