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Buddhism in the News


Friday, March 07, 2008

The Big Crunch, The Big Bang and Buddha.

Nothing lasts forever, we know this thanks to the grand awakening (enlightenment) of Buddha and the more we learn about science the more science backs up Tathagata's insights.

We understand now that the universe was most likely created by, "The Big Bang" but what happened before, "The Big Bang?" What caused it? Well as it turns out many scientists believe it was the result of something called, "The Big Bounce" or "The Big Crunch." If cutting edge scientists' equations, known physics and observations are correct then our universe was the result of a previous universe collapsing in on itself into a gigantic gravitational implosion--"The Big Crunch." This mass then exploded via some bizarre physics that is only now being understood to inflate into a different but somewhat similar universe--our own.

We also know that this explosion, "The Big Bang" was so powerful that our universe is still expanding and faster with time that (some theorize) will result in another, "Big Crunch" or "Big Rip." Once this stretching of the universe gets going fast enough, (which many scientists purpose will happen) it will push galaxies, stars and solar systems apart until eventually even atoms will rip into pieces.

If gravity becomes too great it would collapse under its own weight and cause all matter to collapse again until it coalesces into black holes which would eventually coalesce into one super massive black hole that would concentrate all the energy of the dying universe. At that point, the theory goes that this mass of super dense energy would become so great that it would explode into another big bang creating another universe.

This is no surprise to Buddhists as we have been taught by Buddha that all things are interconnected and impermanent and thus the very universe that we call home must in fact "die" itself only to reborn anew as is the nature of all things.

It turns out that Buddha was not only the Supreme Buddha of this age but it now seems he was one of the first scientists if not the first scientist. Is it not interesting that science at its very foundation is about observations and awareness as is the crux of Buddhism?

This beautiful process reminds me of my favorite verses of poetry from the larger poem, "Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake:

To see the World in a Grain of Sand And Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm or your hand And Eternity in an hour.

~Peace with all beings~

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Anthony said...

I've asked myself that very question many times -- and I think about it until my head hurts, then I stop.

The other one is, If God created Man, who created God? Those kinds of questions are too deep to be considered for real-world thinkers such as myself.
I suppose Big Crunch makes sense to scientists, who seem to be able to explain such things, but if the Universe is indeed expanding and contracting, how did it start?

I'd keep asking that question, just as the child keeps saying "Because why?" until either the scientist would shoot me or I would collapse onto myself like a dying star.

david said...

Nice post,

I had put up something on my blog that is a nice reference to this concept last week.

Check it out if you are interested

one love

Garnet said...

Always an interesting topic. His Holiness speaks about and more in the book "The Universe in a Single Atom."

Professor Of Pop said...

In fairness, should we say that Buddha borrowed some of these ideas from Hinduism? How odd that for all the commentary on religion lately, few 'Western' thinkers have noticed the profound intuitions of Indian thought.

They call him James Ure said...


As far how did the whole process start, my only conclusion is that it has just always been thus. Until we get some evidence to help piece together a theory to explain it otherwise.


Thanks!! I'll be over to check that post out. I love contemplating science.


I still need to read that book and it sounds wonderful. I've had it recommended to me by several people now. I'll put it on my wish list.



Tim said...

LOL - No, it is an interesting thought topic. You can see many parallels in the American Indian culture, Taoism and Hindu...even the Bible....
Krishnamurti used to say, "Thing on these things." I'll pass on this one thanks,,,,

Riverwolf said...

Seems some might find all this disturbing but I find it, on the other hand, exhilarating! To think that our universe was the result of another collapsing is, well, simply cool. I don't know--call me crazy.

They call him James Ure said...


Yeah, heavy stuff indeed. Thank-you for reminding us about the parallels within other forms of spirituality.

We have more in common then many think. I always enjoy seeing inter-faith dialog and inter-action.


Oh I agree. This stuff fascinates me and brings me great peace. There is something so liberating when seeing how insignificant we are--yet when we see this we also see how important we are.

We see that we are apart of this ever so beautiful chain of Pure Being.

I'm so full of joy that I am apart of this grand experience!! I'm glad to have met and know your beautiful energy--and that of all my acquaintances, friends and family.

We exist in one giant family and it's awesome.

PeterAtLarge said...

Didn't the Buddha suggest that it was none too useful to speculate on these unknowables? But I guess it's fun, at least.

Michael Joyce said...

This is my kinda blog! Honestly I never thought about the "Big Bang" and the Buddha before. (i don't know why, but i didn't). Science is a completely different realm of thinking...mathematical and unspiritual. It's amazing. I really enjoyed this blog. Lets just hope that the Big Crunch doesn't happen any time soon. I'm really enjoying my reading time.

They call him James Ure said...


Yeah in the end this stuff doesn't mean much but you're right, it's fun to think about sometimes. That the reason I posted this--I just find it fascinating and fun to contemplate.

But you're right on that the present moment is where the action is at. :)


Well thank-you for the compliment!! I'm glad that you find my ramblings useful lol. Science and Buddhism are very much accepting of each other.

There are many science minded folks like myself who find Buddhism a very fitting spiritual path. Both are very much about observations and awareness.

mike3 said...

Actually the "Big Crunch" theory is not wholly accepted by scientists. Another theory is that the space-time is infinite, and then it "bangs", forms stars, galaxies, etc. then these things evolve and eventually die, and then decay into pure energy. Then after a far longer time (much, much longer than the stars/galaxies lifespans), in this "dark era", quantum fluctuations take over. At this point it becomes very unpredictable and another "bang" isn't out of the question. The time between "bangs" would be extraordinary, something like 10^1500 (that's a _lot_ of zeroes) years, the vast majority of it spent in the dark, "dead" state just mentioned.

mike3 said...

Of course, with _infinite_ space, it is possible there may be other "puffs" of matter elsewhere, and more might be "banging" into existence right now, so the infinite universe is never devoid of matter, although it's never static and everchanging.

Although if at times it is (indeed for most of its infinite history) devoid of matter, that would be kind of curious, no? That the universe is not only something that "dies" and then begins again differently but is "dead" the vast majority of the time it is around!

They call him James Ure said...


Thanks for the extra insight. I love studying and thinking about this kind of stuff.

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