As long as humans understand their own nature and that of dying from an emotional (ego) state of mind, they will perennially live in fear of death; seeking salvation (from without or within) for their bodies and or ‘souls’ after that great imponderable that is life after death. Transmigration and salvation are the abstract representation of that fear; they are the goals of religions. Believing in them makes Buddhism a ‘religion’. Ask yourself: Was the original Buddha a religious person seeking salvation?
These two concepts, in this new millennium, have stopped to be the exclusive turf of religion. It now belongs to our computer tech giants and their new scientists of the mind:
[salvation]…and exploring ways to digitize your brain based on the theory that your mind could live long after your body expires.
[fear of death] Oracle founder Larry Ellison has proclaimed his wish to live forever…“Death has never made any sense to me,”
[transmigration] Some neuroscientists believe it may be possible, within a century or so, for our minds to continue to function after death — in a computer or some other kind of simulation…
So, back to Buddhism. It is this religious quality, which it didn’t have during the life of the Buddha, that has prevented its other awesome aspect, Buddhism as a ‘science of the mind’, from being recognized. (I will explain later why I think it is a science.) Today more than ever its religious aspect must be de-emphasised so that the sunlight can shine on its science: our scientists are paid to develop a soul-less science that can computerize and program our minds, and turn machines into ‘sentient beings’.
Buddhism’s thorough study of the mind is in the position of challenging these scientists’ research on the mind. It can put a ‘heart’ on truly scientific progress, the type that could help us solve many of our personal and social problems without destroying the integrity of our minds or subjecting it to control by the state and elite scientists.
This is an interesting situation: scientists are stripping salvation out of its religion and Buddhism has to be stripped of its religion if we want to use it to control this ‘running-amok-scientific progress’. Don’t despair, there is a soul in the Buddhist science; it just isn’t religious.
The Buddhist religion: how the Buddhists betrayed the Buddha
Alliteration aside, I could delve directly into the Buddha’ science of the mind, but it still will not be appreciated if curious people decided to look it up and the first thing they find is a confusing roster of scary looking Buddhist gods.
So, bear with me; I will first discuss in my next post some ‘evidence’ of how the Buddha’s followers betrayed his 50 years effort of liberating us from religion, turned it into a religion and him into a god just hours before he ‘kicked the bucket’ and left this humanity (probably relieved) into his paranirvana. The discussion about its science will be in the third part of this ‘series’.