I understand nonduality best when I think about holograms. In a hologram, every fragment contains the whole. (The fact that our minds can conceptualize this miracle might be evidence that we are indeed holographic.) In a brilliant article called "The Universe as a Hologram," Michael Talbot explains that "if we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes." He describes a remarkable scientific experiment in which electrons instantly communicated with each other, no matter how far apart they were. Physicist David Bohm has proposed that "the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness is an illusion. . . . At some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something."

At the Buddhist retreat, I felt the nonduality of 900 bodies moving as one organism, slowly walking in a meditative river, and bowing to our monastic teachers, continuations of Thich Nhat Hanh and the Buddha. One thousand Buddhas, each a form transforming, breathing as one body. I believe the future of Buddhism promises multiple minds awakening to this oneness. Our survival may depend upon it.

 

Natascha Bruckner serves as managing editor of the Mindfulness Bell, a journal of the art of mindful living in the tradition of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.