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Out of the three sages: Lao-tzu, Confucius, and Buddha, I believe Buddha is the most compelling. Before he transformed into Buddha, he was known as a version of Siddhartha Gautama, the son of a prince who grew up sheltered, in a powerful and wealthy family (Soccio 33). It was thought that Siddhartha should experience only luxury and pleasure, and therefore he was secluded from the harshness of the real world and constantly catered to by servants. However, rebellion and curiosity lead him away from home where he began to see things he had never seen before, which set out his journey to want to understand and know the complete opposite of luxury and pleasure, but what causes suffering (Soccio 33). Siddhartha set out to find answers to his questions about suffering where he sought one master or guru after another, but still never got the answers he longed for.
For nearly six years, Siddhartha was a part of a small community of monks who learned how to control “the mad monkey of the mind”, which not only didn’t help him find any of his answers but nearly destroyed his body through malnutrition. Realizing his way of living was not ideal, he began to acquire proper nourishment, which appalled his fellow monks. Siddhartha’s ability to go against what his fellow companions believed in after so long showed that Siddhartha wasn’t afraid to take his own path in life and was strong for doing so.
From straying from the path, Siddhartha was able to learn valuable lesson Siddhartha, he learned that we cannot strive to please and daze others if we ever want to find wisdom ourselves. “We must stop worrying about what others think of us and quit trying to impress people if we are ever to find wisdom” (Soccio 35). In my opinion, I believe this lesson is one of the many reasons Buddha is the most compelling of the three sages we’ve learned about. Throughout his journey it can be viewed in several occasions that Buddha often rebelled against people’s ways and went his own route. This is important in the fact that he was able to be an individual and not conform to others ways, and even when he did he was able to follow his ways after experimenting.
After learning this lesson Siddhartha continued to wander alone, as he stopped one day he was met by a young woman who claimed to have had a vision of him who gave him a bowl of rice milk. Once he finished the rice milk he took the bowl to the river below and placed it in the water, where is began to float upstream. This river is where Siddhartha reached enlightenment and where Siddhartha transformed himself into the Buddha.
Once more Buddha wandered around, however this time he wandered as a teacher rather than a seeker, and those who once were disgusted with his ways soon became his disciples whose goals were to spread information so that people could use it to reduce suffering. I think it’s important to notice that his earlier cohorts who once rejected his ways have come around to accept and follow his doings. Buddha’s strength to go his own way signifies the importance of independence and following one’s own way.
During his death Buddha made the statement that “change – including death and decay – is universal, natural, and inescapable” (Soccio 38). This is important because it shows how Buddha has always realized that death, suffering, and just about anything is inevitable and there’s nothing else you can do other than to live life and accept it. I think that through his discussions and thoughts he always seems to raise a valid point.
Karma, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path were all things Buddha taught. Buddha exclaimed that “No one can escape the wheel of suffering who does not understand the causes of suffering” (Soccio 41). Buddha thought that one must understand karma and the Four Noble truths in order to understand the causes of suffering. He believed in karma, good or bad karma results from our own actions. His foundation of teaching, however consisted of the Four Noble Truths: 1.) to exist is to suffer; 2.) self-centeredness is the chief cause of human suffering; 3.) the cause of suffering can be understood and rooted out; 4.) suffering can be lessened by following the Eightfold path (Soccio 41). The Four Noble Truths are extremely important to Buddha’s teachings because if we are ignorant to understanding the Four Noble Truths we will never be able to get rid of suffering. Buddha thought that the causes of suffering are from our thoughts, words, and deeds and that the Eightfold Path was a remedy for eliminating suffering. How he grew up and was raised versus what he wanted and how he set out for it .
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