MISCONCEPTIONS OF BUDDHISM Institutional affiliation Date: 2nd March 2012 1.0 Introduction Buddhism is a religion that involves a diversity of traditions, beliefs and practices which are highly based on teachings attributed to Buddha…
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When it comes to religions, people are often guided by misconceptions and wrong beliefs. The way in which everybody understands and comprehends religious texts and traditions leads to the movement of all these misconceptions. For many years, Buddhism has suffered a number of misconceptions regarding its traditions, beliefs and practices. Among the misconceptions include the three ways of life, practices and beliefs (Nielsen, 2004). 2.0 Misconceptions of Buddhism. Buddhism is termed to be a pagan religion that involves worship of many gods rather than one accepted Christian God. There is also a misconception that Buddhists believe in reincarnation. It is termed that all Buddhists welcome suffering in their lives; they believe that when one suffers or is poor, then she/ he is regarded as a sincere Buddhist. All Buddhists in the world are to wear robes as part of their clothing. This is a misconception. Another misconception about Buddhism is that Buddhists must endure gruelling meditations in their entire life. Majority of people perceive that when Buddhist faithful put their hands together and bow their heads they are praying for a good fortune to come to their lives. It is stated that in America, members of ‘shin Buddhism’ are only Japanese and if not it is for Japanese- American citizens only (Tudge, 2002). Another misconception is a reflection on the appearance of a Buddhist, where a Buddha, is believed to be a Chinese monk who is a fat guy, and are always bald (shaving their heads completely), leaving no sign of any hair on their heads). All Buddhists in the world are said to be vegetarians, taking only vegetables as part of their diets. One of the wide misconceptions about Buddhism among the Buddhists is that all of them meditate more often and always, and they do so while sitting in full lotus. The Buddhists believe that all roads lead to the same mountain tops -but Buddhism is termed as the clear route to the top of the mountain (Nielsen, 2004). Majority of people think and believe that Buddhists live in monasteries as either monks or lay people who are secluded from the rest of the people. It is believed that one must be a monk or a lay nun to get enlightened. From the strange behaviours, beliefs and dressing, a misconception has been raised that Buddhists are Idol worshippers. The respect that they give Dalai Lama leads to misconception that Dalai Lama is the head of Buddhism. The social and interaction among individuals and Buddhists have led to a misconception that Buddhism is a pessimistic religion, an illusion created, and Buddhist behaviour is a dreadful one; serious individuals who don’t wear any kind of make-up, and in most cases they do not leisure at all. The Buddhism religion is termed as one that is boring and rigid that does not allow its faithful to desire any kind of earthly thing such as engaging in sports. The last misconception is that Buddhism is a reformation or upgrade of Hinduism (Tudge, 2002). 3.0 Reasons for and against misconceptions of Buddhism Buddhism is not a pagan religion just because Buddhists don’t concern themselves about God or gods; they put their concerns on ‘Dharma’ who is not a god or gods but the truth or reality. Their belief in reincarnation is true as the majority of the sects in Buddhism believe in reincarnation in the same way Christians do in God. The misconceptions of the Buddhism of
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The Four Immeasurables c. Nirvana 4. Conclusion 1. Introduction to Buddhism It is the religion which was founded by the great preacher, Siddhartha Gautama also known as the Buddha, the enlightened one (Dehsen et.al 1999, 33). According to historians, the Buddha was born in 556 B.C and lived and preached in the eastern part of the country now known as India (Zamosky, 2007, 9).
It soon became a leading religion in the entire Central China. Buddhism is practiced by over 300 million people all over the world. It appeared 2500 years ago due to Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as Buddha after he got enlightened beneath a Bodhi tree.
Siddharth Gautama is more popular amongst the masses by the name of Buddha. The aforementioned spiritual leader, Buddha, was an inhabitant of the Indian subcontinent and worked throughout his life to bring an end to misery amongst the people, eradicate illiteracy, selfishness and practice self-control.
The Rime Buddhist Center and Tibetan Institute of Studies’ located at 700 West Pennway, Kansas City, MO and was founded in 1993 by Chuck Stanford, (Lama Changchup Kunchok Dorje known to all as “Lama Chuck”) and Chaplain Mary Stanford. They both still serve on the board of directors, Lama Chuck as the Executive Director and Chaplain Mary as Vice Chair, Lama Chuck is also the spiritual leader of the community.
In a basic sense, Buddhism is exceptional among all religions. Buddhism does not need to promote incantation of any kind of God. Deliverance can be obtained if one can have control over his desires, as it is said - desire roots to all kinds of sufferings. The original religion did not have any God nor any Devil.
Western counter-culture has developed its own, new Buddhism. More exactly - it manipulated with different fragments of Buddhism, inserting them into its own bizarre mosaic. The counter-culture routinized soon and its radical leaders became respectable conservatives.
It teaches the Japanese people that their gods (Kami) created them, their kings were the descendants and they evolved into being divine creatures of the Sun Goddess. An individual in Japanese is allowed to be a member of Confucian, Buddhist or at the same time join Shinto cult.
He offered these teachings in the eastern India in 4th and 6th centuries. Buddha teachings were inclined more on the knowledge and appreciation of dependent origin of human kind and with efforts to eliminate ignorance among people. He therefore shared his views which help human beings and how human suffering can be eradicated (Christopher, 2000).
Scholars have divided the history of Buddhism into five distinct periods which are Pre-sectarian (or Early Buddhism); Sectarian Buddhism (or Nikayas Buddhism); Early Buddhist Schools; Early Mahayana Buddhism; Late Mahayana Buddhism; and Esoteric Buddhism (or Vajrayana Buddhism) (Takakusu 169).
Hence Buddhism is embraced my Asian cultures because it rejects diety, promotes peace and allows individuals to find their own path to salvation through inner suffering.
One of the critical elements why Buddhism is
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