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Terry Duong

Professor Intawiwat
UWRT 1102 008
Final Essay
To Freedom, or Not To Freedom
Freedom. How can one truly know what freedom is? There are so many different
types of freedoms that everyone stands by. From the having a freedom in a country, but
yet living by abiding to the rules that society detains the social norm by to being able to
be as free as where the wind takes you. What I am more focused on is how spiritually and
self-freedom can be. The more important question is, how can someone really know and
feel free, and why is it looked differently in society to want to be able to do what one
wants to do? These are the questions I am hopefully going to be able to find answers to.
For awhile now, I have been pondering on the question of, Am I really free as a
person to do as I want? and from what Ive felt for the past few months is that I am not
free, but am a caged bird waiting to fly and explore what life has in stored for me. The
way our society works makes it beyond difficult to sometimes do what you want to do.
This world of ours revolves around money. The way my parents have raised me is to be
able to provide securely for a family of my own. This is their American Dream.
However, in my eyes, it is something I do plan on being able to do, but there would not
be any type of enjoyment in life if I could not do as I wanted.
Living off of someone elses will on life is not something someone should go
through, but instead to find his or her own path in life. The trek itself is very selffulfilling, and very frustrating. To be able to venture out and find out for yourself what

you are meant to do in life will always be a question with an answer that is waiting to be
found. The biggest step is really, the first step. That is to break away from the standards
parents are pressuring young adults to pursue. It is to take a selfish step to realize what
makes you happy as a person.
I found out that without self-acceptance, you could not entirely be happy as a
whole. There is a difference in being content with life, and being happy. Your whole
entity may seem pure with light, but there would still be a hint of a stagnant stigma that
would hinder you. Finding that light is crucial in my opinion to be able to be happy and
feel free. Many would say finding this type of happiness and freedom is a waste of time
because of how our society portrays freedom. This world of ours revolves around money.
Without money there is very little one can do in life. If our world did not revolve on such
a selfish yet needed source, I can see a whole different dimension of society, and how it
could be.
People could look for things such as internal enlightenment. Being a Buddhist
myself, they say that being able to become enlightened and selfless is a way to become
happier with life itself. Becoming entirely happy with life will then bring on more aspects
to life that could not be seen clearly until doing so. There are so many things that society
hits you in the face with, and becoming enlightened, Buddha says that one could be
ridden of all of those obstacles.
Because of all of the requirements society brings to the plate, their expectations
on how we need to be brought up to become successful becomes something so stressful
and hindering that reaching Nirvana seems somewhat impossible. A way to obtain
Nirvana is one by meditating and unbind yourself from the physical side of the world

and walk upon the spiritual side, and two, experience what sorrows and pains the world
has to offer. Many mistake what Nirvana is. Many mistake Nirvana as something such as
a Heaven on Earth. Nirvana literally means extinguishing or unbinding. The
implication is that it is freedom from what ever binds you, from the burning passion of
desire, jealousy, and ignorance.2
Siddhartha himself was a sheltered prince of a kingdom who was actually born
from his mothers side so they say, and was sheltered from all things such as aging,
sickness, pain, age, and society.3 He was one that was not allowed to leave the castles
grounds. A philosopher came to the kingdom one day and told his father that he would
become either a great leader, or a great teacher, and because his father was ruler of the
kingdom, he wanted him to also become the greatest there was.3 Siddhartha even had a
son and wife, but one day he became curious and told one of his servants to take him
outside. What he found outside was the suffering of all others who were sick, old, and
suffering.3 This is what made him leave the kingdom alone without his wife and child to
learn and understand all of what those he saw went through. He starved himself for many
years and meditated. He reached Nirvana when a deity came up from the underworld to
try to snare him with the seven deadly sins but failed.3 This was how became selfless and
reached enlightenment.
In my opinion, the way Chris saw society somewhat enlightened me to find my
own freedom. He went and branched out to live life the way he wanted to only needing a
few necessities, and living off of the land.1 The hardship he went through all the way until
the end of his journey and life made me believe that he found and reached nirvana at the
end of his life. The way he reminisced on his family and all that he has been through

made him reach the modern day Nirvana.1 In the western interpretation of how to become
enlightened is similar to the cultural enlightenment. It is all about the different paths
everyone walks that can help him or her reach enlightenment.4 Near Chris demise; he
became more selfless and caring of everything around him. Although he wasnt truly
Buddhist at all, one does not have to be a Buddhist to become enlightened.
I personally have been looking for methods on reaching where I freedom is to me;
where I can be happy. There are many different types of Buddhism. For instance, there is
one called Zen Buddhism, as to where they focus more on karma.5 They believe that
meditation and doing what is right will help find inner peace. Taoism is heavily
influences Zen Buddhism.5 It is known for bringing harmony and being at peace. That is
why in Zen Buddhism, they meditate to reach a harmonizing state because it is the
path. I do also agree with meditating for become more happy, but how long does that
happiness last? Meditating and counting your breath does slow the heart and eases the
mind, but to become selfless is also another being of a sort. One has to truly unchain
themselves from all burdens to get to a high state of mind.
With everything that has been pondered on my mind, I still believe I am far from
reaching what is called enlightenment. I thought I was someway half way there, but I
realized that I for one am no where close to becoming a selfless person that can be
unburdened with what life sends flying to my face. Society has such a hook that it is
difficult to stray away from it without having second thoughts. It is all about that first
step in following a path not many have walked, and one day I will be able to take that
step to being happy, and unbinded from all burdens in life.