The aim of life according to Siddhartha Gautama is to reach nirvana, the state of being “unborn, unoriginated, uncreated, and unformed”. Show the rational argument whereby Siddhartha Gautama reached this conclusion.
Introduction: Introduce Siddhartha Gautama. Give some background. Perhaps mention how he view life as suffering and that suffering is a misunderstanding of reality and the nature of the self, that the self as a concept is a mistake created by us. And tie this into your thesis.
First paragraph: Give the background to the two-world view. Why do we think that there are two worlds? Why do we think that this world, our world, is illusory and that there’s another world that is more true and more lasting…even ever lasting. Do we have any reason at all to suppose this two-world picture to be true? What does science say about this? What does religion say about this?
Second paragraph: What does the religion of Hinduism (Brahmanism) say about this two-world picture? What is Brahman? How does Brahman differ from a god? What characteristics or properties does Brahman have? What is atman? Why do the Hindu mystic go in search of atman? What is an experience of atman like? What is “atman is Brahman?” What metaphors can we use to describe atman and Brahman?
Third paragraph: Did Siddhartha ever find atman? Why couldn’t Siddhartha find his atman? Can you ever know if you find atman? What is that experience supposed to be like?Is his project different from the Hindu mystics? How so? Was his project personal? Universal? What conclusion did Siddhartha reach? What is anatman?
Fourth paragraph? Why does Siddhartha think that suffering is due to a mistake? What mistake? In the end, do we really have a self? How does the answer to this question relate to suffering? How does everything relate to nirvana?