Comparative Essay on Hume and Buddhism

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453 words
University of Richmond
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According to the simile "The chariot Simile," it was used by Nagasena to criticize the doctrine of "No self." This simile is comparable to that of David Hume's claim that "there is no self." The two explanations about the doctrine have similarities which will be discussed in this paper. Following the simile "The chariot Simile," it has been used to answer the king's question about "self and personal identity." Similarly, Hume's claim has been used to criticize the belief of "no-self" which belongs to the Buddhism doctrines and coined by the devout Buddhists. From the chariot Simile, Nagasena uses the simile to prove to the king that there is no self on the perspective of personal identity. According to the simile, compares personal identity to the parts of a chariot. From his question to the king where he asked him how he had made it to his hermitage, "on foot or by horseback?" Nagasena went on asking the king what a chariot is where he referred it to be the wheels, axles, reigns, frame, seat, or the draught-pole or a collection of its element. From the King's answer which was No to all the questions about the chariot, Nagasena concluded to him that there was no chariot. The logic behind the answer that there was no chariot is that according to Nagasena, the chariot was composed of many components which made it be a chariot. Again, it wasn't possible to call one part the chariot because it can't operate as one and again relating this idea to the personal identity; different perceptions make up the self or in other words personal identity.

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On the other hand, Hume has used a metaphor to support his claim about this doctrine of "no-self" where its implications are similar to those used by Nagasena in the chariot simile. In his claim on "no self," Hume compares the mind to a theater where some "perceptions make their appearances by passing, re-passing, gliding away, and mingling in many postures and circumstances." Just like in the chariot simile, the different perceptions work together for a concrete success. One perception can't work alone and therefore, just like the parts of a chariot the logic behind the two ideas is that personal identity is determined by a collection of different perceptions or in other words. According to the chariot simile, Nasagena has explained his logics using the five components (skandhas) that make up an individual. Just like in the Hume's claims, Nagasena applies the conception of Skandhas to identify "self" or "I." in conclusion, the chariot simile, and the Hume's claims are similarly delivering one logic that the persona identity "self" is composed of several parts that work together for success.

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