“Sir Arthur was one of the freest spirits, that walked the Earth. He was unencumbered by convention or dogma. At one point he described himself as a crypto-Buddhist later on.
I was told that, he had an inclination to drop the adjective “crypto” I am happy that he sent me his touching greetings on my 85th birthday (3 December 2007) just 13 days before his 90th birthday.”
Does this suggest that he became a Buddhist?
These statements should be understood in connection with other statements that clearly indicates that he did not belong to any religion and he did not believe in reincarnation which makes him a non Buddhist.They are as follows
“During interviews, both in 1993 and 2004–2005, he stated that he did not believe in reincarnation, citing that there was no mechanism to make it possible”
“In 2000, Clarke told the Sri Lankan newspaper, The Island, “I don’t believe in God or an afterlife,” and he identifies himself as an atheist.”
Edwin Ariyadasa’s assumption should be viewed in the context of his own prejudice towards Buddhism that probably would have made him believe that Sir Arthur dies as Buddhist.
That said,I must also state that Sir Arthur did not see Buddhism as a religion which as I think he wrongly interpreted since Buddhism in essence and in practice fits comfortably within the sociological definition of religion.
” A religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Aspects of religion include narrative, symbolism, beliefs, and practices that are supposed to give meaning to the practitioner’s experiences of life. Whether the meaning centers on a deity or deities, or an ultimate truth, religion is commonly identified by the practitioner’s prayer, ritual, meditation, music and art, among other things, and is often interwoven with society and politics. It may focus on specific supernatural, metaphysical, and moral claims about reality (the cosmos and human nature) which may yield a set of religious laws and ethics and a particular lifestyle. Religion also encompasses ancestral or cultural traditions, writings, history, and mythology, as well as personal faith and religious experience” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion)
There are many other definitions that should be looked at.But this really sums it up.
Buddhism fits nicely with in this definition though many Buddhists attempt to state that it is a philosophy just because it does not accept a creator God but advocates the belief in an all knowing human being(Buddha) who sailed across “sansara”(Cycles of life and death) for the salvation of all living beings including the gods and the demons.This argument is like a small child saying superman is true but harry potter is false.
So,with due respect to Sr Arthur,it us clear that he misconstrued Buddhism as not a religion.In conclusion it can be stated that he has not found him self as a Buddhist or belonging to any other religion and it is only natural to expect people trying to falsely identify intellectuals like him as belonging to a particular faith after they are dead so that they can use the respect given to such people as authority to
establish and spread their religions.This kind of propaganda was done from Darwin to Einstein therefore it is a common incident that follows after a death of famous scientist.
Full post of Edwin Ariyadasa.