Relationship between energy and nibbana

Continuing the discussion from If rebirth is true, what's one's first birth?:

I think you all are right, first we need to know what the source of energy is, they say energy has no beginning

So Am I wrong to say that energy is unconditioned, am I wrong to say energy and nibbana is the same thing ?

What do you think friends ?


I think the answer is within the question itself. Energy has no beginning because conditionality has no beginning.
Nibbana in brief is understanding the conditionality which in Pali is idappaccayata.
With Metta

Do you mean energy is more like beginningless ignorance than beginningless nibbana ?

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IMO that is correct. But we cannot say Nibbana is beginningless because Nibbana is the realization that we have roamed in Samsara due to ignorance of of the conditionality.
With Metta

Friend please review again your previous words, something that has beginning has an end do you want me to quote a sutta to back my statement ?

Therefore nibbana is beginningless it’s just there is a cloud of beginningless ignorance that hindered us to look at this beginningless nibbana

Feel free to correct me I have open mind friend

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I don’t quite understand why you equate beginninglessness with unconditionality. If samsara has no discernible beginning than the existence of every link in the paticca samuppada is beginningless. There has always been death, there has always been namarupa, there has always been ayatanas, etc.

Now, all of these links are obviously conditioned because they are included in the paticca samuppada process. So, as abstractions they are beginningless and conditioned. Therefore, it is not logically necessary for a beginningless something to be unconditioned. There may always be a condition for it, and this condition may too be beginningless.

If you ask specifically for the root cause of ignorance (as I don’t quite see what you mean with ‘energy’, it is too vague a word in that particular context), then it is a rather weird request. Ignorance is an absence of knowledge. What is the cause for your - most likely - and mine - absolutely certain - absence of knowledge of advanced atomic nuclear plant engineering? Well, there is no cause, you just don’t have this knowledge.

Absence of something that has never existed cannot have a cause. Presumably, there has never been a comet-riding six-headed pink-skinned Elvis Presley, so his absence is beginningless and does not really have a cause, but is Nibbana an absence of comet-riding six-headed pink-skinned Elvis Presley, should we equate them? According to the Buddha, there is no Creator God, so is Nibbana equal to the absence of a Creator God?

I mean, you can pick the absence of pretty much anything (Donald Trump’s intellect, Joe Biden’s honesty, toilet paper in socialist countries, etc.) and then equate it with Nibbana, but is it really productive? Does it make sense?

It is an unfortunate peculiarity of our minds that we tend to view something that is not an object as an object: absence, ‘I’, mathematical functions, etc. You can hardly apply the regular notions of time, beginning, end to these things (see, I said ‘things’ again!), which is why I think the Lord Buddha made the distinction between sankarā and dhammā. Sankharā are objects in a stricter sense, whereas dhammā would be a wider notion including such things as Nibbana or ignorance. The point is that Nibbana is not a thing or place, or sphere, or something existing somewhere or in any time, in the past, present, or future, it cannot have a beginning, end, cause. Neither can ignorance. Or the absence of a six-headed pink-skinned comet-riding Elvis Presley.

Ignorance cannot cloud anything, especially Nibbana, because ignorance and Nibbana are not things.

But then, this is my interpretation. In the more classical Theravadin intepretations, one may agree that, essentially, yeah, the Nibbana element exists at all times and it is our ignorance that does not allow us to ‘perceive’ the Nibbana element or see it with wisdom. They are not the same thing so we should not equate them, but otherwise yeah, your last comment is correct in the more classical interpretation.


Energy is the original ignorance in relative material form. All things are conditioned in dependence of energy. Entropy.

With Metta

I am sorry for being unclear, nibbana has no beginning and no end, energy too has no beginning and no end while ignorance even though it has no beginning it has end that’s why I think that energy is nibbana not ignorance

Both energy and nibbana can’t be destroyed and they have no cause and condition that’s why they are both unconditioned and uncaused

Ignorance even though it’s beginningless it has a cause and condition which is lack of knowledge

What is energy? I have never heard the Buddha use this word. What is your definition and how does it fit in the Buddhadhamma?

Again, if you follow the classical Theravadin interpretation, the Nibbana element is definitely, 100% not the energy in the sense that we use in our everyday language.

In my interpretation as well. In my interpretation, Nibbana is not a thing, it can have no beginning, end or destruction (neither can ignorance, for that matter), because it is not a thing. Applying these categories to Nibbana would be a mistake: absence of something does not exist on its own, it is not an object, not a sankhara.


E= mc2 where E = energy, m= mass and c= speed of light

We can call matter as condensed form of energy

You cant destroy energy it just changes its form for example you can create a proton using a gamma ray which is a very strong radiation the gamma ray energy is not destroyed but it changes into a proton which is part of atom

So energy can’t be destroyed in the sense that it just changes its form because matter is simply an energy that has mass

Now all matter came from energy, before big bang there’s no matter at all what existed was energy so if we convert all current matter in our universe back to energy we will have the same energy like what existed 13 billions years ago before the big bang happened

So matter and energy is interchangeable the origin of matter was energy but you can’t call that the origin of energy was matter before the big bang because there’s no matter at all before the big bang

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I am sorry, but for me trying to use physical quantitative properties of matter as an equivalent to Nibbana is non-sensical. Even in the formula you have used, energy is equivalent to mass, so why not say that Nibbana equals mass? The faster a particle moves, the more Nibbana it has.

Besides, as far as I understand, the physicists do not quality energy as an independent object or thing but rather as a quantitative property that may be transferred to an object to, among other things, heat it. If you believe that Nibbana is a physical quantitative property used for heating things, very well, it is your life.


It would be best not to mix scientific jargon and sutta jargon. At best it is like using mixed metaphors, at worst it is completely misleading and inapplicable.

This picture of big bang and stuff is just a convenient picture, it is not to be taken literally as if there was a bright shiny ball of energy that explodes and becomes matter. The expansion/explosion is not in space, it is of space-time. The beginning of any universe cycle is a singularity which is a vacuum state (hypothesized based on time reversed extrapolation). Loosely speaking, without getting technical, Space, time, and energy as we know it arises out of this vacuum state because even vacuum state cannot stay perfectly in its zero energy state “indefinitely”- there are fluctuations around that zero state and eventually, one such fluctuation grows and results in space- time, and energy, which eventually results in matter-antimatter pair. There are many many problems with this picture, for example, where is all the antimatter which must have been produced in equal measure to matter, etc. etc.

If we must make a comparison of jargon, all energy and matter would be rupa - a kind of manifestation. That is all that can be said about it. Space-Time has no meaning when the universe is in the singularity rest state, so the concepts like beginningless, conditioned, unconditioned, etc. also have no meaning.

It would be too far off topic to discuss this in actual detail but in my opinion it is best not to try and fit concepts from sciences exactly with the suttas. Issues will get even more vexing than they already are.
with metta,


Buddhism and physics equates very well indeed. Both have dimensionality at it’s core. The confusion caused in this thread is mixing relative states. eg factors of 4 don’t fit into factors of seven.

With Metta.

All thinking around physics is about to have a paradigm shift. Research MUONS. How will it affect the Dhamma.

[quote=“Ratana, post:5, topic:20382”]
something that has beginning has an end do you want me to quote a sutta to back my statement ?

This is found in SN 56.11 and may be in others too.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that since Nibbana is cessation of ignorance which has no beginning, Nibbana must have existed alongside ignorance without a beginning.
IMO what has existed is the potential to realize ignorance. The potential is not the same as realization. As such, Nibbana has neither a beginning nor an end.
With Metta
EDIT Potential to realize Nibbana (not ignorance)

Energy: a property of the unknown to do something
“In physics, energy is the quantitative property that must be transferred to an object in order to perform work on”

Matter: if the unknown has mass
“Matter is any substance that has mass”

Mass: a property and measure for the unknown
“Mass is both a property of a physical body and a measure”

Light: the transmission of the unknown thing
“Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation” […] “In physics, radiation is the emission or transmission of Energy”

Check that loop.

E=mc2 means: Unknown=playing with the unknown

Which is truly right.

Everybody is playing in the hallucination. A global ludopathy.

(*)Of course, Science can be very good. Science can be very meritorious when goes to benefit many people. Just I mean we cannot compare both. Very different goals.

I think it depends on what you mean by energy. There is material energy and mental energy. The Buddha described 7 enlightenment factors, qualities of the awakened ones. One of them is energy - viriya. E.g. SN 46 and AN 5.1

Also, from the descriptions in EBT, Nibbana is an ultimate state of mind - end of all craving (Dhp 153-154 and SN56.11).

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I have forgiven you friend :slight_smile:

Yes you know space-time-energy construct, obviously there’s no way you have zero entropy Even in a cm3 of space except before the big bang

Yes we call them knowledge, the opposite of ignorance is knowledge you can’t claim that knowledge has a beginning or calculus didn’t exist before newton found it

I think my assumption is weak because buddha implied that nibbana is permanent/unchanged while energy keeps changing all the time

“There is, mendicants, an unborn, unproduced, unmade, and unconditioned. If there were no unborn, unproduced, unmade, and unconditioned, then you would find no escape here from the born, produced, made, and conditioned. But since there is an unborn, unproduced, unmade, and unconditioned, an escape is found from the born, produced, made, and conditioned.”

Space too is impermanent because there’s space inflation

Time too is impermanent because they said before bigbang time didn’t exist at all

But am I still wrong to say energy has no beginning or do you think there’s something that caused or conditioned all energy which all matter came from ?

It is hard to understand Nibbana and you are no exception. When the Buddha used examples such as unborn, unmade etc., he was trying to explain Nibbana metaphorically. Use of those words does not mean that Nibbana is something permanent or everlasting.

You are correct to say energy has no beginning or end. But, what has energy got to do with Nibbana? Sometimes consciousness is compared to energy but according to the Buddha consciousness is dependently arisen. For example, if two pieces of wood are rubbed against each other heat is produced. And when the two wood pieces are separated heat disappears. Consciousness is similar.

The Buddha compared consciousness to a magician who creates things out of nothing. His tricks are not real but people believe them. Consciousness too does a similar trick. That is, when it arises in dependence it creates a notion of a self as the one who experiences. This is where craving arises because people do everything for them-selves since they mistake consciousness’s trick for a real self. This in other words, is disregarding the conditionality of consciousness.
Nibbana is realized when this conditionality is understood because it dispels the self notion which is the catalyst for craving and intention. In other words, Nibbana is the cessation of craving which is the cause for transmigration.
This realization of Nibbana is METAPHORICALLY compared to a fire going out because when the fire goes out it is not possible to say that the fire went to east, west, south or north. It just extinguished.
So I think mixing Nibbana with energy is misleading.
With Metta


Wow, gold mine for me.

My background, bachelor’s in Physics and another one in Buddhism.

Read this for well parallel comparison, not random mix by people who doesn’t understand a lot of physics:

Both material and mental energy are conditioned, thus couldn’t qualify to equate to Nibbana.

Also, the fascination with the concept of energy is actually relatively new. It’s only in the 1800s that the law of conservation of energy is truly discovered. In 1915, General relativity seems to ignore this as energy is not well defined in GR. Energy is conserved as long as the laws of physics is the same in time. Given that GR means spacetime can bend, time itself may change, thus law of conservation of energy is not as solid as it seemed. Also, current cosmological models have the cosmic microwave background radiation to be less energetic as space lengthen the wavelength of the photons. And dark energy, we get them for free as space expands.

This doesn’t fit with the Buddhist model of cyclic universe, and beginninglessness. Big bang cannot be the ultimate beginning according to Buddhism. View the blogspot above for solving this with physics cyclic cosmological models.