Seize The Moment Podcast

Owen Flanagan On How to Live a Good Life According to Buddhism

On episode 41, we welcome philosopher Owen Flanagan to discuss using Buddhist philosophy to reduce suffering.

Owen Flanagan, Ph.D. is the James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy and Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University. Flanagan has done work in philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of social science, ethics, contemporary ethical theory, moral psychology, as well as Buddhist and Hindu conceptions of the self.

Owen Flanagan On How to Live a Good Life According to Buddhism

Flanagan also talks about the importance of detaching ourselves from our thoughts for political unity, redefining anger to create more compassion, and how our rigid self-conceptions make behavioral changes difficult.

“Someday you will die. Because you are embodied through and through, at that point you will cease to exist. You will not meet death, because, as the sage says, “Where death is I am not; where I am death is not, so we never meet.” When you die there will no longer be any self that is you. Use your self while you have it.”

Owen Flanagan, The Problem Of The Soul: Two Visions Of Mind And How To Reconcile Them

Our egos lust after fame, wealth, and status, keeping us attached to suffering. Buddhist philosophy offers a prescription to self-imposed suffering by helping us focus on a purpose that doesn’t involve a state of constant thirst.

Also view: Skye Cleary, How to Live a Good Life According to Existentialism

Most of us believe that suffering is something that happens to us, but Buddhism conceptualizes it as being largely within our control. Owen Flanagan merged philosophy and psychotherapy in his understanding of the tools needed for a meaningful life.

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