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Is Buddhism nihilistic?

 
 
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Aug, 2009 10:25 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;86153 wrote:
What are these skills?


If you are really interested, send me a private message here.


Krumple;86153 wrote:
Also, you don't think a person could meditate without ever learning it from Buddhism?


There are a great many people teaching meditation, so yes you can learn something that involves sitting quietly. However, the meditation I described above is not so common.
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 12:49 am
@LWSleeth,
hue-man;85829 wrote:
Friedrich Nietzsche argued that Buddhism, though the least misguided of religions, was nihilistic. He also claimed that Christianity was nihilistic, but unlike Christianity, Buddhism does not create a fictional world to cope with pessimism. Instead, Buddhism teaches people how to accept pessimism without the delusional belief in a supernatural world beyond this one.


And man was he wrong. As has been explained, the notion that Buddhism is pessimistic is a complete misunderstanding. Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic: Buddhism is pragmatic.

hue-man;85829 wrote:
Also, Arthur Schopenhauer, a well known pessimist and metaphysical nihilist, incorporated many of the teachings of Buddhism into his pessimistic philosophy.


I think you mean that Schopenhauer incorporated many Hindu teachings into his philosophy: while much of it is strikingly similar to Buddhism, there are differences.

The idea that Buddhism is pessimistic has been dispelled many times over as a misunderstanding, a spiritual hangover from early, poorly translated versions of Buddhist texts coming west.
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 02:21 am
@hue-man,
that said, I think Schopenhaur is a pretty interesting thinker, and I do intend to get to know him better. He was one of the first European intellectuals to have access to the then recently-translated Sanskrit scriptures and I think you have to acknowledge that he was bold enough to take them on, even if he did interpret them according to his predispositions.

Spot on about Buddhism - actually the way I like to think of it, is 'transcendental pragmatism'.
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  2  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 03:26 am
@hue-man,
Quote:
What are these skills?

If you are really interested, send me a private message here.


Um, why the private message? Wouldn't it be more beneficial if you shared it here where everyone interested could learn something new? Is there a need for secrecy?
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 07:23 am
@Krumple,
jeeprs;86481 wrote:

Spot on about Buddhism - actually the way I like to think of it, is 'transcendental pragmatism'.


Sure, sure. I mean, that's the idea, right? Forget the formalities, the intellectual wranglings - practice, whatever works. Get over that wall.

As for Schopenhauer, I'm a fan. Have been for a while now. I need to study more of his works, but what I have read is fascinating. Of course, you have to get into his biography a bit before some of his work will make sense - his comments on women, for example. I think you'll like him.

Krumple;86498 wrote:
Um, why the private message? Wouldn't it be more beneficial if you shared it here where everyone interested could learn something new? Is there a need for secrecy?


It's just my guess, but I think it's a sign of humility from LW. None of us here are monks or anything, and what you are asking for is not easy to explain. You are asking about the experience of meditation, and the obvious problem with an answer is the universal difficulty of explaining an experience to someone who has had no similar experience. How do you explain blue to a blind man? It's not easy, as you can imagine.

To be honest, if you really are interested in this stuff, the best thing to do is practice yourself and find out for yourself.
0 Replies
 
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 10:50 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;86466 wrote:
Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic: Buddhism is pragmatic.


What's the difference between a pragmatic view of existence and my perspective of an optimistic view?
Didymos Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 11:59 am
@hue-man,
hue-man;86582 wrote:
What's the difference a pragmatic view of existence and my perspective of an optimistic view?


I'm not sure I can answer that question. Wouldn't I first have to know and understand your "perspective of an optimistic view"? I'm not sure I really do understand entirely, but I'll try to explain as best I can.

When I say Buddhism is pragmatic I mean that the spiritual practices of the tradition are pragmatic. Buddhism is spiritually pragmatic.

We might say Buddhism is optimistic in that they believe that everyone has the opportunity of enlightenment. If optimism is accepting and understanding the suffering of this world, and recognizing that there is a way out of suffering and being serious about the path out of suffering, then Buddhism is optimistic in that sense. It's all context, you know?
hue-man
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 12:09 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;86630 wrote:
I'm not sure I can answer that question. Wouldn't I first have to know and understand your "perspective of an optimistic view"? I'm not sure I really do understand entirely, but I'll try to explain as best I can.

When I say Buddhism is pragmatic I mean that the spiritual practices of the tradition are pragmatic. Buddhism is spiritually pragmatic.

We might say Buddhism is optimistic in that they believe that everyone has the opportunity of enlightenment. If optimism is accepting and understanding the suffering of this world, and recognizing that there is a way out of suffering and being serious about the path out of suffering, then Buddhism is optimistic in that sense. It's all context, you know?


My previous post on the first page gives a description of my perspective on optimism.
0 Replies
 
LWSleeth
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 03:49 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;86498 wrote:
Um, why the private message? Wouldn't it be more beneficial if you shared it here where everyone interested could learn something new? Is there a need for secrecy?


It has nothing to do with secrecy, it has to do with the fact that I don't think a public forum is the right place to talk about my specific path. The person who taught me samadhi is the only person I can recommend to teach it, and I don't discuss that in public because I don't want to seem like a representative, nor like I am proselytizing. Also, how one learns isn't so easy as a set of instructions; in fact, getting to the place inside where one is open and sensitive enough to grasp the intuitive aspect of the teaching is the most difficult part of the whole thing. For those reasons, if anyone is interested in how I learned, and if they are willing to agree not to discuss it in public, then I tell them privately.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Aug, 2011 12:25 pm
I see a distinction between "positive nihilism" and "negative nihilism" that is inspired by my interpretation of Nietzsche and zen Buddhism.
Negative nihilism--what we usually mean by "nihilism"-- denotes the response of those who, upon realizing there is no absolute truth or metaphysical foundation for its establishment, fall into dispair, like children who have lost their parents.
Positive nihilism denotes the more mature individuals who, upon realizing that "God is dead", that absolutism has no foundation, either for metaphysical or moral truth (or as a basis for political authority), celebrate their inherent freedom. It is the realization that the meaningfulness (including desireable and undesirable meanings) of our life is our creation. It is inter-subjective in nature. Objective Reality is another matter. Before my daily meditation I bow (acknowledging) my inherent inability to conceptually grasp Ultimate Reality. But in my meditation I sometimes realize a fundamental dharmic truth: my one-ness with it. I AM that Ultimate Realtiy, no matter how mysterious it might be. Positive nihilists have out-grown the need for "parents" in the form of absolutes and dogmas. They have a "faith" that is free, energetic and expansive (like Nietzsche's Will to Power). They are spiritual grown-ups.
void123
 
  1  
Reply Mon 28 Apr, 2014 01:30 am
@hue-man,
One thing I teach: suffering and the end of suffering. It is just Ill and the ceasing of Ill that I proclaim then buddha, taken from the internet. this is the purpose of the path or buddhism thus non nihilistic. but..
reality is seen as illusion in buddhism thus nihilistic

overall it does have some nihilistic elements to it but as a whole its not nihilistic.

http://www.counterorder.com/

0 Replies
 
void123
 
  1  
Reply Tue 29 Apr, 2014 06:00 am
@JLNobody,
knowledgeable
0 Replies
 
Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 May, 2014 03:08 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
The case in point is that Buddhism says that life is suffering, and that we should cease to desire anything in life, including life itself, through the noble eightfold path. Also, Arthur Schopenhauer, a well known pessimist and metaphysical nihilist, incorporated many of the teachings of Buddhism into his pessimistic philosophy.

Your thoughts?


It isn't as plain as that statement that life is suffering. This is a very common misconception and grossly simplified to the point it misses the point.

Buddhism does not deny that there are happy moments, bliss, joy and love in this life however what happens is you can not be happy, blissful and joyful constantly based on the transitory factors that condition these emotions to arise in this life so ultimately they turn out to become a form of suffering. Let me give an example.

Let's say something creates the emotion of joy for you and it lasts for days maybe even weeks. Ultimately what will dawn on you is you will begin to worry about losing this joy or if you are confident in it something may hinder it or get in the way of it's arising. You could grow angry at the source that is hindering your joy. Perhaps it is a person or an experience. You will become angry that this thing is disturbing your joy and ultimately your source of joy will turn into a form of angry or hatred.

Really the statement that life is suffering should be changed to a more realistic explanation such as, life is unfavorable. Does that still sound nihilistic? Well if it does then I have a bit of information for you to prove that Buddhism is NOT nihilistic.

Buddhism teaches that there is a release from this unsatisfactory life. Which ultimately ends with permanent unending bliss and joy. Isn't that after all what we are striving for in this life? Don't we seek contentment and happiness? Well there is a perfect source that can be obtained, in fact it has always been with you but the problem is your discriminating mind has covered it and prevented it from being experienced. Similar to dark rain clouds prevent you from seeing a bright full moon in the sky. When this discriminating mind is destroyed it will reveal the bright cloudless sky that is an endless source of contentment.

How is that nihilistic?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 30 Aug, 2014 10:52 pm
@Krumple,
My understanding regarding nihilism and dukkha is that the former is a denial of absolutism and the latter is our inability to accept reality on its terms. There is a contradiction in this combination insofar as my nihilism indicates the constructed nature of our world (we ascribe meaning to our given impressions, which is what culture is about), yet our meaningful constructed world is unsatisfactory (we suffer it) when we want it to be other than what it is at any moment. My "adjustment" is to accept the flow of constructions as if they were givens but provisional and tentative givens not grasped too rigidly. I try to let things come and go.
0 Replies
 
bulmabriefs144
 
  0  
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2020 08:10 pm
Friedrich Nietzsche was probably conflating his own nihilism (and he WAS a nihilist, as even a cursory glance at his writing shows) onto Christianity and Buddhism.

Buddhism is rather self-effacing, but is decidedly not nihilistic. As one who has studied Buddhism and Christianity (though Buddhism far more casually), I can definitely conclude that neither is nihilistic.

Christianity is about filling your life with Jesus, especially after living according to laws (remember, it's a Re: to Judaism) fails.

Buddhism is about, if I understand correctly, also being a Re: but this time to Hinduism. Hinduism taught the universe as a sort of classroom where the soul develops. But Buddhism had marked differences (they were more closely linked to an idea of developing the self rather than belief in gods, probably seeing gods as distractions; they also believed in rebirth rather than reincarnation). The purpose is to kinda break free of the shackles that hold you to this Earth, while Hinduism is more about developing your soul. If I understand correctly, that is. Part of the problem is a bunch of sutras that I dunno how to really grasp.

Nihilism denies meaning or purpose to life, but both religions are very much purpose-driven. I would contend that my own religion is far more nihilistic than either of those, as I cannot answer the big questions satisfactorily as I am constantly seeking my own answers.

Quote:
Buddhism does not deny that there are happy moments, bliss, joy and love in this life however what happens is you can not be happy, blissful and joyful constantly based on the transitory factors that condition these emotions to arise in this life so ultimately they turn out to become a form of suffering. Let me give an example.

Let's say something creates the emotion of joy for you and it lasts for days maybe even weeks. Ultimately what will dawn on you is you will begin to worry about losing this joy or if you are confident in it something may hinder it or get in the way of it's arising. You could grow angry at the source that is hindering your joy. Perhaps it is a person or an experience. You will become angry that this thing is disturbing your joy and ultimately your source of joy will turn into a form of angry or hatred.

Really the statement that life is suffering should be changed to a more realistic explanation such as, life is unfavorable. Does that still sound nihilistic? Well if it does then I have a bit of information for you to prove that Buddhism is NOT nihilistic.


Or put it more easily, constantly being happy usually involves boredom at some point. Boredom is a type of suffering.

Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2020 04:46 am
@bulmabriefs144,
Welcome to A2K 144.

It looks as if you came here in search of rational argument. I did too, about six years ago. I hope you have better luck.
0 Replies
 
Jasper10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2020 12:56 pm
@hue-man,
Buddhism ONLY practices inward meditation.Inward meditation dismantles self.PERIOD.It leads to nihilism and a denial of SELF.There is such a thing as Outward meditation which builds SELF up.Inward and Outward meditation are directly related to consciousness states.One needs to discover Outward meditation as well and then one will come into a better understanding of SELF.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2020 03:13 pm
@Jasper10,
Don’t beat around the bush Jasper. Buddhism is a great alternative when you give up on figuring out why we are here.

Unfortunately, the same can be said of Christianity.
Jasper10
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Dec, 2020 03:46 pm
@Leadfoot,
I know from experience that only practicing inward meditation dismantles self.This is why every sect of Buddhism ultimately says that SELF is an illusion which is not true.The 2 off biological reasonings that ultimately take the individual to the nihilistic view point are the illusion.This is truth.The only way that you will come into the realisation that SELF is not an illusion is if you practice both inward and outward meditation together.Outward meditation unites the individuals make up.From my experience only practicing inward meditation is ultimately not a good alternative.
0 Replies
 
Jasper10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 9 Dec, 2020 10:42 am
@Leadfoot,
Leadfoot what do you think follows on Nihilism? What does it mean?Does it automatically confirm that there is no God or does it confirm that there is a God or does it confirm neither? What it does confirm is that rules are required. The requirement for morality exists and has always existed. For morality to exist then there has to always have been rules.Where did the notion of good or bad come from? Nihilism for me starts and finishes in the autopilot consciousness machine like state. What does the biological computer know at the end of the day....its doesn't know everything. It only reasons what it is told. It reasons nihilism.
 

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