Law and Religion

R#1.In the Buddhist religion there are three characteristics of existence: annicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), and anatta (no soul) (Van Voorst, 2020). Anatta is the third and is the doctrine that states there is no permanent substance that can be called the soul (Britannica, 1998).  Buddhism teaches the mind creates illusions of a permanent soul, but these illusions are stopped at death. Anatta, or no soul, is important for the Buddhist religion due to it enforcing followers’ belief in reincarnation.  If there was a permanent soul, reincarnation would not be possible.  In Buddhism, no living creator actually dies.  It is simply transformed into another lifeform after death.  Of course, this is a major contrast in regard to the thoughts and practices of Christianity and other western religions.  These religions have the belief that upon death your soul leaves the body and enters heaven. If Anatta was the best way to look at the soul, I believe people would certainly conduct themselves in daily life.  For example, Christians believe if a terrible act is committed, such as murder, the individual that committed the act will not go to heaven, but to hell for his or her actions.  This belief keeps many people from letting thoughts become actions.  If following Buddhism, and the three characteristics of existence, a person would not to be concerned about the after-life and answering for their sins.  I feel the belief of anatta would not fare well in the western world in regard to crime and morality, especially in today’s climate. ResourcesVan Voorst, R. (2020). Relg: World (4th ed). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.Encyclopedia Britannica (July 20, 1998). Anatta. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from  The Buddhist concept of Anatta declares there is no permanent eternal soul or self (Carlisle, 2006). This concept is vital and foundational to having a successful understanding and practice of Buddhism. Anatta, or the idea of “no self”, is one of the Three Characteristics of Existence in Buddhism (Carlisle, 2006). The other two are Anicca and Dukkha. Annica is the temporariness of all being. Dukkha is existing in suffering.As one of the Three Characteristics of Existence in Buddhism, Anatta is very important. According to Buddhism, people never remain in a singular state of existence. So due to this constantly changing existence, a fixed grasp of any one existence is pointlessly unproductive (Gäb, 2015). Likewise, the outcome of an attachment to one thing or experience results in suffering.The concept of Anatta is essential to Buddhist belief so a Buddhist can correctly pursue the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path are the pursuits of right understanding, right intention, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right contemplation (Voorst, 2018). Anatta is necessary so the practicing Buddhist can be free from the yoke of a perception of a permanent state of existence. In Buddhism, this freedom leads to enlightenment which frees the person from the cycle of reincarnation (Voorst, 2018).The idea or concept of Anatta contrast with the Western idea of the soul in what it means to be a human. The western idea of the soul asserts we are indwelled by a permanent element of reasoning called the soul (Murray, 1993). In contrast, the concept of Anatta prescribes there is no permanent self or soul. Buddhism holds the Anatta is a constantly fluctuating combination of multiple understandings and experiences which is not permanent.If I was to take the perspective of a Buddhist, it seems logical that the way a person lives does have an impact on their life. For example, if a person does not forgive another person, this can cause resentment and anger. Therefore, this would be a form of suffering. For this reason, the practicing Buddhist would be hindering enlightenment by being stuck in a state of suffering.Reference:Carlisle, C. (2006). Becoming and un-becoming: The theory and practice of anatta.Gäb, S. (2015). Why do we Suffer? Buddhism and the Problem of Evil. Philosophy Compass, 10(5), 345-353.Murray, D. W. (1993). What is the Western concept of the self? On forgetting David Hume. Ethos, 21(1), 3-23.Voorst, R.E. V. (2018). RELG: World MindTap, 1 term Printed Access card. [Savant Learning Systems]. Retrieved from

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