Emiliano PlazaMrs. ElliottWorld History 1 BDecember 11, 2017The Opiate of the PeopleBuddhism arose in northeastern India sometime between the late 6th century and the early 4th century BCE, a period of great social change and intense religious activity. Like many of the sects that developed in northeastern India at the time, Buddhism was created with the presence of a charismatic teacher, by the teachings this leader promoted, and by a community of believers that was often made up of strict members and lay supporters. Buddha was born in a royal and luxurious family. He did not live through a harsh childhood. He had a rather easy and calm childhood.
This easiness changed when he became older. When he was 29, he saw four things that changed him forever. Siddhartha saw an aged man bent by the years, a sick man scorched by fever, a corpse followed by mourners weeping, and a mendicant ascetic. Becoming aware of the non-permanent cycle of life, Siddhartha left the palace and became a wandering monk. When he was 35 years old, he meditated under a tree (Bodhi Tree) and attained enlightenment. It is said that under this tree, he awoke from the sleep of delusion and became “awakened”. Buddhism uses the idea of avoiding ignorance, the Four Noble Truths, and the Eightfold Path to guide its followers through a life free of suffering until death and rebirth.The main goal of Buddhism is to teach others that existence is painful.
One of the main factors of this pain or suffering is ignorance. This specific idea is performed by many people every day and it is what brings suffering according to Buddhist teachings. The only thing that Buddhism is trying to achieve is to rid the world of suffering by getting rid of ignorance which can make life more painful than it actually is.
“Buddha based his entire teaching on the fact of human suffering and the ultimately dissatisfying character of human life. Existence is painful. The conditions that make an individual are precisely those that also give rise to dissatisfaction and suffering. Individuality implies limitation; limitation gives rise to desire; and, inevitably, desire causes suffering, since what is desired is transitory.
” (Martin, Buddhism).Buddhism guides Buddhists with the belief that human suffering is brought by ignorance and desire. Buddha’s believers will work to go through the path of leading a moral life, being mindful and aware of actions, and developing wisdom and understanding. Buddhist monks avoid the suffering of existence by practicing right views, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditational attainment. “Called the Noble Eightfold Path, it is pictured as an eight-spoked wheel, an important Buddhist symbol. This Path consists of: (1) right view, (2) right intention, (3) right speech, (4) right conduct, (5) right livelihood, (6) right effort, (7) right mindfulness, and (8) right concentration. For convenience and clarity, the Path’s eight components are regrouped into three categories: wisdom (1–2), ethics (3–5), and meditation (6–8).” Overall, The Eightfold Path helps Buddhism become an opiate for the people that practice it.
The Eightfold Path is used by Buddhists to avoid suffering, the pain of existence, and individuality, limitation, and desire by following the footprints of Buddha through the Eightfold Path.Buddhists use The Four Noble Truths to help them live a life free of suffering. This aspect of Buddhism is the true opiate of the people that practice it. The Four Noble Truths explain how suffering is caused, how to avoid this suffering, and it includes the Eightfold Path as the last “truth”. These Four Noble Truths explain that misery originates within the craving for pleasure and that one must eliminate the craving to rid oneself from suffering.
“The Four Noble Truths describe and analyze the existence of suffering and provide a way to extinguish it.” The Four Noble Truths serve as the true opiate of Buddhism because they serve as a path in which Buddhists follow to get closer to nirvana. These four truths are also a way to make a Buddhist monk believe that the world is full of suffering and that the only way to rid the world of this pain is to eliminate all cravings and wants in life. “The aim of Buddhist practice is to be rid of the delusion of ego and thus, free oneself from the fetters of this mundane world. One who is successful in doing so is said to have overcome the round of rebirths and to have achieved enlightenment.” The opiate of the people is summed up as the Four Noble Truths.
These noble truths were created to guide Buddhists to nirvana and enlightenment to rid oneself from the pain of existence.” (Donald, Buddhism)The Eightfold Path is based on focusing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others. This teaching “is pictured as an eight-spoked wheel, an important Buddhist symbol. This Path consists of right view, right intention, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. For convenience and clarity, the Path’s eight components are regrouped into three categories: wisdom, ethics, and meditation.” (Donald, Buddhism)It is not enough to know that misery pervades all existence and to know the way in which life evolves, and that is why the Eightfold Path was created. This “path” helps Buddhists understand how to overcome this process of nonpermanent life.
“The Noble Eightfold Path provides practical advice and exercises both to acquire an understanding of these principles and to embark on the liberating path to extinguish the “thirst”. This path is directed to reach the ultimate goal, nirvana.” If Buddhists did not develop this Eightfold Path, then no one practicing the Buddhist teachings would have a reason to complete the first three Noble Truths. This is so, because when someone reaches enlightenment, they have finished the Eightfold Path, and would later go through death and rebirth. “The law of dependent origination, however, raises the question of how one may escape the continually renewed cycle of birth, suffering, and death.” Overall, The Eightfold Path is practiced by Buddhists to reach enlightenment and finally complete all stages of the Buddhist path and Buddha’s teachings to eventually be reborn after a life free of suffering.Buddhism is the opiate of its people by leading them through a path that will conclude in their death and rebirth.
This path would be followed without pain and ignorance but with mindfulness and care for other people. Buddhists practice the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and they avoid ignorance and craving to reach a state of enlightenment and to rid themselves of pain and suffering which shows how Buddhism is the opiate of its people. Baumann, Martin.
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