Buddhism Is Distinct From Most Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Instead, the practice bhakti-style devotion to various Buddhas and other supramundane figures (Protehero, 2010, p. 177). These are not manifestations of one God, as might be understood by practitioners of most Western religions, but more similar to spirit guides.

Another aspect of Buddhism that might be surprising is the understanding of "karma." The word is commonly used in our current lexicon and refers to the good or bad that comes one's way based on one's own good or bad deeds. It is thought of as a reward or, conversely, payback. It helps people make sense of the world if they can conceive of such cosmic justice. However, karma is more complicated and really has to do with cause and effect. The idea is that everything one does has consequences, which must be dealt with constructively before one can move on (Martin, 2011). It is about learning and personal growth rather than reward and punishment.

The Buddhist notion of reincarnation is also misunderstood. A core Buddhist teaching is that we have no soul or self (Protehero, 2010, p. 184). It is a difficult concept for practitioners of Western religions, who believe that the soul lives on after death. Many proponents of the pro-life movement also argue that the soul exists before we are even born. Westerners think that the soul keeps being born into the material world so that lessons can be learned. Since true Buddhists believe in neither the self nor the soul, this thinking does not make sense. According to Buddhist teachings, it is the rel="follow">perception of reality, not reality itself, that puts one in the cycle of rebirth. Breaking the pattern of cyclical thinking breaks the cycle of reincarnation, not the learning of lessons (Martin, 2011).

Buddhism is thought to embody selflessness, but it is in fact a religion that focuses on the individual more than on society (Prothero, 2010, 181). The notion of suffering is as it relates to one's self. In other words, individual suffering is due to how one views the world, not because of anything that is happening (or not happening) externally. "Engaged Buddhism," a term coined by the Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese monk, refers to efforts to apply some Buddhist teachings to deal with social and economic problems such as poverty, war and injustice (Prothero). It is a beautiful idea and practice that nevertheless contributes to misconceptions Americans have about Buddha and his teachings.

As has been shown, there are aspects of Buddhism that have been extracted and applied to Western life, by practitioners of many different religions. These are positive influences and should be celebrated. However, true understanding of Buddhism encompasses much more than popularized aspects such as meditation and karma.

References

Bailey, S.P. (2010). American zenophilia. Humanities 31(2).

Martin, S. (2011). 10 things you didn't know about Buddhism. The Boomington Post. Retrieved from http://www.sharpseniors.com/blog/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-buddhism/

Prothero, S. (2010). God is not one: Eight rival religions that run the world -- and why their differences matter. New York: HarperOne.

Wilson, J. (2011). The popularity of selected elements of Buddhism in North America. Dharma…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Bailey, S.P. (2010). American zenophilia. Humanities 31(2).

Martin, S. (2011). 10 things you didn't know about Buddhism. The Boomington Post. Retrieved from http://www.sharpseniors.com/blog/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-buddhism/

Prothero, S. (2010). God is not one: Eight rival religions that run the world -- and why their differences matter. New York: HarperOne.

Wilson, J. (2011). The popularity of selected elements of Buddhism in North America. Dharma World. Retrieved from http://www.rk- world.org/dharmaworld/dw_2011julysept selectedelements.aspx

Cite This Essay:

"Buddhism Is Distinct From Most" (2013, August 03) Retrieved January 27, 2021, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/buddhism-is-distinct-from-most-93939

"Buddhism Is Distinct From Most" 03 August 2013. Web.27 January. 2021. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/buddhism-is-distinct-from-most-93939>

"Buddhism Is Distinct From Most", 03 August 2013, Accessed.27 January. 2021,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/buddhism-is-distinct-from-most-93939