Buddha Vs Zarathustra Essay, Research Paper
Buddha vs. Zarathustra
Why do people suffer? That is a question man has been trying to answer for hundreds of years. Two men attacked this question from very different angles. Their names were Buddha and Zarathustra. Buddha was an Indian and founded the eastern way of thinking. Zarathustra was from Persia and believed in a more western theology.
Zarathustra was a wealthy man that lived a normal life until he was twenty years old. He left his family and wandered the country for ten years. Finally an angel appeared to him; the angel told Zarathustra that there was only one God. This God was the creator of the earth and everything good. He had a counter part that was an evil spirit. This evil spirit was responsible for everything bad in the world. He believed that there was a heaven and a hell; and that every man had an opportunity to choose good or evil. The way to get to heaven was easy, all one had to do was to make the world a better place. A person had to live a life of “pure thought, pure words, and pure deeds”. Zarathustra called upon his followers to be aggressive in resisting evil. Since his people were mostly farmers he said anything that helped cattle or sheep was a good deed.
Zarathustra also believed in the end of the world. They believed that there would be a great judgement and that evil would be abolished. Evil is not caused by an omnipotent Supreme Being but only permitted by him. The evil spirit had to exist so people would have a free choice of who to follow. Suffering is temporary, and our lives are temporary.
Buddha had a different view of the world. He was a very rich nobleman that lived in a palace. His father didn’t want him to see suffering so he surrounded Buddha with young people. One time he had to leave his palace to make a journey. He saw a sick person, a corpse, and an old man. Astonished at this suffering he left his family and started wandering India.
He wandered for six years living the life of an ascetic. He denied himself pleasures of the flesh, especially eating. Buddha eventually got fed up and sat under a tree to wait until he realized the “truth”. Buddha became enlightened and discovered the reason for suffering. All suffering is the result of human desires. Following the eightfold path can end suffering. You must maintain the right views, right intentions, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation. This path includes avoiding killing lying stealing and other forms of violence.
Buddha did not believe in hell. He believed in reincarnation. The things you do in one life effect how you will be born in the next life. Good deeds will be rewarded by raising your caste level. If you were a really rotten person you could be reborn lower or even as an animal. The good deeds you do in life are called Karma. To reach Nirvana or heaven you must put aside all your ego and thoughts. He believed in releasing everything to be enlightened.