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Title: World lover, world leaver : the Book of Ecclesiastes and Thai Buddhism
Author: Lorgunpai, S.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1995
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The Book of Ecclesiastes is unique. This suggests that Qohelet's thought is not, as some scholars have maintained, dependent on other thinkers of his time. Qohelet interacts with and challenges wisdom tradition and other contemporary beliefs. His theology is not limited to Israelite religion. His concern is universal and not confined to the people of Israel. Although Qohelet does not interact directly with the teachings of the Buddha, this thesis argues that the theological content of Ecclesiastes can be profitably studied in comparison with Buddhism. Though the Buddha and Qohelet are separated from each other by time, geography and culture, they share a common focus on human suffering - dukkha in Pali, hebel in Hebrew. The Buddha maintains that desire is the primary cause of human suffering. Qohelet sees it as deriving from various causes, including human limitations, and the unpredictability of life. The Buddha looks for a way to end human suffering, recognising that if human beings continue to be reborn in the world, they will continue to suffer. He then suggests that human beings should break the cycle of rebirth (kamma) and seek nibbna or the state of emptiness. This state can be reached through strenuous meditation. Qohelet, on the other hand, believes that God has created this world with a definite plan; however, humans lack the capacity to understand the present events of the world and are unable to predict the future. Qohelet advises human beings to enjoy life on a day-to-day basis, rather than hope for a better future. While admitting that there are many unpleasant things in this world, Qohelet still loves living in it. He is much more in and of this world than is the Buddha. Seeing that the pleasant things in this world are transitory (anicca) and illusory, the Buddha decided to leave the world behind. Qohelet is the world lover. The Buddha is the world leaver.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available