Author Topic: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs  (Read 440 times)

Offline mattmiller360

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Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« on: July 07, 2019, 04:39:54 am »
I am an amateur student of psychology and have been a believer in Maslow's Hierarchy as a lens to understanding what is a healthy desire and need, as a new student of Buddhism I see a conflict here. Basically attachment to any desire sex, security, safety, even hunger will result in suffering, but I can't seem to get over thinking that lacking some fundamental basic needs it would be impossible not to experience suffering? Obviously life isn't even possible without food and water and shelter. I feel like Buddhism is telling me attachment to even the most basic desire results in suffering. Maslow says without basic needs results in suffering. Catch 22?

How do y'all resolve this conflict for yourselves. 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 04:42:34 am by mattmiller360 »

Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2019, 04:54:48 pm »
I am an amateur student of psychology and have been a believer in Maslow's Hierarchy as a lens to understanding what is a healthy desire and need, as a new student of Buddhism I see a conflict here. Basically attachment to any desire sex, security, safety, even hunger will result in suffering, but I can't seem to get over thinking that lacking some fundamental basic needs it would be impossible not to experience suffering? Obviously life isn't even possible without food and water and shelter. I feel like Buddhism is telling me attachment to even the most basic desire results in suffering. Maslow says without basic needs results in suffering. Catch 22?

How do y'all resolve this conflict for yourselves.

It may seem like a Catch-22.  Damned if you do/don't.

It isn't, but it may take a period of study and practice before that becomes clear..  The Buddha taught the Truth of Suffering.  There is suffering.  He also taught that suffering has a cause.  It doesn't matter what the cause is, because the next thing he taught is that suffering ends.  Because suffering has a cause, it must, by necessity, end.  In our case suffering is caused by attachment, or it's opposite, revulsion.  We feel pleasure.  We develop fear that the pleasure may not last, so we try clining to it.  We suffer as a result.  We experience something unpleasant and we fear that we may continue feeling unpleasant, so we are repulsed by it and again we suffer.  This attachment/revulsion is an excercise in futility, because the feelings we have will end as certainly as they the begin and will begin/end again and again.  Only when we truly realize the impermanence of our world and fultility of the clinging/attachment that causes us to suffer, can we truly realize Nirvana.

Offline stevie

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Re: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2019, 04:09:25 am »
I am an amateur student of psychology and have been a believer in Maslow's Hierarchy as a lens to understanding what is a healthy desire and need, as a new student of Buddhism I see a conflict here. Basically attachment to any desire sex, security, safety, even hunger will result in suffering, but I can't seem to get over thinking that lacking some fundamental basic needs it would be impossible not to experience suffering? Obviously life isn't even possible without food and water and shelter. I feel like Buddhism is telling me attachment to even the most basic desire results in suffering. Maslow says without basic needs results in suffering. Catch 22?

How do y'all resolve this conflict for yourselves.

Dear mattmiller360,

for me key is this:
Quote
"From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition ... then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.
...
"Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness ...  then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html


So the cause of suffering is ignorance which is the cause of all that follows, including attachment. Therefore suffering isn't unavoidable once one has been born but even if one has been born caused by ignorance this ignorance can be abandoned within that life.

 :dharma:
།བྷྲཱུཾ་བི་ཤྭ་བི་ཤུད་དྷེ།

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2019, 05:59:29 am »
I am an amateur student of psychology and have been a believer in Maslow's Hierarchy as a lens to understanding what is a healthy desire and need, as a new student of Buddhism I see a conflict here. Basically attachment to any desire sex, security, safety, even hunger will result in suffering, but I can't seem to get over thinking that lacking some fundamental basic needs it would be impossible not to experience suffering? Obviously life isn't even possible without food and water and shelter. I feel like Buddhism is telling me attachment to even the most basic desire results in suffering. Maslow says without basic needs results in suffering. Catch 22?

How do y'all resolve this conflict for yourselves.
There's no conflict. The Buddhist approach recognises fundamental needs and desires as part of being human, but points out that we do not need to be at their beck and call. We can still be human when we bring our attachment under control, in fact more 'human' when we react mindfully and develop the ability to choose our responses. The suffering the Buddha was talking about is that which arises as a result of misunderstanding attachment. We don't have to eradicate all attachment but develop an understanding of the range of attachment we can work on, to live lives free of that suffering which doesn't have to be part of us.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2019, 10:40:43 am »
I am going back fifty years with my recall, but I see only one run betwixt the two:  existentionalism.

Buddhism concerns "reality" rather than anything existential, as I understand the definition of it.

Then, of course ther is "sophism" practiced by those who are decidedly sophomoric.  Buddha taught unbinding and release from such pretentiousness.  The goal is to know our nature not to fabricate even more facets of our delusional selves to which we become mentally enslaved.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Chaz

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Re: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2019, 01:32:25 pm »
I am going back fifty years with my recall, but I see only one run betwixt the two:  existentionalism.

Buddhism concerns "reality" rather than anything existential, as I understand the definition of it.

Then, of course ther is "sophism" practiced by those who are decidedly sophomoric.  Buddha taught unbinding and release from such pretentiousness.  The goal is to know our nature not to fabricate even more facets of our delusional selves to which we become mentally enslaved.

Hey Ron, nice to see you back!

Just who are "those who are decidedly sophomoric"?

Offline MarasAndBuddhas

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Re: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2019, 01:39:55 pm »
I am an amateur student of psychology and have been a believer in Maslow's Hierarchy as a lens to understanding what is a healthy desire and need, as a new student of Buddhism I see a conflict here. Basically attachment to any desire sex, security, safety, even hunger will result in suffering, but I can't seem to get over thinking that lacking some fundamental basic needs it would be impossible not to experience suffering? Obviously life isn't even possible without food and water and shelter. I feel like Buddhism is telling me attachment to even the most basic desire results in suffering. Maslow says without basic needs results in suffering. Catch 22?

How do y'all resolve this conflict for yourselves.

There is a major misconception built into maslow's hierarchy. You can't put human needs into a neat little pyramid format. For example, the bottom of the pyramid are basic needs like food, shelter, etc, but there are times when people are willing to exchange their basic needs for ones higher up on the pyramid. For example, addicted gamblers will trade their houses, cars, kids college funds for a rush of chemicals in their brains. I'm sure that people find themselves doing the same thing for sex.

It's not like bread is always better than roses...

Offline redhouze

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Re: Buddhism VS Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2019, 11:49:28 pm »
I feel there's "skillful" desire and "unskillful" desire... If a desire causes feelings of emptiness, longing, greed and grasping, that certainly causes suffering.

But we can, through mindfulness, see whether or not we are being motivated by skillful or unskillful means. An example of a skillful desire would be one motivated by loving-kindness, compassion, wisdom.

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