Modern Science & Dependent Origination

Nama-Rupa(Name & Form)

Here Nama-Rupa is taken to be:
- Nama(Name) → meaning or information
- Rupa(Form) → form(structure) or matter
So I take information-matter as nama-rupa. Matter cannot be separated from information.
ex: an electron → information about it’s charge/spin/mass/position/velocity etc.
Information also can not be separated from matter. As information needs a medium to carry itself, otherwise we can not separate information from non-information and information would be without meaning(or real).

Science is about finding the truth of various material phenomena, and science has studied a great deal about matter. So it’s no surprise that quantum mechanics can be used to describe information-matter(nama-rupa). But I do think Lord Buddha has delved deeper about information-matter than modern scientists.

Uncertainty Principle

This principle means information about any particle(or anything) is incomplete. That you cannot measure completely accurate information.

Quantum Entanglement


interact in way such that the quantum state of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of the others

Suppose A & B are 2 information-matter particles and their states are either 0 or 1, and their information is incomplete. Thus we don’t know if the states of A is 0 or not. Due to interaction between A & B, an entanglement occurs. This entanglement itself is new information about both A&B. From this we can conclude that new information arises from incomplete(uncertain) information due to interactions of information-matter.
Nama-rupa arises from nama-rupa due to craving(entanglement) and ignorance(uncertain-incomplete information)

Dependent Origination


I will start from Contact(Phassa) as it seems more clear. When light hits the eye, a neural impulse(a signal) is generated and send to the brain.
Here light is information-matter and eye is also a collection of information-matter and the signal generated is also information-matter. I think that is evident for modern people.
light ← photons ← information-matter
signal ← electrons ← information-matter

signals(information-matter) will interact with each other(brain) and create new information about the event(Contact).


information-matter generated from contact will interact and create new information as sukha(good),dukkha(bad),neutral.


information-matter of feelings will interact with other information-matter and create new information as bhava(Be), vibhava(Not Be), kama(Other).


Similarly information-matter from craving will interact and generate new information such as views.(ex: This is red).

Bhava (Existence)

From clinging, information-matter keeps it’s existence. For example: stored in memory(brain).


Due to information-matter interaction generates information identifying other information. This is called consciousness.

Salayatana(6 senses)

As a embryo grows, cells starts differentiating and proliferating, a human body is made. This body is made with 6 senses. It’s also evident how the information-matter from embryo, creates new information-matter(cells) and give rise to 6 senses(also information-matter).

This is the links of dependent-origination explained as nama-rupa(information-matter). Everything(Samsara) is information-matter. Consciousness, Feelings, Tanha etc are information-matter and interactions of information-matter. Everything outside the body is also information-matter.

Why everything is nama-rupa? is Nama-rupa special?

No, Nama-rupa is not special. You can also define the 12 links(DO) using any other link such as craving/contact/consciousness etc.

For example:
conciousness is catalog/identifying process.
feelings → identifying of contact
tanha → identifying of feelings
upadana → identifying of tanha

The reason I use nama-rupa(information-matter) is to reconcile the current materialistic world view.

Four Noble truths using Nama-Rupa

Saying, “Good, friend,” the bhikkhus delighted and rejoiced in the venerable Sāriputta’s words. Then they asked him a further question: “But, friend, might there be another way in which a noble disciple is one of right view…and has arrived at this true Dhamma?”—“There might be, friends.
“When, friends, a noble disciple understands mentality-materiality, the origin of mentality-materiality, the cessation of mentality-materiality, and the way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality, in that way he is one of right view…and has arrived at this true Dhamma.
“And what is mentality-materiality, what is the origin of mentality-materiality, what is the cessation of mentality-materiality, what is the way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality? Feeling, perception, volition, contact, and attention—these are called mentality. The four great elements and the material form derived from the four great elements—these are called materiality. So this mentality and this materiality are what is called mentality-materiality. With the arising of consciousness there is the arising of mentality-materiality. With the cessation of consciousness there is the cessation of mentality-materiality. The way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality is just this Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view…right concentration.
“When a noble disciple has thus understood mentality-materiality, the origin of mentality-materiality, the cessation of mentality-materiality, and the way leading to the cessation of mentality-materiality…he here and now makes an end of suffering. In that way too a noble disciple is one of right view…and has arrived at this true Dhamma.”

Origin of Nama-Rupa

As I stated above, information-matter arises due to misinformation(incomplete-information) and entanglement. Since entanglement is also due to misinformation, I will take misinformation(ignorance) as the origin of information-matter.

Suffering of Nama-Rupa

If everything is the interactions of information-matter, then what’s the point of stopping it? Why do you want to end it?

Since information-matters arise due to misinformation, information-matters propagate misinformation and proliferate misinformation. These misinformation gives rise to misinformation such as ‘this is dukha’, ‘this is painful’, ‘this is pleasure’. These are just interactions of information-matter and are ultimately pointless and made of misinformation. Thus stopping this convoluted mess is the skillful/enlightened thing to do.

Nirodha(Cessation) of information-matter

According to Buddha,

Phenomena(Dhamma) that arises due to conditions, ceases when the conditions are removed.

Thus information-matter ceases with the cessation of misinformation. What is the cessation of misinformation? Perfect-information.


If you look at an apple, you will notice it’s shape,color etc. Through the 6 senses we will notice only a part of the information about apple. Such as where did the apple come from? Where is the apple born? How did the apple is here? When will apple rot? What happens after it is rotten? What happens when you eat? Where is the apple tree it is from? Where does that apple tree come from? What is the molecular structure of apple? is this apple better than the other apple? … etc.
We don’t know the answer to these myriad of questions. That’s because we don’t have the perfect-information.

Perfect-information is any and every information related.
ex: Any and all information related to a apple

In Sutta’s perfect-information is stated as abinana - higher knowledge or clear knowing.

Doesn’t perfect-information interact/give rise to other information-matter?

No, perfect-information doesn’t give rise to other information-matter. Why? Since everything related or connected is included in perfect-information, it also includes the information about interactions with other information-matter. Thus there is no uncertainty or misinformation and doesn’t create entanglements.

Notice that uncertainty of B and the entanglement collapses due to the information ‘A is 0’. Because with information ‘A is 0’ you can not give rise to the information that ‘A is 0 or 1’.

How to create/give rise to perfect-information?

That’s the noble 8 fold path. And more specifically, you can increase the completeness of information. And give rise to a more-complete information and finally create a perfect-information.

How to do that?

First attain Samadhi(one pointedness) of the mind. Then use complete information such as ‘Principle of Dependent origination’ or ‘Anicca-Dukha-Anatta’ or other dhamma to generate complete information. At some point complete-information will give rise to perfect-information.

Why doesn’t just thinking about ‘DO/Anicca etc’ generate perfect-information?

Because perfect-information arises only if there is only complete-information. When you think about ‘impermanence’, there is ‘I’,‘Thinking’,‘Real’,‘Anicca’,‘Need’ and many other information that give birth to the specific information. Of these only ‘Anicca’ is complete, while ‘I’,‘Thinking’, etc are misinformation. Thus the resultant information is incomplete.


Since everything(samsara) is information-matter we can indeed explain rebirth through information-matter. In this context, human body is a cluster of information-matter that identifies and process/generate information. As the human body dies, only this processing is ceased. information-matter about the ‘being/self’ still exists. When a light reflects from your body, that light carries information about you. That light spreads and sound waves,matter and anything that interact with body, carries information about ‘self’ and spreads it out through cosmos. These information and the already existing information still exists after ceasing of bodily processes. These information only lacks a process to orderly process information.
Here entanglement(craving) comes to play. When dying, information-matter interacts with other information-matter of a new biological process(embryo) and creates an entanglement.
How does the dying ‘self’ information-matter know of the newborn?
It doesn’t know actually. Information-matter due to craving & ignorance(mis information) leaves itself open for entanglement. This entanglement could be a specific craving/entanglement(human/animal etc) or it could be a open to any entanglement. The newborn information-matter entangles with the concept ‘I’ of the previous ‘self’ and thus you are reborn.

Rupa lokha - Brahma

It was interesting to note that human body is a mass of information-matter used for processing information but information-matter related to ‘self’ is spread through out the cosmos. But we only process the information brought to the senses.
On the other hand, Brahma’s seems to process their information using the entire information-matter and there doesn’t seem to be a central unit(brain) for handling it. It is diffused throughout and Brahma also takes information from the whole of information-matters.

Aruupa lockha - Brahma

On the other hand Aruupa Brahma seems to cease all the material processes need for processing information. Thus they are unable to accept information and only exist as information. But periodically a information-matter structure that is able to process information forms, and then Brahma process the information. This is due to the fact that Brahma himself sets of a chain of events to recur after a period of time or universe itself creates a suitable structure due to random fluctuations after a long time(eons - 10^130).


Hi thanks for an interesting article. I haven’t had a chance to read it properly and digest it, but it’s clear you have given this a lot of thought and I hope it’s given you a lot of insight.

I am not sure I would characterise “nama” as “information” so I am not able to completely follow your analogy.

Also, I think my understanding of quantum uncertainty and entanglement is different from yours. As I understand it, it’s not necessarily that quantum states are uncertain, although Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle do apply to measurements of quantum state.

As I understand it, a particle can inhabit multiple quantum states more or less simultaneously, with different degrees of “probability”. To be more accurate, a particle can inhabit a Hubert space of possible quantum states described by a probability function.

And quantum entanglement describes how two or more particles can have “entangled” or “synchronised” quantum states. The classic example are electrons with aligned quantum states orbiting a nucleus. It has been shown these electrons can still maintain alignment even after being physically separated, a mechanism that we can’t fully explain at the moment.

Given that, I am not sure I fully follow your linking of quantum entanglement to dependent origination or the 4 noble truths, but it is possible I am simply too obtuse to follow your analogy. But I will reflect on this more and perhaps one day I will agree with you.

Who is Brahma? Do you refer to the deity Brahma Sahampati who appeared before the Buddha and invited him to teach, once the Buddha attained enlightenment.

Brahma here I mean as a group or a race of beings.

There are two types of Brahmas.

  1. Rupa Brahmas
  2. Arupa Brahmas

You can also refer to Baka Brahma sutta about how they are viewed.

Namarupa - Name & Form

Nāgasena is only a concept, a designation, a label, an appellation, a mere name; no person actually obtains here.

Name = concept / label / designation → information

a particle can inhabit multiple quantum states more or less simultaneously, with different degrees of “probability”.

Why not a specific state? Popular explanation is that the particle exhibits multiple states but it could also interpreted as the information about the state is incomplete.

You may say that it’s not that A may exists anywhere but that A really do exists everywhere. But the problem is that you have replaced the uncertainty of information with uncertainty of position. But I think it’s easier to think using information instead of quantum particles.
The point is that due to uncertain information more uncertain information is generated. Or in particle terms, due to uncertainty of state(or multiple states), quantum entanglement occurs.

It has nothing to do with science. This is just a modern Abhidharma.


Information theory
Entropy - is hidden states or hidden information. According to thermodynamics Entropy is almost always increasing. → Information is increasing.

No-hiding theorem - Information is never lost.

Uncertainty principle(Uncertainty principle - Wikipedia) - Any measurement has a certain amount of uncertainty.
→ Any information has a certain(fixed) uncertainty

Quantum Entanglement:

when a group of [particles] are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the [quantum state]of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of the others.

Due to interactions between particles, entanglement occurs. Such that state of the particles can not be described independently.
→ Uncertain States lead to an entanglement that describes both States.

Everything above is described as science and I am only applying that to all information/matter.

I think this is a very fruitful thing to think about.

I will endeavour to read the post carefully and respond.

My initial thoughts are that early buddhism comes down philosophically to an argument about what logic holds if we accept that a logic of “existants” or objects and properties cannot hold.

The logic introduced is a dependent logic, refered to as conditional arising in the ebt.

In conditional logic we grant that any introduced entity depends on the conditions for its introduction. (Arising)

We grant the same for elimination. (Cessation)

We also grant that there is a path (Path) from the introduction to the elimination.

To me this sounds a LOT like intuitionistic type theory as per Martin Loff etc.

To what extent this logic may underwrite physical theories like quantum mechanics and general relativity I cannot at this moment say.

However a constructivist view of matter certainly seems on it’s face to have implications for how we think of the real numbers and this is a major conceptual feature of relativity.

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I don’t have links handy, because it’s been a while since I studied, but I believe there are direct evidence of the simultaneous existence of a particle in multiple states.

The classic example is an electron “orbiting” around a nucleus. Theory for example may state the electron can only orbit in one of 4 possible locations. You may expect an electron to “choose” which location it should be in, but there may be uncertainly in determine which location it “chooses.”

In practice, what we discover is that the electron is existing in all 4 locations simultaneously. We know this because it results in a more stable orbit, and the charge measured in each of those 4 locations is a quarter.

How is this is possible? Without resorting to too much theory, an electron exhibits what is known as “wave-particle” duality. Simultaneous existence in multiple states can be described as a waveform with multiple crests.

Another practical example is quantum computing. A quantum computer works because a qubit exists in multiple states simultaneously. So in effect when one does a quantum “computation”, one is calculating all possible results of a computation simultaneously, hence the quantum computer can be much faster than a traditional computer.

Hope this helps.

Thanks. You are right. But Buddhism is also broader than that. Buddhism asserts that if something arises due to conditions, it ceases when conditions cease. So there are two types of phenomena(dhamma):

  1. Conditioned - Those that arise due to conditions.
  2. Unconditioned ( Eternal - no arising or ceasing)

Buddhism also asserts that both Conditioned and Unconditioned have no independent essence/meaning/reality/self(atta). It is easy to see that Conditioned dhamma have to depend on it’s conditions - thus it’s not independent from it’s conditions.

Unconditioned dhamma is also dependent on other dhamma to give it meaning/reality.

For example:

Suppose that ‘1 + 1 = 2’ is an Unconditioned dhamma. That it’s eternal, wherever in the universe or outside of the universe, ‘1+1=2’ always hold true. It existed before humans discovered it, it exists forever. Therefor it’s an Unconditioned dhamma.
What do you mean it still depends on others for essence/reality/self ? Because it depends on other concepts such as ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘+’, ‘=’. These concepts in turn depend upon other concepts such as ‘0’,‘++’, etc. Without the dependence on context, ‘1+1=2’ is not meaningful.

Any Unconditioned concept without relation to other concepts ‘space’,‘matter’,‘time’, etc, they don’t have an essence. Because such Unconditioned concept can not be separated from other concepts - They are not independent.

So whether Conditioned or Unconditioned, both have no independent reality/essence/self.

Dependent reality of any Unconditioned depends entirely on conditions(Arising).
What are the conditions for arising(dependent reality)?
Incompleteness of the concept. For example: 1+1 = 4 has no meaning due to the fact that 1+1=2 exists.
Similarly there is cessation and a path to cessation.

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I think this is wrong: there are no phenomena that arise without conditions, therefore there are no “unconditional” phenomena, unconditional freedom from phenomena is discernable by demonstrating of any given phenomena the path from its arising to its ceasing.

If “the unconditioned” is a phenomena, i.e something that can be experienced by a subject then the phenomena of the unconditioned would depend on other phenomena and therefore not be without conditions.

The concept that is derived from phenomena is the path from it to not it, not a path from a particular phenomena or collection of phenomena to “the unconditioned” as a existant phenomena, rather it isna demonstration that we are not “fettered” to our conceptions of phenomena because rightly understood there are no phenomena that do not have a path from thier arisenness to thier cessation.