World Religions: Comparative Discussions

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World Religions: Comparative Discussions 1.Compare and contrast Hinduism and Buddhism on the question of atman. What does each tradition have to say about whether a human being has an individual soul? What is the significance of this soul (or lack thereof) in each tradition? The concept of the 'self' is critical to a great many religious traditions. Understanding one's own individual position within the context of the universe helps to drive one's relationship to the divine, to the pedestrian and to one's fellow man. This is the orientation that helps define atman in the Hindu tradition. Here, this layered 'self' is a critical dimension of one's spiritual enlightenment. Finding and recognizing one's 'permanent self' from within is an essential part of this path. A concept tantamount to the soul, the atman is, in Hindu tradition, said to be the vestige of humanity that remains even when the body is expired. This makes it an essential premise also of transferring the self during the cycle of reincarnation. As to its fundamental importance to the spiritual tradition, Wangu (2010) notes that "an unwise person is unaware of atman, and has no spiritual guidance. He follows his ego and thinks he "knows" himself. With uncontrolled mind and untrained senses he is like a wildly flickering flame in a storm. The wise person, on the other hand, is like a steady flame in a windless place." (Wangu, p. 1) This characterization is actually a sharp departure, however, from how questions
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