Contemplations with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Richard Dawkins

In the teachings of the Buddha, there is a practice known as the five contemplations.

What are the five contemplations?

  1. I am of the nature to grow old; I cannot escape old age.
  2. I am of the nature to have ill health; I cannot escape sickness.
  3. I am of the nature to die; I cannot escape death.
  4. Everyone I love and everything I have is of the nature to change; I cannot escape impermanence.
  5. I leave behind only the fruits of my actions; I cannot take anything with me.

Many monks all over the world practice these every day.

Dr. Richard Dawkins is a well-known evolutionary biologist from Oxford University.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a well-known astrophysicist at the Hayden Planetarium in New York.

These two distinguished scientists got together to discuss “The Poetry of Science: Discussions of the Beauty of Science.”

They talk about life and the universe in scientific terms.

I watched the whole discussion last night and it called to mind the five contemplations, especially the last question.

Do you see the connection between Dr. Tyson’s answer to the last question and the five contemplations?

Please share your thoughts.

Note: This was originally published on July 12, 2012, before Cosmology and Buddhist Thought was published.

Cosmology and Buddhist Thought:
A Conversation with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

Cosmology and Buddhist Thought have Interesting Overlapping Ideas

In the book, you will learn about

  • Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson’s vast knowledge of the cosmos from the Big Bang to life in the Goldilocks Zone
  • the Foundations of Buddhist Thought
  • about Exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than our sun
  • Interbeing – the insight that everything in the universe is Interconnected
  • the unavoidable Impermanence of all things
  • time scales and how they affect your life
  • the nature of the self and nirvana
  • how humans affect the ecology of Mother Earth
  • some interesting thoughts about consciousness and religion
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