What do you think?

I believe the experience of suffering or enjoyment is not reducible to physics terms like "repulsion", "attraction" etc.

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

In my opinion suffering cannot be reduced to "energy", waves etc., in the same way that seeing cannot be reduced to hearing.

  • I think the moment you can reduce consciousness to binary forms is the moment we will have artificial consciousness. – user29568 Oct 29 '18 at 14:38
  • Also suffering seems inexplicable in that context. – Angus Oct 30 '18 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. – PeterJ Nov 8 '18 at 11:29

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 '18 at 9:44
  • Good point. Answer edited. – OyaMist Oct 30 '18 at 17:46

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 '18 at 22:10
  • Thant topic closed as off topic.- They even don't want to know about the consciousness.-) – SarathW Oct 29 '18 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 '18 at 11:43
  • It's a laugh isn't it. So much for 'scientific' consciousness studies. . – PeterJ Nov 8 '18 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.

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