A Cosmic Religion of the Future

By Grant Lawrence

"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spiritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity."

"If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism."

-- Albert Einstein

Humanity is at the brink of evolving itself into a new life form. It seems to me at some point a life form advances to such a point that it begins to take control of its own evolution. That is if the life form doesn't destroy itself first with that technology. I think that humanity has arrived at this point now.

Just how the new evolved human will look, I am not sure. But I am confident that the future evolved "human" will be a genetically engineered form of man and machine. It is also likely that humankind will create some type of self aware machine that may someday itself evolve into a bio machine.

All of this is quite unsettling for those trapped in the dark ages of religious myth and fantasy. Not that there is not room for myth and storytelling in helping to understand the human experience. But it is important to come to terms with reality and our relationship with it. If religious traditions and storytelling doesn't offer a glimpse into reality, but merely causes more confusion, then it needs to be clarified and understood for what it is.

How will any religion or spirituality help humanity deal with this "Brave New World" of science and technology so that life can retain its meaning and some joy?

As the rest of human life is changing at tremendous pace so to will be our understanding of the psyche, consciousness, and the hidden realms of the spiritual. We cannot discard that spiritual aspect of our lives now that humanity will soon be evolving itself into something else. I firmly believe that it is fundamentally important that we don't discard the spiritual, especially now, because it is the spiritual that will allow us to keep our heads (sanity) as we navigate through some very difficult times for humanity.

But what spiritual tradition can help humanity move hopefully, peacefully, and lovingly into a fantastic and sometimes frightening world of change. I agree with Einstein that Buddhism can be that "cosmic religion of the future."

I am not asking anyone to discard their atheism or their belief in a particular religion. But what I am saying to those that have some understanding of the future is that spirituality is an important aspect of life. Rather than abandon the spiritual life because the "old" religious traditions and beliefs no longer fit and are not helpful, I propose that we consider adopting a cosmic understanding to go with the cosmic change that awaits us.

Buddhism is the path of a good mind and a good heart.

In traditional Buddhism, what is not reasonable, reliable, and truthful should be discarded.
Buddhism doesn't ask us to believe in a supreme creator or a personal God but we can if we find that such is our understanding. Instead Buddhism asks us to consider in what way our thoughts, words, and deeds have contributed to building our lives. Buddhism also asks us to consider in what way we are connected and interconnected with the rest of life and to what extent we have effected our relationships and they have effected us. Buddhism offers a path of right living and right mindfulness so that we suffer less and we have more joy in our lives. This path can be found through the spiritual discipline of meditation and association with others in a spiritual community.

Buddhism doesn't ask us to discard the unseen forces that exist all around us, it only asks us to consider in what way these forces are helpful or unhelpful. Buddhism points to the Absolute and the truth behind all of the energies and movement that we see as our life.

But, Buddhism also is a religion of love. Life without love is intolerable and Buddhism understands this. The Buddha asks us to go beyond the conditioning of our society, culture, and families and to see people as ourselves with similar likes, dislikes, feelings, and emotions. Also, the Buddha asks us to consider all of life and all of the beings that we are aware of and to think in terms of being a part of each other. The Buddha taught that there can be no peace, no real joy, and no harmony when we are contributing to people being abused or unjustly treated. The path of the Buddha was a royal road of teaching, helping, and comforting with the truth.

In this coming cycle of humanity, there needs to be a spirituality that fits our minds as well as our hearts. A spirituality that doesn't ask us to abandon wisdom and understanding in favor of rituals, traditions, and routine. I am not asking anyone to abandon a religion, or their lack of religion, if that is helping them and is a blessing to others. But I am asking those that have given up on spirituality because they don't want to give up on reality to consider Buddhism and meditation.

I believe, like Einstein, that Buddhism can allow us to joyfully access the "hidden" spiritual life as we move through a world that will be profoundly changed by science and technology. In the coming decades, what it means to be human will profoundly change. But the truth that, no matter how life evolves, it is all life and we are that life will help us through the future. Buddhism and the path of meditation offers a way of spiritual hope while not abandoning our reasoning, our science, or our technology. In truth, humanity will not abandon science and technology but it doesn't have to abandon the joy of life which is found in the spirituality of having a good heart and a good mind.

Source: Bodhi Thunder

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