Home > Free Essays > Religion > World Religions > Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times

Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times Essay (Critical Writing)

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jul 24th, 2022

The problem of wanting more and more is often the main reason why people fail to follow the Five Precepts of Buddhism, resort to violence, get lost in indulging themselves, and defy moral principles. In economics, it is one of the fundamental truths that our desires are limitless, but resources not. We all live in the society of consumers – a living cult of millionaires and top models. That’s why it is so hard to overcome these self-centered thoughts of consuming.

Saranapala B. A General Introduction to Meditation

Saranapala calls meditation a life-changing experience. He explains that meditation means “specific mental cultivation and development” (n.d.). Our mind constantly interacts; even while meditating, it tries to find entertainment in our dreams and experiences. The untrained mind makes us dependent on external objects. Indeed, as a student, I often struggle with my mind, especially when it is necessary to focus on meaningful work.

When we are connected with the moment, we can observe a lot of unpleasant things and try to escape them. According to Saranapala, it is not a suitable option to do. During meditation, we should contemplate these painful things from the beginning till the end. “Acceptance is the remedy. Acknowledgment is the healing” (Saranapala, n.d.). Nowadays, there is a wide range of painkillers in the store; psychologists want you to visit them and tell them about your painful experience. There are lots of things for entertainment. You really can not escape from your problems because you bring yourself everywhere.

In addition, Saranapala said that during the practice of meditation, we need to train our minds to be positive: to create wholesome thoughts, be compassionate and selfless. According to Saranapala, we should strive to “purify the mind’, using “loving-kindness meditation” and the practice of Anapanasati (breathing exercise) (n.d.). Awareness of everything inside us helps to cultivate the mind and set yourself free from suffering. It is great that meditation allows you to know yourself and push yourself in a positive direction. Nowadays, many people are fond of self-development, and meditation has already become an obligatory part of this process.

Nhat Hanh. Being peace in a world of trauma

Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen master, in his interview provided some reasons to be compassionate. The first is that “only understanding and compassion can neutralize violence” (2016) because you should listen and speak to people compassionately to understand their feelings and thoughts. When you treat the people with compassion, you get acknowledged for their sufferings and pain, and therefore the communication with them becomes effective and productive. In my experience, I often notice that the reason for my quarrels with friends and parents is a common misunderstanding.

In addition, according to Thich Nhat Hanh, compassion is the key to happiness and removing suffering from one’s life. When you are compassionate, you are present at the moment and able to help people around you. With compassion, you can relieve the pain and stop resentment and hatred inside.

To think clearly, we should remove obstacles in our thinking patterns. According to Thich Nhat Hanh, wrong perceptions – are these significant obstacles. They are the reason for fear, anger, and violence. Sometimes it is impossible to talk to me, so much I am angry with the situation. In addition to insufficient knowledge of the world around us, communication is hampered by emotions: a person wants to throw them out, sometimes not realizing that this will harm others.

Some specific steps can help people to bring compassion into their hearts. Thich Nhat Hanh explains that “you have the right to be angry, but you don’t have the right not to practice to transform your anger”(2016). In addition to that rational thinking, Brother Thay states the importance of understanding. “Understanding brings compassion.” Practicing understanding, you can associate yourself with other people and therefore can not hate them. The exercise of focusing on the breath, suggested by Thich Nhat Hanh, can be compared to the advice to take a break in a moment of rage: you can count to one hundred to focus, rethink, and act more reasonably.

Ancient Wisdom in the Modern World

I agree with Saranapala that meditation is a fashionable practice today because every store is full of books teaching us how to do it right, and many celebrities and businessmen admit that meditation allows them to maintain balance in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Therefore, it is interesting for me to learn about the basics of meditation from an outstanding specialist. It seems to me that the phenomenon of the wandering mind is associated with psychological procrastination: people often prefer to do something useless but enjoyable and postpone doing something valuable but difficult. I think meditation helps us realize that we want to procrastinate, understand the reasons for this phenomenon, and ultimately deal with unwanted thoughts.

The advice given by Saranapala on dealing with pain is helpful for people with illnesses. If we every day accept our pain and create positive thoughts, we will live in peace and harmony, and our mind will not be a troublemaker. In the nursing courses, students are told to use spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, Qi Gong, etc. On this aspect, I believe that meditation can help people with chronic pain cope during challenging periods, even if they are not Buddhists.

Thich Nhat Hanh, in his interview, developed the idea of active listening. It is a fascinating fact that many psychologies from the screen teach us to practice active listening in everyday life as a powerful tool to avoid conflicts. Sometimes it is enough to listen, to get more information about the situation from the point of view of another person.

There is also a specific breathing exercise that Brother Thay suggests to do in minutes of anger “to practice mindful breathing to generate the energy of mindfulness”(2016). With that practice, you get concentration, realize the reasons for anger, embrace your feelings and as a result, prevent yourself from speaking and doing potentially destructive things. Psychologists often use that exercise; it could also be utilized in our life by people who are afraid of the scene and public.

Discussing Other Students’ Comments

I believe that now it is rather challenging to achieve a high level of mental discipline for a long time, unless you go somewhere away from the city, to a quiet place where there is no television and no Internet. Modern life requires us to respond to everything immediately. What difficulties can arise when combining work (study) with the practice of meditation?

The last time I felt compassion was when a girl broke up with my friend. Surprisingly, I was a friend of both. I could not maintain their hateful speech and hatred; only compassion helped me not to make a mistake in this situation. Sometimes other people do not like it when somebody expresses one’s compassion to them. What can we do in this situation?

There was a misunderstanding in my life when my schoolteacher seemed to be too strict with me, and I thought that he did not like me. Then it turned out that he had a very good opinion of me and he was just doing his job.


Nhat Hanh, Th., Maples Ch., & Ward L. (Hosts). (2016). Being peace in a world of trauma [Audio podcast transcript]. In On Being with Krista Tippett. Web.

Saranapala B. (n.d.). A general introduction to meditation. West-end Buddhist Cultural Centre. Web.

This critical writing on Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Critical Writing sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2022, July 24). Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-ancient-wisdom-and-modern-times/


IvyPanda. (2022, July 24). Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-ancient-wisdom-and-modern-times/

Work Cited

"Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times." IvyPanda, 24 July 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-ancient-wisdom-and-modern-times/.

1. IvyPanda. "Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times." July 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-ancient-wisdom-and-modern-times/.


IvyPanda. "Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times." July 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-ancient-wisdom-and-modern-times/.


IvyPanda. 2022. "Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times." July 24, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/buddhism-ancient-wisdom-and-modern-times/.


IvyPanda. (2022) 'Buddhism: Ancient Wisdom and Modern Times'. 24 July.

Powered by CiteTotal, online essay bibliography generator
More related papers