Absolute Relativity

Thomas J. McFarlane

Time and again the passion for understanding has led to the illusion that man is able to comprehend the objective world rationally by pure thought without any empirical foundations—in short, by metaphysics.

—Albert Einstein

By becoming attached to names and forms, not realizing that they have no more basis than the activities of the mind itself, error arises and the way to emancipation is blocked.

—Buddha

The external world of physics has thus become a world of shadows. In removing our illusions we have removed the substance, for indeed we have seen that substance is one of the greatest of our illusions.

—Sir Arthur Eddington


Although not really existing, things still appear. From their own side, however, (such things) are void by nature. These void appearances to not actually exist . . . They have no foundation, no support, no beginning, middle, or end.

—Longchenpa


The atoms or the elementary particles . . . form a world of potentialities rather than one of things or facts.

—Werner Heisenberg


In Buddhist Emptiness there is no time, no space, no becoming, no thing-ness; it is what makes all things possible; it is a zero full of infinite possibilities, it is a void of inexhaustible contents.

—D. T. Suzuki


According to general relativity, the concept of space detached from any physical content does not exist.

—Albert Einstein


If there is only empty space, with no suns or planets in it, then space loses its substantiality.

—Buddha


Truth is what stands the test of experience.

—Albert Einstein


The real meaning of the Dharma . . . must be directly experienced.

—Siddha Nagarjuna

From Einstein and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings. © 2002 by Thomas J. McFarlane. Reprinted with permission of Ulysses Press.

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