The letter by Einstein, on the Buddha-within, I read it again and again. Not that I want to pick up his views – in reality, the letter only touched upon the outer meaning of Buddhist teaching. When I re-read it, it is hard not to be wistful.
Many people asked me about Buddhism, why practicing it is important. I find it difficult to answer. To know oneself, to understand the world, the meaning of life, to live a meaningful life, all this, can stem from the Buddhist practice. I know, to answer this way is unsatisfactory. Many expect an answer that amounts to, Buddhism is empowering, Buddhism leads to blessings. I can’t for the life of me lie to them. The so-called empowerment and blessings come from the practitioner’s own realization, which is why the Buddha spoke of the magical hands in Bodhisattvahood. Bodhisattvas are people who are aware, who have realizations. The “magic” comes from being aware, having realizations (“empowerment” and “blessings”). It is not the case when one begins practicing, or one makes a donation, Buddha’s empowerment and blessings would come forth. It is also not the case if one’s guru is highly realized would lead to empowerment and blessings.
Einstein’s letter did not emphasize the power of empowerment and blessings. He merely said, there is an infinite force that is also the salvation for the world, that it can lead to the cessation of egos, it can multiply the best of us. What he said is exactly the meaning of life. People nowadays spend their entire life selfishly chasing after what they see as benefits. They push a world of computers, a world of androids (coined “artificial intelligence”). They speak eloquently and with reason, as if they are the creator. They believe in what they do as an improvement for all, as if a matter-of-fact, that the act of humans can conquer the natural world, and humans as the way they are. These people have no interest in the power of the Buddha-within. This is most likely Einstein’s regret, which is also my regret.
Einstein requested that his letters be released after people can understand his thinking. Now is probably not yet the right time. Because of those who possess in their hands “big data” and “artificial intelligence,” are not those who spend energy on this kind of thinking. After I wrote the article on it, I was in fact quite saddened by it. The way I explained it, some would criticize me for peddling the teaching of Buddha-within. That only those who are highly educated, those who are marginalized would accept what I said. The other 99.9% wouldn’t even give a damn.
The teaching of Buddha-within is rooted in being “naturally as such.” All scientific discovery and inventions can either go along with this “natural” or destroy it. When I was a kid, inventions that fell in the latter case were in the minority. Now nothing is the case. People spend so much time interacting with computers. The human connection is so weakened. The family connection is so weakened. These inventions appear to provide a lot of convenience, but what’s got lose in comparison is so much more. I miss the games in my childhood. I miss my schoolmates from my youth. I miss my friends in adulthood and in my senior years.
My mixed feelings are sketched above. Bafflegab.