No cosmic plan


“Deep down in our hearts, we all know that the universe has a plan. There is something—maybe not God, but some sort of cosmic consciousness or highest principle—that is the ultimate source of meaning. We know there is more to life than the mundane rat race, and that in the end nothing can really be random. We must have a true calling, a reason we were put here on earth. That is our part to play in the grand plan. When we find it and embrace it, everything falls into place and we discover profound inner peace. Acting in accordance with our proper role gives life an extraordinary appeal, the wonderful feeling that we are in sync with reality and fulfilling the promise of something transcendent. Resisting this deep purpose causes only pain, struggle, and heartache.”

I hope you are feeling slightly nauseous now. This is an inspiring vision. It is also utterly, disastrously wrong.

Buddhism is hyper-atheistic. Not only is there no God to order the universe, Buddhism denies that there is any eternal, transcendent principle or force that provides meaning to the world and to our lives. The universe and everything in it are “empty,” meaning that nothing can be permanent, external, or unambiguously defined.

We cling to the idea that there must be a cosmic plan because we fear that without one everything would be meaningless. Fortunately, life is meaningful without any cosmic plan or ultimate source of meaning.