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Stoicism - your thoughts ?

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Posted (edited)

What are your thoughts on stoicism ? 

Stoicism VS Buddhism ?             ( differences , similarities, benefits , disadvantages )

Stoicism VS Daoism ?   ( differences , similarities, benefits , disadvantages )

can you reach enlightenment with it alone ? 

Edited by waterdrop
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Posted (edited)

I am not qualified to go in depth on Buddhism.

 

Stoicism and Taoism however:

 

Daoism avoids giving clear instruction, Stoicism is firm in the rules it’s followers must follow to achieve their goals. They both have similar messages, and stem from the same roots, though influenced by two different cultures. They combine well.

 

In managing stressful situations, both disciplines choose to detach from guilt, anger,or sadness. 

 

The general world is materialistically oriented and externally focused. If you don’t have fruits to show for you labor —the houses, the cars, the titles, the awards—you do not have enough value. 

Daoism and Stoicism sees past this fallacy: they know that all we can really focus on is our own action. They also know that true learning and development happen under the surface. No matter the oucome, we can always take away the lessons of experience from every endeavor. 

 

We have the Stoic concept of the Logos. Logos represents divine reason, in which all things in the world exist and change. It is where the world came into being from and the reason behind continual changing. This is an impersonal type of higher existence, unknowable, yet it is perfect in its reason and harmony. Complimentary to this Stoic concept, is the  Dao.

Dao is different than the Logos in the way that Dao does not necessarily represent divine reason, I would rather say that it is more of a divine instinct in the way things are ordered. 

Daoism teaches that ones' life should be lived in a state of flow, without forcing anything. Effortless living, where effortlessness gets all the necessary things accomplished without straining. It is the belief that when you allow yourself to be yourself, when you reach enough relaxation, your inner nature shows the WAY, your life becomes easier and more effortless, yet fulfilled and accomplished. Once we get in accord with our inner nature, our actions become the extension of ourselves, and thus must not be forced.

 

Lao Tzu, like the Stoics, believed that fear came from ego. When we focus on our own individual gain or loss or the perception of others, or when we ascribe an identity or outcome to ourselves that we “should” be living up to, then fear naturally results. 

However, when we approach situations with relaxed, non-attached humility, we realize that fear is simply created in and by the mind.

 

“There is nothing so wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes. What madness it is in your expecting evil before it arrives!” — Seneca (a great Stoic)

 

Moderation in one’s action, emotions and words is a key principle of both Daoism and Stoicism. These two seemingly different philosophical views carry the same message. Both are potent and they complement  each other extremely well.

 

 

Don’t learn and practice for show, do so to be better.

Be forgiving of others, but don’t demand forgiveness for yourself.

Try to hold as few opinions as possible.

Keep in touch with poverty, while not being impoverished.

If it is not right, do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.

 

 

 

 

Edited by moment
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Stoicism for me is very precious. I would recommend the book Enchiridion to everybody. It is a short book written by Epictetus. In it he explains the difference between the vulgar and the sage: the first seeks outside his happiness or his misfortunes, while the sage knows very well it is all within.

 

It is a great philosophy for the endurance of all kind of hardships, always with serenitude and tranquility.

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55 minutes ago, Toni said:

Stoicism for me is very precious. I would recommend the book Enchiridion to everybody. It is a short book written by Epictetus. In it he explains the difference between the vulgar and the sage: the first seeks outside his happiness or his misfortunes, while the sage knows very well it is all within.

 

It is a great philosophy for the endurance of all kind of hardships, always with serenitude and tranquility.

 

In my opinion, the greatest leader of all time, was the great Stoic Marcus Aurelius. I f we had his equal as President of the USA now, we would become great again.  Sadly, there is no one visible, anywhere in the world, who is close to his equal.

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23 hours ago, moment said:

Daoism avoids giving clear instruction, Stoicism is firm in the rules it’s followers must follow to achieve their goals. They both have similar messages, and stem from the same roots, though influenced by two different cultures. They combine well.

It is highly possible that the source of stoicism was buddhism. By the time stoicism came into being the greeks had already been in contact with buddhists through the conquests of Alexander. Some stories about Alexander meeting ascetics in India exist in his biography by Plutarch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gymnosophists

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalanos

There were also considerable conversions of Greeks in the IndoGreek and Grecobactrian states during the Successors' wars.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Greek_Kingdom

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Bactrian_Kingdom

 

Alexandria was the gateway of the East to the Roman empire and the Mediterranean. A well known Buddhist emissary passed through that port during the reign of emperor Octavian. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zarmanochegas

Zarmanus or Zarmanochegas could possibly derive from the word Sramanas=>Sramanus=>Zarmanus

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It's been a long time since I did any reading in this area, but my impression at the time I did was that Stoicism had a lot of common ground with Buddhism, especially the emphasis on personal morality and being a good member of society. I also remember thinking about parallels between Epicureanism and Daoism. Although the word "epicurean" is today defined as this sort of decadent, greedy,  luxury seeker, the original ancient Greek Epicurus and his followers were very much into simplicity, nature, friendship, and moderation.

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I think Stoicism from a Buddhist POV would work with the sila (morality) aspect, but it ultimately lacks the liberating samadhi and prajna. I think Stoicism can be useful in adapting Buddhist types ideas into Western language. I think Pyrrhonism would be more on point given its overlap with Madhyamaka. 

 

As for Taoists, there is nothing in Stoicism comparable to aligning one's channels and working with the body-mind on a deep level. There is no qigong, neigong, or neidan in Stoicism. 


Unfortunately, the only remnants of Stoicism are written directions. We do not have any oral instructions or access to the exercises they used. Nor do we have living teachers of the tradition that can pass it along. Accordingly, I imagine one would largely be working with the shallower aspects of the mind. 

 

But it would be better than practicing nothing. 

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24 minutes ago, forestofemptiness said:

I think Stoicism from a Buddhist POV would work with the sila (morality) aspect, but it ultimately lacks the liberating samadhi and prajna. I think Stoicism can be useful in adapting Buddhist types ideas into Western language. I think Pyrrhonism would be more on point given its overlap with Madhyamaka. 

 

As for Taoists, there is nothing in Stoicism comparable to aligning one's channels and working with the body-mind on a deep level. There is no qigong, neigong, or neidan in Stoicism. 


Unfortunately, the only remnants of Stoicism are written directions. We do not have any oral instructions or access to the exercises they used. Nor do we have living teachers of the tradition that can pass it along. Accordingly, I imagine one would largely be working with the shallower aspects of the mind. 

 

But it would be better than practicing nothing. 

You are right that in stoicism there is no work on the body nor in the unity between body and mind. It focuses almost solely on the mental aspects, as all the greek/western schools of thought.

 

We can not find in the history of european thought a system to work both the body and the mind. This is something alien to us, we have focused on one thing or the other, contrary to daoism. 

 

We can just find some systems which focus on both things in the XX century, and they are quite residual. Think of Alexander technique or reichian bodywork.

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I don't think it is alien, I think it was lost. Pierre Hadot and Peter Kingsley have excavated evidence of ancient Greek practices. I read one of Plato's writings that specifically referenced oral teachings with exercises. If I were to speculate, I would think the practices were once there but have been lost. 

 

1 hour ago, Toni said:

We can not find in the history of european thought a system to work both the body and the mind. This is something alien to us, we have focused on one thing or the other, contrary to daoism. 

 

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The words and sentiments of both Marcus and Epictetus have been arising in my mind in recent months with distinct, potent clarity.

 

So grateful they chose to spend some of their time, investing and relating their thoughts.  They've been extremely beneficial to me all these centuries later.

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It is the perfect philosophy for hard times

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Posted (edited)

Heraclitus shed tears everytime he went out in public, Democritis laughed.

Subjectivity.

Subjectivity and Power. 

Foucault.

 

Stoics are fashionable at the moment in the general public.

Stoics have always been fashionable on this philosophical site. 

 

We are all subject to prevailing forces. I mentioned this to a bum soon after some volcano erupted.  Bum wasn't keen on my position that we subjects are subject to Nature's prevails.

Stoics strive to live in accordance with Nature.

To me that seems reasonable and attainable.

 

 

Edited by zerostao
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The stoics are a complicated bunch. There is much debate between the stoics. Contemporary stoics are a watered down wash out.

The Romans, certainly Marcus Auerlius Meditations and the Discourses of Epictetus are beautiful inspirational reads,,

yet to get to the crux, ya gotta go Greek.

You dont have to read 165 volumes of Chrysippus :o

He wrote them but you can't find them, spare fragments.

So this is just my take on some things the Greek stoics seemed to agree on.

Calm is a superpower.

Emotions rise from false judgements.

The sage doesn't suffer from emotions due that the sage had attained moral and intellectual perfection.

Thus, the sage acquired freedom.

Anyone not a sage was in effect a slave.

Stoic views on virtue holds that virtues are individual features excellent or at least good which allow performance of functionality.

 

If you do have an interest to look closer at the Stoics a good place to check them out is at

Dr. Cynthia Freeland's Ancient Stoicism

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11 hours ago, zerostao said:

The stoics are a complicated bunch. There is much debate between the stoics. Contemporary stoics are a watered down wash out.

The Romans, certainly Marcus Auerlius Meditations and the Discourses of Epictetus are beautiful inspirational reads,,

yet to get to the crux, ya gotta go Greek.

You dont have to read 165 volumes of Chrysippus :o

He wrote them but you can't find them, spare fragments.

So this is just my take on some things the Greek stoics seemed to agree on.

Calm is a superpower.

Emotions rise from false judgements.

The sage doesn't suffer from emotions due that the sage had attained moral and intellectual perfection.

Thus, the sage acquired freedom.

Anyone not a sage was in effect a slave.

Stoic views on virtue holds that virtues are individual features excellent or at least good which allow performance of functionality.

 

If you do have an interest to look closer at the Stoics a good place to check them out is at

Dr. Cynthia Freeland's Ancient Stoicism

 

"Calm is a superpower."

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