Philosophy Essay: Explain and evaluate the notions of Karma, samsara, and Nirvana


1) Explain and evaluate the notions of Karma, samsara, and Nirvana.

Karma is the law that deals with cause and effects that occurs in a person’s life. It occurs as a result of a person’s action.  Before a person can reach nirvana, he/she must undergo a process of birth and rebirth. The aspect of reincarnation is brought about by the  notion which states that a person is what he/she was in the previous reincarnation. Samsara holds that all things are in a cycle of birth and rebirth and that a person’s existence or ego is as a result of illusion. Nirvana on the other hand is a state of eternal being, when (rebirth cycle) comes to an end. In short it can be said to be the end of suffering where there are no desires or human consciousness.

2) Explain and evaluate the Hindu ideas of Brahman, atman and reality.

Braham means the eternal soul of the universe which leads to the ultimate divine reality. It is said to be the source of life that is and that which has been exist eternally. Braham is not a person but a primary ground that harbors the reality and existence of all beings. Atman means the individual soul of every living thing. Atman is not the body but it is immortal as well as eternal.

3) Explain the Buddha’s four noble truths. Is he correct in his view?

The four noble truths according to Buddha are the dukkha, the samudaya, that arises as a result of the dukkha, the nirodha, which is the end of the dukkha and the magga, which gives the direction to end dukkha. Dukkha is the first noble truth that means suffering thus the notion of unsatisfactoriness. Dukkha can be a conditioned state, ordinary suffering or as a result of change. Despite this view, he agrees that there is happiness. The samudaya  occurs as a result of dukkha  and is triggered by ones desire for  thirst for pleasure, existence and non existence. Nirodha is the end of dukkha, which is the liberation from suffering. The way that lead to liberation from dukkha is magga and holds the eight noble truths.

4) Explain and evaluate the “Eight Fold Path”. Is this a reasonable philosophy for life?

The eight folds path are right understanding, the right thought, the right speech, right action, right livelihood, effort, right mindfulness and the right concentration. All these folds help in promoting ethical conduct, mental discipline and wisdom amongst people.  This is a reasonable way of life but it is not achievable in this mortal body since human beings are immortal, sinful and full of flaws. In actual sense, life has no path but a series of realities.

 5) Explain the connection or relationship between Tao, Yin, and Yang.

Tao in its nature deals with the flow of the universe. That is, the forces that are behind the natural order that keeps the universe the way it is. It is therefore a source of existence and nonexistence of nature. The yin and yang are all concepts of duality that exists in the opposite of each other. They therefore explain the evil and good in the universe. The relationship between the three terms is that Tao can depict what yin and yang are in the universe and nothing can disturb it.

6) Explain and evaluate Lao Tzu’s notion of effortless non-striving.

Lao Tzu’s idea was that nature does not hurry and everything is in its place.  In this the actions of people should not entail struggle. It also indicates that one should be like water which is naturally effortless in its action. We should not therefore disturb the natural flow of things but should let nature take its course.  In this way nature creates an effective way of managing. Forcing things would only lead to less progress and therefore one should act passionately and when things are difficult, one should change course. beings should not control what they cannot control and therefore, they should be in the moment seeing the possibility.

7) Explain and evaluate Confucius’s principle of Mean

According to Confucius, the aim of mean is to maintain balance as well as harmony. In this, the person outside the mean is always cautious. In his doctrine, Confucius argued that one ought not to go to the extremes since at the extremes, one is likely to suffer. An individual must always strive to be in the middle so that the mind can be stable and calm. Therefore, if one requires food, one ought to find it or grow it. One should not get angry if there is no food but should make minimal effort to get it. This doctrine also means moderation whereby excess would lead to recklessness and deficiencies.

 8) Explain and evaluate the views of Murasaki Shikibu and the role and status of women.

Murasaki is used to show how families live apart after marriage.  The role of women in politics included continuing rule of a family. In this they were responsible for producing the male offspring. They are also used as objects of sex

 9) Explain and evaluate the argument of St. Anselm for God’s existence.

A perfect being must exist in nature. Anselm argued that God is a being that nothing greater can be conceived.  He argued that something can exist in the mind and in the reality. A being that no greater can be achieved, cannot exist in the mind alone but in the mind and reality. Therefore God must exist in the imaginary and in the reality.

10) Explain and evaluate Guanilo’s objection to the ontological argument.

            Ontological argument bases its argument on the nature of things. Anselm argued that if there are two identical things, but one does not exist, then the one that exist is more perfect than the other. Therefore God exist because no grater can be conceived. Gaunilo objected by indicating that  existence does not render something more perfect and therefore changes one word making the conclusion absurd. He argued that if God did exist, then a perfect island also did exist and the presence of a perfect island could be proved through logic. And therefore a perfect island could be proved through imagination thereby creating an absurdity. 

11) Summarize and evaluate St. Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways.

Thomas Aquinas five ways to prove the existence of God are the argument of motion, efficient cause, possibility and necessity, the gradation of being, and the design. In his first argument, Aquinas indicated that some things are in motion and for that to happen, somebody or something must have put these objects in motion. The first unmoved mover in this case must be God. He also argues that everything has an efficient cause and that a priori cause must be there to make the ultimate cause. Therefore the first efficient cause must be God to cause subsequent cause. The same case applies to the existence of things that there must have been the first object or person to exist in order to make other people or object appear. In design, everything can be seen as in a certain design, for the design to exist, there must be a master designer who in this case must be God.

12) Leibniz claims that this is the “best of all possible worlds”. A) Why does he say this? B) Do you agree with his assertion?

By referring to the best of all possible worlds Leibniz meant that the Supreme being had the idea of many universes but among the many, only one existed that God saw as the best. In this he was trying to indicate that God is good because he chose there to exist a universe that is best among the many which could possibly be universes.

I do not agree with Leibniz because, in the reality, there is no such a world as the best world. This world has its odd, flaws and limitations and therefore it could not be the best. He (God) could have made a better world that had no suffering and poor people, and which had no partiality.

13) Explain and evaluate Friedrich Nietzsche’s claim that “God is dead!”

The claim of God as dead is an indication of how the minds of men were in relation to Gods power. He was criticizing the generation that veered from the truth and sought science for explanations on the existence of being. He was trying to refer to the decaying values and morals that gave rise to atheism.  In the past, human depended on the rule of God but in his time, people saw no need for a higher authority thus, according to him killing him (God). This notion also ended the long held believes of the existence of a deity.

14) Explain and evaluate the various types of laws discussed by St. Thomas Aquinas.        

  In his summa theologica    Thomas Aquinas identified four types of laws which include the eternal law, natural law, the human law and the divine law. The eternal law is a rule and a measure of acts whereby one is induced to act or restrained from doing something. Eternal law is the divine governance over all things. It is what is known as the intellect and it is not subject to time but eternity. Natural law is the moral law or the eternal laws that pertains to human choices. It is therefore the participation of man in the eternal law. This type of law can be identified by man’s natural reasoning. Human law is also known as the civil laws and is manmade rules helps human being in applying the natural law. Divine law on the other hand is the biblical law is that law that directs man towards his supernatural being.

15) Explain how it is possible that your religious views are right and yet everyone else’s (expect those who believe as you) are wrong.

My religion views are right because it believes differently from  others. What proves others religions as wrong is the fact there exists differences between my religion and others. My religion bases it beliefs on faith and a hope that exists supernaturally. This contradicts some other religion whose views are otherwise.