Pyrrhonian Buddhism : A Philosophical Reconstruction book cover
1st Edition

Pyrrhonian Buddhism
A Philosophical Reconstruction

ISBN 9780367631321
Published March 30, 2021 by Routledge
130 Pages

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Book Description

Pyrrhonian Buddhism reconstructs the path to enlightenment shared both by early Buddhists and the ancient Greek sceptics inspired by Pyrrho of Elis, who may have had extended contacts with Buddhists when he accompanied Alexander the Great to India in the third century BCE.

This volume explores striking parallels between early Buddhism and Pyrrhonian scepticism, suggesting their virtual identity. Both movements saw beliefs—fictions mistaken for truths—as the principal source of human suffering. Both practiced suspension of judgment about beliefs to obtain release from suffering, and to achieve enlightenment, which the Buddhists called bodhi and the Pyrrhonists called ataraxia. And both came to understand the structure of human experience without belief, which the Buddhists called dependent origination and the Pyrrhonists described as phenomenalistic atomism.

This book is intended for the general reader, as well as historians, classicists, Buddhist scholars, philosophers, and practitioners of spiritual techniques.

Table of Contents


1. West Meets East

2. Diogenes Laertius

3. Sextus Empiricus

4. Timon and Aulus Gellius

5. Pragmata and Dependent Origination

6. Emptiness and the Suspension of Belief

7. Ataraxia and Bodhi



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Adrian Kuzminski is the author of Pyrrhonism: How the Ancient Greeks Reinvented Buddhism (2008); Fixing the System: A History of Populism, Ancient & Modern (2008); The Ecology of Money: Debt, Growth, and Sustainability (2015); and The Soul (1994). He is an independent scholar living in upstate New York, USA.