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Nagasena: There is no self - Essay Example

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Nagasena philosophy is found in Buddhist scripture “The Questions of King Melinda” with various angles of understanding the concept of human existence. This scripture is made up of stimulating and exciting modern arguments that relate to personal identity…
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Nagasena: There is no self
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Download file to see previous pages The discussion leads Nagasena to state that a person continuously changes going through life circumstances and despite the fact that certain features of the self are retained; one is not the same and therefore, does not endure with time. In this scenario, his teachings indicate that humans do not have a soul or self but instead they have unconscious perceptions. It is evident that Nagasena philosophy points towards the idea that human beings do not have an enduring soul, which relates to Buddhist theory concept while other arguments reject this concept (Davids 75). Through the chariot comparison, it is clear that Nagasena believes that a person is not only a part of the body, or even anything from outside of the body. Nagasena begins by explaining to Milnda that that there is no soul in the body. For instance, the name, “Nagasena” does not stand for the hair, eyes, nose, and neither the nails on his body. It does not even stand for his ideas, feelings, perceptions, or desires and not even a combination of all these. In other words, the name “Nagasena” does not stand for any apparent denotation and this puzzles the king (Davids 75). Nagasena then introduces the comparison or analogy of the chariot that King Milinda had been riding. He cites that one cannot understand precisely what the chariot is in reality by saying its name. He argues that the chariot does not represent the wheels, the poles, axle, the rope, or even the yoke that has designed it. However, this does not mean that the chariot does not exist since it wholly depends on the poles, wheel, ropes, yoke, and all things that designed it. All these items make up this chariot and therefore, it is refereed by this denotation. In addition, Negasena states that this is similar to him as “Nagasena” where all body parts or organic matter that make up his body create this denotation. In conclusion, he says this person or object however, cannot be clarified and in this essence there is no self (Davids 76). Nagasena states that despite the fact that a person can be identified using a precise name, there exists no enduring self or soul. He further added that even if people can use many things to signify themselves for example say “this is my body, or hair, or memories” they do not indicate existence of self. This is because these things are inconstant and ultimately they fall apart. These things would go on forever if and be under the power of the human body. But this is not the case, people are just the organic manner in the body and therefore, do not have a lasting soul (Davids 76). The Buddhist theory of the Soul The teachings of Buddhism in regards to human thought have been known to discard the concept of an existing soul, self, or what is called “Atman.” Buddha declared that the issue of soul or Atman is a deceitful imaginary concept with no facts and generates dangerous thoughts of “me” or “mine” which is a selfish longing, hunger, vanity, and arrogance among other problems. The Buddhist concepts disdain notions of self-protection and preservation because they are indicators of selfishness. In self-protection, people create for themselves a God with whom they depend for their needs of security. On the other hand, self-preservation is a concept of having an immortal soul that exists forever. This is highly revoked in Buddhism and these thoughts are said to be false and misguiding (Davids 78). In addition, Buddha clarified that what ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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