Zen and the Quantum Computer, by Yamada Ryoun Roshi

In December of 2015 an historical news conference was held in America’s Silicon Valley, sponsored by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Google, and D-Wave Systems Company of Canada. For over two years this consortium had been using the Quantum Computer of D-Wave and carrying out performance tests.

They announced their results at the news conference. “The D-Wave computer can compute at a speed one hundred million times faster than any other computer.” “A hundred million times faster” means that what it takes other computers a hundred million seconds to compute the Quantum Computer computes in one second. One hundred million seconds is equivalent to three years and two months’ time. What takes other computers to calculate in three years and two months time the Quantum Computer does in one second. Actually, this is an oversimplification since the speed of calculation also depends on the problem to be solved. Nevertheless, it is no mistake to say that a high- speed computer of a totally different dimension has made its appearance.

How are such high-speed operations possible? Other computers operate using input and output digital signals (called bytes) of [0] and [1]. However, the Quantum Computer looks for the answer to the problem posed, by using “quantum bytes”, meaning a condition in which [0] and [1] are overlapping. By “overlapping” is meant that [0] is at the same time [1].

In a world predicated on the supposition of dualistic opposition this condition is impossible. However, in fact, in the quantum world such a condition really exists. Quantum Mechanics can be called the discipline that systematically searches for the existence of such a world. If one interprets “quantum” as the smallest units which form the phenomenal world, then one must say that the ultimate form of existence of that world in saying “[0] at the same time [1]” is the same as saying that the essence of the world discovered in Zen is: Form is Emptiness; Emptiness is Form.

The function of the Quantum Computer begins from the condition of the quantum byte, namely, [0] is at the same time [1]. Then, in order to solve the problem given to it, it gives a control signal known as a “transverse magnetic field.” By adjusting the strength of this transverse magnetic field, it is gradually weakened, and the interaction between the quantum bytes is gradually strengthened. When the transverse magnetic field reaches [0], the quantum byte has clearly become either [0] or [1], and the result shows the best answer to the problem that was given.

In brief, there is no calculation by repeating the input output of [0] and [1] as is done by other computers. One could say that the answer arises spontaneously, once one has determined the framework for dealing with the problem, from the condition of the quantum byte being that [0] and [1] exist simultaneously. There is no calculation being done to get the answer.

In the world that Shakyamuni discovered all the answers to all problems are contained within. There is no need to look for an answer outside. Once the framework is determined, the answer arises spontaneously.

I sense that the world of Quantum Mechanics and the world discovered in Zen are drawing closer and closer. However, the best possible solution that Quantum Mechanics has been able to bring forth, namely, that the world where [0] and [1] are divided, is at the same time the world of [0] and [1] just as it is, has yet to be proved by Quantum Mechanics. When will it be able to prove this?

~ Translated by Jerome CUSUMANO

Text written by Yamada Ryoun and originally published on December 1, 2017 in the KYôSHô (Awakening Gong), No. 383, Issued by The Religious Foundation Sanbô-Kyôdan
Images: Parallel-World by geralt, CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay.com and Yamada Ryoun Roshi from our library.
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