Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert WrightFrom one of America’s greatest minds, a journey through psychology, philosophy, and lots of meditation to show how Buddhism holds the key to moral clarity and enduring happiness.
Robert Wright famously explained in The Moral Animal how evolution shaped the human brain. The mind is designed to often delude us, he argued, about ourselves and about the world. And it is designed to make happiness hard to sustain.
But if we know our minds are rigged for anxiety, depression, anger, and greed, what do we do? Wright locates the answer in Buddhism, which figured out thousands of years ago what scientists are only discovering now. Buddhism holds that human suffering is a result of not seeing the world clearly—and proposes that seeing the world more clearly, through meditation, will make us better, happier people.
In Why Buddhism is True, Wright leads readers on a journey through psychology, philosophy, and a great many silent retreats to show how and why meditation can serve as the foundation for a spiritual life in a secular age. At once excitingly ambitious and wittily accessible, this is the first book to combine evolutionary psychology with cutting-edge neuroscience to defend the radical claims at the heart of Buddhist philosophy. With bracing honesty and fierce wisdom, it will persuade you not just that Buddhism is true—which is to say, a way out of our delusion—but that it can ultimately save us from ourselves, as individuals and as a species.
Robert Wright, "Why Buddhism Is True"
Is Buddhism True?
Your complimentary articles. You can read four articles free per month. To have complete access to the thousands of philosophy articles on this site, please. In this sense the title is something of a misnomer. Wright has little interest in preserving tradition if it cannot stand up to his secular critique. Still, he is convinced that Buddhism anticipated by a matter of centuries knowledge about the human mind that we are only now unearthing through science.
Here it is.
when your ex tries to come back quotes
But there is a powerful antidote, he argues: the practices of Buddhism. I recently caught up with Wright by phone while he was on a book tour in Boston. Among other things, we talked about why he thinks evolutionary psychology supports the Buddhist outlook, how Buddhism and a popular form of talk therapy share core philosophies about achieving inner peace, and whether Buddhism can be stripped of its more supernatural claims. How does evolutionary psychology support this claim? Robert Wright — For starters, evolutionary psychology reminds us that we were not designed by natural selection to be enduringly happy or content. In particular, gratification was basically designed to evaporate — for pretty clear reasons.
But what is the origin of our craving? Why Buddhism is True is a bold title. We have illusions about ourselves, other people, and the world. Buddhism posits that we tend to misperceive fundamental aspects of our existence. With both of these ideas, I think modern psychology—and, in particular, evolutionary psychology—is on my side in defending at least some version of them. Is that what you mean when you say that Buddhism is true—that certain Buddhist ideas are corroborated by modern psychology? And, since it gets special emphasis in the book, it might be helpful if you can explain what evolutionary psychology is.