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Buddhism Essays and Homework
1.      What socially-driven, pre-conditioned ideas might a person have to give up in order to have faith in nirvana?
2.      As we have said, the lotus flower is frequently used as a comparison to enlightenment. Can you think of another image that could be compared, metaphorically?
3.      If so, write a small poem about the comparison.



A1.  In my opinion, much of society today drives us to always want more, more material goods, bigger house, better car, more clothes, more possessions, and to strive for physical beauty.  This tends to lead us to greed and dissatisfaction, even if sub-consciously.  Also popular culture bombards us with images of how possessions, drugs and sex lead us to happiness, whereas we can see from Buddhist teaching that a fixation on such mundane things in fact achieves the opposite.  I do not believe at all that Buddhism teaches us that we shouldn't live comfortable lives, but it is our motivation and clinging to such things which is preventing our acceptance of a concept of nirvana and progress towards it.

A2.   Sunrise could also be an image appropriate to enlightenment.  As we watch the sunrise from the dark night sky we could imagine wisdom emerging, the wisdom inherent in all of us, which has been shrouded by ignorance, or the dust covering a mirror, which only needs to be wiped clean for the original clarity to reappear, as the sun illumines the sky after the hours of darkness.


The golden life giving sun, rising over the horizon,
Like the pure, beautiful nature inherent in us all,
Needing nothing more but for us to recognise,
It was there all the time, but we just couldn't see.

M D Vickers


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