Expounding Enlightenment through a Scientific Experiment

Author Dwight Chien

My article titled “Discovering the Profoundness of Buddhism through a Scientific Experiment” was published in the 178th edition of the “BAUS Wisdom Journal for all Being”. In it described molecules, atoms, positrons, neutrons, and photons all have “Super-Consciousness”. Upon further consideration, I think it is better named “Pan-Consciousness” because it is present in everywhere.

 We know every sentient being has consciousness; non-sentient beings, however, do not have consciousness. Yet, with the help of the double-slit scientific experiments, we now know non-sentient beings have Pan-Consciousness. As described previously, when scientists placed a detector next to the double-slits, the interference pattern disappeared. This phenomenon, to my knowledge, can happen only because the non-sentient beings have Pan-Consciousness.  Sentient beings of course also have Pan-Consciousness.  At the same time when sentient beings engage in consciousness, Pan-Consciousness is also present. This is why an advanced practitioner can influence the people as well as the environment around him/her. This is also why an ordinary person cannot hide their thoughts from deity or spirit around him/her. Thus, all beings (sentient beings and non-sentient beings) have this consciousness. It is ever present. So, I think naming it Pan-Consciousness is more appropriate. 

In Avatamsaka Sutra, it is described when the Buddha attained enlightenment, he said: “How strange, how strange. All beings (In the existing translation of this verse, the translator mistakenly translated into “sentient beings”. I hope this mistake can be corrected as soon as possible) possess the wisdom of buddhas. It is just because of delusion and attachments, they are unable to realize it.” Since all beings possess the wisdom of buddhas, and all beings have Pan-Consciousness, then isn’t it obvious that Pan-Consciousness is (or very close to) the wisdom of buddhas, the buddha nature? 

In the 180th edition of the “BAUS Wisdom Journal for all Being”, I mentioned how lucky we are now living in the age of science. With the help from scientific discoveries, we can understand the Heart Sutra better. Now I would like to further congratulate everyone because we can also understand more than before what the buddha nature is. However, I have to emphasize again, this minor enlightenment lacks the foundation of serious practice. Therefore, we should become inspired by this minor enlightenment and practice ever more diligently. 

Expounding the Heart Sutra through a Scientific Experiment 

My article titled “Discovering the Profoundness of Buddhism through a Scientific Experiment” was published in the 178th edition of the “BAUS Wisdom Journal for all Being”. In it described molecules, atoms, positrons, neutrons, and photons all have been demonstrated through scientific double-slits experiments to exhibit the characteristics of both particles and waves. The experimental results of the dual characteristics reflect very well what is described in the Hear Sutra.  

Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara told us in the Heart Sutra: “…Form is no other than emptiness, and emptiness no other than form, form is exactly emptiness and emptiness exactly form…” I had read these verses numerous times for tens of years in the past, and was not able to grasp the meaning. In our mundane reality, whatever our eyes see is what it is. How can it also be emptiness at the same time? This is very mysterious. Yet, now I have found actually the double-slits experiment explains it. When I was attending college, I learned light possesses the characteristics of both wave and particle at the same time. However, I was not able to apply that to expound Heart Sutra. Several years ago, when I saw the video of the double-slits experiment, I still was not able to make the connection with the Heart Sutra. Yet, recently it suddenly came to me, isn’t the particle characteristics of the light a form? Isn’t the wave characteristics of the light emptiness? Isn’t the light wave and the light particle exist simultaneously? In this case, of course “Form is no other than emptiness, and emptiness no other than form, form is exactly emptiness and emptiness exactly form”. The puzzle that I could not solve for tens of years, when I understood, it is as simple as that. 

The Heart Sutra then continues: “…so also are sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness…”. Based on our common sense, we cannot consider sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness as particles. However, they are not emptiness either. Perhaps the best way to coin it is by calling them “virtuous particles”. These virtuous particles are different from actual particles because they lack the form. On the other hand, they are not emptiness either because they are associated with our consciousness, and we know emptiness has nothing to do with our consciousness. Since these virtuous particles possess both the characteristics of wave and particles, they certainly can similarly fit into the verse of “Form is no other than emptiness, and emptiness no other than form, form is exactly emptiness and emptiness exactly form”. 

Within the Heart Sutra, “Form is no other than emptiness, and emptiness no other than form, form is exactly emptiness and emptiness exactly form” is the verse most difficult to understand. Once it is understood, the whole sutra becomes very straight forward. The compassionate Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara wants us to reach the other shore, not getting attached to mundane dharma. He used the most straight forward verses to describe for us the phenomena of his enlightenment. However, we sentient beings still may not understand. Comparing to the practitioners of olden days, we are lucky to know the result of current scientific experiments, which helps us understand Heart Sutra. The olden-day practitioner, however, will not able to reach enlightenment without very lengthy and hard practice. Many of them were not able to get enlightened in their whole life. We are lucky as we can get a minor enlightenment easily. Yet, this minor enlightenment lacks the foundation of serious practice. Therefore, we should become inspired by this minor enlightenment and begin to practice even more diligently. 

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