Thursday, 11 September 2008

The Heart of the Matter

Yesterday, the new Large Hadron Collider, a high energy particle accelerator, was switched on a tested for the first time. It ushers in a new era of human scientific endeavor, in a quest as old as man himself, to find the true nature of ourselves and our Universe. The Holy Grail of the upcoming tests is the search for an extremely controversial particle element called the Higgs boson. Believed by some to be the particle that gives all mass to matter, a building block of all that exists, it has been dubbed "The God Particle". If found, it would complete what in science is called the Grand Unification theory, which unities the 4 known basic energy forces.
(Thanks to cpd314 and for this image!)

In the last 200 years, science has taken magical leaps in discovering the true nature of mass and matter, not by looking outward, but by looking deeper inward, peering increasingly smaller and smaller. In the early 1800's science was able to identify the atom, thought at first to be the smallest particle of matter. Shortly after, Physicists found that the atom was made up of yet smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. During the middle part of 20th century, not satisfied that these particles were the true makeup of matter, scientist continued to look inward, and after a series of amazing leaps in technology, quarks were discovered to be the base elements of these protons, neutrons and electrons. Just like a Matryoshka doll, every time a box was opened, they found yet another box.

I think as Buddhists, our effort should be like that of these scientists, continually looking inward, for the true nature of what makes me.....well "me". At first we see emotions, then after sometime and some effort, just by watching we can see these subtle thoughts that bring about these emotions. Then, deeper into our practice, we can study how these thoughts arise. But I think its important we keep looking for the "I" inside ourselves, even if some teachings talk about the emptiness of self, it should be our goal to still find it. Even after all attempts yield yet another Matryoshka doll, we should make all effort in this moment to keeping looking, keep searching. Along with the keen eye of a scientist, an honest motive is imperative if we are to see what is true as true.

This honest motive is sometimes called a pure heart. As Westerners, we already have a sense to dig into the workings of all things to see how they operate, and we should use this talent the best we can. Even though we may not know it, as long as we are honest with ourselves, with a pure motive, we can begin to see ultimate truth and what is really at the Heart of the Matter. No doubt, if you are reading this, you already have that pure heart.


  1. I'm such a nerd, I've been as giddy as a school girl lately with all the news I've been hearing about the LHC.... and then tying it in with Buddhism!

    Great post.

  2. Great post! Especially important that we are not fearful of uncovering our purity of heart, just like we shouldn't be afraid of what they uncover with this amazing scientific feat.
    Thanks Kyle!

  3. Oh.... and here is a cool pic at the LHC of one of the scientists zazen in one of the equipment.

    from this site:

  4. Thanks Jody!

    cpd - Mind if I linked that first picture on the post? That is such an incredible picture on a lot of levels. Very cool find.

    I have to say I'm a physics geek as well, and read a lot of things about what they are doing. I think the entire flap over the man made black hole fear is kind of funny to listen to.

    Thanks for the comments!

  5. Go for it. It really is an awesome picture for a lot of reasons.

    What bothers me about all the hysteria over the LHC ending the world is it's mostly by people who have little knowledge (as apposed to no knowledge) and freak out about what they really don't have any understanding about. What's sad is that I can sit in a small town in Oklahoma and find plenty enough information on the internet to clear up any misinformation about the LHC. I think some of the fear is rooted in that the same kind of inquiry led to the atomic bomb, so in some way they fear the LHC could lead to the same end.

    I'll let you know about the interview with TNH and the cop after I listen to the program on the original post probably tomorrow. I've downloaded it onto my mp3 player and will listen to it while I'm on patrol this evening. I love my mp3 player!