Gautama Buddha was an Indian sage. Buddhism was founded on the basis of his teachings. In “Early Buddhist Discourses”, Buddha explains his quest for religious fulfillment (Holder 67). He argues that the normal unenlightened citizens are affected by vicissitudes of life.
The reasons for this are more intense than the individuals can comprehend. However, they still seek pleasure in the things linked to birth and sickness. According to Buddha, such deeds do not result in happiness. They only lead to great suffering. In his teachings, Buddha mentions a few texts. They include “know yourself”, “see this yourself”, and “find this out yourself” (Holder 67).
In this paper, the author will discuss the various methods found in Buddha’s texts. The rejection of speculative theses on the ultimate nature of reality will also be addressed. In addition, Buddha’s methods will be compared with those of Descartes.
Aspects of Methods Expressed in Buddha’s Texts
Buddha talks of various elements of method throughout his teaching sessions. In his address to the bhikkhus, he stresses that there is one path for cleansing individuals. The same path is used to overcome sorrow and lamentation, as well as realize knowledge (Holder 67).
Buddha goes ahead to give an example of a bhikkhu who spends his life observing his body. He also talks of a case where one lives “viewing mind as mind” (Heidegger 102). The teacher advices his subjects to abandon religious practices and ceremonies associated with ordinary believers.
With regards to the parable of the water snake, Buddha gives a story of young men brought up in good families. The men study dhamma without intelligently examining the teachings (Holder 107). As a result, they end up gaining very little. He gives another parable about a raft. Through the tales, Buddha tries to highlight the importance of using or doing something fully. He concludes by saying that there are six perspectives to tentative views (Descartes 66).
Rejection of Speculative Thesis
In the book “Early Buddhist Discourses”, a number of speculative views on the definite nature of reality are evident. The first is on the world’s eternity. If the world is eternal, there would be no religion (Holder 98). Whether one believes in this view or not, birth, old age, and death will continue to be normal aspects of life.
The same applies even when one considers the world as finite (Descartes 108). If there is a belief that life is the same as body, religion would not exist. In addition, there would be no need to lead a spiritual life if it is true Tathagata exists after death (Holder 99). Buddha talks of the views to make Malunkyaputta understand his teachings better. All along, Malunkyaputta believed that Buddha had failed to answer his questions. Once again the teacher addresses the points when he is approached by Vacchagotta.
Comparison between Buddha’s and Heidegger’s Texts
Heidegger presents a number of ideas that are similar to those promoted by Buddha. According to Heidegger, the world is not a “body within-the-world” (103). He believes that each day of living is characterized by certain elements of unease.
When people concern themselves with something, entities ‘ready-to-hand’ may seem as ‘unusable’ things (Heidegger 103). Heidegger stresses that the only way to discover the importance of something is by analyzing its use. In addition, he argues that the world must not announce itself. The case holds true where the ready-to-hand comes out from its inconspicuousness.
The teachings of Buddha explain the various aspects of life and how people should view things. The sage works hard to prove his point. His focus is made evident in his efforts to explain the 10 questions raised by Malunkyaputta. Buddha stresses the importance of people seeking communication on things they do not understand.
Descartes, Rene. Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy. 4th ed. 1999. Trans. Donald Cress. London: Hackett Publishing Company. Print.
Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. Southampton: The Camelot Press Ltd., 1962. Print.
Holder, John J. Early Buddhist Discourses. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2006. Print.