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Cultural Diversity and Diverse Sacred Spaces - Assignment Example

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Cultural diversity pertains to a society where people with different cultural systems co-exist (Pedersen & Connerley, 2005). Religion is one of the many factors that provide diversity to a society…
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Cultural Diversity and Diverse Sacred Spaces
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Download file to see previous pages These are all sacred places with spiritual significance to their believers, although their exact functions and related rituals somewhat vary for each religion.The Ka’ba in Mecca, the Wailing Wall, and the Bodhi Tree are the holiest sites because of what they represent to the history of these religions. The Wailing Wall, also called the Western Wall, is the holiest site for Judaism because it is the last remaining wall of the Second Temple. The First Temple refers to Solomon's Temple. This temple, however, was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. The Jews rebuilt the Temple, which the Romans destroyed in 70 CE. For several centuries, the Jews went to the Wailing Wall to cry over the destruction of their Second Temple. The Ka’ba is the holiest place for Islam. It is the heart of their hajj, or spiritual pilgrimage, and is located inside the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Muslims believe in the centrality of the Ka’ba as a sacred place of their faith – it is the space inside it, rather than Mecca itself, which is seen as consecrated (Morgan, 2010). Many Muslims think that Adam had built the original Ka’ba but it then was ruined by the Great Flood (Morgan, 2010). The Bodhi Tree is also the holiest place for Buddhists because it is the tree where Buddha attained enlightenment (Harvey, 1990). The original Bodhi tree and its progeny are treated as relics because they symbolize Buddha’s enlightenment (Harvey, 1990). Enlightenment, or being awakened, is also called the wisdom of emptiness. It means that individual existence is not possible since everything is interconnected (Harvey, 1990). The importance of enlightenment to Buddhism portrays the role of the Bodhi Tree in the attainment of this process. The Ka’ba and the Bodhi Tree have mystical origins that the Wailing Wall does not possess. The Ka’ba contains the sacred black stone that Abraham and Ishmael placed there (Morgan, 2010). Pre-Islamic worship believes that the stones of the Ka’ba came from heaven (Morgan, 2010). The Bodhi Tree has miraculous qualities. It is believed to be cut before and to have grown again miraculously the next night (Harvey, 1990). The Wailing Wall does not have any mythical source because it is a man-made creation. Its importance lies in its historical and social functions. These sacred places are centers of prayer or spiritual meditation, although they also serve social purposes. The Wailing Wall enhances the attachment of the people to their Jewish history and identity. It signifies their “displaced sense of persecution and religious compensation” (Heyd, 1999, p.22). The Western Wall acts as a place of prayer and community activities. The Jews have commonly inserted prayers into the wall cracks because of the belief that they will come true. The custom of inserting written prayers into the wall is so extensive that some American-Jewish newspapers take advertisements of services of putting in such prayers for sick Jews. Moreover, Jewish families often gather near the wall to celebrate social events, such as their children’s bar mitzvah, which is a party for boys who turned thirteen. The Ka’ba and the Bodhi Tree are distinct places of worship. Muslims and Buddhists go to these places as part of their pilgrimage. People go there to pray, to assert their faith, and to strengthen their religious communities. Like the Wailing Wall, these sacred sites reinforce the connection between believers and their relationship to their faith. Similar rituals are conducted around the Ka’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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