Posted by Ryan on February 23, 2001 at 16:32:31:
In Reply to: Einstein was NOT a believer! posted by Gan Uesli Starling on February 23, 2001 at 15:20:41:
It's very interesting that you bring up Einstein and the monotheistic God with a reference to Buddhism. I think you are right in that Einstein is more like the Buddha than an adherent to the Church. Buddhism teaches that there is no "God" but an absolute, there is no "tradition" but a path, there is no "self" but a divinity and universality.
So back to that last quote from Einstein: "the liberation from the self".
The self, Buddhism teaches, is like an onion. You can gradually peel away the layers that we have, in essence, created for ourselves through our desires and aversions. The notion that "Ryan is an individual entity" is false. I am no more than a collection of objects that I have integrated into my subjective self. So like an onion, I can rid my self of layers upon layers of "things" that I have created for my self; in the statement "I am Ryan", the subject and object ("I" and "Ryan" respectively) are self-perpetuated. Onto each I can tack countless attributes: Ryan is tall. Ryan likes dogs. Dogs are good. Tall is bad. Etc. These are what, I think, Einstein is referring to as the "fetters of selfish desire", except it should be noted that this is also the case for our aversions, or fears.
In essence, if we continue to peel off the layers of the onion, of which we slowly expose our thoughts, emotions, feelings, intutions, and senses, we are left with nothing, indeed. There is no center to an onion. That core element to who we think we are (the "self") is self-created, and once it is transcended (or liberated from) we attain enlightenment. Such that a drop of water that enters the ocean is no longer a drop of water but the ocean itself.
I wish I could offer a quote to validate this teaching, but my books are not immediately available. Sorry.
So belief in the conventional monotheistic God is irrelevant. The Buddha was a theistic athiest. Good and bad (or God and the devil) are two sides to the same coin in the same way that we chase our desires and run from our fears. It's futile and self-perpetuating and -destructing.
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