Quantum Buddha
illustration by greg sugden
Prayer flags & the Schrodinger equation. Tibetan Buddhists believe the prayers and mantras inscribed on prayer flags are blown by the wind and spread notions of peace and compassion.

Buddhism teaches that reality is an illusion; that the mind and the external world are transient and they arise from one another; that the mind cannot exist without the world nor can the world exist without the mind.

This paradox lies at the heart of both Buddhism and Quantum Mechanics where it is encapsulated in the Schrodinger equation.

Just as Einstein's theory of Special Relativity is known by the equation E = mc2, Quantum theory is known by the Schrodinger equation.

The idea of the world existing beyond our mind and separate from ourselves is something Buddhists consider to be incorrect.

Both Buddhism and Quantum Physics agree that there is a large discrepancy between how we perceive reality and the true nature of that reality.

For instance, even though the world appears to be made of solid objects, atoms are more than 99.999% empty space. (The nucleus or solid part of an atom is truly miniscule). The appearance or feeling of solidity is an illusion caused by the repulsion between sets of atoms - similar to how two magnets repel each other.

We don't ever sit on a chair. Rather, we hover above it. What we feel is the force of repulsion between our atoms and the atoms of the chair.

It goes against our perception of the world but both our bodies and the chair are overwhelmingly empty space. Science would agree with Buddhism that a key aspect of reality is emptiness