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Meditation & Enlightenment

Buddha achieved enlightenment in a very short time once he started to practice mindfulness meditation.

1The words the Buddha uttered involuntarily at this time are recorded variously in the Buddhist scriptures. According to the Kegon sutra, at the moment of enlightenment he spontaneously cried out: “Wonder of wonders! Intrinsically all living beings are Buddhas, endowed with wisdom and virtue, but because men’s minds have become inverted through delusive thinking they fail to perceive this.”

The original word for enlightened is Bodhi, which means “awakened”. Zen Buddhism2 uses the word satori to describe Buddha’s enlightenment as “Self-realization, opening the Mind’s eye, awakening to one’s True-nature and hence of the nature of all existence.” 

This provides a scientific definition of enlightenment as follows.

Enlightenment is the direct awareness of the laws underlying our spiritual nature.

Oxford dictionaries, however, define enlightenment as “The action or state of attaining or having attained spiritual knowledge or insight, in particular (in Buddhism) that awareness which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth.” This definition imparts a sense of mystery.

Enlightenment is not some vague spiritual awareness. Linking it to some mysterious cycle of rebirth does not explain it. Instead, enlightenment is the understanding of the laws that underlie our spiritual nature. These laws determine wisdom and virtue. They also explain how our minds become inverted and deluded.

A human being, whether clever or stupid, male or female, ugly or beautiful, is capable of being awakened to the laws of spiritual nature. There is no other perfection than this state of being awakened. This is the enlightenment that Buddha sought and attained. You, therefore, meditate until you directly perceive the laws underlying your spiritual nature.

When you practice meditation its immediate effect is to reduce the turbulence in your mind so you are more aware. The following chapters guide you step by step on the path to enlightenment through mindfulness meditation.

1Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau, Chapter I, Lecture 1 “Theory and Practice of Zazen”
2Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau, Chapter X, Definition of satori

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Reference: A Scientific Approach to Meditation

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Einstein’s Theory of Quantum

Qunatum Mechanics

Reference: Disturbance Theory

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The Fundamentals

In 1900 when Planck was trying to find a relationship between the intensity of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by a black body and the frequency of the radiation, he could not come up with a theory using the classical approach that explained the experimentally observed black-body spectrum. In desperation he took a statistical approach, making an arbitrary postulate that energy of the emitted radiation is proportional to its frequency. This provided a curve that fitted the experimental data. [See Black-body radiation (Notes)]. Since frequency has a discrete nature, it meant that energy was discontinuous for radiation. This went against the classical notion of Maxwell’s theory that electromagnetic energy is a continuous function in space. Planck looked at his proportionality postulate as a mathematical convenience. He did not believe in the quantum interpretation of his postulate.

About this time Einstein was investigating the factors underlying the atomic phenomena. He was impressed by the success of statistical mechanics in this area, especially with kinetic theory of gases. He decided to apply statistical approach to the atomic theory to derive other material properties. Einstein estimated the accuracy of his assumptions by using them to calculate the Avogadro’s number. He thus verified his theoretical approach to the determination of viscosity (molecular attraction) and distribution coefficient in liquids. This approach has since been found very useful by molecular physicists and chemists.

Einstein was thus testing his assumptions as they applied to the yet theoretical domain of atoms and molecules through the calculation of Avogadro’s number. He then analyzed the Brownian motion of microscopic particles suspended in liquid, which appeared to be “self-induced”. He developed an original statistical approach to determine the relationship between the mean square fluctuation of suspended particles and the distribution coefficient of liquid. Once again, Einstein confirmed his assumptions by calculating the Avogadro’s number. This time his work was immediately verified experimentally. This helped establish the physical reality of atoms and molecules for scientists who were very skeptical before.

Simultaneously, Einstein looked into the distribution of energy density in the blackbody radiation. He analyzed the work of Planck and Wien and showed mathematically that the energy density of radiation, which appeared to be continuous at lower frequencies, became particle-like at higher frequencies. The postulate of Maxwell’s theory that the energy of radiation was a continuous function in space was valid at lower frequencies only. At higher frequencies the behavior of energy density of radiation could be compared to the results from kinetic theory of gases. Einstein thus verified Planck’s postulate that energy of radiation was proportional to its frequency. But Einstein then did something more. He proposed the idea of “light quanta” based on Planck’s postulate and used it to explain the photoelectric effect. He proposed an energy equation for the photoelectric effect that could determine the Planck’s constant experimentally. (See Einstein’s Conception of Light Quanta).

Robert A. Millikan, who vehemently disagreed with the idea of “light quanta”, spent some ten years testing Einstein equation and he did the most exacting experiments. He found that “Einstein’s photoelectric equation · · · appears in every case to predict exactly the observed results.” This turned Planck’s theoretical idea of “energy quanta” into the physical reality of “light quanta”, which came to be known later as “photon”. Einstein also established equivalence between energy and matter that later gave rise to the harvesting of nuclear energy.

In 1905 Einstein published these researches in four different papers. He basically established a relationship between energy and matter. It showed that energy of electromagnetic radiation coagulated with increasing frequency. Thus light became particle-like at higher frequencies, and at the upper reaches of frequency spectrum the limiting condition appeared to be matter. This conclusion supported the idea of particles, such as electrons, in the Gamma range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Thus electromagnetic field was a more fundamental substance than matter. Einstein thus established the fundamentals of the quantum theory.

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The Theory of Relativity

It was the increasing frequency that coagulated energy into matter. Therefore, Einstein’s fifth paper in 1905 investigated the fundamentals of motion. The obvious questions were, “Is there an absolute rest point? What happens to electromagnetic radiation as frequency reduces to zero? What is the limiting condition then?”

In Newtonian Mechanics the absolute rest point was assumed to be the stars fixed in the firmament. Maxwell’s theory also declared the velocity of light to be absolute, and this was confirmed by most exacting experimental evidence. Material velocities did not seem to add or subtract to the velocity of light. When the velocity of light was taken to be an absolute constant, the Lorentz transformations showed that the very characteristics of space and time were affected.

Einstein observed that the simultaneity of time could not be maintained when there were vast differences in the velocities, such as those between light and matter. In his view time could not be treated as absolute. He gave up on the idea of an absolute rest point and advance a theory of relativity based on the following postulates.

  1. All physical laws have the same form in all inertial frames (i.e. frames of references which move rectilinearly with a constant velocity with respect to each other);

  2. The velocity of light is same in all inertial frames.

With these postulates Einstein could derive the Lorentz transformations newly. He then showed that as the difference in velocities between two inertial frames increased, the characteristics of space and time changed in the form of “length contraction” and “time dilation”.

In other words, space and time become “diluted” with increase in relative velocity. 

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The Glitch

Einstein’s theory of relativity was extremely successful in explaining previously unexplained phenomena in the cosmological realm where light interacted with matter. But, when it came to the quantum realm, where light interacted with atomic structure, Einstein could not apply his theory of relativity successfully in spite of a lifelong of efforts. Einstein was very troubled by this failure.

Thus, a new subject of Quantum Mechanics came about that lacked a theoretical basis of physical explanations, and which was based entirely on mathematical relationships.

Theoretical physics seems to be stuck at the postulates that Einstein made to derive his theory of relativity. These postulates must be examined closely.

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Newton, Einstein & Quantum Mechanics

Newton-Einstein
Reference: Disturbance Theory

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The scientific method represents only part of what defines scientific thinking. It covers the research into the physical aspects of the universe only. When it comes to researching both physical and mental aspects of the universe, it requires mindfulness. The criterion of mindfulness is the establishment of continuity, harmony and consistency in what is observed. This is the establishment of objectivity. The scientific method is a “sub set” of mindfulness.

The scientific method limits objectivity to physical phenomena. Mindfulness, as defined above, extends objectivity to all phenomena. This difference is clearly accentuated in how Einstein and Descartes looked at space. Einstein’s approach characterizes the scientific method, whereas, Descartes approach characterizes mindfulness. Please see, The Problem of “Empty Space”.

Einstein tried to address the mental aspects through his “thought experiments” but it fell short of mindfulness. Einstein did make great strides with his thought experiments but he failed to connect the finite speed of light with light having a finite amount of inertia. His theory of relativity addresses material systems only using light as a reference point of “zero” inertia. This approach works for material systems but fails for the atomic region for which the inertia of light cannot be ignored. The lack of understanding of the concept of inertia is the basis of the lack of unification among Newton, Einstein and Quantum mechanics. Please see, The Problem of Inertia.

Here is my take on gravitation from the viewpoint of mindfulness. A force exists in a field because of a frequency gradient. Electromagnetic forces exist due to frequency gradients in the lower gamma region, which is the region of electrons. Nuclear forces exist due to frequency gradients in the upper gamma region, which is the region of neutrons and protons. Thus, the nature of force depends on the area of the spectrum where the frequency gradient occurs. Please see, The Spectrum of Substance.

Matter approximates the very high frequency at the upper end of the electromagnetic spectrum, and space approximates the very low frequency at the bottom. The frequency gradient stretches with distance in space, and this appears as the force of gravitation.

The above explanation follows from a classical reasoning. In this approach mass comes about due to the collapse of very high frequencies in the nucleus of the atom. This represents the gradient at the upper end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

The above reasoning also explains space as a very low frequency electromagnetic field that dilutes the overall frequency gradient, which expresses itself as gravitational force.

The Higgs Mechanism is a product of a mathematical approach that lacks an underlying physical theory.

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The Problem of “Empty Space”

Empty space

Reference: Disturbance Theory

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We measure the gap between objects by estimating the sum of extensions of material objects that will fill that gap. We suppose space to be rigid like matter. Mathematically, we think of unbounded space. But this “unbounded space” is a mental visualization of a rigid box of infinite dimensions. Thus the concept of space derives from the observation of extensions of substance.

We have been visualizing substance as rigid matter. This consideration changes with the discovery of electromagnetic field as a more basic substance. Empty space is then the observation of extensions of  invisible electromagnetic field. This field was not known to Descartes when, based on the consistency of philosophic ideas, he boldly asserted that there is no empty space. If he were here today, he would have been highly satisfied with this evolution of substance.

Einstein’s concept of space [3] has mathematically postulated properties that are borrowed from matter as substance. We may instead borrow properties from electromagnetic field as more basic substance  to get accurate concept of space. However, this raises the question about the extensions of electromagnetic field. How is the electromagnetic field bounded?

Einstein notes,

The drawing of attention to the vacuum in a mercury barometer has certainly disarmed the last of the Cartesians. But it is not to be denied that, even at this primitive stage, something unsatisfactory clings to the concept of space, or to space thought of as an independent real thing.

A vacuum in a mercury barometer is not entirely empty. When there is no matter, there is electromagnetic field. However, this field is bounded by the glass of the barometer. What bounds the field when there is no matter? The answer to this question leads us to the concept of EMPTINESS. Objectivity lies in recognizing that beyond matter lies the field, and beyond field lies the emptiness of no substance.

“Empty space” is extension of the electromagnetic field, which is bounded by EMPTINESS of no substance.

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Emptiness

True emptiness must be empty of “space” also. When we perceive space to be the extension of substance then there is no space in the absence of substance.  This argument brings consistency between physics and philosophy. However, there seems to be resistance to the idea of EMPTINESS in the scientific community. It is up to the scientific community now to critically reexamine the long held concept of space using the wisdom provided by philosophy.

EMPTINESS would be the absolute zero of substance; and this would mean, no frequency, no wavelength, no period, no inertia, no space, no time, and no energy. It is the ultimate reference point for substance and all its characteristics. Emptiness may be difficult to conceive because it implies no awareness as well.

EMPTINESS is the absence of substance and all its characteristics.

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Summary

The universe of substance is bounded by emptiness of no substance.  The concept of emptiness lies in the domain of philosophy. But for physics, emptiness acts as a reference point from which the substance of the universe may be understood in its totality.

The above understanding leads to the following ideas.

“Empty space” is not really empty. There is electromagnetic field present.

There is no emptiness in an atom. The atom is filled with electromagnetic field and matter.

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Obsolete: Matter in Historical Perspective

This artist's animation shows a celestial body about the size of our moon slamming at great speed into a body the size of Mercury.

Reference: Disturbance Theory

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Historically, there has been confusion between matter and emptiness because it is difficult to conceive of emptiness. Matter is substance. Emptiness is absence of substance. It is impossible to visualize absence of something.

Aristotle viewed things as made of matter. To him, matter and thought were complementary principles.

Later Descartes argued that the inherent properties of bodies were limited to extension, and the so-called secondary qualities, like color, were only products of human perception. Thus, he conceived of matter as a thing in itself that was independent of thought. He arbitrarily postulated matter to be some abstract, mathematical substance that occupies space.

Newton developed Descartes’ notion of matter by attributing to it the intrinsic properties of extension, hardness, impenetrability, mobility, and inertia. To him, “secondary” qualities, such as color or taste, were those that were not amenable to mathematical description. Newton was, however, troubled by the notion of gravity as “action at a distance.”

Einstein then explained “action at a distance” by developing Faraday’s concept of field. He made a critical summary of the development of his ideas in a paper Relativity & Problem of Space near the end of his life.

Einstein’s paper explains the following among other things.

  • The electromagnetic field is a substance more basic than matter.
  • The concept of space is derived from the extensions of substance.

The Disturbance Theory develops these concepts further.

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