Quantum Mechanics and Dhamma – Introduction

March 13, 2018; revised January 9, 2019; November 15, 2019; June 5, 2021


1. This section will discuss two issues:

  1. A new interpretation of quantum mechanics (QM) based on non-locality is 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. This interpretation can lead to deeper insights into the relationship between kamma and kamma vipāka in Buddhism (Buddha Dhamma.)
Relevant Work of Richard Feynman

2. I started working on this project to provide a new interpretation of quantum mechanics based on some new and exciting 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.

  • To understand this material, one needs to have at least a high-school-level physics background. Only those who have some background QM can follow the content here.
  • I would NOT recommend anyone to start learning QM to follow this section. It is better to spend that time learning 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 vipāka materializes naturally due to one’s kamma.
Going “Against the Grain” of Scientific Consus

3. When I started working on this project over two years ago, I had conversations with Professor Gayanath Fernando. We tried to get a paper published on the proposed interpretation of QM. However, we were unable to convince the reviewers, and the article did not get published. I am attaching the pdf of the last version here: “A Self Consistent Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics Based on Nonlocality.”

  • But it got rejected from several journals because physicists refuse to believe that the “light speed barrier” can be broken: Einstein’s relativity theory says nothing can propagate faster than light.
  • Our point is that nothing actually “travels” between the two “connected electrons.” They are intrinsically connected.
  • However, it is ironic that the nonlocality of Nature was firmly established in 2015, as we discussed in the above paper.
Fundamental Ideas

4. Let me try to give the gist of the mechanism: There are techniques to create two electrons simultaneously with two opposing spins (say A with spin up and B with spin down). Then they can be sent to opposite ends even across the universe, and they remain “entangled.”

  • What does it mean by saying that A and B remain “entangled” even when separated by great distances? That means if the spin of particle A flips, then the spin of B will flip AT THE SAME TIME. It is as if they can interact with each other across the universe instantaneously.
  • The basic idea is that the two electrons will stay “connected” no matter how far they are apart. This idea is called “non-locality.” Here is an external website providing a good introduction: “Nonlocality and Entanglement.”
  • More information on the basic idea at: “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected.“
Kammic Influences Have No Space Limitations

5. I want to develop this idea to show that kammic energy has instantaneous influence across the universe. If inert particles have this “connected-ness” in Nature, it is natural to extend it to the mental realm.

  • The bridge is the kammic energy (also called viññāna). We create these energies in our minds with javana citta. That is a subject matter in Abhidhamma; see, “Nāma & Rūpa to Nāmarūpa.”

5. In this section, I will discuss the implications of this new interpretation of QM for Buddha Dhamma and try to provide some key ideas.  A key issue that keeps coming up in the discussion forum is what intention in kamma is and how Nature “knows” 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 and is not even aware that he is adopted. Suppose X kills his biological father later on, of course, without knowing that it was his father. It is still an ānantariya kamma. Since Nature automatically manages kamma/kamma vipāka, how would Nature know the connection between those two people?
Confirmation From Recent Experiments In QM

6. That is the crucial question on which we may get some clues from QM. Nonlocality is a key feature of the proposed interpretation of QM. I will explain what is meant by nonlocality in future posts (see also, “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected.”). Nonlocality of Nature automatically enforces kamma/kamma vipāka.

  • 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 necessary to know such details. But since we are at a point in making this connection, it is better to do so. That could help build confidence in Buddha Dhamma.

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

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


The intention in Kamma – Connection to Quantum Mechanics

1. Two key steps are relevant 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 kammaṃ vadāmi” is just which dasa akusala (and associated cetasika) are in one’s mind when one is 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 vipāka than killing an animal. In the same way, giving to an Arahant will be much more worthy than giving to an average human.

That is the best way to analyze any given situation.

2. In another example, in the 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. That person may not even know who was killed. By some coincidence, if the bomb killed one of the killer’s parents, he would have done a ānantariya pāpa kammā. If an Arahant was killed, the same. If a Sōtapanna were killed, 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 akusala are in one’s mind when a kamma is committed. It could be more than one. In the case of the bomber, there is micchā diṭṭhi, 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. Those are so grave that one will be subjected to their vipākain the very next life in the niraya (lowest realm.) They are, killing one’s mother, killing one’s father, killing an Arahant, injuring a Buddha, and causing a schism in the Saṅgha (which really means trying to propagate a wrong version of the Buddha Dhamma).

  • Since killing an average human is not a ānantariya kammā, it is clear that the “strength of the kammā” depends on who got killed.
  • Kamma vipāka for committing any other offense is similar. Hurting an Arahant would be a million-fold stronger kamma compared to hurting an average human. Thus, logically, beating an Anāgāmi, a Sakadāgāmi, a Sōtapanna would have corresponding levels of consequences.
  • The “value of a life” depends on the “mental status” of that life-form. Any life is not the same. It is not possible to compare the value of an animal’s life with that of a human. There are huge variations among animals, 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 person who is affected by one’s actions, that does not matter. “Nature” would know.

  • This point of “we are all inter-connected” is now proven by quantum mechanics: “Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected.“
  • That 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 to get more information.

6. We will start a discussion on 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 a wave function can represent it.

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

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