Buddhism and western philosophy

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
dyanaprajna2011
Posts: 108
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:26 pm
Location: Midwest US
Contact:

Buddhism and western philosophy

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Sun May 19, 2013 5:07 pm

What western philosophies or philosophers come close to teaching things found within Buddhism? Are there any who actually do come close? I've found that Heraclitus actually teaches many ideas found within both Buddhism and Taoism. Plato sometimes seemed to get close, as well. Are there any others?
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen

User avatar
rachmiel
Posts: 880
Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Re: Buddhism and western philosophy

Postby rachmiel » Sun May 19, 2013 5:56 pm

Check out process philosophy. Here's an article comparing Whitehead and Mahayana Buddhism:

http://www.integralscience.org/whiteheadbuddhism.html
The map is not the territory. (If it were, it would be c'helluva big map.)

Michael_Dorfman
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:09 pm

Re: Buddhism and western philosophy

Postby Michael_Dorfman » Mon May 20, 2013 11:20 am

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:What western philosophies or philosophers come close to teaching things found within Buddhism? Are there any who actually do come close? I've found that Heraclitus actually teaches many ideas found within both Buddhism and Taoism. Plato sometimes seemed to get close, as well. Are there any others?


Thomas McEvilley's book <i>The Shape of Ancient Thought</i> does an excellent job of showing the inter-connections between the Ancient Greek and Indian philosophical worlds. There are many philosophical schools, both East and West, that share different similarities with Buddhist thought-- and many differences as well.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 2784
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Buddhism and western philosophy

Postby Wayfarer » Mon May 20, 2013 12:05 pm

I like McEvilly's book also, although it is not very well known in Buddhist studies.

There is also a book called Buddhism as Philosophy by Mark Siderits - I haven't read it, but it is on the reading lists at a few Universities and has a good reputation.

There is a well-documented, if speculative, connection between Madhyamaka and a school of Greek philosophy called Pyrrhonism. Pyrrho of Elis is said to have travelled to India (probably Gandhara) during Alexander's reign and returned with a philosophy which was the forerunner of the Greek skeptics. That has been the subject of several journal articles and books, including Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism by Adam Kuzminski.

There are other possible comparisons, but it takes a lot of reading of both traditions to really understand the similarities and differences. An important difference that I am aware of is that Buddhism doesn't accept 'universals' in the Platonic sense, but that is quite an arcane topic.

You might also be interested in Greg Goode's Non-Dualism and Western Philosophy.
Sometimes spirituality is a liberation, and sometimes it's an alibi ~ David Brazier

User avatar
Kim O'Hara
Former staff member
Posts: 3131
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2012 1:09 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Buddhism and western philosophy

Postby Kim O'Hara » Mon May 20, 2013 12:46 pm

Some of us were talking about parallels between dharma and Stoic philosophy a while ago - http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=12449&start=0#p161474.

:reading:
Kim

User avatar
jikai
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 12:52 pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan.
Contact:

Re: Buddhism and western philosophy

Postby jikai » Mon May 20, 2013 1:13 pm

If your interested in this line of enquiry, i recommend looking into existential and phenomenological philosophers like Heidegger and Husserl. not carbon copies but interesting cross overs.
Gassho,
Jikai.
"There are no seperate dharma's in the Three Realms. There is only the operation of the one mind."
"Whoever wishes to benefit beings ought to establish teachings that fit their capacities, expound the dharma in accordance with their capacities, and match the doctrines to them"

User avatar
maybay
Posts: 1181
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:12 pm

Re: Buddhism and western philosophy

Postby maybay » Tue May 21, 2013 5:08 pm

dyanaprajna2011 wrote:What western philosophies or philosophers come close to teaching things found within Buddhism? Are there any who actually do come close? I've found that Heraclitus actually teaches many ideas found within both Buddhism and Taoism. Plato sometimes seemed to get close, as well. Are there any others?

All the ingredients are there, but they're scattered about. It's a 'thicket of views'.
People will know nothing and everything
Remember nothing and everything
Think nothing and everything
Do nothing and everything
- Machig Labdron


Return to “Academic Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests