Optimistic Toughness

In "Existentialism and Human Emotions" Jean-Paul Sartre responds to criticism that existentialism is based on a very pessimistic view of life and the world. I can see (and have heard) similar questions leveled at Buddhism. Life is suffering? All things age and die? We have to just "accept" things?

Sartre responds to his critics by saying that the existentialist view is not based on pessimism, but rather on an "optimistic toughness." The world is the way the world is, and we can't change a lot of it. Nor can we change the past. But what Sartre says existentialists focus on is their own actions, and their freedom to choose how to act. I think this applies to Buddhist practice also.

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