Revised January 21, 2016 (#6); March 13, 2018
1. When we get deep into Buddha Dhamma we will see that EVRYTHING in this world is created by mind. This is why the Buddha said, “mano pubbangama dhamma.……”, i.e., mind is the precursor to everything. But let us proceed at a slow pace.
- By the way, dhamma is “what we bear” in this world (“darana deya” in Sinhala); this means absolutely everything in this world. And all dhamma are anatta, i.e., fruitless, or there is nothing substantial in any dhamma (it does not mean “no-self” or “anathma“); see, “Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta – Wrong Interpretations“, and “Anicca – True Meanings“.
2. There are five niyama Dhamma that control how anything and everything happens; see, “What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?“. Also, this world is not four dimensional (3 space dimensions and time) as we experience, but is multi-dimensional; see, “What Happens in Other Dimensions“. This is why we see only two realms (human and animal) out of the 31 realms of existence; see, “The Grand Unified Theory of Dhamma“. Just because we cannot experience directly or is not proven by science YET is not reason to discard them (but the current string theories do predict a 10 or 11-dimensional world), because that complex model can explain EVERYTHING in this world.
- What can be explained with Buddha Dhamma? everything in this world. See, “Vagaries of Life and the Way to seek “Good Rebirths”“, for some examples.
3. Furthermore, science has been confirming many things that ordinary people rejected as “impossible” over the past few hundred years; and that activity started increasing over the past hundred years since the advent of quantum mechanics and relativity; see, “Dhamma and Science – Introduction“. This should give us more confidence on Buddha Dhamma. This is saddha, or faith based on evidence.
4. Here we will discuss yet another recent finding in science that makes the process of rebirth more easily “explainable”. Please note that I am not trying to verify Buddha Dhamma by science. It is the other way around; I am saying that science is far behind Buddha Dhamma, and is now trying to catch up just the material aspects of how this world works; science has not made any significant progress on how the mind works.
- In the essay, “Evidence for Rebirth“, we saw that a person who dies in one geographical location is reborn in another. Even though the consciousness is NOT transmigrated as is believed in some other religions, some form of energy must be leaving one place is instantly appearing at another.
- What about the speed of light barrier for anything or any information to travel, based on Einstein’s special theory of relativity? It turns out that again we are in a unique time in history, where the Buddha’s teachings are beginning to be, even if not absolutely confirmed, at least elevated to the level of possibility by Western science. For millennia, numerous people had strong enough faith to believe Buddha’s words and to commit their entire lives to pursue Nibbana. (Actually it is not blind faith, since if one studied the Dhamma/ Abhidhamma carefully, one could be convinced that it must be true).
5. In 1935, Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen published a paper which showed that if quantum mechanics is correct, then a particle can somehow “know” what another particle, even if separated from it by a large distance, is doing. Einstein derisively called this “spooky action at a distance” and dismissed the prediction (despite the fact that his theories led to the foundation of quantum mechanics, Einstein was firmly opposed to quantum mechanics throughout his lifetime).
- However, in 1964, physicist John Bell proposed an experiment to actually test this concept; it is referred to by “violation of Bell’s inequality”. In a number of experiments carried out since 1997, it has been shown that Einstein was wrong. The experimenters created “entangled particles” which shared a wave function. In 1997 Nicholas Gisin did the first experiment with entangled photons, in which they were sent seven miles apart via optical fibers. Reaching the ends of these fibers, the two photons were forced to make random choices between alternative, equally possible pathways.
- Since there was no way for the photons to communicate with each other, “classical” physics would predict that their independent choices would bear no relationship to each other. But when the paths of the two photons were properly adjusted and the results compared, the independent decisions by the paired photons always matched, even though there was no physical way for them to communicate with each other. The responses were instantaneous, even though at the speed of light the two events were separated by about 26 milliseconds.
6. Since then that same experiment has been repeated with electrons and ions as well. This effect is called the “quantum entanglement”, and leads directly to other related concepts such as “holographic universe” and “interconnectedness”. The conclusion seems to be that entangled particles can be interconnected even if they are situated across the universe!
- In late 2015, “nonlocality of nature” or the violation of Bell’s inequality was confirmed in three “loophole-free” experiments; see the pdf, “Wiseman-Death by experiment for local realism-Nature-2015“.
- And the first of those experiments is: “Hensen-Loophole-free Bell Inequality-Nature-2015“.
- By the way, we need to remember that our universe began its life with the “Big Bang” when everything in the universe sprang out of an unimaginably dense “point”; thus in a way we are all connected to each other and also to “everything” in this universe at a very fundamental level.
7. The following fun video by Dr Quantum illustrates the basic idea of quantum entanglement:
8. Quantum entanglement could be intimately connected (and can be “explained” easier) with a universe that is multi-dimensional (like the proposed 11-dimensional string theory). If you have read the post on “What Happens in Other Dimensions“, it will be easier to follow my simple (and crude) illustration:
- Think about a two-dimensional “world”, say, the kitchen floor and consider an ant on the floor as a “two-dimensional being”; which means we assume that the ant can see only those things that make direct contact with the floor. If a chair is there, the ant can see only four “impenetrable circles” where the legs of the chair touch the floor. For the ant, those four “circles” are disconnected; they lie far apart from each other. However, if we lift that chair, all four “circles” will be removed simultaneously. For the ant, this means that the four “circles” were “entangled” or connected to each other; of course we can see that there were connected via the rest of the chair in the third dimension, above the floor.
- Same way, things that appear to us as “far apart” (say New York and Houston) may be connected via a dimension that we cannot see. A person dying in New York may be born instantaneously in Houston, because those two “places” may have a direct path via a hidden dimension.
- Those “entangled particles” in #5 above may travel far apart from each other, but may be connected via a hidden dimension. Just like the ant in the above example is not aware of the rest of chair, we are not aware of the existence of such hidden dimensions.
9. It must be noted that quantum mechanics is not restricted to working on “intellectual” problems such as above, i.e., what the man-on-the-street calls “abstract stuff”. Most of the “things” that we grow accustomed to, or which are familiar to us, varying from computers and cell phones to lasers and nuclear bombs, happen to be byproducts of quantum mechanics.
So, these new observations do indeed make more plausible the concept of a connection across the universe. As the Buddha admonished his followers, there is no point in wasting valuable time on trying to find answers to questions such as the end of the universe or beginning of life. He kept emphasizing that one is fortunate to be born in the human world (a very rare event; see, “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm“), and thus one should diligently work towards achieving liberation (Nibbana). In realms below the human world life is too painful and life in heavenly worlds is too blissful for one to focus on working toward Nibbana.
Is the Universe Multi-Dimensional? – Another Emerging Possibility
It was Einstein’s dream to work out such a Grand Unified Theory, but he was unable to do so. Many scientists are trying to accomplish this goal, and the newest theories are called string theories. No Grand Unified Theory exists yet, but the closest is a version of string theory called the M-theory. M-theory says that ours is a 11-dimensional universe, even though we can see only four dimensions (including time). So, could there be life existing in other dimensions that we cannot observe? That is another possibility in addition to the possibility of life in other star systems in our Universe or other Universes. I briefly discuss this possibility under the heading, “What Happens in Other Dimensions?“.
Consciousness and Quantum Mechanics
March 13, 2018: I have started a new section “Quantum Mechanics and Dhamma“, where a new interpretation of quantum mechanics is presented, and it is discussed why a connection between quantum theory and consciousness will not be possible.
Following is an interesting video (very long) on the history and science of consciousness:
Here is a short version of it: