Comparing Mencius And Buddha's Noble Eightfold Path

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The Importance of Self-Cultivation: An Analysis of the “Innate Goodness of Human Nature” in the Philosophy of Mencius and Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path

Mencius provides one of the most important ways in which to understand the innate goodness of human nature. This philosophical belief stems from the belief that human beings are born to be “good”, which provides them with the capacity to self-cultivate their behaviors when they forget their own innate goodness. This is why innately good men can also behave badly due to their inability to remember this a priori state of being. Therefore, memory is a key factor in “forgetting” one’s own innate goodness, which can be remembered by self-cultivating behaviors. In this manner, good men can always return to their innate state of goodness by cultivating good behaviors throughout their lifespan. In contrast to this view, Xunzi defines the “incorrigibly evil” type of man that is born that way, which provides self-cultivation as a way to remedy bad behaviors inherited at birth. However, Xunzi is actually defining the impossibility of “good men”, since they
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The Buddhist method of self-cultivation is very similar to Mencius’ view of the human mind, since Buddha’s practice of “mindfulness” is used to correct bad behaviors. This is called “Samadhi” in the Noble Eightfold Path, which attempts to correct behaviors by being mindful of one’s own behaviors and actions. Buddha sought this type of self-cultivation” as a means in which to continually improve the practitioner’s behaviors as part of a continual, monitoring of goodness in the human mind. In this way, Buddha would most likely agree with Mencius on the innate goodness of human beings, since they can learn to be mindful of the goodness of their behaviors in daily

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