Differing Perspectives on Hope in Start Where You Are by Chodron and a Letter from Thomas Jefferson

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Does hope really demolish one from achieving the best or is hope the fuel that ignites one’s ambitions? According to Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, one can only be successful if they give up all hope of succeeding. In her article, “Start Where You Are”, Chodron shares her perspective on Buddhism and how giving up hope is the solution to all problems. On the other hand, Thomas Jefferson advocates hope by persuading his nephew in a letter to always strive to become better. These two authors provide readers with two very different views on how one could live an exceeding life.
In the article, “Start Where You Are”, Pema Chodron states that one can only achieve something or some goal by giving up hope and that one can only become better by remaining and accepting what they are. She gives examples of everyday life problems and how they can be solved by giving up hope. “Sometimes this occurs at a very mundane level: you want to be thinner, have less acne or more hair. But somehow there’s almost always a subtle or not so subtle sense of disappointment, a sense of things not completely measuring up.” Again and again, Chodron proves through carefully chosen words, how Buddhism is a very fulfilling and a logical religion. The way Chodron convinces the readers create an effective argument through the use of rhetoric. She uses allusion when she compares Buddha to Christ stating that Buddha is not someone born over two thousand years ago; instead, he is the inherent part of oneself. By using allusion, Chodron is successful in proving her point that in Buddhism one does not have to worship anyone. Pema Chodron goes further to persuade readers by using expert testimony. In her article she quotes Bodhidharma, a famous Zen master, on his opinion ab...

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...thout proper evidence supporting his statement. This is not the only inaccurate statement that he mentions in his letter, Jefferson informs Peter that, “There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so contemptible…” which is also fallacious reasoning because there are wore crimes known to human history then just lying. Though Thomas Jefferson’s argument is a little weak, he presents the most ethical way for one to live their life.
“When hope is taken away from the people, moral degeneration follows swiftly after.” This quote by Pearl S. Buck supports and serves as evidence to prove that Thomas Jefferson’s way of ethical life can be applied to anyone. Pema Chodron tries to convince readers that giving up hope is the way for a more successful life but her argument is not effective. By following Thomas Jefferson’s advices, one can adjust their lives and habits for the better.

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