Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

The Road to Enlightenment is Paved with Selfishness

The Third Noble Truth of Buddhism is the belief that all suffering can be overcome, thus true happiness or nirvana can be attained. Individuals can supposedly achieve this cessation or end of suffering by following the Eightfold Path, that is explicitly defined in the Fourth Noble Truth, to reach enlightenment.

Without needing to understand or breakdown this Eightfold Path, I already have a major disagreement with Buddhism. Basically, Buddhism is primarily for personal development with the possibility of achieving personal enlightenment. While I strongly believe in personal development and I have nothing against enlightenment, I believe Buddhism is primarily for personal benefit that I construed as slightly selfish. Please do not misunderstand me, I understand there are several great non-selfish aspects of Buddhism, such as the strong emphasis on empathy and sympathy. My disagreement is that Buddhism's primary concern is with reaching personal enlightenment rather than trying to help or enlighten all of humanity.

So that leads me to ask, which is more important: self enlightenment or humanism (helping mankind)? Both involve personal development and helping mankind, but which is the better goal? Which is the more altruistic goal? Which is the more selfish goal?

In my opinion, I believe enlightenment and humanism are tightly related yet quite possibly mutually exclusive.

by Phil for Humanity
on 10/15/2012

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