University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Reflection paper On Buddhism
Buddhists past and present have looked to the incidents in Buddha’s life for inspiration. Pick any three major episodes in the Buddha’s life and discuss what lessons they impart to a typical Buddhist householder.
1. His first time realizing leaving his house and seeing normal people in the outside world. I think that this incident in Buddha’s life taught typical Buddhist householder that they can’t ignore the outside world. He taught them that even though your life might be going great that as soon as you step outside your door there is still going to be pain and suffering and death all around. I think it’s a lesson to makes them realize that all the suffering and death a pain are normal things in life and that they need to get used to it and even become okay with the thought of these things being are a normal part of life. Personally I think that this is a very good way to think because it opens people’s eyes and since they are able to see these things they can make changes to them. If you do not know that there is pain outside your door there is no way of stopping this pain and suffering from happening but if you are completely aware of the pain and suffering you have the ability and chance to take the pain and suffering away with actions which in this religion will give you good karma and lead you eventually to enlightenment.
2. The five men who Siddhartha met up with on his quest and who laugh at him when he thought that there ways were too extreme. The Buddha left the five men because he did not want to starve himself to death and thought that it was too dangerous and that it did not produce enough results for what he was looking for. Buddha also realized that a mix of this extreme life of giving everything up and a mix of the luxurious life that he had before would be the perfect match to reach enlightenment. This part of Buddha’s life is my favorite. I feel like it teaches the householders that you need balance in your life and that moderation if a great trait to have in your life. It teaches the householders that they should not only live life for the pleasures in it like food, women, and riches. Also they should not live their life completely for the religious aspect and they should not renounce everything they own and give up all pleasures in life. I think that this is a great thing to teach people because if you have moderation in your life you can do more things and enjoy/master more things in life.
3. The temptation from Mara and his hordes. The story of a god or deity that tempts the hero in the story is common in religions for examples Satan temps Jesus while he is in the desert for 40 days in the Christian religion. I think that this story is meant to teach the householders that there will always be temptations in life and that if you do not give in to these temptations you will prosper and good things will happen to you. In Buddha’s case after he rejected the temptations he reached enlightenment. Therefore the goal that typical Buddhist householders have is to resist all bad temptations and reach enlightenment.