Baron d'Holbach (d. 1789)

Mindfulness practice, corporate mindfulness, modern trends, skepticism of rebirth and other religious doctrines, secular expressions and views of Dharma Paths
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Baron d'Holbach (d. 1789)

Post by Nicholas »

An atheistic Frenchman who advocated virtue and altruism without religion. Here is an excerpt from his Systeme de la Nature, translated into English in 1835:
Let us then endeavour to disperse those clouds of ignorance, those
mists of darkness which impede man on his journey, which obscure
his progress, which prevent his marching through life with a firm, with
a steady step. Let us try to inspire him with courage—with respect
for his reason—with an inextinguishable love for truth—to the
end that he may learn to know himself—to know his legitimate
rights—that he may learn to consult his experience, and no
longer be the dupe of an imagination led astray by authority—
that he may renounce the prejudices of his childhood—that he may
learn to found his morals on his nature, on his wants, on the real
advantage of society—that he may dare to love himself—that he may
learn to pursue his true happiness by promoting that of others—in
short, that he may no longer occupy himself with reveries either useless
or dangerous—that he may become a virtuous, a rational being,
in which case he cannot fail to become happy.

If he must have his chimeras, let him at least learn to permit others
to form theirs after their own fashion; since nothing can be more immaterial
than the manner of men's thinking on subjects not accessible
to reason, provided those thoughts be not suffered to imbody themselves
into actions injurious to others: above all, let him be fully persuaded
that it is of the utmost importance to the inhabitants of this

Far from injuring the cause of virtue, an impartial examination of
the principles of this work will show that its object is to restore truth
to its proper temple, to build up an altar whose foundations shall be
consolidated by morality, reason, and justice: from this sacred fane,
virtue guarded by truth, clothed with experience, shall shed forth her
radiance on delighted mortals; whose homage flowing consecutively
shall open to the world a new era, by rendering general the belief that
happiness, the true end of man's existence, can never be attained but
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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