Buddhist Sutras on Cosmology, Morality, and Religious Life: A Response Paper

Buddhist Sutras on Cosmology, Morality, and Religious Life: A Response Paper

Introduction

Buddhism is a religion of the traditional Chinese communities based on the teachings of Analects and Daodejing. This religion focuses on ways of achieving inner peace. It teaches about the importance of tranquility in mind based on moral and humane actions and thoughts. It aims at encouraging the dispersion of wickedness and attainment of wisdom as well as the moderation of thoughts and practices. This paper is a response to the Buddhist Sutras of the scripture of twenty-four sections and the scripture on the production of Buddha Image. Particular concern is placed on the positions of these two scriptures on cosmological aspects, morality and religious life.

Cosmological Issues

One of the issues that the sutra on the 24 sections teaches is the importance of wisdom with regards to various issues in life. The 42nd section of the scripture describes the vanity of all wealth and the disregard held by the Buddha for both wealth and worldly honorable positions. This section describes the worthlessness of gold, silver, and all that the world considers of value (Weiner 350). On the other hand, the sutra on the Production of Buddha Image promises nobility and affluence besides the supernatural concepts of possessing handsomeness and clarity of eyesight (Tripitaka 2). These two scriptures conflict on this issue of wealth since by promising wealth and affluence, the sutra on the Production of Buddha Image purports that wealth and affluence are necessary for the attainment of peace of mind.

Secondly, the scripture of 42 sections also describes the perception of reason as an illusion of immense difficulty to achieve. In the 35th, 15th and 12th sections of the scripture, the search for reason is described in various ways. This consideration of reason as an illusion is a debatable subject as to some degree; reason can be achieved in incremental stages. By desiring and acquiring a certain level of reason relevant to the situation at the time, it is possible to develop a reason as one age. The attainment of reason is however an endless practice.

Morality

The teachings of analects and Daodejing place importance on the humane practice life situations as well as the need for morality and the respect for the supernatural. The sutra on the Production of Buddha image promises undefiled bodies to those who perform the act of production of the Buddha image (Tripitaka 1). Similarly, the scripture on the 42 sections also describes the fruits of morality and the vanity of lust and love of women in various sections. It also describes the pleasures to be found in marriage as deceitful (Weiner 349). In comparison to the Christian Biblical teachings on lust, these scriptures are found to be in agreement with Christian teachings. The position of morality and the irrelevance of lustful behavior can therefore be said to be common across various religious divides. In addition to this, I also find the teachings of these scriptures on morality and lustful behavior enriching, and aimed towards the overall goal of Buddhism, which is to attain inner peace and calm. The characteristic of lust and immorality as a source of chaos and disorder is clearly outlined.

Religious life

The scripture on 42 sections clearly describes religious life as being akin to carrying a burden and those who practice religious life as similar to oxen carrying loads. This perception is also supported by various religious teachings from other religions, such as Islam and Christianity. Any individual who practices religious life has to lay down individual pleasures for the sake of the kingdom of God.

Works Cited

Tripitaka, Taisho. The Sutra on the Production of Buddha Images, 692.

Weiner, Christopher. The Sutra of the Forty- Two Sections. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society XIX. (2002): 338 – 350. Retrieved from http://www.sacred-texts.com/journals/jras/os19-14.htm