Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist Views on Benevolence in Regards to Human Flourishing
Benevolence can be defined as the moral inclination to be kind and compassionate. If people could control their malicious behaviors and focus on participating in acts that are solely beneficial to humanity, the earth would be much more prosperous. Being kind to others gives us a feeling of contentment that is otherwise unattainable. Receiving compassion and kindness provides us with a sense of gratitude and wellness that many cannot help but share with others. No one enjoys being the subject of someone else’s ill will. This is why moral codes such as (but not limited to) Buddhism, Confucianism/Taoism have emerged. If everyone followed any one of the previously stated practices, it would be much easier for humans to grow and develop as a whole because there would be fewer causes of our discontentment.
The Buddhists’ ultimate goal is to end suffering by achieving enlightenment, or nirvana (Kessler, pg. 186). Benevolence is indefinitely required to reach this state. Enlightenment can only be obtained by recognizing the Four Noble Truths. This basically states that life is suffering, which is the result of bad karma caused by malevolent actions that are driven by natural human desires. The end of desire will inevitably be the end of suffering. The only way to end suffering is by following in the footsteps of Siddhartha Gautama’s enlightenment (Kessler, pg. 166). This method of bringing an end to suffering is otherwise known as the Eightfold Path, or the Way of the Buddha. In order to obtain the same enlightenment, Buddhists are required to uphold a strict set of rules regarding the way to behave as a beneficial member of society, including “right view, right thought, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditation.” (Kessler, pg. 224). The most devout Buddhist possesses immense self-control and discipline in attempt to live...
Cited: Kessler, Gary E. Ways of Being Religious. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Pub., 2000. 166+. Print.
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