Chapter Two:

2:1 The Non-mystical Core of Buddhism

As mentioned previously, Buddhism consists of a core set of non-mystical concepts and practices, in addition to a number mystical peripheral ontological elements which serve to reinforce adherence to the non-mystical core practices, but which are otherwise largely irrelevant to the practices. Scio-Buddhism simply retains the non-mystical practices, and dispenses with the mystical elements of the ontology while replacing it with the purely scientific, reality-based ontology of Scionics.

Certain non-mystical core concepts of Buddhism are introduced below, and will be described at length throughout this chapter. The chapter closes with a short exposition of various ontological mysticisms of traditional Buddhism which are rejected by Scio-Buddhism. Thus this chapter provides an overview of those non-mystical aspects of traditional Buddhism which are accepted by Scio-Buddhism and those mystical elements which are not.

The earliest Buddhist texts were originally written in the Pali language, and subsequently translated into Sanskrit and many other languages. It is often the case that Western languages do not have an exact single-word translation for certain Pali or Sanskrit terms. Rather than providing imprecise or long-winded English translations every time certain Buddhist terms are used, instead either the actual Pali or Sanskrit terms will be used throughout this writing; the choice of whether to use the Pali or the Sanskrit version of a particular term will depend upon which version tends to be more familiar with Western speakers. These terms will now listed in bold, followed by the alternate (Pali or Sanskrit) version, along with their English definitions:

dharma (Sanskrit; Pali: dhamma) The term “dharma” has different meanings in Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. Even in Buddhism it has a few different meanings: it can mean a “doctrine” or “teaching,” so the “Buddha dharma” refers to the actual doctrine or teaching of the Buddha; it can mean “cosmic law” or “cosmic order;” or it can mean “phenomena.” Depending upon the way it is used, it will either be translated in this writing, or will remain untranslated, with its meaning being apparent from its context. In most cases, the untranslated term will be used to represent “teaching.”

dukkha (Pali; Sanskrit duhka) This is variously translated as “unsatisfactoriness,” “inadequateness,” “suffering,” “anxiety,” or “stress.”

nirvana (Sanskrit; Pali: nibbana) The literal translation of “nirvana” is “blown out,” such as with a candle. This term is used in Buddhism, Hinduism, and certain other Indian religions; each of these uses the word in a different way. In Buddhism, it refers to the ineffable and imperturbable state of liberation, freedom, peace, equanimity and “stillness of mind” which exists after the dualistic, hedonic, ego-based “fires” of desire, aversion, and “delusion” have been “blown out” or “extinguished.” Nirvana is not analogous or equivalent to some mystical afterlife heaven, and it is not the reward for “good behavior.” Nirvana is attained while one is alive, when one has become suitably “enlightened,” “illuminated,” or free of certain illusions or delusions.

Scionics generally prescribes “the maximization of hedonic value,” based upon the hedonic response. [See: The Protocols of Scionics | 1.6 Ethics.] Scio-Buddhism, however, takes this to a transcendent level which is nevertheless consistent with Scionics, provided that one considers that nirvana is a transcendent hedonic value: the hedonic value of nirvana is the transcendent hedonic value of being free from the drive for hedonic value – free from the hedonic response. It is in this way that the ethical conduct of Scionics is transformed into the noble conduct of Scio-Buddhism.

Not only do individual words have multiple translations, the core concepts of Buddhism are often expressed in different ways by different individuals and sources. The particular expressions chosen herein have been so chosen because it was deemed that they would be most readily accessible to Western readers. These core concepts of Buddhism (unavoidably imperfectly translated) consist of:

  • The Four Dharma Seals. A “seal,” in this sense, is essentially a “hallmark;” in other words, a teaching or doctrine may be considered to be “authentically Buddhist” if it is in accord with the four dharma seals. Depending upon the source, the second of these four dharma seals is sometimes omitted, which would make these the “three dharma seals. For the sake of completeness, however, all four will be included and described in this writing.

  • The Four Noble Truths. The four noble truths all directly deal with dukkha, or suffering; the fourth refers to a path of liberation from dukkha.

    The truth of dukkha.
    The truth of the cause of
    The truth of the end of
    The truth of the path that frees one from
    dukkha. (This is the Eightfold Path, below.)

  • The Eightfold Path. This is the actual path, comprised of eight distinct elements, which leads to freedom from dukkha/suffering.

While these concepts may be presented in a way which seems a bit alien to the modern person, they are non-mystical and even empiricorational. Each of these concepts will now be examined in greater detail, and their non-mystical nature will then be illustrated and become clear.

Please help advance Scio-Buddhism by commenting:

We welcome all comments, positive and negative, about our work and our website. We are particularly interested in any errors you find, whether these be simple typographical errors, or errors in facts or logic. If reporting an error, please be as specific as possible in identifying it, so that we will be able to properly identify and assess it. You may leave a publicly visible comment below, or in our forums, or you may send us a private comment using our contact page.