At this [*] humanist site we find a studied analysis by Joseph McCabe on whether or not Buddha was an atheist, which concludes: "The real authorities agree that Buddha was an atheist." From chapter one of the book "The Humanist Way" (http://www.ethicalsociety.org/greatest.htm):
"Be ye lamps unto yoursleves. Work out your own
salvation," admonished the Buddha. ...Unlike the monotheistic prophets and reformers...[ Buddha ] put no stock in gods and saviours. Like the anci- ent Roman poet Lucretius, gautama the Buddha be- lieved that if the gods exist, they are of no con- cern to us. If anything, speculations about the gods distract us from what we must do to accomplish our primary psychological and spiritual task of self-mastery. The early followers of Buddha...take great pains to prevent the elevation of their Master [bad word] to the status of a divine being...
"If you meet the Buddha on the highway, kill him,"
goes a somewhat startling Buddhist proverb. But the harsh maxim drives home a vital truth: No holy prophet, messiah, christ, avatar, or even a great god in heaven can do your spiritual or ethical task for you. Free yourself. Be a lamp unto your own salvation!"
Albert Einstein on Buddhism:
"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would
be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural & spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity." http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/index.htm http://www.serve.com/cmtan/buddhism