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Comparing Nihilism And Buddhism

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Buddhist teachings focus on the idea that letting go of attachment and accepting the four noble truths will provide everlasting happiness: Nirvana. Nihilism, as argued by William T. Stace, focuses on truth’s opposition to happiness. Truth does not equal happiness; nonetheless, truth does not stand as happiness’ adversary either. Understanding the truth of the universe allows one to finds peace within themselves, as the illusions of attachment lead to suffering. In comparing and contrasting Nihilism and Buddhism, Truth is defined differently. Nihilism sees truth’s shattering of illusion as alarming and disruptful, and Buddhism views truth as the gateway to reaching Nirvana: eternal happiness. Both function as either side of the same…show more content…
When he had aged twenty-nine years, he left the palace, just like the prophecy predicted, and witnessed, what are now referred to as “the four passing sights.” The instances of suffering that he witnessed were sickness, old age, and death. After seeing these three shocking things, he then saw an ascetic, which is someone that renounces everything in order to be released from the grasp of suffering, which stirred something in him. The observations that he made that day, led to him giving up his claim to the throne, with the intention of going on a journey to discover the secret to the end of suffering. Eventually Siddhārtha reached Nirvana and acquired the name ‘Buddha.’ In practice, followers of Buddhism are constantly striving to live all aspects of their lives in moderation, whilst adhering to the eight “right” ways to manage themselves, which are established by the Path to the Cessation of Suffering. They adhere to Buddha’s ideal of ending suffering by renouncing attachment (O’Brien). In Walter T. Stace’s Man Against Darkness, Stace speaks about many Nihilist beliefs in terms of God’s presence, scientific discoveries, irrationality of life, free will, and human happiness based on truth versus…show more content…
Stace forms the argument that “the spirit of truth,” or “the scientific spirit,” is the “enemy of illusions“ and thus is also the “enemy of human happiness.” He built this conclusive statement on the basis of two kinds of illusions which exist alongside humanity: the ‘Great Illusion’ and many “minor illusions.” He goes into further detail with each sort of illusion. The first being the ‘Great Illusion,’ which is promoted heavily by religion, which attributes virtue to an otherwise blank and detached universe, and recognizes it as being a righteous authority that heeds an honorable path, and is loyal to the forces of good over those of evil. Lastly, the second category he refers to as “minor illusions,” and specifies that their purpose is fueling human happiness. Some common forms of “minor illusions” include: the illusion of money, the illusion of power, the illusion of kingship, the illusion of fame, the illusion of glory, etc. After describing both of the types, Stace then explains that once a person comes to the realization that the ‘Great Illusion’ does not hold any weight, they must learn to live a civilized life that cannot be justified by a higher power. As an example, Stace mentions an exchange that he had between him a fellow classmate, in which this devout Christian disclosed that the sole thing that held him back from committing heinous acts, such as rape and murder, was his belief in an afterlife. This is
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