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Upanishads, Buddhism Essay

1445 words - 6 pages

Question 3- Upanishads: Rebirth The central philosophical concepts of the Upanishads focused on the idea of karma and rebirth. Karma, according to the Upanishads was the idea of one’s actions, thoughts, intentions all were later rewarded or punished by the law of cause and effect. This idea of karma deals with the concept of rebirth, one has to pay for one’s faults of the last life in their current life: eventually leading to liberation and Brahman. Brahman is said to be the ultimate force and reality of the universe. According to the Upanishads, this reality of Brahman was in our own self, called atman. The ignorance of this fact starts a conflict with our inner self and inner peace. ...view middle of the document...

This fascination leads to action, which is later repaid or frowned upon, as one is reborn. This ambition is said to be irrelevant, because the only thing humans should crave and cling to id the realization of our self: Brahman. “ Knowledge of the self brings an end to rebirth because it brings an end to desire for anything other than the self. The self is the one true source of all that has value, and thus the only true object of desire” (Hopkins 42). The introduction and understanding of the self is what is said to be the ultimate experience of life: where desire is useless now that one is familiar with its self. “ Renouncing worldly desires and thus the desire for bodily existence, such a one attains Brahman” (Hopkins 47). The idea of rebirth was too complex to grasp. The vision of a never-ending vicious cycle of bad karma being paid off life after life was not attractive to the later religions following the Upanishads. The concept of karma was accepted and rejected by some beliefs. The impact that the Upanishads had was the idea of liberation. New religions focused on “ the need for a way of life that would avoid the pains of endless rebirth” (Hopkins 53). Question 4- Salvation and the Self Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism have similar views for salvation and the realization of reality. Karma plays a big role in both. In both, ignorance is a big obstacle in one’s personality. In Buddhism, salvation is nirvana, “freedom from all evil, craving, hatred and ignorance, freedom from all terms of duality, relativity, time and space” (Rahula 38). In Hinduism, the self; Brahman is what helps one liberate oneself from desires and cravings. In Buddhism, nirvana is viewed as a path and not as the ultimate goal. As opposed in Hinduism, eternal peace and bliss is reached once one notices that Brahman in one’s self. “ Brahman is not only the basic principle of the cosmos; it is also the self of man” (Hopkins 37). “The root of all evil is ignorance and false views” (Rahula 3). Buddhism stressed strongly on self-knowledge. What blurs knowledge is not letting go, and the clinging of any type of situation, object or person. When one lets a foreign or external item, or setting, one cannot function correctly. Certain emotions arise from any type of condition, making one “ addicted” to whatever it may be. One must be liberated from the vicious cycle of desire, gluttony, and cravings to be at peace. “As long as there is this “thirst” to be and to become, the cycle of continuity goes on. It can stop only when its driving force, this “thirst”, is cut off through wisdom which sees Reality, Truth, Nirvana” (Rahula 34). In both religions what avoids one from reaching eternal bliss is karma, their actions to the desires and their ignorance. As in Hinduism, this “thirst” in Buddhism is defined as desire. This desire manipulates one, and does not let one notice that Brahman is with himself. “ Rebirth as a consequence of...

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