Quantum Mechanics and Dhamma – Introduction

March 13, 2018

1. This section will discuss two issues:

  1. A new interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) based on nonlocality will be presented, where wave-particle duality is shown to be an incorrect and unnecessary assumption. All existing experimental data are shown to be inter-consistent with this interpretation.
  2. A deeper understanding of how kamma automatically lead to corresponding kamma vipaka in Buddhism (Buddha Dhamma), can be realized with this interpretation.

2. I started working on this project to provide a new interpretation of quantum mechanics based on some new and interesting experimental observations within the past 20 years or so. My goal is to provide a simple explanation with only a few mathematical equations. This work is an extension of the work of the late physicist Richard Feynman.

  • In order to understand this material, one needs to have at least a high-school level physics background. Only those who have some background QM can closely follow the material here.
  • I would NOT recommend anyone to start learning QM in order to follow this section. It is better to spend that time to learn Buddha Dhamma. But of course, anyone may be able to get a general idea. Just read the first several posts and see.
  • At the end of this project, I believe that a deep connection to Buddha Dhamma can be made, especially regarding how kamma vipaka materialize naturally due to one’s kamma.

3. When I started working on this project over two years ago, I had conversations with Professor Gayanath Fernando and we tried to get a paper published on the  proposed interpretation of QM.

  • However, we were unable to convince the reviewers, and the paper did not get published. I am attaching the pdf of the last version here: “A Self Consistent Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Based on Nonlocality“.
  • The main objection of the reviewers seemed to be the nonlocality argument, and some were reluctant to reject the “wave-particle duality”. I will be discussing those and other issues in detail in this section.
  • However, it is ironic that nonlocality of Nature was firmly established in 2015, as we discussed in the above paper.

4. In this section, I will also discuss the implications of this new interpretation of QM for Buddha Dhamma.  A key issue that keeps coming up in the discussion forum is what intention in kamma is, and how the Nature “knows” what the connection of the person committing the kamma to the person affected by that kamma.

  • For example, consider person X who was adopted and brought up by foster parents soon after birth was not even aware that he was adopted. Suppose X kills his biological father later on, of course without knowing that it was his father. It is still an anantariya kamma. Since it is the Nature that automatically manages kamma/kamma vipaka, how would the Nature know the connection between those two people?

5. That is the key question on which we may get some clues from QM. The proposed interpretation of QM is based on nonlocality. I will explain what is meant by nonlocality in future posts (see also, “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected“), but it is inherently connected to how the Nature automatically enforces kamma/kamma vipaka.

  • Of course, the Buddha had not mentioned what this mechanism is, because at that time, it was not possible to explain concepts like quantum entanglement.
  • Furthermore, it is not really necessary to know such details. But since we are at a point to be able to make this connection, it is better to do so. That could help build confidence in Buddha Dhamma.

6. I plan to write several posts in this section laying out the basic ideas, and welcome comments from knowledgeable readers who are familiar with concepts in quantum mechanics. I have opened a new forum entitled, “Quantum Mechanics – A New Interpretation” at the discussion forum in order to discuss each post that is published.

  • Anyone will be able to read these posts and also the posts at the discussion forum. However, one needs to register at the forum to ask questions or make comments. Forum registration instructions can be found at, “General Information and Updates”.
  • Now, let us discuss briefly the key idea behind the proposed connection of kamma vipaka to QM.

 

Intention in Kamma – Connection to Quantum Mechanics

1. There are two key steps that can be used in evaluating how to assess a kamma vipāka:

  1. Which of the dasa akusala is the intention? For example, it could be taking a life, stealing, harsh speech, etc. Who is affected is not involved in this step. The “cetana” in “cetana ham bhikkhave kamman vadami”, is just which dasa akusala (and associated cetasika) are in one’s mind when one committing that kamma; that is all.
  2. Then the strength of the kammā vipāka is based on the “level of consciousness” or “moral qualities” of the living beings affected by that kammā. For example, killing a human will bring stronger kamma vipaka than killing an animal. In the same way, giving to an Arahant will be much more meritorious than giving to a normal human.

That is the clearest way to analyze any given situation.

2. In another example, in a recent discourse on Tilakkhana, I discussed the case of a person killing a bunch of people with a bomb; see Discourse 2 in “Three Marks of Existence – English Discourses“.

  • His intention (cetanā) was to kill. Thus the dasa akusala involved is “pānatipāta”, that of taking a life.
  • Now to the second step. He may not even know who was killed. By some coincidence if a parent of the killer was killed by the bomb, then he would have done an ānantariya pāpa kammā. If an Arahant was killed, the same. If a Sōtapanna was killed, then it would not be a ānantariya kammā, but still equivalent to killing thousands of normal humans.
  • So, it is important to understand that “cetana” is which of dasa sakusala are in one’s mind when a kamma is committed. It could be more than one. In the case of the bomber, there is miccā ditthi, and likely greed also, in addition to “pānātipātā”.
  • One can analyze various situations with the above two steps.

3. We know that there are five ānantariya kammā, which are so grave that one will be subjected to their vipākain the very next life in the niraya (lowest realm): Killing one’s mother, killing one’s father, killing an Arahant, and injuring a Buddha (it is not possible for anyone to take the life of a Buddha), and causing schism in the Sangha (which really means trying to propagate a wrong version of the Buddha Dhamma).

  • Since killing a normal human is not an ānantariya kammā, it is clear that the “strength of the kammā” depends on who is being killed.
  • Kamma vipāka for committing any other offense, is similar. Hurting an Arahant would be million -fold grave compared to hurting a normal human. Thus, logically, hurting an Anāgāmi, a Sakadagami, a Sōtapanna would have corresponding levels of consequences.
  • The “value of a life” depends on the “mental status” of that lifeform. Any life is not the same. This is why it is not possible to compare the life of an animal with that of a human; even among animals there are huge variations, and we can easily see that a gorilla or a dog is “more sentient” than a worm.
  • However, we must keep in mind that we all had been born a lowly worm; so even though we need to keep in mind that there is a variation, we should never take the life of ANY sentient being intentionally (unnecessarily).

4. Regarding the issue of “how would one know” the status of the living being who is affected by one’s actions, that does not matter. The “Nature” would know.

  • This point of “we are all inter-connected” is now proven by quantum mechanics: “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected“.
  • This is a key factor in understanding kammā/vipāka. The proposed interpretation of QM can show this at an even deeper level.

5. The above discussion is a part of the post, “What is Intention in Kamma?”. You may want to read that get more information.

6. We will start discussing QM with the next post. These days there is so much confusion about whether a photon is a particle or a wave, i.e.,  “wave-particle duality” in QM. I will address the issue of wave-particle duality in the next few posts.

  • We will define what is meant by a wave and what is meant by a particle. Furthermore, many people confuse a “wave function” as a “wave”. A wave function is a mathematical concept that can REPRESENT the motion of a particle; it is not a wave.
  • We will discuss the fact that a photon is a particle and not a wave. It does not have dual Nature (particle and wave Nature) either, even though it can be REPRESENTED by a wave function.

As I always say, one needs to know (or define) such fundamental entities before tackling deeper issues. Otherwise, we will get bogged down in re-defining what is meant by a given word in the middle of a discussion.

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