There is controversies everywhere. Let's see some and try to understand them:
"God is everywhere and in everything" (Pantheism) vs. "God is separate from the world and transcendent" (Theism)
"The ultimate reality is one and indivisible" (Monism) vs. "The ultimate reality is dualistic, consisting of two opposing forces" (Dualism)
"Humans have free will and are responsible for their actions" (Arminianism) vs. "God predestines everything, including human actions" (Calvinism)
"The self is an illusion, and all phenomena are interdependent" (Buddhism) vs. "The self is a real entity, and the world is composed of independent substances" (Realism)
"Good and evil are relative and subjective concepts" (Relativism) vs. "There are objective moral standards that apply to all people" (Objectivism)
"Life has no inherent meaning or purpose" (Nihilism) vs. "Life has a transcendent purpose and meaning" (Theism)
"The universe is eternal and has no beginning or end" (Eternalism) vs. "The universe had a definite beginning and will have an end" (Creationism)
"Knowledge is gained through reason and experience" (Empiricism) vs. "Knowledge is gained through revelation and intuition" (Rationalism)
"The material world is an illusion, and only the spiritual world is real" (Idealism) vs. "The material world is real, and the spiritual world is a delusion" (Materialism)
"The ultimate goal of life is liberation from suffering" (Buddhism) vs. "The ultimate goal of life is union with God" (Hinduism).
These seemingly contradictory beliefs can coexist because they are rooted in different philosophical and religious traditions that have developed over time in different cultural and historical contexts. Each tradition offers a unique perspective on the nature of reality, the purpose of life, and the relationship between humans and the world. Everything depends on how we look at it.
Eg.: in the following image, if one looks at the figure from right side then it becomes 9 but if he looks at it from left side, it would appear to be 6.
Each tradition has its own set of presuppositions, values, and assumptions that shape its worldview. For example, Buddhism emphasizes the transience of all things and the importance of overcoming attachment and desire to achieve enlightenment, while Hinduism stresses the importance of fulfilling one's duties and accumulating good karma to attain liberation from the cycle of rebirth.
Ultimately, these different beliefs and traditions reflect the diversity of human experience and understanding of the world. It is possible for people to appreciate and learn from different traditions while respecting their differences and recognizing their unique contributions to the human quest for meaning and purpose.
At the physical level, these beliefs may influence people's understanding of the world around them and their actions within it. For example, someone who believes in eternalism may see the world as a fixed, unchanging entity that is governed by immutable laws, while someone who believes in creationism may see the world as a dynamic, evolving entity that was created by a divine being.
Similarly, someone who believes in materialism may prioritize the accumulation of wealth and material possessions, while someone who believes in idealism may prioritize the cultivation of spiritual qualities and the pursuit of higher knowledge.
At the spiritual level, these beliefs may shape people's attitudes toward the nature of reality, the purpose of life, and the nature of the self. For example, someone who believes in theism may see themselves as a finite being created by an infinite God, while someone who believes in monism may see themselves as an expression of the ultimate reality that pervades all things.
Similarly, someone who believes in nihilism may see life as meaningless and devoid of purpose, while someone who believes in theism may see life as an opportunity to fulfill God's plan and attain eternal salvation.
In both cases, these beliefs can profoundly influence people's sense of identity, values, and actions, both individually and collectively.
Both controversial statements are true in their respective contexts. Buddhism and Hinduism are two different traditions with distinct philosophical and religious perspectives. Buddhism emphasizes the transience of all things, impermanence, and the importance of overcoming attachment and desire to achieve enlightenment. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to attain liberation from the cycle of suffering (samsara) through the Eightfold Path.
On the other hand, Hinduism stresses the importance of fulfilling one's duties and accumulating good karma to attain liberation from the cycle of rebirth (samsara) and merge with the ultimate reality (Brahman). Hinduism believes in a hierarchy of duties (varna dharma) that are determined by one's birth and social status.
So, both Buddhism and Hinduism have different approaches to achieving liberation or enlightenment, and both are true in their respective contexts.
It's important to clarify that the concept of "nothing" in Buddhism and "everything" in Hinduism are not necessarily opposite or conflicting ideas. They are simply different perspectives that reflect the unique philosophical and cultural traditions of each religion just like the example we had seen of '6' or '9', if one looks at the figure from the right side, it appears as 9, but if viewed from the left side, it appears as 6. Therefore, there is no sense in debating or fighting over what is right or wrong. It is simply a matter of changing one's perspective. Instead of focusing on debates, we should concentrate on elevating our energies and reaching higher consciousness. Even if we understand the controversies and understand that both can exist simultaneously, it will help us to transcend reality to elevate consciousness.
- Manjushree Rathi
Director, ME Holistic Centre