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Questions tagged [philosophy]

The study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and language. It can also be a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.

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33
votes
7answers
9k views

If a buddhist should not kill a mouse living in their home, what justification do they have to rid themselves of a parasite such tapeworms

An extension of this question posted earlier: How not to kill the mouse in my house? Where does one draw the line for which forms of life are ok to destroy, and which ones are not? Is it just a ...
20
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4answers
1k views

Is it possible to become UNenlightened?

Is it possible for i.e. an Arhat to become unenlightened after he reached the state of Nirvana? What if an enlightened being gets a severe brain injury by some cause leaving him with amnesia. Could ...
18
votes
22answers
11k views

Why is Buddhism not Nihilism?

I'm familiar with the concept of the middle way and how Buddhism is neither Eternalism nor Nihilism. Not being Eternalism seems straightforward to me - all things are impermanent. However Buddhism not ...
16
votes
10answers
10k views

What is the meaning and/or purpose of life?

According to Buddhism, if exists, what is the meaning of life, and if different, what is the purpose of life? And where does this meaning and purpose come from?
15
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6answers
935 views

How compatible are the beliefs of atheists and Buddhism?

I looked around and found a couple of questions and answers on the site that discuss atheism in Buddhism, What is the difference between learning the Buddhist way and simply learning from life? & ...
14
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16answers
2k views

Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?

A claim which is often heard in connection with Buddhism is that it is not a religion. From a scientific point of view, is it a religion, or is it not?
14
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12answers
3k views

What determines whether actions are good or bad?

In a large number of religions, 'good' and 'bad' are defined by some all-powerful diety who either sends a representative or himself to tell us about what exactly they want us mortals to do. In ...
12
votes
10answers
4k views

How to combine Buddhism with being a parent?

Buddhist philosophy says that we shouldn't get attached and try to form bonds with something and desire or crave it because everything is essentially impermanent and this will lead to suffering. But ...
12
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6answers
8k views

Relationship between Buddhism, Hinduism and Yoga?

All these 3 philosophy/religions are born across Tibet/Nepal/India and they all share numerous concept and practice. Some points of connections could be: Noble Eightfold Path are very similar to ...
12
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10answers
1k views

How and when should a child be introduced to Buddhism?

My son will be four soon. I would like to introduce him to Buddhist philosophy, and some meditation practices. However, stillness is, at this point, completely foreign to his personality :) My wife ...
12
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2answers
663 views

Relation to Jainism

I've read that Jainism is one of the oldest Indian traditions, that Buddhism somewhat derived from it and that at some time they rivaled (I'm not sure if this was a political thing). Can you explain ...
11
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5answers
2k views

Are there different types of emptiness (Śūnyatā)?

Even though emptiness (Śūnyatā) seems like it should just be one thing (concept/experinece/realisation) does it in fact have different types? Can it be categorised in any way? I know Buddhism is very ...
11
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8answers
7k views

What is the difference between relative and absolute truth in Buddhist philosophy?

Many Buddhist texts and teachings make a distinction between absolute and relative truth. Please explain the difference and give some examples.
11
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8answers
2k views

What does Buddhism literature and tradition say about transgender folks?

This may seem like a question that is far too modern for an ancient tradition, but when I traveled in Thailand I learned that katoeys (male-to-female) are a legal gender in Thailand. What does ...
11
votes
6answers
925 views

Everything I do is motivated by greed/aversion. How to react?

I just came to a very upsetting realisation : Almost all my motivation for the things I do in my daily life (mostly playing the piano and studying math in college) comes from bad things, such as ego, ...
10
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5answers
4k views

Hypocrisy of Buddhism

Aren't Buddhists (with Buddhist I refer to an ideal Buddhist or Buddhists monk) actually not doing enough to prevent harm in this world? So, Buddhists don't have any attachment to things and work ...
10
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7answers
944 views

I would like to become Buddhist

I'm a mathematics student and I want to become a buddhist because I've heard that they don't believe in any god. How can I get in to buddhism? What kind of books do you recomend to read for starters?...
10
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4answers
260 views

Are there any alternative formulations of the five skandas?

Considering the 5 skandas of Form Feeling Perception Volition Consciousness I was told during a study group once that this was only one of many possible formulations of the skandas and other ...
10
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8answers
2k views

Do Buddhists believe in gods?

As far as I know, many Buddhists believe in multiple gods. Doesn't this contradict the idea that the world is governed by the law of karma? Is praying to gods allowed?
10
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5answers
736 views

Paradox of the ego - our desire to improve vs Buddhism

There was a question on my mind lately, regarding ego. It is not paradox per se but I find it slightly paradoxical. Because people have such a strong ego, humanity has risen above the animal level. ...
9
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4answers
4k views

Philosophical and Doctrinal Differences between Theravada and Zen, and its effects

The difference between Theravada and Zen may be like night and day. I favour Zen over Chinese Mahayana because I don't quite prefer the Pure Land beliefs. Hence, I want to compare these two. I ...
9
votes
7answers
905 views

How does Buddhism describe God?

I've encountered many ideas about the identity of God, ranging from the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent as in Judeo-Christian cultures, to that of one who has reached enlightenment. Is it ...
9
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7answers
581 views

Do metta practices and anatta contradict each other?

When I was taught the Metta Bhavna meditation practice it was suggested that I repeat the following to myself May I be well May I be happy May I be free Then again repeating the same again to ...
9
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7answers
768 views

mind-body relationship

“finding a place for the mind in a world that is fundamentally physical” —has been puzzled over for centuries, and is unlikely to be resolved any time soon. The reason is that apparently every ...
9
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5answers
1k views

How to not slip into Nihilism from Vipassana?

I am sensing this disenchantment from letting go. Meditating on impermanence feels like nihilism to me. There is a fleeting moment of joy from the liberation and just watching emotions go by. And I ...
9
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4answers
2k views

What's Buddhism view on choice, choicelesness and causality?

You see, there is only one constant, one universal, it is the only real truth: causality. Action. Reaction. Cause and effect. (...) Choice is an illusion, created between those with power, and those ...
9
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6answers
1k views

What are the Four Noble Truths?

What are they? Where are they found in the literature? Are there any significant differences in them among the traditions?
9
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4answers
243 views

How do we sense the flow of time?

According to the Abhidhamma, at each given instant there is a consciousness that arises and ceases completely before the next consciousness arises. Each consciousness is only aware of the present ...
8
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4answers
899 views

Buddhism vs. Nature and Real World

I'm not very experienced in Buddhism but while reading some articles and few books about it I wonder about one key thing.. If I am not mistaken, the compassion with other species is one of the key ...
8
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6answers
2k views

My thoughts don't happen to other people so why are they 'not mine'?

Considering the five aggregates and the sense in which they are all not-self. Thoughts (samskāra) are one of the five aggregates so they too are 'not me' or 'not mine'. In one sense this is a ...
8
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3answers
6k views

Is there evidence of a Buddhist influence on Greek Stoicism?

Stoic philosophy seems to share a lot with Buddhist wisdom. Since Zeno of Citium (generally credited as the founder of Stoicism) is said to have lived a couple hundred years after Siddhartha Gautama, ...
8
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6answers
1k views

What does Buddhism say about how to manage other people's anger?

What does Buddhism say about how to manage other people's anger? Does Buddhism suggest any specific attitude when we are facing angry people, especially when they are unable to control their anger and/...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

If the literal truth causes confusion, but a lie portrays the truth via a careful misunderstanding, is it really a lie?

Sometimes during everyday conversation, you can notice based on someone's subtle feedback, that they may be misinterpreting something you are telling them. For the sake of the question, please suspend ...
8
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4answers
455 views

Was the doctrine of 'Anatta', accepted as doctrine by modern Buddhism, actually taught by the Buddha?

Understanding of 'Anatta' is key to so much Buddhist meditation practice and philosophy that I've been exposed to but (call me conservative) I gain great confidence when the Buddha himself had ...
8
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3answers
936 views

Buddhist logic and Nagarjuna

In this article http://aeon.co/magazine/world-views/logic-of-buddhist-philosophy/ Philosopher/Logician Graham Priest talks about some of the differences that Western logic has with Buddhist logic. ...
8
votes
1answer
311 views

What were Nagarjuna's seminal contributions to Buddhist philosophy?

Nagarjuna's ideas are considered to represent the historical starting point of Mahayana Buddhist philosophy. Can his ideas be considered a clarification of the philosophy presented in the Pali canon? ...
7
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8answers
1k views

Is time empty of inherent existence?

My understanding of dependent origination is that it asserts that all things are empty of inherent existence. On an intellectual level I can appreciate and accept this however I struggle when it comes ...
7
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5answers
1k views

Buddhism on We are all one

As explained here Buddhism does no belong into pantheism because God can be interpreted no as oneness but a creation of the mind as the fourth aggregate explains (eg. "an invisible man who lives in ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Buddhism and self-improvement

For a person to have a will to change, there must be some dissonance between its real self and a mental image of ideal self. To put simply, one must be dissatisfied with oneself somehow. This ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the Four Immeasurables (aka Four Noble Abodes)?

Also known as the Four Noble Dwellings or the Buddhist Virtues or the Brahmaviharas. Where in the Pali Canon are these described?
7
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6answers
590 views

So many Buddhist schools!

Why does Buddhism have so many variations, like Zen, Nembutsu, True world, Nichiren Buddhism, etc.? Why is Buddhist philosophy not uniform?
7
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4answers
496 views

How is the Concept of Consciousness in Psychology Related to the parallel Buddhism concepts?

Philosopher Dan Dennett makes a compelling argument that not only don't we understand our own consciousness, but that half the time our brains are actively fooling us. (The illusion of consciousness) ...
7
votes
1answer
618 views

Is the mind different from the other 'six senses'?

In Buddhism as I have been taught it, the mind is included as part of the six senses. So in contrast with the 'normal' five senses we have those five plus mind giving us six. However mind still feels ...
7
votes
3answers
320 views

So what's the sense of it all?

Perhaps too straightforward question (I know it's too general) but still - when there's the enlightenment why we even exists? If Samsara can be brutal and full of suffering, what's its purpose? To ...
7
votes
3answers
694 views

What are the main arguments in favor of the Anātman view over the Ātman view?

The main difference (I know) between Buddhism and Hinduism is that the first defends Anātman theory whereas the second defends Ātman theory. What are the main arguments in favor of the Anātman ...
7
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3answers
501 views

Insight in Buddhism

What is "insight" the "knowing that I know" in Buddhism? I understand the concept of consciousness a bit better but what about having Insight.
6
votes
6answers
444 views

How do you decide when to stick up for yourself and when to let things go?

I'm trying to apply Buddhist principles to the way I lead my life, but right now I'm struggling with an issue. In short, the problem is that someone caused damage to our home and refuses to ...
6
votes
8answers
755 views

Hesitation between Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta

I hesitate between Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. Buddhism pleases me very much for its willingness to seek an end to suffering, being depressed it speaks to me a lot. But intellectually, ...
6
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4answers
507 views

What is attachment as per Buddhism?

Is attachment some kind of love? Parental love, a smile that comes when we get a glance of a toddler, when we spent money on good for our beloved one's then that time what is it? As per my perception ...
6
votes
8answers
658 views

What is the difference between learning the Buddhist way and simply learning from life?

What is different about being a Buddhist than an atheist? As far as I can tell, "western" thought is a mix of different philosophical approaches that can be applied to life with a dose of common ...