Since the beginning of my interest in Stoicism one of the things that attracted me to it was the fact that it is compatible with a number of different metaphysical and religious positions, as well as that it has several similarities with other religions-philosophical traditions. One such tradition is Buddhism.
Which is why I was happy when Bob Wright invited me to have a video conversation with him about the similarities and differences between Stoicism and Buddhism. We started out briefly talking about our respective new books, How to Be a Stoic and Why Buddhism is True, briefly chatted about some of the more obvious similarities between the two philosophies, and then explored a little bit of the metaphysics of Stoicism.
Bob and I inquiried about whether there is a Stoic equivalent of the Buddhist discipline of “not-self” (I don’t think so, I think that’s actually one of the major differences between the two philosophies), and then explored my recurring Stoic advice column as an example of practical philosophy in action.
From there, somewhat naturally, we talked about Seneca’s advice on anger, and moved to two final topics: how to achieve a more objective awareness of your emotions (in both Stoicism and Buddhism), and how to use meditation (in the case of Buddhism) or mindfulness (in the case of Stoicism) to cope with feelings of failure.
The full video is here: