As the core goal of Buddhism is to cease sufferings, any task that not relevant to it will be unawarely ignored, and any task that hindering it will be strongly rejected. Analysis/intellect can either be irrelevant to the goal (as in, don't forget that the finger is not the moon), or an obstacle that Buddhists have spent all their life to fight (as in, it's the source of proliferation). However, in some cases where analysis is necessary to remove an attachment, automatically rejecting intellect means (1) the attachment is not removed, and (2) they don't think they have attachment at all. Or as someone puts it, they seem to have anti-thought bias, and I think anything they say would be thought-terminating clichés at that point.

How to fight this bias? How to make them realize that before you see the moon, as least you should have the finger? How to present them an analysis and they accept to read it as it is, rather than questioning anything irrelevant?


  • analysis is done during chittanupashyana .
    – user17220
    Nov 8, 2019 at 12:22
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    @TempoItan what does "chittanupashyana" mean? I google it and they have only two links, and none of them works
    – Ooker
    Nov 8, 2019 at 12:27
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    It is one of the 4 meditation :: 1. Kayanupashyana (Body awareness) 2. Vednanupashyana (Sensation Awareness) 3. Chittanupashyana (Mind Awareness) 4. Dhammanupashyana (awareness of worldly concerns & it's relation at atomic level). This(Chittanupashyana) is usually taught in China. 2nd one is usually taught by various Vipassana Teachers .Read Satipatthana Sutta to know about it. In short( just a glimpse) ,Chittanupashyana :: To be conscious of good or bad tendencies of mind and their nature, characteristics, etc.
    – user17220
    Nov 8, 2019 at 12:36
  • If I had not taken up metaphysics as a process of analysis I never would have discovered Buddhism, so for me analysis seems crucial. But it may be more important for sceptics than practitioners, since it allows us to work out that Buddhist teachings are the only workable solution for metaphysical problems, thus rendering them eminently plausible.or even a 'no-brainer'. . . .
    – user14119
    Nov 10, 2019 at 13:17

5 Answers 5


In the Hindu tradition they talk about four different yogas, or spiritual learning styles (the following adapted from the Vedanta Society, of whom I am fond):

  • Bhakti Yoga: the path of love and devotion. This path emphasizes practices such as prayer, chanting, and meditation on the loving presence in our lives.
  • Jnana Yoga: the path of knowledge. This path uses reason and discernment to discover the divine nature within by casting off all that is false, or unreal.
  • Karma Yoga: the path of selfless work. Those who follow this path do work as an offering and expect nothing personal in return, practicing detachment and equanimity.
  • Raja Yoga: the path of meditation. This path allows us to experience higher states of consciousness where we achieve a deeper understanding.

The Hindu tradition sees these as equally valid and non-exclusive, and while this can cause some confusion and consternation at times, it rarely leads to outright disputes.

The Buddhist path focuses on what the Hindus would call raja yoga. There are many examples of the other modes — e.g. the Bodhisattva vow, which is karma yoga; metta practices, which are bhakti; and studying the precepts and teachings, which is jnana — but since Buddhism has always been (to coin a term) 'anagnostic' (rising up out of innate knowledge), the other modes have always held a lesser place in its worldview.

All of which is to say: you cannot expect everyone to follow your path, or to agree with you that it is correct, and if you wish to challenge a dominant paradigm you must first respect that paradigm and the people who practice it.

I see you have a bee in your bonnet on this issue. You want to 'fight' a 'bias', and that attitude is itself problematic. The best way you can serve others is by understanding what they are trying to offer you. When you understand them, then you will be in a position to change their minds; not before.

  • So it seems that while Buddhism doesn't underestimate analysis, its emphasis on the inner state of the person explains why people are so quickly to put down analyzing a problem, especially when it seems complicated and contradict to their previous understanding of the teachings
    – Ooker
    Nov 11, 2019 at 14:18
  • You keep making this about other people. I frequently have the same experience that you do, but I never feel 'put down' by it. I simply try to find a way to interact with them that's more in their comfort zone. Dharma is transmitted more by showing than by telling, anyway, so there's no reason to make a stink about it. Nov 11, 2019 at 15:16
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    And please be careful not to make the wrong generalizations. There are a lot of 'hidebound' buddhists who are quite rigid when they discuss the path, but they are only that way because they are deeply worried about leading people astray. You don't have to agree with them, but you ought to respect them for that dedication and concern for others. Most of them would be far more responsive if you talked to them in person, but on a public forum like this they are going to stick to brass tacks. Nov 11, 2019 at 15:22
  • yes, I can say without shame that I respect them. I just want them to read my premise carefully and not assume that I haven't practice meditation. Many of them, after rejecting me initially, realize that they miss my point
    – Ooker
    Nov 12, 2019 at 6:48
  • Also, if they are going to stick to brass tacks, wouldn't that be a kind of bias?
    – Ooker
    Nov 14, 2019 at 14:32

As I said in other answers, in Mahayana there's plenty of analysis. No need to convince them. Perhaps the only correction necessary is to your own attitude, to realize there were lots of smart people before you, and to try and learn from them.

  • I didn't mention this because I don't think it's necessary to the problem, but the person I'm trying to convince actually has a psychological disorder, and they use Buddhism as a mean to protect them.
    – Ooker
    Nov 9, 2019 at 15:47
  • That, I think, is actually much more relevant and sounds like the core of the issue.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Nov 9, 2019 at 17:37

Avoiding conceptual thought and eschewing analysis isn’t necessarily exclusive of self reflection. In fact, conceptual thought is often responsible for keeping us at one remove from our neuroses, hang ups, and obstacles (one common one, at least in Zen, is the devaluing of the intellect!) The less we rely on the conceptual mind, the clearer we can see ourselves. Buddhist practice, in a nut shell, is the suspension of our ordinary minds, a looking into emptiness, and then the turning of that empty mind back to the realm of form. Everything then becomes an opportunity for insight - especially our own psychological shortcomings.

Any Buddhist practice that isn’t self reflective is ultimately disingenuous. You needn’t use intellectual analysis. In fact it’s better if you don’t. But if you aren’t honestly confronting your hangups and attachments over and over again, you’re using your practice to protect your ego rather than uproot it. Walking the great way is a constant discovery of failings we never knew we even had. Unless you are in a constant state of discovering your own stupidity, you aren’t really practicing.


yes the usual word for proliferation of thoughts is papanca and the buddha says that this is bad. The way for intellectuals to stop the proliferation of their fantasies is to see that thoughts are just objects, like the objects of the 5 senses, instead of deifying them and claiming that thoughts are a gateway to truth, knowledge and what not.

however rationalists are precisely people infatuated with thoughts, so they become very upset when they hear that thoughts are pretty much worthless to directly reach peace and truth. In fact all puthujjanas base their life on thoughts, ideas, dreams, fantasies ,speculations, and the first thing to do for those people is to discriminate between ''imbued with sensuality, thinking imbued with ill will, & thinking imbued with harmfulness one sort, and thinking imbued with renunciation, thinking imbued with non-ill will, & thinking imbued with harmlessness'' https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.019.than.html

And then the buddha says that when people base their life on good thoughts, they manage to get into right samadhi which is the basis for wisdom, ie ''to see things as they really are''.

  • how does this answer the question, except reaffirm what I say?
    – Ooker
    Nov 8, 2019 at 12:14

Afaik; Dhamma is easily grasped when there is sufficient predisposition. Otherwise one should have faith in the Buddha's awakening and focus on mastering the expression of the teaching to think about so that one may penetrate the meaning and otherwise develop the faculties, factors of awakening and the four frames of mindfulness.

Dealing with ignorant people is not going to be pleasant but the supposed intellectual one has only himself to blame and being more intelligent one is usually quite responsible for being in that situation for a fool doesn't know better.

Avoid them for the most part.

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