That Schopenhauer, like the Buddha in his Third Noble Truth, offered a means of escape from the pain of existence is also clear. But Schopenhauer was not a believing Buddhist, and admire as he did the teachings of the Dharma, the means of escape he proposed was altogether different in scope: a mere list of aesthetic and psychological coping mechanisms, including polite consideration for others; solitary philosophical reflection; immersion in great works of literature, art, and music; and ironic distancing of oneself from the futile preoccupations of humankind. These resemble Buddhism less than they do the teachings of the Greek philosopher Epicurus on virtuous restraint and appreciation of life’s simpler pleasures.
—Lawrence Sutin, All Is Change: The Two-Thousand-Year Journey of Buddhism to the West
It’s a pretty naked feeling, seeing the bones and sinews of your entire worldview so briefly summarized and dissected. Describing them as “mere coping mechanisms” is just the insult added to injury! In all seriousness, though, the concept of “escape” is doing a lot of question-begging work here. Who is it that’s doing the escaping, and where is he escaping to? If you accept, as I do, the version of Buddhist thought which sees the flawed understanding of selfhood as being the cause of dukkha in the first place, trying to “escape” the pain of existence from the perspective of your individual self is just adding more fuel to the flames. Believing in a Buddha who perfected a technique for achieving impervious equanimity is just another way of believing in the supernatural.