Essay about Western Philosophers

Submitted By izeliuthzarahi
Words: 2123
Pages: 9

Iris Sanchez
Professor Barker
PHI 101-002
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Word Count 2011

Western Philosophers:
Siddhartha Gautama, Confucius, Lao-Tzu. Philosopia is a Greek origin meaning “love of wisdom,” and it has three main branches: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Metaphysics studies reality, epistemology studies knowledge, and ethics studies morality. These are our basics for understanding our famous western philosophers (Barker, Philosophy101). These philosophers include Buddha, Confucius, and Lao-Tzu. Buddha’s philosophy was on self achievement which was reaching Nirvana. Confucius focused on social philosophy and ethics which was achieving good government. Lao-Tzu’s philosophy was on wu wei; learning that everything is one. These important philosophers spent most of their lives trying to accomplish self discipline, better society, and understanding the value of living life simple. Siddhartha Gautama (560-480 B.C.E) was born in Lumbini, India. Once Prince Siddhartha Gautama was born, a prophet visited with King Suddhodana, and said that Siddhartha was going to become either a great king or a holy man (Barker, Siddhartha Gautama). However, in order to become a holy man, Siddhartha first had to see the four sights, which where old age, sickness, death, and a monk; a person who renounced the world (Barker, Siddhartha Gautama). The king and queen concluded that in order to prevent Gautama from leaving the palace to become a holy man; they had to isolate him from the ugliness of life. Therefore, the king and queen surrounded him with luxuries and young servants. Gautama, not pleased, as well as being young and curious took secret trips outside the palace. As a result, it exposed him to three of the four sights, a homeless beggar which is old age, a dead man being prepared for cremation representing death, and a diseased person which was sickness. After returning to the palace, Gautama began to question; is there no escape from old age, sickness, nor death? Why bring people to this world to suffer? Gautama feeling interested and hopeless went out for a walk outside the palace. There he saw the fourth sight, a monk. A monk is an ascetic, who involves abstinence from sensual pleasures. It also consists of long hours of praying, living on simple food or fasting and wearing simple clothes. This all leads to salvation or peace of mind that Siddhartha was surprised to see. He then decided to leave the palace, and live a life trying to solve the mystery behind suffering, pain, and desire. For years, Siddhartha lived a homeless life, seeking out for sages to help him find answers. For the time being, Siddhartha learned many teachings, ways of meditation, and self discipline to the body. Finally, exhausted of not finding answers, he perched under a grove tree. There Siddhartha meditated for six months, throughout time he was able to control appetite, weakness and learned how to control “the mad monkey of the mind” (Soccio, 42). In spite of everything he found no answers, but he did learn that he almost destroyed his body; he is supposed to have said “When I touched my stomach I felt my backbone” (Soccio, 42). Therefore, Siddhartha stopped practicing asceticism, and adopted the middle way or path which was to eat just enough to stay alive. Again, he meditated under the fig tree and was fed by a young woman. This woman had previously had a vision of a man sitting under a tree with a halo around his head; she thought it was God. Siddhartha ate the food and once more sat under the fig tree and said “Here I shall remain until I am answered or dead” (Soccio, 42). Finally, after forty nine more days of meditation, the fig tree became known as the Bodhi-tree and Siddhartha Gautama became, “the enlightened one” and became known as Buddha. Buddha was the main founder of Buddhism. Siddhartha also reached Nirvana, which is a state of bliss; nothingness with the purpose to liberate from suffering while conscious