Understanding Buddhism through Donuts

I found this on Twitter recently:

This is a whiteboard-list of Western philosophers and a summary of their ideas using donuts. For example Nietzsche says “Stop at nothing to get your donut,” while Plato says “all donuts share in ‘ideal donut-ness'”.

So I got to thinking: how would you summarize Buddhism through donuts?

I guess my answer would be:

No matter how many donuts you eat, you will keep wanting more.

But then there’s many different Buddhist traditions each with their own nuances:

  • Zen: There is no donut.
  • Esoteric Buddhism: The donut is symbolic of deeper truths and requires empowerment.
  • Pure Land: There are lots of donuts in the Pure Land.
  • Theravada: There are exactly 47 types of donuts in the Pali Canon.
  • Nichiren: The Lotus Donut is supreme compared to all other donuts.
  • Madhyamika: Donuts are really just flour, sugar, eggs and milk. It has no inherent “donut-ness”.
  • Yogacara: The donut is a projection of one’s accumulated experiences.

I’m being tongue-in-check of course. 🙂

P.S. Thanks to reader Ruairi for suggestion on correcting Madhyamika.


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

4 thoughts on “Understanding Buddhism through Donuts”

    1. Hello Sam and welcome. I put esoteric Buddhism in there already. Also Im not sure thats an accurate description of Vajrayana anyway but I dont know much about it to be honest.


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