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Philosophical Thought

The Philosophy of Schopenhauer in the Philosophical Notebooks of B. D. Dandaron

Nesterkin Sergei

Doctor of Philosophy

Leading Scientific Associate, Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

670047, Russia, Republic of Buryatia, Ulan-Ude, Sakhyanova str., 6

Other publications by this author










Abstract: This article presents a previously unpublished manuscript of a lecture on Schopenhauer's philosophy from archival materials of the famous Russian Buddhist scholar and Buddhist teacher B.D. Dandaron (19141974). It is part of a series of texts containing notes from lectures and books, his own notes as well as translations that are referred to as his philosophical notebooks. They date from 1953-1954, the time when B.D. Dandaron was in a Gulag camp in Taishet (Irkutsk region). This text is part of the materials of a philosophical seminar held by prisoners in their free time from work. The active participants of the seminar were B.D. Dandaron and V.E. Sesemann (1884-1963), a historian of philosophy, follower and colleague of L.P. Karsavin in the Eurasian movement. Sesemann was known for his work in Kantian philosophy and aesthetics. The manuscript argues that Schopenhauer's philosophy represents a unique attempt to combine Kant's epistemology with the ethics and metaphysics of Buddhism. The author notes that an attempt to synthesize such disparate principles should have led to significant intentional reinterpretations of these two very different systems of thought. The content of the work is to determine what new elements Schopenhauer (who considered himself a follower of Kant) introduced into Kants philosophy, on the one hand; and the fundamental differences between his philosophy and the teachings of Buddhism, on the other. The text will be of interest both to researchers of V.E. Sesemann (as the probable author or co-author of the work) and B.D. Dandaron. It allows us to understand the philosophical background of the religious and philosophical teaching of neo-Buddhism that they created, which had a great influence on the revival of Buddhism in Russia in the second half of the twentieth century.


Buddhism in Russia, Dandaron, Sesemann, neo-Buddhism, history of Buddhism, philosophy of Schopenhauer, German philosophy, transcendental aesthetics, will to live, aesthetic contemplation

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.


Among the manuscripts of the famous Russian Buddhologist and Buddhist mentor B.D. Dandaron (1914-1974) there are works devoted to the analysis of the creativity of Western philosophers.They are represented by several notebooks written during his stay in the camp in Taishet (Irkutsk region) according to the infamous article 58. These notebooks date back to 1953-54 and represent the materials of a kind of philosophical "seminar" held in the camp. There, in a motley environment, there was a circle of people who devoted a short time of leisure from hard labor to intellectual, spiritual interests. These people gave lectures in their circle on topics in which they were specialists, lectures were recorded and read almost to the holes, and corresponded again.

B.D. Dandaron was the center of attraction in the camp for people interested in Buddhist philosophy and practice. His disciple A.M. Pyatigorsky writes about this in his essay on Dandaron's departure: "A wonderful case helped Buddhist work. After the defeat of the Kwantung army in the summer of the forty-fifth, lamas from some supposedly resisting monastery were seized from a raid. Those of them who reached the camp became Buddhist interlocutors and employees of Dandaron for long nights and days. A kind of Buddhist circle gradually formed around them, again of such a diversity that only the camp of that time could reveal; there was a former professor from the former Institute of the Red Professorship, and a former German journalist, and a former secretary of the regional committee, and a former ..., but in their then present (and there was no other than the present then nothing) it was all extremely serious. They were engaged in Buddhist philosophy and yoga, but most importantly understanding their own lives and their own position in the sense of Buddhist philosophy and yoga. For several years Dandaron led these classes" (cit. according to: [1, p. 320]).

On the history of Western philosophy, the main lecturer was V.E. Seseman (1884-1963), an academic philosopher, university professor, known in the scientific community primarily for his works on Kant's philosophy, as well as research in the field of aesthetics. He was arrested in 1949. (together with L.P. Karsavin, as a Eurasian) and was released in 1956. (rehabilitated in 1958).His most attentive listener was B.D. Dandaron (in whose archive there are recordings of several lectures by V.E. Seseman [2]). B.D. Dandaron's particular interest in Western philosophy was largely due to the fact that his teaching task was to preach Buddhism to people brought up in a Western cultural environment, which presupposed the presentation of Buddhist teachings in the language of Western culture [3; 4]. V.E. Dandaron called this teaching "neobuddism". He wrote to Seseman's adopted daughter Natalia on 31.10.56: "I think of this system as an attempt to synthesize Western and Eastern wisdom" [5, p. 56]. The interest in Schopenhauer's work was also determined by the fact that this author was one of the first to systematically turn to the ideas of Buddhism (and not just "Eastern philosophy") in building his own philosophical system.

The text proposed to the reader presents Schopenhauer's views in its essential points and gives their comparative analysis with the philosophical and doctrinal provisions of Buddhism. It is noted that his philosophy is a kind of attempt to combine Kant's epistemology with the ethics and metaphysics of Buddhism. The author of the lecture rightly notes that "such an attempt to synthesize such heterogeneous principles should have led to significant intentional reinterpretations of these two so different systems of thought." And the content of the work offered to the reader is to determine what new Schopenhauer (whose follower he considered himself) introduced into Kant's philosophy, on the one hand, and what is the fundamental difference between his philosophy and the teachings of Buddhism, on the other.

The authorship of the text is currently difficult to determine reliably. In notebooks in addition to works that we can confidently attribute? as belonging to B.D. Dandaron, there are also lectures by V.E. Sezeman, copied by B.D. Dandaron for memory, So the texts of some lectures by V.E. Sezeman (dedicated to the philosophy of Lossky, Scheler and Bergson) were discovered by the researcher of his work A. Jonkus in the archive of Vilnius University, where in the last years of his life he taught [2]. So, perhaps, the text offered to the reader is also a recording of a lecture by V.E. Seseman. However, the comparative analysis of Spengauer's philosophy with Buddhism contained in it, the teaching of which went beyond the professional competence of V.E. Seseman, speaks in favor of B.D. Dandaron's participation in its writing.However, in any case, it is of interest to researchers of the work of both V.E. Seseman and B.D. Dandaron, since it allows us to judge the philosophical background of the religious and philosophical teachings of neo-Buddhism created by B.D. Dandaron, which had a great influence on the revival of Buddhism in Russia in the second half of the twentieth century.

The text of the lecture has not been published before, the manuscript is from the publisher's archive.


Schopenhauer 's Philosophy

Schopenhauer's philosophy is a kind of attempt to combine Kant's epistemology (his transcendental idealism) with the ethics and metaphysics of Buddhism. It is clear that such an attempt to synthesize such heterogeneous principles should have led to significant intentional reinterpretations of these two so different systems of thought. In the field of epistemology, Schopenhauer openly recognizes himself as a follower of Kant's transcendental idealism, and moreover, the follower who assimilated the true spirit of this teaching and did not distort it in the way that was done by Kant's successors, representatives of absolute idealism Fichte, Schelling, Hegel. Schopenhauer's attitude to these philosophers is strictly negative, despite the fact that upon closer examination one can find many points of contact between Schopenhauer's concept and the teachings of Fichte and Schelling. In his main and systematic work "The World as Will and Representation" (1818), Schopenhauer declares that he fully accepts the arguments from Kant's transcendental aesthetics, proclaiming the ideality of space and time as a priori forms of consciousness.

Therefore, here, too, the sensory world surrounding us, the phenomena of which take place in space and time, is a world of representations that exists, as such, only in our consciousness, and depends on consciousness in its structure. Similarly, Schopenhauer recognizes the idealistic conclusions of Kant's transcendental analytics, i.e. the doctrine of categories as a priori forms of consciousness. In his opinion, categories define themselves, just like Kant's, only the structure of cognition of the world of representations. However, Schopenhauer considers Kant's derivation of the table of categories from logical forms of judgments artificial and greatly simplifies the system of categories. Along with space and time, the category of causality is crucial for the structure of cognition of the world of phenomena. It is based on the general laws of the connection of phenomena. These connections are individualized by space and time, only by finding out where and when an event occurred, it is possible to establish its individual difference from other events.

Schopenhauer dwells in more detail only on the category of causality, which he calls in its general form the principle (position) of awareness. A special treatise entitled "The Quaternary root of the foundation principle" is devoted to the consideration of this principle. This is the principle of connection, conditionality of some phenomena, objects, thoughts by others. This general connection takes various forms according to what it connects, to which area of the world of phenomena it belongs. Schopenhauer distinguishes four modifications of the principle of foundation:

1). Causality in the narrow sense of the word, which determines the connections between phenomena and objects of inorganic nature. This type of causality is characterized by a strict correspondence (proportionality) between cause and effect (in terms of intensive quality). This property is most clearly manifested in mechanics.

2). The relationship between external irritation and the reaction of the body, in which its sensuality manifests itself. There is no correspondence characteristic of the organic world between cause and action, a sensory reaction in both quality and intensity can differ significantly from the cause that caused it.

3). Causality in the field of mental, more or less conscious life. This is causality in the form of motivation of behavior, motives for action. Here the inadequacy of cause and action reaches even greater proportions, especially due to the participation of consciousness.

4). Finally, the logical form of the foundation concerning the sphere of thinking and determining its internal necessary sequence.

The study of causality in all these areas (in inorganic and organic nature, in human behavior, in thinking) is the main task of scientific knowledge. But the knowledge of the whole phenomenal world, subordinated to the principle of causality, according to Schopenhauer, is not guided by the desire to comprehend the truth, it is not purely theoretical, but practical, i.e. it is governed by practical interests, the instinct of self-preservation, satisfaction of basic vital needs; and therefore the essence of things is inaccessible to this kind of knowledge. In this question, Schopenhauer evades Kant's position and comes close to the position of the pragmatists (in assessing the cognition of the world of phenomena through the categories of causality). At the same time, Schopenhauer emphasizes that the comprehension of the causal relationship is not a secondary result, a derivative of some generalization, but is performed in a directly visual sensory form; it is related to animal instinct in this respect. Schopenhauer also believes that geometric cognition, the cognition of the structure of space and spatial figures, differs essentially in direct visibility, and, strictly speaking, does not need the logical proofs that justify it in Euclid's geometry.

But if for Kant the cognition of the world of phenomena through the a priori forms of space and time and rational categories is the only possible theoretical cognition, then Schopenhauer, unlike Kant, recognizes another kind of theoretical cognition, which reveals the essence of things. This is the knowledge of our inner life, its core or center of what constitutes the basis or essence of our Self or personality. These are not our ideas about the outside world (sensations, perceptions, thoughts), but what determines our attitude to everything around us, our behavior and actions. This, according to Schopenhauer, is our will to live, which underlies all our aspirations, drives and manifests itself primarily as an instinct of self-preservation. Hence it can be seen that Schopenhauer understands will in the broadest sense of the word; it is not only will in its conscious manifestations in humans, but also unconscious, inherent in the entire animal and plant world, and even more so, inherent in inorganic nature in the form of those forces that act in it and determine its regularity and structure: after all, matter in all its qualitative diversity strives to preserve its characteristic state, resists any change emanating from external influence on it, and itself affects its physical environment in one way or another. Thus, the will in all layers or regions of the world, according to Schopenhauer's teaching, is one in its essence, but this unity of the world will is manifested in a variety of forms or in Schopenhauer's terminology the stages of its objectification. The main stages of objectification in ascending order are inorganic nature, the vegetable world, the animal world and the human world. The one universal will, manifesting itself in the world of phenomena, is objectified, i.e. it becomes an object of cognition subordinate to the forms of consciousness space and time and the category of causality. This objectification of the will is thereby also its individualization, since space and time individualize its manifestations. In other words, objectifying, the single will is divided into an unlimited number of individual individual wills, which differ in a great variety. Schopenhauer calls these various forms of objectification of the will stages in the sense of the difference in complexity and differentiation of the forms of manifestation of the will (starting from the simplest inorganic matter and ending with the most complex where the will becomes conscious (the human world)). Each of these individual wills delays the main features of the general world will: the desire to preserve oneself and eliminate everything that hinders self-preservation. Hence, a clash of interests of individual wills inevitably arises. Each of them can save themselves only at the expense of others, satisfy their life needs, preventing the satisfaction of the needs of other individuals. In the phenomenal world, there is a continuous struggle of everyone against everyone in a variety of forms: the struggle of opposing forces of nature, the struggle for existence in the plant, animal and human worlds. The individualized and spatially-temporally diverse will is essentially egoistic, it is able to preserve itself only by isolating itself from others and opposing itself to them. In addition to egoistic isolation, individualized will is also characterized by its insatiability, due to: 1) by the fact that she usually cannot fully, completely satisfy her aspirations due to the resistance offered to her by other individuals; her thirst will therefore never subside; 2) by the fact that the more differentiated the stage of objectification of the will is, the more complex and diverse her needs are, the more difficult it is to satisfy them, moreover in in the case of conscious will, as is the case with man, the satisfaction of some needs with a fatal necessity causes the emergence of new needs, etc. without end. Considering that satisfaction of vital needs is accompanied by pleasure, and dissatisfaction is accompanied by suffering, we have to admit that due to these circumstances, i.e. due to such a structure of the phenomenal world, suffering inevitably prevails over pleasure in it, especially in the conscious human world. Here the excess of suffering over pleasure is an indisputable fact (both in terms of quantity and intensity and duration). And such a balance of pleasure and suffering cannot be eliminated by any social and political transformations of public life, because it is fundamentally connected with the very essence of human existence, the manifestation of an individualized will. The more intense a person's aspiration, the higher the goals pursued, the less feasible they are, the more he has to suffer. To achieve happiness in the conditions of human existence is an impossible dream, an illusion.

By the very essence of his nature, i.e. the individualized will to live, he is doomed to incessant torment. His earthly life is a vale of sadness, from which he cannot escape while he tries to satisfy the will to live in one way or another. There is only one way to eliminate suffering: to eliminate its root cause, in other words, to stop, to destroy the will to live itself, to recognize the life generated by it not as a good, but as an evil subject to denial. It would seem that in this case, from Schopenhauer's point of view, only suicide can get rid of suffering and evil, but this is not so. Suicide is an act of desperation, in which the same egoistic will to live manifests itself. In addition, it destroys not the will itself, but only its objectification in the human body. The forcible deprivation of the body of its life does not mean that a person has internally, fundamentally overcome the life instinct, it only means that he denies the value of his life fate, but not of any life at all. The fundamental overcoming of the will to live is possible only on the condition that a person, within the limits of his earthly existence, reaches such an inner state in which the prime mover of all his thoughts and actions, vital egoism, loses its power and, thereby, destroys the framework of his individual isolation and exclusivity. According to Schopenhauer, two different paths lead to such an inner state, which fundamentally denies the will to live in its individual objectifications: 1)the path of morality, pity and 2)the path of art, aesthetic contemplation.

All moral teachings that seek to give the social life of mankind a solid foundation, somehow limit the inherent egoism of a person with certain forms of altruism, recognizing concern for the welfare of others as the moral duty of every member of human society. But since such a morality asserts life, recognizes its positive value, egoism in it will not be overcome in principle, and altruism will in fact be only an apparent, hidden, disguised form of egoism; this is quite clear in eudemonistic and utilitarian morality. Here the happiness of another (neighbor) or his benefit is taken into account, since it is somehow a condition of my personal happiness or my personal benefit such an egoistic moment lies in Christian morality, since it is understood as the morality of good deeds, which are a means or condition for the salvation of my soul. And love cannot serve as the basis of a truly altruistic morality, because love is always directed at one or another individual person, giving him preference over others; therefore, it is connected in one way or another with my personal (and therefore egoistic) tastes and interests; not to mention sexual love, which acts in the interests of the preservation of the genus (the continuation of the individual's life in the offspring) and deceives the individual, decorating the object of love with all the qualities attractive to the lover. Schopenhauer finds genuine altruism, which fundamentally suppresses egoism, only in one feeling in the feeling of pity. Real pity does not distinguish between one person and another, it sees in everyone only the same person as myself, and sympathizes with him as an equal. And this means: feeling sorry for the other, I see and feel that he is the same as me, his sufferings become my sufferings, I participate in them as if these sufferings have befallen me. In other words, in the emotional act of pity, those facets that separate one individual from another disappear, individual isolation and isolation are abolished, and my personality merges into one with the personality of the person I pity. Individual egoism has no more place here, its narrowness and exclusivity has been fundamentally overcome. Here Schopenhauer finds a point of contact, and even more, a fundamental coincidence with the teachings of Buddhism. From the human world, isolated and opposite individuals, the veil of Maya is torn off and the unity of the world will underlying the diversity of the world of phenomena is revealed, and thereby the identity of the metaphysical essence of people: "(I) am the same as you."

Based on this concept of pity, Schopenhauer establishes his ethical imperative or general norm of moral behavior: do no harm to anyone; help everyone as much as you can. This norm follows from the knowledge of the inner identity of all people, but it also indicates the path that leads to the comprehension of this basic moral truth. Along with this, Schopenhauer also recognizes the great moral significance of asceticism, suppressing the vital needs of the body, or reducing them, at least to a minimum. But mortification of the flesh alone is not enough for the realisation of true morality. Without the knowledge of the identity of all people, achieved in pity, it is impossible.

The second way of abolishing or suppressing the will to live is aesthetic contemplation, which is the basis of art, artistic creativity. Schopenhauer fully accepts Kant's thesis about the disinterestedness of aesthetic contemplation, considers this to be its most essential feature. And disinterestedness means nothing else than that aesthetic contemplation is not caused by volitional impulses, and that the will does not take any part in it. On the contrary, plunging into the contemplation of beauty, a person becomes dispassionate, giving himself entirely to the object of contemplation, he forgets about himself, about his personal interests and aspirations, the impulses of vital instincts and drives are silenced and a person at these moments is freed from the narrow framework of his individuality and its egoistic attitude to the world. The real object of aesthetic contemplation is, according to Schopenhauer, "ideas", which he understands in a sense close to Platonism. These are ultimately the general types or forms that underlie and define the variety of stages of the objectification of the will. Schopenhauer therefore classifies works of art according to the kind of objects they depict. This classification only partially coincides with the classification of various branches of art, partly intersects with it. Schopenhauer distinguishes:

1) Architecture, art, which reveals the action of mechanical properties and forces of inorganic matter (inertia, mass, gravity, resistance, etc.).

2) Gardening, which has the plant world as its subject.

<3> Typical forms of the animal world are reflected in sculpture and painting.

<4> These same types of art serve to embody the bodily forms and manifestations of human nature.

<5> Finally, the most universal kind of art is poetry, it is available to depict any objects and phenomena of the phenomenal world (external). But its main object, which cannot be embodied in other branches of art (or only to a very limited extent), is the inner world of a person, all the infinite variety of his aspirations, feelings and thoughts, his sorrows and joys. Therefore, it is poetry that is able to give a true picture of a person's fate, the hopelessness of his search for happiness and the doom to suffering and ultimate death in the struggle for the assertion of his individuality. That is why the highest form of poetic art is tragedy. What the tragic denouement of the hero's life and activity teaches is not at all, as is usually thought, that all guilt must be redeemed by suffering and death and that divine justice is manifested in this, but that the hero, dying, is convinced of the uselessness and senselessness of his aspirations and harassment, of the need to unconditionally renounce them. And if the hero himself does not reach this epiphany, then this truth should be revealed to the thoughtful reader of the tragic work.

If these types of art serve the artistic embodiment of ideas as perfect prototypes of various stages of objectification of the will in the phenomenal world, then music, according to Schopenhauer, occupies a special place, significantly differing from other arts. It is not this or that stage of objectification of the will that finds its expression in it, but the will itself in its primary unity and wholeness. This explains its exceptionally strong effect, capturing the listener entirely and penetrating to the very depths of his being. It is, so to speak, the most metaphysical of all the arts, its influence on man is the most mysterious. At the same time, the structure of musical harmony, determined by the consonance of the four tones or the voice, reflects the connection of the four main stages of objectification of the will in the phenomenal world. Melody, as the leading, most mobile and differentiated voice, corresponds to the human world, and the sedentary general bass corresponds to the mechanical forces of matter.

But although art, as a sensual embodiment of eternal ideas in concrete images, is self-sufficient and does not depend on any practical or moral norms, its true significance for a person lies precisely in the fact that it causes an act of disinterested contemplation, which suppresses all impulses of the individualized will to live. This disinterest makes him akin to an act of pity that overcomes the selfishness of an individual. In order to fix this feature of the impact of art and pity on a person, Schopenhauer uses the term quietive (as a means of calming or suppressing the will), as opposed to motive (an engine or motivation aimed at actions that satisfy the needs of the will to live).

But the question is: does, from Schopenhauer's point of view, a negative assessment of life and the resulting conviction that the will to live is subject to radical destruction by means of the ways indicated by Schopenhauer, does this mean a wholesale denial of all being, and thereby the assertion that it is better not to be than to be? In such a case, Schopenhauer's pessimism would be absolute, hopeless, and it would be indifferent whether to stop life by ascetic mortification of the flesh, acts of selfless pity or by force, through suicide, but in fact it is not so. It is precisely the fact that Schopenhauer requires, in order to suppress the will to live, an inner rebirth of man, achieved through asceticism, acts of pity and aesthetic contemplation, that indicates that for Schopenhauer, human existence does not end with his earthly existence, but that another form of being is available to him, beyond the will to live and its individualization in egoism, and free from suffering and evil. This other, higher form of being is Buddhist Nirvana, the path to which goes through asceticism, the morality of pity and artistic contemplation. This form of being is so different from the earthly existence of man that, from the point of view of this latter, it can only be characterized as non-existence (denial of everything inherent in earthly existence), but in essence it is a genuine perfect being, and thereby bliss. Schopenhauer does not expand on this issue, but confines himself only to brief hints; in any case, Nirvana for him is not nothing, but has a positive content, which alone can comprehend human existence and give it a positive value.

The main difficulty lies in how to understand the world of phenomena. Kant approaches transcendental idealism based on a purely epistemological problem: what is the condition for reliable scientific knowledge? And answers: it is possible only if the form of cognition is embedded in the structure of the subject's consciousness and is so far a priori. Therefore, the world of phenomena that we know exists only in the consciousness of the cognizing subject and for him. Schopenhauer fully accepts this conclusion of Kant, but supplements it with a metaphysical interpretation, according to which the world of phenomena is the result of objectification and individualization of the world will. But does this objectification take place only in the minds of individual individuals? After all, these individual consciousnesses (subjects) themselves are the product of this objectification, representing one of its stages, along with other stages. If the stages of objectification of the will exist even before their cognition by the human subject, then they have not only subjective, but also objective, being independent of consciousness. True, this being is not independent, but an imperfect, so to speak, incomplete being, similar to the world of phenomena in Plato's teaching, but, in any case, not only being rooted in the subject's consciousness alone. Within the limits of Kant's epistemology, such objectivity of the phenomenal world is impossible. But it is precisely this understanding of the existence of the sensory world that naturally arises on the basis of Platonism and Buddhism, which view this world from the point of view of its moral value, its perfection. Kant, on the contrary, evaluates the phenomenal world, taking into account its significance for the knowledge of truth (science), but even if we take into account those currents of Buddhist philosophy that tend to subjective idealism, then even here the aim of the analysis of sensory cognition is directed not at the conditions of its possibility and reliability, but at exposing the insignificance and emptiness of the sensory world.

It should be noted, and this is very significant, that if we delve deeper into Schopenhauer's teaching, the root of evil and suffering is not the will to live in general, in its primary unity, but in its objectification and associated individualization, which generates egoism, the struggle of all against all, and so on. After all, in the act of pity, it is not the will itself that is destroyed, but only its individual isolation in a separate person. My will is not absorbed entirely, in essence, but <only> its personal isolation, it merges with the will of another person, has a common direction with it to satisfy his needs and eliminate his suffering. Therefore, it turns out that since the primary unity of the will is restored in the act of pity, it acquires a positive moral value, ceases to be the root of evil. This is also confirmed by the fact that Schopenhauer solves the problem of free will in full agreement with Kant. Within the phenomenal world, all human decisions and actions are strictly determined (they have their own motives reasons) and in this sense are necessary. But a person, as a thing in itself, is free, he himself determines his character and the general image (direction, tendency) of actions and life path. The will, as a thing in itself, is not determined by anything, but determines itself. Therefore, a person bears moral responsibility for his behavior and lifestyle. Hence, his will can also be morally valuable and in so far is not subject to eradication. Only her selfishness should be eradicated. The same can be said about aesthetic contemplation. It silences only the egoistic interest of the individual, and in a person who loves beauty and art, his very will is directed to artistic creativity and aesthetic contemplation. The eradication of egoism as a vital force can be carried out not through an act of contemplation or understanding, but only through the activity of a force opposite to egoism, and such a force can only be, again, a will acting in the opposite direction.

Another significant difference between Schopenhauer's teaching and Buddhism should be noted. Although all objectifications in the phenomenal world are based on the same universal will, and there is a certain connection and kinship between them, nevertheless, the individual stages of the objectification of the will are separated from each other <so> that there is no transition from one to another, there is no development of the lower stages into the higher (animal world into the human the world). Darwin's teaching remained alien to Schopenhauer, the idea of development does not play such an important role in his philosophy as in Hegel. Therefore, the ways of getting rid of the evil and suffering inherent in existence in the phenomenal world are available only to man (acts of compassion, asceticism, aesthetic contemplation). This means that the will to live in the material world can be suppressed in these ways only within the limits of its human objectification. But not the will in all its objectifications. Only man can achieve Nirvana. In Buddhism, on the contrary, a person, saving himself by moral improvement, thereby saves not only other people, but the whole living world as a whole, because the human world is not separated from the animal kingdom by an impenetrable wall. Here, all sorts of transitions from lower to higher levels and back are possible by virtue of the law of karma (moral causality), and the associated reincarnation (metempsychosis). Until a person has reached moral perfection, his soul (the immortal core of his personality) after death (with separation from the body) is reincarnated, and the form of this incarnation depends on the lifestyle that he led in the previous incarnation. This is either a fall to the lowest level, or an ascent to the highest (mananimal and back). A person is related by blood to all living nature, lives with it one common life, and therefore the salvation of a person through moral improvement is also the salvation of the entire living world. True, Schopenhauer admits that animals can also be the object of pity, but he does not conclude from this that man's vocation is to save the whole world. From the foundations of Schopenhauer's ethics, it is also unclear why egoistic isolation can be overcome only through an act of pity, i.e. empathy for someone else's suffering, but does not attribute the same meaning to <compassion> (empathy for someone else's joy), which in unselfishness is in no way inferior to pity. But such a recognition does not fit in with the pessimistic mindset of Schopenhauer, who considers only suffering real, and joy (within the limits of earthly life) an ephemeral, fleeting illusion.


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The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The reviewed material is a text that presumably belongs to the pen of B.D. Dandaron, accompanied by a preface by the publisher. According to him, the text can also be considered as a rewritten lecture by B.D. Dandaron by V.E. Seseman. The main argument in favor of the fact that he still belongs to Dandaron is a fair, at first glance, remark that interest in Buddhism "went beyond the professional competence of V.E. Seseman." However, can the Editorial Board, on the basis of such an observation, without other evidence, present this text as belonging to Dandaron? The content of the text is not of significant interest to researchers of A. Schopenhauer's work, which is presented in it quite traditionally. Note, for our part, that the "academic" style of presentation makes the assumption expressed by the publisher himself quite plausible that the text "is a recording of a lecture by V.E. Seseman", the publisher agrees in this case to define Dandaron's measure of connection as "participation". In our opinion, the only way out of this situation is to change the title of the article, which should not mention the name of the Buddhist thinker. In addition, the publication should be accompanied by comments, unless the publisher finds it possible to agree that the text does not offer an original reading of Schopenhauer's teachings. In any case, it should be agreed that the publication of this document will contribute to expanding our understanding of the intellectual life of Soviet prisoners of the Stalin era, thus, historically and morally, it is impossible to doubt the significance of such a publication. It should also be noted that Schopenhauer, indeed, turned out to be an "iconic figure" in the history of the "intellectual meeting" of the West and the East. If his immediate predecessors, the romantics (for example, F. Schlegel), only expressed a general interest in Eastern thought, then Schopenhauer, while remaining faithful to the "letter" of Kant's philosophy in the main points, tries to see its inner kinship with the Buddhist vision of life. Perhaps the publisher could make this "meeting" of the West and the East the starting point for a comment on the published text. In the preface there are small punctuation, stylistic errors, as well as typos ("the definition of what Schopenhauer introduced into Kant's philosophy" of course, "Schopenhauer did not introduce anything new into Kant's philosophy", he gave its peculiar interpretation; "there, in a motley environment, there was ..." omitted "in"and why commas, if, obviously, this expression does not carry a spatial meaning, etc.). Thus, according to the reviewer, this material can be published if the name of the Buddhist thinker is excluded from the title, and the publisher offers meaningful comments to the text. I recommend sending the material for revision.
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