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Budhism, Practices, and Beliefs

Please provide explanations together with the source you obtained the information from. Simply coping pasting information from a website will not meet the requirement for this request.

1. Explain the beginnings of Buddhism. Why do you suppose it developed out of India? What does it share in common with Hinduism? What is different? Why some of the differences? I'm paying 10 credits and need the information NLT in Two Days.

2. Explain what the Four Noble Truths are and how they link to the Eightfold Path? Can this be compared to anything in Christianity? Do you feel Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy? Can you be a Christian and also a Buddhist?

3. How is Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism different from Theraveda Buddhism? Why do you suppose Tibetan Buddhism has become so popular in the United States? What do you know about the Dali Lama?

Solution Preview

Let's take a closer look through discussion and examples, which you can draw on for your final copy. Briefly, I paraphrased much of the material, so if you now write in it in your own words, it will be sufficient. However, include references as well as we need to give credit where credit is due.

1. Explain the beginnings of Buddhism. Why do you suppose it developed out of India? What does it share in common with Hinduism? What is different? Why some of the differences?

The origin of Buddhism is in India. It is a religion that more than 300 million people currently practice. Prince Siddhartha founded it in northeastern India in the sixth century B.C. Having achieved enlightenment; he became known as Shakyamuni and preached a path of salvation to his followers. Initially, Buddhism denied a supreme deity. Its earliest form was based on Shakyamuni's teaching and moral code and stressed that everyone, through concerted individual effort and action, could achieve enlightenment. This form of Buddhism-called Hinayana or, in the Pali tradition, Theraveda (the Way of the Elders)-is practiced in most of mainland Southeast Asia. The sect requires disciples to become monks and concentrate solely on reaching nirvana, the ultimate state of bliss that transcends suffering. http://www.artsmia.org/art-of-asia/buddhism/buddhism-origins.cfm

(b) Why do you suppose it developed out of India?

First, the founder was from Indian. Second, it might be said that Buddhism in India was able to meet certain needs that were not being met by the other religions, which it encountered. In India, the people were experiencing a great deal of suffering both politically and socially, and Buddhism helped to explain the reason for this suffering. Thus, it met the need of the people to explain their present existence and helped to relieve the anxiety due to the suffering being experienced. In other words, the people believed Buddhism doctrine that taught that to live was to suffer, and through rebirth after rebirth, eventually the suffering would end and they would be in eternal bliss, Nirvana.

Gradually, however, Buddhism incorporated other elements and some components of Hinduism and other religious elements as well.

(c) What does it share in common with Hinduism? What is different? Why some of the differences?

The following points are self explanatory. Some of the ways in which Buddhism differs from Hinduism are as follows:

1) No need for priests (brahmins) or rituals.
2) Anyone can enter Nirvana, no matter how lowly, whereas in Hinduism only the brahmins could achieve moksha.
3) In Theravada Buddhism, there are no gods. The Buddha is not a god.
4) Karma is not earned by following the dharma of your caste. Instead you can move toward entry into Nirvana by following the eightfold path.
5) As the "middle way" Buddhism rejects extreme asceticism as well as great wealth. The ideal in Hinduism is extreme asceticism. http://www.wsu.edu/~wldciv/brians_syllabus/buddhind.html

In contrast, the ways in which Buddhism and Hinduism are similar:

1) Both believe in reincarnation.
2) Both believe there are many different paths to enlightenment.
3) Both believe that our suffering is caused by excessive attachment to things and people in the physical world.
4) Both believe in an ultimate spiritual reality beyond the illusions of the physical world.
5) Both practice meditation and other forms of yoga.
6) Both believe that eventually all living spirits will achieve enlightenment and liberation, even if it takes many incarnations. Remember that in Mahayana Buddhism, the original teachings of the
Buddha are assimilated to Hindu practices, including prayers, gods (even the Buddha as god in all his many incarnations). Mahayana Buddhism also introduces the idea of (temporary) heavens and hells. http://www.wsu.edu/~wldciv/brians_syllabus/buddhind.html

There are differences between the two mainly because they are rooted in different philosophies and beliefs, and meet different needs of the people. Buddhism developed and emerged to meet the needs of all people, whereas Hinduism has not followed this trend. In other words, there is no 'middle way' in Hinduism. As well, each religion alos combined elements of other religions.

2. Explain what the Four Noble Truths are and how they link to the Eightfold Path? Can this be compared to anything in Christianity? Do you feel Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy? Can you be a Christian and also a Buddhist?

(a) Do you feel Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy?

Buddhism is both a religion and a philosophy, I would think. It can be considered a basic philosophy of ideas and beliefs of life (e.g., how to life based on the Four Nobles Truths and the Eightfold Path), but it also is a religious with religious philosophical beliefs and practices (e.g., prayers, yoga, afterlife, etc.). According to Morrell (n.d.), for example, it is a religion because it involves the elements of belief, faith and self- transformation, which do belong to some philosophies as such but which he believes are more characteristic features of religions. This sounds like a reasonable argument. http://homeoint.org/morrell/buddhism/buddhism.htm

It is argued that in all religions faith and belief are paramount, as is the self-transforming aspect. It seems that people turn to religion for spiritual guidance and hope of the afterlif, as well. They may want to improve their life, their self or their moral conduct or to take greater comfort in life. According to Morrell (n.d), this is why religion is termed the 'opium of the masses' --it is a 'bolster', which protects us from the bad times. At the very least, religion gives us a form of 'understanding which gives comfort'. In this sense, it contrasts with a philosophy perhaps, as a religion is a set of beliefs, which we take comfort from but which cannot be conclusively proved objectively as true or false.

In the case of Buddhism, according to Morrell (n.d), like any other religion, there are those who practice and those who just read about it and do not practice. Practice is the essence of Buddhism, because without practice it is a dead set of ideas which have no lasting value. The reason for this is that Buddhism might be better described as an 'applied religious philosophy'. It is a set of ideas about man and the world, but it also has the life-transforming quality of a religion when, and only when, it is applied (http://homeoint.org/morrell/buddhism/buddhism.htm). This is a reasonable perspective.

Does this fit with your understanding? See http://homeoint.org/morrell/buddhism/buddhism.htm for Morrell's full argument.

The Four Noble Truths are:

1. Life means suffering - In Buddhism, to live means to suffer, because the human nature is not perfect and neither is the world we live in. During our lifetime, we inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death; and we have to endure psychological suffering like sadness, fear, frustration, disappointment, and depression. Although there are different degrees of suffering and there are also positive experiences in life that we perceive as the opposite of suffering, such as ease, comfort and happiness, life in its totality is imperfect and incomplete, because our world is subject to impermanence. This means we are never able to keep permanently what we strive for, and just as happy moments pass by, we ourselves and our loved ones will pass away one day, too.

2. The origin of suffering is attachment - The origin of suffering is believed to be the attachment to transient things and the ignorance thereof. Transient things include the physical ...

Solution Summary

By addressing the questions, this solution addresses various aspects on several concepts and comparisons, including Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, Tibetan Buddhism and the differences between Zen Buddhism and Theraveda Buddhism, and others.

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