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Insights 70 Days Ethics Plan
Day – 27
1) Discuss briefly contribution of following philosophers to moral philosophy:
A wise man much ahead of his time, Chanakya had made important observations about ethics. Chanakya wanted to create a society where people are not too much engrossed in the material aspects of life. He laid equal emphasis on spirituality too. Equality for all was his motto. Security of the citizens was of prior most importance to him.
For him a leader shouldn’t propagate adharma, he should not favour the wicked, should punish the culprit and should not punish the innocent. An ethical leader should not antagonize the wise and the elders.
Chanakya believed there should not be too much of personal interaction in professional life else it leads to corruption and hierarchy. Kautilya believed in keeping spies to look after if the officials carried forward their work properly. He also mentioned about the whistleblowers. They were given awards and incentives to blow off the corruption.
Ethics in Buddhism are based on the enlightened perspective of the Buddha. Morality is woven into the fabric of Buddhism; and all major Buddhist schools emphasize the importance of the moral life. Buddha laid out guidelines for each of Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path which serve as basic pillars of Buddhist Ethics.
The Right Understanding and Right Aspiration emanates from Right Intention. Further, the Right Speech teaches us to not lying, not slandering, not using harsh words and not participating in idle chatter. Right Action teaches us to not killing or hurting other living creatures, not stealing, and non acting with sensual misconduct including desires like drugs, sex, over eating which distract us from the goal of Nirvana. The guidelines to Right Livelihood include not being a butcher, selling intoxicants and poisons, selling humans etc.
Buddhist values are rooted in overcoming greed/attachment, hatred and delusion, which are seen as the roots of unwholesome actions and the key causes of suffering.
Adi Shankara or Shankara, was an early 8th century Indian philosopher and theologian who consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta.
He placed great emphasis on the study of the Upanisads, emphasizing them as necessary and sufficient means to gain Self-liberating knowledge .His view on free will is also derived from the Upanishads. At the very outset it may be said that there are passages in the Upanishads which advocate both determinism and free will.
According to Adi Shankara, the one unchanging entity (Brahman) alone is real, while changing entities do not have absolute existence.
Advaita Vedanta is based on Shastra (“scriptures”), yukti (“reason”) and anubhava (“experiential knowledge”), and aided by karmas (“spiritual practices”).Starting from childhood, when learning has to start, the philosophy has to be a way of life. Shankara considered the purity and steadiness of mind achieved in Yoga as an aid to gaining moksha knowledge, but such yogic state of mind cannot in itself give rise to such knowledge.
Knowledge alone and insights relating to true nature of things, taught Shankara, is what liberates.
d) Mahatma Gandhi:-
Gandhi believed that as human beings, men can never reach the perfection of divine virtues. Still, they should strive with all their strength to follow the virtues of truth, love, nonviolence, tolerance, fearlessness, charity and service to mankind. Men have to uphold the right, regardless of the personal consequences they may face. He urged Satyagrahis to adopt to the Virtues of truth, service to the society, ahimsa , satyagraha etc.
Gandhi emphasised on internal (mental) and external (physical) cleanliness. He advocated moral self-purification.
Radhakrishnan believed that human beings are by nature value seekers. They seek truth, beauty and goodness. For him, ethical principles are unconditional commands, guiding man towards a self realization. The awareness and understanding of the mystery of life can be gained only through ethics, religion and philosophy. Moral values are a necessity for the development of personality. He saw non-violence, renunciation and suffering as the cardinal principles of human life.
Radhakrishnan gave a spiritual interpretation to the modern theory of evolution. The growth of human beings have led to their spiritual development. The human self is conscious of its limitations and purpose. He believed that the existence of the soul can be proved through our spiritual consciousness. However, the noble men are better able to listen to voice of this inner self.
He believed that humans exist in the world for a higher cause. His conception of religion transcends the religious dogmas. It is more of a universal religion, fulfilling the aspirations of humanity. Radhakrishnan’s philosophy is the philosophy of growth and progress of human’s spiritual personality.
f) Swami Vivekananda:-
Vivekananda believed that due to centuries of oppression, the downtrodden masses had lost self confidence. This could be restored through a life giving inspiring message. This message was found by him in the principle of Atma i.e. the doctrine of potential divinity of soul, as taught in Vedanta. Thus, for him, apart Vedanta could teach the masses life giving message. Further, the people also needed worldly knowledge to improve their economic condition.
As per him, education is the means of providing both forms of knowledge viz. spiritual and worldly.
Vivekananda gave spiritual relevance and social relevance to monasticism to the life of a normal householder. Sanyasis led a secluded life to get salvation. It was Vivekananda who made monk’s mission to alleviate the, sufferings of fellow human beings.
He was a great opponent of ritualism and priestly tyranny. In his opinion, the so-called Hindu religion had degenerated into empty rituals centering on what he called “don’t touchism or religion of the kitchen”. Referring to the Upanishads he said that for so many centuries, we had the fountain of Amrita at our back and yet we ignored it and gave ditch water to the people as religion.
2) “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Explain what does mahatma Gandhi imply in this quote. Can you relate with this quote? Cite an example. (150 Words)
Gandhi believes that the true core of a person is the part that is not selfish and which works for others. He is saying that the essence of what we really are (the thing that we have to find) is caring for others. If we act selfishly, we are not acting as our true selves. This is a very idealistic way of looking at what human beings truly are. He seems to define virtue as selflessness and altruism. By doing good to others, we are most essentially ourselves.
Confucius said the same thing in different words that the one who has dedicated himself to do good for others has already secured well for him.
The quote from the Father of the Nation seems very relevant now. The world economy is struggling to survive whereas many first world countries are thriving with prosperity. A huge section of the population belongs to the third world countries where the children do not have the perks of two square meals every day. People are becoming hopeless due to the scarcity of jobs and other opportunities. The simple and basic services like food and medical attention are hard to arrange.
In the busy world we live in, we are becoming more and more isolated from our friends, neighbours, and family. People are forgetting that there is value in being connected to other people.
Service to others means being unselfish. It means doing something for someone else without expecting any reward or gain. Service to others, to me, also means helping people out when they cannot complete a task by themselves. By using our time and talents to serve others, we can gain many benefits, both tangible and intangible. We can increase our understanding of our communities and the people in them and we will begin to feel that we are truly making a difference in the lives of others.
The global problems can only be solved if we all unite under the same thought of serving others. It is time to reach out with the helping hands and encourage others to do the same.
Looking back over my life I must admit that most of my happiest times have occurred when I was actively engaged in helping others. That’s why it is practically impossible to create a happy, meaningful and rewarding life without being of service to others in some way .When you serve, you discover that often the most important things you have to offer are not things at all.