This week’s talk involved a guest speaker, Armando Garcia, who recently wrote a book entitled “Buddhism & Existentialism-Not Self, Nothingness And Being”. This was the topic of the evening’s discussion. Armando explained the basic assumptions of existentialism, a Western philosophy developed in the late 19th and 20th centuries in Europe. This philosophy has striking similarities to the concepts of anatta (the absence of an enduring as autonomous self) and anicca (the transient nature of reality). What is absent in existentialism is clarity about the nature of dukkha (dissatisfaction, distress and confusion) and the ways and means to resolve dukkha. Existentialism describes “bad faith” as the absence of responsibility for the consequences of the inevitable choices life presents to human experience, and proposes life as presenting the opportunity to repeatedly choose an “authentic” life. This has similarity to the nature of dukkha, but existentialism doesn’t provide the Noble Eightfold Path strategies for cultivating authentic responses to life.
Armando’s book can be purchased through Amazon.
Next week’s discussion will resume the exploration of the Paramis with “Truthfulness”. This Parami can be understood as the attainment of an existentially “authentic” life.