The Spiritual Wisdom of Albert Einstein


Though he was the most famous scientist of his time, Albert Einstein knew we could never fully understand the workings of the world within the limitations of the human mind. Experiencing the universe as a harmonious whole, he encouraged the use of intuition to solve problems, marvelled at the the mystery of God in nature, and applauded the ideals of great spiritual teachers such as Buddha and Jesus.

In Search of the Cosmic Man
The following is an excerpt of his writings that explore the meeting place between science and spirituality, giving us a fascinating glimpse into how Einstein saw the world:
“School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like Feldwebel (sergeants). I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam. What I hated most was the competitive system there, and especially sports. Because of this, I wasn’t worth anything, and several times they suggested I leave.
This was a Catholic School in Munich. I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement. How can a teacher understand youth with such a system?

Einstein felt strangled by his grade-driven teachers at school
Order in the Universe, Disorder in the Human Mind

From the age of twelve I began to suspect authority and distrust teachers. I learned mostly at home, first from my uncle and then from a student who came to eat with us once a week. He would give me books on physics and astronomy.
The more I read, the more puzzled I was by the order of the universe and the disorder of the human mind, by the scientists who didn’t agree on the how, the when, or the why of creation.
Then one day this student brought me Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Reading Kant, I began to suspect everything I was taught. I no longer believed in the known God of the Bible, but rather in the mysterious God expressed in nature.
The basic laws of the universe are simple, but because our senses are limited, we can’t grasp them. There is a pattern in creation.
If we look at this tree outside whose roots search beneath the pavement for water, or a flower which sends its sweet smell to the pollinating bees, or even our own selves and the inner forces that drive us to act, we can see that we all dance to a mysterious tune, and the piper who plays this melody from an inscrutable distance—whatever name we give him—Creative Force, or God—escapes all book knowledge.
Science is never finished because the human mind only uses a small portion of its capacity, and man’s exploration of his world is also 

Einstein believed we all danced to a mysterious tune within

Experiencing the Universe as a Harmonious Whole

Creation may be spiritual in origin, but that doesn’t mean that everything created is spiritual. How can I explain such things to you? Let us accept the world is a mystery. Nature is neither solely material nor entirely spiritual.
Man, too, is more than flesh and blood; otherwise, no religions would have been possible. Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found.
“Yet, only one thing must be remembered: there is no effect without a cause, and there is no lawlessness in creation”
If I hadn’t an absolute faith in the harmony of creation, I wouldn’t have tried for thirty years to express it in a mathematical formula. It is only man’s consciousness of what he does with his mind that elevates him above the animals, and enables him to become aware of himself and his relationship to the universe.
I believe that I have cosmic religious feelings. I never could grasp how one could satisfy these feelings by praying to limited objects. The tree outside is life, a statue is dead. The whole of nature is life, and life, as I observe it, rejects a God resembling man.
Man has infinite dimensions and finds God in his conscience. [A cosmic religion] has no dogma other than teaching man that the universe is rational and that his highest destiny is to ponder it and co-create with 


Einstein discussing Science and God with Indian spiritual teacher Tagore

Unveiling the Magnificence of Creation

I like to experience the universe as one harmonious whole. Every cell has life. Matter, too, has life; it is energy solidified. Our bodies are like prisons, and I look forward to be free, but I don’t speculate on what will happen to me.
I live here now, and my responsibility is in this world now. I deal with natural laws. This is my work here on earth.
The world needs new moral impulses which, I’m afraid, won’t come from the churches, heavily compromised as they have been throughout the centuries.
Perhaps those impulses must come from scientists in the tradition of Galileo, Kepler and Newton. In spite of failures and persecutions, these men devoted their lives to proving that the universe is a single entity, in which, I believe, a humanized God has no place.
The genuine scientist is not moved by praise or blame, nor does he preach. He unveils the universe and people come eagerly, without being pushed, to behold a new revelation: the order, the harmony, the magnificence of creation!
And as man becomes conscious of the stupendous laws that govern the universe in perfect harmony, he begins to realize how small he is. He sees the pettiness of human existence, with its ambitions and intrigues, its ‘I am better than thou’ creed.
This is the beginning of cosmic religion within him; fellowship and human service become his moral code. Without such moral foundations, we are hopelessly doomed.


Einstein believed that the real scientist has faith

Improving the World with Ideals, not Scientific Knowledge

If we want to improve the world we cannot do it with scientific knowledge but with ideals. Confucius, Buddha, Jesus and Gandhi have done more for humanity than science has done.
We must begin with the heart of man—with his conscience—and the values of conscience can only be manifested by selfless service to mankind.
Religion and science go together. As I’ve said before, science without religion is lame and religion without science is blind. They are interdependent and have a common goal—the search for truth.
Hence it is absurd for religion to proscribe Galileo or Darwin or other scientists. And it is equally absurd when scientists say that there is no God. The real scientist has faith, which does not mean that he must subscribe to a creed.
Without religion there is no charity. The soul given to each of us is moved by the same living spirit that moves the universe.
I am not a mystic. Trying to find out the laws of nature has nothing to do with mysticism, though in the face of creation I feel very humble. It is as if a spirit is manifest infinitely superior to man’s spirit. Through my pursuit in science I have known cosmic religious feelings. But I don’t care to be called a mystic.
I believe that we don’t need to worry about what happens after this life, as long as we do our duty here—to love and to serve.
I have faith in the universe, for it is rational. Law underlies each happening. And I have faith in my purpose here on earth. I have faith in my intuition, the language of my conscience, but I have no faith in speculation about Heaven and Hell. I’m concerned with this time—here and 


The intuitive mind is a sacred gift

It is Intuition which Advances Humanity

Many people think that the progress of the human race is based on experiences of an empirical, critical nature, but I say that true knowledge is to be had only through a philosophy of deduction. For it is intuition that improves the world, not just following a trodden path of thought.
Intuition makes us look at unrelated facts and then think about them until they can all be brought under one law. To look for related facts means holding onto what one has instead of searching for new facts.
Intuition is the father of new knowledge, while empiricism is nothing but an accumulation of old knowledge. Intuition, not intellect, is the ‘open sesame’ of yourself.
Indeed, it is not intellect, but intuition which advances humanity. Intuition tells man his purpose in this life.
I do not need any promise of eternity to be happy. My eternity is now. I have only one interest: to fulfill my purpose here where I am.
This purpose is not given me by my parents or my surroundings. It is induced by some unknown factors. These factors make me a part of eternity.”
~ Albert Einstein
From: upliftconnect.com

Text Source: Einstein and the Poet: In Search of the Cosmic Man (1983). From a series of meetings William Hermanns had with Einstein in 1930, 1943, 1948, and 1954

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Buddhism is not a Religion—It’s Something Much Better.


Buddhism is not a Religion—It’s Something Much Better.
“The dharma that I preach can be understood only by those who know how to think.” ~ The Buddha

I get plenty of comments when I say that I’m not a religious person, but I am a practicing Buddhist.

Although Buddhism is known worldwide as a religion, for me it is not. Frankly, I used to perceive it as one, before knowing anything about it and delving into its culture.
To start off, the word religion means “a system of faith and worship” and “the belief in a superhuman, or god with power.” After visiting India and Nepal, and observing the Buddhist complex, I came to notice that Buddhism is neither a system of faith, nor a god-based institution.

Buddhists do not consider the Buddha as a supreme god. For them, he is a man like any other man who’s walked on the earth. Nevertheless, Buddha untangled the reasons of suffering and offered us a concrete way of getting out of them.

And although he did offer the world teachings about how to get unstuck from samsara, he insisted that he wanted no worship or praying. All he asked for is that we must examine his teachings first, and if they do resonate with us, then we practice them. If not, however, we have the utter freedom to leave them.
Although I have watched rituals and ceremonies being held at monasteries, I’ve been told that they’re not in any way worship-based. The so-called “worship” that we might see is one that is offered as a way of showing respect and thankfulness to the man who exhibited the truth. Even the prayers that we hear are ones that read compassion, kindness and love to all sentient beings, without any exception.
If we look more closely at Buddhism, we can even ascertain that there is no leader in the culture. Dzongsar Khyentse constantly talks about how the Dalai Lama is a secular leader for the Tibetan community in exile and a spiritual master to many people all over the world—and not merely for Buddhists. He insists that there is no authority in Buddhism with the power to decide who is a true Buddhist and who is not, or who is punishable and who is not.

If Buddhism isn’t a religion, what is it then?

The way I see it, Buddhism is a way of life—it’s a philosophy and a truth that simply represents how things are in life.
I must admit (and I’m not ashamed to claim it) that Buddhism has helped me understand the religion I was brought up with, as well as all the other religions in the world. Before being introduced to Buddhism, “holy books” were on par with the Chinese language to me. I couldn’t understand why I was supposed to pray, to attend religious ceremonies or to follow a spiritual leader, without true conviction or belief for what they’re saying. Before Buddhism, I was co-dependent on “God.” I constantly searched outside of myself, and I believe this is why I never found myself.
Buddhism helped me look inward. It taught me independence and self-awareness. Through it, I began to understand how the world ticks. It helped me look at myself and take responsibility for my actions, thoughts and emotions, rather than taking refuge in a supreme god.
With Buddhism, I came to finally understand that God isn’t a judgmental man who lives in the clouds. I stopped this duality between God and myself, and I figured out that God is in everyone (and everything and everywhere). It is not something that is outside of us or something we cannot reach—it is in us.
So you might ponder the question—why is it worth looking into Buddhism or practicing it?
I utterly believe to each their own—however, I also believe that it is never wrong to live with an open heart and an open mind which expands our knowledge and raises questions in our heads.
Unlike other religions, Buddhism doesn’t tell its followers to stick only to its teachings. Buddhists don’t care where you’re from, what you believe in or who you worship. All they care about is that you know the truth—and the truth is: “All compounded things are impermanent.”
It’s worth understanding Buddhism, because the final outcome of its purpose is not something that is beneficial to itself—the benefits are for our own sake. The benefit is that we will actually understand the truth of life, our existence and ourselves.
Again, like Dzognsar Khyentse said, “Buddhism is not a survival kit for living that dictates how many husbands a wife should have or where to pay taxes or how to punish thieves. Buddhism doesn’t even have a ritual for wedding ceremonies.”
The Buddha didn’t tell people what they wanted to hear—he simply opened their eyes to the truth of life.
Are you ready to hear it?

From: elephantjournal.com

Author: Elyane Youssef

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Every Man and Woman Has 4 Wives or Husbands, said Gautama Buddha


Gautama Buddha concluded that ‘Every man and woman has four wives or husbands. What do these wives signify?’ Below is an very interesting story …

“In one of the Agama Sutras, the Buddha’s early sermons, there is a very interesting story:

Once there was a man who had four wives. According to the social system and circumstances of ancient India, it was possible for a man to have several wives. Also, during the Heian period in Japan, about a thousand years ago, it was not unusual for a woman to have several husbands. The Indian had become ill and was about to die. At the end of his life, he felt very lonely and so asked the first wife to accompany him to the other world.

‘My dear wife,’ he said, ‘I loved you day and night, I took care of you throughout my whole life. Now I am about to die, will you please go with me wherever I go after my death?’

He expected her to answer yes. But she answered, ‘My dear husband, I know you always loved me. And you are going to die. Now it is time to separate from you. Goodbye, my dear.’

He called his second wife to his sickbed and begged her to follow him in death. He said, ‘My dear second wife, you know how I loved you. Sometimes I was afraid you might leave me, but I held on to you strongly. My dear, please come with me.’

The second wife expressed herself rather coldly. ‘Dear husband, your first wife refused to accompany you after your death. How can I follow you? You loved me only for your own selfish sake.’

Lying in his deathbed, he called his third wife, and asked her to follow him. The third wife replied, with tears in her eyes, ‘My dear, I pity you and I feel sad for myself. Therefore I shall accompany you to the graveyard. This is my last duty to you.’ The third wife thus also refused to follow him to death.

Three wives had refused to follow him after his death. Now he recalled that there was another wife, his fourth wife, for whom he didn’t care very much. He had treated her like a slave and had always showed much displeasure with her. He now thought that if he asked her to follow him to death, she certainly would say no.

But his loneliness and fear were so severe that he made the effort to ask her to accompany him to the other world. The fourth wife gladly accepted her husband’s request.

‘My dear husband,’ she said, ‘I will go with you. Whatever happens, I am determined to be with you forever. I cannot be separated from you.”
This is the story of ‘A Man and His Four Wives.’

Gautama Buddha concluded the story as follows:

Every man and woman has four wives or husbands. What do these wives signify?’
THE FIRST WIFE

The first ‘wife’ is our body. We love our body day and night. In the morning, we wash our face, put on clothing and shoes. We give food to our body. We take care of our body like the first wife in this story. But unfortunately, at the end of our life, the body, the first ‘wife’ cannot follow us to the next world. As it is stated in a commentary, ‘When the last breath leaves our body, the healthy color of the face is transformed, and we lose the appearance of radiant life. Our loved ones may gather around and lament, but to no avail. When such an event occurs, the body is sent into an open field and cremated, leaving only the white ashes.’ This is the destination of our body.
THE SECOND WIFE

What is the meaning of the second wife? The second ‘wife’ stands for our fortune, our material things, money, property, fame, position, and job that we worked hard to attain. We are attached to these material possessions. We are afraid to lose these material things and wish to possess much more. There is no limit. At the end of our life these things cannot follow us to death. Whatever fortune we have piled up, we must leave it. We came into this world with empty hands. During our life in this world, we have the illusion that we obtained a fortune. At death, our hands are empty. We can’t hold our fortune after our death, just as the second wife told her husband: ‘You hold me with your ego-centered selfishness. Now it is time to say goodbye.’
THE THIRD WIFE

What is meant by the third wife? Everyone has a third ‘wife’. This is the relationship of our parents, sister and brother, all relatives, friends, and society. They will go as far as the graveyard, with tears in their eyes. They are sympathetic and saddened…

Thus, we cannot depend on our physical body, our fortune, and our society. We are born alone and we die alone. No one will accompany us after our death.
THE FOURTH WIFE

Sakyamuni Buddha mentioned the fourth wife, who would accompany her husband after his death. What does that mean? The fourth ‘wife’ is our mind [or Alaya consciousness]. When we deeply observe and recognize that our minds are filled with anger, greed, and dissatisfaction, we are having a good look at our lives. The anger, greed, and dissatisfaction are karma, the law of causation.We cannot be separated from our own karma. As the fourth wife told her dying husband, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’”
This post was republished from awakening-path.net. 

Is Buddhism A Good Religion For People Who Don’t Like Religion?


 The number of people who don’t practice an organized religion is growing.For almost all of human history, leaving the religion of your parents was unheard of. You could be born into a religion and stay in that religion your entire life, never even thinking about changing or exploring.This is still true for the vast majority of people.But those who are not content to stay in the religion they were raised is growing. Some people are leaving the sect of their parents, but staying in the same general religion. Some people are joining other religions. 

A growing minority is leaving behind religion entirely.Then there are those who declare that they are “spiritual but not religious.” Those who don’t want to cling to a religion but at the same time do think there is some spiritual aspect to life. At least that’s what I think it means. I suspect that if you interviewed people who viewed themselves as spiritual but not religious, you could get many different answers.This is considered the fastest growing demographic in the United States—people that walked away from religion but don’t want to identify as atheists.
Buddhist practice can be suited to those who are turned off by religion but still want some degree of spirituality in their lives. One caveat I have to make is this: Buddhism is more open to change than we usually think of religions as being. Because of this, some of the different sects of Buddhism view it very differently than others.That being said, this article will only focus on core Buddhist teachings and I will avoid sectarian ones.

Here are some reasons why Buddhism can be a good fit for those who are spiritual but not religious.

1) It’s a contemplative system.

The Buddha attained enlightenment through meditation. So, meditation is central to the Buddhist path. Other religions contain contemplative ideas, but generally don’t have contemplative practice at the center. It’s about this practice, not about institutions or authority figures.

2) There is no Buddhist God.

Some people don’t like the idea of an all powerful creator. Buddhism doesn’t have one of those. Part of the point of the Buddha’s path is that he was a normal human. Any of us has the power to follow the path to awakening that he discovered. That is an empowering thought. That said, one could believe in gods and be a Buddhist. I know several people that do. But the point is that the Buddha was a human being like us, so we can do what he did.

3) Buddhism is about living life in the right way.

It isn’t about being saved or going to some other world. Buddhism teaches that deep down we are pure and enlightened already, we just have to realize this by clearing away delusion. There are different ways to go about trying to achieve this. My favorite is the cultivation of the six perfections: generosity, virtue, patience, diligence, wisdom, and concentration. We just have to cultivate these, nurture these in our hearts and expand them.

4) The path is easy to understand.

The problem is that life is unsatisfactory. This is caused by ignorance and delusion. The solution is waking up. How do we wake up? The Buddha taught that our suffering starts with our false belief that we are separate from everything else. We spend our lives identifying with this little “self” and really it’s just a convenient fiction. We are one with the world around us. And we can come to understand that through the cultivation of morality, wisdom, and concentration.

 5) The truth is inside you.

We are trying to wake up. And the way to do that is within us. We are working with our minds to live more mindfully. Meditation is our tool. Because we are working with our minds, it can be said that the real truths of Buddhism all come from within us, not from some outside force. So, Buddhism doesn’t expect us to take things on faith, because we are seeing things for ourselves by working with our minds.

6) You can do it.

The Buddha was just a man, as I said. As human beings we have all the resources we need. We have Buddha nature within us, which means we have the potential for enlightenment.
And there are many teachers, those who can offer us instruction and inspiration. Those who prove to us it can be done. Although our experiences prove that to us as well. And there are fellow practitioners all over who can support us on our path too, like workout buddies.Buddhist teachings offer us a path with a clear set of instructions and predictable results.

Author: Daniel Scharpenburg | Editor: Cat Beekmans

source:www.elephantjournal.com

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