Buddhism Essay

2378 words - 10 pages

Sullivan, PAGE 8 Sullivan, PAGE 9
Annie Sullivan21 September, 2014Professor ThrashEnglish-123-Q1139The Future of Buddhism in the WestPerhaps the most universal question among humanity is in regards to the purpose of our existence here on earth. In Western society, a multitude of beliefs and theories hearten the curiosity of many people- but is that really enough anymore? The state of the world is in crisis as war, poverty, and sickness undermine our universal well-being. Corrupt political systems are staggering while the world economy plummets, and any sort of moral resolution seems hopelessly unattainable. Even younger generations are beginning to recognize that their investment in the future abides by the same social structures which have resulted in the state of chaos we find ourselves in today. Yet, Western civilization is presently undergoing a significant evolutionary shift as people are beginning to look within themselves for answers, rather than outside of themselves. The recent fascination in consciousness and power of meditation has brought to light the potential Buddhism has for advancement in Western culture. Buddhism has been centered on relieving human suffering for centuries, but it is now that their exercises and practices for individual enlightenment prove most beneficial to the West (Verhoeven, Martin J.).Our health fields have hit a number of barriers within recent years. These barriers have presented themselves in a vast number of ways, including rapidly incessant cases of cancer, and diagnosis upon terminal diagnosis. Though distressing, these illnesses and perplex circumstances have been a powerful instigator for spiritual growth. According to the Buddhists, our experience of life is directly connected with the physical world around us (Verhoeven, Martin J.). What we perceive with our minds affects what will happen in the physical world. This is largely due to Karma, our past accumulation of positive and negative action and also the reason, according to the Buddhists, that we become ill. Karma, or cause and effect, is the idea that what we put into the universe, we take out. This means that for every action we make as individuals, only we will receive the consequences, whether they will be rewards or punishments. While the specifics seem to vary across the many sects of Buddhism, Buddhists generally teach of a process of death and rebirth which continues until enlightenment is attained (O'Brien, Barbara). Buddhists believe that we are able to escape suffering with the mind and experience higher consciousness through meditation and concentration. By maintaining this consciousness, we escape the constant search for attachment that is inherent within nature, and therefore can attain peace and enlightenment. Enlightenment can only be sought through finding the middle path, which is a place within, free of suffering and free of attachment to outside objects. Therefore, it is to the discovery of those who have ameliorated their...

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