The Dalai Lama research and design phase was really tough because I was not familiar with Tibetan Buddhism and after reading up on it, it took me a while to figure out how to wrap it in scientific/mathematical language (since it’s about as orthogonal to science/math as you can get), but I really like how it turned out. I mostly used statistics, logic, and probability theory, with a little physics (both classical and quantum) thrown in there too for good measure. It’s actually fairly appropriate due to how into science, math, and technology the current 14th Dalai Lama is. I feel I’ve also pretty accurately captured the essence of some fundamental Buddhist principles in mathematical/graphical form.
At the top right you’ll see a causal loop diagram of the cycle of karma and other attached concepts. You’ll see that events and karma (actions) are locked in a reinforcing loop (labeled with an R), as karma tends to be a self-continuing cycle unless it is stopped through deliberate removal from its influence. This can happen through an understanding of the concept of emptiness (which turns out to have been one of the focuses of the founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism that established the Dalai Lama lineage), so you’ll see that events and emptiness are related in a balancing (B) loop (this means that emptiness can serve to dampen the continuous cycle of karma). Just these two loops alone operate in a similar manner to the spread of a contagion in the world—the infection rate (or in this case, karma) grows exponentially until it has nearly taken over/filled all the world/space, at which point it starts to slow down to eventually stop when it reaches its peak total effect. This relates to the idea that the world has a beginning and an end to this cycle, despite its feeding off itself. Added into this basic loop pair is suffering, which created by events and reduced by emptiness. Emptiness also creates a sense of compassion for those who are suffering, so you can see it linked to by itself from emptiness. If you were to run this loop set as a simulation, you’d create a lot of suffering but eventually end up with nothing but compassion. (Also, I put a |±| (absolute value of plus-minus) in the karma loop, because it doesn’t matter whether the karma created is good or bad; it still feeds into the vicious cycle of more reactions that create suffering of one form or another.)
At the top left I’ve created a Feynman diagram of two things—Desire producing Suffering and Suffering producing Desire—coming together to annihilate each other leaving behind emptiness and compassion (in a manner similar to how matter and anti-matter annihilate). The cool thing about this is that you can see that the Desire -> Suffering case and the Suffering -> Desire case only differ in the direction of time—that is, Desire -> Suffering run backwards through time is Suffering -> Desire, and vice versa. This relates to the way that Feynman chose to represent a positron as an electron traveling backwards through time, and is another way of saying that both cases are two sides of the same thing and identical at a deep level.
Below these two you’ll see some basic probability and set symbols used in a circular (self-referencing) equation. If the probability of A & B both occurring is not the same as the probability of A multiplied by the probability of B, then you know A and B are not independent of each other, so the leftmost and rightmost this equation just means that cause and effect are dependent on each other. The center bit implies that things have no inherent existence (ø is the empty set symbol). The founder of the Gelug school, Je Tsongkhapa, developed the idea of emptiness, arguing that because things always arise depending on their causes and conditions, that they can’t be said to exist independently (or, therefore, have any essential or inherent existence). The three dots stacked like a pyramid on the left means “therefore”, and the three dots stacked like an inverted pyramid on the right means “because”, so you can see that the equation is circular or self-referencing: “All things are dependent on other things; therefore, things have no inherent existence, because all things are dependent on other things”.
The stuff in the brackets under Meditation is my mathematical and scientific summary of mediation, which relates to the equation in the paragraph above. “Correlation does not imply causation” is a common saying in and fundamental concept in analytical statistics, meaning that just because two things are related or that one appears after the other doesn’t mean that one actually causes the other. This also relates deeply to the principle introspective discovery of mindfulness meditation, which is realizing that thoughts arise in consciousness with no discernible ego-driven cause—that there is no ego “driver” of consciousness even though it feels like we are the driver of our consciousness. It relates to the focus of mindfulness meditation on observing your own consciousness as it reacts to things without associating yourself with doing the reacting (just because anger or anxiety may happen after a troubling thought doesn’t mean that the event itself causes the anger or anxiety). That’s also the correlation and causation difference in a nutshell. The delta + beta -> theta + alpha relates to the changes in brain wave states that are associated with meditation. Beta patterns are normal-mode awake-style brain waves, and delta patterns are the brain waves associated with being asleep (the typical course of a day for a normal person). A meditator may put themself in a relaxed (theta) or even awake-but-somewhat-vacant (alpha) state more often than the average person, hence the equation.
The small equation right beneath the meditation bit relates to the bodhisattva (Avalokiteśvara) of which the Dalai Lama are the supposed reincarnations. This bodhisattva is said to look down from upon high to hear the sorrows of people suffering, and is a bodhisattva associated with relieving suffering and taking care of children (the current Dalai Lama has embodied this by donating peace prize/award money he wins to charities that save children in India, where he currently lives, for instance). In Chinese Buddhism, this bodhisattva's is translated as the Guanshiyin or Guanyin, a name that literally means “seeing the world’s sounds” or “observing sounds” (similar to the Sanskrit original). This strange but understandable relation of sight (a light-based wave phenomenon) and sound (an airwave-based wave phenomenon) I have summarized in this equation. The left bit is the speed of light (based on wavelength and frequency) and the right side is the speed of sound (based on a compressibility factor of the medium, the pressure, and the density of the medium).
Since Buddhism relates so much to cycles, I thought it appropriate to relate some Buddhist principles using the physics of harmonic oscillators. The equation shows that desire is endlessly cycling positively and negatively based on the cycle constant omega, and damped by enlightenment (the only way to reduce the amplitude of the oscillations). Similar to how pendulums or vibrating strings oscillate back and forth endlessly until friction wears them down, desire (and the suffering accompanying it) oscillates in an endless cycle that is reduced to nearly 0 by the process of enlightenment in Buddhism.
Our physics takes a turn for the quantum at the lower left, where emptiness is represented by the zero-point energy or “vacuum energy” (1/2 h-bar omega). This relates that emptiness is not truly “nothing”, but as close as you can get to “nothing” within the bounds of this universe. Spontaneous quantum fluctuations according to a variant of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (the deltaE*deltaT ≥ h-bar/2 part) can produce virtual particle-anti-particle pairs that interact and (sometimes) disappear. I show desire and suffering creating themselves out of “nothing” like this, and then reacting to each other for essentially eternity. The deltaS ≥ 0 is the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that things essentially can’t get any simpler as time goes forward. This is a Law of Thermodynamics because it is always true in the long run, and locks the arrow of time in the forward direction. However, there are fluctuations in this as well that can occasionally let the change in entropy reverse (Fluctuation Theorem) in a way that seems to violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics (but still upholds it in the long run). Escaping the cycle of karma (the ultimate goal of following Buddhist principles) is a similarly difficult task and rare outcome, which is why I related it here. I further related it with the exact probability relationship as stated by the Fluctuation Theorem, with samsara (continuing the cycle) being the vastly more likely outcome and nirvana (escaping the cycle) being the unlikely one. This shows how a possible escape route (on the order of the entire timespan of the universe) from an endless cycle can exist without violating the idea that the cycle is endless.
The bottom right equations are testing for causality (Granger causality above, Transfer Entropy below) between two states X and Y and finding that none can be found. The part below that shows (similarly to the top-left part) that cause and effect are mirror images of each other through a reversal of time and are essentially two sides of the same thing.
The right hand side in the middle shows a logical truth table-like description of some Buddhist ideas. The top row (no enlightenment) is what unenlightened people think is true (on the left—that your desire to subdue suffering can succeed through causes and effects) versus what is actually true (on the right—that suffering is part and parcel of desire, and cause and effect are locked with desire/suffering in an endless cycle). The bottom row (enlightenment) shows what an enlightened person knows to be false (on the left—that intention can remove suffering) and knows to be true (on the right—that compassion in an endless self-creating loop is preferable to the endless loop of suffering, and can be used to remove yourself from the world of suffering by observing it happening to yourself as opposed to experiencing it as an immediate part of your ego).