I came across a very profound snippet of modern jargonized wisdom quite recently, which I feel worth repeating here: If intelligent life is the universe’s way of becoming aware and understanding itself then this planet needs a reboot. I couldn’t agree more; as this much needed reboot is just what I’ve been trying to effect for the past two decades; so far, needless to say perhaps, without too much success. But, I still persevere. Following up on the last article and ever hoping to give Buddhism the chance to make my overtures as a Cosmic come to pass, I some time ago wrote the following letter under the above heading to the Buddhist Cultural Centre in Colombo; this authority being the most appropriate, close to me in Sri Lanka. True to status quo conservatism, it remains unanswered and no doubt unheeded – But, such is the unenviable lot of the Lambeth Pilgrim, and all freethinking radicals like me.
Having received a very powerful and dramatic course correction to my spiritual existence in 1980, I feel that the psychic revelation I received during this enlightenment might well be of interest to you and your peers. And believe me when I say I only have the future welfare of mankind at heart; and no wish to be glorified as another radical cult figure, trying to establish a new religion to replace all the relics of the past. There is surely a need in the world for a refreshing common-sense philosophy, based on modern scientific know-how and lifestyles; but never let it be classified as a religion. Religion can only lead to further bitterness, hatred and conflict; enough is enough, I think it fair to say.
What has made me write to you, you’ll no doubt be asking yourself? That’s if my letter has not already found its way into the trash bin – One reason alone! My Sri Lankan wife found your publication, Buddhism as a Religion, by Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda, in the bookshop that’s handling my own book sales in Sri Lanka. Knowing I’d be interested to read another view of Buddhism, she bought it, and I’ve now read it. For sure, it was not my first introduction to the subject, as since my life became my work and my work my life, following my own enlightenment, I’d researched all the major religions and philosophies of the world. Hence, my books and the articles appended to this letter.
I found the book well-written and easy to read, but wish it hadn’t classified Buddhism as a religion. I think you’ll understand why, if you follow my articles, concluding with my thoughts on the future role for a revitalized form of Buddhism in the article entitled Embodiment of Nature’s Deity.
Rightly or wrongly, I find the all-life-is-suffering, with desire causing the suffering, and the opt-out-of-rebirth-via-nirvana idealism of Buddhist philosophy both joyless and pessimistic. Whereas its life-after-life-after-life karmic flavour, with each person acting as their own god, is by far the nearest existing belief I’ve found to give credence to my psychically inspired Cosmos Club philosophy. I, therefore, far from endeavouring to dispense a new philosophy called Brianism, via the Cosmos Club, would prefer to encourage the infusion of joy, practicality and optimism into your own well-established philosophy; since this would be a far more efficacious way of processing the near-impossible mission psychically ordained for me – The promotion of a life-after-life belief that heralds progress towards conscious perfection and the evolution of a truly living deity. Nirvana in such circumstances would not then have to be thought a desirable escape route, once this essential step in the evolution of universal intelligence had transpired. However, who as a practicing Buddhist would be prepared to accept such a radical change of thinking, despite the written words of your learned author, who claims – Rational thinking and the importance of inviting criticism are paramount in Buddhism; and – No matter to what lengths increased scientific knowledge can extend man’s mental horizon, within the framework of the Dharma there is room for the acceptance of further discovery?
Well, I’m not a Buddhist, since I have to follow my own path. This path is what I would call a Middle Path, as a Confirmed Cosmic, which hopefully balances more mundane and practical material considerations with an advanced spiritual awareness. But, I can see a better future for Buddhism, if it can cope with modern scientific trends. Einstein allegedly thought it could cope – But, living as I do in Sri Lanka, party to traditional negative attitudes, I have my doubts. I hope I’m wrong; not in my cosmogony, but in my doubts. Only time will tell, and until this time arrives, I will continue to use my water-on-the-stone technique of attack on the status quo. I hope by this letter you’ll find it possible to consider positively what’s been stated; and accept that I only want to see a far better future for the world at large, with Buddhism as a revitalized driving force to achieve it.
Do you think I might ever see Buddhist monks of good conscious cheer amongst the ranks of the industrious productive classes? I fear not in my present lifetime.