Search For Happiness : The Ancients Before Christianity

Decent Essays
Search for Happiness: The Ancients before Christianity The ancient people’s ideas of happiness are surprisingly common to today. In the writings of Seneca, stoicism is shown in their joy through philosophy and the present life. Happiness to them is internal. “The Bhagavad Gita” shows that happiness is found in Brahman. This is achieved through reincarnation. Confucius shared the ideas of Taoism that happiness is in unity. The ways to achieve unity are filial piety, education, and ritual according to Confucius’ “Analects.” Homer shows in The Odyssey that happiness lies in family and home.
Seneca says that happiness comes from philosophy and therefore is in the present life. “ man can live a happy life, or even a supportable life,
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Being in the Brahman means that one is not existing, which is the goal because existing is suffering.
Krishna tells Arjuna that bodies do not matter, therefore, it does not matter if Arjuna kills the people he knows. (Bhagavad Gita, pg. 5) Arjuna may be helping these men to get closer to happiness. Each person goes through reincarnation or samsara. In each life, they get closer to non-existence by doing good things, or good karma, and fulfilling their duty or Dharma. Krishna explains to Arjuna that it is his Dharma to fight in the war. It is superior to inaction. (Bhagavad Gita, pg. 9) The belief is that attachment binds one to material things with desire, and this holds one to existing, so he/she must detach. Detachment helps one become closer to non-existence or Brahman, which is ultimate happiness. In the end, Krishna reveals that the Path of Wisdom is how to “attain Supreme Peace.” One who has wisdom is not binded by their acts/ desires, so the person is purified. (Bhagavad Gita, pg. 14)
“The Analects” are the teachings of Confucius. They were written during the Warring States Period, when many different people were fighting to be China’s supreme ruler. There was meant to be one ruler and political unity. This unity would create harmony, where happiness is found. Confucius said China should restore virtue, ritual, and filial piety. All of these pertain to relationships. He said, “A youth… should overflow in love to all, and cultivate the friendship of good.” (The
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