Assignment - Eastern and Western Philosophers Comparison Paper
Assignment - Eastern and Western Philosophers Comparison Paper
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Date Created: 11/13/15
Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) vs. Leibniz April Bruton AXIA College of the University of Phoenix In looking at Western and Easter philosophers regarding religion and a “higher power” there are some similarities such as views on human suffering however, there are differences as well such as which the “higher power” is (God) or whether it is within us through meditation. Buddhism refers to meditation techniques to address human suffering and a sense of fulfillment in life whereas Leibniz refers to looking towards God for the same sense of fulfillment. Buddhism holds the belief that suffering is the result of uncertainty and anxiety felt as one experiences change as well as karma (Moore & Bruder, 2008). Karma is a theory that all actions, whether good or bad, will repeat themselves over several lifetimes. Good actions will be rewarded with good karma and bad actions will be marked for bad karma (Moore & Bruder, 2005). Buddha held that ignorance is the cause of greatest human suffering. Selfish craving hinders the ability to become enlightened and allows desire and passion to rule one’s senses, which eliminates the possibility to find peace in one’s life (Moore & Bruder, 2008). Beliefs of Buddha if one wants to reach the permanent state of enlightenment one must lose ignorance and selfishness through meditation and selfabnegation. Once this state of nirvana is reached the reincarnation cycle comes to an end for an individual (Moore & Bruder, 2008). In order to reach the state of nirvana Buddha held that it requires not only leaving behind selfish desires and cravings but to understand that what is normally thought to be one’s body and consciousness are not real, are not the true Self (Moore & Bruder, 2008). Buddha thought the way to cease suffering was the Eightfold Path, which sets forth the means of proper living (Moore & Bruder, 2008). Many of these are similar to Western Christian beliefs and could be interpreted as such. Several examples include Right Speech (refraining from lies, deceptions, harmful gossip or speculation of others); Right Action (not responding to improper desires and cravings, and above all means not taking human life); and Right Effort (struggling against immoral and corrupt conditions) (Moore& Bruder, 2008). While Buddha has a constant following, even in these modern times, some may find the mediation techniques hard to follow. Buddha is not only known by this name, but also as The Enlightened One by followers. In Western views I would think that this would mean that people who follow Buddha believe that he is Godlike and look to the state of nirvana or meditation for answers to their suffering and ultimate peace and fulfillment. Leibniz uses the principle of sufficient reason as proof of God (the “higher power”) (Moore & Bruder, 2008). To follow this principle one must believe that everything happens for a reason; the weather turning warm or cold for example. Leibniz believed that if there is sufficient reason for every occurrence, than there is something outside the occurrence that is its own sufficient reason: God (Moore & Bruder, 2008). Leibniz argued “God is sufficient reason for God’s own existence, God is a necessary being” (Moore & Bruder, 2008). Philosophers of all time have wrestled with the idea of whether God exists and have varying opinions and theories proving (or disproving) ideas on God’s perfection. Leibniz believed that “for God to create things, other than himself, the created things logically must be limited and imperfect” (Moore & Bruder, 2008). If looked at this way one could determine that the suffering of humans and evil in the world should be perceived as part of a larger picture, which looked at as a whole, is a perfect creation. When studying the evil in the world in relation to the all perfect creator, God, Leibniz argued in defense of God’s goodness, despite the presence of evil, through theodicy (Moore & Bruder, 2008). Examples of this theory include: “human evil results when humans use their free will to turn away from God; human sin is cancelled out in the end by divine retribution; and our view of the world is limited and finite, meaning that we are not in a position to judge its overall goodness” (Moore & Bruder, 2008). While both Buddhism and the belief that God exist hold excellent beliefs and are similar in some ways, I find myself being more persuaded towards the Western beliefs of Leibniz. Most people that I know do believe in karma and vow “not to mess with it” however, many also have the same views regarding “going against God”. I also think that both views, the Eastern Buddhism and Western belief in God are related and could benefit from intermingling the beliefs, if someone was so inclined. Take, for example, yoga – which is a form of meditation exercise. This could have easily been derived from the East and the many religions that involve meditation. I believe that a little meditation is good for the soul, no matter what the person’s beliefs regarding a divine, higher power. I do not believe one is any better than the other, just different. To better myself I plan to research more on the Eastern beliefs to ensure I am doing everything I can, from a Western and Eastern point of view, to get the most out of my life as possible. References th Moore, B.N., & Bruder, K. (2008). Philosophy: The Power of Ideas (7 ed.). New York: McGrawHill.
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