The Buddha’s teachings or Stoicism?

Sample then choose. Hope you enjoy Lynn J Kelly’s post below as much as I do. For more information on the similarities between Buddhism and Stoicism check out her website: https://buddhasadvice.wordpress.com

The Buddha’s teachings or Stoicism?

Posted on January 2, 2023 by lynnjkelly

Some Buddhist teachers draw an analogy between digging many shallow holes vs. one deep hole, with sampling different spiritual paths vs. practicing deeply with one (at a time).  While it’s interesting to discover commonalities between spiritual paths, if we explore only the surfaces of many, we’ll have plenty of superficial understanding, but it probably won’t produce enough of a road map to result in significant personal growth.

For this reason, I’m going to list my main reasons for choosing the Buddha’s teachings rather than Stoicism.

  1. The Buddha himself is an exemplar of what completion of the path looks like. You may or may not believe that a human can be fully awakened, but there are significant characteristics we can observe in people like the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh who have walked the path. In Stoicism there are practitioners, but it’s hard to point to someone who would claim to have “realized the path” completely.
  2. Unlike other spiritual or religious paths, the Buddha left a coherent, comprehensive set of instructions pointing the way to less suffering and eventually to full liberation. Each of us is invited to try out and test these instructions for ourselves. In Stoicism there are wise and useful writings, and historical figures, but there is no practical road map.
  3. The stated objective of Stoicism is to “overcome negative emotions” and this endeavor relies on reason alone. The purpose of the Buddha’s teachings is to guide us towards freedom from all forms of suffering, and our efforts necessarily incorporate more of our faculties than reason. Our faith in the path grows as we see the cumulative results of our efforts. We are also encouraged to practice compassion as a foundation.

Of course, choosing to commit to one path doesn’t mean we don’t learn from other sources. It can be beneficial to consider goals and views other than the ones we’ve (currently) chosen; and if we find a different path that seems to suit us better at a particular time in our lives, we can switch with confidence.

There is value in every established spiritual/religious/philosophical tradition. As author and theologian Karen Armstrong has written, all religions begin with an acknowledgement that something is wrong; we are afraid, we are hurting, what can we do to make it better? The answers vary wildly but all traditions attempt to address this need. It’s important that we explore with the intention to find our way to a path that will guide us in a good direction.

In the immortal words of Yogi Berra,

“If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.”

Posted in CompassionDukkhaFriendshipsMindfulnessRelationshipsWisdom | Tagged Buddhism and StoicismMindfulnessWhy Buddhism? | Leave a comment

The Buddha's Advice to Laypeople

Some Buddhist teachers draw an analogy between digging many shallow holes vs. one deep hole, with sampling different spiritual paths vs. practicing deeply with one (at a time).  While it’s interesting to discover commonalities between spiritual paths, if we explore only the surfaces of many, we’ll have plenty of superficial understanding, but it probably won’t produce enough of a road map to result in significant personal growth.

For this reason, I’m going to list my main reasons for choosing the Buddha’s teachings rather than Stoicism.

  1. The Buddha himself is an exemplar of what completion of the path looks like. You may or may not believe that a human can be fully awakened, but there are significant characteristics we can observe in people like the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh who have walked the path. In Stoicism there are practitioners, but it’s hard to point to someone who would claim…

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