Would it be correct to understand Buddhist metaphysics as a kind of antiplatonism? There are no essences in the world, only emptiness and illusion, everything is in a constant state of change and impermanence. There is a sense of this in Platonism too which recognizes the dialectic inherent in the nature of becoming, but the difference lies in the understanding that the physical world is a receptacle for the forms to manifest themselves in the shadows of identity, likeness, and difference.
Would it be correct to understand Buddhist metaphysics as a kind of antiplatonism?
Falling into your wing while paragliding is called 'gift wrapping' and turns you into a dirt torpedo pic.twitter.com/oQFKsVISkI— Mental Videos (@MentalVids) March 15, 2023
>Would it be correct to understand Buddhist metaphysics as a kind of antiplatonism?
I was thinking the same. They have completely opposing beliefs.
The stage is real. What happens on it isn't. Platonism just has a hangup on the stage.
If the stage is the world, the buddhist attitude to it seems pretty close to the christian, at least when it isn't heavily sinified or tantricized.
It's pretty convincing that it is antiplatonist, yes. The basic attitude of each is so different that you have to do a lot to get them to talk to each other I think. Husserl's "Sokrates - Buddha" and Scheler's Liebe und Erkenntnis try to do this and they're not horrible but not exactly great takes either.
Why can Buddhists never just give a straight, concise answer?
>Buddhist metaphysics as a kind of antiplatonism?
tyhere's different forms of buddhist metaphysics, some people would argue that buddhism is an anti-metaphysical system, but at it's core buddhism is a form of idealism, that is the fundament of existence, is not the subject perceiving reality or the reality perceived, but the act of perception itself
>only emptiness and illusion,
emptiness is a mahayana term, heravada buddhism has a different approach
there's no illusion, only dellusion, that is, the world is real, but we don't perceive it correctly
You have to remember (HAHAHAHAHA) that PLATO is more like POOTO amirite guys. ie the greek pooto stole everything from the Hindus.
Plato's retarded idea is that because an uneducated slave can prove some basic maths theorem by following some rules XYZ, it means ''his soul knows maths from before he was even born''.
The same rhetoric is used by the Poos in brahminism, mahayana and vajrayana, ie "the buddha says you can get enlightened by doing XYZ, so it means ''enlightenment is your true self''".
Plato and the Poos have the same problem has any primordial heaven believer: the problem of evil and karma. Buddhism doesnt have this problem, because The buddha rejects this rhetoric of a heaven preceding some fall into suffering.
George Grimm. Doctrine of the Buddha.
Algis Uzdavinys. Orpheus & The Roots of Platonism.
>There are no essences in the world, only emptiness and illusion
Spurious readings of anatta/anatman as a noun are to blame for this annihilation view, popularized in the West as "world-denying". It simply does not follow. Both original pre-schismatic Buddhism which he himself called Brahmayana and Platonism's Orphic/Pythagorean roots draw from the same wellspring. Middle Path and the experience under the bodhi tree while attempting extreme mortification of the flesh would be a waste just to pass off contemporary Orientalist views laundered as 'Buddhism'
Gautama Buddha does not have a philosophical system, there is only the Eightfold Noble Path and the Four Noble Truths (all of which are compatible with Platonic principles, even though they are clearly not the same as Platonic philosophy overall).
The Eightfold Noble Path:
Right View: our actions have consequences, death is not the end, and our actions and beliefs have consequences after death. The Buddha followed and taught a successful path out of this world and the other world (heaven and underworld/hell). Later on, right view came to explicitly include karma and rebirth, and the importance of the Four Noble Truths, when "insight" became central to Buddhist soteriology, especially in Theravada Buddhism.
Right Resolve or Intention: the giving up of home and adopting the life of a religious mendicant in order to follow the path; this concept aims at peaceful renunciation, into an environment of non-sensuality, non-ill-will (to loving kindness), away from cruelty (to compassion). Such an environment aids contemplation of impermanence, suffering, and non-Self.
Right Speech: no lying, no rude speech, no telling one person what another says about him to cause discord or harm their relationship.
Right Conduct or Action: no killing or injuring, no taking what is not given, no sexual misconduct, no material desires.
Right Livelihood: no trading in weapons, living beings, meat, liquor, and poisons.
Right Effort: preventing the arising of unwholesome states, and generating wholesome states, the bojjhagā (Seven Factors of Awakening). This includes indriya-samvara, "guarding the sense-doors", restraint of the sense faculties.
Right Mindfulness (sati; Satipatthana; Sampajañña): a quality that guards or watches over the mind; the stronger it becomes, the weaker unwholesome states of mind become, weakening their power "to take over and dominate thought, word and deed." In the vipassana movement, sati is interpreted as "bare attention": never be absent minded, being conscious of what one is doing; this encourages the awareness of the impermanence of body, feeling and mind, as well as to experience the five aggregates (skandhas), the five hindrances, the four True Realities and seven factors of awakening.
Right samadhi (passaddhi; ekaggata; sampasadana): practicing four stages of dhyāna ("meditation"), which includes samadhi proper in the second stage, and reinforces the development of the bojjhagā, culminating into upekkha (equanimity) and mindfulness. In the Theravada tradition and the vipassana movement, this is interpreted as ekaggata, concentration or one-pointedness of the mind, and supplemented with vipassana meditation, which aims at insight.
The Four Noble Truths:
dukkha (literally "suffering"; here "unsatisfactoriness") is an innate characteristic of existence in the cave;
samudaya (origin, arising, combination; 'cause'): dukkha arises or continues with taṇhā ("craving, desire or attachment, lit. "thirst"). While taṇhā is traditionally interpreted in western languages as the 'cause' of dukkha, tanha can also be seen as the factor tying us to dukkha, or as a response to dukkha, trying to escape it;
nirodha (cessation, ending, confinement): dukkha can be ended or contained by the renouncement or letting go of this taṇhā; the confinement of taṇhā releases the excessive bind of dukkha;
magga (path, Noble Eightfold Path) is the path leading to the confinement of tanha and dukkha.
How are they compatible, beyond a very superficial reading of both as somehow soteriological?
"Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.
"The ear is aflame. Sounds are aflame...
"The nose is aflame. Aromas are aflame...
"The tongue is aflame. Flavors are aflame...
"The body is aflame. Tactile sensations are aflame...
"The intellect is aflame. Ideas are aflame. Consciousness at the intellect is aflame. Contact at the intellect is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect — experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain — that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I say, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.
"Seeing thus, the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: With that, too, he grows disenchanted.
"He grows disenchanted with the ear...
"He grows disenchanted with the nose...
"He grows disenchanted with the tongue...
"He grows disenchanted with the body...
"He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect, experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: He grows disenchanted with that too. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'"
That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the 1,000 monks, through no clinging (not being sustained), were fully released from fermentation/effluents.
>beyond a very superficial reading of both as somehow soteriological?
How is this a superficial reading? The importance of the individual being and its actions after death is a crucial element of both, regardless of what status we wish to assign to the "soul." It is a recurrent theme in Plato, and it is the first view of the Eightfold Noble Path.
>How are they compatible
Because they do not contradict each other, in another sense they are also complementary, because both aim at leaving this world for the "Pure Abode of the Noble Ones" (Dhammapada). In Plato it is the realm not subject to birth and death (Phaedo): "With full release, there is the knowledge, 'Fully released.' He discerns that 'Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.'" "
You're probably most fixated on the use of the words "intellect" and "form" in this translation. In both cases it is clear from a general understanding of Buddhist texts that: A) "intellect" is used in the sense of the individual faculty, "manas", which interprets and assigns some kind of structure or meaning to sense data, which is very different to the Platonic nous or noesis, which is not an individual faculty. It would be more similar to the Greek term dianoia, or maybe doxa/dokein. B) "form" ("rupa") is used in the sense of physical, or formal, objects, not forms as they are typically portrayed by those attempting to see a strict system in Plato's thought. The "form-world" (rupa-loka) in Buddhism refers to a world like ours which is composed of names and forms, where names associate with forms which are always changing. In conclusion, there is no contradiction here, but there are similar words which are referring to different things in each case.
It's superficial because what is to be done varies widely across soteriologies. I agree that there are complementary facets but I don't think they're compatible on the whole.
I was more fixated on the word "aflame" and how it is applied serially to all phenomena with an attendant urgency, in contrast to the platonic dialectic (would you deny the buddha was not a fan of an analog of "dialectic"?) and desire for the good, the beautiful, concern for justice and the political. The buddhadharma focuses on the lack of form in the platonic sense in phenomena, the not-mineness, changingness and dissatisfying in them, and bodhi is not the faculty which engages in dialectic. There is instead the analysis of dependent origination and putting an end to it, which is a process of knowing and changing what is fully within our control. There's a lot that's complementary including forms of meditation and the phenomenology at play. But whenever I read a buddhist text (except maybe some very chinese texts like the platform sutra) I'm impressed by the difference in approach and not by any compatibility.
>It's superficial because what is to be done varies widely across soteriologies
It really doesn't. The moral precepts upheld by Platonism and Buddhism are similar in far more respects than they are different, and differ in some albeit without being exclusive (the only obvious example I can think of is Plato's emphasis on courage in battle as [albeit the lowest] virtue, which I don't think the Buddha espouses. Although I could be wrong. There are suttas in the canon where he praises the good warrior as second best to an arahant).
>in contrast to the platonic dialectic
I'm not sure where you're getting this from. Plato strongly chastises the sense faculties, notably in Philebus, where he calls them the lowest of the low, and admits that he wishes to argue that they are actually worth nothing in the grand scheme of things, and should be entirely steered clear of if one wishes to reach noesis. Plato even refers to the sense pleasures as Aphrodite's gift, the conniving goddess of pleasure and love, much like Buddha refers to Mara and his seductive daughters who represent the sense desires.
>and desire for the good
Are you aware that in Buddhism there is an apparently contradictory admission that the desire for enlightenment is itself a desire? Buddhist teachers are openly ok with admitting that this is a "good desire", even though it appears to contradict some of the principle teachings. Naturally, when one has attained enlightenment, one no longer harbours desire, because one has what one wanted. Compare this to Plato's Symposium, in particular Diotima's speech, where love (of the Good) is said to be limited only to those mortals who are not actually in possession of the Good. In other words, according to Plato's Diotima, desire would be necessary for a mortal, as the gift given to us by the daemons, to reach the actual possession of Goodness.
>The buddhadharma focuses on the lack of form in the platonic sense in phenomena
Plato did not say there were Platonic forms in phenomena. Exactly the opposite, actually. If we even insist that we know what Plato "really thought" here.
>I'm impressed by the difference in approach and not by any compatibility.
I did not say the approaches were not different. I said they were not incompatible. If you approach Buddha and Plato from a modernist systematising perspective, then you will likely have the subconscious tendency to categorize them into "groups" with doctrines that have to be upheld in order to be accepted as one or the other. It's one of the tendencies that it's necessary to purge from your heritage.
As for Plato's political aspirations, this is obviously a difference in comparison to Buddhism. I would not say it is an exclusive difference however, as we can see that in Tibet there are monastic Buddhist governing entities which follow their own precepts. Plato was evidently more concerned with worldly matters than the Buddha was, this is not an exclusion though.
I think it's more "modernist" to find everything compatible with everything, if we contrast it with the historical record of institutions like monasteries, councils, the Academy and the banishing of its teachers, martyrdom in general, etc. Even giving credit to syncretism, people themselves group themselves into "groups" to preserve insights and a way of life, only present-day professors do not have to and do not do that.
Moral precepts may have a lot of overlap but actual prescriptions for practice was what I meant. Buddha says do not engage in dialectic because it's a waste of time. Plato was a Greek whatever he said about the senses, not a wandering ascetic in north India. He lived in a society with pederasty, where men exercised nude in public, with sculptors like Phidias and Polycleitus depicting the idealized human form. Plato wrote dialogs which contain examples of dialectic, with drama and humor, not personal discourses that begin "Monks, the All is aflame". Whether or not forms are "in" phenomena is largely irrelevant. The phenomena show us forms in the ordinary sense of the word and ultimately by engaging in dialectic we climb to the source of forms, of sight, of intelligibility, the good. I'm just trying to take dialogs/discourses and historical forms of practice seriously and not presume they are compatible especially after I read their own arguments against what they identify as wrong or heretical views. So I won't be purging my heritage today.
>I think it's more "modernist" to find everything compatible with everything
Not at all (nor did I say that everything was compatible with everything, I am saying that original Buddhism is compatible with Platonism). There were those finding the same similarities as far back as Plato. Read through the reconstructed works of Celsus, for instance. Unless you consider Romans from the 1st or 2nd century to be modernists, of course.
>Plato wrote dialogs which contain examples of dialectic, with drama and humor,
Are you implying that the suttas don't contain drama and humor? Are you also implying that Plato's dialogues don't contain some scenes as drastic as "all is aflame"? ("Behold! Human beings living in an underground den!" - from Politeia). The suttas even contain their own form of dialectic occasionally, where the Buddha answers questions and refutes wrong views. The fact that the Buddha emphasizes direct knowledge at the expense of intercourse, however, is again not exclusionary. It's just his method. Plato's idea of ultimate knowledge is ultimately beyond discursive reasoning as well, which is noesis as opposed to episteme. So, Plato just like the Buddha emphasizes direct knowledge at the expense of dialectic. Dialectic is just a method of helping others find knowledge who would not otherwise listen.
Apart from this you have not really addressed any of my other points, so I will assume you acknowledge them as valid?
Few of these are considered essential or metaphysically necessary according to the doctrine (only the jhanas and perhaps rebirth, depending on exactly what you mean by this, however rebirth was also accepted by Plato). It is established in the Canon that the only doctrines he asserts are absolutely true are the Four Noble Truths and the validity of the Eightfold Noble Path. Everything else, he states, is just an accessory to reaching nibbana. Nor are any of these concepts at odds with Plato, either, if they were to be considered essential.
It's not, because Plato did not have a concept relating to consciousness or the sense bases, which is what is used in the twelvefold links. It is actually congruent with Plato's myth of the initial soul (Glaucus) as covered in dross, so much so that it is unrecognizable as such, and only gives rise to the conditioned world it inhabits. In addition the Myth of Er, wherein each soul, before taking on existence, drinks from the Lethe (the river of forgetfulness or ignorance) which is the first step, the first "link", towards it taking on substantial existence. I'm not asserting this myth is the same as the 12 links of dependent origination, but that the same principle of ignorance as the conditioning factor of our existence is posited in both thoughts.
I have repeatedly used concrete examples from the source languages to clarify meanings of terms which you are confused by. You have done nothing at all similar.
>Few of these are considered essential or metaphysically necessary according to the doctrine
Lmfao. 12 links isn't essential? It's the core of Buddhism that shows the relation of suffering to ignorance. Its the core of Buddhism and you definitely cant be a Budddhist without full understanding of it. You shouldve come up with a better diversion than this because this really disqualifies you in terms of your view on Buddhism.
Dependent origination is basically contained within the Four Noble Truths (mainly the nature of taṇhā, which means it is covered by the proceeding statement). As already stated, dependent origination is not clearly at odds with Plato, because Plato does not propose a theory of consciousness, although neither is a similar doctrine given by Plato. Consciousness is conspicuously absent from most Greek philosophy.
Plato's theory of forms is completely inconsistent with 12 links. Also four noble truths makes reference to skandhas in the suttas, so clearly they are an essential part of Buddhas philosophical system, yet distinct concepts from the plain statements of Four Noble Truths. And since Plato doesn't have a theory of consciousness, how can you not see this makes it incompatible with Buddhism, especially given that Plato is an essentialist metaphysically
>just an accessory to reaching nibbana.
Do you think that doesn't involve a particular view of metaphysics? Doctrine of dependendent origination doesnt fit with platonic demiurge or his world of essential forms. It is completely different. Moreover, it is really ridiculous to say 12 links isnt essential since it shows the relation of suffering to ignorance. You cant be a buddhist without understanding skandhas, 12 links etc. Also, funny how you claim to disqualify 12 links from essentiality based on its "howness", while upholding Noble Eightfold Path which is nothing but basic "how", explicated elsewhere.
>Do you think that doesn't involve a particular view of metaphysics?
I'm suggesting that a particular view might be useful to a particular person, but is not essential to the doctrine as such. I'm merely repeating what the canonical suttas state themselves, because Buddha (at least as he is given in the suttas) gives many odd statements (one of them being the cosmology of Brahma, and how Brahma gave birth to our universe and the devas successively; most scholars conveniently accept that Buddha "did not mean this literally" or some such similar, because it reeks of a qualified theism), some of which appear contradictory. But there is at least one sutta where he states that his core, essential teaching is that of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path. Everything else is questionable, but not these teachings, which are the fundaments of the dhamma.
>Doctrine of dependendent origination doesnt fit with platonic demiurge or his world of essential forms.
Dependent origination asserts that human beings are dependent upon 12 tiers of successively conditioned causes for their particular kind of existence, which is that which is subject to dukkha. Plato's Demiurge and forms are meant to be an explanation for the kind of universe that exists, not an explanation of human existence. They are different domains of thought.
>Plato's theory of forms is completely inconsistent with 12 links.
They have nothing to do with each other. No one can even completely agree what "Plato's theory of forms" was, either. Did Plato assert that the individual human soul was a form? You tell me, because there is no clear answer to this question in the dialogues. Because there is no clear answer to this question, it is unclear how dependent origination and Plato's forms are relevant to each other.
>They are different domains of thought.
If so, and if both of those ideas constitute central parts of their respective doctrines, how are they compatible? It would be in violation of the Noble Eightfold Parh, for starters, to engage in the kind of theorizing about forms as Plato did. It is not right view, nor is it right speech. Further, when we get to concepts like form of the good, it starts to be an actual nightmare for the Buddhist mindset.
>at least one sutta where he states that his core, essential teaching is that of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Noble Path.
Yeah but its like, you can't talk about those things without reference to other aspects of Buddhism. Noble truth of suffering contains the skandhas, but the skandhas are also a separate Buddhist concept that you can't really fill in with any Platonic stuff. Also, given that the noble truths contain a theory of consciousness with skandhas, it is hard to see how this can be fitted in with Plato.
Similarities are everywhere. I'm more or less a syncretist platonist with hermetic sympathies. If you look directly at the sun you go blind.
>Are you implying that the suttas don't contain drama and humor?
I haven't read through the thousands of pages, so I wouldn't claim that. I claim the framing is not dramatic or humorous, but directly didactic oral teaching, which the dialogs are not. And if there is a discourse like the Parmenides I'd be glad to know. Answering questions and refuting wrong views is not platonic dialectic. I never said emphasis on direct knowledge is something incompatible with platonism. I would say this is actually a demonstration that all direct knowledge is not the same. There is direct knowledge of forms/direct knowledge of the good and direct knowledge of nirvana, etc. Plato does not emphasize direct knowledge at the expense of dialectic.
>Every existing object has three things which are the necessary means by which knowledge of that object is acquired; and the knowledge itself is a fourth thing; and as a fifth one must postulate the object itself which is cognizable and true. First of these comes the name; secondly the definition; thirdly the image; fourthly the knowledge. If you wish, then, to understand what I am now saying, take a single example and learn from it what applies to all. There is an object called a circle, which has for its name the word we have just mentioned and, secondly, it has a definition, composed of names and verbs; for “that which is everywhere equidistant from the extremities to the center” will be the definition of that object which has for its name “round” and “spherical” and “circle.” And in the third place there is that object which is in course of being portrayed and obliterated, or of being shaped with a lathe, and falling into decay; but none of these affections is suffered by the circle itself, whereto all these others are related inasmuch as it is distinct therefrom. Fourth comes knowledge and intelligence and true opinion regarding these objects; and these we must assume to form a single whole, which does not exist in vocal utterance or in bodily forms but in souls; whereby it is plain that it differs both from the nature of the circle itself and from the three previously mentioned. And of those four intelligence approaches most nearly in kinship and similarity to the fifth, and the rest are further removed.
What I did not address does not enter into my perception of the incompatibility at issue. My point is that some paths are distinguishable and distinct and you have to walk on one of them.
The form of the good is at least one link between what you've distinguished as "an explanation for the kind of universe that exists" and "an explanation of human existence". An approach that denies forms or essences as thoroughly as buddhism can't be waved away as only addressing "human existence" in contrast to "everything else".
Also you could interpret both platonism and buddhism by how they treat phenomena/their phenomenologies. If buddhists are primarily concerned with the three marks of existence, does this somehow not affect their view of and dealing with "the world"? No. If Plato is primarily concerned with phenomena (including human phenomena) as disclosing forms or essences or intelligibilities in a way that can lead us to the form of the good, he's not unconcerned with human existence of consciousness and is not going to agree with the three marks as satisfactory characterizations of phenomena.
lol yeah there's no skandhas, multiple sense-bases, 12 links, levels of mindfulness, rebirth cosmology. These perennialists, man.
I don't know if it's really worth trying to discuss with them, it's like anything can mean anything.
The stage is real. What happens on it isn't. Platonism just has a hangup on the stage.
12 links in itself is against every Greek thinker, especially Plato
There aren't really Buddhist metaphysics. Platonism says that everything in this world is ephemeral and transient, and that the only eternal things, from which everything flows, are the forms and their source. Buddhism says whatever the truth about the world is, even if you know it, you're not actually internalising it or living it, so put your speculations aside and focus exclusively on attaining enlightenment. Concepts like Anatta and Samsara just help the Buddhist dismiss the things that are transient and focus on the things that are eternal (spiritual attainment). To quote a Zen master about the spiritual journey of a Buddhist: "At first, mountains are mountains. Then mountains aren't mountains. Finally, mountains are mountains again." You can acknowledge that the world is real only after you've discovered realness in yourself, and you do that by meditating and not by speculating. The Platonists used different means to harmonise their inner being with wisdom and spirit.
I want to congratulate OP for his well chosen image, direct, discussion starting post text. Good job, OP.
Buddhism has no firm ground for it's deductions without the presumption that rebirth is real.
Not so well chosen an image. He chose a nagger Buddha sculpture that immediately gives negative impression.
>moved to LULZ