What place do Stoics and Buddhists leave for relationships in their ethics, and what objections could you raise to their view?
A complete paper must include a title, a question and a thesis statement, a structured argument, and at least three academic references drawn from course materials. (Outside referances should also be used) At least two distinct ethical theories must be discussed and objections to each must be considered.
Before we get to the similarities in teaching between Stoicism and Buddism, it helps first to get an understanding of their origins.
Knowing how both philosophies came to being can give us insights into why they are so similar despite being independently founded 300 years and thousands of miles apart.
So here’s a quick background on how Stoicism and Buddhism were founded.
Stoicism and Buddhism both try to eliminate excess.
Both philosophies understand that pleasure or material possessions are not a necessity in life, nor are they required for happiness.
The Stoics are indifferent to material possessions or pleasure, they are preferred, but the lack of it does not affect a Stoic’s ability to live virtuously and happily. One of the 4 Stoic virtues, Temperance, can also be translated to moderation.
Buddhists avoid both excess and deficiency. To a Buddhist, having enough is enough, no more, no less. Too much can distract one from the Noble Eightfold Path, while too little could hinder one’s ability to follow it.
One important difference to note here is that Stoicism is more “lenient” than Buddhism when it comes to moderation.
Stoics have a practice of voluntary discomfort, which is essentially an exercise in extreme lack of pleasure or comfort, in order to gain resilience and perspective.
It is also possible for a Stoic to live a “glamorous lifestyle” so long as it is also a virtuous one.
But all in all, Stoicism and Buddhism understands the dangers of having too much or too little of anything.
“A man is as unhappy as he has convinced himself he is.” – Seneca
Stoics and Buddhists can both agree that pain is real, but suffering comes from the mind.
Buddhists believe that suffering comes from our attachment to desires, while Stoics believe that suffering comes from our judgment to external events.
A Buddhist eliminates suffering by detaching himself from his desires.
A Stoic eliminates suffering by being indifferent to all external events.
Despite the two philosophies’ attempt to minimize suffering, both Stoicism and Buddism don’t see suffering as a bad thing.
Budda understood that all life is suffering and to live is to suffer; While the Stoics taught that suffering makes us who we are, and it is a great thing to bear one’s suffering worthily.
If you are in pain, a Stoic would tell you that your pain is real, but your suffering is only caused by your judgment of the pain.
See it as it a good thing, for it is an opportunity for virtue, and it makes you stronger. If you cannot bear it, it would have taken your life, so make peace with it, and it will not bother you.
“The wise man accepts his pain, endures it, but does not add to it.” – Marcus Aurelius
A Buddhist would tell you that your pain is real, but you are only suffering because you desire not to be in pain. Do away with that desire and the suffering disappears.
Pain only lasts a moment, more precisely this particular moment you are living. So live with the pain for only this moment, and you will be able to bear it for eternally.
“Pain is certain, suffering is optional.” – Budda
In a sense, Stoicism and Buddhism both deal with suffering by understanding its role in life and making peace with it.