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Buddhism - Essay Example

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Buddhism Buddhism, along with Western Christianity and Islam, represents one of the major world religions. In considering the nature of this ancient religion, there are a complex and diverse variety of philosophical elements related to its internal religious tenants…
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Download file to see previous pages The Noble Truths refer to essential realizations Siddhartha Guatama is believed to have attained on his path towards spiritual enlightenment. They demonstrate a spiritual concern with the resistance of material longing, the cessation of suffering, and how to apply Siddhartha’s teachings to help achieve the highest good. This essay examines the highest good humans can achieve in regards to Buddhist thought and considers whether I agree with this as an ideal. Buddhist philosophy argues in that in achieving the highest good individuals should accept suffering as an indelible part of the human condition (Humpherys 53). Buddhism argues that the positive value of life isn’t diminished by the truth of suffering, but by acceptance of life’s evanescence the human attains a higher degree of good (Davids 165). The Buddhist path to enlightenment has an answer to the problem of suffering. The Buddha found that when we experience happiness and joy, it is our spiritual duty to objectively remove ourselves from these experiences and become consciously aware of their impermanence. Buddhist philosophy contends that the human experience of joy and happiness is merely a reaction to a circumstance and not a permanent mental state. The very structural nature of happiness then includes the binary existence of unhappiness – the two are inseparable; therefore, even as happiness is impermanent, so is suffering. Ultimately, it’s believed that in recognition and acceptance the suffering, the human achieves a more relaxed mental state that leads to their realizing the highest degree of good. Another Buddhist element related to achieving the highest good is the belief that since suffering is a result of material longing and desire by eliminating material longing and desire, one can eliminate suffering and move towards achieving this highest good. While this is a simple formulation, the actual challenge of eliminating desire is extremely difficult. Craving can also be extended to include the gratification of the passions, or the longing we have for an abstract sense of accomplishment of success in our earthly lives. The Second Noble Truth states that if we persist in allowing our lives to be dominated by desire and ignorance we will always be haunted by an unachievable longing and pervasive suffering. Therefore, the Buddha states that to achieve the highest good one must be guided by what is, not what is desired. One must fight against their preconditioned ways of longing and desire and accept the world and their place as it currently exists, as this is the only path to the highest good. In following these Noble Truths the individual is able to achieve the highest good, or Nirvana. This is a spiritual state that transcends all traditional concerns with material existence. In considering these means of achieving the highest good I recognize that I generally disagree with this ideal. To begin with, I disagree with the idea that all of life is suffering, as one might argue that such a characterization of the human condition is overly pessimistic. When Buddha developed the Four Noble Truths the Indian people faced considerable difficulties in life. Their subsistence was harder earned than we experience today, and I believe that this element of Buddhist philosophy can be seen to be a response to this challenge of existence, rather than an accurate reflection of the human condition. While all humans experience suffering, to claim that this is one ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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