Life Within A Forest Of Suffering And Wisdom

1977 words - 8 pages

Throughout The Gospel of Matthew in The Bible and The Buddhakarita of Asvaghosha, maturity is an end approached by attaining wisdom. Although both texts acknowledge that there is something greater than life on earth, their ideas of wisdom contain a common theme of choosing to seek right action and do all things to better the world around them. A person becomes wise when they accept human imperfection and sin as part of life on earth. Therefore, a person matures when they attempt to overcome human desire and improve humanity. Both Jesus in The Gospel of Matthew and the Buddha in The Buddhakarita of Asvaghosha assume leadership roles that help them instill this guided path to maturity through wisdom in their followers. The two texts also use nature metaphors to show the natural place suffering and wisdom have in human existence.
The Buddhakarita of Asvaghosha displays Sarvarthasiddha’s maturation into his role as the Buddha through enlightenment. Sarvarthasiddha’s personal exploration of the cause of suffering gives him the wisdom he needs to mature. The text refers to the attainment of wisdom as enlightenment. “Thus ignorance is declared to be the root of this great trunk of pain by all the wise; therefore it is to be stopped by those who seek liberation,” states the Buddha (The Buddhakarita of Asvaghosha 154.62). The image of pain as a tree suggests its inevitable place within the world. “Those who seek liberation” are those, like the Buddha, who want to escape the roots of pain. A wise man can overcome pain’s grip on their life by accepting this pain as an inescapable part of life on earth. The Buddha realizes how to liberate himself through this attainment of wisdom. Without this essential enlightenment, the Buddha would have not been able to overcome the desire for pleasure over the desire to do what is right.
The Buddha, after achieving enlightenment, feels called to spread what he has learned to others on earth so that they too can reach nirvana. In Chapter 16, the enlightened Buddha discusses the wisdom that all humans can attain by following the eight-fold path he teaches. “Knowing this desire to promote the good of the world, let him embrace the vow of self-denial for the sake of wisdom” (The Buddhakarita of Asvaghosha 177.31). “Knowing this desire” indicates that the longing to better the world exists within all humans, and must become known for it to be acted upon. This is becoming wise by being able to discern between what promotes good or bad in the world. “Desire”, “embrace”, and “vow” are often associated with loving actions and dedication towards marriage, which is the way the Buddha believes humans should act in reference to the world. Human should respect the world and those in it as they would the covenant of a marriage. Humans can fulfill right action by wanting the best for the society they are in, and aiming all action at bettering their society. All things must be done in reference to rightness or wrongness “for the sake...

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