The Buddhism we understand in the West is too often that simple credulity which prostrates itself before the 'divine Buddha'. But properly seen, Buddhism is not a religion at all but a philosophical method identical to the ancient western tradition of scepticism. At heart, everything we think we know is groundless. All the knowledge we attain through patient rational thought is based on beliefs and assumption - nothing more. What we think we know is indistinguishable from those assumptions that remain unknown. We get out only what we put in - and these are castles in the air and nothing more.
It's like the neighbours are devaluing the property so we can be rezoned into a new suburb please. If you want to claim Buddhism is skepticism then why all the 'woo woo' aspects of Buddhism such as meditation, zen, yin/yang. Call it skepticism, call yourself a philosopher and drop the Buddhism.
Then why has Eastern scepticism (Buddhism) attracted this label of Religion? Because when the wise see through the illusion of knowledge once and for all, something remarkable happens. Notions that preoccupy the mind are seen as being no more substantial than dreamstuff. The Self, the world, life and death, happiness, sadness, good and evil are seen for what they really are. Just fantsaies of the human mind that exist only in the mind and have nothing to do with the reality we experience.
That answer didn't even remotely answer the question you posed.
And so these wise sages find themselves no longer spellbound by the illusions that preoccupy the many. And with these illusions absent there is no sense of needing to rush around doing this and that - the motivation to chase dreams has completely withered away in them. And so they sit still for there is nothing esle to do. That is how they behave. They sit still and just see reality for what it is.
Also notice the value adding going on. What wisdom is there in believing in nothing? So you claim that recognising that we don't need to rush around is the essence of the wisdom? Why can't another Buddhist enjoy running around? Why is sitting around better?
This freedom from passion, this clarity of mind feels blissful - it is salvation from the constant hurried feeling. The eastern sceptics call it Enlightenment, the western variety call it ataraxia. It is nothing special, it is the feeling of joy, expansiveness and well being that all people experience on occasions. But only those philosophers who have the insight and tenacity to expunge their illusions in a thoroughgoing fashion can hope to achieve it as a dominant experience. The Buddha was one, Phyrrus was one, Meister Eckhart was one, Teresa of Avila was another.
And there it is. The freedom from passion. Great big empty lives wasting away rather than sucking up life and being passionate and you made the choice to be a Buddhist? No wonder you are going to die. Given life you choose not life.
Further notice the insult you level against everyone else, "only those philosopher who have the insight". I am a highly competent skeptic (I have in various threads agreed with you that I don't see why SGR couldn't see your skeptical point) and yet I thoroughly endorse Christian views. My eyes are wide open.
So this is why Buddhism attracted the label of Religion. People wanted the bliss for themselves and saw that these sages spent much time sitting and watching (whether in meditation or prayer). But these people mistook the effect for a cause. They saw what they did and turned iit nto so many doctines and rituals. But these sages are not divine. They are merely thinkers who have realised the limits of thought and managed to see beyond. Those who think they can achieve the same state through mere imitation of their behaviour are mistaken. The philosophical tendency is a calling confined to the few. And of the philosophical few a still smaller figure have the sceptical tenacity to reject their precious beliefs over and over again. Socrates saw that there was nothing to know. It is surprising how many of us are afraid to reach that intolerable conclusion.
Why not join the insurgent philosophy forum? I challenge anyone to take the above paragraph and quote it in a new thread as if it was from RU or Satyr and see what happens. The language becomes identical. One path, two sides, pick which side you want to fall from.
Western epistemology is presently at that high water mark that the sages of Ancient Greece, and of India and China also reached. Since Nietzsche showed us that without God there is no way of arbitrating between the multitude of equal and opposite beliefs, we have been floundering in post-modern quicksand. But this is an opportunity to go beyond, however daunting it might seem. The decisive intellect sees that there is no way of knowing and nothing to know. So it sits still and sees reality directly and as it is.
How does that follow? That sitting still allows you to see reality as it is. There isn't an aspect of reality as an illusion that you know clearer than I and yet I am clearly denying and against your philosophy.
The only truth I would take from this is that philosophy and religion are almost synonymous.
From the interveiew with Charles Taylor in Philosophy Now:
"At any given moment, in any given situation where people are discussing things, there are assumptions so deep they’re not even seen as assumptions, because they look so obvious – they look like ‘two and two make four’. The great example that I’ve been battling with throughout my life is the whole epistemological tradition from Descartes. Descartes says in one of the letters that we get all our ideas from the impact of the outside world causing representations in our minds. When he was saying that, he was saying ‘two and two make four’ – an obvious thing – yet it’s actually quite wrong in many ways (laughs). But people don’t see that: they get so into this ‘obvious’ way of thinking that it just never occurs to them it might be wrong.
When you get somebody thinking beyond the obvious, at first you’re baffled by what they’re saying – they seem to be speaking nonsense: ‘two and two is five’! ‘Retooling your mind’ means being able to haul the absolutely unquestioned frameworks up and looking at them, and seeing that it ain’t necessarily so; or maybe it is so in a way in the end, but you have to argue for it in light of other possibilities. That’s a very big change. And before the penny drops, you can be completely baffled by a text where somebody’s challenging your basic assumptions. It looks like somebody’s just denying obvious facts about the world or the mind."
There are always assumptions - and whether thet are deep and undetected, or honestly declared - philosophy cannot work without assumptions. This is the starting point of Buddhism.
It beggars belief that one takes examples of challenging fundamentals and finding new ways of arriving at an issue to claiming that we can know nothing. I feel you totally misrepresent Charles Taylor by claiming his view as Buddhist. The work performed in challenging assumptions has been amongst the most valuable work performed throughout human history. To them claim that as Buddhist is absurd.
Skepticism is a tool not an end. It's the water you pour onto the clay to find the gems beneath. Buddhism is the direct opposite of skepticism as the Buddhist surrenders reality by throwing out the gems the skeptic was searching for.