Noble Silence

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Noble Silence is a term attributed to the Buddha, for his reported responses to certain questions about reality. One such instance is when he was asked the fourteen unanswerable questions. In similar situations he often responded to antinomy-based descriptions of reality by saying that both antithetical options presented to him were inappropriate.

This does not indicate misology or disdain for philosophy on the Buddha's part. Rather, it indicates that he viewed these questions as not leading to true knowledge.[1] Dependent origination is one of the Buddha's great contributions to philosophy, and provides a framework for analysis of reality that is not based on metaphysical assumptions regarding existence or non-existence, but instead on direct cognition of phenomena as they are presented to the mind. This informs and supports the Buddhist approach to liberation via ethical and meditative training known as the Noble Eightfold Path.

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  1. ^ Gadjin M. Nagao, Madhyamika and Yogachara. Leslie S. Kawamura, translator, SUNY Press, Albany 1991, pages 40-41.