Truth and Zen Buddhism
A thought on knowing truth.
I was reading something recently that was allegedly about problems with Mysticism. Allegedly, because it was really about Zen Buddhism, and while Zen is mystical, generalizing is probably unfair (I don't know a lot about mysticism).
A quick summery would be as follows: Zen Buddhism claims that the truth about the world can only be known mystically, not through reason. However, there are any number of logical problems with this. Therefore Zen Buddhism is stupid.
This seems unfair to me because the Zen Buddhists said at the beginning that they did not accept logic as a standard of truth. Instead, they claimed to know when they had found truth by intuition. You can argue that reason is better, but for that to work, you have to start with the assumption that arguments (a form of reason) is the best way to address the question, which is circular.
There are actually many ways people have claimed to arrive at truth. Here is a list of the ones I can think of, each phrased in way a supporter would find conclusive.
- Reason is the only sure way to truth, and I can prove it.
- Truth comes best through intuition. I know it in my heart.
- We have always followed our traditions.
- My grandfather tells me to trust my elders becuase wisdom comes with age.
- God has revealed to me that truth can only be known by divine inspiration.
- All leading philosophers say we must trust our experts.
- Empirically, science is the best way to discover truth.
- For me there is no universal truth, but it might be different for you.
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