Buddhism is one of the dominant religions, especially in Asian countries. The primary focus of this religion is spiritual nourishment and personal development. In this regard, the objective of Buddhism is to impart believers with ideas that give insights into the true nature of life. Asceticism and the control of desires is a critical belief among theBuddhists, just like any other religion. They believe that that asceticism is a prerequisite aspect that promotes spiritual growth. However, spiritual conducts claim to lead their believers to the ultimate reality. Religious leaders impart practices and teachings that enhance spiritual growth. These doctrines confront human desires that people deem necessary in their life. Therefore, religious ways may either reject some desires or uphold them for the realization of spiritual goals.
People experience difficulties, pain, and suffering embodied in everyday aspects. In this regard, the Buddhistteaching is based on the reasoning that believers shoulddiscern from unholy behaviors.According to Conze (2003, p. 22),“the Buddhists seek for total happiness beyond this world.”This aspect implies that Buddhism encourages its believers to keep away from unholy behaviors like romance and immorality, which are against religious doctrines. It is argued that the world is made up of several activities that give humanity pleasure and joy while on Earth. However, unholy behaviors are perceived as “pessimistic” since theyare impermanent and conditioned to believers. It is argued that many people in the world cannot live without using negative approaches. Spiritually, Buddhists believe that they should renounce and discern fromunholy activities. This aspectmay fulfill one’s desires, but it is against Buddhist teachings that the Kingdom of God belongs to holy believers.
In contemporary societies, I have experienced paradox embodied in asceticism and religious beliefs. Many believersacknowledge the essence of following religious doctrines, but end up engaging inascetic behaviors. In most instances, such people often go out away from the secular world to participate in unholy practices that are not in line with Buddhism religious teachings. My understanding of this aspect is that asceticism entails practices and behaviors of self-discipline for religious purposes.These practices are voluntary, and, in most instances, asceticsare engaged as an approach to satisfy their desires, and thereby achieve a higher state of comfort. From my past experiences, I have seen many Buddhists who indulge in immorality and drug abuse far away from the secular world. The desires for unholy behaviors raise a question on the effectiveness of religious teachings that impart asceticism among believers.
Self-denial and asceticism are the core principles of the Buddhist religion. Conze (2003) noted that “man is the product of the earth”(p.21). From this point, it is argued that self-preservation is not only the duty of humankind but also the highest law for Buddhists while on the Earth. In this regard, Buddhists consider that a believer is a spirit and a soul from heaven to accomplish a certain purpose on the Earth. It implies that people are strangers in the Earth,and, therefore, ought to regain the initial state of perfection to achieve God’s expectations.
The author argued that self-denial is a supreme and the highest law of the land that guides Buddhists. They believe that Buddhists should not engage in any form of indulgence that deprives other people their well-being. In a spiritual perspective, Buddhistsought to refrain from indulgence that denies other people their happiness. The Buddhist Holy Truths are fundamental elements that guide the religion. The author asserts that craving causes suffering since it affects spirituality and the belief in divine existence. The satisfaction of human desires, however, is temporary and not in line with Buddhist teachings.
The author’s argument and Buddhists’ beliefs on asceticism seem controversial. In this case, the non-Buddhists may argue that indulgence that does not adversely affect other people is acceptable. However, Buddhist teachings uphold the reasoning that there is no real happiness in the world. This ideology suggests that believersought to embrace asceticism since their mission is to seek total happiness beyond their experiences in the world. From my reasoning, there should be a connection between asceticism in the Buddhist religion, spiritual dimensions, and human desires. The reality is that many people are suffering from unavoidable circumstances in the world. Therefore, believers that have weak faith may be tempted to seek refuge in earthly indulgence that gives them comfort. Poverty in developing countries, for instance, hasled believers to indulge in unholy behaviors such as immorality.
Another example from my experience is young people’s involvement in immorality as an approach to acquire money and thereby alleviate poverty. Also, believers have violated Buddhist doctrine on asceticism to conform to the undesirable aspects that occur against their wish. I have seen many people indulging in unwanted behaviors when they lose their loved ones. Their reasoning behind these aspects is to keep their memories away from the unappealing elements. My opinion in this regard is that there is a need to enlighten believers that they can have permanent comfort when they keep religious teachings and maintain close relations with God.
Conze, E. (2003). Buddhism: Its essence and development. Courier Corporation.
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