How does the Buddhist understanding of enlightenment compare with the Western Age of Enlightenment?
May 23, 2012 6:56 AM Subscribe
How does the Buddhist understanding of enlightenment compare with the Western Age of Enlightenment? People who we might now call children of the Enlightenment--Chomsky, Hitchens, Dawkins, deGrasse Tyson, Pinker, and so on--have a way of relating to ethical questions that is very similar to the teachings of the Buddha. There is an understanding that human suffering is a problem to be overcome, and that it can be overcome through understanding things as they are and engaging productively in the physical world, rather than getting caught up in metaphysical abstractions which, stemming from delusion, greed, and aversion, prolong cycles of suffering.
posted by jwhite1979 to religion & philosophy (33 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I am sure this is a simplistic comparison, so that's why I am asking. Also, one is a stage in an individual's development, and the other is a stage in the culture's development. In what other ways are they similar, and in what ways to the concepts diverge? Have any great books been written on the subject?
Also, I know that Buddhist traditions have accumulated a lot of metaphysical baggage on their own. I don't mean to suggest that a belief in literal cycles of rebirth are analogous to the scientific method! :) So I guess that's a point of divergence.