Buddhism and the ‘middle way’

As the next part of our lessons on ways of thinking and living in China, we discussed Buddhist ideas about seeking a ‘middle way’ of living that is in harmony with the world and causes no harm – a way of living that also seeks to avoid greed and selfishness that might arise from thinking we are more important than everybody else. Does this make sense, we asked? Is it desirable?  Is it achievable? Here are thoughts from Myah, Sylvie, Kaliyah, Mohammed, Archie and Faisal.

Myah. I do think that the idea of the middle way makes sense because if you go the low way it means you decide not to take opportunities that lay in front of you which I don’t think is right. And if you go the high way, you will take everything and become spoilt and rich and have nothing to do but lay down and think about what will come your way next.

Kaliyah. I think the middle way is perfect because then you don’t get too much or too little of anything. Greed and selfishness are big problems in the world because we have many homeless people who have to beg for money. If we weren’t so selfish and greedy, we would just give money to them or buy them something to eat. Some people are so selfish that they just walk past them or pay no attention to them whatsoever. I think it would be good if people were both Daoist and Buddhist because you would be caring to both nature and people…. and in harmony with the world properly.

Sylvie. I think achieving the middle way would be quite a hard thing to accomplish. Because if you’re homeless with about £2 in your pocket you can’t create a middle way if you’re begging for scraps of food and you wouldn’t have the resources to create this ‘middle way’. Life, I’ve got to say, won’t let you have a middle way. People go through hard times and you can’t make yourself think it’s all going to be fine and nothing’s wrong, trying to make life how you want it. I think people are too greedy because they just create this excess, waste and destruction in their path. Sometimes natural greed comes in simple ways like you’re really hungry and there’s only one chip left in the box and you know you’ve had more than anybody else and you still take it. AND people who are greedy take all the money for themselves and leave people starving – possibly to death.

Mohammed. I think the middle way would never work because everyone is different and has their own way of living. To think of others before yourself is nicer than thinking of yourself straight away. Some people will be rich and/or selfish and some people will be poor and/or kind – but we are all people so why turn away from each other?

Archie. It does make sense to me but right now I don’t think there will be a perfect world – maybe one day, but not now. I feel it could be realistic but with all the terror attacks going on right now it doesn’t look like it will happen any time soon. I think greed and selfishness are both problems and solutions in their own right. Greed can be good because some people says it gives the world new technology but bad because it causes bad actions like violence. Selfishness is good because in some people’s cases it causes success in life. Nina argues the same, saying ‘I think you shouldn’t have too much greed and selfishness… but a little greed is normal and natural’.

Faisal. I think the middle way is a great way to end fighting and I think it could end world war and create world peace. I think that nobody can change who they really are and that it is natural to be greedy and think of yourself before others.

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Author: class6CM

We are a Year 6 class at Rosendale School in West Dulwich, London.

20 thoughts on “Buddhism and the ‘middle way’”

  1. I agree that it would be a good idea but it will be hard to do because everyone is different and earn different amounts of money.I think that some people have to much selfishness and take everything so there is nothing left for anyone else but I do think that it’s natural to have a bit of greed.

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  2. I agree with Faisal you should always think of others before yourself and a middle way could stop war and bring peace or it could continue war and have no peace at all.

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  3. I agree Kaliyah the middle way is a great way and you get everything equally you dont have too much or to less of anything.

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  4. I agree with all the posts but I don’t think many people are writing their real thoughts- they are actually just copying down other ideas, e.g. Archie says the middle way is a way of life that you are born with and then Rayyan says, yeah, I agree you can’t be forced. I think that there is no ‘middle way’ that can be reached because good things and bad things will always happen all over the world.

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  5. We agree with Sylvie in the sense that the middle way is almost impossible because not every person will follow that rule, but we also think that the middle way is the best way to harmoise the world.

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  6. I really feel these sayings about Buddhism and the middle way are true because lots of people who are rich and selfish don’t care about the people who are poor and homeless.

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  7. I think that finding a middle way would be very good, but it’s quite hard to get there. I believe that Buddhism helps us to do that, and that’s why I like this religion. We should all at least try to do a little bit of everything, not too much, not too little, even though (as Nina said) greed is normal.

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  8. I agree with kaliyah because the middle way is a great thing you get everything equally you don’t have too much or less. Selfishness poor people have to beg for money I’ve seen videos where they walk pass them.

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  9. I think there is a middle way for everyone in the world even if they are far left or far right the can still find the middle way.

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  10. i agree with Mohammed becauese not every one is the same so a middle life would be boring seeming that a middle life is one way and i think that evryone should be different. But I believe that you should not have to much of one thing.

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  11. I agree with all of them and i really enjoyed writing.I think buddhism and the middle way are true because rich people are selfish and they dont care about the homeless and the poor.

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  12. i think that a middle way harmony sounds nice but its not realistic and Buddhism helps to make that a reality but not everyone is a Buddhist

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  13. I agree with what everyone thinks, they are all Daoist answers and I think that they are very relateable in Buddhism. Greed and selfishness is not the way forward in life. However a middle way definitely is and should be.

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  14. It’s quite hard to decide whether ‘ the middle way ‘ is good or bad because it would be kind of hard to find the ‘ middle way ‘ to achieve it I think everyone should have to accomplish that so everything works in kind of clockwork every little part of it has to perfect so it itself runs well but all the other cogs can rus smoothly as well . And I think for many people it would be impossible with an extra mile to change their minds .

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  15. I think that Faisal’s middle way idea is great,I completely agree with his views how it could end wars because china never had wars because of religion (Their religion).I wish this would happen in real life.I think Daoism and Buddhism is both amazing things that people should try to be apart of.

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  16. I agree with Kaliyah and think the middle way is perfect but I also think that it is not very likely to happen any time soon because there are some people who only own £2 and are homeless and a few of the richest people own around half of the worlds wealth I think it’s natural to be a bit greedy because your living your life for you not someone else and with out greed you wouldn’t have an ambition and you would sit at home not doing anything with your life because you didn’t want to be greedy and steal a job from someone else.

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  17. i agree with Mohammed because i think it is unrealistic because not every one will agree with it and it is pretty much impossible to live without war.

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