Contrasting Buddhism to Christianity

Contrasting Buddhism to Christianity

CRITICAL THINKING ASSIGNMENT


 
I. Part One: Buddhism

i. The Question of Origin – Buddhists believe that the world has no beginning, and not everything that exists has to have one. As the famous quote by Bertrand Russell says: “There is no reason to suppose that the world had a beginning at all. The idea that things have a beginning is really due to the poverty of our thoughts.” (Thera, 2002)

ii. The Question of Identity – Buddhism teaches that there is no self, but instead there are separate, ever-changing components that make up who we are. Defining one’s “self” would mean adhering to whatever our role or composition is today, which will certainly change in due time. This dependency followed by change would inflict suffering - what Buddhists live to avoid. (Silver, 2012)

iii. The Question of Meaning/Purpose – Buddhists believe that their main goal is life is to end suffering by ending desire. According to this religion, humans suffer because they desire and hold on to things that are temporary and will eventually vanish. The purpose in life of the Buddhist is to follow the Eightfold Path – as directed by the fourth of the Four Noble Truths – to end suffering and attain enlightment. (Religion Facts, 2005)

iv. The Question of Morality – Buddhism answers the question of morality with the term sila, which is the natural condition of goodness that we were born with. They attempt to preserve their sila and avoid being altered by worldly influences. Buddhists follow the five precepts as a moral guide: abstaining from the destruction of life, from taking that which is not given, from sexual misconduct, from falsehood, and from intoxicants that cloud the mind and cause carelessness. (Plamintr)


v. The Question of Destiny – Buddhists work towards reaching the state of Nirvana as their ultimate destiny. They believe in practicing good deeds to attain good karma as a means to Nirvana, a state in which they feel no desire, nor love or hate, and their...

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