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Thread: Was the Buddha a Philosopher?

  1. #1

    Was the Buddha a Philosopher?

    A video from Doug Smith (Approx. 20 minutes).





    Any thoughts about what was said in the video? (Please give the time sequence of any specific comments you want to discuss.).



  2. #2
    Forums Member Polar Bear's Avatar
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    As far as I can tell, I agree with everything he said. I think Doug is a pretty good philosopher in the classical and the contemporary sense. Thanks for sharing, that was awesome!


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    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the video source, Aloka.

    Secular Buddhist Doug Smith did an excellent job of summarizing important teachings of Buddha and makes valid observations that from a Western perspective Buddha could (should) indeed be considered a major contributor to the study of classical philosophy. Also, Smith points out that the teaching of philosophy in liberal arts colleges would benefit their students of philosophy by including Buddha's teachings in their curriculum. My approach in this regard would be to carefully compare and contrast Greek Philosophers' teachings with those of the Buddha as recorded in The Pali Canon.

    While I cannot claim any particular or significant expertise in the field of philosophy, what little I did study in my first year of college (Philosophy 101) did seem to agree with Smith's characterizations of what was taught. Although the more contemporary philosophers, such as Nietzsche, were emphasized rather than Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates.

    My concern after watching and listening to Smith was what was left out of his discussion: Buddha's claim as to the formation of "The All", which seems to be an area of no minor concern to the study of science and the notion that the universe is but a figment of mind alone. I am not alone in this regard, Albert Einstein had the same concern with regard to what was being theorized in the field of Quantum Mechanics, called The Observer Effect, as regards the explanations of the effects of observation of the positions of electrons in the infamous Double Slit Experiment.

    SN 35.23 PTS: S iv 15 CDB ii 1140
    Sabba Sutta:
    The All
    translated from the Pali by
    Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    © 2001


    "Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

    "As you say, lord," the monks responded.

    The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. [1] Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."
    source: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....023.than.html

    Observer Effect

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observer_effect_(physics)


    An especially unusual version of the observer effect occurs in quantum mechanics, as best demonstrated by the double-slit experiment. Physicists have found that even passive observation of quantum phenomena (by changing the test apparatus and passively 'ruling out' all but one possibility), can actually change the measured result; the 1998 Weizmann experiment is a particularly famous example.[1] These findings have led to a popular misconception that observation by a conscious mind can directly affect reality,[2] though this has been rejected by mainstream science. This misconception is rooted in a poor understanding of the quantum wave function ψ and the quantum measurement process.[3][4][5]
    Last edited by Olderon; 12 Feb 18 at 15:39.

  4. #4
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    If philosophy is the investigation of the meaning behind things, then the Buddha showed an excellent way into the study of everything.

  5. #5
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Philg: "If philosophy is the investigation of the meaning behind things, then the Buddha showed an excellent way into the study of everything."
    Interestingly, to keep his followers focussed upon his intended lesson to humanity, he taught this:

    Once the Blessed One was staying at Kosambi in the simsapa[1] forest. Then, picking up a few simsapa leaves with his hand, he asked the monks, "What do you think, monks: Which are more numerous, the few simsapa leaves in my hand or those overhead in the simsapa forest?"

    "The leaves in the hand of the Blessed One are few in number, lord. Those overhead in the simsapa forest are more numerous."

    "In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

    "And what have I taught? 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress': This is what I have taught. And why have I taught these things? Because they are connected with the goal, relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. This is why I have taught them.

    "Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"

    source: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipi....031.than.html
    Source for further study: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simsapa_tree

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    I've come to a view of philosophy where is puts forward interesting ways of looking at the world, and then poses questions: 'If the world could be looked at like this, what would be the consequences, and what would it mean for us and everyone else?' I don't think knowledge about stuff is as important as the consequences if it were true. Ultimately, as some Greek philosophers posited, it's the thinking process that has the value for us as individuals, not the conclusions we come to.

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