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Hello!! Well, I have a big final paper due next week for a comparative religions class I am taking and I decided to make my focus Buddhism. You seem very knowledgeable and open to answering questions so I was wondering if you could possibly answer these 8 worldview questions coming from the Buddhist point of view. A thorough response to each question would be wonderful and help me also understand and appreciate this belief more as I desire to do. Thank you!!
1.Why is there something rather than nothing? (what is the reality of creation and spiritual existence in the world and humanity?)
2.How do you explain human nature? (why do humans behave the way they do? we were born good and corrupted by the world?)
3.What happens to a person at death? (what becomes of us when we die? is death something to fear or look forward to?)
4.How do you determine what is right and wrong? (how do we as humans judge ethics and right and wrong decisions or practices?)
5.How do you know that you know? (where do we gain our knowledge? does it come from our mind as the source or is it gained from the senses?)
6.What is the meaning of history? (does it have a purpose? is it just a cycle or start-finish plan?)
7.What is the current state of affairs? (where does Buddhism lie in today's world and society and how prominent and advancing is it?
8.What is the problem and what is the solution? (in what ways are we as humans faulted and what ways can we reconnect to the place we are supposed to be and by what means and who can we seek to help us get there?)
THANK YOU SO MUCH! if you could take some time to respond to these questions it would aid me beyond words!
My gratitude, KC
Hi KC, Thank you for asking me.
1.Why is there something rather than nothing? (what is the reality of creation and spiritual existence in the world and humanity?) I don't quite understand your question. We have the 5 senses. Whatever stimulates these sense organs, we know there is something. But in the final analysis, there is actually emptiness, for in the end we are also gone. The nature of the universe is cyclical. There is no beginning and no ending. There is formation, existence, degeneration and destruction; and the whole process repeats itself, et infinitum. Humanity, in fact all beings, also follow this eternal cycle of birth, growth, decay and death; and the cycle repeats itself et infinitum.
2.How do you explain human nature? (why do humans behave the way they do? we were born good and corrupted by the world?) Human nature has 3 roots... Greed, hatred and delusion. These 3 negative roots are the cause of all our sorrows. Our life's trilogy is this: I want I don't want I don't know If I get what I want I will be very happy. The more I get the more I want; I become greedy. I don't want things that give me sorrow. If I get things that I don't want, I become very angry. The more bad things I get, the angrier I become, the more hateful I become. I am subject to such uncontrolled reactions because of "I don't know" the true nature of this world and this life. Because of this ignorance, the vicious cycle goes round and round. I get greedy, I get angry, because of my ignorance in life. Our lives revolve around this trilogy of human tragedy. Unless we change our mind-set, we will suffer through our own ignorance and stupidity. The whole world is such. The Buddha's message is very simple: Reduce our greed, reduce our hatred, reduce our ignorance by realizing the message of the Buddha. Then we will have inner peace and happiness.
3.What happens to a person at death? (what becomes of us when we die? is death something to fear or look forward to?) First we have to consider why we are here, before we can consider what happens at death. The Buddhist perspective of life is that this "being" consists of the physical body and the mind. The existence of this being is the result of the energy of the mind taking existence in this physical body. The nature of life-form that this mind energy affixes to, will depend on the nature of the accumulated "kammic" store-house which the being had generated throughout its numerous life existences. If the kammic storehouse has a greater portion of evil and unwholesome kammic energy, this mental energy will seek a rebirth in the appropriate existence such that the evil and unwholesome energies will actualize in that life, causing agony and suffering for the being. Likewise, more wholesome kammic energy will seek rebirth in a happier condition. Again the cycle repeats itself after death. "is death something to fear or look forward to?" Death is certain when there is birth. If we can accept this unrefutable truth, we will start living correctly, not harming others, so that we can die in peace.
4.How do you determine what is right and wrong? (how do we as humans judge ethics and right and wrong decisions or practices?) Use our common sense and human intelligence. Don't you know what is right and what is wrong? Do you need some politicians or religious leaders to tell us so? Do we want to behave like little children or mindless fools?
5.How do you know that you know? (where do we gain our knowledge? does it come from our mind as the source or is it gained from the senses?) If we have not been indoctrinated by others we stand a better chance to know what we don't know. The Buddha encouraged us to use our human intelligence and common sense to analyze his teachings and to accept only if we agree. Our mind is our master. An uncontrolled mind creates havoc to the owner. If one trains the mind to be peaceful, to be harmless, and to be generous, the owner experiences inner peace and happiness. If the mind is willing to learn from all sources and be able to seive through what is right and what is wrong, he is a wise person.
6.What is the meaning of history? (does it have a purpose? is it just a cycle or start-finish plan?) If we analyse history, there is a pattern. It is a big drama. You have the wise ones, the heroes, the evil ones, the jokers and the fools. But in the end they all face the same fate....DEATH!
7.What is the current state of affairs? (where does Buddhism lie in today's world and society and how prominent and advancing is it? If you understand the teachings of the Buddha, the world had been in trouble right from the start. It is so, now. And it will be the same in the future. Buddhism has always point to the real nature of this world and this life.
8.What is the problem and what is the solution? (in what ways are we as humans faulted and what ways can we reconnect to the place we are supposed to be and by what means and who can we seek to help us get there?) The Buddha expounded the 4 Noble Truths. "Noble" because they are the real truths. These truths you have to see for yourself. If you still can't see them, then I feel sorry for you. The first of these truths is that this world is unsatisfactory, it cannot be perfect. The second truth is that we still crave to want to exist in this condition. The third truth is that one has to realize these facts which one cannot change. The fourth truth is that once one realizes these truths, and if one is wise enough, one will take steps and make effort to purify one's life and to live a noble and harmless life so that one will live in peace and happiness.
Our faults lie in my answer to your qn 2.
Here I quote from my revered teacher:
"Life is unsatisfactory because it is impermanent. When a person has a happy life, he would like the passage of time to stand still. This ceaseless passage of time is so obvious a quality of our lives that we take it for granted. Within this ceaseless movement, all things we know are born, grow, decay and die, and we will go through this process with them. The law of impermanence lays its cruel hands on all people. And all youth ends in old age, all health in sicknesses, all strength in impotence, all beauty in ugliness, and all life in death. Nothing can stop this process. Death follows birth, as night follows day. This process of change is common to all - to the poor and the rich alike, to the young and the old. But this seems to be the very thing some of us forget, living and acting as if we are immortal.
It is important to realize that we are born to this world to do some service for the weal and happiness of mankind. We will be remembered by humanity more for what we have done for mankind than what we have done for ourselves. When people see their own lives as being only a drop in an ever-flowing river, they will be moved to contribute their little part to the stream of life."