6 votes

Against the Stoics, Skeptics, Epicureans, and Buddhists

4 comments

  1. [4]
    NaraVara
    Link
    As a person who blends a lot of stoic philosophy into his religious practice, I thought this critique was really interesting. In particular, his argument that the thrust of these philosophies...

    As a person who blends a lot of stoic philosophy into his religious practice, I thought this critique was really interesting. In particular, his argument that the thrust of these philosophies encourage a lot of inward-looking without as much emphasis on how to operate or interact in the world, seem particularly salient to me. Though I will argue that his view of Buddhism is very centered on Western "mindfulness" style Buddhism rather than the more socially integrated ones practiced in Asia where Buddhism is blended with Hindu, Shinto, Taoist, or various animist belief systems to backfill that structure in.

    Epicurianism and Stoicism obviously don't have that because they're philosophies more than religions and, so, are limited in how much they have to worry about maintaining a moral civic life.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      fredo
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Yeah... Zen Buddhism (and other schools as well, I'm sure) isn't really like that. It's not really about looking inward as much as understanding that in and out are kinda the same. It integrates...

      Yeah... Zen Buddhism (and other schools as well, I'm sure) isn't really like that. It's not really about looking inward as much as understanding that in and out are kinda the same. It integrates you with all there is. I read lots of Thich Nhat Hanh (which he mentions), the Vietnamese Zen monk that went to America to teach pacifism during the Vietnam War and engaged with people like Martin Luther King.

      To me at least Buddhism is a practice to integrate with the world, not the opposite. It's about freedom from the shackles of thought, not abandonment or negation. Non-attachment is a condition for true engagement! I don't think the author have a good grasp of Buddhism. He clearly falls for the apparent contradictions of Buddhist teachings that puzzle the uninformed westerner.

      Additionally, I think some people in the West separate Buddhism from its ethical and religious framework, adopting mindfulness meditation alone as an end in itself. I'd call that "CEO Buddhism". They want the benefits of mindfulness without its moral obligations.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        sonamtashi
        Link Parent
        What you're talking about is largely what is called McMindfulness. Also Secular Buddhism.

        What you're talking about is largely what is called McMindfulness.

        Also Secular Buddhism.

        2 votes
        1. fredo
          Link Parent
          "Secular Buddhism" actually sounds okay to me. McMindfulness sounds exactly what I'm criticizing!

          "Secular Buddhism" actually sounds okay to me. McMindfulness sounds exactly what I'm criticizing!

          1 vote