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Rel 133 - Buddhism and the World

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Buddhism and the World

Angela Vasquez

REL/133

Monday, February 5, 2018

Professor Hjamil Martinez Vazquez


Buddhism and the World

Buddhism began in India and is one of the world’s oldest, most influential religions in Asia. Buddha, the enlightened one, live by the philosophy of ‘love of wisdom’. The nature of Buddhism is tolerant towards other religion and does not concern itself with labels. The core of Buddhism consists of the Three Jewels; the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The Buddha was a man that was born a man, lived as a man and died as a man. Dharma teaches the view of the world and how to live in such a way that is acceptable to the Buddhist way. Sangha is the community of like-minded believers, monks and nuns. Whisks is a big part of Buddhism and explains why they have s strong connection to nature. Many of Buddha’s teachings compliment modern values.

Common Values

Jainism, Hinduism, and Sikhism all provide similar views and teachings to Buddhism. The Dharmic values Buddhist practice is also practiced within Jain, Hindu, and Sikh religions. These Dharmic religions share similar core values and has been said to have influenced each other’s teachings. Although Dharma has many meanings, natural law, social status, moral conduct or virtue, the philosophy and belief surrounding these religions encourages one to live in harmony and strive for personal freedom. Another aspect Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism have in common is that of reincarnation. There is a belief of an afterlife and karma determines what will happen to that individual. Since all these religions express the importance of having virtue, practicing Ahimsa, acting out the rituals in the teachings, and putting good out into the universe, this will determine your reincarnation pattern.  

Christianity and Buddhism are two religions that as different as the East is from the West but there are some similarities. Both Buddhism and Christianity are highly influential; Buddhism in Asia and Christianity in America. Like Jainism, Hinduism, and Sikhism, life continues after death but the description is that of Heaven. I like to think that Heaven is the interpretation of nirvana. Although the premise of reincarnation is for one’s soul to endure a cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth, the similarity is that there is something that happens to the soul after death. Christianity believes that there is only one chance for Final Judgment towards either Heaven or Hell. Buddhism and Christianity both share a theme of morality, justice and love. I have heard my whole life of “The Golden Rule” and in Buddhism, there are similar rules. According to "Religious Tolerance" (1996-2010), “…A state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?” Samyutta Nlkaya v. 353 or “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” Udana-Varga 5:18 (Ethic of Reciprocity). Buddhism and Christianity also give an emphasis of altruistic behavior. To love your neighbor as you do yourself, is one of two laws that God tells us to honor.

Modern Buddhism

Methods of Buddha is to reach ultimate enlightenment. His philosophy includes the balance of living in harmony with others, living in harmony with nature, living a meaningful life devoid of stress, anxiety, jealousy, and other negative emotions, that leads to nirvana. That was over 2500 years ago before the use of modern science. Buddhist spend their lives devoted to the practice of enlightenment. As modern times drew nearer and Buddhism religion was growing in the West hemisphere, the influence of science was inevitable. Perhaps, this is why present-day Buddhists feel that scientific knowledge compliments Buddhism. Obrien (2017) stated, “it appears that teachings on evolution and ecology -- that nothing is immutable; that life forms exist, adapt and change because they are conditioned by environment and other life form” (The Role of Science).

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