Einstein on Buddhism (Part 2)

by Jayantha | (<< Part 1)

Buddhism is a living, growing religion today because it succeeds in conserving many of the highest moral values of its adherents. It promotes calmness and self-control, augments serenity and happiness, and does much to prevent sorrow and mourning. Those who believe this philosophy live better lives than many who do not. Einstein was one of many who saw light in Buddhism that helped him realize life better. He valued Buddhism over every other belief as he saw it was most appealing, relevant & logical to intellectual minds.

At the time of this writing, much of Asia rests its hope in Buddhism. Will this noble faith that has so valiantly carried on through the dark ages of the past once again received the truth of expanded cosmic realities even as the disciples of the great teacher in India once listened to his proclamation of new truth. However, it’s evident from lately there is an incredible interest in the world for Buddhism all over again. This is mainly due to the science making many creator god concepts unreal and its exact match with the Buddhism that existed 2500 years ago.  

Buddhism, unlike many other teachings does not leave room for a closed mind whilst not stopping anyone accepting other teachings as plausible Buddha teaches his students to learn with their mind and don’t trust everything blindly, not even the words of the Buddha. One should understand, analyze and then decide if they find it true or not.

One day, a disciple ask buddha:

“Most respected one, can you please tell me what is the size of the universe?”

Buddha replied :

“Will the size of the universe help you end suffering?”

The disciple answered:

“No, most respected one”

Buddha then answered :

“So why are you asking questions of little importance and not ask questions on the ending of suffering?

In the world, there are people who are intrigued with heaven, there are people who are afraid of hell, there are people who wanted to learn supernatural powers, but these people just wanted to enjoy temporary happiness. However, one should learn the true happiness. The happiness or Nirvana. The end of suffering. Please also see below the famous parallel quotation by Einstein that helps you realize the similarities of science and the Buddhism.

Some parallel sayings of Buddha and Einstein taken from a book (see below):

1) According to general relativity, the concept of space detached from any physical content does not exist.

-Einstein

If there is only empty space, with no suns nor planets in it, then space loses its substantiality

-Buddha

2) Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.

-Einstein

All such notions as causation, succession, atoms, primary elements…are all figments of the imagination and manifestations of the mind.

-Buddha

3) Time and again the passion for understanding has led to the illusion that man is able to comprehend the objective world rationally by pure thought without any empirical foundations—in short, by metaphysics.

-Einstein

By becoming attached to names and forms, not realising that they have no more basis than the activities of the mind itself, error rises…and the way to emancipation is blocked.

-Buddha

4) In our thinking…we attribute to this concept of the bodily object a significance, which is to high degree independent of the sense impression which originally gives rise to it. This is what we mean when we attribute to the bodily object “a real existence.” …By means of such concepts and mental relations between them, we are able to orient ourselves in the labyrinth of sense impressions. These notions and relations…appear to us as stronger and more unalterable than the individual sense experience itself, the character of which as anything other than the result of an illusion or hallucination is never completely guaranteed.

-Einstein

I teach that the multitudinousness of objects have no reality in themselves but are only seen of the mind and, therefore, are of the nature of maya and a dream. …It is true that in one sense they are seen and discriminated by the senses as individualized objects; but in another sense, because of the absence of any characteristic marks of self-nature, they are not seen but are only imagined. In one sense they are graspable, but in another sense, they are not graspable.

-Buddha

5) The belief in an external world independent of the perceiving subject is the basis of all natural science. Since, however, sense perception only gives information of this external world or of “physical reality” indirectly, we can only grasp the latter by speculative means. It follows from this that our notions of physical reality can never be final. We must always be ready to change these notions—that is to say, the axiomatic basis of physics—in order to do justice to perceived facts in the most perfect way logically.

-Einstein

While the Tathagata, in his teaching, constantly makes use of conceptions and ideas about them, disciples should keep in mind the unreality of all such conceptions and ideas. They should recall that the Tathagata, in making use of them in explaining theDharma always uses them in the semblance of a raft that is of use only to cross a river. As the raft is of no further use after the river is crossed, it should be discarded. So these arbitrary conceptions of things and about things should be wholly given up as one attains enlightenment.

(<< Part 1)