Nietzsche and Buddhism


I read most of Nietzsche’s works in the original and the idea that it can be reduced to a sentence is just wow. What I find most damaging about this (quite contemporary) attitude is the consequences: People read your (or a similar) statement and think “he studied it and concludes that Nietzsche is just about achieving greatness - no need to bother.”

Actually, if Nietzsche was so great he should have realized it himself and instead of books he should have published a poster.

The mind is stubborn and stays where it is unless it is forced to move by insight and experience. A reductionist attitude towards other worlds/systems/teachings simply lets the mind stay where it is and nothing changes.

If a mind is otherwise well prepared, yes, Buddhism could be reduced to the 4NT. But really, the 4NT are crystal clear in their definitions - why bother with any further Buddhist studies?


Excellent. It’s great that people who will read my reductionist statements, will be able to read yours just below them that put things right :wink: All the best to you.


So so! The shift would have been indeed quite radical and impressive in Nietzsche’s thought if, say, he finally became Buddhist! Yet he would most probably have been one hell of a Buddhist if he made that shift! :O)


Ah yes, the Nietzche and Buddhism comparison is a veritable cottage industry in academia.

I like the essay by David Loy which gives a criticism of Nietzsche from a Buddhism perspective:


As an admirer of Cesare Borgia and Napoleon, and as a staunch critic of Christianity, Nietzsche makes a strange candidate for a Buddhist philosopher, and I am surprised that books on the subject have even been written. Then again, academics have to write about something in their quest of a tenured position.
I remember reading a passage by Nietzsche in which he poked fun at the priests of the Old Testament, saying that the animal sacrifices often described in the Bible were invented so that the priests could eat the most juicy steaks… :grin:
So I suspect he would have had the same irreverent and humorous comments about the customs, so widespread in some Asian countries, of bringing to the Sangha the most succulent dishes, since the whole society there seems to have become conditioned to believe that this is one of the highest interest paying investments in their karma bank. In the UK I have noticed that virtually all people who bring their delicious food to monasteries are Asians, not British, and I believe that this in not due to Asians being more kind than the British, but to the fact that Asians have been convinced of the belief I mentioned above.
So whenever I reflect on this, Nietzsche’s humorous remark on the shrewd priests of the Old Testament comes to mind. I say this to illustrate how in my case Nietzsche has certainly made me more skeptical of some Buddhist customs… And I don’t see how in the world someone who was in favor of war and who was so virulent against compassion could conceivably be considered a Buddhist philosopher…:confounded:


It’s okay not to read a book, but why to judge it without reading? Who claimed that Nietzsche was a ‘Buddhist philosopher’? Nietzsche was nobody’s philosopher - which is the joy of reading him.

Some researchers take him when he’s at his best, and then he produced ideas that were aiming at total freedom, which could then be compared to some ideas of the Buddha. How that comparison ends up is a different question. He of course produced a lot of crap as well.

People nowadays don’t read the originals anymore, and I admit it’s a difficult read, but that would be necessary to get an actual impression. Imagine someone summed you up in a 10 minute youtube video, or a paragraph - would that be an accurate depiction of even the most unassuming person?

For those who want to have a read, ‘Twilight of the Idols’ is still great (just until ‘What the Germans Lack’).


I have read your posts and you seem to think that you know more about Nietzsche than other people because you’ve read him in German.
Let me tell you that I find your attitude and the sense of superiority you are projecting in this thread quite arrogant; besides reading Nietzsche in the original, I have discussed him with a number of scholars, including Prof Nehamas who wrote one of the best books on Nietzsche I believe.
So I am certainly not ignorant of Nietzsche.
I have not read Panaioti’s book because it is expensive and after reading some free excerpts I concluded that it was a load of bs (again, as I said in another post, I consider bs is right speech since monks use that word).


My point is about forming a judgment after reading and spending time with a topic, not through the filters of videos, excerpts and university workshops. If you read him in the original sources, good, then you know what your opinion is based on, we don’t have to agree.

Just you opposed the claim of him being a ‘Buddhist philosopher’, and I don’t see who made this claim, it’s not from Panaioti at least.

And as to arrogance and superiority, I don’t think I tried to impose my opinion here. I like to promote careful and critical reading more than opinions.


A reminder that discussion is to be about issues and not about personal characteristics of people involved. This is part of right speech.

Once again the aim of discourse is not to win an arguement but to present a variety of viewpoints that serve to foster thoughtfulness regarding the EBTs and the Buddhist path.


I completely agree with this reminder and I would like to rephrase my sentence

with: ‘I find your posts quite arrogant’.
I hope that it is now more clearly in line with Ajahn Brahm’s teaching that we should not say to someone ‘you are stupid’, but that we should say instead ‘you have done a stupid thing’.
Since my other comment was on Panaioti’s book, and not on Panaioti himself, I believe it qualified as right speech.
I would like of apologize if I have offended anyone. I was irritated by a number of posts which assumed that just because you disagreed with the OP, you must be ignorant of Nietzsche and you must have got your information on him from a 10 minutes long youtube video.