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Buddhist Philosophy

Buddhism beliefs and philosophy, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, is a branch of Eastern philosophy. Since the time of its start, Buddhism has had a firm philosophical element. Buddhist philosophy rejects a number of traditional notions like those of atheism, theism, monism, and dualism. Lord Buddha criticized all these concepts and encouraged his disciples to discuss the problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics, and epistemology.

Buddhism is considered by some to be more of a philosophy than a religion. Buddha never declared himself to be God. Almost all the other religions essentially entail some form of theism. However, Buddhism, in itself, is considered to be non-theistic or atheistic. It does not emphasize the existence or non-existence of a God or Gods any point of time. In addition to that, Buddhism does not have doctrines in the same sense as other religions do. The major concepts covered in Buddhism teachings include.

Epistemology

One of the major philosophies that differentiate Buddhism from called Hinduism is that of epistemological explanation. Buddhism has a smaller set of valid justifications for knowledge than Hinduism. It does not believe in a blind and inflexible acceptance of the established principles.

Metaphysics and Phenomenology

The philosophy of Metaphysics rejects the notion of a soul or a permanent self. The concept of continuous identity is nothing but a delusion. In the early days of Buddhism, philosophers formed a metaphysical system that advocated the breaking down of the experiences of people, things, and events into smaller perceptual units called Dharmas (or phenomenon). Even the issue of the Pudgala, or person, was debated upon by the different schools of Buddhism. The concept was introduced to replace the one of atman (self).

Dependent Origination

A basic belief of Buddhism consists of the doctrine of Pratitya Samutpada. It asserts that neither are the events of our life predetermined, nor do the take place at random. Rather, it states that the events in our life have, in fact, no independent existence. It refuses to accept the notion of direct causation of events. According to the doctrine, certain specific events, concepts or realities are always dependent on a number of other precise things. For example, cravings depend upon emotion, which in turn is dependent on our interaction with the environment. Similarly, almost all the events are affected by another happening. Even the alleviation of decay, death and sorrow depends indirectly on the alleviation of craving, being ultimately dependent on an all-encompassing stillness.

Interpenetration

The Avatamsaka Sutra forms the basis of this doctrine. It says that the entire phenomenon in this world are linked with one another. Buddhism has used two images to symbolize this doctrine. One is that of Indra's net, set with jewels. The jewels have an extraordinary property; they reflect all the other jewels. The other one is that of world text. It depicts the world as consisting of an enormous text. The words in the text are composed of the phenomena that make up the world.

Ethics

The main ethics of Buddhism consist of the eightfold path, comprising of…

  • Right Speech
  • Right Actions
  • Right Livelihood
  • Right Effort/Exercise
  • Right Mindfulness/Awareness
  • Right Concentration
  • Right Thoughts
  • Right Understanding

According to Buddhism, the rationale behind leading a meaningful life is to have ethics. A person should always strive towards increasing the welfare of not only his own, but of all the living beings. This will help in cessation of suffering, which is so widely prevalent in this world.

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