Sample Paper on The Buddhism Religion and The Art of Happiness

  1. Explain the philosophy of Buddhism including the concept of attachment, karma, the four noble truths, and the eight-fold path or the middle way.

Buddhism is a religion with over three million followers across the world and dates back to 563 BC when Buddha was enlightened. The Buddhism philosophy is based upon the four noble truths, eightfold path, dependent origination, three existence characteristics, karma, rebirth, and the three jewels. The four noble truths in the Buddhism religion include the following; first, life is suffering since it is characterized by pain, diseases, sudden death, and psychological sufferings such as loneliness among others. Second, the source of suffering is cravings and aversions, people are likely to suffer trying to please others or struggling to achieve certain goals. This second noble truth suggests that rather than struggling to achieve something, people should modify their cravings. Third, it says that people can achieve happiness and overcome suffering. Finally, the last noble truth, the eight-fold path is the way to ending suffering. Collectively, the eight-fold path focuses on people’s morality that is determined by what people say, how they live and act. In addition, the eight-fold path involves steps that guide individuals towards attaining happiness. The philosophy of karma is the law that all actions do have consequences, which can be either negative or positive. Moreover, the concept of attachment in Buddhism religion simply refers to having something to connect with deeply.

  1. Explain what compassion is and give an example from your life

Compassion can be defined as the ability of an individual to understand clearly the emotional condition of other people and of self. However, it is important to note that compassion is different from empathy even though the two apply the same concept. For instance, I clearly understand the emotional state of my parents whenever they are sad I feel I should do something to take away the sadness.

  1. Write a 100-word essay using Dalai Lama’s concepts in The Art of Happiness, of how you deal with anger and hatred, and give a personal example using the five steps to mitigate anger. Be specific.

An individual can only overcome anger and hatred by being patient and tolerant; this can only be attained by cultivating patience and tolerance, which starts by having enthusiasm towards gaining the discussed values. The strategy of “letting it out” to deal with anger and hatred which I normally tend to employ only works seldom. In The Art of Happiness, Dalai Lama mentions an important point in accumulating unresolved issues that “hatred and anger are emotions if you leave unattended tend to aggravate and keep on increasing. If you simply get more and more used to letting them happen and keep expressing them, it usually results in their growth, not their reduction.”[1]

  1. Write a 100-word essay explaining the Dalai Lama’s concepts on how to create self-created suffering, give a personal example, and include how you could change this negative thought pattern.

In most cases, sufferings depend on an individual’s reactions to certain situations. Lama explains that self-created suffering occurs when “we affect our pain, keeps it alive, by replaying our hurts over and over again in our minds magnifying our injustices in the process.”[2]. This, therefore, implies that self-created suffering can be avoided by being knowledgeable about how to handle situations. For instance, I lost my father when I was in third grade, and by pondering over the loss, I keep suffering a situation that can only be avoided by being positive, and avoiding all sorts of bad thoughts as Lama explains.

  1. Choose two out of the three relationships to discuss 5 out of 10 concepts for good relationships in What’s the State of Your Union. Please talk about the 5 salient concepts that define their relationship. Please tie this to your book and movie Namesake
  2. a) parents- Ashoke and Ashima
  3. b) Gogol and Mushima, the Indian girlfriend
  4. c) Gogol and Maxine, the American girlfriend

The book what’s The State Of Your Union? takes the readers through an understanding of oneself to be successful in a relationship by having a deep connection with others[3]. From the film Namesake, the relationship between Ashoke and Ashima is a deep understanding of the individual’s self from both the two partners. Their relationship, therefore, lasts because of understanding and the way they resolve problems. Besides, Ashima completely understood her husband’s weaknesses and strengths. Gogol and Mushime’s marriage does not last for a long time because they failed to understand themselves.[4] It is important that people in relationships get to know one another deeply for a deeper connection to existing between partners.

  1. Discuss 10 aspects of Bengali culture as seen in the film Namesake (include cultural aspects that were seen in the movie)

The film Namesake depicts the Bengali culture in several ways[5]. First, the Bengali culture in regards to marriage requires that individuals marry on their own. This is evident as Ashima pressurized Gogol to marry from a Bengali family. In Bengali culture, children are named after people that inspired their parents in one way or another and it is believed that good names represent enlightenment and dignity. For instance, Gogol was named after a Russian author. The superstition aspect of Bengali culture comes up when Gogol’s father dies and Gogol interprets that he should be doing what his parents want of him. The food represents the culture of Bengali in the film Namesake, rice is the staple food among Bengali. From the film, we can conclude that in any family setup among Bengali, the father is the family head whereas women take care of the children and cook. The dressing aspect of the characters, the various traditional rituals, and the religion of Gogol’s parents, all show the cultural aspects of the Bengali people.

  1. Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, explain the 5 needs and how they relate to the main character: Ashoke, Ashima, Gogol, Maxine, and Mushima.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological model consisting of five groups of needs in a pyramid form, which runs from, physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization. The physiological is the very fundamental needs that are food, water, slumber among others. Safety is any form of security, such as employment, family health among others. The next stage, which is love comprises friendship, intimacy, and family. The esteem stage follows and finally self-actualization, which entails problem-solving, accepting facts, and spontaneity among others. An individual can only satisfy the next level once the previous level has been satisfied. In the film Namesake, Gogol moves in the stages up, as he tries to find love from his Girlfriend Maxine. In addition, Gogol changes his name to conform to the west, a condition that can be related to esteem issues in Maslow’s hierarchy. From the film, we can say Ashima attained the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that is self-actualization when she finally accepts that she made a mistake by pressuring her son to marry on their own. From the film, we can conclude that Maxine had a sense of belonging, she had a supportive and loving family that accepted her boyfriend Gogol, and besides, she had high self-esteem, which is a step to the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. All the five main characters in the film Namesake seem to have basic needs, however, some may have not reached self-actualization in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.


Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. 1998. “The Art of Happiness” A Handbook for Living. Mobius Easton Press.

McGee, Seanna, and Maurice Taylor. 2007. What’s the state of your union?: instant relationship self-diagnosis. Kingston, R.I.: Moyer Bell.

Mira, Nair. The Film Namesake, Directed by Nair Mira. 2006. New York: Mirabai Films/UTV Motion Pictures/Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2006.

[1] Dalai Lama & Howard Cutler. “The Art Of Happiness” a handbook for living. (Mobius Easton Press, 1998), 252.

[2] Ibid., 150.

[3] Taylor Maurice & McGee Seanna. What’s The State of Your Union? Instant Relationship Self Diagnosis. (Kingston: Moyer Bell, 2007), 10.

[4] Nair Mira. The film Namesake. Directed by Nair Mira. (2006; New York: Mirabai Films/UTV Motion Pictures/Fox Searchlight Pictures).


[5] Ibid.