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We found 14 Reddit comments about Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment
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14 Reddit comments about Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment:

u/[deleted] · 9 pointsr/hinduism

First let me say that Hinduism is by no means a single religion, in fact it contains within it a variety of beliefs more numerous than the entirety of the Abrahamic religions, so my answers will ultimately not capture the entire corpus of Hindu beliefs.

  1. There are broadly speaking three views about God in Hinduism

    A) Polytheism: Hindu polytheism constitutes a belief in, and worship of the many deities of the Hindu pantheon. I would say most Hindus who are not interested in learning about Hindus philosophy fall into this category by default, not that it is a bad thing by any means. These deities include many beings, examples of some are: Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Ganesha, Surya, and many others. India is a very big place and there are even deities that are only worshiped in a certain part of the country.

    B) Monotheism: Under this view there is only one God, who has a personality, and has created the universe. There are three main branches of Hindu monotheism, Vaishnavism (Worship of Vishnu), Shaivism (Worship of Shiva), and Shaktism (Worship of the Goddess). Each of these branches believes that their deity is the supreme, and had religious texts supporting their belief. The Puranas are a group of texts which illustrate this mode of thinking the most. If you follow Vishnavism, then the Bhagavad Purana tells of Vishnu being the supreme, or if you follow Shaivism the Shiva Purana would be a go to text.

    C) Monism: Under this view God is not a person but is rather the entirety of the universe. God in this view is called Brahman, a concept that is outlined in the most important texts in Hinduism called the Upanishads. The Hindu pantheon in this view are parts of Brahman, as are we. The Upanishads describe how, after intense spiritual practice in the form of Yogic meditation, we come to the realization that the universe is one interconnected being. This philosophy is called Advaita Vedanta, one of the most influential systems of Indian thought.

    To qualify this even further is the fact that these views are not rigid as people can freely take ideas that makes sense to them from these categories, for example a Hindu might be monistic and believe that the true nature of the universe is Brahman, but will worship the Gods in a polytheistic manner, with the belief that these deities are manifestations of Brahman.

  2. Depends on who you ask, some will say Shiva created the world because he is the supreme God, some say Vishnu did because he is the supreme. Others will say the universe created itself. The most prominent creation stories are outlined in the Puranas, texts which deal with stories.

  3. Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist cosmology all agree that there are infinite universes. However there are many other aspects of Indian cosmology that are very foreign to modern science, as one would expect.

  4. I'm not sure what you mean by this.

  5. To be free from suffering. I don't think you have to be a pessimist to understand that the natural inclination of human existence is toward pain and misery. Spiritual practice can help us, even in this life, live in a state of happiness and bliss. How is it achieved? Yoga and meditation.

  6. This is my own understanding. The modern studies around meditation and their implications in western psychology have significant parallels with Indian philosophy, most considerably in the realms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Thought it isn't strictly about Hinduism, this book does an excellent job illustrating how Indian philosophy is very closely related to a modern understanding of the human experience.

  7. The oldest texts in Hinduism are the four Vedas, very ancient scriptures that sing about the glories of the Hindu pantheon, although many of the Gods in the Vedas aren't even worshiped anymore, and the ones that are, are only mentioned briefly in the Vedas. For example, even thought Shiva is one of the most widely worshiped deities today, there are very few mentions of him in the Vedas, whereas the most significant deities in the Vedas such as Indra, Varuna, Agni, Mitra and others, have almost no worship today.

    The Upanishads are texts which constitute the last part of the Veda, and are probably the most significant when it comes to Hindu philosophy. These texts deal with the nature of the self and with Brahman. It is in the Upanishads that the basis of Hindu philosophy is expounded, there are about 13 primary Upanishads and they mostly deal with the meditative revelation that the self is no different from the universe.

    Texts that deal with the epic stories of Hinduism include the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Puranas. The Dharma texts are books that deal primarily with morality and ethical codes.

    There are thousands of books from hundreds of traditions, these are just the major categories.

  8. Most Hindus believe in free will.

  9. Some Hindus are very superstitious and believe in all sorts of magic, and some, not so much.

  10. There are Christian zealots who would point out that the Dharma texts have passages saying a woman can never divorce a man, but Hindus do not have the same relationship with religious texts that the Abrahamic religions have. If a text does not meet the mark of our knowledge and understanding Hindus are free to use their discretion when ascertaining whether it should be taken seriously or not.

  11. Details depend on who you are, but generally most Hindus believe they have duties to support their family, to uphold justice and social wellbeing, and to avoid harming another living being.

  12. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism are all Indian religions and consequently are have many similarities. If you want to know exactly when and how these religions formed I recommend Indian Philosophy by S. Radhakrishnan, probably the best text on Indian religion.

  13. Ignorance, there is no such thing as evil.

  14. Depends on who you talk to, to some people the world is filled with spirits and elementals, and to others not so much. Some believe the stories in Hindu texts are symbolic and some believe them literally.

  15. Anything

  16. Similar answer to 10, you can find some dusty old book saying "men are superior to women" but most modern Hindus would agree then men and women should both be treated with respect, and that a man should treat his partner with the utmost respect and devotion.

  17. Depends on who you ask, although it might be killing a monk or Brahmin.

  18. Absolutely. Even those who commit the worst kinds of acts can eventually find redemption.

  19. Read immensely and practice, and don't stop exploring.

  20. By questioning everything and listening to all kinds of teachers with an open mind. and the moment you think you definitely, certainly, 100% have the truth, look up the counterarguments and read those too.
u/SurrealSage · 5 pointsr/news

Others have mentioned Thich Quang Duc, but I figured I'd give a recounting of one of the most famous self-immolations in recent history.

In South Vietnam, the US backed government lead by Ngo Dinh Diem started to institute a number of rules to prevent Buddhists from practicing and expressing their faith. He and some of his friends pulled up to a busy intersection, set down a cushion, sat on it and was doused in gasoline. He said:

"Before closing my eyes and moving toward the vision of the Buddha, I respectfully plead to President Ngo Dinh Diem to take a mind of compassion toward the people of the nation and implement religious equality to maintain the strength of the homeland eternally. I call the venerables, reverends, members of the sangha and the lay Buddhists to organize in solidary to make sacrifices to protect Buddhism."

He then lit a match and immolated himself. (Fair warning, this is the picture!) It was said by reporters that "As he burned he never moved a muscle, never uttered a sound, his outward composure in sharp contrast to the wailing people around him."

Interestingly, it seemed like the pain had no real hold over him or his actions. What it did do was shock the rest of the world. John F. Kennedy remarked on the image, put pressure on South Vietnam, and before the end of the year the immolation occurred, Diem was deposed.

As for the pain side of it, an interesting thing can happen for those who meditate and train their minds: Pain can be dampened by a great degree. A book I have been reading recently talked about this. The author had a friend who wanted to test the extents of the dampening of pain while holding himself in a meditative state. So this friend had a cavity filling procedure done with no anesthetic. It is described that the pain was there, but it wasn't painful. It was like recognizing without reacting, and in doing so, the pain didn't "hurt" in the same way it would if one identified with it. The person judged afterward that the feeling of it was still better than being stuck with anesthetic in his face for the few hours following. It's a good book, I recommending giving it a read: Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright (also the author of The Moral Animal, might have heard of that). He talks about how this stuff works in terms of evolutionary psychology. It's pretty neat.

u/ImaMojoMan · 4 pointsr/samharris

I haven't read it yet, but Robert Wrights book [Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment] ( might be right up your alley. He also appeared on the podcast #102 Is Buddhism True?

Sam's recommended reading list might be a good resource to sort through too. Good luck!

u/Miller-STGT · 3 pointsr/getdisciplined

The problem is much deeper than you think. And it´s also way easier to fix than you think. If you are truly passionate about something, you wouldn´t have these problems. And if you MUST do something that you aren´t passionate about, you always have to see the bigger picture and just get it done. Every time you get shit done, it will get easier the next time.

It´s not about how you act when you are motivated, it´s how disciplined you are when you are not.

I can recommend you this book:

Yes it is about Buddhism, but the author really does a great job in giving you an outside view on your own problems. Even if you don´t meditate or are interested in getting into Buddhism.

This book has made me a much calmer and collected person in the last couple of months. I get more shit done, only by truly reflecting on my feelings.

u/brojangles · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

But Buddhism doesn't really start with any precepts. It's actually kind opposed to the idea of precepts. It's purely experiential. Meditation is really just about learning how to pay attention to your own mind. Meditation, per se is no more religious than doing pushups. If there is anything like a doctrine, it might be the Four Noble Truths, but you don't actually have to accept those and none of them are supernatural.


If you're at all interested, there's a book called Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright, who is an evolutionary psychologist. The book explains the neuroscience of what goes on with Buddhist meditation. There's nothing religious about it, and the practice does not depend on any starting beliefs. It's just brain exercises.

u/abzurdleezane · 2 pointsr/secularbuddhism

If you are truly curious here is a link to "Why Buddhism is True" by Robert Wright.

In it he focuses on what psychology, philosophy and modern science including recent neurology can teach us about meditation. Just that, no god stuff no past life stuff just a thoughtful, skeptical assessment of what modern science and personal experience can tell us about our minds written by a superb author.

u/zryn3 · 2 pointsr/politics

Faith in God has been a very difficult problem for intellectuals since the enlightenment. Mathematicians, especially French ones, have tried very hard to rationalize their faith in God and have failed. Faith in God resulted in Einstein getting many things wrong toward the end of his carrier (things like his instance that the universe was static - it is expanding - and his instance that the universe is locally deterministic - it quite simply is not). Incidentally, Einstein was a great enough man that he admitted he was wrong on both counts when experiments proved him wrong, deprecated himself for his "blunders", and made very substantial contributions to quantum mechanics nonetheless.

If you think about it rationally, faith in God is no more reasonable than faith in the Easter Bunny. There is no evidence for the existence of a sentient power controlling the universe and if we start believing in things that we like with no evidence behind it because they're convenient we might as well believe in something like this.

On the other hand, much of the universe is beyond human comprehension. Even our own minds are likely too complex for a human to fully understand. That makes the idea of a higher mind very appealing to many of the same people who have serious objections to faith in God because it absolves them of their own limitations.

Fundamentally, I do think religious faith is a failure for anybody who considers themselves any kind of intellectual. I myself am religious, but I know it's more about my own arrogance and fear of death than it is a worthwhile venture. That doesn't mean I think everybody that's religious (including myself) is feeble-minded, but I think it's a flaw of human nature. There's a very fascinating book out there about how evolution created humans to have flawed thoughts and emotions by a professor at a theological seminary. Faith is in my mind too complex a part of the human condition to dismiss a person for being religious or for being atheist.

u/sir_timotheus · 2 pointsr/secularbuddhism

The Five-Minute Mindfulness Journal by Noah Rasheta (host of the Secular Buddhism podcast, which I also highly recommend) has been super helpful to me in building my mindfulness and helping me become more in touch with myself. This is probably the most relevant recommendation I have for your specific situation.

Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright covers the psychology and science relating to Buddhism and meditation, and at least for me it really helps to know the science behind things. So maybe that would help you too.

And of course meditating also helps restructure your thought processes. I would specifically recommend mindfulness meditation to help you better understand yourself and loving-kindness (metta) meditation to help you find compassion for yourself and others.

u/Agrona · 2 pointsr/Christianity
u/poorbadger0 · 2 pointsr/askphilosophy

I'm unfamiliar with Schopenhauer's work, especially as it relates to Buddhism, but I have read a few books on Buddhism, the best of which was Rupert Gethin's The Foundations of Buddhism, which I highly recommend as an introduction to Buddhism.

It is worth noting that some Buddhists reject rebirth, and have a more "non-magical" take of the Buddha's teachings. Interestingly the truth of karma and rebirth is said to be discoverable when one is developed enough in their meditative practices, and indeed that is how the Buddha is supposed to have discovered it, along with everything else he taught.

Buddhism has some very interesting things to say about the human condition, much of which I can see manifesting itself in my own life, and in some ways many of those truths are being discovered by modern science. See here and here.

u/monkey_sage · 1 pointr/canada

It's interesting that you bring up Buddhism because the book I referenced is called "Why Buddhism is True" by Robert Wright.

So far in the first chapter he's talking about how evolution "designed" the brain in such a way to motivate us to get our genes into the next generation by finding ways to motivate us to do things toward that end. He talks about how we are programmed biologically to feel good when we do things that further procreation (when we eat, have sex, hunt) but also that this pleasure is brief so we keep pursuing these things instead of just basking in the glow of the good feels. In other words: We're biologically programmed to feel good, but only temporarily, when we eat good food but the pleasure is very brief so we keep looking for our next meal and we also derive more pleasure from anticipating the food than we do from actually eating it.

This locks us into this cycle of jumping from one pleasure to the next, never finding satisfaction. He then shows how this very principle is described in Buddhism's core teachings on the Four Noble Truths.

u/hypnosifl · 1 pointr/ChapoTrapHouse

There can be materialist ideas that are pretty close to "mysticism", like the Russian cosmists, or the simulation argument. And on less cosmic versions of "mysticism", there are also plenty of attempts to connect the subjective elements of "mystical experiences" to materialist understandings of the brain in ways that argue the mystics might be intuiting deep truths about the basic dynamics that give rise to consciousness, as in Zen and the Brain and Why Buddhism is True.

u/Geovicsha · 1 pointr/Meditation

> First I don't agree that the sense of self is a feeling. I'd rather use "phenomenon of the mind" o maybe "construct" for lack of a better expression.

This is really just semantics, no? We can definitely supplant the word 'feeling' with words such as phenomenon, construct, sense, belief etc. I would argue that mind is a lot more encompassing than self, and it would be fallacious to conflate the two. The mind clearly exists, thoughts clearly exist.

The sense of self is encompassed in the mind, but the mind encompasses mental phenomena which we don't usually associate with the volitional self/ego, like dreams (funnily, though, the sense of self still exists in dreams). Thoughts are like dreams. Pay close attention, and they come in and out of consciousness without our volition. But the sense that there is some "controller" of these thoughts is illusory -- and we can see this if we meditate effectively, or take psychedelics. Indeed, since you seem to be a materialist, it would follow for you then that thoughts are a manifestation of the brain itself -- and we do not choose the construct of our brain, or how our innumerate amount of neurons inter correlate.

Indeed, the paradox that we think our thoughts becomes apparent in any beginners meditation practice. Beginners invariably complain that they can't meditate since they can't stop thinking (which is actually great they can observe this!). But, the phenomenon of the self (to use one of your words) is defined as being the controller of thoughts. If we were this controller of thoughts, wouldn't we just decide to stop thinking without any difficulty whatsoever?

> Second, because you can "turn it off" or detach yourself from it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist.

One facet of this illusory sense of self is the belief that it is always there and stable. The fact that there are significant moments in one's consciousness where it doesn't exist at all completely counteracts our conceptual understanding of the ego/self.

> Third, and this is a very complicated matter, what does it mean "to exist"? Would you say that a cultural value does not exist? That a convention does not exist?

To exist means to be real. Cultural values and conventions surely have conceptual truth, but they don't exist in objective reality. Jordan Peterson and Sam Harris had a really interesting podcast where they debated truth for over two hours. Maybe check out Buddhist ideas on relative truth and ultimate truth as well?

> Would you say that a magic trick is not real or does not exist just because it's not what it appears to be?
> The magic trick is indeed real, even if your perception makes you see beyond the actions of the magician.

Hmmm. No. The illusion of magic can appear real, but that doesn't mean the magic is real. I feel this analogy, if anything, just substantiates my point.

I cannot stress enough I am not making these claims based on religious dogma or pseudo science, but on scientific inquiry and experiential observation. They are increasingly investigated in scientific realms.

You seem like an intelligent and thoughtful individual, and I'm not explaining these points as clearly as I can (I'm very sleep deprived) or, indeed, as others do far better. Do check out Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion by prominent nueroscientist Sam Harris and/or Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by evolutionary psychologist Robert Wright.

If you ever end up doing so, I'd be really curious in your reflections -- especially if you still disagree that the self is an illusion. :)

u/spinozasrobot · 1 pointr/samharris

I think this book is a great start: Why Buddhism is True