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Mystery Text Confucian or Buddhist

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The "Mystery Text" is questioned as to whether it expresses Confucian or Buddhist

teachings. I believe the poem exerts ideas and beliefs of Buddhism because many of Carrither's

statements and Buddhist teachings in his book are also mentioned in the poem as well.

In the 5th stanza of the poem the writer says no matter what characteristics you hold,

physically or mentally, "may all beings gain inner joy". This is an idea that was taught and

practiced by the Buddha. Carrither also mentions this in his book and quotes a passage from

early Buddhist poetry that is fairly similar to what is written in the poem. "Whatever beings may

exist - weak or strong, tall, broad, medium or short, fine material or gross, seen or unseen, those

born and those pressing to be born - may they all with exception be happy in heart" (pg. 89). The

idea of this "loving-kindness" no matter what type of person you were was strictly Buddhist and

not Confucian. Buddhism didn't focus on social status where as people who studied

Confucianism believed social status to be very important and if you were higher socially you

should be happier and have better benefits.

Buddhism also believes in the idea of Nirvana which is further described in Carrithers' book as, "a state beyond human thought, beyond life and death and reincarnation" (pg 74). This is

described in the final line of the poem, "And he shall never again be born of the womb." This

refers to the man finally being virtuous and full of knowledge, so he as a Buddhist will

reach Nirvana and never have to be reborn again.

By reading Michael Carrithers' "Buddha" and learning ideas and teachings of the

Buddha himself, it is clear that the "Mystery Text" poem is an example of Buddhism.

Carrithers goes into great detail about many of the Buddha's practices and the ideals behind the

religion which are also present in the poem as well.



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