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Rel 221 - Buddhism & the Mind

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Peyton Sprouse

REL 221: Final Exam


Buddhism & The Mind

What we experience is the outcome of our own karma (or actions), and each of our actions of body, mind, and speech stem from the mind. To change your own world and experiences, you must begin by transforming the mind, and this all depends on your understanding of how the mind works. We are only human, and the mind is "fickle and unsteady". The mind is difficult to subdue and also hard to free from ignorance. It is merely impossible to have perfect wisdom, but different Buddhist aspects and teachings will explain how the mind can be liberated.

Suffering can be seen as a mental problem, and in order to avoid this problem you must have a clear mind, which in return will lead to enlightenment. "The English word 'suffering' is a noun (as in 'his suffering is intense'), a present participle (as in 'he is suffering from malaria') or an adjective (as in 'the suffering refugees')" (Harvey, 53). There are Four Noble Truths of suffering that need to be understood. The first is the Truth of Suffering, life is full of suffering, sickness, and unhappiness. Although there are passing pleasures, they vanish over time. The second is the Truth of the Cause of Suffering, desire will cause suffering, and desire is never satisfied. The third is the Truth of the End of Suffering, it is possible to end suffering if you know the root of your desires, this awareness will open the door to lasting peace. The fourth and final is the Truth of the Path, by changing one's thoughts and behavior, a new awakening can be reached. This is also referred to as the Middle Way and can be followed in the Eightfold Path. Once wisdom and a full understanding of the mind is reached, the state of nirvana can be attained.



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