Buddhism is the only one of the great religions that is consciously based on rationality and reason. Buddha did not rely on supernaturalism to convey his message, as do many religions. Twenty-five hundred years ago, before he became the Buddha, Siddhartha grappled with the philosophical and spiritual issues of his time. By looking within himself, Siddhartha was able to recognize that each person is a reflection of the universe from which s/he is created. With little knowledge of modern science he discovered that all creatures, including humans, are inseparable from Nature, that we are Nature, and that in order to adapt successfully to life’s conditions, we must look to its principles for guidance. Thus Siddhartha became the Buddha, the enlightened one. We remember the past. It is our way of tracing biological and cultural history. But the human creature must live in the present, in the now, pursuing balance and stability in the constant face of change. In the shadow of Buddha’s great discovery, the future of humankind anticipates a world population, not with a common language, political system, religious practice, or cultural face, but with a Common Intelligence guided by the principles of Nature. Buddha taught that every human is enlightened from the moment of birth. Today, this means that each of us is his or her own leader. It means not only focusing on psychological, social, and cultural beliefs and practices, but also exploring our biological and evolutionary past, as well as the deeper physical nature of the universe. We have all evolved from the same ancestor. We are all made from the same atoms that form the planets, stars and galaxies. The payoff is future adaptability, a better quality of life.
A Collection of Writings on Nature, Science, and Art by John Holland