Is the world itself intelligent? They say everything happens for a reason. Coincidences are prevalent. Is nothing private? The world seems godless but there are all these hints. Perhaps the human has created a way for this to occur. Is it magic? are coincidences a corruption of insight? what does Buddhism have to say about this?

example of coincidence per request:

two customers in a pizza shop: the first customer says to the cashier while paying, "get your tips". the next customer in line does tip on his order and although he overhead the previous customer's comment, he did not notice the first customer giving tip. finding it slightly strange, since he was already planning on giving a tip. a strange feeling overcame the customer and cashier as he leaves the shop.

example 2: is it not a coincidence that Buddha sculpture made from stone is like the real ones, like very still and stuff?

enter image description here

  • Seems like you're making more out of things than what they are. There's only seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, feeling and thinking and that's it. So whatever you experience is just one of those experiences (except for Nibbana ofc). Seems like what you're doing is extrapolating and proliferating. Just be mindful of such mental activity so you don't get swept away.
    – user24100
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 10:28

3 Answers 3


Coincidence and noting coincidence is mental proliferation and conceptualization, papanca.

Also, please read "What is papañca?"

“Venerables, dependent on the existence of an eye and a visible object, eye-consciousness arises. The combination of the three is sense-contact. Because of sense-contact, there is feeling. What one feels, one identifies; what one identifies, one thinks about; what one thinks about, one proliferates about; what one proliferates about, with that as its source, identification and conceptualization based on proliferation beset a man in regard to visible objects cognizable by the eye in the past, present, and future.
MN 18

There are a billion things happening at the same time, but you only notice the things that are important or interesting to you.

Ven. Thanissaro explains that in his footnote to Snp 4.14:

The perception, "I am the thinker" lies at the root of these classifications in that it reads into the immediate present a set of distinctions — I/not-I; being/not-being; thinker/thought; identity/non-identity — that then can proliferate into mental and physical conflict. The conceit inherent in this perception thus forms a fetter on the mind. To become unbound, one must learn to examine these distinctions — which we all take for granted — to see that they are simply assumptions that are not inherent in experience, and that we would be better off to be able to drop them.


Synchronicities are mainly a side effect of practice - no different than getting gas after eating a bowl of beans. While the practice itself is nourishing, the other stuff that comes up is really just a load of hot air.

When you are practicing effectively, establishing mindfulness, and keeping the mind collected, you are just going to notice more. This is inevitable. Unfortunately, the mind naturally tries to construe relationships where none exist. As more and more data becomes available, the extent of these relational structures and depth of these emergent narratives only grows. Suddenly we're seeing Jesus in every pancake and Bill Gates' handy work in every jet contrail attempt to sterilize humanity. Sometimes data is a just data. The only reason they seem to be related is that we habitually organize them into intelligible structures.

There are also other phenomenon responsible for the experience of coincidence. Buddhist practice is about breaking down the mind and building it back up. Solve et coagula. Jhana and insight. I remember sitting one day after a seven day sesshin and noticing that that my heater was having a conversation with the chainsaw someone was using down the road. Obviously not true, but in the state of openness that follows a lengthy retreat, normal linear structures begin to break down and we might begin to piece the world back together in ways that don't quite make sense or follow conventional orderings of cause and effect. It's one of the many dangers of deep meditative states (and psychedelics for that matter).

So, nothing to see here. But if you happen to figure out how to use the 1973 Chicago phonebook to predict the outcome of professional baseball games, let me know. I'm SURE there's a way to do it!

  • 1
    i burned the last copy of 1973 phonebook. long live the purity of baseball
    – blue_ego
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 14:28

In secular ideology, it is called 'probability'.

Buddhism (SN 14.15) says beings of similar dispositions come together and converge because of an element (dhatu).


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