My laptop died on me today.
I got it back in 2013, and it’s been showing signs of its impending death for a few months. I thought it was because I upgraded to Sierra. But no, it’s because the hard disk was getting corrupted.
As I was on the train last night, I was contemplating on a Buddhist teaching.
And suddenly, I just understood it.
Imagine a laptop. It has the hardware, which is the hard disk, monitor, keyboard, track pad, memory, etc.
It also has an operating system which runs its various programs and apps.
Finally there is the data.
When a laptop dies, we get a new one and transfer the data to it. The data lives on. From time to time, we upgrade the operating system, which changes how we interact with our data.
Even the data changes over time. It grows as we add more to it. It shrinks as we clean out useless and old information. It is never the same from second to second.
I don’t worry about my data being lost because I’ve uploaded it to the cloud. When I get a new laptop, I’ll just download the data to it and I’m back on track.
If my data has a virus in it, it will be downloaded to the new computer as well. That would be bad.
As human beings, we are the same as computers. Our bodies are our hardware. We need to take care of our bodies because it houses our operating system and data. But it’s going to die some day.
Our minds are our operating system. From time to time, when we have a paradigm shift, we change the way we look at the world and ourselves. That’s an upgrade of the operating system.
What we really are is our data, which changes all the time. We add to it memories, experiences, and discard useless ones.
Our goal is to reach the cloud, or Enlightenment, as Buddha calls it. That’s Nirvana. When we can upload true selves into the cloud, we are not afraid of death, because we can download ourselves into any computer. We can even appear in multiple computers.
That is why Buddha, and possibly Jesus, continues to be with us. Because he really is. He lives in the cloud, and we can get there too.