1. Explain and evaluate the notions of Karma, samsara, and Nirvana.
Karma can be explained as reaping what you sow. According to multiple religions karma is inevitable. Our negative actions of the past, will undoubtedly affect our lives in the future. So if you cause harm, hurt, or suffering to someone, rest assured that it will be representing itself to you. There is no way in which to reverse these effects, as you must “pay the piper”. The flip side of this is if you do good things, they shall also represent themselves to you.
Samsara is defined by the buddhist as the continuous replication of death, birth, and rebirth. According to this cycle individuals don’t have their own souls. It is believed that there is no physical component, and that you must undergo various cycles of rebirth.
Nirvana is defined as a means to extinguish. It is understood as a passing into another kind of existence. It is a release of the mind from defilement, by giving up worldly attachments and possessions. It is the intermingling of the individual existence into the ultimate reality.
2. Explain and evaluate the Hindu ideas of Brahman, atman and reality.
Brahman is the ultimate principle or reality that sustains all things i. e. people and gods, while the atman is considered the soul. Brahman in the Hindu religion, is considered "the One and only One. " According to Upanishad there are four sayings that contrast brahman and atman as being one: these include the Consciousness, That art Thou, The Self and I am. In order to understand that brahman and atman are the same, it must be understood through meditation and contemplation.
Throughout the years brahman and atman have been the matter of various interpretations. One understanding was that only the ultimate principle existed, and everything else is an illusion. Another understanding was that in addition to the ultimate principle, there were souls that existed and that the remainder of the world didn’t consist of an illusion. And the third understanding was that the ultimate principle is the cause of the world, and the soul had it’s own independence.
What this leaves for us is the comparison of our lives to the ultimate reality.
3. Explain the Buddha’s four noble truths. Is he correct in his view.
The Four Noble Truths as explained by Buddha include: 1) There is suffering; 2) suffering has specific and identifiable causes; 3) suffering can be ended; 4) the way to end suffering is
through enlightened living as expressed in the Eightfold Path. I am in agreement with portions of the Noble Truths, and others I disagree with. Take for instance there is suffering. I believe that goes without saying. As we look at the multitude of people dying daily in third world countries, due to things we take for granted such as clean water, food and drinks. Some may relate karma as the cause of some suffering, but what about the infants that are born into suffering; what have they done to deserve what they are experiencing? Presumably this may an action of a past life???not. In my opinion suffering is something that is experienced until your time of expiration. May it be suffering with a terminal illness, or being left by loved ones as you going through emotional emptiness in your older age. There may be portions of suffering that may be eliminated,however there is no specific ways in which to permanently eliminate suffering.
4) Explain and evaluate the “Eightfold Path”. Is this a reasonable philosophy for life?
The eightfold path in my opinion is the ways in which we are taught to govern our lives. The cessation of suffering as by the eightfold path is questionable, however it is a guide in which life is to be directed. If all are to live their lives according to these guidelines, it would make ...
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