Comparison between Eastern and Western Philosophers Essay

Eastern and Western Philosophers Comparison Christina OBanion Instructor Sirard PHI/105 September 6, 2009 Many philosophers whether they are Western or Eastern have had many similar and different views about religion, existence, politics, and many others. Some have studied under others and all have read the views and writings of all philosophers, but this has not kept others from trying to show disbelief in these views. Why do some philosophers think that God does not exist, while others believe that we would not exist without God?

Would the world as we know it today have survived without the views from many great philosophers? The Eastern philosopher Siddhartha Gautama who is also known as Buddha has some very compelling ideas. Probably his most compelling idea is “the problem of suffering” Buddha did believe that suffering could be ended if one opened the door to supreme enlightenment, by allowing one’s ignorance to become overcome. This can be accomplished through meditation, and self-abnegation. According to Buddha suffering is a problem all human’s posses because of their fear of the uncertainty of the changing world.

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He also believes that karma is also a part of suffering. If a person has performed a bad action or deed in the past whether now or in another lifetime, karma will be repeated over several lifetimes to come. Through meditation a person can overcome this suffering of past actions and help pave the way to serenity that will put an end to the continuous cycle of reincarnation. Buddha believed that the way to end suffering is through the eightfold path. This path’s views are “Right view, right aim, right speech, right action, right living, right effort, right mindfulness, and right contemplation”.

Although Buddhism is a type religious belief, Buddha expressed his view of salvation that each individual could achieve without any reference to God. I believe is doing this he was able to obtain more followings from people who at the time did not want to engage in any religious disputes. Many people even today use meditation to help themselves clear their minds from the body so they can become stress free. Being without stress in today’s society can be very enlightening and allow for a more productive day for each individual.

Western philosopher John Locke had a different view of how enlightenment is achieved. His belief is enlightenment is achieved by having faith in nature and a strong belief in the progress of humans. The belief that the individual human should act rationally, this meaning people would act “good” naturally and this would help others to achieve happiness. To achieve this happiness and righteousness a person needs freedom without restraints, like those restraints a church would bestow on someone. People should use their own reasoning to be able to achieve this enlightenment of happiness.

They would be encouraged to use this reasoning to better their education so they would be able to achieve the ultimate happiness. By receiving a better education one would become more knowledgeable with ideas concerning God, nature, and reason. With this knowledge a person would have a better understanding of just how the universe works and therefore be able to improve one’s own condition in life. With knowledge, freedom, and happiness you will achieve the ultimate enlightenment of your life. Although Locke was a religious man, he believed that a person had the right to choose religion for themselves.

People need to be tolerant of others, especially in matters of religion, not everyone is going to have the same views or beliefs. People need to take action of their lives if they want to ultimately achieve a higher goal of happiness. A similarity that both Buddha and Locke have in common is that they both had religious beliefs. Their beliefs were very different, and even though both did not let religion get in the way of their views as philosophers. The differences between them were that Buddha was around in the time of 566-486 B. C. nd Locke was around in 1632 -1704 which was much later and more current than Buddha; they still had an effect on many other philosophers’ views about religion, nature, God, and much more. While Buddha believed that karma is the reason people suffer in life, Locke believed that for one to achieve happiness one must become knowledgeable of the way the universe works. People today still read and have their own views on the belief in how existence came to be. Some use their belief in religion for their views, while others just use logical thinking, or scientific findings to base their views.

Philosophy has been going on through the start of time and is still going on today, I believe it will continue until the day God decides to end our days on earth. References Ancient Eastern Philosophy, (1997). Buddhism. Retrieved on Sept. 6, 2009 from http://www. spaceandmotion. com/buddhism-hinduism-taoism-confucianism. htm Biographies, (1997). John Locke. Retrieved on Sept 7, 2009 from http://www. blupete. com/Literature/Biographies/Philosophy/Locke. htm The McGraw-Hill Company, (2008). Eastern Influences. Chapter 15 on Buddha retrieved on Sept. 6, 2009 from page 530.


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