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Buddhism is considered as a religion by many people across the world. However, it is more of a way of life, or a philosophy, rather than a religion. This is because it is based on the pursuit of understanding and wisdom. According to Brian White, the path of a Buddhist is to influence a moral life, to flourish wisdom and understanding, and to be conscious and apprehensive of actions and thoughts. From a scholarly context, this is not incorrect. Moreover, it is also merely vague as it is not correct. This essay, therefore, seeks to show how popular definitions of Buddhism fail to address important parts of the religion through the correction of factual inaccuracies and the challenge of a one sided view of “the Buddhist Path.” It is essential to be very specific on the emphasis of Buddhism as an introspective religion to distinctively critique each element more precisely. According to Gethin, Siddhartha Gautama, whom people refer to as the Buddha was not a champion of total withdrawal from the essence of one’s life and the community of other people. Rather, he emphasizes on realizing the undying and deeper meaning of life. It is on this basis that living Buddhism became divided into three traditions. One of the traditions exemplifies specific conservatism on human life known as the Theravada tradition through its legal doctrines. Another tradition is extremely diverse based on the followers that are of a “Lesser vehicle” (Hinayana) that became the East Asian Tradition (Gethin, 2014) . The final tradition, Tibetan tradition, whose outlook is based on the Mahayana and the vajra-yana, is based on Tantric Buddhism. Nevertheless, all traditions are foundations that lead towards a progressive path of practice and self-devotion, “the Buddhist path,” through the stages of meditation and higher understanding. Gethin Rupert suggests that adhering to the Noble eightfold path describes a Buddhist as being moral. As implied by the epithet that describes the noble (arya/ariya), the one living under that lofty, eight-fold path, has ceased from suffering. The immoral (prthagjana/puthujjana) is described as plagued by hatred, delusion, greed and is in fact in a jungle that does not lead to a beautiful city. In this case, he must struggle with his emotions, behaviors, and views and therefore set out (anapurvikakatha/anupubbi-katha) on the noble path that leads to a beautiful city. It is important to recognize that the Buddhist path given by Rupert philosophical reasoning, aims at describing a moral life to that of being moral, in action, speech, and livelihood. Buddhism focusses on the human mind to achieve a full understanding of what we say, do and how we live. In summary, this is in accordance to the noble eightfold path (arya/ariya). However, wisdom (prajna) develops by developing compassion for others through an understanding of all the four noble truths that would not lead to an immoral life (prthagjana/puthujjana). With all that in mind, what one says and do describes the livelihood as being either immoral or moral. This is contradicting to the fact that “the Buddhist path” is more focused on not so much in walking according to the eightfold path, rather than discovering the noble eightfold path. Gethin describes that “the one who has found the eight essential qualities is like one finding a jungle to a beautiful city.” These eight essential qualities are intention, speech, action, livelihood, concentration, mindfulness, right-view, and ethics. At the same time, it is true that desire and satisfaction are the principal sources of goodness (dana) according to the entire moral theory. However, the benevolent conducts (sila) in the Nikayas discourse that Buddhists are encouraged to certainly engage other people through the eightfold when fulfilling the desires of others. The path to enlightenment, “the Buddhist path” is, therefore, contradicting to what Buddha counsels the Kalamas. He tells them not to accept anything based on reasoning, logic or argument but rather on their direct knowledge. Brian White states that the Buddhist path is being outwardly mindful of own thoughts and measures. Distinctively, the thinking process entails an attempt to define accurately a situation that underlies dharmas for all eventualities and thoughts. However, Gethin suggests that the human mind dictates the causal relation of all eventualities. It is based on this suggestion that the state of thoughtful meditation builds in a clear and intelligent account of all eventualities occurring in the human mind that is connected to the action conscious. However, Abidharma is in its existence impressive, therefore does not extrapolate hand to hand with the action process. However, perhaps, the act of thinking is one on its own while an “action” is entirely based on the prior process of thinking. About Gethin suggestion, a system that controls the thought process is termed as Abhidharma. In thinking, therefore, Buddhists apply the principles of (Sutranta) in certain situations. In this case, physical and mental events consist of associated mentality (cetasika) and physical phenomena (rupa). Since dharmas can be compared to atoms, Abhidharma is more like a collection of dharmas. The natural and mental events are moreso the final building blocks of how things relatively are. We, therefore, think of our mental dharma and act. Every cause in Buddhism has an effect (Kharma). Kharma defines the effect of our thoughts on our actions. Even more importantly, while the mind does not initiate an action, free from thinking (with- matta), the mind continuously perceives objects. We then react to those objects (bhavanga). In my opinion, wisdom is the quality to discern the soundness of an action whether right or wrong. Understanding is the ability to comprehend based on an individual perception. Brian White, summed up the Buddhist path as the capacity to develop wisdom and understanding. This definition contradicts the Buddhist religion belief of wisdom and understanding. Gethin suggests that we ultimately fail to see things as they are. Under this notion, I theoretically grasp those things that bring happiness in my daily life (drsti/ditthi). In the negative case, this cultivates a conceptual construct that instills calm and insight. In the end, the substantial and endurance of things break up. Abhidharma theory states that understanding is a stage in the path that leads to mental awakening (prapanca/papanca). As a result, we are continuously in danger to mistake our own opinions of the actual understanding of how things are. Therefore, we lack wisdom (vikalpa). It is, therefore, these state of the mind that tends to elaborately and confuse how we become attached (understanding) to the way things are (dharmas). Therefore, the theoretical views and opinions based on Buddhism and Abhidharma theory contradict the associated reasoning based on how the world is, that is different from the one we experience ordinarily. Both conscious intellectual aspects of ourselves and how our minds adhere to the idea of existing is based on our conscious intellectual theories. To sum up, Brian White’s view of “The Buddhist Path” doesn’t hold together. The popular definitions of Buddhism fail to address important parts of the religion. The entire human belief has been for most years about improving the conditions of the world. However, Buddhism rejects such beliefs, and in so doing, Buddhism does not have answers to most, modern, materialistic, societies.
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