Author Topic: The rugby legend who became a Buddhist by reading quantum physics  (Read 5153 times)


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by Walter Jayawardhana, The Buddhist Channel, June 10, 2012

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- The rugby legend Jonny Wilkinson hit world headlines  due to his 2003 World Cup final heroics, when his drop goal in the last minute of extra-time delivered the trophy to England. He made another sensation when he told the London Times that he became a Buddhist by reading Quantum Physics.

Wilkinson, a millionaire by then  has revealed that he has found inner peace through Buddhism.

The former England Rugby star,  who became a national hero after the world cup victory, said Buddhism  had helped him overcome a fear of failure which was ruining his life ironically due to the victory..

London’s Daily Mail said, “His obsessive perfectionism had been making him miserable but Buddhism had liberated him from being motivated by ‘money, status tars, or ego’.”

He said moments after he won the world title against Australia in Sydney he was having strong feelings of anti-climax.

He was quoted having said later “I did not know what it really meant to be happy. I was afflicted by a powerful fear of failure and did not know how to free myself from it.”

After winning the World Cup serious injuries put him out of international rugby for four years.

During this derailment  he tried to learn guitar, piano ,French and Spanish as a distraction.

A report said, “In the end he had a ‘Eureka’ moment while reading a book on quantum physics – the study of sub-atomic particles.”

‘Quantum physics helped me to realise that I was creating this destructive reality and that all I needed to do to change it was to change the way I chose to perceive the world,’ he told the Times.

‘I do not like religious labels, but there is a connection between quantum physics and Buddhism, which I was also getting into.

His epiphany came after reading about a famous experiment in quantum physics known as Schrodinger's Cat, a report said.

"It was all about the idea that an observer can change the world just by looking at something; the idea that mind and reality are somehow interconnected," Wilkinson explained.

"It is difficult to put into words, but it hit me like a steam train."

He continued: "I came to understand that I had been living a life in which I barely featured. I had spent my time immersed in the fear of not achieving my goals and then spent my time beating myself up about the mistakes I made along the way. Quantum physics helped me to realise that I was creating this destructive reality and that all I needed to do to change it was to change the way I chose to perceive the world.

‘Failing at something is one thing, but Buddhism tells us that it is up to us how we interpret that failure.

'The so-called Middle Way is also about having the right intentions.

“[Buddhism] a philosophy and way of life that resonates with me,” he revealed. “I identify with it. I agree with so much of the sentiment behind it. I enjoy the liberating effect it's had on me to get back into the game.”

‘Are they decent and honest and are you giving consideration to other people?  Selfishness can never be the route to happiness or success.’

Wilkinson’s live-in girlfriend Shelley Jenkins, 27, the daughter of a scaffolding magnate, is apparently ‘really happy’ about Wilkinson’s new enlightenment.

‘I have improved as a person in my relationships, not just with her, but with friends and family,’ he said.

Asked to explain the deeper reason for his Buddhist faith, he added: ‘I think it was rooted in an even deeper fear of death.

‘I couldn’t figure out how to avoid death: it was like a game I could not win. The closer I got to family and friends and the better things got, the more I had to lose.

‘I have accepted my career will finish one day and I am in a place that will enable me to make that transition comfortably. I will not have to reinvent myself to cope with life after rugby.’

He told the French news agency AFP, “Buddhism, with its concepts of karma and rebirth, have freed me from the twin fears of death and life without rugby. It has given me the ability to understand that rugby, like life, will also come to an end."

"My motivation today has nothing to do with status, money or ego. Before I wanted to be the best in the world and I would watch other players to see how I measured up. Now when I do something great on the rugby pitch it is not about being better than others but about exploring my talent ... My fulfillment is no longer about self-gratification; it is about seeing the happiness of others."

DS Star

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Re: The rugby legend who became a Buddhist by reading quantum physics
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2012, 03:59:40 AM »
This is a very happy news indeed... A Rugby Legend Johnny Wilkinson became Buddhist due to scientific reasons!

I rejoice this very very much especially at his changed of motivation as per his quote:
"My fulfillment is no longer about self-gratification; it is about seeing the happiness of others."

Comparing modern science studies with Buddhist teachings is not a new trend. It had been on for years now. Many highly respected Buddhist teachers and lamas especially HH the 14th Dalai Lama were often invited for such open forums, discussions, interviews, etc.

I am not surprised at all that Johnny Wilkinson will be attracted to Buddhism through his studies of Quantum Physics; Buddha's teachings encompassed every scientific explanations on our universe because Buddha didn't invent any dogmatic belief, He explained the Truths of Nature especially in one of the 3 baskets of Tripitaka i.e. the Abhidarma.

I found the following interesting write-up by Anchor connecting Abhidarma and Quantum Physics:

Abhidharma, the Higher Teachings are the teachings about the way of existence of the Universe.

Abhidharma gives us the basic idea of emptiness - one of the key Buddhism ideas. Emtiness - is the true nature of all phenomenas. There are a lot of ways of speaking about emptiness, but I'll give the Abhidharmas represantation, which is more close to the quantum physics.

All phenomenas consist of dharmas (molecules), this dharmas are divided into more subtle dharmas (atoms), this dharmas are divided into yet more subtle dharmas (protons, neitrons), this dharmas are divided into more subtle dharmas (bosons, mezons, neitrino ...etc.), this division is continued infinetely, so in the end there is no solid dharma (particle) which is independebly existent. There is emptiness in the middle, emptiness - is the foundation of all the existance. This world is just an illusion, created by our mental motion and ignorance. There is no solid mather.

Whereas the modern scientists have also discovered over 300 particles more subtle than the atom, and there is no end to them. And all the analitical theories are to prove that they divides infinately. The problem is that scientists don't wont to believe that it's true and try their best to disproove this facts, but they have no success in this. It really seems that the particles are divided infinitely.

There is no need to be afraid of emptiness. Emptiness is not something cold and bad. Buddhism teaches that Empiness = Super Bliss = Great Love and Compassion = Clear Light = Omnisciense = Absolute Happiness = No Suffering.
The one who realises the Emtiness (not just logicaly, but sees it directly through meditation) becomes a Buddha! And all the sentient beings have this ability!


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Re: The rugby legend who became a Buddhist by reading quantum physics
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2012, 08:22:37 AM »
Jonny Wilkinson is my all time favorite Rugby player.

Like him, I "became" a Buddhist from reading quantum physics. Quantum physics implied that the world is interconnected. What we do affects others and other things. It tells us that how we look at things changes the outcome. Its tells us there need to be consciousness in order for the universe itself to exist. In other words, it implied the laws of karma, impermanence, emptiness. Taken into context and compassion as a method, we can see how in reality every good action done for all beings creates infinite goodness or what we call merits.

It gives us the perspective of this life. We need not despair in our sufferings but what we can do to once and for all eliminate sufferings itself in ourselves and others.

Beyond that it implied other universes, realms, planes of existence and the big bang itself. Something so cool as Buddhism spoken by the Buddha 2600 years ago has been proven correct time and time again. No other school of thought can stand up to science like Buddhism.

Tenzin K

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Re: The rugby legend who became a Buddhist by reading quantum physics
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2012, 10:37:36 AM »
Nowadays we keep on seeing a lot of people from the west especially the celebrities, politicians and even sportsman becoming a Buddhist. It doesn’t mean they don’t believe in science anymore but they found the common grounds" exist among Buddhist and quantum physics.

Buddhist ideas on the Omniscient One, the Universal Mind, the Absolute, the Ultimate Reality and the "Empty Void" encompass how they see reality. Such Buddhist concepts do not conflict with quantum physics. Since each vocabulary (Buddhist & quantum physics) arose quite differently, it will be interesting to interrelate them.

Modern science has overturned its own foundations and now presents a picture of reality which is in accord with that proposed by Buddhist sages of two thousand years ago. The Madhyamika philosophers developed a rigorous and  razor sharp method of philosophical analysis which, together with meditation investigation, penetrated into the ultimate nature of reality.

Emptiness, the core view which is propounded by the Madhyamaka, is the insight that there is nothing in the universe which exists as an independent entity in its own right. It follows that nothing exists as a fully independent feature of reality as was always thought by Western science up until the advent of quantum physics. Indeed, an understanding of Emptiness can throw new perspectives onto problems of quantum interpretation.

The search for the ultimate TOE (a theory of everything) has become a central concern for modern physicists. But it is seldom appreciated that without integrating the phenomenon of consciousness within the 'physical' worldview any such TOE will not have a leg to stand on. This fact is unaviodable becuase consciousness is implicated at the quantum level. As the physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner have recently indicated:

Consciousness and the quantum enigma are not just two mysteries; they are the two mysteries; first, our physical demonstration of the quantum enigma, faces us with the fundamental mystery of the objective world `out there` the second, conscious awareness, faces us with the fundamental mystery of the subjective, mental world `in here`. Quantum mechanics seems to connect the two.


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Re: The rugby legend who became a Buddhist by reading quantum physics
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2012, 12:49:10 PM »
The discoveries of science are getting closer to what the Buddha had taught 2600 years ago. Scientists have discovered that there are billions of solar systems, that matter is made up of pixels billions of times smaller than the atom. Space, time, energy is quantized (Quantum mechanics). We might be living in a simulation (illusion?). Also, existence is like a web(=interconnectedness) but we can't see the whole of it - only the patch where we are standing.

Since the universe was created 13.7 billion years ago, all the atoms still remain. There's no increase and no decrease. Every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. We are all recycled atoms. The French scientist Lavoisier said, "Nothing is created, and nothing is destroyed." This is the same as in the Heart Sutra in which Arya Avalokiteshvara says, " ... all dharmas are marked with emptiness. They are neither produced nor destroyed." "Dharmas" here means "things". The statement means everything has emptiness as its own nature; nothing can be born, nothing can die. A speck of dust or an electron cannot be reduced to nothingness. One form of energy can only become another form of energy. Something can never become nothing, and this includes a speck of dust.


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Re: The rugby legend who became a Buddhist by reading quantum physics
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2012, 01:46:50 PM »
Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the west now, because all aspects can be explained, and I rejoice to hear yet another celebrity adopted the Buddhism.

There are also many facets or aspects of Buddhism. Some take up the meditation part, some philosophy part, etc. It is easy for people to take up one by one and with own pace, taking up more and more.

Have you heard that previous US President, Bill Clinton has also taken up the Buddhism meditation to cope with his hectic life.

Rejoice!! :)