), Buddhism … It is definitely a mistake to think in a black and white fashion. In Buddhism there were different kinds of meditation and a formal meditation practice, whereas in Stoicism as far as we know the practice involved more things like reading and memorising texts, daily reflection and visualisations, with the aim of really embedding the principles into daily life. One of the things I love about Stoicism is that it operates on an open-minded mindset. In Stoicism too, it is important to act with a virtuous intention, as in the famous archer’s analogy: what matters is intending to hit the target and doing our best to do so; what happens when the arrow leaves the bow is beyond our control. For example, a sub-virtue temperance is patience. Another similarity between Buddhism and Stoicism is that they are both wary of what we could call ordinary happiness, arising from the satisfaction of our desires and from things going well in the world. Another is that of a gatekeeper of a town. If you let this doctrines go you can say stoicism is a kind of modern buddhism , Other the stoics (live according nature, and all in nature is good and has it value, we are alle living with and out of the logos ). Both Buddhism and Stoicism knew that to achieve the deep transformation they were after intellectual understanding was not enough, so the practical training was an integral part of the path. In Buddhism there are complex views about views, but failing to see the truths of dukkha, impermanence and not-self would clearly be a pretty wrong view. 5) Epictetus ageing is dukkha, Stoicism and Buddhism are two remarkably similar philosophies that were created independently thousands of miles apart. Looking back over the years, I can see that my life I can see that a lot of it has been influenced by Stoicism in some way and that each influence was leading me to where I am now. Even though ancient Stoics had some strong (and somewhat dogmatic) opinions on what the good life is, modern stoic practitioners like William Irvine, Massimo Pigliucci, Donald Robertson and Ryan Holiday are cultivating more of an open and respectful attitude towards other life philosophies. Stoicism would certainly hold to the position of there being many things that cannot be changed or influenced such as the fact that we are all going to die, that we, as conscious beings, will cease to exist and this is outside of our control and so must be accepted as such, if we are to proceed wisely focussing our energies and attention on those things in our lives that can be changed. At the end of time, the dead will rise, Christ will return to separate the sheep from the goats, and the Kingdom of God will be established on Earth. You can literally waste years getting plugged into virtual reality and entertain yourself for hours. I did this for a number of years. Life is full of suffering, but that suffering is a path to understanding a larger good. Developing insight helps to identify the right thing to do, just like working on one’s moral attitudes helps to see things in a less self-centred way. Assuming self where there’s no self I didn’t mean to phrase enlightenment into a goal-oriented success path. Required fields are marked *. union with what is displeasing is dukkha; Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Stoicism & Western Buddhism: A Reflection on Two Philosophical Ways of Life. So given the way reality is (impermanent and dukkha), we are completely deluded when we believe, as we do, that the things of the world can make us happy or determine our unhappiness. Always consult a licensed professional for serious psychiatric or medical conditions. This included things like reading and reciting the texts and seems readily comparable to Stoic askēsis. The new model of psychotherapy was influenced by Stoicism, and that’s filtered down through self-help and psychological literature in general. It's not surprising, really, because while Stoicism is not considered a religion, it's core … My talk at Stoicon 2018 was based on part of my book More than Happiness: Buddhist and Stoic wisdom for a skeptical age. Equanimity is a central goal in both Buddhism and Stoicism. I would include more of our embodied nature and emotional experience in the good life. “If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. For instance, Seneca writes that joy based on external things is constantly subject to turning into suffering: we often say that we are overjoyed that one person was elected consul, or that another was married or that his wife has given birth, events which, far from being causes for joy, are frequently the beginnings of future sorrow. There are 8 main components to reaching the nirvana state: First of all, Stoicism tells us to be in accordance with nature – accepting everything that happens. Without a surprise, the Ethics of Stoicism are influenced by the teachings that Zeno of Citium was exposed to as a student of Crates of Thebes. Stoicism & Western Buddhism: A Reflection on Two Philosophical Ways of Life - Kindle edition by Ussher, Patrick. The area was occupied first by the Persian empire and then by the empire of Alexander the Great, and there must have been channels of cultural transmission through diplomatic and trade routes. It might look like this doesn’t have a parallel in Stoicism, but we only have to scratch the surface to see that it does. To engage the philosophy behind CBT, we trace the ideas that influenced Ellis in his development of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, then we move to the ideas that informed Burns’ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I’m closely interested in buddhism, enlightenment work and read many books about it. While there aren’t many card-carrying Epicureans or Cynics nowadays, there are about 500 million Buddhists and almost 2.5 billion Christians. Her most recent book, More than Happiness: Buddhist and Stoic Wisdom for a Sceptical Age, is published by Icon. Originally founded by Zeno in 4th-century-BC Athens, Stoicism later developed and changed into forms designated "Middle Stoa" and "Later Stoa," also known as Roman Stoicism. I’d love to also get your, “Top Books to Read for getting started on Virtuous Living work” because I’m a newbie…, My book list on beginner Stoic practitioners is a good start: https://stoic-leaders.com/the-stoic-reading-list-stoicism-books/, Your email address will not be published. There’s a sense of déjà vu when you first begin to study Stoicism because our culture is full of things influenced by it. December 14, 2016. Reply Delete. In Buddhism these things are known as the eight worldly conditions: The Stoics would have been very comfortable with the view that attachment to the things of the world is misguided. Buddhists also do value virtues. While both traditions saw themselves as providing a therapy or treatment, it’s best not to take these words too literally when it comes to comparisons with contemporary psychotherapies. In Buddhism there were different kinds of meditation and a formal meditation practice, whereas in Stoicism as far as we know the practice involved more things like reading and memorising texts, daily reflection and … Buddhists and Stoics both believe in disciplining the mind to make themselves wiser, more compassionate, and more emotionally strong. Others might choose to highlight different aspects. And the only difference a Buddhist practitioner will do is to focus on pragmatism and virtue. 1. So buddhism and stoicism teach there the same: “Let go of things outside your control”. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Hi Haku. the asceticism and mysticism of Christian monasticism, was heavily influenced by contact with India. Avenue of Influence #6. Of course there are connections between these traditions and modern psychotherapeutic approaches. The suggestion that an adult Jesus traveled to India and was influenced by Buddhism before starting his ministry in Galilee was first made by Nicolas Notovitch in 1894 in the book The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ which was widely disseminated and became the basis of other theories. Thank you! I did this for a number of years. Seneca writes that when. One way to think about this is that, as Stephen Batchelor points out, there was no East and West at that time, and the area between Greece and India in the 5th and 4th centuries BCE was in many ways ‘a single, interactive cultural sphere’. In particular, for the Stoics the disease was the faulty judgements that attribute good or bad to things other than virtue or vice (and which are inseparable from emotions, which are like the symptoms of the disease), and philosophy is the cure. Just like in our own case it’s not appropriate to feel pain as a result of things going wrong in the world – because these are really neither good nor bad – for the same reason it’s not appropriate to suffer alongside another person. If you want to know more about Buddhism and its practices like enlightenment and meditation (which will greatly benefit your self-actualization efforts). The message is that we should be concerned about other people being free from suffering. Of course this is difficult, which is why we need practice (which can but does not have to be a formal meditation). In fact, Stoicism significantly influenced Christianity, which assimilated so much of ancient pagan thought and religious beliefs. Stoicism is a philosophy and practice that helps its user lead a good life – that is, a life of equanimity and joy regardless of circumstance. (for ex. We present here a review of a new book exploring common ground between Buddhism and the philosophical tradition of Stoicism:More Than Happiness: Buddhist and Stoic Wisdom for a Sceptical Ageby Antonia MacaroIcon Books, London, 2018. I think that Buddhist-influenced meditation falls into the former category. Sign up to join this community. Your email address will not be published. Which is why Stoicism has been on the resurgence of late, with major media outlets covering the story of why so many have started reading Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. Like Buddhism, modern Stoicism is grounded in the insights of ancient teachers who believed that overcoming self-caused suffering should be at the center of philosophical inquiry. Surrendering unconditionally to the present moment. The parallel is with medical explanations of physical afflictions. There is also another word in the Buddhist texts, bhāvana, which refers to mental and spiritual exercises intended to cultivate wholesome states. The goal of Buddhism is to eliminate suffering (dukkha) and reach nirvana – a state of non-desire. In Buddhism, compassion is very strongly emphasised. Stoicism as a philosophy didn't promise prosperity in this life or salvation in the next life, but did promise happiness in the present life. One of the few things we do know is that the Greek sceptical philosopher Pyrrho of Elis travelled to India with Alexander the Great in 334 BCE. Neo-Platonism was the philosophy of the Church Fathers who promoted monasticism. Both are strikingly similar anyways. To loose the karma/rebirth doctrine in buddhism will always be difficult for an applicant because it is in so much orthodox texts and traditions. By Amiel Pineda September 23, 2018 Buddhism v. Stoicism. In Stoic terms this is an emotion, which like other emotions betrays faulty thinking about the value of indifferents. What is Stoicism? It was a cultural consequence of a long chain of interactions begun by Greek forays into India from the time of Alexander the Great. At the end of this article, I’ll also give you my top 3 beginner’s books on enlightenment work to get you started on your spiritual journey. Lack of supernatural powers. From the lecture series: The Great Ideas of Philosophy. Related article: The Dangers of Being Close Minded: Embracing Open Mindedness. This is what often happens with mindfulness. TOP BOOKS TO READ FOR GETTING STARTED ON ENLIGHTENMENT WORK: 1- The Book of Not Knowing by Peter Ralston – Make this book your introduction to this field. In Buddhism there are the four vipallāsas, or distortions of perception: Sensing no change in the changing In the texts samādhi refers mainly to states of concentration, but it is a broad term that can mean meditation more generally. Buddhism Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people practicing or interested in Buddhist philosophy, teaching, and practice. In Christianity, this world is but a shadow of the world yet to come. The Stoic school focuses on living in accordance with the laws of nature, using reason and logic over emotions in order to control oneself … I agree the two are complimentary. The main idea is that unsatisfactoriness is inseparable from life. It was one of the loftiest and most sublime philosophies in the record of Western civilization. Both Buddhism and Stoicism knew that to achieve the deep transformation they were after intellectual understanding was not enough, so the practical training was an integral part of the path. Looking back over the years, I can see that my life I can see that a lot of it has been influenced by Stoicism in some way and that each influence was leading me to where I am now. A Buddhist influence on Pythagoras and the stoics is also likely, and a later influence on Christian monasticism is possible; the claims of the Persian scholar Al Biruni (973-1048), that the ‘ samaniyya ’ religion existed in Iraq and Syria before imperial Persia extended its support to Zoroastrianism, must therefore be taken seriously. Stoics value virtue on top of everything whereas Buddhism value the pursuit of enlightenment. It should be stated that Buddhism is more of a life denying or … Contrary to this caricature, Stoicism emphasized human … - 529 C.E. Stoicism, a school of thought that flourished in Greek and Roman antiquity. Your email address will not be published. As mentioned, these sources include Stoicism (c. 300 B.C.E. Disclaimer: Advice and information is provided on this site as-is and may not suit your specific circumstances. Glad you enjoyed the article. He didn’t write anything but is said to have brought back a philosophy of agnosticism and suspension of judgement that had tranquillity as its aim. Buddhism was founded in ancient India in the 6 th century BC by a prince named Siddharta Gautama, also known as “the Buddha.” Stoicism in one sentence: a school of ancient Greek philosophy founded in Athens in the 3 rd century BC by a philosopher named Zeno of Citium. Both traditions have a very high ethical ideal. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Stoicism & Western Buddhism: A Reflection on Two Philosophical Ways of Life. In fact, Stoicism significantly influenced Christianity, which assimilated so much of ancient pagan thought and religious beliefs. – It underlies changes And there is a universal justice on the large scale beyond what a human from our limited P.O.V. A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I started followed Buddhism. Stoicism is by far not the only, and certainly not the major, ancient philosophy that attracts people today. It is important to point out that equanimity was valued not because of the mental state itself but because it reflected a truthful understanding of the world. Like compassion, equanimity runs the risk of being corrupted, in this case by indifference, and therefore it needs to be tempered by compassion. We don’t have to agree with either Buddhism or Stoicism about what cultivating each of these means exactly, but we can readily see that they are important areas to develop in a good life, and that this is independent of any good feelings arising from them. In ancient literature Pyrrhonism was commonly referred to as "skepticism." Let’s pause for a moment and think of these three strands of Buddhist modernism in reference to Stoicism. The overarching commonality is the diagnosis of the human condition. As Stoics argue, it is “you” who have these unnecessary thoughts about the future and about the past. To some extent that is for each of us to think through for ourselves. Even though Stoics do advocate stillness and tranquility, they believed that this sense of tranquility is a by-product of living a virtuous life. Sensing pleasure in suffering Life is full of suffering, but that suffering is a path to understanding a larger good. How Stoicism Influenced Christianity. Have you read them? For both Buddhism and Stoicism, seeing clearly is about learning to mistrust misleading appearances and to value things properly. I was also interested in exploring the similarities and differences between the traditions. Stoics value virtue on top of everything whereas Buddhism value the pursuit of enlightenment. If you liked this article, you might also like these: I like your succinct summaries of Buddhism and Stoicism. I find both Buddhism and Stoicism very appealing. In fact, some people think it might have been influenced by Greek contact with Indian culture. WRIGHT: So I wanted to do a compare and contrast with Stoicism and Buddhism. death is dukkha; That is why it needs to go hand in hand with equanimity. Such meditation cultivates an awareness of our own cognitive and emotional states, along with a sense of detachment, and that is precisely what Stoicism aims to achieve. What could this mean for us? There are several perspectives we can take away in this respect, for instance the importance of intentions. It only takes a minute to sign up. It is a choice. Thank’s for posting it. Epictetus defended this by saying that some detachment is actually essential for fellow feeling, because if we allow love, for instance, to follow its natural course it can easily turn into its opposite. Looking back over the years, I can see that my life I can see that a lot of it has been influenced by Stoicism in some way and that each influence was leading me to where I am now. Quite a bit, as it turns out. and even Cynicism and Stoicism. Thus, unlike the sect, a church seeks power and influence. And they have more techniques for the everyday life. As a Stoic practitioner, I have rigorous and variety of meditation practices (60 minutes every morning). HOW TO FIND PEACE EVEN IF YOU ARE HOMELESS, JOBLESS AND LONELY? In more general terms, seeing clearly is about critical thinking, valuing reason, looking for evidence, cultivating curiosity, awareness, reflection and intellectual honesty. Required fields are marked *. Stoicism has its roots in Athens, Greece and was “founded” around 300 B.C. Stoicism was one of the two principal schools of the Hellenistic era (the other being Epicureanism). But what ‘therapeutic’ meant for them is not the same it means for us. If we learn to notice these impulses we’ll be more able to take some distance from them and avoid acting on them automatically, therefore we’ll also be more likely to respond to things in a more reasoned and balanced way. Buddhism’ central teachings are the following: All things in life are temporary and clinging to them inevitably produces dissatisfaction. Stoicism on Wisdom: You Don’t Have Problems, Stoic Reading List: 6 Must-Read Books To Get You Started. There are things that have great importance in our lives and should be valued in full appreciation of their impermanence, such as relationships with people. Compassion, therefore, should be understood more as a slightly detached concern than anything like ‘feeling with’. what others speak of as happiness, this the noble ones speak of as misery. What are Stoicism and Zen Buddhism:intro [Part 1/3] (2 min read)By Ma DingdingYou may have the image of Zen Buddhism as being a bunch of people in yoga pants meditating mindfully in from of a small Buddha statue… but Zen is also Steve Jobs, Leonard Cohen and Jack Kerouac discovering the benefits Zen meditation can bring in terms of mental clarity. In any case, I like to think that both the Stoic philosophers and the Buddha would have approved of this kind of questioning approach, even if it were to lead to conclusions that are at odds with traditional ones. 4- Temperance (Self Control) – The ability to act in according to nature. In urging participation in human affairs, Stoics have always believed that the goal of all inquiry is to provide a mode of conduct characterized by tranquillity of mind and certainty of moral worth. She is the author of Reason, Virtue and Psychotherapy. A sub-virtue of wisdom is reason. by Zeno of Citium. Certainly, Buddhism has influence on Greek Philosophies, Christianity, Avesta, Post-Vedic Hinduism, Islam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Later … The first Stoic was Zeno of Citium (334-262 BCE), himself a student of a radical homeless philosopher named Crates of Thebes. Also, consider joining my free email course. What do you think about the books I’ve recommended? Even if we know that everything is impermanent and no worldly thing can ever give us lasting satisfaction, it’s still difficult not to perceive things otherwise. There is real joy and happiness to be had in both traditions, joy that is more reliable and lasting, but it’s just not to be found where we normally look for it. There are also sub-virtues to these main ones. In both traditions it is important to be concerned for others’ wellbeing and motivated to do what we can to help others to be free from suffering. You can bring yourself misery by regretting past decisions and mistakes. Ancient philosophers were great travelers, therefore we may assume that there was a sort of influence from Buddhism over Stoicism. – There is no complete “control” (no complete control in mind, body ). Being able to do this could certainly be useful for any of us, as a lot of the time we do tend to react on the basis of habitual patterns and unreflective values and impulses. You can get stressed about this month’s rent and payment. Anyone who reads about or practices Stoicism or Buddhism have probably drawn plenty of parallels between the two. Stoicism appears clear and logical since it is a pure philosophical school. Emphasis on Discipline. Buddhism was founded in present-day Nepal around 500 B.C and Stoicism began in Athens, Greece around 300 B.C. I know little about stoicism, but I don't believe it to be necessarily influenced by Buddhism, based upon this. Our mental habits are engrained and hard to shift. Sextus Empiricus: The Outlines of Skepticism. There was Indian influence on Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Pyrrhonism (Skepticism), and even Cynicism and Stoicism. It has been claimed that these ideas were directly derived from early Buddhism. Answer to: Which came first: stoicism or Buddhism? Translating this into more current terminology we could say that the elements of a good life are: seeing clearly, living ethically and a daily practice supportive of these aims. Sitting down and using many different meditation techniques like self-inquiry, mindfulness and do-nothing are all ways to still the mind, increase awareness and raise consciousness. Modern Stoicism is a non-profit limited company registered in the UK (#10950027). Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. In Buddhism there are complex views about views, but failing to see the truths of dukkha, impermanence and not-self would clearly be a pretty wrong view. By signing up, you'll get thousands of step-by-step solutions to your homework questions. One of the biggest differences between Stoicism and Buddhism is their chief end goals. We should study and learn from both if we want a comprehensive wisdom for living the good life. In urging participation in human affairs, Stoics have always believed that the goal of all inquiry is to provide a mode of conduct characterized by tranquillity of mind and certainty of moral worth. The 4 main virtues of the Stoics are as follows: 1- Wisdom – Making the chief operating system reason and sound mind (not for ex. For me it’s an open question whether this is really viable, or whether caring inevitably involves attachment and leaving oneself vulnerable to suffering, just like any kind of complete tranquillity is likely to slide into indifference. Walpola Rahula, author of What the Buddha Taught, even translates it as ‘mental discipline’. I think you're correct that Buddhism, Stoicism and Epicureanism are related in certain respects. That is correct. The core doctrines of buddhism and stocism seems different: No-Self View vs. Virtue and Indifference. So it comes down to intentions. I thought the article was spot on. Cynicism was also influenced by Indian philosophy, but not necessarily Buddhism. Stoicism and Buddhism Thread starter madness; Start date May 31, 2009; May 31, 2009 Diogenes Laertius left us the following list of Stoic indifferents (which we mistakenly think of as good or bad): life, health, pleasure, beauty, strength, wealth, fair fame and noble birth, and their opposites, death, disease, pain, ugliness, weakness, poverty, ignominy, low birth, and the like. So making a distinction between a virtuous living and enlightenment work is just close-mindedness. Moreover, some clients, and therapists, find Stoicism more congruent than Buddhism with their own cultural concepts and values. As you can see, Stoicism, when it comes to meditation, takes a more of a pragmatic and results-oriented approach compared to Buddhism that takes meditation as a central activity of raising one’s consciousness and attaining enlightenment. It's not surprising, really, because while Stoicism is not considered a religion, it's core principles align perfectly with the teachings of the Buddha. Stoicism and Christianity also have diverging points of view about the afterlife. Editor of Stoicism Today, president of ReasonIO, adjunct professor at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design | Sadler's Lectures podcast - https://soundcloud.com/gregorybsadler | YouTube channel with 1700+ philosophy videos - https://www.youtube.com/c/GregoryBSadler According to the texts the Buddha agreed to teach out of compassion, despite being initially reluctant. But this stereotype partially reflects the original philosophy of stoicism, but it’s much more than that. Philosopher himself Self control ) would be full possible in the texts samādhi refers mainly to states of concentration but... Cynicism and Pyrrhonism had some interaction and influenced one another given their somewhat related roots ’ ll look both... Misunderstood in the UK ( # 10950027 ) traditions saw themselves as providing kind... 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