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Fieldwork - Buddhism - Research Paper Example

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Fieldwork Research Paper: Buddhism Site: The Rime Buddhist Center and Tibetan Institute of Studies Name and/or ID # Class Teacher Date At the corner of Jefferson and West Pennway, almost in the center of bustling Kansas City lies the Rime Buddhist Center. The roar of interstate 35 directly across the street greets you as you walk towards the rather unremarkable building, which is secluded by the surrounding trees just beginning to bloom…
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Fieldwork Research Paper - Buddhism
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Fieldwork - Buddhism

Download file to see previous pages... This fieldwork project was carried out during two trips to the Center on April 27th, and May 1st. This researcher had sent a preliminary e-mail query on April 23rd describing summarily the fieldwork to be performed. Lama Chuck replied personally and said that he would be happy to oblige and thought that it would be beneficial for me to attend the evening classes on the 27th, which included: 6pm, Meditation Instruction; 7pm, Group Meditation Practice; and 7:45pm, Becoming Enlightened. The latter class included an induction to the foundations of Buddhism as well as comparing and contrasting it with other religions. This seemed advantageous as the purpose of this research was to gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism and its ability to translate its teachings to other cultures as well as other religions. This researcher was intrigued by the fact that on its website this center describes itself as, “…a (non-sectarian) Center dedicated to the cultivation of wisdom and compassion.” (The Rime Center 2011) Which seems odd since one might think that Buddhism is a religion and therefore sectarian, or is it a philosophy and therefore non-sectarian? A further question arose as to one of the central practices of Buddhism, as well as other Eastern religions/philosophies, the practice of meditation. What is it? Is it a spiritual experience or simply a stress reduction method as viewed by the western eye? Again is it sectarian or non-sectarian? These are the core questions that this research will attempt to unravel. Research: Literature During this researchers filed trip to the Rime center, Lama Chuck recommended several books which are presented here as well as much of my own research of different articles and items that added to the overall appreciation of this Buddhist center. They are presented first to give the reader an overall view of Buddhism and some insight into the conversations and interviews that took place during the filed study. It is generally considered that there are two traditional lines of Buddhist thought Theravada and Madhyamaka. Theravada is the more conservative and traditional Buddhist approach. This Pali word literally means “the teaching of the elders” and it is the oldest of the Buddhist practices. “Theravadin Buddhists study the early scriptures in Pali, honor the life of renunciation, and follow mindfulness meditation teachings.” (Fisher 2005: 142) In this tradition the Buddha is certainly an historical figure that now no longer exists but has left his teachings or the “Dharma” as a guide for his followers.. Madhyamaka (also known as Mahayan) regards the Buddha as a universal principle. Literally translated as “The Middle Way,” Madhyamaka represents in a sense the line between conservative and liberal of the traditions and in life itself. It is the dividing line between polar opposites. Metaphysically, Buddha is said to be an immanent presence in the universe with three aspects, or “bodies”: first, the enlightened wisdom of a Buddha, which is formless; second, the body of bliss, celestial aspect of Buddhahood that communicates the dharma to bodhisattvas; and the third body of transformation, by which the Buddha ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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