Topics: Faith, Buddhism, Religion Pages: 4 (1429 words) Published: June 23, 2012
Some say that Religion and Wisdom go hand in hand. That one is unable to thrive without the other. In this Explanatory Synthesis I will discuss Karen Armstrong and Robert Thurman beliefs and differences about the two subjects. I am going to be using the section “Homo Religiosus” written by Armstrong and the section “Wisdom” written by Thurman to compare the author’s views.

Robert Thurman is one of the first Americans to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk. He is a scholar, translator, activist, and lecturer. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. The section “Wisdom” is taken from the book Infinite Life (2004). Thurman.

Karen Armstrong was a Sister of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, part of a Roman Catholic order. In 1981 she wrote her first book based on her experience of being a member in this Roman Catholic order. Armstrong has written several books that examine alliances among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The section “Homo Religiosus” is taken from the book The Case for God (2009).

The section “Wisdom” by Thurman focuses on trying to find your own self. The way to do this is to try to get rid of your inner demon that is always telling us to do the things that we do. It is this thing that closes your mind to others. Thurman states “Realizing your selflessness” does not mean that you become nobody, it means that you become the type of somebody who is a viable, useful somebody, not a rigid, fixated-I’m-the-center-of-the-universe, isolated-from-others-somebody (Thurman Pg: 462). In “Homo Religiosus” Armstrong discusses how Nirvana was a life lived according to the Buddha’s doctrine. Anatta required Buddhist to behave as though they did not exist. Thoughts of self not only led to “unhelpful” preoccupation with “me” and “mine”, but also to envy, hatred of rivals, conceit, pride, cruelty, and-when the self felt under threat – violence (Armstrong Pg: 37).

Thurman believes that seeing...

References: Armstrong, Karen (2009 – 2012). Homo Religiosus, Miller, Richard & Spellmyer Kurt, The New Humanities Reader (Pgs: 22-43).
Thurman, Robert (2009 – 2012). Wisdom, Miller, Richard & Spellmyer, Kurt, The New Humanities Reader (Pgs: 460-475).
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