Robert G. Morrison

in Nietzsche and Buddhism

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198238652
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191679711 | DOI:

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This chapter traces the development of Nietzsche's thoughts on Buddhism. Nietzsche believed that the only acceptable response to nihilism was not the founding of a European Buddhism, but the creation of a new vision of man and existence with values not founded on some fictitious transcendental world or being, but in life as it is in the natural world, which is man's only world. Thus, the possible advent of a European form of Buddhism was a danger that would obscure the sight of that open sea, and was something he therefore wished to avoid. Nevertheless, Buddhism might have a purpose: ‘a European Buddhism might perhaps be indispensable’ as one of the ‘many types of philosophy which need to be taught…as a hammer’. The metaphor of the hammer, however, does not imply destruction but the hammer's use as a means of ‘sounding out’, as when one strikes a bell to examine whether it rings true or is flawed. The implication here is that the flawed would be those who were attracted to Buddhism.

Keywords: Schopenhauer; Nietzsche; Buddhism; nihilism

Chapter.  1416 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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