Monism is the view that attributes oneness or singleness (Greek:μόνος) to a concept (e.g., existence).

Buddhism is beyond monism, dualism, pluralism etc. Those -istic teachings are like photos. Monism says that there is the best perspective (camera angle) to make a good photo of that particular thing. For example, a person should be photographed from the front, to see the face and body well. Dualism says that there is equally important information in human photos from the back (for medical purposes, for example; some mystics say that looking at the back of a person we can see his state and thoughts easier). That two-photos approach also is used in criminalist photography: getting head photos en face and side-view. That’s like dualism. Then pluralism says that in various cases different angles can be best. Like when an artist paints some person, capturing unique personality and feelings…

What is Buddhism like?

Buddhism sees the difference between the object and its photos. That’s what we realize well in awakening. All the photos are dropped. We could use them but are not caught by them. So sometimes Buddhist teachings might look monistic; or not monistic — that depends rather on a person that perceives them.

A Zen Master asked a monk, pointing at the portrait of bearded patriarch Bodhidharma: “Why this foreigner has no beard?”

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Today in class professor initiated a juicy discussion into the self. I thought you may enjoy diving into our conversation – and I’m extremely interested in your views of self, and your philosophies on life. I’m a firm believer that language IS arbitrary. But I also agree that our abilities, as storytellers and myth makers, define what it means to be human.

Thinking Philosophically

What Is Your Philosophy of Life?

Everybody has a philosophy of life. Identify some of the foundation beliefs that form your philosophy of life, using these questions as a guide. Express your ideas as completely and clearly as you can. Think deeply and beyond superficialities and refuse to be satisfied with the first idea that you have.

  • What do you most value in life? Why?
  • What moral beliefs influence your choices and your behavior toward others? How do you determine the “right” thing to do?
  • What role do religious beliefs play in your life? Do you believe in “God”? Why or why not? Is there an afterlife? If so, what is the path to it?
  • What gives your life meaning? What is the purpose of your life? What do you hope to achieve in your life?
  • How do we find truth? How do you know when you “know” something is true? What is an example of something you know to be true?
  • Do you believe that your choices are free? Do you hold yourself responsible for your choices?
  • What do you consider to be “beautiful”? Why? What is the function of art? Should “extreme” forms of artistic expression be censored? Why or why not?
  • Are all people entitled to basic human rights? Why? What is justice?
  • What are other important beliefs in your life?