File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 40

Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 13:41:30 +0100
Subject: Re: Tantalizing times

At 11:08 -0500 10/6/01, Mary Murphy&Salstrand wrote:
>Ultimately, however, regardless of how much Buddhism is down-sized and
>re-engineered to make it a fit object of consumption for Western
>audiences, it still carries over too much from its past for it to have a
>wide reception here. There remain wooly mystical constructs such as
>Nirvana, a belief in reincarnation, the lore of the masters and the
>supernatural realms of beneficent and wrathful deities that do not jibe
>well with contemporary scientific cosmologies. There is also a
>nihilistic and pessimistic metaphysics at Buddhism's heart that is life
>denying and sees the world as a place from which escape is the only
>possible answer.
>Is there another religion available which shares the strengths without
>the liabilities of Buddhism?

no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
as you note in many of your posts, there are factions and sects
within all factions. not all buddhists believe in reincarnation of
the 'soul' as a personal identity, or all those bodisattvas flying
about on different levels. neither do all christians believe in the
efficacy of all the saints, or purgatory either, as a place. 4eg.
people can tend to see nihilism in a creed which does not explicitly
encourage living, and stimulating the senses. it can be misunderstood
very easily. my take is that buddhism has a core value of compassion
for all living things.
the attitude toward life is more similar in some ways to that of the
stoics (if my reading of seneca holds water).

your description of the philosophy of epicurus sounds similar too, in
that i believe buddha was into giving advice on the way to end
suffering. the story goes that he found out for himself, but then
felt the need to help others do the same.
i think i might take more note of this epicurus character...



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