Learning from Buddhism

Following up from the my previous post, I wanted to point to another tradition that has a strong response to suffering and that is Buddhism. In fact, I’m convinced that Buddhism more than any other religion is able to help us with suffering.

That said, I’m not advocating a full or uncritical acceptance of Buddhism. Much of the mythology like the miracles of the Buddha and reincarnation is simply that myth. What we can know about a historical Buddha doesn’t matter that much either. What matters are the teachings about suffering and how we might diminish it. The question worth asking is do any of these teachings actually work?

The fact is that many of Buddhism’s principles do work, are indeed sound, and are easily adapted into a non-mythological context. Buddhism gets much right including impermanence, desire, the need for self reliance, the need for acceptance, meditation, and the power of self examination. It also includes many profound psychological insights.

I wish I had time to go in depth on Buddhism, suffering, and the philosophical life but that will have to wait until future posts or perhaps a full book. For now I just want to share these videos on the Buddha’s teachings from the recent PBS special and encourage thought on the topic. More on the documentary can be found

Published in: on May 1, 2010 at 2:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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