Dancing in a Dream—How Buddhism Relates to Quantum Mechanics
I recently reread a book that I have had for many years titled “The Dancing Wu Li Masters”–which in many instances, helps to explain the almost unexplainable, and unfathomable realities(?) of our universe via Quantum Mechanics. This is to say that what we perceive as being real—isn’t actually as we perceive it to be, and is what many Buddhists have been claiming for more than a millennium.
Way before Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Planck’s constant were revealed to us, Buddhism, which is a philosophy of enlightenment, has promoted the view that what appears to be “real” is in reality virtual transient illusions which result from our limited mode of awareness–it is based on our conception of reality. Enlightenment in the Buddhist sense, is a profound spiritual understanding or a fundamentally changed consciousness whereby everything is perceived as being united. This too is how Quantum Mechanics views the world. Everything is united. When we take Quantum Mechanics into consideration, the Buddhist view of enlightenment makes sense. According to particle physics, the world and our universe is nothing but “dancing” energy—energy that is everywhere, connected, and constantly changing form. What we call “matter” or “particles”is also energy which is constantly being created, annihilated, and created again as particles (energy) interact—sometimes out of nowhere. In particle physics, where there was nothing, there can suddenly be “something” and that something is gone again, often changing into something else before vanishing. In fact, all of who we are will be converted to different types of “energy” when we die, just as atoms and their neutrons, electrons etc., are constantly being annihilated and reborn as different elements, or sometimes the same element! The Buddhists it seems, have been aware of this for centuries. Yes, the Buddhists understood what we call the Conservation Laws of Energy, which state we will never go away—we will just become a different form of energy—they just call it the wheel of life. A continual cycle of birth, death, and rebirth—in different forms. This is how the universe works, and this is how we work as well.
Of course, as quantum physics is science, experimentation has shown that the probability of the behaviors of the atoms is consistent with the hypotheses. That is, energy is matter, and matter is energy. When we realize that energy is matter, and matter is energy, and it is all connected, we become more aware of who we are and what we are a part of. We are all “star stuff” after all (according to Carl Sagan) and everything that we are, was something else sometime or another in the illusion of time. The connection of all things that Quantum Physics refers to can also be related to the Buddhist “Flower Garden Sutra” by the metaphor of Indra’s net. Indra’s net is a vast network of gems which overhangs Indra’s palace, which is so arranged that if you look at one, you see all the others reflected in it. In the same way, everything in our world is not just itself, but involves every other object, and is in fact, everything else.
Everything is connected in some way, whether it be humans, animals, grass, or sand—we are all threads in the fabric of the universe. Although the quantum universe is much different than our physical universe that we experience, in both we have elements in that repel and attract—the yin and yang of our universe. Beyond our experience and almost unimaginable. Mathematically speaking however, quantum theories hold up, so the universe certainly does work in mysterious ways, but that does not mean goddidit!! Science tells us something CAN come from nothing! Fascinating…….