• Shawn
    12k
    I read the title of this thread from a book about Buddhism.

    The author claims that Buddhism's four noble truths and eightfold path lead to a life in accordance with nature. In a manner, a person is more in correspondence with the laws of causality in nature with the natural dispositions of human nature in mind.

    The way it's phrased in the short text above presents a hard argument for treating 'Nature' and human nature in an equilibrium between the two through the belief or mediated in Buddhism.

    If all of this is true, which I find hard to believe in some respects, then Buddhism indeed is very desirable and realistic.

    Would you agree with this?
  • Shawn
    12k
    I have some criticisms against this. (Not gonna play devil's advocate here).

    And, I'll spell it out succinctly here. Why is Buddhism so realistic if Stoicism or Epicureanism isn't?

    How would would even qualify the statement that Buddhism is realistic? After all, Buddhism isn't a religion; but, is in a sense some kind of way of living?
  • baker
    3.3k
    Calling something "realistic" in the hope that this way, it will sell better ...
  • Shawn
    12k


    Is that really true? I mean, there really isn't anything being sold here in Buddhism apart for a way of living...
  • Wayfarer
    14.1k
    Two traditional epiphets of the Buddha are 'lokuttara' - which means 'world-transcending' - and 'lokuviddu' - which means 'knower of worlds' i.e. knows the six realms of being, of which what we currently understand as nature is only one. Of course, naturalising Buddhism makes it infinitely more appealing to the secular-scientific world, for whom it then becomes a soothing panacea, rather than a radical up-ending of their whole outlook on life. A writer called Owen Flanagan attempts the same in a book called the Bodhisattva's Brain.

    Read Adam Gopnick's review of Wright's book.

    Also Bhikkhu Bodhi's Facing the Great Divide ('the divide' between secular and traditional in Buddhism.)

    That said, Buddhism does indeed practice harmony with nature, but not on the basis of the modern understanding of 'naturalism' which negates the possibility of transcending it.
  • Gregory
    3.9k


    A book I have on Buddhism by Mark Epstein (Thoughts without a Thinker) says that Buddhism rejects pride in self and also negative views of oneself. They seem to always tread the narrow road. Their goal in life is a moral stance, one that doesn't ask if their is eternal joy as a reward
  • Wayfarer
    14.1k
    Their goal in life is a moral stance, one that doesn't ask if their is eternal joy as a rewardGregory

    That is the secular Buddhist view, which is perfectly fine as far as it goes. But there are verses like this:

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Savatthi, at the Eastern Gatehouse. There he addressed Ven. Sariputta: "Sariputta, do you take it on conviction that the faculty of conviction, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation? Do you take it on conviction that the faculty of persistence... mindfulness... concentration... discernment, when developed & pursued, gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its goal & consummation?"Pubbakotthaka Sutta

    'The deathless' is an apt synonym for 'eternal joy' and is plainly spelled out as the fullfilment of Buddhist life.
  • Gregory
    3.9k


    What about the part about samsara being nirvana? Does it mean we always live with the world of appearance or is there nirvana beyond samsara ?
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    Why is Buddhism so realistic if Stoicism or Epicureanism isn't?Shawn
    Tell me what makes Epicureanism unrealistic in comparison to (X tradition / school of) Buddhism.
  • Shawn
    12k


    Proof in numbers?
  • Shawn
    12k


    I mean, that a larger population of people seemingly prefer Epicureanism rather than Buddhism nowadays? Therefore, the masses decided what's best??
  • Janus
    11.3k
    'The deathless' is an apt synonym for 'eternal joy' and is plainly spelled out as the fullfilment of Buddhist life.Wayfarer

    The salient question is as to what is meant by "eternal joy".

    To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour


    William Blake from 'Auguries of Innocence'
  • Gnomon
    1.9k
    Buddhism is just realism.

    The author claims that Buddhism's four noble truths and eightfold path lead to a life in accordance with nature. In a manner, a person is more in correspondence with the laws of causality in nature with the natural dispositions of human nature in mind.Shawn
    Another book compares Buddhism with pragmatic Stoicism. In my review of Brian Morris' Buddhist Metaphysics, I noted that, "Although mainstream Buddhism is a “form of mystical idealism”, the author says that it’s actually “a heady mixture of four quite distinct and contrasting metaphysical systems” : Common-sense Realism ; Theistic Spirituality ; Phenomenalism ; and Mystical Idealism." Later, he said, “Enlightenment as awareness suggests a common-sense realism”.[my emphasis] So, take your pick. Buddhism can be treated as romantic mysticism or as practical self-help advice. :smile:

    Buddhist Metaphysics :
    Atheistic Spirituality?
    http://bothandblog7.enformationism.info/page21.html
  • Wayfarer
    14.1k
    The salient question is as to what is meant by "eternal joy".Janus

    Buddhism is pretty explicit about that, and romantic poetry, it ain't.
  • Janus
    11.3k
    Can you provide some quotes that are unequivocal about the Buddhist idea of eternity? Then we can see whether they might be open to interpretation.
  • Wayfarer
    14.1k
    Buddhist MetaphysicsGnomon

    'Christianity has always been a religion seeking a metaphysic, in contrast to Buddhism which is a metaphysic generating a religion' ~ Alfred North Whitehead Religion in the Making

    Can you provide some quotes that are unequivocal about the Buddhist idea of eternity?Janus

    The term 'eternity' is not much used. 'The deathless', 'imperishable', 'unconditioned', and so on, are synonymous to all intents. The crucial hermenuetic point is that Buddhism never posits any everlasting entity, thing, or object. Understanding what that means however takes considerable reflection, as it is quite frequently and erroneously taken to mean that Buddhism is nihilistic. And to address that requires an analysis of the whole question of nihilism and eternalism in Buddhism (which happened to be the topic of my thesis should you have some time on your hands.)
  • Miller
    92
    Buddhism is about achieving ego death through right ontology.
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    Therefore, the masses decided what's best??Shawn
    Consensus gentium fallacy.
  • baker
    3.3k
    Is that really true? I mean, there really isn't anything being sold here in Buddhism apart for a way of living...Shawn

    Calling Buddhism "realistic" is clearly an attempt to make Buddhism more marketable, more palatable to Westerners.

    But to have a better sense of how this is so, one must be familiar with Buddhism, so that one is aware of all the ways Buddhism is decidedly not realistic by Western standards.

    (Even popular modern Western pseudo-Buddhist concotions are not realistic by Western standards.)
  • baker
    3.3k
    Buddhism is about achieving ego death through right ontology.Miller

    I bet this is a Western conception as well, a Western reading of Mahayana.

    Easterners generally don't see the "ego" as as problematic as Westerners do.
  • baker
    3.3k
    The salient question is as to what is meant by "eternal joy".Janus

    “There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones notices:

    “When this is, that is.

    “From the arising of this comes the arising of that.

    “When this isn’t, that isn’t.

    “From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

    “In other words:

    “From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications.

    “From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness.

    “From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form.

    “From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media.

    “From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact.

    “From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling.

    “From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving.

    “From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance.

    “From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming.

    “From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.

    “From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

    “Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications.

    From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness.

    From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form.

    From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media.

    From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact.

    From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling.

    From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving.

    From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance.

    From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming.

    From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth.

    From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease.

    Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

    “This is the noble method that he has rightly seen & rightly ferreted out through discernment.


    https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/AN/AN10_92.html
  • Shawn
    12k


    You know, if you really want to point out a fallacy, it would seem that whoever utters that Buddhism is realism, seems to suffer from a confirmation bias, no?
  • 180 Proof
    6.5k
    "Buddhism is just realism" is a (stipulative) definition, not an argument. Not a fallacy.
  • Shawn
    12k


    But, to believe that such a stipulation definition as true makes it a propositional attitude, in the least.
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    I mean, that a larger population of people seemingly prefer Epicureanism rather than Buddhism nowadays? Therefore, the masses decided what's best??Shawn

    Apart from the fallacy here - there's an assumption made that we can measure this accurately. Do you have a source for this?
  • Shawn
    12k

    No, that's just a hypothesis about human nature, that Epicureanism or Stoicism suites people better, and hence the proof of the hypothesis cannot be deemed as sound based on generalizations like that a greater number of people can decide this as true.
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    OK. Interesting. I have no idea what beliefs suit people. I generally hold that people don't choose their beliefs. But they might be influenced in some direction or another. I tend to support Epicureanism (such as I understand it) but only because it accords with what I already hold.
  • Shawn
    12k


    But, people change their beliefs all the time. So, what's the problem with saying that Buddhism is a belief about human nature?
  • Tom Storm
    2.5k
    Yes, people change beliefs, but usually for reasons. I don't think it is choice.

    Is Buddhism a belief about human nature? I wonder how meaningful this is. Can this not be said for most beliefs: fascism, science, Randian Objectivism, the theater...

    Personally what passes for Buddhism is so broad and subjective I'm more interested in what can't be said about it.
  • Janus
    11.3k
    That seems to be very much open to interpretation to me.
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