Samsara is the process of birth, dying, and being reborn. Karma stands for action. It shows that every cause or activity has its consequences. It looks at humans in general (Brooke 490). Each choice made by an individual, whether good or bad, has its outcomes. Good deeds bring about happiness, while bad ones result in sorrow. Nirvana, on the other hand, means extinction (Brooke 491). One has the freedom to choose what to do or not to do. It is these resolutions that determine what one will be in the next life. In short, one reaps what they have sown.
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Brahman is viewed as the ultimate reality. In other words, it is ‘the one and only’ (Brooke 490). Atman means the inner self or soul. Both terms are used to represent God. They show that all things are one in God.
Buddha, the enlightened one, is the origin of Buddhism. He went into meditation for six years after been tortured. After the meditation, he found the truth about suffering and its cure. He came up with four noble truths. One is that there is suffering. Second is that suffering has its causes (Brooke 500). Such a source can be bad karma. Third, suffering can be ended. Finally, enlightened living is the way to end suffering. Such living is explained in the eightfold path. In a way, Buddha is correct in his findings. His teachings reflect the truth about human life.
The eightfold path is viewed as a way to end suffering. As the name suggests, there are eight ways through which one can improve their life. The concept is derived from the four noble truths. The paths include right view, aim, and speech. Others are action, living, and effort. Finally, there is mindfulness and contemplation.
The right view involves one’s perspective towards life. To this end, things that can lead to misery are acknowledged and avoided. Avoiding bad intentions like hurting others is right aim. Speech involves spoken words. Any form of negative speech like lies or gossip is bad karma. Evil actions should be avoided at all costs. A good example is to avoid taking human life.
Effort is another point. It means restraining oneself from corrupt decisions. Right mindfulness suggests having ‘good’ life principles (Brooke 520). Last is contemplation. It is achieved slowly since it is associated with all aspects of life. It is both spiritual and mental. The eightfold path is a very reasonable philosophy for life since it helps one to lead an intellectual life.
Tao is usually translated as a way in the west (Brooke 495). It is the reason for yang. Yang involves ‘expansive’ forces in the universe. On its part, yin refers to contractive forces. Tao is also viewed as a beginning point.
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Lao Tzu believed that it is of no use to interfere with the way of the universe. Instead, it is better to understand it. It is difficult for people to change the world and not harm themselves (Brooke 403).
The principle of mean, according to Confucius, states that there is a standard measure for all things (Brooke 505). He further adds that for things to flourish, the relationship between them must be reciprocal.
Murasaki Shikibu views women as of lesser moral worth than men (Brooke 518). It is believed that a woman was a man in her past life and was making amends for that life. It did not matter what the woman did in her life. Regardless of whether they had good morals or not, none of these women had hopes for salvation.
St. Anselm was one of the first persons to evaluate beliefs in the Christian God. He believes that God existed. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just a fool, according to Psalms 14:1 (Brooke 398). The ontological argument revolves around the idea that God is nonexistent. Anselm argues that for one to think that God does not exist, they have to believe in Him and His existence first. It is obvious that God exists even by His definition alone. God is viewed as the greatest being conceivable. As such, the ‘fool’ is just naive and contradicting themselves by saying there can be a greater being that God that is conceivable.
Gaunilo, a monk from Abbey, raises objections to Anselm’s argument that God exists. He bases his arguments on a perfect island. According to Brooke, the most perfect island must exist in reality (399). In this case, any island existing in reality is better than the perfect one. According to Anselm, the theory only applies to God.
St. Thomas Aquinas views Anselm’s theory as invalid. He says that you cannot prove God exists just by a concept. According to him, you must take nature into consideration. There are five ways through which St. Aquinas proves that God exists. One is that there was a first mover, who is God. A look around the universe shows that things must have been put in place first for them to exist.
The second is that nothing can cause itself to happen. As such, there had to be a first cause, God, who initiated events. In nature, it is possible for some things not to exist. The third proof is based on the argument that “everything that is used is in this category” (Brooke 399). What this means is that at some point, the ‘things’ did not exist.
The three proofs above are known as the cosmological argument. The fourth is that natural things have traits like truth and goodness. The traits originate from God. Finally, natural things work to achieve an end result (Brooke 399). What this means is that there must be a plan on how they work. God is the master planner. Moral argument is used to refer to the fourth proof. On its part, the final one is referred to as design argument.
Leibniz states that “There is a sufficient reason why things are exactly the way they are and not otherwise” (Brooke p. 410). He believes that God exists. In addition, he believes that God chose this world for humanity since it was the best.
When Nietzsche says that God is dead, he does not mean that the Supreme Being used to live but passed on at some point. He does not mean that God died a literal death. On the contrary, what he means is that negative morality among humans has killed God in their hearts (Brooke 411).
Unlike Nietzsche, William James believes that God is not dead. James argues that the nonintellectual nature of humans influences their opinions (Brooke 430). Some people believe the truth, while others try to avoid errors. In religious belief, it is better to believe in truth than to avoid errors. James’ argument is based on the existence of God.
Religious views vary between different people. At times, where one grows up may influence their faith (Brooke 400). It is hard to try and change what someone believes is true and what they presume is right. As such, it is normal to find people with varying religious beliefs. That is why some people feel that their religious beliefs are right and everyone else’s wrong.
Brooke, Noel. Philosophy: The Power of Ideas. 8th ed. 2008. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies. Print.