polarbuddha101 wrote:Okay, to put it another way, why do you think that the teachings of the buddha are outdated across the board, i.e. as a psychology, philosophy, etc.? I would imagine you have some reasons for making this assertion. I'm more interested in why you think it's outdated as a philosophy, a psychology, and a way of life than anything else.
I didn't say "across the board." Don't put words in my mouth. And I didn't say they were outdated as "a way of life."
In general I am informed by Bikkhu Bodhi, Reverends Analayo, Sujato, and Thannisaro, and the sutta pitaka
. My principle method is critical thinking.
Philosophically (here I am informed by authors like K.N. Jayatilleke, Richard Gombrich and Paul Fuller) the teachings of the Buddha have been improved upon (not in a totally dismissive way) by the likes of empiricism (e.g., via Hume), pragmatism (e.g., via William James and Richard Rorty), and Wittgenstein (post Tractatus
). In the psychological/philosophical overlap, for instance, William James' Principles of Psychology
, Alfred Korzybski's Science & Sanity
, Robert Anton Wilson's Promethues Rising
and Quantum Psychology
are far superior (yet not entirely unrelated) to Buddhist psychology/philosophy. In the psychological literature, you'll find a much more relevant psychology of human suffering than in Buddhist psychology (my ideas here are informed by the Abhidhamma and authors like Rune E.A. Johansson and Sue Hamiltion), in the likes of Albert Ellis et al
. You'll find a better understanding of karma in B.F. Skinner et al
, and a better understanding of introspection in, for example, in E.G.Boring's A History of Experimental Psychology
and John C. Lilly's Progamming and Metaprogamming in the Human Biocomputer
. In the "theological" or religious studies realm, you'll find a much less primitive and much more sophisticated understanding of "spirituality" in Aleister Crowley's works, Joseph Campbell's works, Robert Anton Wilson's works, and in the field of cultural anthropology.
I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Some teachings of the Buddha at times appear to me to have direct relevance to modern living and my life, but thinking critically (like thinking scientifically) for the sake of intellectual integrity is not about settling on conclusions. It's an iterative process. For instance, I don't believe in reincarnation and think the Buddha and his followers were merely creating inner hallucinations for themselves about past lives. I don't doubt modern man can do the same, but even if I attained knowledge of past lives I wouldn't CONCLUDE that that particular cosmology is an absolute truth. However, I don't exclude the possiblity that I could experience it in way that left no doubt. I predict, however, I would understand it as an experience that likely defies categorical definition and refrain from attributing any subjective, objective or subjective-objective validity to it. The Buddha was not superhuman and made mistakes and changed his mind frequently after
his "awakening." He was clearly a critical thinker. He should not inspire blind faith. So, by "outdated" I don't mean totally useless or completely irrelevant. I mean, in the context of current knowledge, which parts can we discard and which can we retain for the sake of intellectual integrity?