Theological Reflection Paper Buddhism

Length:  4 pages (1368 words) | Sources:  5  | Subject:  Religion - Buddhism | Type: Research Paper | Paper: #18990769 | Author:  

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Mahayana Buddhism, which caught on in China, Japan and Korea, sustained the Four Noble Truths and the practice of meditation. But Mahayanans saw the Buddha as a divinity to which prayers could be addressed. They also revered-and hoped to become-bodhisattvas, fully enlightened, Buddha-like beings who had won the right to enter Nirvana but chose to be reborn on earth to enlighten others. A cornucopia of Mahayana offshoots sprang up over the centuries. Zen, which was adopted by the Japanese samurai class, combined chanting and teacher-student dialogue with an extremely strict sitting meditation practice, often enforced with whacks from a ceremonial wand. As a tool toward faster enlightenment, Zen's Rinzai School had its students wrestle conundrums, or koans, such as the famous query "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" The late-blooming Soka Gakkai practice, favored by Tina Turner, is also nominally a Japanese Mahayana offshoot, although rather atypical in its teaching that the repetition of a four-word phrase, translatable as "Devotion to the mystic law of the Lotus Sutra [scripture]" can gain adherents happiness and material amenities in this world (Van Biema).

From the beginning, meditation and observance of moral precepts were the foundation of Buddhist practice. The five basic moral precepts, undertaken by members of monastic orders and the laity, are to refrain from taking life, stealing, acting unchastely, speaking falsely, and drinking intoxicants. Members of monastic orders also take five additional precepts: to refrain from eating at improper times, from viewing secular entertainments, from using garlands, perfumes, and other bodily adornments, from sleeping in high and wide beds, and from receiving money. Their lives are further regulated by a large number of rules known as the Pratimoksa. The monastic order (sangha) is venerated as one of the "three jewels," along with the dharma, or religious teaching, and the Buddha. Lay practices such as the worship of stupas (burial mounds containing relics) predate Buddhism and gave rise to later ritualistic and devotional practices ("Buddhism").

Buddhism encircles its belief system around tranquility, understanding, and cohabitation in an understanding way, as well as the need for meditation and focus. Here…[continue]



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