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Journal ArticleDOI

Medical Analogies in Buddhist and Hellenistic Thought: Tranquillity and Anger

01 Jul 2010-Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement (Cambridge University Press)-Vol. 66, Iss: 66, pp 11-33

AbstractMedical analogies are commonly invoked in both Indian Buddhist dharma and Hellenistic philosophy. In the Pāli Canon, nirvana (or, in Pāli, nibbāna) is depicted as a form of health, and the Buddha is portrayed as a doctor who helps us attain it. Much later in the tradition, Śāntideva described the Buddha’s teaching as ‘the sole medicine for the ailments of the world, the mine of all success and happiness.’ Cicero expressed the view of many Hellenistic philosophers when he said that philosophy is ‘a medical science for the mind.’ He thought we should ‘hand ourselves over to philosophy, and let ourselves be healed.’ ‘For as long as these ills [of the mind] remain,’ he wrote, ‘we cannot attain to happiness.’ There are many different forms of medical analogy in these two traditions, but the most general form may be stated as follows: just as medicine cures bodily diseases and brings about physical health, so Buddhist dharma or Hellenistic philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health—where psychological health is understood as the highest form of happiness or well-being. Insofar as Buddhist dharma involves philosophy, as it does, both renditions of the analogy may be said to declare that philosophy cures mental diseases and brings about psychological health. This feature of the analogy—philosophy as analogous to medical treatment—has attracted considerable attention.

Topics: Hellenistic philosophy (59%), Dharma (59%), Gautama Buddha (55%), Buddhism (53%)

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Journal ArticleDOI
01 Nov 2017-BMJ Open
TL;DR: The PW-SIS is a valid and theoretically coherent scale which is brief and practical for integration into a wide range of health behaviour and outcomes research studies.
Abstract: Introduction We developed and validated a new parsimonious scale to measure stoic beliefs. Key domains of stoicism are imperviousness to strong emotions, indifference to death, taciturnity and self-sufficiency. In the context of illness and disease, a personal ideology of stoicism may create an internal resistance to objective needs, which can lead to negative consequences. Stoicism has been linked to help-seeking delays, inadequate pain treatment, caregiver strain and suicide after economic stress. Methods During 2013–2014, 390 adults aged 18+ years completed a brief anonymous paper questionnaire containing the preliminary 24-item Pathak-Wieten Stoicism Ideology Scale (PW-SIS). Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test an a priori multidomain theoretical model. Content validity and response distributions were examined. Sociodemographic predictors of strong endorsement of stoicism were explored with logistic regression. Results The final PW-SIS contains four conceptual domains and 12 items. CFA showed very good model fit: root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)=0.05 (95% CI 0.04 to 0.07), goodness-of-fit index=0.96 and Tucker-Lewis Index=0.93. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.78 and ranged from 0.64 to 0.71 for the subscales. Content validity analysis showed a statistically significant trend, with respondents who reported trying to be a stoic ‘all of the time’ having the highest PW-SIS scores. Men were over two times as likely as women to fall into the top quartile of responses (OR=2.30, 95% CI 1.44 to 3.68, P Discussion The PW-SIS is a valid and theoretically coherent scale which is brief and practical for integration into a wide range of health behaviour and outcomes research studies.

12 citations


Cites background from "Medical Analogies in Buddhist and H..."

  • ...Major Asian philosophical systems of thought, such as Buddhism and Confucianism, also endorsed stoic principles and teachings.(4) 5 Beginning in the 19th century, academic and popular philosophers in Europe and the Americas were exposed to and influenced by Asian philosophy and religion....

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01 Jan 1998

11 citations


DOI
01 Jan 2017
Abstract: Just like Nature: Habit and the Art of Life Daniel Manfred del Nido In this dissertation, I will examine the conceptions of philosophy of the 19 and 20 Century thinkers Félix Ravaisson, Henri Bergson, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and their implications for contemporary theories of religious ethics and philosophical practice, especially that of Pierre Hadot. In doing so, I will elucidate their understanding of both the goals of philosophical practice and the means by which they are achieved, focusing in particular on the importance of the body in their respective theories of philosophical practice. Specifically, I argue that Ravaisson, Bergson, and Merleau-Ponty’s theories of philosophical practice are grounded in an understanding of habit as a dynamic process of producing and transforming bodily dispositions that problematizes distinctions between self and world and limits attempts to achieve conscious self-mastery. As a result, their work calls into question the extent to which self-conscious cultivation of intellectual and bodily habits that conform to an ideal self-conception is either possible or desirable, and instead affirms a conception of philosophical practice as what I term “indefinite self-cultivation.” In chapter one, I examine Félix Ravaisson’s conception of philosophical practice in relationship to his theory of habit, which he claims originates as a principle of desire that gives rise to bodily spontaneity. This theory of habit underlies a conception of philosophical practice as imitation of models of ideal conduct through which habits of inventive conduct that outstrip capacities for rational deliberation are produced. In chapter two, I contrast Ravaisson’s conception of habit with Henri Bergson’s, who regards habit as a form of bodily memory that produces automaticity. Philosophical practice for Bergson resists the effects of habit on thought and action by engaging in philosophical intuition, an application of mental effort to processes of change and movement that generates new ideas and new forms of life. In chapter three, I examine MerleauPonty’s intermediate position between these theories of habit, and his argument that the fluid nature of habituation as a process of social interaction makes living according to a determinate way of life possible only at the risk of doing violence to oneself. For Merleau-Ponty, philosophy entails critical practice of interrogating and expressing affects and immediate responses to events that serves as a way to question consciously-held values and uncover new personal and social possibilities. Finally, in chapter four, I conceptualize Ravaisson, Bergson, and Merleau-Ponty’s theories of philosophical practice as forms of indefinite self-transformation by putting their work in critical conversation with Pierre Hadot’s theory of philosophy as a way of life.

11 citations


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Abstract: Acknowledgements and Recommendations for Further Reading 1. Introduction 2. Gotama Buddha's Problem Situation 3. The Buddha's Dhamma 4. The Sangha's Discipline 5. The Accomodation between Buddhism and Society in Ancient India 6. The Buddhist Tradition in Sri Lanka 7. Protestant Buddhism 8. Current Trends, New Problems Works cited, Abbreviations and Primary Sources References Index

215 citations