RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Sample Answer for RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism  Included After Question

Initial Post Instructions

For the initial post, respond to only one of the following options:

Option 1

For this option, address the following:

  1. Define Theravada and Mahayana forms of Buddhism.
  2. Describe the Arhat and the Bodhisattva and explain how each achieves the goal of nirvana.
  3. Examine how each ideal relates to one or more of the following key concepts/teachings: Four Noble Truths, Three marks of reality, Noble Eightfold Path.
  4. Explain which of these ideals you believe best expresses healthcare ideals.

Option 2

For this option, address the following:

  1. Explain the Buddhist understanding of dukkha.
  2. Why do many scholars feel that “suffering” may be a misleading translation of the word dukkha? What might be a better translation?
  3. What did the Buddha offer as a way to overcome dukkha and how does it explain his understanding?
  4. In what ways does the Buddhist notion of dukkha challenge or affirm Western medical practice?

A Sample Answer For the Assignment: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Title: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

In describing Buddhism under the Theravada form, the claim is that the teachings of Budda have remained unchanged. The meaning of Therabada as passed on through the elders means “the way (vada) of the elders (thera)” (Molley, 2020, p. 135). The monks who before the written teachings relied on passing the teaching orally. In the Theravada practice monks dressed in their orange robes would go about their cities among the laypeople and receive their daily supply of food through donations.

The notion of reaching nirvana within the Therabada style of Buddhism is taught that lay-people can achieve such a spiritual point. Arhat meaning “ perfect being”, “worthy” is the person who has reached nirvana. Salvation within the Theravada tradition is up to the individual, meditation and the emphasis on a monastic lifestyle help ensure the path to nirvana (Chamberlain, Week 3, Lesson).

Within the Mahayana form or Buddhism or “big vehicle” as it is also known as, serves as a lesson that all people can come together as one and seek entitlement. Mahayana Buddhism emphasis that everyone, not only monks can attain nirvana. The teachings within the Mahayana tradition, “maintains that a person must save himself by saving others” (Molley, 2020, p. 142). In Mahayana newest form, the love of rituals and imagery are being slowly re-introduced. Within India and the Indian ways the lay-people are showing appreciation for rituals as a philosophical need. 

In describing karuna as it related to the Theravada and Mahayana forms of Buddhism is its ideals of compassion. As stated by  P.Vijay and Mehta, the origin of karuna had its start in the Pali language (2017). It defined peace and well being and the need to be unselfish and to be concerned for the welfare of others. The Theravada ideal of the arhat is one who is esteemed for their detached wisdom and unworldly living, while in the Mahayana Buddhism, it is a person of deep compassion (Molley, 2020).

It believes that all creatures are well and happy. Bodhisattva or the “enlightenment being” may refuse entry into nirvana because of its ideal that you would not be re-born and unable to help others. The vow of the Bodhisattva is to be constantly re-born until all are enlightened. Nirvana and its psychological state stresses joy and peace, through entitlement, thus stopping re-birth. In understanding the teachings and ideals of the Four Noble Truths, the Three marks of reality and the Noble Eight Eightfold Path, a buddist must identify that in life there is change, suffering and no permanent identity.

With understanding the Noble Eight Eightfold Path, one would be complete and correct in understanding compassion, and bringing yourself inner peace (samadhi). As noted in the Four Noble Truths, suffering and desire are intertwined and one would need to change their desires to liberate themselves from suffering. 

The ideals of the Four Noble Truths,Three marks of reality and the Noble Eight Eightfold Path are very much entrenched in the healthcare environment. As nurses we understand that change is inevitable and our thoughts and motives are pure. Our job descriptions are most aligned with the Noble Eightfold Path due to our desire to prevent suffering and offer that inner peace that good medical care can provide. 


Chamberlain -Week 1 Lesson: Introduction to Comparative Religions – RELI448-60921

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

P.,Vijay Rangari, Mehta, Karuna,(2017), The Buddhist psychology: The 360 degree model of Karuna (Compassion) developed from Buddhist literatures. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology. 2017, Vol. 8 Issue 3, sue 3, p474-477.4p.

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A Sample Answer 2 For the Assignment: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Title: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

According to Malloy (2020), “The third characteristic of reality, known as dukkha (Pali), or duhkha (Sanskrit), is usually translated as “suffering” or “sorrow.” It may also be translated as “dissatisfaction” or “difficulty.” It refers to the fact that life, when lived conventionally, can never be fully satisfying”. The understanding is that because in life things are always changing it is impossible to achieve permanent satisfaction. Many scholars think it is a misleading translation because suffering is typically associated with negative situations that arise in our life.

But as Durk (2012) explains, “Even the most positive, rewarding and enjoyable experience is at least slightly colored by the fact that it will end, or by the fact that at the same moment innocent people are in the midst of terrible suffering”. While I do not think there is one simple translation for this complex term, a better translation of the word may be discontent. Using this term, it does not isolate the meaning to only include sad and depressing situations but can also include the downside of even the positive feelings.  

RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 
RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

What Buddha offered as a way to overcome dukkha is the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. By understanding the Four Noble Truths you understand that suffering is a natural part of life. The suffering that you experience comes from your desires. If you can cut off your desires, this will simultaneously end your suffering. And if you follow the Noble Eightfold Path you can reach nirvana. This path focuses on having the right understanding, intention, speech, action, work, effort, meditation, and contemplation. The following of this path is the key to reaching inner peace.  

The notion of dukkha challenges Western medical practices because in Western medicine there is a large emphasis on mental health practices. When focusing on our mental health we are taught to embrace our emotions and explore them further. We also focus on the fact that some emotions are out of our control if there is a mental health disorder. This does not align with the notion of dukkha in that we cannot simply end suffering by eliminating our desires.  


Burk, D. (2012, November 18). Not Misunderstanding Dukkha. Retrieved November 09, 2020, from to an external site. 

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (pp. 25) (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

A Sample Answer 3 For the Assignment: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Title: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Another aspect of Dukkha, and the reasons we experience suffering, comes from the notion that one of the problems human’s have is that we focus on the “wrong” things in life. Dean C. Halverson writes that this concept teaches that “we suffer because we desire that which is temporary, which causes us to continue in the illusion of the existence of the individual self.” (Halverson, 1996)

Therefore, Buddhist would say that our suffering is not only in the fact that suffering is going to happen, but that we are the causes most often of our suffering. When we place our focus on things that will not last, this realization is what causes us to suffer. If we can change our focus, and instead focus on those things that are eternal, then our suffering will cease.

Dr. Harris

Halverson, D.C. (1996). The compact guide to world religions. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House.

A Sample Answer 4 For the Assignment: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Title: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Interesting take on how dukkha compares with western medical practice.  My head went directly to the physiological side of healthcare and completely forgot about mental health.  I do not have much experience in mental health or mental health nursing.  I do agree with you in some respect.  My initial thought, with Alcoholics Anonymous for example, is that we do acknowledge those desires and how we are powerless to it. 

Then one would admit their wrongs and make amends with self, others, and God before asking for forgiveness for our shortcomings.  In someone’s personal story and version, that can be construed as giving up one’s desires to be free of suffering.   Will it lead to inner peace and nirvana – or the end of suffering and liberation from the limitations of the world?  That may be personal and specific, depending on how it’s defined.

I loved the line where you stated that “in life things are always changing so it is impossible to achieve permanent satisfaction.” As I thought about that I realized that as human beings, to ease the suffering and achieve inner peace, wouldn’t it be something if we used or owned only what we truly needed to survive. The effect on one’s soul when we cease wants and deal with only needs, would free up time to meditate, contemplate and clear one’s mind of any negative connotations. Dukkha does challenge the medical practices of the western world, you are correct in saying that we cannot simply end suffering. 

The notion of dukkha (of which it is translated as suffering or sorrow)  is one of the Three Marks of Existence.  Dukkha goes hand in hand with one of the Eightfold Paths taught by the Buddha himself which is the the right to mindfulness. The right to mindfulness is to be particularly aware, attentive and mindful regarding the things (translated to dhamma) conceptions, thoughts and ideas. This puts dukkha and right to mindfulness together on how one can train their mind regarding their surroundings and accept that one can never be fully satisfied or that sorrow will be experienced as life changes all the time. It is the mental development to bring peace to one’s mind. 


Molloy, M.(2020).Experiencing the world’s religions: radition, challenge, and change (pp. 25) (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

 Sivan, P. R.(January,2005). Hinduism For Beginners: A concise introduction to the Eternal Path to Liberation (pp 5-9) Simha Publications. 

A Sample Answer 5 For the Assignment: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Title: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

The 4 noble truths are actually set apart inside the body of the Buddha’s teachings, not since they’re by definition sacred, but since they’re both a doctrine and a symbol and transformative inside the sphere of view that is right. As a single doctrine among others, the 4 noble truths make explicit the framework inside which one must find enlightenment; as a symbol, the 4 noble truths evoke the potential for enlightenment (Molloy, 2020). As equally, they occupy not merely a central but a singular placement in the Theravada canon and tradition.

Once the 4 noble truths are viewed in the canon as the very first training of the Buddha, they perform like a perspective or maybe doctrine which assumes a symbolic feature. The place that the 4 noble truths show up in the guise associated with a religious sign in the Vinaya-pitaka and the Sutta-pitaka of the Pali canon, they symbolize the enlightenment expertise of the possibility and the Buddha of enlightenment for all the Buddhists in the cosmos (Molloy, 2020). The 4 facts explain dukkha plus its ending as a way to reach out peace of imagination in this particular lifetime, but additionally as a way to stop rebirth.

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (pp. 25) (8th ed.). McGraw-Hill 

A Sample Answer 6 For the Assignment: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Title: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

A characteristic of Buddhism is dukkha which is often translated to “suffering”. This can often be misleading and viewed as pessimistic but in reality, it is not. “Indeed, no one can escape suffering, but each person can decide how to respond to it” (Molloy, 2020). Buddha’s teachings are not of sorrow, but that sorrow and suffering whether it a large event or a simple daily frustration are always bound to happen. Furthermore, just because life and all of its objects are constantly changing, and “suffering” occurs, it does not mean we have to suffer.

If life is constantly changing then suffering will always have an end. As part of the Four Noble Truths to desire something can be seen as suffering and instead by living a modest life, you eliminate potential suffering. However interpreted, living a modest life does not mean giving up your possessions but trying to find peace within and live in the moment rather than the past or future (Molloy, 2020).

The word dukkha can be seen as misleading is because many can view “suffering” as a very pessimistic and negative connotation. “Most Buddhist scholars agree the word suffering is too limited in its meanings to serve as a direct translation. Thus, dukkha has been alternatively translated to anxiety, uneasiness, stress, unsatisfactoriness, and discontent” (Burk, 2012). These are a few better translations in today’s world that reflect the teachings of dukkha better than the word “suffering”. Some can view dukkha the wrong way like it is a teaching of compartmentalization and heartlessness. By encompassing these other alternative words, dukkha can be more properly taught, understood, and lived by.

The Buddha explains that everything in life is changing, even ourselves along with our possessions. Instead of acting surprised by things in life changing, accept that everything is always going to change. Family, friends, ourselves, pets, and possessions will always change and will grow older. By truly knowing, understanding, and accepting this, one can find inner peace and will then stop experiencing and overcome dukkha.

I think dukkha both affirms and challenges Western medicine. I think mainly for healthcare workers, especially ones who deal with and see a lot of death, dukkha, and its existence make sense. Sometimes, dying is not suffering but can allow peace and I believe some medical professionals understand this and see that life and death are a part of life that is inevitable. However, Western medicine is so advanced now that most people live longer.

The most amount of healthcare dollars are spent on the last year of life because accepting death is not always an option in western culture. Most people in Western Medicine are accustomed to dukkha, and in our nation and culture, there is no other way to see past suffering or accept it. It exists and we all deal with it without really philosophizing life and understanding suffering occurs and will come to an end as well.


Burk, D. (2012). Not misunderstanding dukkha. Retrieved from to an external site.

Molloy, M. (2020). Experiencing the world’s religions – tradition, challenge, and change (8th ed.). 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

A Sample Answer 7 For the Assignment: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

Title: RELI 448N Discussion Buddhism 

That’s a very interesting take on dukkha in western healthcare.  Having worked in hospice and mainly the gerontologic population, you’re absolutely right.  It has been countless times that I have heard someone say “I’m ready” or how they want to go with dignity and quality of life.  I agree with how you say death can allow for inner peace.  Although death is not always necessarily suffering, there can be a sense of peace once it has been accepted.   

It seems that the main focus of healthcare isn’t to prevent suffering, but to prolong life.  But to who’s advantage?  And it feels that it has been so engrained in our heads that that’s how healthcare should help us.  That’s what I liked about working palliative and hospice care.  It was comfort care and symptom management versus mainly curative.  

Hi! I enjoyed the way you described dukkha. You are right that the word, “suffering” is misleading and liked your choices in alternatives, especially, “unsatisfactoriness.” It is so true that we can never just be happy with what we have and always strive for more, more, more! Dukkha included every day annoyances/errands, as well, such as worrying about costs and always thinking of the kids or parents or a job, etc…These were not meant to sound so dark, this is truth and reality. The text also speaks of how recognizing why suffering comes about, then we can lessen it.

Life stops for no one- it’s a continual pattern. death used to scare me when I was a child. I’d stay up late at night thinking about what was the “next life.” I think you are right in the fact many of us have trouble accepting death as inevitable. I think working in hospice has helped me work through these issues and I feel more at peace and have a better understanding of the process. I also believe more people are actually coming around to hospice, whereas before people were more wary, thinking once you signed on with hospice, you only had days left- which is very untrue. 

In your initial post, you selected the characteristic Dukkha, which is usually translated to mean suffering. I agree with you that the trait is fundamental in that no person can escape. Hence, I believe that the characteristic exists to encourage people to find strength in the various challenges they face in life. I concur with your assertion that no person does not encounter suffering. This is evident in how a person may be financially stable but end up experiencing psychological suffering.

Additionally, a person may suffer financially, psychologically, or both. This point of view can be used by healthcare workers as they interact with different patients. Precisely, they can utilize the concept of suffering to ensure that they provide physical and psychological well-being to patients. As suggested by Haley et al. (2017), one way in which nurse professionals can eradicate psychological suffering from patients is by providing them with a listening ear and showing them empathy.


Haley, B., Heo, S., Wright, P., Barone, C., Rettigantid, M. R., & Anders, M. (2017). Effects of using an advancing care excellence for seniors simulation scenario on nursing student empathy: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Simulation in Nursing13(10), 511-519.