What do you think?

I believe the experience of suffering or enjoyment is not equivalent and is not reducible to physics e.g. things like "repulsion", "attraction" etc.

I cannot see "suffering" or "enjoyment" arising out of or being equivalent to forces, force,energy, waves, atoms etc. no matter how one configures it.

It seems suffering cannot be reduced to "energy", waves etc. in the same way that hearing cannot be reduced to seeing.

  • I think the moment you can reduce consciousness to binary forms is the moment we will have artificial consciousness.
    – user29568
    Oct 29, 2018 at 14:38
  • Also suffering seems inexplicable in that context.
    – Angus
    Oct 30, 2018 at 9:45
  • I cannot see the purpose of trying to reduce anything to physics since it's physics that needs reducing. If physics had a metaphysical foundation then perhaps the idea would make more sense but at present it's castles in the air.
    – user14119
    Nov 8, 2018 at 11:29
  • 1
    Is there any special reason why correcting 4, 5 questions constantly? Maybe another question with what really worries householder Angus might solve certain restlessness.
    – user11235
    Jul 2, 2019 at 18:32

5 Answers 5


Your question is quite interesting because it starts out with an openness regarding identity view. Awesome! You ask about what is and are puzzled at the rise of feelings pleasant, painful or neutral. You ask whether we have experimental evidence for such feelings and equations for them. Indeed, you might well be asking for the wave equation for "self" or "consciousness".

An interesting read that delves into the five grasping aggregates is SN22.80 With Khemaka. Khemaka is gravely ill, perhaps dying, and the monks are very worried for him. So they keep pestering him with Dhamma questions in an effort to rouse him and cheer him up.

Reverend Khemaka, the seniors say that these five grasping aggregates have been taught by the Buddha, that is: the grasping aggregates of form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness. Do you regard anything among these five grasping aggregates as self or as belonging to self?’

This Dhamma dialogue is relayed by poor Reverend Dāsaka, who runs back and forth between Khemaka and the senior monks, relaying questions and answers again and again.

Finally, the exasperated Khemaka rouses himself from his almost deathbed and limps over to the senior monks. And what he says is quite remarkable:

For when it comes to the five grasping aggregates I’m not rid of the conceit ‘I am’. But I don’t regard anything as ‘I am this’.

Regarding the nature of physical forces, I think that might be a simple confusion here resulting from the inadequacy of terminology. The attraction of two masses to each other is a nature of space-time, not the ephemeral "I love you, love you not" that the Buddha addresses. The Buddha addresses suffering, the origin of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path to that cessation. Without physics.

To understand suffering (dukkha), we are given the rather perplexing:

Everything this individual experiences—pleasurable, painful, or neutral—is because of past deeds.

However, for those seeking deeper causes, we have in MN1, that

Delight is the root of suffering

This small phrase (Nandī dukkhassa mūlan’ti) is the E=mc2 of MN1, The Root of All Things. This is the canonical statement of the "I love you, I love you not" dilemma. Yet it goes much deeper, since we are led to explore further into how nandī generates dukkhassa. And THAT is dependent origination (search SE Buddhism).

On a side note, physics is the science of modeling the physical for predictability. Per DN33, there are three ways to see and study the world with:

the eye of the flesh, the eye of clairvoyance, and the eye of wisdom. --DN33

If we say that physics is the second, let us consider that Buddhism is the third. Remember that physics gave us Hiroshima. Buddhism has a different goal. The ending of suffering.

  • 1
    Imo "pleasant", "painful" and "neutral" doesn't explain suffering very well. But quoting you "I love you, I love you not" does. I think it is important to be able to come to the conclusion that suffering is something present at the level of experience and is not reducible to physics terms etc. but that it is still a real and valid phenomena. If one doesn't come to this conclusion then it seems that there is perhaps no or less desire to get rid of suffering or a sense of aimlessness and hopelessness (which was my case many years ago).
    – Angus
    Oct 30, 2018 at 9:44
  • Good point. Answer edited.
    – OyaMist
    Oct 30, 2018 at 17:46
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    Suffering in the sense of meaning mental suffering.
    – Angus
    Jul 3, 2019 at 18:59

The way I understand the present physics teaching does not address the consciousness.

  • Yes that appears to be true, according to Physics.SE.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 28, 2018 at 22:10
  • Thant topic closed as off topic.- They even don't want to know about the consciousness.-)
    – SarathW
    Oct 29, 2018 at 2:28
  • It says that they don't want to discuss consciousness on the Physics site, because that's not a topic of "mainstream Physics".
    – ChrisW
    Oct 29, 2018 at 11:43
  • It's a laugh isn't it. So much for 'scientific' consciousness studies. .
    – user14119
    Nov 8, 2018 at 11:24

If by the experience of suffering, you mean the experience of the ignorant, volitionally active, then yes. Because kamma-vipaka is just the third law of Newtonian mechanics that states 'every action has an equal and opposite reaction', but for intention posessing entities. It's not as self-evident as billiard balls, but it arises out of the same emptiness from the ultimate frame of reference.


There are the three poisons or three unwholesome roots in Buddhism, namely, raga (greed or lust), dvesha (aversion) and moha (delusion).

Raga is a type of psychological attraction and dvesha is a type of psychological repulsion. These are not physical but of the mind.

For e.g. you may experience physical pain or pleasure, but you don't have to mentally react to it. If you enjoy physical pleasures and lust after them, that's raga. If you dislike physical pain and become averse to it, that's dvesha. If you become irrationally consumed by raga or dvesha, then you are overcome by moha (delusion).

In Buddhism, suffering (dukkha) is a rather special term encompassing both happiness and sadness, pain and pleasure. It's a sense of deep-seated dissatisfaction that happiness, pleasure, wealth and health do not last forever, while pain, sadness, sickness and death are not avoidable forever.

All these pertain to the mind, and not the body. Of course, in Buddhism, the mind and the body are also not completely independent of each other, and the mind can reach beyond the physical realm.


Actually suffering is a false reaction of self to an action of non-self, resulting because of as an output of any kind of craving/wrong Karma that is out of context of Noble 8 fold path. For example, if a person earns money, he also earns the day of losing it all, if a person has children, he also has suffering of losing them to death eventually. Any accepted attribute of self will lead to suffering at some point in life.

Adhyasa is a Buddhist concept referring to the false superimposition of an attribute, quality, or characteristic onto an external entity. It can be seen as a direct result of māyā (illusion)

If there is Nirvana, there is no suffering, suffering is a reaction of Adhyasa of non-self over real self. As every action leads to opposite and equal reaction. Self is always a subject while matter(including body and world) is the object. Matter is governed by physics but self is above everything even mind and intellect.

  • This sounds like Advaita Vedanta disguised as Buddhism. I don't think Adhyasa is a Buddhist concept. Maya is also a term that is not normally used in Buddhism. And there is definitely no such thing as a REAL self in Buddhism. That's against anatta. Sabbe dhamma anatta means that all phenomena is not self.
    – ruben2020
    Jul 9, 2019 at 14:35
  • @ruben2020 Its not vedanta, Vedas are conclusive predefined statements, but Buddhist literature focuses on experience and understanding, "sabbe sankhara anicca, sabbe sankhara dukkha, sabbe dhamma anatta". This means Sabbe-Sabhi(All) Sankhara(Things) & Dhamma(duties/Karma) are Dukkha(misery) Anatta-Anitya(temporary-not real). When you subtract everything from yourself like body, mind, religion, duties, fear, world etc, only pure silence is left thats the Nirvana-empty state.
    – Manu Kumar
    Jul 9, 2019 at 15:56

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