Tag Archives: hinduism

World Religions – A Summary (Part V)

In my last post I discussed the Adventure segment of the road to happiness.  The Adventure being divided into: The Call, The Adventure, and The Return.

Th call is a summons to the adventure requiring the cardinal virtues of wisdom and courage earned during the Journey.

The Adventure is the trials and temptations to secure the boon – a gift for society.  This requires the preparation, self-esteem, and confidence earned during the Journey and the cardinal virtue of moderation, earned during the Journey or along the Adventure.

The Return requires the cardinal virtue of justice, earned during the Journey or along the Adventure and the virtue of love of neighbor.  With these virtues the geo may return with the boon for society and attain happiness for himself/herself.

While the virtue required of the adventure are similar to those expressed in the religions of the East, the call or summons at the commencement of the Adventure and the required love at the end of the adventure I believe are unique to the West.

It is both the call to the hero and the love towards the hero that may be the two most significant differences between the religions of the East and the West.  It is these two actions that merge the happiness of the individual with the flourishing of society.  Both outcomes are the same.  They are the same thing.  The happiness of the individual = the flourishing of society.  In other words, the individual who has reached happiness becomes immersed with universal principles.  The individual is able to pass between the everyday and the spiritual without anxiety, fear, or harm.  The same happiness as expressed by the Eastern religions.

The love of neighbor towards the returning hero is the same love expressed in the Christian faith.  And what about the call or summons to begin the adventure?  Well, it is the same – only in reverse.

World Religions – A Summary (Part IV)

In my previous post I discussed the unique aspect of the West: the Adventure.

The Adventure begins with a call or summons to begin a discovery.  The call requires the cardinal virtues of wisdom and courage: wisdom to look forward and recognize the call, and courage to leap into the adventure that is illuminated by wisdom.  Both of those virtues had to be attained prior to the adventure; as such, the Journey segment was needed to develop these virtues.

The adventure itself is the trials and temptations encountered to secure the boon, which was the reason for the adventure in the first place.  The training and exposure activities of the Journey, coupled with the cardinal virtue of moderation earned during the Journey or the Adventure, are required to seize the boon.

The return back to the everyday world requires the cardinal virtue of justice and the love of the hero’s neighbor.  Justice is the concern for the community of the adventurer earned during the Journey or the Adventure.  Without this virtue, the adventurer would simply remain in the adventure, refusing to return.  The love of his/her neighbor is what pulls the hero across back to the everyday world with the boon intact.

So, what does this all mean.  Well, the adventure is the connection between the Journey (shared by all religions) and happiness (shared by all religions).  This Western concept (not shared by all religions) is what pushes the individual to the top of Maslow’s pyramid – self-actualization.  It is a concept of great myths as uncovered by Joseph Campbell.  It is what brings happiness to the individual and flourishing to society.  The flourishing then can be used to help others prepare for their road to happiness.

Final comments in my next post.


World Religions – A Summary (Part III)

In my previous post I mentioned how the Eastern Religions are similar to the West regarding the Journey segment of the road to happiness.  The Journey is the education/training, involvement with others, and exposure to risks in one’s job and elsewhere that are needed to secure a livelihood, develop self-esteem and confidence, and establish the many virtues that will be needed at a later date.

The Journey, can be viewed as the preparation for attainment of happiness, which is the freedom from fear and anxiety as well as a connection to God or universal values.  The leap from the everyday world of the Journey to the attainment of happiness is what I believe separates the religions.  It appears to me that the belief in Allah is the connection between the Journey and happiness for Islam.  Wisdom, ethical conduct, and concentration (the three segments of the Noble Eightfold Path) is the connection for Buddhism.  For the Hindu faith, dharma, or the virtues, is the connection between the Journey, or the “Good Life,” and happiness, or moksha.

However, in the West the Adventure is the connection between the Journey and the attainment of happiness.  This Adventure has three segments: the Call, the Adventure, and the Return.  These three segments correspond to the final three galleries found in my book.

The Call is a summons to the adventure.  Some people may never receive the call or they may not recognize it: they will remain at the end of the Journey to live an everyday existence.  Some may recognize the call but ignore it: their life will be one of disintegration. Finally, there are those who accept the call and begin the adventure.

The Adventure is outside of the normal everyday world.  It is full of trials with setbacks or even defeat.  The goal of the adventure is to capture the boon and return to the everyday world.  Some may fail and never return.  Some may capture the boon but not wish to return finding the world of the adventure more comforting than the everyday world.  A few will capture the boon, decide to return, and will be aided by others in the return.  It is at this moment that the individual realizes happiness and, equally important, society flourishes from the many benefits of the boon.

The adventurer need not be a mythical hero; most likely, the hero is a normal everyday person, who may go unnoticed by others.  The boon may be something as simple as being a good mother or father, teacher, community leader, artist, etc.  The list is endless.  However, the everyday hero is one who accepted the call, used all the preparation and virtues earned during his/her Journey to fight for the boon, and with the aid of others, was able to return to the family or community with the boon intact.

Finally, one final virtue must be mentioned: love of neighbor.  It is this love for the adventurer that pulls him/her from within the adventure back to the everyday world.  It is this love that presents the returning adventurer with his/her happiness and the flourishing of the family or community.

More thoughts in my next post.


World Religions – A Summary (Part II)

As mentioned in my previous post, the world religions share much in common regarding the road to happiness and even the definition of happiness.  And all the religions mention how difficult it is for individuals to reach happiness.

In my book I discuss the two segments of the road to happiness: the Journey and the Adventure.  The Journey encompasses the first three galleries of the “Prose/Art” Exposition: Preparation, Involvement, and Exposure.  These three galleries are similar to the Hindu “Good Life,” the Buddhist “right livelihood,” and the Islamic recognition of the need for wealth for food, clothing, shelter, protection, social cooperation and kindness, and the pursuit of knowledge.

The end of the Journey is represented by a well-balanced life, full education and training/preparation, self-esteem, recognition, and appreciation.  Many virtues have been attained (wisdom, courage, humility, etc.) during this time.  These attributes of one’s life and the acquired virtues are reflected in the religions of the East as needed prior to gaining spiritual enlightenment or connection with God.

However, there appears to be one feature unique to the West: the Adventure.  The Adventure is that stage of the road to happiness between the Journey and happiness.

More in my next post.


World Religions – A Summary

In my last nine post I discussed the road to happiness as promoted by three Middle-Eastern and Eastern religious traditions: Islam (Middle East and North Africa), Hinduism (India and Nepal), and Buddhism (Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand).

According the Pew Forum, theses three Eastern traditions represented 45.3% of the world population in 2010.  When you add Christianity (The Americas, Europe, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand) and Judaism (North America and Israel) the number increases to 77%.  Finally, when you add in those without a religious affiliation (those primarily from China and North Korea), the number increases to 93.3%.  For the remaining 6.7% of the world whose religion I did not discuss, I apologize.

Let us first discuss the similarities among the three major religions and that of the West.

1) Happiness is the freedom from suffering, fear, and anxiety during our lifetimes.  It is also a spiritual enlightenment, or experience, or transcendence, or connection with God.  Is some cases it is a joining with God in his kingdom after death.

2) Many virtues are needed to reach happiness.  Wisdom, ethical conduct, compassion, and love are among the virtues needed if one is to reach happiness.  Excluding Buddhism, there is a recognition of the realities of everyday existence.  These realities require an occupation to feed, house, and cloth one’s family, and to provide protection from the harm of others.

3) Excluding perhaps Buddhism, there is a need for knowledge and self-esteem if one is to lead a life aimed at attaining happiness.

4) All have a guide for traveling the road: Buddhism has the Noble Eightfold Path; Hinduism has dharma; Islam has Divine Will, and the West has virtues and the adventure.

5) Excluding Buddhism and Islam, the segments of the path to happiness are arranged in a hierarchy.  First education and training, then social skills, then a job leading to self-esteem with recognition and prestige.  Perhaps this is followed by a desire for knowledge and aesthetic pleasures.

These similarities are comforting.  They lend support for a shared understanding of the path to happiness.  Even the great thinkers and the masters of the fine arts from the West support these requirements shared by the world’s religions.

Next post, those requirements that are different.


Hinduism and Happiness (Part III)

In my last post, I mentioned that the key to attaining both types of happiness (the Good Life as well as the Divine Life) for the followers of Hinduism is the practice of dharma. It can be translated as a virtue meant to cultivate positive feelings towards others while overcoming any animosity.

In addition, the Divine Life flows from the Good Life, both achieved through the practice of dharma, or vitue.  The Good Life represents wealth, success, recognition, and intellectual and aesthetic pleasures.  The Divine Life is the ultimate aim of life representing freedom from pain and suffering.

The path for the attainment of happiness is very similar to that presented in my book, as expressed by the great thinkers and the masters of the fine arts.  The Hindu “Good Life” is similar to the Journey: the Journey being the first three galleries of the exposition.  The first three galleries represent education and preparation as well as the development of social skills and friendships leading to exposure activities delivering wealth, achievement, prestige, and recognition.

The path for the Divine Life, which flows from the Good Life, is similar to the Adventure galleries of my book: the fourth, fifth, and six galleries of the exposition.  These galleries represent the call to adventure to seek the boon for society and the return back to the everyday world with the boon in hand.  The capture of the boon and its delivery to society is what produces happiness for the individual as well as the flourishing of society.

Like the Hindu dharma, the Adventure requires five virtues for happiness to be attained: wisdom, courage, moderation, justice, and love of one’s neighbor.  And like the Hindu Good Life, the Journey must be successful before the Adventure (like the Hindu Divine Life) can be contemplated.  Moreover, as in the Hindu tradition, the goal of the Divine Life is similar to the end of the West’s Adventure – freedom from pain and suffering and an integration with universal values.

So, the Hindu way to happiness is very similar to that of the West.  The path is hierarchical (the Good Life leads to the Divine Life which leads to freedom from pain and suffering, or moksha) and the vehicle for traveling the path is virtue, or dharma, without which happiness can not be achieved.

As with Buddhism, it is comforting to know that a major religious tradition from the East approaches the path to happiness in a similar fashion as the traditions from the West.

Next up, Islam and happiness.

Hinduism and Happiness (Part II)

In my last post I mentioned that Hinduism promotes four aims in life: artha, kama, and moksha, and dharma.  Artha and kama taken together correspond to the “Good Life.”  Moksha is the experience of the Divine, the second type of happiness and the final goal of all Hindu followers.

The key to attaining both types of happiness (the Good Life as well as the Divine Life) is the practice of dharma.  It can be translated as a virtue meant to cultivate positive feelings towards others while overcoming any animosity.

In the pursuit of the Good Life (artha and kama), the practice of dharma purifies the mind, calms the senses, and brings clarity to the intellect.  The clarity that comes to the intellect is essential for making the decisions that are in our best interests.  One who is practicing dharma gets the greatest benefit out of every situation that comes to him or her. As such, one is blessed with wealth, achievement, and intellectual and artistic pleasures.

But how does one achieve moksha: the Divine Life of Hinduism? The answer is that from one’s own experiences of the Good Life comes the insight of the inherent inadequacy of even the greatest of wealth, successes, and pleasures.  It is through dharma that those who have attained the Good Life realize that such a life is not enough.

This is how dharma leads from the Good Life to the fourth aim of life, moksha. “Moksha is freedom, liberation from all bondage and suffering. We eventually find, after seeking everywhere else, that happiness lies in the nature of the reality that lies hidden in the depths of the heart.”

Some final thoughts about Hinduism in my next post.




Hinduism and Happiness

I am no expert on Hinduism, just as I am no expert on Buddhism. I am simply curious about other religions and philosophies about life. From what I have read, Hinduism, which has its roots in India, very much parallels the teachings of the West regarding the attainment of happiness.

Hinduism has about one billion followers, making it the third largest religion.  While is has many different traditions, there is an essential unity among Hindu followers.

Hinduism has four responses to the question: What do people want?  The question could also be put as: What is the meaning of life?  Hinduism answers the above question with the four aims of life: artha, kama, moksha, and dharma.

Artha and kama together correspond to the “Good Life.” Artha represents wealth, achievement, worldly success, fame and power. Kama includes intellectual and aesthetic pleasures such as reading, art, friendships, teaching, etc.  These two provide the means to achievement and pleasure – the “Good Life.”

Moksha refers to the mystical experience of the Divine.  It is the final goal of human life, and each person, according to Hinduism, has the potential to achieve it.  Moksha represents the second type of happiness, happiness that comes directly from God.

The key to attaining both types of happiness is dharma. According to Hinduism, the one universal duty of all people is the practice of dharma.  A meaningful translation of dharma is the practice of virtue: the cultivation of friendship and compassion for our fellow beings and overcoming animosity.

More about Hinduism and happiness in my next post.