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The Worlds Religions Within the scope of this research, we will compare and contrast Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism as described by Huston Smith in his book. Confucius thought that education was very important. He has a section in the Analects dedicated to his own love of learning. Confucius thought that educating people was very important. He educated people not only by teaching them physically but also by teaching through his sayings in the Analects. Confucius said: I tried thinking all day not eating, and all night not sleeping.
It was without gain, and not equal to learning. (Smith, 2002) He educated people on such topics as Humanity, Filial Piety, Rites and Music and perhaps one of the most important teachings of The Gentleman. This was a group of sayings by Confucius about how one man should act accordingly as opposed to how an inferior man would act in comparison. He devoted many of his teaching to his thought on the relationship of a child to his / her parent. Confucius said: the upright men among us are not like that. A father will screen his son and a son his father yet the uprightness is to be found in that. (Smith, 2002) Confucius thought of himself as a transmitter of the ancient culture, not a creator of new ideas. He held nothing back from his students and consulted with them as friends on every step.
Yet he realized it is useless to speak of higher things to those who are below average. Listening silently and learning and teaching untiringly were natural to Confucius. Taoism is a very strong and complex religion that is mostly based on the ideas of nature. (Smith, 2002) Lao Tzu was very devoted to teaching the way of the Tao and used many examples of nature in his of the Te-tao-ching. Another main tradition of the Taoists was the idea of always wanting to remain a child. Taoists believed that by growing up we would lose something rational in our own thinking. (Smith, 2002) This is almost opposite of the Confucian beliefs, because Confucius believed we should grow up but in that time learning to become a better human being. The Taoists were not as strong in the emphasis of education.
The Taoists also believe that Confucius makes too much out of becoming human and adult. Instead they decided to focus on teaching about other things such as non-violence, paying attention to the invisible and The Sage. Chapter 66 of the Te section Te-tao-ching is Sage and its desire to be above all people. The Sea is the ruler of river and stream, because it rules from well beneath. The teacher guides his students best, by allowing them to lead. When the ruler is a sage, the people do not feel oppressed; they support the one who rules them well, and never tire of him.
He who is non-competitive, invites no competition. (Smith, 2002) The Sage is described and contentious and belligerent. But the Sage is important because it teaches the way. The Taoists also have a great belief in nature. The best of men is like water; Water benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in (the lowly) places that all disdain - Wherein it comes near to the Tao. In his dwelling, (the Sage) loves the (lowly) earth; In his heart, he loves what is profound In his relations with others, he loves kindness In his words, he loves sincerity In government, he loves peace In business affairs, he loves ability In his actions, he loves choosing the right time.
It is because he does not contend that he is without reproach. (Smith, 2002) It describes about nature and how the Way is compared to it. Confucianism and Taoism are two very great religions of their time. Although they do exist today they are not as greatly prominent throughout many countries. Both Confucius and Lao Tzu were great teachers, and still are, and are greatly revered for their work. They are still highly respected today because of this work. Hinduism holds a very strong future because it has something that Christianity lacks.
It is the foothold for many peoples culture in India making it a very hard religion for believers to turn away from. (Smith, 2002) Its social ladder is carved from it and to take it away would create a state of havoc where the people, so used to being categorized into classes, would be fraught with trying to find a new social structure. One of the things that the Hindus hold is their belief in reincarnation, that everything is a constant cycle. When one dies, their soul carries the Karma of that life into their next one, giving ones soul eternal life but a multitude of bodies. Overall, the idea of reincarnation is on of the footholds of the Hindu belief.
In Hinduism, one must try to live their life through Dharma. According to the Indic religion, Dharma is the law of being, the orderly fulfillment of an inherent nature and destiny. Dharma is of four main divisions, which are God's law at work on four levels of our existence: universal, human, social and personal... it is piety and ethical practice, duty and obligation. (Smith, 2002) The four stages in life that the Hindus believe in make a great deal of sense because in order for a person to grow as a human being he / she must have some kind of transition in his / her life. For example one must grow out of the immaturity that occurs in the student stage and move on to become and adult with family responsibilities. If one does not do this then he / she cannot truly progress as a person.
Another religion in India, Buddhism, has had great deal of effect on Hinduism. Buddha changed the Hindu idea of the atman. The Hindus believe that the atman is the individual soul. Buddha, however, believed that there is no such thing as the self. Buddha does not deny that each person has a personality, mentality, and a soul.
He however does deny the metaphysical agent that is supposed to serve as the soul. (Smith, 2002) During the many years that the Buddha has taught he has sought to teach just one message: how to end suffering. With this teaching, two schools of Buddhism emerged, the Hinayana and the Mahayana. (Smith, 2002) The Hinayana leaning more towards the renunciation of life while the Mahayana is more towards hedonism. If given the choice, I would have to say that I would choose the Hinayana way of thinking. They believed that life is a suffering all in its own and that the only way to rid of this suffering is to rid oneself of selfish desire. Everything evil that we do is based on vanity and selfish desire. We go to war so that we will have other peoples will fear and so that we can take what is not ours.
We kill each other and so much more because we sense a constant need to necessitate our perpetual desires. If we were to rid of this, then there would be no reason hurt others or to commit any other evil because we would not have the selfish desire to do so. The only way to Nirvana is to find the Middle way between craving and desire. (Smith, 2002) While desiring the unattainable is absurd, it is not necessary that one should stop wanting. Craving, however, is the act of desiring without moderation and should not be done. For example, in the fourth step in the eight-fold path of Buddhism, Right acts are to abstain from taking life, from stealing. Demanding of the present more justice or more love of or by others than one gets is stealing -- stealing from the irreplaceable enjoyment of the present... (Smith, 2002) It is o.
k. for one to desire to have more love in life but to crave it would be to demand it; a stealing of the moment. This would a breaking of the fourth step. The eight step to nirvana is not a single step but a whole new set of steps. These new sets of steps have four in number with the fifth one being the final one.
Would one be in Nirvana while writing this paper? New ideas are coming to place. This is one of the events that must take place before one can even think of entering Nirvana. Hinduism and Buddhism have been a part of Indias culture for a long time and have had a great deal of effect on each other. Hinduism is Indias archaic religion and Buddhism is the religion armed with just one message: end suffering. Both religions and cultures being very established in the eastern world are very respectable and should be as much as any other.
Words Count: 1, 470. Bibliography: 1. Smith, H. The Worlds Religions. New York: Harper Collins, 2002.
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