Though many thinkers challenge the declarations made by religions, Buddhism has so far been more compatible with both scientists and thinkers. The reason for this could be the fact that most scientific, psychological and philosophical thoughts today share some amount of commonalities with Buddhism. Jean Piaget in his ‘Theory of Cognitive Development’ argued Buddhism to be a fourth mode of thought which went beyond science, religion or magic. Many thinkers have stumbled upon similarities between Buddhism, Epicureanism and Stoicism which are well known ancient philosophies. Let us check out 6 reasons why most of the thinkers prefer Buddhism.
6. Philosophical background
Though many consider Buddhism as a religion, in truth the term ‘religion’ only applies partially and only to some Buddhist traditions. Buddhism has been accepted by many thinkers to be a philosophical thought coming from the eastern world. Many modern day thinkers look at Buddhism as a philosophy which is a continuous source of valuable insight into the human condition. They find that the teachings of Buddha add to their wisdom in dealing with life.
5. The Eightfold Path
The eightfold path of Buddhism has been accepted as a success formula for life by many thinkers all over the world. Many life skills teachers and psychologists are coming up with similar formulas to help their clients deal with problems they face in everyday life. The eightfold path encourages people to have
1. Right view
2. Right intention
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration
Most of the thinkers agree that when followed in the right way, the eightfold path propagated by Buddhism could end most of the suffering of mankind.
4. Buddhism and Psychotherapy
Thinkers love the concept of ‘Insight’ discussed in Buddhism. With progress made in psychological science, many theories support the concept of insight today, which is also been proven through many experiments. Mark Epstein in his book ‘Thoughts Without a Thinker’ has written about the power of meditation as preached by Buddhism for healthy emotional life of a person. Jean Piaget also saw the influence of Buddhism on psychotherapy and how it could help in maintaining good mental health. We can see strong parallels between Buddhism and Rogerian Psychology. Considering growing evidence proving the success of Buddhist meditation producing insights into a wide range of psychological states; Chögyam Trungpa, a renowned Buddhist teacher predicted that “Buddhism will come to the West as psychology.
The thoughts like human suffering, personal identity, and perspectives on life, compassion, love and social nature of human beings found in Buddhism have been found also in the American Philosophy, especially in the work of Alfred North Whitehead, Charles Pierce, J. Royce, William James, Charles Hartshorne and many other American thinkers. One can observe a great interrelationship between the ancient orientation of life known as Buddhism and philosophical perspectives given out by great thinkers during the golden age of American philosophy.
2. Rational and Non-dogmatic
Many thinkers see Buddhism as rational and non-dogmatic when compared to religions. History has enough evidence to show that Buddhism has preached it followers to have their belief on proper assessment of evidence and not just rely on hearsay, speculation on blind faith. It also encourages giving up false beliefs and anything found to be bad when they realize the truth. Buddhism encourages experimenting and discovering truth like their teacher did, instead of blindly following the rules and regulations set by others. Buddhism uses precise, analytical philosophical reasoning and an active, impartial, objective investigation of things as they are instead of blind faith or a body of unverifiable dogmas which endears it to thinkers.
1. Buddha was a Thinker
Buddha himself was a thinker who did not follow any religion, rely on divine revelations from God or allowed the dogmas of his time to influence his mind. He sought personal enlightenment and wisdom by experimenting with different paths. He freed his mind from external influences like many other thinkers, so that he could think freely and learn truth about the world and goal of our lives. He can be considered the greatest thinker of all time. Buddha, when he gained the wisdom, he explained things through his discourses in terms of ‘Cause and Effect’. Naturally the present day thinkers find Buddha not much different from themselves, though they are not a match for his greatness.