Essay on What Karl Marx and Buddhism Deem Vital in Life

Published: 2021-08-18
591 words
3 pages
5 min to read
Harvey Mudd College
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Marxism and Buddhism are common ideologies used across the world to define life and essence of life. Although the two ideologies were cultivated by different thinkers from different parts of the world their perspective on life is borrowed. Marxism was nurtured by Karl Max, a famous western capitalist thinker, while Buddhism has its roots in the Asia region. Both views of life have a lot of commonalities whoever they have contradictions in their definitions of life. Marxism attention is more on the political and economic aspect of life; however, he had a lot to say about life and religion. According to the Marx, faith is not necessary for the society because what it does is to contradict the human functioning. Although Buddhism is a religion, Karl Marx would categorize it more of a philosophy than a religion.

Religion according to Karl is the opium of the people, a phenomenon created to preserve the social status quo. Religion and economic power are inseparable, religion according to Marx is created by those in power to suppress and limit human thinking. Religion diverts people attention from materialistic world and prevents people from enjoying their human potentials (Beatty, 1976). People progress through struggle, and power wealth and money ultimately give individuals happiness. For people to advance in life, they must be willing to press through economic struggles. When struggles increasing, pain increase and people rush to seek refuge in religion. Marx therefore, views religion as a clutch that prevents people from facing reality. Buddhism on the other hand has a different perspective on religion.

According to Buddha, religion is something people cannot survive without. Buddha says People do not need to be extreme when it comes to religion. One does not have to be a typical monk, nor one does not need to be incredibly immoral and with no beliefs. However, Buddha advice people to seek the middle path. The right way as described more by Buddha demands people to be realistic and use logic in their life. The middle road denounced dogma, unlike many western religions which are dogmatic (White, 1991). Most western religions have this religious connotation that they claim to be moral and righteous and demeans flowers not to question of their existence. The opinionated nature of religion causes Karl mark to denounce religious because a lot of unrealistic definition stand justified in faith.

Life is painful in many ways, and struggles cause much of the pain. In life, people often become restless, unsatisfied and in need. Buddha capitalizes on understanding the in-depth nature of man suffering, while Karl used the external forces to define humankind suffering of which his view is based on economic status. Marx says pain is a part of humanity and cannot be escaped. Buddha on the other hand view suffering to be caused by lack of satisfaction and people creation for much additional need (Beatty, 1976). If people minimize their desires, then there will be little to struggle for, and if an individual attains nirvana, then pain is reduced. Nirvana according to Buddha require one to renounce, detach and give up all earthly possession (White, 1991). Karl is materialistic in his view of life while Buddha devalues materialism. Karl says people are happy when they are economically capable, but Buddha views economic satisfaction as the world source of evil and pain. Karl and Buddha are great philosophers despite their deferences in underusing life. People can still draw a lot of knowledge about life from their philosophical descriptions.


Beatty, J. (1976). Radical Change and Rational Argument. Ethics, 87(1), 66-74.

White, T. I. (1991). Discovering philosophy.

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