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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%) more

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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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11 citations

01 Jan 2017
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11 citations

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05 Jun 2012
Abstract: Part I. Need and Recognition: 1. Emotions as judgments of value 2. Humans and other animals: the neo-stoic view revised 3. Emotions and human societies 4. Emotions and infancy Interlude: 'things such as might happen' 5. Music and emotion Part II. Compassion: 6. Tragic predicaments 7. Compassion: the philosophical debate 8. Compassion and public life Part III. Ascents of Love: 9. Ladders of love: an introduction 10. Contemplative creativity: Plato, Spinoza, Proust 11. The Christian ascent: Augustine 12. The Christian ascent: Dante 13. The Romantic ascent: Emily Bronte 14. The Romantic ascent: Mahler 15. Democratic desire: Walt Whitman 16. The transfiguration of everyday life: Joyce.

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543 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
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