Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An Interesting Question is Posed

On the last post there was a question posted by a reader which reads thusly: "Do Buddhism and gnosticism have anything in common, i.e., matter (desire) is bad?"

This question was posed by an anonymous poster. I will attempt to address this question as well as I can. I will treat matter and desire as separate subjects, because in the bit that I read attempting to answer this they appear to be separate things. My knowledge of Buddhism consists of what I have learned so I went to the Catholic Encyclopedia's interesting
article on Gnosticism. Dunno if this is -the- Catholic Encyclopedia; there are probably more than just one. I searched for the word "desire" and found a short little section of paragraph in shich the two worldviews were compared and contrasted.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia the two traditions are agreed upon as to the nature of our present existence: our present existence is miserable and viewed as a sort of prison from which we must escape. I realize that existence and matter are not the same, but there is some connection. As best I can recall, in Gnosticism what we see and perceive as being "matter" really is an illusion, or is bad. And in Buddhism there is a detachment from the material, which could say something about the Buddhist attitude towards matter. But when it comes time to plan one's escape from this material existence, the two traditions seem to diverge. According to the Encyclopedia, Gnosticism is "[t]he doctrine of salvation by knowledge." But in Buddhism the escape comes by eliminating desires, not simply by gaining knowledge.

Again my knowledge of these two traditions, while I do have some knowledge, is far from complete. But I hope that I have provided you, the anonymous poster, with something resembling an answer to your question, or at least helped you in your search for an answer. I suppose I might also take a moment and ask if anyone reading this blog knows anything about this. It couldn't hurt.

I ran into a friend's mom today at UP. This friend will also be attending UP in the fall and was also placed in the 3XX level of Spanish, and she is trying to transfer out. According to her mom there is very little, if any, English spoken in these classes. Coupled with the concerns about the vosotros person and being placed above where I tested this has created in me a bit of anxiety. I suppose one way to prepare would be to begin watching Univision and picking up reading one or two Spanish-language blogs; there seem to be a few of those here on Blogspot.

Well, I have a logic test tomorrow, and so I cannot put off getting to bed too much longer. I will end the Saga for the night; tomorrow the ship sails again!


L-Po said...

How come your mother has to find out about your discussion with KM's mom on your blog? Like a knife to my heart, it is. (And I'm just kidding. I know you're going to ask.)

Anonymous said...

thank you for your answer to the gnosticism versus Buddhism question. I found it quite enlightening.

k-po said...

daniel - when are you going to write something that i can understand??!! thank you for becoming my own personal greek philosopher and i crown you danocrates the great. you rock. but really write something i can get. love you stud.