Stoicism

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Javi
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Stoicism

Postby Javi » Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:08 pm

Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Tārakā timiraṃ dīpo māyāvaśyāya budbudaḥ supinaṃ vidyud abhraṃ ca evaṃ draṣṭavya saṃskṛtam — A shooting star, a clouding of the sight, a lamp, An illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble, A dream, a lightning’s flash, a thunder cloud — This is the way one should see the conditioned — Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Kim OHara
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Kim OHara » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:04 pm

Thanks for this, Javi.
I came across Marcus Aurelius years ago and liked his Meditations very much. I knew he was a Stoic but never looked any further into the philosophy.
The parallels you mention are certainly quite strong, and here's another: "daily reminders about death and the impermanence of things (memento mori)" are parallelled by Buddhist graveyard meditations.
You could also make a connection between stoicism (as a desirable mental quality, rather than a philosophy) and equanimity.
On the whole, though, they seem to have been more negative than equanimous.

:namaste:
Kim

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Jason
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Jason » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:09 pm

"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" ().

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zavk
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Re: Stoicism

Postby zavk » Thu Nov 29, 2012 11:21 pm

Yes, whilst it may not always be accurate or helpful to say that they teach the 'same' things, there are certainly many points of agreement. I too have been compiling various sayings, by Marcus Aurelius, etc. But I think if there were points of agreement it is likely that there were actual exchanges - because at least from the time of Alexander there was much movement and trade across the different lands and territories.
With metta,
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zavk
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Re: Stoicism

Postby zavk » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:08 am

With metta,
zavk

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Javi
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Javi » Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:52 am

Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Tārakā timiraṃ dīpo māyāvaśyāya budbudaḥ supinaṃ vidyud abhraṃ ca evaṃ draṣṭavya saṃskṛtam — A shooting star, a clouding of the sight, a lamp, An illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble, A dream, a lightning’s flash, a thunder cloud — This is the way one should see the conditioned — Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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ground
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Re: Stoicism

Postby ground » Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:10 am

Sooner or later there has to arise reconciliation with one's own western culture and its roots. So it is good to reveal ubiquity of wisdom and to abandon the myth of "the wisdom of the east" and the myth of "the one and only wise and holy guy". :sage:

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zavk
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Re: Stoicism

Postby zavk » Sun Dec 02, 2012 3:57 am

With metta,
zavk

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zavk
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Re: Stoicism

Postby zavk » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:08 am

With metta,
zavk

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Javi
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Javi » Tue Dec 04, 2012 3:44 pm

I may have spoken too soon however, these seems to be a series of new books on just this topic.
http://lareviewofbooks.org/article.php?id=1166

Reading through your above posts, I agree with being careful about assuming secularization and treading carefully, though I always tend to take Foucaultian analysis with a grain of salt. For example, i would say that Ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of the polis, the citizen and the self inform our modern socio-political weltanschauung just as much if not more than Christianity (I haven't really read Foucault so I'm not sure how he tackles the issue of the 'Christian pastorate' influence). But that's tangential to the major issue here, which is a self education or paidea through Exercitia spiritualia. Something which you mentioned here I think strikes at the root of the difference that I see between both (Buddhist and western) approaches however, namely western conceptions of individuality. The modern ideals seem to be much more individualized, the care of the self is either a 'self care of the self' in the manner of Montaigne or Marcus Aurelius. However there is also another strain which is systematized and medicalized, the psycho-therapeutic model (which I believe Foucault also critiques heavily in one of his books).
There seems to be in the west a widespread dislike and maybe even fear of authority. I think this is where conflict between the two would generally arise, and Buddhism has generally had to become much less hierarchical and authoritarian as it came west. Interestingly, I don't think that Buddhism is inherently structurally authoritarian (at least not to the extent we see it in some places), just the cultures that have inherited Buddhism have generally had such a structure. I still think that there are issues here however. Buddhism would say to you to find the most realized teacher you can and study under him. Western 'care of the self' (and here I mean the Greco-Roman tradition) seems to approach things auto-didactically, at least modern conceptions of it (modern 'Stoics' for example, check the new stoa website). Interestingly, this is not how ancient Greek philosophers would have approached things, as the importance of a philosophical guide and teacher was central in Greek education. Modern psychotherapy has, as we all know, been incorporating mindfulness and meditation for a while now but I think it lacks a sort of philosophical, communal and ethical stance (which in it's defense, is not its intended goal). This is why I turned to Buddhism, we in the west lack a holistic 'philosophy as a way of life', even though we have great techniques and practices to cure some of the problems that Buddhism addresses.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Tārakā timiraṃ dīpo māyāvaśyāya budbudaḥ supinaṃ vidyud abhraṃ ca evaṃ draṣṭavya saṃskṛtam — A shooting star, a clouding of the sight, a lamp, An illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble, A dream, a lightning’s flash, a thunder cloud — This is the way one should see the conditioned — Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Kamran
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Kamran » Tue Dec 04, 2012 5:08 pm

Thanks for the link to Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks reinvented Buddhism. ( http://www.e-reading.org.ua/bookreader. ... honism.pdf ). I am interested in stoicism but could not find information on what practices they used to reach their goal.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Javi
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Javi » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:45 pm

http://www.scribd.com/doc/104214547/Pie ... ay-of-Life

Pierre Hadot's book is a good place to start but also I really like this little book called A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William B. Irvine. Of course there is always the primary sources, especially Epictetus discourses and Seneca's letters.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Tārakā timiraṃ dīpo māyāvaśyāya budbudaḥ supinaṃ vidyud abhraṃ ca evaṃ draṣṭavya saṃskṛtam — A shooting star, a clouding of the sight, a lamp, An illusion, a drop of dew, a bubble, A dream, a lightning’s flash, a thunder cloud — This is the way one should see the conditioned — Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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Kamran
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Re: Stoicism

Postby Kamran » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:05 pm

Thanks. I found 2 Stoic practices that look useful and will try to add them to my toolbox:

1. Negative Visualization - spend a few minutes each day visualizing losing the things you love most (your car is stolen, a loved one dies, etc), and it will make you appreciate what you have.

2. Dichotomy of Control - Some things are up to us and some are not up to us, so make your goals things that you can control.

http://www.mindthebeginner.net/2009/06/ ... alization/
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi


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