Considering the literature and time available to him, Nietzsche created a remarkable and mature interpretation of Buddhism.
The reception of Buddhism in European intellectual history begins with isolated impressions of travelers and missionaries. In the German-speaking area an intensification of the discussion took place in the 18th and 19th century. At first this is influenced by philosophers, who mainly process the impressions of travelers and missionaries. Friedrich Nietzsche enters the scene at a time when a decisive deepening and refinement of the debate takes place through the participation of philologists and historians. This deepening and refinement of reception is a process which begins in the 19th century and continues to the present. As such, this work on the history of Buddhist reception is also its component.
Nietzsche's Study of Buddhism
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) studied theology, philology and philosophy. Even before entering the Gymnasium, he began to study ancient languages (Greek and Latin) and religion. During the Gymnasium in Pforta (1858 - 1864), he read not only ancient literature but also, among others, Shakespeare, Jean Paul, Kleist, Rousseau and Pushkin. At Pforta, Nietzsche forms a friendship with Paul Deussen (1845 - 1919). During his studies in Bonn (1865) and Leipzig (1865 - 1869), Nietzsche turns away from Christianity, so that his focus of study shifts from theology to philology. During his studies, Nietzsche intensively studied Hegel, Schopenhauer and Kant. In Leipzig, he met, among others, the composer Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883). As a crowning achievement of his academic career, Nietzsche became a professor at the University of Basel (1869 - 1879).
The encounter with Schopenhauer's "Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung" (The World as Will and Imagination) is a kind of fateful encounter for Nietzsche: 'I belong to the readers of Schopenhauer who, after having read the first page of him, know with certainty that they will read all pages and listen to every word that he has said at all. (...) I understood him as if he had written for me: to express myself intelligibly, but immodestly and foolishly.' As it seems, the confrontation with Kant also leaves significant traces, which manifest themselves in his "epistemological basic attitude": 'Thus, the true essence of things, the thing in itself, is not only unknown to us, but also the concept of it is nothing more and nothing less than the last spawn of an opposition conditioned by our organization, of which we do not know whether it has any meaning outside of our experience.'
When Nietzsche begins with the study of Buddhism, Europe is at the beginning of an intensive and well-founded discussion. In doing so, Nietzsche can draw on the work of his predecessors and teachers. The way Nietzsche references Buddhism in his early works (e.g. "Die Geburt der Tragödie") suggests that he has already dealt with it intensively. This is then confirmed in his records, where Buddhism is listed in a kind of activity and study list.
The interpretations and the references of Schopenhauer probably played an important role for Nietzsche in the reception of Buddhism. As already mentioned, we find a detailed reference to the study of Buddhism in Schopenhauer's work ''Über den Willen der Natur''. Thereby, some works are specifically highlighted. So first of all the 'excellent outline of the whole teaching' written by lsaak Jakob Schmidt in the preface of a translation from Tibetan into German. Furthermore, his work 'Geschichte der Ost- Mongolen' is especially recommended, since 'many passages clearly present the deep meaning of Buddhaism and breathe the genuine spirit of the same'. Schopenhauer also finds words of praise for Deshauteraye's 'exceedingly beautiful biography of Buddha.' Special mention is made of 'three very important essays by Csoma Körösi' in vol. 6 and 20 of 'Asiatic researches'. Finally, the 'Manual of Buddhism' (1853) by Eiusdem and 'Die Religion des Buddha' (1857) by Carl Friedrich Köppen are praised in the highest tones. While the former, according to Schopenhauer, gives us an incomparable insight into the innermost Buddhist dogma, he sees in the latter a 'complete compendium of Buddhaism, containing all the essentials of the same.' As we can see from this list, there are now translations of primary literature from Sanskrit and Pali, but also from Chinese and Tibetan. Thus, the most important "Buddhist languages" and a very wide range of schools and traditions have been made accessible.
In addition to the conjectures regarding Schopenhauer's references, we know with certainty that Nietzsche informed himself from the following standard works: Köppen's work, which he borrowed from a library, and Oldenberg's book Buddha, which he owned. Friedrich Köppen (1808 - 1863) was close to Karl Marx and published the standard work „Die Religion des Buddha und ihre Entstehung“, which Nietzsche read. The Indologist Hermann Oldenberg (1854 - 1920) contributed significantly to the study of early Buddhism. Thanks to his book "Buddha: Sein Leben, seine Lehre" Gautama was perceived as a historical personality in European science. In the notes of one of Nietzsche's notebooks, which he used in the summer - autumn of 1883, we further find the reference: "Der Buddhismus" from Kern Leipzig Otto Schulze. Kern refers to the linguist and Indologist Hendrik Kern (1833 - 1917). He studied and taught Sanskrit, translated numerous renowned texts (among others Lotus Sutra) and wrote the work 'History of Buddhism in India' (1881 - 83) to which Nietzsche refers.
Buddhism from Nietzsche's point of view
Statements on Buddhism can be found in about half of Nietzsche's published works: Die Geburt der Tragödie (1872), Unzeitgemäße Betrachtungen (1873–1876), Menschliches, Allzumenschliches (1878–1880), Morgenröthe (1881), Die fröhliche Wissenschaft (1882), Jenseits von Gut und Böse (1886), Zur Genealogie der Moral (1887), Ecce Homo (1888) and Der Antichrist (1895). Further one finds in the not published records approx. 100 places which deal more or less intensively with Buddhism.
We find many remarkable statements in the notes, which were written between the end of 1886 and spring 1888. In these, Nietzsche characterizes Buddhism in the dimensions of philosophy of life, epistemology and moral philosophy and places it in the "philosophical-religious world". Some of these thoughts apparently originated in connection with the creation of Ecce homo.
According to Nietzsche, the practice of Buddhism is a way to a happy life: 'The practice of Christianity is not a phantasm, as little as the practice of Buddhism is: it is a means to be happy.' As the following statement shows, he understands this happy life as worldly: 'The whole world of depraved imagination and morbid affect, instead of loving simple-minded practice, instead of a Buddhist happiness attainable on earth.' In this context, Nietzsche regrets that, unlike the Buddhists, we are tired of good and not of suffering: 'We are tired of the good, not of suffering: we no longer take illness, misfortune, old age, death seriously enough, least of all with the seriousness of the Buddhists, as if the objections to life were given.'
According to Nietzsche, Kant's epistemological position is not to be confused with that of the Buddhists: 'We too easily confuse Kant's thing-in-itself and the true essence of the things of the Buddhists: i.e. reality shows completely appearance or an appearance completely adequate to truth. Appearance as non-being and appearance of being are confused with each other. In the vacuum, all possible superstitions are placed.' In the field of tension to Kant's 'thing-in-itself', Nietzsche finally outlines the position of Buddhism as follows: 'The Buddhist negation of reality in general (seemingness = suffering) is a perfect consequence: unprovability, inaccessibility, lack of categories not only for a "world in itself", but insight into the faulty procedures by virtue of which this whole concept is gained. "Absolute reality", "being in itself" a contradiction. In a becoming world, "reality" is always only a simplification for practical purposes or a deception on the basis of crude organs, or a difference in the tempo of becoming.'
Buddhism moves beyond good and evil: 'In the ideal of Buddhism, getting away from good and evil also appears essential: a refined otherworldliness of morality is conceived there, which coincides with the essence of perfection on the condition that one also has the good actions only temporarily necessary, only as a means, namely to get away from all action.' Evil in itself does not exist, something is only evil because it is connected with conditions of suffering: 'The Buddhist type: or the perfect cow. This point of view is only possible if there is no moral fanaticism, i.e. if evil is not hated for its own sake, but only because it gives the way to states which hurt us (restlessness, work, worry, entanglement, dependence.) This is the Buddhist point of view: here sin is not hated, here the concept of "sin" is missing. In all consistency, there is no fight against evil, but against conditions that hurt us: "Buddhism is therefore the mildest possible form of moral castratism, because it has no antagonism, and in this respect it may direct all its force to the eradication of hostile feelings. The fight against the ressentiment appears almost as the first task of the Buddhist: only with it the peace of the soul is guaranteed. To detach oneself, but without rancune: this, however, presupposes an astonishingly mellowed and sweetened humanity - saint.' Buddhism is in all consequence no morality: 'Buddhism was no morality, - it would be a deep misunderstanding to depreciate it after such vulgar crudities as Christianity is: it was a hygiene.'
Nietzsche refers to Brahmanism, Buddhism and Christianity as the great nihilistic movements. These may be called nihilistic, 'because they have all glorified the opposite concept of life, the nothing, as the goal, as the highest good, as "God".' Buddhism and Christianity are for Nietzsche final religions: 'Buddhism, Christianity are final religions: beyond culture, philosophy, art, the state.' They have in common the fight against hostile feelings: 'These recognized as the source of evil. Happiness": only as inward, - indifference against the appearance and splendor of happiness.' In Buddhism, this is a 'wanting to get away from life, philosophical clarity; springing from a high degree of spirituality, in the middle of the higher states.' Thereby, 'the most powerful instincts of life are no longer felt as pleasurable but rather as causes of suffering for the Buddhist: insofar as these instincts drive to action (action, however, is considered as displeasure).'
As it seems, Nietzsche sees action itself as problematic in Buddhism, as the following statement underlines: 'One does not have to act: - said their more consequent brothers, the Buddhists, and devised a guideline how to get rid of action...' Thereby, it is the desires, the affects, which drive to action: 'In Buddhism, this thought prevails: "All desires, everything that makes affect, that makes blood, draws away to action", - only in this respect, one is warned against evil. For action - that has no sense, action holds in "Dasein": but all "Dasein" has no sense. They see in evil the drive to something illogical: to the affirmation of means whose purpose one denies.' This rejection of all human drive conditioned by affects is, according to Nietzsche, the way to the desired non-being: 'They look for a way to non-being and therefore they perhorresciren all drives on the part of the affects. E.g., yes not to take revenge! yes not to be an enemy!'
After Nietzsche had regularly included Buddhism in his thoughts, in the work "Der Antichrist (1895)" a culmination of his arguments take place, as he primarily deals with Buddhism for the first time: 'With my condemnation of Christianity, I do not want to have committed an injustice against a related religion, which, according to the number of adherents, even outweighs Buddhism. Both belong together as nihilistic religions - they are "décadence religions" -, both are separated from each other in the most peculiar way.' According to Nietzsche, Buddhism is 'a hundred times more realistic than Christianity': 'It has the heritage of objective and cool problem-solving in its body, it comes after a philosophical movement lasting hundreds of years, the concept of "God" is already gone when it comes.' Subsequently, Nietzsche characterizes Buddhism as follows: 'Buddhism is the only actually positivistic religion that history shows us, even in its epistemology (a strict phenomenalism -), it no longer says "fight against sin", but, completely giving reality the right, "fight against suffering". It has - this distinguishes it deeply from Christianity - the self-deception of the moral concepts already behind itself, - it stands, in my language spoken, beyond good and evil.' Thereby Buddhism is based on 'two physiological facts': 'First, an excessive irritability of sensibility, which expresses itself as a refined capacity for pain, second, an over-spiritualization, an all-too-long life in concepts and logical procedures, under which the person-instinct has been damaged for the benefit of the "impersonal".' Because of these conditions, according to Buddhism, a depression has arisen against which it acts hygienically: 'It applies against it the life in the open air, the wandering life, the moderation and the choice in the food; the caution against all spirituosa; the caution likewise against all affects that make bile, that heat the blood; no care, neither for oneself, nor for others. He demands notions that either give rest or exhilarate - he invents means to get rid of the others. He understands kindness, being kind, as conducive to health.' In this, prayer, categorical imperative and coercion are excluded: 'For this very reason, he does not demand a fight against those who think differently; his teaching resists nothing more than the feeling of revenge, aversion, ressentiment.' In all this, according to Nietzsche, egoism plays a central role: 'In Buddha's teaching, egoism becomes compulsory: the 'One thing’s needful', the 'how do you get rid of suffering' regulates and limits the whole spiritual diet.'
Nietzsche sees the prerequisites of Buddhism in the very mild climate, in the gentleness and liberality of the customs and in the absence of militarism. Serenity, tranquility and desirelessness are the highest goals, which are also achieved: 'Buddhism is not a religion in which one aspires merely to perfection: perfection is the normal case.' Buddhism is a religion for the end and the tiredness of civilization: 'Buddhism is a religion for late people, for kind, gentle, super-spiritual races, who feel pain too easily (Europe is far from being ripe for it): it is a return of them to peace and serenity, to diet in the spiritual, to a certain hardening in the physical.' Given the subject matter, Buddhism is described especially in contrast to Christianity. Thus, for Nietzsche, Buddhism is colder, truer and more objective: 'It no longer has the need to make its suffering, its capacity for pain, decent through the interpretation of sin, - it merely says what it thinks "I suffer".' Furthermore, Buddhism is more reliable, since it holds back with promises and concentrates on keeping: 'For this remains - I already emphasized it - the basic difference between the two religions of décadence: Buddhism does not promise, but keeps, Christianity promises everything, but keeps nothing.'
Buddhism is for Nietzsche an older form of the aberration 'man against the world', which manifests itself later in Christianity and modern pessimism. In Buddhism this nihilism expresses itself as a 'world-negating principle' as a 'nihilistic turning away from and longing for nothingness'. The contrast to life, nothingness as the highest good, as the goal. This classification is connected with the problematic view of the highest goal of Nirvana, so that the same arguments have their validity here. To this, one might add the following thoughts. Buddhism is often described as pessimistic because of the emphasis on suffering in the central doctrine of the "Four Noble Truths ". However, it is overlooked that in the first truth suffering is attested, but that in the second, third and fourth truth cause, dissolution and way to dissolution are described. Thus, besides the analysis, diagnosis and medicine are also offered. The message is therefore an extremely positive one: Yes, there is suffering, but this can be eliminated. The way of elimination described in the fourth truth contains the elements of wisdom, ethical practice and meditation (so-called Noble Eightfold Path). If one looks at the elements of meditation and interprets them wrongly or too simplified, one can certainly come to the realization that this is a very passive practice that negates the world. However, if one follows a more profound interpretation of meditation and adds the realm of ethical practice, then one inevitably comes to the conclusion that it is a very active and world-affirming philosophy. This becomes even clearer when one looks more closely at various elements of the path. Right View involves understanding that healthy actions lead to happy experiences and unhealthy actions lead to sorrowful experiences. Consequently, in the realm of Right Effort, it is not recommended not to act, but to avoid unhealthy actions and maximize healthy actions. In this area, Nietzsche probably followed his teachers and predecessors too unreflective. Whereby the question arises, to what extent the central doctrines of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path (= 4th Truth) were known and if they were known, to what extent they were recognized as central. In Nietzsche's thoughts, we find a clue regarding familiarity and apparently he understood the content and relevance of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd truth to a large extent.
This brings us to another central point, the epistemological classification. In this respect we find a central statement in Antichrist, where Nietzsche calls Buddhism a 'strict phenomenalism'. The term phenomenalism denoted and denotes a diverse spectrum of "theories". In order not to get lost in this variety, we want to orient ourselves by the Greek root 'phainomenon' = appearance. If a "strict phenomenalism" means an epistemology which is strictly oriented to the appearances or phenomena, then this designation is absolutely correct. Buddhist philosophy is based on the observation of the transient and relative phenomena in our consciousness. Our whole world is composed of 5 kinds of such phenomena (so called 5 aggregates) which manifest themselves in 6 spheres (so called 6 sense areas) in our consciousness. In this respect, there is probably unanimity in the Buddhist schools and traditions. Concerning the status of these phenomena, however, we find then probably a similar spectrum of positions as in western philosophy.
Buddhist philosophy developed a strong awareness of the problematic relationship between language and reality: a language of being can never accurately grasp a reality of becoming. As it seems, Nietzsche recognized this extremely precisely: 'Unprovability, inaccessibility, lack of categories not only for a "world in itself", but insight into the faulty procedures by virtue of which this whole concept is gained. "Absolute reality", "being in itself" a contradiction. In a becoming world, "reality" is always only a simplification for practical purposes or a deception due to gross organs, or a difference in the tempo of becoming.' Aware of this problematic relationship, the practicing Buddhist procures an "alternative way" to reality beyond language (meditation as observation of phenomena in consciousness without thinking). Basically, Buddhist philosophy is based on observable phenomena. Thus it consciously renounces speculations about things that take place beyond these phenomena and thus also with regard to a "thing in itself". Nietzsche's warning in this respect not to confuse Buddhism with Kant's position is therefore correct: 'All too easily we confuse Kant's thing-in-itself and the true essence of the things of the Buddhists: i.e. reality shows entirely appearance or an appearance entirely adequate to truth'.
Nietzsche correctly recognizes that Buddhism is 'a mean to be happy' and that it 'describes a loving and simple practice' which has as its goal a 'happiness attainable on earth', the 'peace of the soul'. He understands that the central element of this path is not God or morality, but a hygiene. A hygiene in which the struggle against suffering is central. In various places we find clues regarding Nietzsche's understanding of this practice, this hygiene of the mind. According to his overall understanding, we find a problematic statement in the Geburt der Tragödie, which, however, gives us the hint to the central elements of meditation and wisdom. The remark in the Unzeitgemässen Betrachtungen, where Nietzsche mentions the 'logical discipline and training of thinking', can be accepted. The training of thinking certainly plays its role, especially at the beginning of the path, even if thinking is always relativized, since it cannot grasp reality exactly. As it seems, Nietzsche also has a relatively good picture of the central elements of suffering, referring to the 'most vigorous instincts of life' as 'causes of suffering' in the Notizen 1886 - 1888. In the same notes and in "Ecce Homo", he mentions 'desire' and 'resentment effects' in this context. This is entirely correct, for violent wanting of what is not (craving) and violent not wanting of what is (resentment effects) are considered central causes of suffering in Buddhism.
As his understanding of Buddhist philosophy deepens, so does Nietzsche's understanding of Buddhist practice. In Antichrist, he again places the struggle against suffering at the center. This is very apt because this is arguably the absolute core of Buddhist philosophy. Remarkable is the statement that Buddhism is based on two physiological facts: 'First, an excessive irritability of the sensibility, which expresses itself as a refined capacity for pain; second, an over-spiritualization, an all-too-long life in concepts and logical procedures, under which the person-instinct has been damaged for the benefit of the "impersonal".' Explicitly, the concept of two physiological facts is probably not found in the Buddhist world, nor is there a similar compilation. However, this statement seems to me to be completely accurate. In particular it shows that Nietzsche has probably now reached an advanced point where he can express profound aspects of Buddhism in his own words.
When Nietzsche begins his examination of Buddhism, he has a considerable selection of primary and secondary literature at his disposal. In this, however, there is still a lack of intellectual-historical context and practical relevance, which explains some problematic interpretations. The traces in biography, notes and work show that Nietzsche dealt with Buddhism relatively long and probably intensively in the meantime. The knowledge of languages, which is partly attributed to him, is probably rather myth, so that one has to assume that Nietzsche mainly worked with translations and secondary literature. However, in contrast to some of his predecessors, he had a diverse corpus of translated original texts at his disposal, which he apparently also consulted intensively. While Nietzsche at the beginning works especially comparatively, by contrasting Buddhism mostly with Christianity, more and more also a specific argument takes place. In the course of his argument, a development and refinement of the interpretation can be seen.
Also with Nietzsche one still finds some curiosities, even if they are already much less severe than for example with Leibnitz or Hegel. The problematic interpretations are probably especially influenced by his predecessors and teachers. The too absolute interpretation of the Nothing leads in some decisive dimensions to the fact that Nietzsche goes too far in one direction in a field of tension of extreme positions and thus departs from the middle. Buddhism, however, is the way of the middle. Nothingness is not an absolute nothing, but an emptiness, to use a better term. This emptiness describes the universal characteristics of reality (impermanence and relativity). All phenomena are empty of a substantial and independent existence. A metaphysical and ethical nihilism is clearly not compatible with this basic insight.
Even if impermanent and relative, all phenomena have a reality in terns that they are produced by conditions and causes and are in turn conditions and causes of other phenomena. In epistemology, Nietzsche achieves a remarkable understanding. He recognizes in Buddhism a strict phenomenalism and understands the problematical relationship between a reality of becoming and a language of being. His understanding of the Buddhist philosophy of life is also coherent. He understands that 1. acceptance and 2. elimination of suffering is the core of Buddhism. Understandably, he lacks overview and depth in the area of the practices necessary for this, since - although he calls himself a European Buddhist - he was not a practicing Buddhist.
Overlooking some curiosities, Nietzsche certainly succeeded in a remarkable and mature interpretation, considering the literature and time available to him. Personally, his discussion shows once more that some things cannot be understood without an intellectual-historical context and that one should always meet secondary literature critically - from whomsoever it originates - and supplement it with a personal approach. The persistent misinterpretation of nothingness as absolute nothingness and of Buddhism as nihilism is clearly connected with this problem.
Extracts, translated from Bruno Steiger: Nietzsche und der Buddhismus, Fribourg / Pak Thong Chai
- Arthur Schopenhauer: Über den Willen in der Natur, Dritte Auflage, Leibzig: Brockhaus, 1867
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Die Geburt der Tragödie oder Griechenthum und Pessimismus, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Erste Unzeitgemäße Betrachtung, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Menschliches, Allzumenschliches - Ein Buch für freie Geister, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Zur Genealogie der Moral – Eine Streitschrift, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Morgenröte. Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft („la gaya scienza“), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Jenseits von Gut und Böse – Vorspiel einer Philosophie der Zukunft, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Zur Genealogie der Moral – Eine Streitschrift, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Der Antichrist – Fluch auf das Christentum, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Ecce homo – Wie man wird, was man ist, CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente I (1869-71), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente II (1872-74), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente III (1874-76), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente IV (1877-79), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente V (1880), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente VI (1881-82), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente VII (1883), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragment VIII (1884), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente IX (1885), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente X (1886), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente XI (1887), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
- Friedrich Nietzsche: Fragmente XII (1888), CD-ROM Nietzsche Spuren, Leipzig: Virtu Sens, 2002
Suttas of the Pali Canon available at http://www.accesstoinsight.org
- Pali Kanon, AN 5.28, Samadhanga Sutta
- Pali Kanon, Snp 1.3, Khaggavisana Sutta: A Rhinoceros
- Pali Kanon, SN 56.11, Dhammacakkappavattana
- Pali Kanon, SN 45.8 Magga-vibhanga Sutta
- Pali Kanon, AN 2.19, Kusala Sutta
- Pali Kanon, DN 2 Samaññaphala Sutta
- Pali Kanon, MN 27 Cula-hatthipadopama Sutta
- Pali Kanon, SN 12.15, Kaccayanagotta Sutta
- Pali Kanon, SN 22.48 Khandha Sutta
- Pali Kanon, MN 148 Chachakka Sutta
- Pali Kanon, MN 18, Madhupindika Sutta
- Benjamin A. Elman: Nietzsche and Buddhism, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 44, No. 4. (Oct. - Dec., 1983), s. 671-686
- Dardo Lessmann: Die Schule des Reinen Landes als eine Antwort auf ihre Zeit: Kontextuelle und perspektivische Betrachtung einer Schulgründung im Buddhismus, Magisterarbeit an der Philosophischen Fakultät der Rhenischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, 1999
- Helmuth Glasenapp: Das Indienbild deutscher Denker, Stuttgart: K.F. Koehler Verlag, 1960
- Volker Zotz: Auf den glückseligen Inseln - Buddhismus in der deutschen Kultur, Berlin: Theseus Verlag, 2000
- Volker Zotz: Geschichte der Buddhistischen Philosophie, Reinbeck bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1996