Gandhi's thought follows in the footsteps of a philosophical tradition whose founders examined the nature of reality through the internal realm of the spirit. Their works described a constant and unceasing search for what is real, a journey that questioned the very means by which we perceive and assemble our concept of "I" and the purpose and relationship of that Self to the external world. In their experiments they "turned the search inward," uniting religion and philosophy, reason and faith in a personal quest of self-realization. Gandhi's life long search found its roots from within this foundation whose response to the question, what is real? was transformed into a search for Truth.
[...] He quotes the Buddha, telling his students: the wise test gold by burning, butting, and rubbing it, so are you to accept my words after examining them and not merely out of regard for (Radhakrishnan 346), Gandhi also states that one must “turn the searchlight [for truth] inward” (Fischer 132), emphasizing that our perception of Truth is relative. It is dependent upon the individual and the aggregates which compose the individual. That which we interpret as Truth is then, not Truth in the absolute sense. [...]
[...] This Truth is beyond human comprehension, beyond the discriminations and distinctions of the human consciousness. And the path leading towards a realization of Truth involves a process of self-purification, experimentation and reflection. But despite these similarities in regards to the means by which the ultimate Reality is realized, both Gandhi and Nagarjuna appear to stand in opposition when describing the nature of the end they sought. Differences The union between religion and philosophy underlies both of these men's insights, framing the context by which they viewed the world. [...]
[...] Gandhi's declaration that “Truth is would, in Nagarjuna's doctrine be better expressed as “Truth is the void.” This fundamental distinction between Gandhi and Nagarjuna in their comprehension as to the nature of the Truth they sought has additional implications which extended to their explorations and experiments. Gandhi's philosophy led him to extend himself through social action, continuing his quest for Truth through his interaction with and relationship to others. He wrote in his autobiography: found myself entirely absorbed in the service of the community I had made the religion of service my own as I felt God could be realized only through service” (139). [...]
[...] For both Gandhi and Nagarjuna, the very purpose of being lay within the answers to these questions. Their philosophical thought became a tool by which they embarked upon a journey of self-realization one which sought the Ultimate through a journey of self-realization. The external world of the objects of sense, of reason and logic was “unsatisfactory,” prolonging a cycle of violence and suffering that formed as a result of the distinctions and divisions created by the consciousness. This reality is thus composed of numerous bits and pieces, of people, places and experiences which exist only in relation to one another, concluding that nothing exists independently. [...]
[...] Nagarjuna also writes: “When a man perceives the true meaning of reality as it becomes, he understands that the paths of existence are empty, and cuts asunder [the chain of] the first, middle, and last” (Radhakrishnan 339). Each, then, asserted that the Self is bound by ignorance to a cycle of cause and effect, of karma and attachment to the fruits of one's actions. And it is this attachment, this obsession with material gain and wealth, which is the source of suffering. [...]
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