Is Peter Kreeft (and most Catholics) wrong about Buddhism?

If a thing is empty, it contains nothing.

And I know perfectly well that Buddhism don’t teach that emptiness is nothingness. But that just shows us that Buddhism is incoherent.

Well… You learn something new everyday! :smiley: Thanks

If someone says, “My purse is empty”, do they mean, “My purse contains a perfect vacuum” or “My purse contains only air”?

The meaning of “empty” depends on the context. In the Buddhist case, it means, “Empty of the mental ideas we project onto the thing in question”.


It was first written down hundreds of years later. It was composed a lot earlier and passed down orally in the intervening period. If you have a look at the style of the Pali Canon, then you will see that it is very repetitious and contains a lot of numerical lists. Both the repetition and the lists are aids to memorization. The scriptures are a lot earlier than their first written versions.


It means ‘it contains nothing.’

So, according to Buddhism, ‘empty’ means ‘not empty’?

You’re welcome :thumbsup: :smiley:

What am I, a Christian or something?

Okay, but seriously …

And you know what Peter - there are some pretty good minds on CAF who choose the High Road.

MelzterBoy is One…but he might have an unfair advantage since comparative religion is his job function. :stuck_out_tongue:

Cavardossi is another in my opinion. Reading any of his posts, you can tell he’s though really hard about his Orthodoxy and how it relates to the world around him.

Contarini /Edwin Tate. His Logic and Exposition on his faith, the amount of care and consideration he takes into trying not to misrepresent another’s position whilst still demonstrating his own understanding of his Tradition and showing how he arrived at such conclusions…

:thumbsup: to all three.

Does an “empty purse” contain a perfect vacuum or does it contain air?


It does contain air. But we aren’t talking about purses, we are talking about the incoherent babbling of Buddhism, where the word ‘empty’ somehow also means ‘not empty.’

So, the purse is empty of money, but it is not empty of air.

Reality is not empty of reality; it is empty of the mental constructs we incorrectly assign to it.

Our task is to get rid of those extraneous mental constructs. We need to see the world as it is, not as we think it is or as we would like it to be.


i understand how human beings in search of the transcendental might adopt budhhism upon encountering it since it centers itself upon the unseen and its affect on life in this world.

on the other hand, I cannot understand how anyone who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ who came down from heaven would be interested in anything about Buddhism aside from a purely intellectual/academic interest.

in other words, once a person believes in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, all other beliefs are recognized as primary the works of human beings created as a response to the desire for union with our Creator possessed by every human being.

I do not doubt that the Buddha did the best he could considering with what he had to work.

Don’t want to jump into this discussion, but it’s just interesting to note that it isn’t just us Christians who get frustrated with your word-use-principles (or whatever that term should be). :cool:

Yes, and THAT is what makes the idea of ‘nothingness’ absurd. If it is something, it is not also nothing. The concept is incoherent. It uses the word ‘emptyness,’ yet it descibes something which isn’t empty.

So I fully agree, it isn’t empty. But then we must ask: Why do Buddhist call it ‘empty’ if it isn’t? Why embrace incoherence?

It really seems like a terminological issue doesn’t it?

I’m reminded of two things:

1.) I’ll take correction from you on this one Peter, but if i recall…

One of the ways that certain Protestants and Evangelicals are dismissive of Catholic and Orthodox theology is to say that your faiths have been somehow “corrupted” by exposure to Greek philosophy (implying of course they have somehow recovered “true” Christianity). To be fair, certain Orthodox theologians say that of Catholics as well due to the predominance of Aristotlean inspired Thomism.

The accusation i’ve seen once or twice from the Protestant/Evangelical wing is that Orthodox Christianity is essentially “Christianity + NeoPlatonism” pointing to the fact that certain important figures (your Church Fathers i think yuo call them) utilize terms that was part of the philosophical language of the Neoplatonist school(s).

I think the “counterpoint” tends to be that the Orthodox interlocutors point out that while the terms are utilized, the definitions are wholely within the context of Orthodox theology.

ie: They kept the word and altered the definition to fit the Orthodox worldview.

I can attest that at least in terms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, certain shared words like “Karma” and “Dharma” have rather unique meanings in the context of the tradition its placed in.

2.) A Catholic friend of mine whose really into CS Lewis once told me a factoid that stuck in my brain - namely that there are multiple ways of expressing the concepts covered by the English word “Love” in Greek.

a.) Storge
b.) Philia
c.) Eros
d.) Venus
and the often familiar term used by you guys - Agape.

Their definitions are distinct - yet in common parlance “Love” can fit into any of those categories

1.) I love my Friend.
2.) I love my Mom.
3.) I love my Wife.
4.) God loves me. (yeah this is Agape)

But it would be…inappropriate to confuse say the romantic intentions toward one’s Wife with the same type of love expressed to one’s mother…unless you believe what Freud says… ;):stuck_out_tongue:

That’s a good post. I wasn’t thinking of anything that deep; just an earlier conversation with KjetilK and some other Lutherans, and how KjetilK’s insistence that something “either is a sacrament or isn’t” cut the conversation short.

Hey I’m a former Buddhist but I’m too tire tod actually respond as one

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