"The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description...if there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism."
Er, but - it appears Albert never said this, or at least not in this tidy form. He is usually described as a theist, or a pantheist, rather than an atheist, and he certainly didn't go for the personal God who is directly involved in human affairs, the "Lord please smite our enemies because we don't like them" sort of God. It would seem he approached Buddhism via Schopenhauer, and he does mention it favourably.
I think MythoAlbert, as quoted above, is right, in that the experience of a sense of unity above/below individual forms and processes, the "mystical" experience Alan Watts tried to describe (in my last posting here) sits better with Big Science than the Judeo-Christian family of faiths.
So Gautama Buddha* still gets top marks from me (and one or two others) for:
- not claiming divine origins or a pre-ordained mission
- telling his followers to find their own light, their own way
- giving them the astonishing** insight that the ego, the self, is transitory and not a consistent entity
- getting people to meditate their way to a better, calmer, more compassionate state of being