Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Buddha, Stoicism and Epicureanism
In my class on History of World Religions, we have ended our treatment of Hinduism and are starting Buddhism. The question I have is what makes Buddha a religions teacher, and not an ethical philosopher. Buddha offered a way of dealing with, and overcoming, human suffering and the transitoriness of human existence, and formed a group to pursue that end. But didn't the Stoics and Epicureans do the same thing? What property does Buddha have that makes him a religious teacher, and the Stoics and Epicureans philosophers instead. And not a property like "founded a movement that eventually became one of the world's great religions." I mean a property that you could have picked out when Buddha was alive.