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Thinking of Buddhism a lot lately and I really love the concepts in it, however I just can't seem to find Buddhism to have a potential to become an universal philosophy as it seems very life negating.

Let me explain my self. In Buddhism we are constantly reminded how all problems are an illusion and should be ignored. But are they really? Buddhism seems like a perfect ideology for rich white people or other population isolated from real problematics hitting this world. Buddhism not only says: "You have so nothing to care about, you really should just enjoy yourself" it also gives you a relief that other people are unfortunate since it reminds you all problems are only illusion of ego.

That all problems are only illusion of ego is not true however, since there are serious problems like hunger, wars etc. troubling this earth. Buddhist ideology doesn't have any clear directions on how to resolve these problems but only works as an outside observer.

What I am asking is, isn't Buddhism life negating? Is Buddhistic ideology more inclined to ignores / detach from problems rather than to try to present exact solutions?

Thank you for your answers and critics of my views.

  • This type of interpretations caused to vanish Buddhism from it's birth land India. – Shrawaka Dec 6 '15 at 10:22
  • The problem of the world are addressed by each one changing himself first. If everyone did it then it would peace. – user4878 Dec 7 '15 at 7:36
  • But would it really? That would only be the case of 100% of people do the change. On the other hand if you have 99% people that are peaceful but passive and 1% of maniacs, you can imagine results. – Riko Dec 7 '15 at 15:29
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Buddhism(as well as other contemplative religions & methods) is life affirming. Most people are asleep to what reality actually is. They are too busy worrying about and planning for a future that never exists and judging things based on a past that never exists. They are hardly ever in the present moment were reality actually is. This is why we are so stressed all the time.

Being asleep to reality like this is the very definition of "life negating" and it causes us such unnecessary suffering.

In Buddhism we are constantly reminded how all problems are an illusion and should be ignored.

Who told you that? Nothing should be ignored, that is what we already do. Problems are not illusions and at the same time problems are illusions. It depends on the level of reality we are working with. The practices of Buddhism are meant to make the individual happy and capable of coping better with lifes problems.

The Buddhist way is to be selfish in a good way. If someone has a problem the appropriate thing to do is to help that someone and this good action(karma) helps the practicing Buddhist. You see, the reason Buddhists help people is to help themselves even after the ego is transcended.

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As far as I understand, Buddhism doesn't constantly remind one that "all problems are an illusion". Suffering can be thought of as an emergent quality of "problems", and one of the most basic teachings, that "there is suffering" is to be found in the first Noble Truth. The Buddha taught that what whenever suffering arises (your cognizance of problems arises), it is dependent on a chain of causes and effects, which invariably links back to ignorance or misunderstanding of the 4 Noble Truths. As far as illusions go, one could say that permanence, lasting happiness from conditioned phenomena, or controllability are all illusory in a sense, but I'm not aware of any Dhamma that teaches that suffering (and thereby problems which cause it to arise) are actually just an illusion.

Also, as far as I understand Buddhism also doesn't constantly remind one that problems "should be ignored". Much the opposite, the Buddha taught that there is a practice which can be applied, leading to the cessation of the suffering that you perceive from these problems. Once you acknowledge the origination of the suffering, the next thing to do is not to ignore it, but to practice in letting go of its origins. This is known as the Eightfold Path and it is to be directly applied and cessation of suffering to be experienced. There is no "ignoring" going on here, I have never heard of any Buddhist teaching that advocates ignoring or suppressing awareness of anything.

Buddhism almost certainly does not say "you have nothing to care about, you should really just enjoy yourself". From my understanding, the Buddha actually taught that it is in your best interest to practice seeing things for what they are and to liberate oneself from the suffering-filled cycle of death and rebirth that characterizes all worldly existence by giving up forms of clinging and aversion.

Although your questions seem sincere, practically every sentence you've written can be considered a misinterpretation of even the most basic Buddhist philosophy. The conclusions about Buddhism being life-negating, or un-applicable to true suffering on an individual level, appear to be founded on misinterpretation of basics.

But I will give you that Buddhism doesn't seem to have a direct framework for tackling world hunger, war, etc on a group level. It seems to suggest that if the people acting as a cause for war, or selfishness in world hunger, dealt with their inner suffering and learned compassion, these problems might be solved. Again, I don't know if this is specifically referenced in any canonical teachings, but it seems to be a logical conclusion to me.

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Thinking of Buddhism a lot lately and I really love the concepts in it, however I just can't seem to find Buddhism to have a potential to become an universal philosophy as it seems very life negating.

Much or this is due to the mis translation of the word Dukka into English as suffering by early translators (Pali Text Society). Later translators like Thanisaro Bikkhu corrected this by using unsatisfactoriness ans a better translation.

Let me explain my self. In Buddhism we are constantly reminded how all problems are an illusion and should be ignored. But are they really? Buddhism seems like a perfect ideology for rich white people or other population isolated from real problematics hitting this world. Buddhism not only says: "You have so nothing to care about, you really should just enjoy yourself" it also gives you a relief that other people are unfortunate since it reminds you all problems are only illusion of ego.

Say two athletes meet form a match. Both may have confidence they are will win but only one does. The one who loses is not joyes as the winner. So over confidence in oneself and also attachment to the outcome sets one back emotionally. Also say the match is not going well at some point then if you do not maintain your psychological balance by further losing your confidence and when winning you become complacent then things may not be the best for the final outcome. So overconfidence, underconfidence or miss comparisons of yourself against other always in whatever matrix may leads to sorrow. Hence better avoided. You are at a better position be happy when you let go of ego and the notion of self.

That all problems are only illusion of ego is not true however, since there are serious problems like hunger, wars etc. troubling this earth. Buddhist ideology doesn't have any clear directions on how to resolve these problems but only works as an outside observer.

All problems do not stem from ego though wars and conflicts do. Existence is the main cause of having to experience these issues. Buddhism or any other school or thought or religion cannot solve what is a fact of life. But Buddhism give a way out of this messy exitance.

What I am asking is, isn't Buddhism life negating? Is Buddhistic ideology more inclined to ignores / detach from problems rather than to try to present exact solutions?

Say you are incapable of solving a problem. Ignoring it will also not solve it. You are hurt by it. Maintaining a sound balance of the mind will immunise some of metal pain when thing go wrong. Buddhism is to keep your head straight when things don't go as you want them. You should do your best to overcome them. If they do not work as you intend, then you have to minimise or eliminate your unhappiness by trying to maintain a sound mind.

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Your problems are not illusions. The illusion is the source and the fuel of all issues.

What is the illusion?

The illusion is the thought that we all have called "Me", As long as a being believe that a person exist he or she will have issues. As to Buddhism there is no soul or a person. There is only a body and a constantly generating process that we call "Mind". These two together makes the person. "The Person" in Buddhism is limited to only the namely meaning and it is ok to say I,He,She,etc but with the understanding that there is actually no person.

Are Buddhists Negative?

  • Before we judge Buddhism let's take a look at the commonly seen and accepted version of success and positivism.

I am capable, I have these dreams and i will reach them, Here is what and where i am, i will become better, These are my goals and these are my plans to reach them, There is competition and i will come above it all.

Buddhist point of view

If there is will almost anything is possible, There is no point in failure, Success must be achieved.

Buddhism is very simple, You need to know what you need and then you should go for it.


You would agree that the common perception of success is strictly bound to the person. If i out it much simply to the body of that person, Let me explain...

She is cute,She has a nice apartment & few sports cars,She is super good at her workplace,Soon she will get a promotion,She is engaged to a self made millionaire.

Here is a successful woman in her prime. Show me one place in her exiting life where mind has been given any importance.

Buddhism deals with a different subject matter compared to the society. For the common perception anything that can be a skill or an asset is good, More the better. But Buddhism gives no importance to that kind of ideology.


Bottom line

Buddhism is not a Fortune cookie, It is there to reach nirvana and it is with the advice to live your life correctly and successfully until you reach there.It is not the go to bundle of life advice people think it is. It will teach you to be a better person and to see the life in a different light but if your intention is to be a millionaire and life the life of a kingpin you came to the wrong place. Buddhism is the path to stopping the pain & suffering, it is not your career guru or marriage counselor.


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