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to form concepts Middle Ages

The history of the modern world derives from thousands of years of human history.  Embedded in its history are the many eras of man which have constructed our modern learning, art, beliefs, and order.  The middle ages, although represented as dark, backwards, and idle, were in fact a bridge linking the classical and modern world.  Medieval society may not have been in a sense glorious, but the era of itself was a prime foundation of the modern worlds newfound stability, a revival of the law and teachings from the classical era, a reinvestment and reform in the church, and a precursor to the golden age of art.
The government of the middle ages, as convoluted and variable as it was, ended up giving way to a powerful revival of monarchial control.  The feudal age had erupted due to the monarchs inability to rule and defend holistically its country during Norse and foreign invasions in the 700s to 1000s AD.  The emphasis shifted instead to local lords and nobles who drew the kings power for greater local stability.  This system flourished under an influenced and uneducated nation, however, the rise of the middle and working classes put a change to that.  Skilled merchants began to form guilds, universities and learning groups educated citizens, and a strengthening economy led the middle classes to object to feudal lords taxes and form their own charters of towns.  The educated middle class was now able to run their town fairly efficiently, which in turn, decreased influence of feudal lords and revived the power and influence of the monarchy.  The king could now depend on his educated townspeople to run their town.  AS revolutionary as the transition was to the feudal system, the practice proved to be efficient in the modern world.
The influence of universities and merchants, as seen, changed the kingdom.  Medieval universities were first formed in the 12th century AD after a need for educated public officials became evident.  Schools like the Law School at Bologna as well as medical schools gave towns lawyers, judges and capable local officials.  Other schools like the University of Paris taught scholars literature and theology.  The breed of Renaissance thinking was most likely developed in such places.  Scholars like Peter Abelard and Thomas Aquinas led an interest in the study of classical Greek and Roman philosophy.  This interest, along with challenged perspectives of the time eventually led to modern science.  Guilds, as afore-mentioned, were monopolistic practices over certain trades set by merchants.  They virtually eliminated competition and ensured quality.  Compared to Renaissance art, and Shakespearean and Elizabethan literature the precursor saw little.  However, works like Chaucers Canterbury Tales were popular, and the Gothic architectural style laid a foundation for many cathedrals and buildings.  It is still a dominant facade in todays world and was relished in modern Western Europe.  A powerful education system and study of art are necessary for societys to flourish and carry its roots into the next era; the effects of the middle ages therein are obvious.  The middle ages staged to recall and then reform the religious concepts of the day.  Since all aspects of society, including religious, are influenced by a changing society, the religion of the middle ages progressed accordingly.  The feudal age of religion may have witnessed a hierarchy in its system, but as the ages progressed, society, including kings and church scholars, argued for a reform in church government.  Likewise, as scholars found contradictions in religion, church practices were challenged and the very popes and bishops were unpopular.  The ideas and preaching of those like John Wycliffe and Jan Hus faced the church with a possible full-scale rebellion.  The church willingly compromised, however these were early warning signs of the reformations of the modern world.  The church, try as it might, could not barge a developing society and mind.  
The developments of the political, cultural, and religious societies of the middle ages influenced each other and were in turn influenced by the people.  The early middle ages and the whole age in general might be looked at as backward, however the changes it inspired need only be seen in the vibrant modern world that would follow.  Solely based on its ... more

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Buddhism And Death

Does Anything Survive Death? The Buddha, already enlightened and therefore
having reached the state of Nirvana, taught and explained many concepts and
principles to his students. He was released from the life cycle, which every
individual should seek to escape. He said that in order to be released from the
torture of reincarnation, one must cease to desire, for it is the failure to
fulfill ones desires that causes ones misery. He also explained that
possessions and material things are all a delusion. Since people are not born
with belongings and do not die with them, they are not really belongings, but
only burdens. Even the body itself is not owned by the mind inhabiting it,
because it dies and decomposes as the soul goes on. The body could be looked at
as the prison of illness, because there is a very fine line between health and
sickness. The mind however is eternal, with thoughts and feelings. In modern
society, the mind is not developed; it is polluted and requires training. Once
one attains control of the mind, one also attains control of the body and
speech. Then, the truth will become apparent. What becomes apparent is ones
true essence. Ones true essence is Buddha: everyone has the potential to
become Buddha. In the present state of ignorance, however, people have developed
a false sense of self. According to the teachings of the Buddha, the idea of
self is an imaginary, false belief which has no corresponding reality, and it
produces harmful thoughts of me and mine, selfish desire, craving,
attachment, pride, egoism, and other defilements, impurities, and
problems(Seven Dilemmas in World Religion) It is these unconscious
assumptions and false information about reality that cause people to become
selfish and self centered, therefore neglecting the fact that all people are
actually pure energy and pure awareness. People need to realize that they are
living in a state of constant mental evolution and should focus on achieving
egolessness. With the withdrawal from the normal concerns of worldly existence
and the elimination of I comes enlightenment, which is the ultimate goal
of every Buddhist. Buddhists believe there is no life and no death, however,
there is duality. When the body dies, the mind goes on. Consciousness, which is
always enlightenment, also survives the physical death. Everything is an
illusion and is going to disappear, whereas impermanence is reality. Ones
true identity is Buddha. Buddha is a state of mind that has no obscuration of
the truth. Buddhists tend to visualize the process of reincarnation, or the
life cycle itself as either a river or an ocean of birth and death. This river
is the unexplored aspect of life, which needs to be crossed in order to reach
the incomparably wonderful(The Hungry Tigress) enlightenment. The Buddha
is the vehicle by which this river is crossed. It transports one from dukkha, or
suffering to the other side endowed with hundreds of virtues, full of such
qualities as trance and wisdom, immaculate, free from all substrata, changeless
and without sorrow.(The Hungry Tigress) Since Buddhism stemmed from
Hinduism, the beliefs of the two religions concerning the cycle of life and
death are very similar. Hindus also look at the cycle of samsara as a river.
Hindus believe that when one reaches the river, one admits that there are some
things that are not yet understood. In contrast, a Buddhist says, we dare to
go where others do not go, upon reaching the river. Buddhists believe that it
is where people are afraid to go, is what suffering comes from. People are the
cause of their own suffering; however, they can control and manipulate their
karma. Hindus, on the other hand, accept karma as a given. Since it is both good
and bad karma that determines the quality of the next incarnation, this is an
important difference in the two belief systems. However, both Buddhists and
Hindus agree on the belief that the last thought at the moment of death
determines the character of the next incarnation. Buddhists and Hindus agree
that individuals who have lived virtuous lives will achieve Nirvana and
individuals who have developed a karmic pull will be drawn again to rebirth. An
opposite perspective on life and death can be found in Christianity as in most
other western religions. The belief in God as a creator and maintainer of human
life does not allow for reincarnation. Since God is also a judge, He is the one
who looks at ones good and bad deeds and judges accordingly. With the
possibility of ... more

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