Dante's Inferno: Dante's Journey Toward Enlightenment Essay

855 Words 4 Pages
Dante's Inferno: Dante's Journey Toward Enlightenment

While reading Dante’s Inferno I couldn’t help but draw parallels between the journey of the protagonist and the belief system of the Buddhist religion. Dante believed we must understand sin before we can reject it, and Buddha believed that before we can reject sin, we must suffer also. Examining these two tenets side by side makes the similarities undeniably apparent; they both seem to be purporting the message that there cannot be pain without pleasure, truth without dishonesty or enlightenment with suffering.

Dante’s version of hell is based on that of Medieval Catholicism, which professes to be quite divergent from the Buddhist faith. Yet the similarities are actually quite
…show more content…
Both view the spirit guide as a counselor and a guardian that is far wiser than any mortal being. Both attach the figure of the spirit guide to divine characteristics, and both use the figure pervasively throughout their narratives. However it is important to note that there are also some discrepancies between Dante’s Christian spirit guides and those revered in Buddhism. Buddhists believe that every human being is a spiritual being as well as a physical being, and that by exploring the spiritual sphere of ourselves we can have a guiding hand in our own destiny. In The Dhammapada, one of the best loved of all Buddhist scriptures, Buddha proclaims in verses 116-119:

Make haste in doing good; check your mind from evil; for the mind of him who is slow in doing meritorious actions delights in evil.

Should a person commit evil, he should not do it again and again; he should not find pleasure therein: painful is the accumulation of evil.

Should a person perform a meritorious action, he should do it again and again; he should find pleasure therein: blissful is the accumulation of merit.

Even an evildoer sees good as long as evil ripens not; but when it bears fruits, then he sees the evil results. [1]

On the contrary, Dante’s interpretations of medieval Catholicism purported that the hand we

More about Dante's Inferno: Dante's Journey Toward Enlightenment Essay

Open Document