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  • #139655
    mahavajra
    Participant

    Hi,

    Ever heard of Quantum Buddhism? they mix quantum physics with various esoteric practices to influence nature. They have a nice report on accelerating plant growth, hoping to help resolve world famine, or at least contribute.

    Quantum Budhdism Association… check it out.

    and the video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KrxMqVRMKE

    #153632
    Jedi_Phoenix
    Moderator

    Sounds interesting and will definitely have to check it out! Don’t forget to stop by our introduction section so that we can become better acquainted ;D

    :meditate
    Phoenix

    #153634
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    This is not a ‘new’ concept.

    Go back to 1979 and The Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav which showed how the ‘then’ science of the times had so many connections to philosophical concepts in many Eastern systems.   Of course, quantum mechanics / physics has progressed in those 30 years.

    BUT, there are many with books worth looking at —

    The Universe in a Single Atom by His Holiness, the Dali Lama.  (HHDL spent time with David Bohm, before he passed, and took an interest in the subject.   David Bohm was a well-known physicist. His posthumous The Undivided Universe is an excellent presentation of quantum concepts that are relevant to Buddhism.) ((Warning: the book is math heavy.))

    Bohm is also a name which popped up over and over again in the book, The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe by Lynne McTaggart — which covers the ‘early years’ of many who looked beyond the boundary of ‘standard science/physics’ to consider quantum mechanics (and more)… and tends to draw on the ‘spirit of the times’ in the late 60’s when Eastern concepts were being embraced by the youth culture in America.

    You could also check out Alan Wallace’s Buddhism and Science. There are a couple articles regarding quantum physics in the collection.

    Fred Alan Wolf, a physicist, has written The Spiritual Universe which looks at quantum physics in this context.

    Many many have looked at the ‘connections’ which can be found between Buddhist philosophy and quantum physics.

    Adam Frank, a professor of astrophysics at the University of Rochester, has written about the latest ‘popular belief’ that quantum physics theories confirm Buddhist teachings.  This is a mistaken view, Professor Frank says.  

    Quantum physics raises powerful, intriguing questions in this domain but it does not answer them. Rushing to embrace an interpretation that confirms a pre-established belief does great violence to the essence and spirit of science. More importantly it does violence to the spirit of authentic spiritual endeavor that, at its best, contemplative practice embodies.

    It is no different then when we look to ALL philosophies to find how ‘Jedi like’ pieces tend to be (or at least how each person finds those bits to be for their own Jedi mind set).

    Overall, I guess this brings up the more interesting question — why it seems important to believe quantum physics confirms Buddhism.   This may be a highly individual matter.   Certainly, many of us left our religions-of-origin because they clashed with science (and our world view) — I mean, who you gonna believe? A 5,000-year-old book or a barely 2,000-year-old book or your own (easily fooled) senses?

    One may need to take stock in the game and make certain we are not walking into the same trap with this ‘new religion’ of Quantum Buddhism… trying to justify it’s existence due to ‘correlations’ which sound good ‘in general’ but are actually comparing ‘apples and oranges’ when delving deeper into the substance of both subjects.

    #154311
    Stryse
    Participant

    The way I see it, quantum mechanics is starting to “prove” what esoteric practicioners have known for millenia.  Or rather, science is finally begining to be able to explain the processes at play that undely these esoteric feats.

    Exciting stuff though, nontheless. 

    #154317
    Kol Drake
    Moderator

    This is something I come upon alot… folks claiming Quantum Mechanics/Physics ‘proves’… God, the Force, etc.  While I believe the Force is VERY REAL, I do not believe science and specifically QM/QP proves anything of the sort.  And, there are others who word it much better then I.    I refer you to a short interview snippet with Ken Wilbur concerning this topic.


    Does quantum physics prove God? This question has to do directly with the relation of modern quantum physics and spirituality. In effect, does modern physics prove God? Does the Tao find proof in quantum realities?

    Ken Wilber’s answer: “Categorically not. I don’t know more confusion in the last thirty years than has come from quantum physics….”

    Ken goes on to outline the three major confusions that have dominated the popular (mis)understanding of the relationship of physics and mysticism.

    #1: Your consciousness does not create electrons. Unlike Newtonian physics, which can predict the location of large objects moving at slow speeds, quantum physics only offers a probability wave in which a given particle, like an electron, should show up. But here’s the funny thing: it is only at the moment that one makes the measurement that the electron actually does “show up.” Certain writers and theorists have thus suggested that human intentionality actually creates reality on a quantum level. The most popular version of this idea can be found in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?!, in which we “qwaff” reality into existence.

    Ken suggests this is both bad physics and bad mysticism. As for the former, in his book, Quantum Questions, Ken compiled the original writings of the 13 most important founders of modern quantum and relativistic physics, to explore their understanding of the relationship of physics and mysticism. Without exception, each one of them believed that modern physics does NOT prove spiritual realities in any fashion. And yet each of them was a mystic, not because of physics, but in spite of it. By pushing to the outer limits of their discipline, a feat which requires true genius, they found themselves face to face with those realities that physics categorically could not explain.

    Likewise, none of those founders of modern physics believed that the act of consciousness was responsible for creating particles at the quantum level. David Bohm did not believe that, Schroedinger did not believe that, Heisenberg did not believe that. That belief requires the enormous self-infatuation and narcissism, or “boomeritis,” of the post-modern ego, and Ken goes into the possible psychology behind all of that.

    #2: Quantum vacuum potentials are not unmanifest Spirit. The immediate problem with the notion that certain “unmanifest” or “vacuum” quantum realities give rise to the manifest world, and that the quantum vacuum is Spirit, is that it immediately presupposes a radically divided Spirit or Ultimate. There is Spirit “over here,” manifestation “over there,” and it’s only through these quantum vacuum potentials that Spirit actualizes manifestation—with Spirit set apart from manifestation.

    “In terms of actual real physics or actual real mysticism, they were incorrect on both counts. And the marriage of bad physics and sloppy mysticism has been a nightmare….”As the great contemplative traditions agree, true nondual Spirit is the suchness, emptiness, or isness of all manifestation, and as such leaves everything exactly where it finds it. Nondual Spirit is no more set apart from manifestation than the wetness of the ocean is set apart from waves. Wetness is the suchness or isness of all waves. By identifying Spirit with quantum potential, you are actually qualifying the Unqualifiable, giving it characteristics—”and right there,” Ken says, “things start to go horribly wrong, and they never recover. These folks are trying to give characteristics to Emptiness. They therefore make it dualistic. And then things get worse from there….”

    #3: Just because you understand quantum mechanics doesn’t mean you’re enlightened. Physics is an explicitly 3rd-person approach to reality, whereas meditative, contemplative, or mystical disciplines are explicitly 1st-person approaches to reality. Neither perspective is more real than the other, but each perspective does disclose different truths, and you cannot use the truth disclosed in one domain to “colonize” another. The study of physics, as a 3rd-person discipline, will not get you enlightenment; and meditation, as a 1st-person discipline, will not disclose the location of an asteroid (or an electron). The “content” of enlightenment is the realization of that which is timeless, formless, and eternally unchanging. The content of physics is the understanding of the movement of form within time, i.e. that which is constantly changing. And if you hook Buddha’s enlightenment to a theory of physics that gets disproved tomorrow, does that mean Buddha loses his enlightenment?

    Ken goes on to suggest that what might be influencing quantum realities is not Suchness per se, but bio-energy or prana, which may be the source of the crackling, buzzing, electric creativity that so many theorists have tried to explain at the quantum level. Of course, it remains to be seen exactly what further research does and does not support.

    #154324
    Jax
    Keymaster

    As a physicist (though not a theorist at all) I think we’re looking in the wrong direction if we’re looking at science to prove spirit in any way.  I do incorporate science in my spiritual understanding but that is because it’s a connection that makes sense and naturally occurs.  I don’t seek it out, it just falls into place.  In a sense I am using science as a metaphor, just as we use mythology to explain spiritual concepts.  I don’t, however, use science to prove anything spiritually because it’s simply not possible.  We have no way to measure spirit at this point, and without the ability to experiment we cannot prove a theory. 

    This was a really good explanation, thank you for sharing it Kol.  I really like the 1st person vs 3rd person explanation. 

    #154341
    Stryse
    Participant
    Quote:
    As a physicist (though not a theorist at all) I think we’re looking in the wrong direction if we’re looking at science to prove spirit in any way.  I do incorporate science in my spiritual understanding but that is because it’s a connection that makes sense and naturally occurs.  I don’t seek it out, it just falls into place.  In a sense I am using science as a metaphor, just as we use mythology to explain spiritual concepts.  I don’t, however, use science to prove anything spiritually because it’s simply not possible.  We have no way to measure spirit at this point, and without the ability to experiment we cannot prove a theory. 

    This was a really good explanation, thank you for sharing it Kol.  I really like the 1st person vs 3rd person explanation. 

    That’s why “prove” is in quotes.  Science has never struck me as having proof of anything as its goal.  Science is always explaining processes, and while that may sometimes lead to proof of things, its really just evidence to support that the processes indeed work as described.  Any “proof this exists” along the way is a byproduct.

    #154342
    Jax
    Keymaster

    Sounds good, just wanted to make that point again for clarity because a lot of people have a misunderstanding about the word and science in general.  :-)

    #154343
    Stryse
    Participant
    Quote:

    #1: Your consciousness does not create electrons. Unlike Newtonian physics, which can predict the location of large objects moving at slow speeds, quantum physics only offers a probability wave in which a given particle, like an electron, should show up. But here’s the funny thing: it is only at the moment that one makes the measurement that the electron actually does “show up.” Certain writers and theorists have thus suggested that human intentionality actually creates reality on a quantum level. The most popular version of this idea can be found in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?!, in which we “qwaff” reality into existence.

    Yeah, that gets me too.  Doesn’t it really just show, that at best, human intentionality can influence reality?  Influencing something and creating something are rather different things, no?  If anything, I think it just illustrates that the notion of the objective observer just may not be plausible at that particular level of observation.

    #154344
    Stryse
    Participant
    Quote:
    Sounds good, just wanted to make that point again for clarity because a lot of people have a misunderstanding about the word and science in general.  :-)

    Choir here.  :)

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