3. The Conference Meets its Goal
The conference did indeed meet its goal - in fact, it was a big surprise, as it took us even further than anybody expected. I hope that some of the atmosphere of this unusual and deeply satisfying meeting between Ancient science and Modern science will shine through this presentation partly based on newspaper clippings and partly on quotations from the speeches, with a few comments in between as a flavour to bring out the taste of the conference.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama opened his speech by saying: "I think that modern science and the ancient Indian 'science of mind' both remain sceptical in their discernment for truth, and on this basis carry out their investigation and experiments, which make reality appear in a clear and convincing way. Therefore I thought for many years that even though modern science and ancient wisdom might have different objectives, their approaches are quite similar, and since they both are seeking the truth about reality, there should be a common ground - therefore the dialogue and exchange of views between Buddhist scientific ideas & experiences and modern scientific findings."
After the illuminating and heart touching speech by His Holiness, Prof. Gerhard Fasching made strong statements on behalf of science, shaking its very foundation: "Especially scientific thinking proves itself to be merely one way of thinking amongst many others. The colourful world of reality, in which everything is so concrete, graspable and objective soon rises before us as a specifically bias-prone illusion, which has emerged from the primordial ground like a conjuring trick….". And he ended his lecture by raising some fundamental questions: "Does Western scientific thinking and the 2.500 years old knowledge of Eastern philosophy meet here? Can the old knowledge of Eastern philosophy give Western thinking a profound foundation? On the basis of that, can a way to inner and outer harmony be found, while there is still time?"
In an article in the influential German newspaper "Die Zeit" (The Times) the journalist Birgit Baader wrote after the conference: "Gerhard Fasching emeritus of the Technical University of Vienna made clear, that the different views do not contradict each other, but on the contrary supplement and enrich each other in a harmonious way: Everything that stands next to each other in Duality is unified in the root of Unity. I have seen here that the Tibetan Tendrel, the ancient experiential knowledge of the Indo-Tibetan philosophy, offers instructions to us Western scientists on how to structuralize the unstructured phenomena we are facing into a comprehensive, unified reality. We cannot grasp the primordial ground of all being-ness, the unity that is underlying everything, with our scientific methods alone."
The journalist Birgit Baader goes on: "During the conference it became alarmingly clear, that a transformation of the materialistic thinking, so predominant in the West, is the necessary prerequisite for stable basic conditions in all areas of life. Only in this way the existing potential and our resources in the different domains of economy, science, technology and society can be fully utilized. Dr. Phil. Tarab Tulku, Tibetan Lama and Rinpoche, initiator of the conference and teacher of the so-called "Unity in Duality"-training, expressed this in the following way: "Looking at the world with the eyes of Tibetan philosophy, in the dialogue with the present scientists doors of understanding and inspiration are opening up for us, that we can use in our life to fully develop our potential!" Professor Humberto Maturana, neurobiologist at the University of Santiago: "We are creating the world anew in each moment. The only way to a unified diversity and thereby to lasting happiness and prosperity is via the ability of listening. We must listen to each other in a non-judgemental way and we must realize, that all living beings have a common goal"."
Birgit Baader in Die Zeit ended her article with the words of The 14th Dalai Lama: "Only when we meet others and ourselves with compassion, openness and love will we find a common happiness, that benefits all life on this earth."