Buddhism Essay Sample


Buddhism started more than 2500 years ago and it is the oldest of the three major world religions. Buddhism is a great cultural system, which includes religious worldview and worship, philosophical and ethical perceptions, traditions and customs, specific genres of art, spiritual practice and attitude to the world. Its powerful cultural tradition has been developed apart from the Christian and Muslim cultures. The founder of Buddhism is Sidhartha Gautama Shakyamuni. He lived in 567 before Christ's birth. According to most researchers, Sidhartha was a real historical person, but over the centuries, stories about him acquired the legendary character. The new religion had huge success in India. Buddhist teachings pointed the way to get rid of suffering for people, who could not find the way out of poverty and afflictions, and it did not require expensive sacrifice or complicated rituals (Buswell).

Buddhism is often identified with the detachment from worldly things and activities. This is partly true. Buddha constantly repeated that most problems arise from concentration on the worldly wealth and carnal pleasures.

Buddha believed that the cause of human suffering is nothing but one’s own actions. According to Buddhism philosophy, suffering expresses wisdom and is divided into four phases, the "four noble truths", which are: 1) suffering, 2) the cause of suffering, 3) freedom from suffering, 4) the path that leads to liberation from suffering (which is in virtue and altruism). Everything that happens to a man is full of suffering (dukkha), which is common and universal. In this world suffering can not exist without the desire (tanha). Desire is the driving force of the world, which causes people to experience all kinds of suffering. Most Buddhists’ aim is to break the will and to get introduced to the state of nirvana (complete rest from everything, aloofness and indifference to the world). Moreover, the Buddha (Siddhartha) professed a "middle way", which means that the person does not have to complete a riot of passions. A wise man is the one who knows all of these extremes, and that is why he is free from them and closer to the truth and enlightenment. The achievement of nirvana is liberation. When the river bends around a rock, it does not perform any actions. When the sun is shining, there are also no activities. Nirvana is just a lack of boundaries and obstacles. Noble Eightfold Path, which determines the right understanding, intention, effort, thought, speech, and living, is not about doing the right things (Farndon). Noble way is a release from barriers, misconceptions that create misunderstandings, wrong intention, effort, thought, action, concentration and lifestyle. The concepts of good and evil are associated with the intermediate status of man in the world. Man is imperfect. The idea of evil expresses a negative attitude of human to his imperfection, and the concept of goodness is the prospect of overcoming it.

I think Buddhism is more optimistic than pessimistic. Of course, the ethical system of Buddhism contains basic norms of human morality. Humility, meekness, and love for all living beings, tolerance, compassion, commitment to mutual aid and other moral qualities is a step toward salvation. Buddhism recognizes the historical and spatial diversity of moral norms that promotes coexistence of opposing moral approaches. For example, the religion condemns any killing, even killing of insects, while allowing meat consumption. In the same way it considers the problem of guilt and responsibility, crime and punishment. In general, Buddhism gradually develops humanism, defends the value of a person. The leading motive of the moral concept is philanthropy. It seeks the approval of spiritual balance of human, inner distance from everything, because the world (samsara) is the greatest evil (Misashi Tachikawa).

Buddhism promotes equal attitude to all people, calls for the compassion to people whose interests are violated. It declares that by responding to evil by violence, people just multiply it. Therefore, everything should be taken calmly. People should not spread evil, they should avoid it, and the evil will disappear. Buddhism cannot be called pessimistic, because its main purpose is to make people happy, to inspire them to live in love harmony.

However, for some people it can sound quite pessimistic. If one chooses to be Buddhist, he or she should refuse their desires, which make you evil and cruel. People always want more and more and this feeling is hard to overcome. Some individuals are full of frustration, despair and bitterness, because they feel that life did not give them something, even if they have everything they need. And, of course, the stronger desire, the more painful punishment is. In many cases, speaking of suffering and trying to help people to see it in perspective, the Buddha ended his sermon by saying that the existence is painful and that life itself does not bring any satisfaction (DeCaroli). Most people would say that this has gone too far, that it is a pessimistic and pathological perception of life. They would say that human existence in any case cannot be called dissatisfying and painful all the time. They would recognize that birth is painful, agree that the disease, aging and, yes, death is really painful. Nevertheless, at the same time they would recognize the conclusion is following: the very existence is due to the pain. Of course, we have pleasant experiences, as well as unpleasant ones. But from the Buddhist point of view, even good experiences are inherently painful. In fact, every experience is only hidden, shaded, delayed suffering. Indeed, in some ways we can see it. We can see the suffering hidden by pleasure and smile. Our vision of this depends on our spiritual maturity (Getty).

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Buddhism in practice allows you to enter into a state of detached calm, but why? For me it is better to suffer, to be an living person, but at the same time to know what love, kindness and even problems are. I think it is much better than to live in a "perfect" world of stability, alienation and nirvana. It is time to live, to take actions and to forget about rules, at least sometimes.

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