Response to “What The Buddha Taught”
The Buddhist doctrine of No-Soul states that identity is an illusion which man must discard in order to be happy. I reject this view of human nature because it seems negate the distinctions of personality which clearly appear to exist and which make human relationships so diverse, intriguing, and rewarding.
Every human being has a unique set of abilities and character traits. Some have great talent for mechanical operations such as flying planes, while others are built for abstract thought. Some are warm, excitable, and talkative; some are introverted and contemplative. One can see these differences even in a pre-school filled with three-year olds. The uniqueness of an individual gives him great joy; in my experience, I have found that people who do not believe that they have any talents or traits which make them different from others, that they are just mediocre blobs with no identity, are very miserable people. Yet, No-Soul seems to encourage people to accept this.
As each person grows up, he takes a vocation which corresponds to his talents and associates people who complement his personality; his vocation and his friends give him great joy. These relationships cannot simply be passed from one person to another; an airplane pilot would be miserable as a philosopher, for example. This shows that the distinction between one person and another is real and cannot be suppressed or denied; yet, No-Soul does that.
I find the Buddha’s view of the ideal person lacking. He has ignored a fundamental facet of human nature, the value of personality. Why do human beings have these unique traits if they aren’t supposed to use them? How can one defend the non-existence of something that seems so clearly to exist?