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The story is told of a king who lived in Mahilaropya and who was famous for his wisdom and righteousness. In addition to that, the king was also very generous and never at one time did he oppress his subjects. The king had three sons who were considered to be slow learners. The king spent much of his time trying to teach his sons about wisdom and the good qualities a person should have in life.
Most Indian stories often describe the husband as the superior being in a household. This implies that the husband has to take responsibilities such as maintaining the moral behavior of the entire family. The story The Wisdom of a Child narrates of a man who was only able to achieve this traditional role of the husband after getting some advice and instructions from his son. This story details how every family member should take the responsibility of carrying out their roles appropriately disregarding whether the other family members are responsible or not. The main message form this story is that a man is accorded the responsibility of taking care of his aged father while at the same time; the woman should carry out her wife duties in a responsible manner.
The story of The Only Child who Left Home is seen to teach of the Indian preference for the male children as compared to their female counterparts. However in this book, there are not so many stories dealing with sibling solidarity as found out in the above story. However, most Buddhist stories seem to depict that children as well as spouses should not lament too much for their dead loved ones. Another theme in Buddhist stories is that a daughter or a son is placed with the obligation of taking care of her aged parents. This is considered as one of the greatest virtues a person can have. The other main teaching form Buddhist stories is that departing from this world is considered as being even more noble than living faithfully in a family.
In relations to Buddhist teachings, inner purity is very essential as it is considered as one of the most important aspect I spiritual development (45). In the story As the King, so the Kingdom, the story teaches that without spiritual development, no progress would be made towards perfection. According to the Hindu notion of purity, the concept of purity is not only in the context of physical and spiritual aspect but rather, this concept also extends to social relationships held by an individual. According to the Hindu tradition, religious purity laws detail out the common practices by an individual such as who to eat with and who to marry. This theme and teaching is set out in the story the day the sun did not Rise. According to this story, Hindu purity laws dictate that there are certain sanctions with respect to marriages and social ties. In addition, marrying someone outside one’s birth group would pollute the whole family line.
In the story How a Youth Lost his Virtue, there is a clear cut balance between celibate purity and sexual indulgence. According to the Buddhist practices, doing meritorious work which in English is translated as doing merit work is one of the most emphasized virtues. What is termed as work of merit may be in physical practices such as individual participation in festivals, feeding the monks and the needy in the society and always practicing in accordance with cultural moral practices. However, the concept of merit is squarely placed in the state of mind that is mental purification. This is further exhibited in the story The Brahman and the Sacred River. This story is about Brahman who like many other Hindus put his faith in the purificatory powers of the sacred rivers in India.
The Buddhist people are described to have been concentrated along the Ganges River particularly during the fifth and the sixth centuries. In the story The Warrior’s Death, the storyline is based on the early Buddhist teachings of not to kill. During the earlier days, the teachings of non-violence were so strong that people had to strike a balance between the desires to sustain life while at the same time avoiding not killing. In relation to these, people learnt to be very responsible by practically restricting the killing of animals for food. This situation was further compromised by the fact that people took the non-violent teaching idea way too heavily on themselves. An example of this is that practices such as plowing, fishing or hunting became a rare occurrence with people taking precautionary measures not to do anything that would bring harm to animals. Some people even went to the extent of not walking during the rainy season to avoid killing worms brought to the surface by the rain water.
This stance of non-violent practices led to a situation whereby the Buddhists shunned their traditional virtues of courage in battle. They replaced these virtues with a rather unorthodox idea of resisting the traditional forms of killing. However in the story The Warriors Death, the traditional virtue of courage in battle is re-ignited.
Human values were perceived to be the most essential virtues that an individual; could possess. This is one of the main reasons why individual responsibility as well as moral and ethical approaches to life were emphasized. It was evident that there were situations in life that would require a prompt decision that would somehow have significant effect on a certain situation by this. The story the servant who tested his Mistress teaches about self control. The sole virtue of self control was held responsible for the general moral standing of an individual. In the early Buddhist society, people were taught to operate under strict moral practices and failure to uphold this had serious consequences. The story of the foolish jackal also portrays the virtue of self control in general. Just like the notion of purity that extends not in relation to physical and spiritual properties, self control was also a determinant to the realm of social relationships. According to Hindu traditions, the various classes that existed in the society were not just social conveniences but rather, they depicted a society that strongly upheld both religious and social laws.
Detachment in the Hindu society was not so significant going by the fact that social ties were closely followed. However at some instances, breaking the law or engaging in immoral conducts led to some sort of detachment that was used as punishment to discourage similar behavior from other members of the society. In the story, the man who did not Notice Women, the practice of basic moral principles is highly emphasized. In the Buddhist society, there were various basic vows that bound certain people in the society. Monks and nuns were bound by more than a hundred vows and were expected to confess any misconduct committed during holy days. For the ordinary people, sexual relations within marriage were not frowned upon. However, monks were expected to uphold there vow of sexual abstinence and strict celibacy (108) another virtue emphasized in the Hindu society was compassion. This element came along with extending a helping hand to the needy. In the story Tend the Sick, compassion is described to be the main source of the ability to operate within cultural norms and practices.