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Buddhism and the emptiness of matter

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posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 08:53 AM
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Emptiness is form and Form is emptiness





"The ancient Greeks believed that matter is composed of indivisible small elements with

certain characteristics, such as the characteristics of earth, water, air, and fire. They called

these elements atoms and they held that atoms were solid and fundamental, like microscopic

billiard balls. Ernest Rutherford invalidated the billiard ball theory by conducting an

experiment, which suggested that atoms have an internal structure. He established that

atoms have a nucleus containing most of its mass and that electrons orbit the nucleus.

Moreover, he established that the nucleus of an atom is only about one ten-thousandth of the

diameter of the atom itself, which means that 99.99% of the atom’s volume consists of empty space. This is the first manifestation of emptiness at the subtle level of matter. Not long after

Rutherford’s discovery, physicists found out that the nucleus of an atom likewise has an

internal structure and that the protons and neutrons making up the nucleus are composed of

even smaller particles, which they named quarks after a poem of James Joyce. Interestingly, quarks are hypothesised as geometrical points in space, which implies that atoms are essentially empty. This is the second manifestation of emptiness at the subtle level of matter.

The terms “quarks” and “points in space” still suggest something solid, since they can be

imagined as irreducible mass particles. Yet, quantum field theory does away even with this

finer concept of solidity by explaining particles in the terms of field properties. Quantum

electrodynamics (QED) has produced an amazingly successful theory of matter by combining

quantum theory, classical field theory, and relativity. No discrepancies between the

predictions of QED and experimental observation have ever been found. According to QED,

subatomic particles are indistinguishable from fields, whereas fields are basically properties

of space. In this view, a particle is a temporary local densification of a field, which is

conditioned by the properties of the surrounding space. Ergo, matter is not different from space. This is the third manifestation of emptiness at the subtle level of matter.

An important class of phenomena in the subatomic world is defined by the various

interactions between particles. In fact, there is no clear distinction between the notions of

phenomena, particles, and interactions, although interactions can be described clearly in

mathematical terms. For example, there are interactions between free electrons by means of

photons that result in an observed repelling force. There are also interactions between the

quarks of a nucleon by means of mesons, interactions between the neighbouring neutrons or

protons, interactions between nucleus and electrons, and interactions between the atoms of

molecules. The phenomena themselves -the nucleon, the nucleus, the atom, the molecule- are

sufficiently described by these interactions, meaning by the respective equations, which

implies that interactions and phenomena are interchangeable terms. Interestingly, the interrelations of quantum physics do not describe actual existence. Instead they predict the potential for existence. A manifest particle, such as an electron, cannot be described in terms

of classical mechanics. It exists as a multitude of superposed “scenarios”, of which one or

another manifests only when it is observed, i.e. upon measurement. Therefore, matter does

not inherently exist. It exists only as interrelations of “empty” phenomena whose properties

are determined by observation. This is the fourth manifestation of emptiness at the subtle

level of matter."

Here is a link to the document this is from. I found it to be fascinating, and hope you do too...it's excellent food for thought...particularly if you're at all familiar with Quantum Physics...

www.bibliotecapleyades.net...
edit on 13-9-2013 by SadistNocturne because: Needed a bit of cleanup editing...




posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:03 AM
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reply to post by SadistNocturne
 


Of course, you didn't even offer anything relating to the Buddhist conception of Emptiness, though.

Here is a good overview about it, for anyone interested:



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:07 AM
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openlocks
reply to post by SadistNocturne
 


Of course, you didn't even offer anything relating to the Buddhist conception of Emptiness, though.



No, I did not. I did not do so, as it is easily googled and researched.

I figured it would be a regurgitation....



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:07 AM
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So basically, there is more empty space in the things we consider to be "solid".



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:09 AM
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Oannes
So basically, there is more empty space in the things we consider to be "solid".


Absolutely!

And, in my opinion (a humble and understated one at that [LOL!!!]), supports the viewpoint of Emptiness in Buddhism directly!

I just sat there thinking "WOW" as I read that....even though I'd read it in different contexts previously...





posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:16 AM
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openlocks
Of course, you didn't even offer anything relating to the Buddhist conception of Emptiness, though.


My curiosity is piqued...."Of course," ? What was that inferring ?

And, although I do not consider myself a Buddhist (not against it at all, I just don't know enough to make that claim), I couldn't help but remember the following from the document I referenced...


The Noble Eightfold Path - Right Speech




Buddha explained right speech as follows: 1. to abstain from false speech, especially not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully, 2. to abstain from slanderous speech and not to use words maliciously against others, 3. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others, and 4. to abstain from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.

In other words, I felt it highly probable that the general topic and idea of Buddhism / Emptiness had already been properly discussed.





posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:34 AM
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reply to post by SadistNocturne
 


I said "Of course", as in, "Yes, of course that is true, but you didn't offer any explanation relating to the Buddhist conception of Emptiness." Wasn't attacking.

And as far as Right Speech is concerned, explaining truth, no matter how many times it has been explained before, is always virtuous and correct. It is not "talking for the sake of talking", such as gossiping is, rather it is "talking for the sake of enlightenment".

To the subject directly, although there are some similarities and links between QM and Buddhist Philosophy, they are addressing different issues, or at least different angles. QM addresses the material world of phenomena, while Buddhism addresses the psychological or perceptual world of how phenomena is perceived. In this way, they can be linked, but they concern themselves with different things.

The Buddha, and the Buddhist, does not need a material scientific explanation to validate the truths of Anicca, Anatta and Dukkha. It is the scientist who concerns himself with material phenomena that sees the need for further explanations in validating his/her theories. So, again, they are linked in some similarities, but the Buddhist doesn't need QM to validate the teachings. Not a big deal, just seemed like that is what the OP was intending to do.

Nonetheless, I F&S'd you for an interesting post.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:51 AM
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openlocks
And as far as Right Speech is concerned, explaining truth, no matter how many times it has been explained before, is always virtuous and correct. It is not "talking for the sake of talking", such as gossiping is, rather it is "talking for the sake of enlightenment".


I actually read that differently. My interpretation of it is "talking for the sake of talking". I see gossiping as falling under the false or negative speech aspect of "Right Speech".


openlocks
To the subject directly, although there are some similarities and links between QM and Buddhist Philosophy, they are addressing different issues, or at least different angles. QM addresses the material world of phenomena, while Buddhism addresses the psychological or perceptual world of how phenomena is perceived. In this way, they can be linked, but they concern themselves with different things.


Again, I take this differently. Buddhism is largely about the philosophical, the mental, and the spiritual. But, when I read about Buddhism, I am left with a sense of inter-connectedness. To say it is not about material things, well, consider philosophy and spirituality to begin with. Can you have either *without* material things? My thoughts exist because my brain created them. Electric transactions occurred between biological switches.

Much as data stored on your hard drive couldn't be there if it weren't for magnetically charged filaments of iron. Remove or alter their magnetic alignment, and you have no data. No information as a result of the data. This also fits with the model of form out of emptiness, in my opinion. A cup can only contain and hold something within it as a result of it's physicality and the inter-related criteria it takes to be a cup. A hard drive, much like a cup or a human brain, can only contain or hold something as a result of it's physicality and inter-related criteria that make it a hard drive, or a cup, or a human brain.

Don't get me wrong, I see this as a possible "chicken before the egg" scenario, but I still feel that it applies.

Perhaps inter-connectedness is not precise enough to state my viewpoint. Inter-dependency I think is a bit more like it.



openlocks
Nonetheless, I F&S'd you for an interesting post.


Thank you



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 09:54 AM
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reply to post by SadistNocturne
 

This is a great topic, thanks OP!

I have been interested in theoretical physics for a while, science continues to support philosophy in so many ways.

If you haven't come across this it also supports the concept:
The Holographic Principle



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 10:05 AM
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QM and spiritual point toward reality being nothing.
Nothingness is totally ignored by the mind because it is obsessed with thingness but it is where the secret lies.

This is a very insightful look into nothing.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 10:18 AM
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greencmp
reply to post by SadistNocturne
 

This is a great topic, thanks OP!

I have been interested in theoretical physics for a while, science continues to support philosophy in so many ways.

If you haven't come across this it also supports the concept:
The Holographic Principle



Thanks, I'll read that link!!!

- SN



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 10:19 AM
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Itisnowagain
QM and spiritual point toward reality being nothing.




There are many, many lines and angles you can take this on



- SN



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by SadistNocturne
 




I actually read that differently. My interpretation of it is "talking for the sake of talking". I see gossiping as falling under the false or negative speech aspect of "Right Speech".


Well, it all has to do with intention. So if you desired to talk about this issue merely to satisfy an egoic need, and not to help others come to better understanding, then it would certainly not be "Right Speech". Your post didn't come of as such, but I could be wrong.



Again, I take this differently. Buddhism is largely about the philosophical, the mental, and the spiritual. But, when I read about Buddhism, I am left with a sense of inter-connectedness. To say it is not about material things, well, consider philosophy and spirituality to begin with. Can you have either *without* material things? My thoughts exist because my brain created them. Electric transactions occurred between biological switches.

Much as data stored on your hard drive couldn't be there if it weren't for magnetically charged filaments of iron. Remove or alter their magnetic alignment, and you have no data. No information as a result of the data. This also fits with the model of form out of emptiness, in my opinion. A cup can only contain and hold something within it as a result of it's physicality and the inter-related criteria it takes to be a cup. A hard drive, much like a cup or a human brain, can only contain or hold something as a result of it's physicality and inter-related criteria that make it a hard drive, or a cup, or a human brain.

Don't get me wrong, I see this as a possible "chicken before the egg" scenario, but I still feel that it applies.

Perhaps inter-connectedness is not precise enough to state my viewpoint. Inter-dependency I think is a bit more like it.


The point is, again, not so much that they don't share links or commonalities, rather that they are addressing different issues. Emptiness in QM concerns itself with physical space and material structure and development. Emptiness in Buddhism concerns itself with mental phenomena and psychological constructs about life in general. That doesn't mean Buddhist Philosophy can't or doesn't concern itself with the material world, rather its intention is not the explanation of the material world but the human condition of suffering.

Ultimately, I feel that these are all just different narratives to explain what is happening in this life we perceive. However, to state that they are claiming the same thing is not true. I think Westerners, who may not truly understand the Buddha's teachings, seek to use scientific explanations such as QM to validate his teachings and strengthen their faith in them. Faith, though, is not required to understand the Buddhist concept of Emptiness or the Three Marks of Existence. Nor is further explanation needed. If someone wants to give material scientific explanations to try and mend the two, I don't think any Buddhist would object. But they also wouldn't say it is needed.



My thoughts exist because my brain created them. Electric transactions occurred between biological switches.


Buddhism would say your thoughts exist because of karmic causation, put into motion by a complex web of inter-dependent factors. It wouldn't deny the biological factors, it just wouldn't end there.



posted on Sep, 13 2013 @ 08:40 PM
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reply to post by SadistNocturne
 


hi- its very important to understand that, though Buddhist "emptiness" does relate to matter, the true meaning amongst scholars and lamas is this:
matter (i.e. "objects") are EMPTY OF INHERENT EXISTENCE. what does that mean you ask?
the short version is that there are no gods, no heaven or hell, that there is NOTHING PERMANENT. nothing at all. everything comes together and falls apart based upon the law of co-dependent arising. Objects are created by our karma and they do not have their own power, so to speak, only what we imbue them with. The reason this is so fundamentally important is that after enough time, this reduction applies also to the Self, and in truth we do not exist, were never born, and can not die. but Buddhism isn't nihilism so it must be said the emptiness is also form.
Buddhism is called the Middle Way because there are Two Truths- the Ultimate and the Conventional. Saying "form is emptiness" is Ultimate and "emptiness is form" is Conventional. Buddhism would really be the razor's edge between these two concepts. Concepts are also empty, meaning they do not exist on their own (independent of thinker/observer) and they definitely do not last forever.



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 09:50 AM
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greencmp
If you haven't come across this it also supports the concept:
The Holographic Principle


I read the article, and although I didn't remember the title, I remembered the premise from previous readings. I find it to be an interesting concept. I can "picture" it, but I get caught up in the muddle of what sort of meta data would be in there...time, spacial co-ordinates, state, etc....

Thanks!


- SN



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 10:04 AM
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IandEye
hi- its very important to understand that, though Buddhist "emptiness" does relate to matter, the true meaning amongst scholars and lamas is this:
matter (i.e. "objects") are EMPTY OF INHERENT EXISTENCE. what does that mean you ask?
the short version is that there are no gods, no heaven or hell, that there is NOTHING PERMANENT. nothing at all. everything comes together and falls apart based upon the law of co-dependent arising. Objects are created by our karma and they do not have their own power, so to speak, only what we imbue them with. The reason this is so fundamentally important is that after enough time, this reduction applies also to the Self, and in truth we do not exist, were never born, and can not die. but Buddhism isn't nihilism so it must be said the emptiness is also form.,
Buddhism is called the Middle Way because there are Two Truths- the Ultimate and the Conventional. Saying "form is emptiness" is Ultimate and "emptiness is form" is Conventional. Buddhism would really be the razor's edge between these two concepts. Concepts are also empty, meaning they do not exist on their own (independent of thinker/observer) and they definitely do not last forever.



I found your words to ring true to what I have been reading.

I feel I need to state though, I am coming from a point and time where I am seeking something that adheres to my already standing perceptions

The ideas that nothing is permanent, phenomena is a causalality, etc, are ideas that I personally bring to the table through life experience. I appreciate that Buddhism expresses and acknowledges this, greatly.

What may be a potential stumbling block to me ever embracing Buddhism completely and utterly, is the eventual concept of nothing being real at all. Of each of us never truly existing.

It directly conflicts with my midwestern/Missouri upbringing, "The Show Me State"...ie, I've been shown that I am alive. I see that. I see the direct impact that I have on things around me, and not so directly around me.

I find it difficult to divorce the person from the physicality as I have been part of the circle of life, etc

I don't expect you nor necessarily want you to have direct reactions to my statements above. Rather, I gave them as a means to have insight as to where I am coming from in the first place. Not necessarily intended for debate



- SN



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 10:07 AM
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A hologram is the prefect vehicle to store information and energy. The holograpic model may actually explane all phenomenon. What we call "spirits" are actually packets of entangled, conscious, thinking beings. Being energy, it is connected to all ofther things that also emit energy. This would allow for instantaneous gathering of information. Space-time is essentially bypassed on the astral planes. A hologram has no restraints. It can be as solid as a brick, or etherial as a dream. If you were a hologram, nothing would be out of your grasp. Light can probably be made "solid" in a sense.Think of a tracor beam for instance. We know that even photons can be felt. Some even say that the Soul is a hologram. If this is the case, than we truly can become immortal.



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 10:10 AM
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IandEye
Objects are created by our karma and they do not have their own power, so to speak, only what we imbue them with.



I personally find this rather interesting when it comes to the power we imbue within words. A collection of soundwaves created by the vibration of our vocal chords. Yet, wow, certain words can definitely set others on edge. Even words not given an overall embodying context can still offend. This has always amazed me.

It is as though people refuse to acknowledge that they can simply divorce themselves from the power they themselves have either imbued the word with, or accepted social teachings so as to imbue the word with that power.

I find it difficult to have discussions at times when people can be so hung up on the onus of a given word. Particularly when it is the only way that you can find to express what you are trying to say.

Oh, I know, "polite society" or "intelligent discourse" doesn't need to go to such lows........I see this as the height of self delusion.


Pardon the tangent


- SN



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 10:24 AM
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reply to post by SadistNocturne
 


If there were no words there would be no things.
There would just be what is happening.

There would be no past to think about and no future to think about.
There would be no you or me.

There would just be loving awareness in which all appears.


That which is appearing is constantly changing and is empty of all meaning. Meaning comes from the idea that the happening is happening to someone - there is no one that the happening is happening to.
There is only what is happening - nothing is appearing to happen.

edit on 14-9-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 14 2013 @ 12:10 PM
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Itisnowagain
reply to post by SadistNocturne
 


If there were no words there would be no things.
There would just be what is happening.

There would be no past to think about and no future to think about.
There would be no you or me.

There would just be loving awareness in which all appears.


That which is appearing is constantly changing and is empty of all meaning. Meaning comes from the idea that the happening is happening to someone - there is no one that the happening is happening to.
There is only what is happening - nothing is appearing to happen.

edit on 14-9-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



Well, yeah, but what about blue ? I mean, it is of import as well. Particularly when involved with the synergistic aspects of blue cheese. Now, there's something to think about.

- SN





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