Episode #125 of the Stack Overflow podcast is here. We talk Tilde Club and mechanical keyboards. Listen now
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There are two aspects to this question, a theoretical one and a practical one. I shall attempt to address each of these in turn. The theoretical question regards whether Buddhism is to be considered a philosophy or a religion. This is a definitional question; it assumes that we already have rigorous delimitations of the notions of "religion" and "...


11

The simple definition of karma that is given is: If you do good then you will get good in return and vice-versa. That is not a Buddhist definition of karma. The Buddhist definition, put into similar terms, would be: you will reap the results of your actions, in this life or your next rebirth. To give a detailed explanation would require pulling in a lot ...


10

I think there is a connection, but you have the relationship reversed. Yes, one of the key terms in Buddhist philosophy is Śūnyatā (emptiness), and yes, this comes directly from the Sanskrit word for zero (śūnya). However, there is no indication that the Buddhist philosophical concept led to the mathematical concept; on the contrary, it appears that the ...


9

Both Nietzsche's and Buddhist writings share the fact that they are a direct response to nihilism, however was he right in characterising Buddhism as advocating a negation of the will, as a will to nothingness, or was this a misunderstanding stemming from his reading of Buddhist texts through the works of Schopenhauer? I can speak less strongly to ...


9

SOCRATES VERSUS BUDDHA ON THE SOUL If Buddhism denies the existence of any continuing self or soul, this appears to conflict with Socrates' view of a continuing soul which is freed and released from the regions of the earth as from a prison. The soul continues to exist, Socrates says, but in radically different conditions. For Buddhism there is no soul to ...


8

Based on your last paragraph, you might be interested in Thomas Nagel's The View From Nowhere. In that, he argues that it is impossible to achieve a completely objective perspective--- what he calls the View From Nowhere. This isn't directly related to your first paragraph, but something you might enjoy. As to your first paragraph, you might find this book ...


7

First of all: this is an excellent question, and deserves a better response than I can give it. I'm far from an expert in Nyingma Buddhism-- among Tibetan traditions, I'm much better read in Gelug texts-- but I'll give it a shot. The theory of mind that you refer to, that one's thoughts are inaccessible to others, is a mainstay in Western philosophy. A ...


7

Amartya Sen addresses this question in good depth in his July 2010 essay for the New York Review of Books. Specifically, one of the notions he challenges is the insidious notion, brought up by well-meaning proponents (both Eastern and Western), that rationality is somehow a product of the West -- the corollary often being that it's not fair to impose Western ...


7

The simple definition of karma that is given is: If you do good then you will get good in return and vice-versa. I'm not able to understand where would the effect come back from? Some says other people but who would be those other people? Is there a simple understandable logical explanation to this? I feel totally confused with understanding this ...


7

What, precisely, do you mean by 'to imagine'? The word itself by it's etymology suggests picturing nothing. This of course is absurd: there is nothing to picture, and we don't have ready experience picturing nothing, not even space. (Or do we?) More generally, we often use 'imagine' to mean to think about what something would "be like". This brings us to ...


7

anatman is a concatanation of the privative an, meaning no or not, and atman, which is sometimes translated as soul or self, for example, Tagore named Gandhi mahatma meaning great (maha) soul (atma). However, the word soul, though having religous and sacred overtones, and relating to inner essence, is bound up with the Christian tradition which makes it for ...


6

This is a large question, and can be approached several ways. First, at the broad level-- there is a widespread misconception that Western philosophy is rational and Eastern philosophy is mystical. This is false, but it is false in an interesting way: there is a fascinating book on the subject by Thomas McEvilley called The Shape of Ancient Thought: ...


6

Rationality in philosophy is the exercise of reason, reason being sound judgment (having some basis or justification for a belief). In all philosophies east or west, north or south, the basic concept of rationality is the same — everyone wants to be confident that there is some justification for their beliefs, otherwise in any society we would be cast out as ...


6

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 ...


6

The point of the Catuskoti is to discuss subjects outside the context of the context of the everyday, or Lebenswelt as the author of the article points out; even the ordinary formal logic of Western Philosophy isn't designed for ordinary discourse. The broad message might be that all statements can't be assigned truth values; the standard sentence that ...


6

I think the first two concepts are not that strange: "I am having a cup of coffee" is true and only true. "I am having a cup of tea" is false and only false. But also "neither false nor true" is very common. For example if you have sentences with a wrong presupposition: "My cup of tea is cold". Since I don't have a cup of tea, it makes no sense to say if ...


6

Let me clarify what is not entirely clear from the OP quote but is apparent from the context of the paper: it is not that Indo-Tibetan thinkers do not consider what is known as Gettier cases, it is that they give a different interpretation to them. The essence of the Gettier problem is summarized very lucidly by the author (Stolz): "As long as... ...


6

Several thoughts on this (1) It would help a lot if "relation" were defined more clearly. Do you mean "share similar ideas"? Do you mean that one learned from the other? Do you mean they organize the world similarly? (2) "Post-modernism" is a pretty nebulous term that refers to a lot of different things, so there's a little bit of something for everyone in ...


5

The term is mentioned and described in a large number of suttas. Generally, dukkha it is divided into three types: dukkha-dukkha, which is what we commonly think of as suffering: pain, aging, stress, unpleasant things, etc.; viparanama-dukkha, which is the suffering of change: this includes not getting what you want, and the fact that satisfaction is always ...


5

This is one of the Fourteen Unanswered Questions. There is a Buddhist Creation Myth told in the Aggañña Sutta, but it is clearly a satire and is not taken seriously.


5

In his book Western Approaches to Eastern Philosophy, Troy Wilson Organ spends an entire chapter on the Buddha’s silence regarding the nature of Nirvana. Organ says: Thus, there came to be known as the avyakrtavastuni -- the undetermined, or unelucidated, or unprofitable questions. The most comprehensive list of forbidden speculations is found in ...


5

The "tactic" is just the logical rule of reductio ad absurdum. The idea is that you show someone their thesis is false because it generates contradictions. You say p, and I show you if p, then q, so q. However, we have good reason to believe not q. Contradiction. Therefore, not p.


5

In this piece which talks about similar questions about the nature of reality and his own quasi-mystical experiences, he mentions a number of pre-socratic philosophers (Heraclitus, Parmenides, Xenophanes, Anaxagoras) along with Plato, Hume and Spinoza: The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides taught that the only things that are real are things which ...


4

You can find a good overview of the field of Buddhist Economics, and a preliminary bibliography, on the Wikipedia page on the subject.


4

There are a large number of good books about Buddhism (and, more to the point of this site, Buddhist philosophy), but you seem to be looking for practical advice-- i.e., putting the teachings into practice-- which leads me to suggest that you visit a Buddhist center of some sort in person. Trying to learn Buddhist practice from a book is something like ...


4

Your question heads in the right direction, but you're a little off in the religion itself. The invention of zero (or rather, its acceptance as more than just a placeholder) had a lot to do with Hinduism, not Buddhism (which, granted, came directly from Hinduism). The following explanation is entirely referenced from the excellent book Zero: The Biography ...


4

But to imagine nothing in its proper sense (ie not the lack of something or just space) seems impossible to me, we cannot avoid our sense of ourselves. You have tagged this question with "Buddhism," so I'm going to offer an answer that is aware of some Buddhist doctrines concerning the issue. First, recognize that we're dealing with the edge of that ...


4

There are three Sanskrit editions freely available. Here is the J.W. de Jong edition; here is the P.L. Vaidya edition; and here is the edition by Louis de Vallée-Poussin. The difference between them are minor.


4

Indeed, I cannot find a source for this concrete story, other than the non-Buddhist source you provided, but stories of the enlightened hitting the non-enlightened followers, who were curious about enlightenment, are not uncommon. Take for example http://www.101zenstories.com/index.php?story=92: "Hakuin used to tell his pupils about an old woman who had a ...


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