The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Rationalism is the philosophical theory that knowledge can be obtained by human reason alone. Some enthusiastic but uninformed Buddhists have claimed that the Buddha was a rationalist and that Buddhism is ‘pure rationalism .’ While Buddhism does have strong rational elements, probably more than most religions , it is an exaggeration to say that it is completely rational . The Buddha was too aware of the subtle influence that desire and prejudice can have on the thought processes to rely entirely on reason . According to him, three things have a role to play in the attainment of knowledge or wisdom – data obtained through education (sutamayā paññā), data obtained through reasoning (cintāmayā paññā) and data obtained by meditation (bhāvanāmayā paññā).