“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason, and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
― Gautama Buddha
I guess critical thinking can be reconciled with the sphere of spiritual tradition after all. Dogma and doctrine grounded in metaphor do nothing but confuse and constrain the human experience. A society can only codify concepts in terms of the language available at the time of classification or alternatively, you can only think in terms of your vocabulary. Ergo, taking many religious traditions literally will likely result in an erroneous understanding of the truths contained therein.
The seated figure of Buddha is one of those iconic images that has entered the stream of human consciousness and resonates with millions globally. The image on the left is referred to as “Buddha-brot.” After 20,000 iterations of a section of the Mandelbrot Set, the image of a seated figure resulted. It may simply be a case of pareidolia, but I found it interesting nonetheless.
The Mandelbrot set is a mathematical representation of the principle of self-similarity that underlies the universe. Self similarity is the principle of nature that allows for the truly majestic display of life. These self similar patterns are expressed mathematically as fractals. In the 1980s, increased computing capabilities allowed for advancement in visual and mathematical reproduction of these fractals. Coined by Benoit Mandelbrot, a fractal is a geometric pattern that can be split into parts, each being a reduced size reproduction of the entire image. This property is present in each successive iteration and continues to infinity. Thus, the fractal remarkably possesses the quality of being finite and yet, simultaneously infinite. Mandelbrots’ fractals have been called the “thumb print of God.”
Remember, look inward to see as the eyes serve only to limit perception.