Buddha’s Ceasing of Woe Effectively Constitutes the Good Life as Compared to Epicurus’ Theory of Pursuit of Pleasure

Topics: Noble Eightfold Path, Life, Four Noble Truths Pages: 4 (1738 words) Published: November 20, 2012
Buddha’s Ceasing of Woe Effectively Constitutes the Good Life as Compared to Epicurus’ Theory of Pursuit of Pleasure I will argue that although Epicurus holds validity in his argument on achieving happiness through the pursuit and fulfillment of pleasures, it is Buddha’s method of the ceasing of woe through following the eightfold path to enlightenment that most comprehensively constitutes the good life. I will first explain Epicurus’ vision of the good life through his invitation to join him in studying the pursuit of pleasure; and then argue against the points in his writings concerning his attempt at dispelling a fear of death as well as his theory on the actual pursuit of pleasure. I will then explain Buddha’s path to the good life through finding the middle path; as well as support his claims on craving being the originator of suffering. I will find that it is Buddha’s vision of the good life that is most comprehensible when compared to Epicurus’ construction of it. Epicurus poses a hedonistic value system based on the two basic human values of pleasure and pain. Epicurus sees the pursuit of pleasure as the path for the good life. He finds that the ultimate good is pleasure; therefore living creatures by nature pursue pleasure and avoid pain. Epicurus believes that the goal of human life is to achieve tranquility, and to achieve this by fulfilling our pleasures. In an open letter inviting students to study philosophy, Epicurus begins by striving to dispel the fear of death from man. He makes the argument that since good and evil exist in sensation, and death is the absence of sensation, neither good nor evil is to be found in death so there is nothing to fear. Epicurus states, “since so long as we exist, death is not with us; but when death comes, then we do not exist,” (Singer, 1994, 189) effectively making the point that death is something that does not affect us until it is upon us. Epicurus makes this argument in order to further clarify his point that...
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