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Budism And Spirtuality Essay

2142 words - 9 pages

I will discuss in this paper an understanding of Buddhist spirituality. Spirituality in its nature is often difficult to define as it has to do with a person’s particular understanding of their inner life. Buddhist Spirituality suffers similarly in definition, but has even more challenging aspects as it includes concepts and words that most westerns and all beginners have trouble understanding. In order to truly grasp Buddhist spirituality we need to start with some definitions that are contextually understood in order to take away ambiguity. I will spend some time defining many of the basic concepts and then ultimately arrive at a definition of Nibbana as a Non-abiding Vinnana. There are ...view middle of the document...

In order to understand and delineate acceptable desires from unacceptable ones we must understand the interaction between Tanha and Upana and Dukkha. Tanha is a thirst or a desire, Upadana, a clinging; is a Tanha inflexibly fixed on a particular perceived object; Annica, and Dukkha; is a distress or wasted energy opposing or resisting an uncontrollable circumstance. These are the concepts that must be understood in a quest for Nibbana. It is important to understand the focus of each of these concepts in order to not draw improper conclusions with regard to Buddhist spirituality. All desires are not forbidden in Buddhism, distress is also not forbidden as there are emotional situations that cause stress such as grief, and the stress of grief is unavoidable. It would be an out of context conclusion to believe that Buddhism seeks a cessation of all feelings. If a person thought that all feelings were improper he might seek out a drug that left him in a pain free oblivion which would be less than admirable. The interaction between Tanha, Upadana and Dukkha must be seen in light of self-esteem or self-worth. We all seek meaning in life and therefore self-esteem and self-worth. Many times our happiness comes from our self-esteem and this can come from things that are temporary in nature. In Buddhist spirituality, If one has a desire, Tanha that has become an inflexible clinging Upadana it will cause Dukkha. These all have to do with a person valuing something of impermanence to the point of defining who they are. Bob has been a missionary for 20 years and identifies himself through that vocation, he has become inflexibly attached to that vocation and his self-esteem and self-worth are attached to that vocation. Bob has come to define himself as a missionary and with the loss of that profession and his Upadana towards that profession, finds himself unable to “be.” It can best be said that Bob is no longer Bob he is “missionary.” For twenty years Bob was “missionary” now that Bob is no longer “missionary” he is undefined and is in a definition crisis. He has a hard time knowing who he is and tries to cling to the vocation. A Buddhist would seek to avoid identifying himself as “missionary,” since any profession or any perceived object, is impermanent and should not be the focus of one’s being.

The objects of perception that will open you to Upadana in Buddhism are grouped into Khandhas. It would be best to describe them as anything that can be perceived. To a Buddhist anything that can be perceived is impermanent and therefore should not be something from which we derive our self-esteem. The impermanence is found in bodies, feelings, perceptions, conditions and states of mind. These are the five areas of Khandhas in a literal translation. To a western mind this is perhaps easiest understood in material realms. A western mind understands the idea of materialism. Westerners look at materialism as something that does not bring internal happiness. “Money...

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