4 Confused Stances: Buddhism

Stances_Complete_v3Buddhism DiagramThe Buddha, or certainly those who penned his supposed words were critical of mistaken thinking. The Buddhist scriptures don’t hesitate to tell us how other philosophies/religions are wrong. Unlike the “we are all cool, we are all one, don’t judge” New Age Buddhism that floats around Hollywood, Buddhists can be critically discerning. (see McMahan’s book).

To the right is my diagram of classical (Theravada) Buddhist dharma/teachings — click the pic to enlarge. One Main Teaching is The 8-fold Path and one of those 8 desired qualities is “Right Understanding”.  Though in much of Western Buddhism you will see emphasis on holding all views lightly and being peaceful and kind, the Buddhist scriptures are full of criticisms of wrong views (wrong stances).

David Chapman describes a Buddhist delineation four mistaken stances which I have tried to illustrate above. See David’s post on “The Big Three Stance Combinations” for more details.

On the bottom of my diagram are the “confused stances” which are mixes of Eternalism vs. Nihilism and of Monism vs. Dualism.  Note that Nihilistic Monism is a rare stance so that there are practically only the Big Three confused stances. The center of the confused stances symbolizes those who are uncommitted to a particular fixed stance.  The only virtue of this uncommitted stance is that for some, this position allows one to more clearly see the “4th Option” of Meaningness — the “Complete Stance” which allows all these possibilities.
The “Complete Stance” is then seen to contain all possibilities without a fixed quality — it is thought of as a spacious stance (thus the dotted borders in contrast to the thick borders of the confused stances).  The “Confused Stances” are just locked-down, fixations on aspects of the “Complete Stance”.

For contrasts of these stances, see David’s chart here.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “4 Confused Stances: Buddhism

  1. @sabio: I like the concept or direction you are going with this post. I’m interested in understanding Buddhism versus Modern interpretation of Buddhism–what you term Hollywood Buddhism. Could you elaborate on “mistaken thinking”? I admit I’m confused and am probably a “mistaken thinker” too. Or, maybe your last sentences is the key: The “Confused Stances” are just locked-down, fixations on aspects of the “Complete Stance”.

  2. IS there an objective way of weighing validity of such models/prescriptions, or is that inescapably bound up in innate bias (taste)? If the latter is largely true, what is the meaning of “mistaken thinking”? As a complete outsider to the county of philosophy I too would find it useful if you could say something about that concept.

  3. @ SkepticM,

    Thanx for the questions

    (1) You’d like David McMahan’s book — “The Making of Buddhist Modernism”
    https://triangulations.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/the-making-of-buddhist-modernism/

    (2) Right View
    Thanks for the question: I added a pic and this content to the post:

    To the right is my diagram of the classical Buddhist dharma (teachings) — click the pic to enlarge. Note that the 8-fold path and one of those 8 desired qualities is “Right Understanding”. Though in much of Western Buddhism you will see emphasis on holding all views lightly and being peaceful and kind, the Buddhist scriptures are full of criticisms of wrong views (wrong stances).

    I think you will find David’s blog enlightening as relates to your blog and your journey.

  4. @ egyoung,

    Is anything ever right or wrong? Or is everything just preference?

    That is your question, right?
    I think if we decide our goals, the right or wrong (useful, not-useful) method emerge.
    Does that answer your question?

    But you are right — without a standard, some measure, how do right and wrong emerge?

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