jeeprs wrote:If your worldview fits entirely within the parameters of the Buddhism there might not be any need to even entertain the idea of a 'perennial philosophy'.
However if you can't understand or agree with every facet of Buddhist philosophy, or you want to account for the notion that some philosophies other than Buddhist are also valid life philosophies, then it is useful to have a means to compare ideas from other times and places.
In my case, Christian and Platonist teachings still have considerable influence on my outlook. So the idea of an underlying perennial philosophy, of which these great traditions are instances, not only makes sense to me, but enables me to reconcile those different aspects of my own beliefs.
The Buddha actually appropriated many ideas from the sorrounding religious culture, not least the notion of the 'true Brahmin' as being the exemplar of higher consciousness.
Actually I think the best overall model for the perennial philosophy is R M Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness. I think it is as near to a scientific, rational explanation of the meaning of 'spiritual enlightenment' as we're ever going to get. (I might start a thread on that book, if there is any interest.)
This is a helpful post (helpful for me in coming to grips with this thread). Thank you for it. In the rest of this post, I am speaking just for myself and about my own experience, which may or may not be generalizable to anyone else's.
I'm not averse to comparative philosophy. In fact, I find it of great value. I just do it a bit differently. For instance, here is one M. Foucault (in the Birth of Biopolitics
) describing the dependent origination of the capitalist social order: “a singular figure in which economic processes and institutional frameworks call on each other, support each other, modify and shape each other in ceaseless reciprocity” (164). I have found related passages in Marx; for instance, in the Grundrisse
, production and consumption are posited as mutually determining each other, and basically having no existence without reference to the other. I bring this up not to claim that critical philosophy is relevant to everyone's practice of Buddhism, merely that I have learned from it.
Again, speaking for myself, I generally find eternalist and idealist arguments to be wanting, wholly unconvincing. This may be why I find this the arguments advanced on behalf of the PP to be unconvincing. As near as I can tell, the purpose of the PP is to construct a belief system that explains the world of experience. I am more interested in learning how the samsaric world works in order to be of service to that world, to transform it. Building the better belief system is not my pastime.
Theses on Feuerbach wrote:The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
Great River Tendai Sangha: a Tendai Buddhist community in Alexandria, Virginia, USA (near Washington, DC):