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Are there any references in Corpus Aristotelicum to suggest whether Aristotle was aware of Buddhist teachings or Eastern philosophy? Aristotle travelled to Asia Minor at one stage of life, left a voluminious treatise, yet it is interesting there is no shred of evidence alluding to Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tsu or other eastern teachings for a man of such stature. (Research yielded an interesting note of cornocupia of 'facts' whose source is not verified to Aristotle, but should it be then it further begs the question of the lack of reference to Buddha.) Although Gier has drawn interesting parallels between Aristotle and Buddha in Experiments in Truth, I am interested to know if there has been any reference to this particular area.

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    My superficial knowledge tells me that Buddhism tended to travel west (from India to China and Japan). I think the Persian barrier of Zoroastrianism stopped Buddhist influences from getting anywhere close to Asia Minor. – Mitch Dec 14 '11 at 2:47
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    China and Japan are to the west of india? – scravy Dec 14 '11 at 13:03
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    Argh...yes, east. '..travel east (from India to China and Japan)' to the east. See my question about 'What's the difference between left and right?' – Mitch Dec 14 '11 at 14:11
  • @Mitch: You're probably right but that doesn't mean that the ideas didn't travel, they just didn't take root. – Mozibur Ullah Sep 28 '12 at 1:56
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The canonical reference in these matters is Thomas McEvilley's brilliant The Shape of Ancient Thought (he has a teaser video summarizing some of the findings here.)

The short version is: there is considerable evidence of the communication of philosophical ideas between the classical Greek and Indian worlds, in both directions; in terms of Buddhism, this can be most easily seen with Epicureanism, and the connections between Pyrrhonism and Madhyamaka Buddhism.

However, there's no direct evidence that applies to Aristotle. He may have known of Buddhist teachings, or he may not have.

  • IMHO, The closest connections between the two cultures happen when comparing Heraclitus' fragments to the commentaries from Yajnavalkya. They are almost word-for-word equal, under translation. – user678 Dec 16 '11 at 21:51
  • McEvilley indeed provides a compelling and enlightening evidence. Although I think the connection between twin Buddha's and 9/11 was a far stretch, it is very much plausible that the whole subject has been one of the greatest "coverup of history". – user1207 Dec 22 '11 at 2:16
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    To be fair to McEvilley, he doesn't state that there was a connection in any sense between the Bamiyan Buddhas and 9/11, only that the shapes of the absences reminded him of each other, and that the destructions took place/were plotted from precisely that place (Afghanistan) which historically has been the meeting point of East and West. – Michael Dorfman Dec 22 '11 at 8:59
  • What connection between 9/11 and the Bamiyan Buddhas? I can only see that theres two of each - and how can that in anyway be significant? – Mozibur Ullah Jul 25 '13 at 8:22
  • The fact were are two of each, next to each other, and that now (or more properly, at the time of the writing) there are two marked absences, where they used to be, having been destroyed (the destruction planned, in both cases, by folks residing in Afghanistan, etc., as described above.) – Michael Dorfman Jul 28 '13 at 9:52

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