Understanding World Religions
Religious Studies

Understanding World Religions

The uniformity in religious beliefs is a feature which appears to be taking vital roots in most of the societies in the world.  Every religion has its origin which dictates the principles the followers of such region have to confer with to create peace during its practice from one generation to another. The world is coined under several religions practiced by different people at their discretions. The practice of these religions has spread enormously due to the work of all the explorers and missionaries. In this paper, the focus is on providing a comprehensive analysis of Buddhism to understand whether the religion is an orthopraxy or orthodoxy. In so doing, the paper explore the ways Buddhism as a religion is conceived on the ground of set correct practices and if so whether Buddhism is just a set of right beliefs practiced by some individuals. Additionally, the paper entails an explanation on Confucius concepts of self in regards to human relationships.

Buddhism can be understood as more of an Orthopraxy than an Orthodoxy. In What Ways can Buddhism be Conceived as a Set of Correct Practices and in What Ways is it a Set of Correct Beliefs

An essential otherness in the religious demesne is between orthodoxy which refers to correct beliefs while orthopraxy is the correct behaviors. These two concepts more often than not are presented as antagonistic analogous to the two sides of a coin. However, it important to note that even though there are some differences between these concepts some similarities do exist between them from the time it Buddhism was first come to be 2500 years ago. Prince Siddhartha Gautama, the pioneer of this religion, realized that he was unhappy with his life. He made a choice to depart from his opulent palace to explore the earth. In his journey, he met four types of people who changed his way of life. These comprised of a sick person, a corpse, a monk, and the elderly. After this occurrence, Siddhartha Gautama had to change his beliefs towards everyone in the society, and through this, he was able to develop correct beliefs and the behaviors which formed the core principles of this religion.

Currently, there exist three form of Buddhism practiced globally, some of these branches have smaller coverage with slight variations in their beliefs as well as the teaching offered to the believers. In spite of this, the core doctrines of Buddhism takes center stage of teaching in all the branches, and this is the reason why the ancient principles are still taught in the current world.  The Buddhist styles include Mahayana Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, and Vajrayana Buddhism. Some of these styles have gods that they pray to while some do not. Furthermore, some have developed scriptures in physical forms containing the doctrines of the religion teaching. In the context of Buddhism religion, the core beliefs and behavior comprise of the following.

The fundamental knowledge of Buddhism is known as reincarnation. It is a concept that individuals are reborn after death or after dying. In fact, several beliefs of this doctrine are of the opinion that a person must undergo the four stage including birth, living, death and eventually rebirth. An active Buddhist clearly differentiates between the idea of rebirth and reincarnation. In the latter, the person may recur continually while the former an individual does not return to the world as the same being ever again but in a more different form from the original one. Most of the scholars of religion compare the process with a leaf of a tree. After withering has occurred due to the changes in the biological processes, it falls off, and a new one commences to grow to replace it. It is similar in form to the old leaf that had initially fallen off, but its identity slightly differs. The illustration substantiates the orthodoxy nature of Buddhism beliefs and practices. After those several cycles, if an individual releases their affection to desire and the self-gratifications, he or she is in a position of attaining the Nirvana, which is a state of freedom and liberation from the earthly suffering.

Furthermore, the Buddhism as religion is anchored on three practices or training which the members ought to clearly understand in professing the doctrines of this faith. Sila is the first virtue members ought to familiarize themselves with during practicing. It advocates for real virtue, morality, as well as proper conduct profoundly grounded on two principles. The principle of equality and reciprocity the former gives all rights to all living things while the later focuses on the Golden Rule. The second practice is Samadhi concentrating on meditation, concentration, and mental development directing the mind to the path to wisdom and leads to personal freedom. Development of the brain strengthens analytical thinking hence assisting in maintaining proper conduct. Prajna training gives insight, enlightenment, and wisdom. It will only occur if the mind is calm and pure. These ideas illustrate clearly that Buddhism religion is some concepts of practices perceived and instilled in a person mind.

The Buddha’s Four Noble Truth shed light on human suffering. The Buddhists and the religion believed the following truths. First, suffering exists to everyone in the world, and it may be a result of sickness, loss, pain, and the transience of pleasure. Secondly, the causes of suffering in the world or to a person are due to human desires to control certain things which might either essential or non-essential. In most occasions, fame and jealousy of certain individuals may direct them in doing the wrong things. Thirdly, liberation from such surfing is possible if we act prudently in our daily lives. Finally, to end the suffering one must follow a particular path in his or her life. Some of these beliefs of Buddhists appear to inclusive of all the world situations.

For Confucius, apart from Human Relationships, there is No Self, Explain What this Means

The quest of determining and explicitly defining who we are is one which is boundless and full of uncertainties. It partially entails evaluating what makes humans and their accompanying characters. Different religion and cultural practices and experiences have displayed various concepts about what makes a self. However diverse and multi-dimensional the idea of self may be as postulated by religion and culture; it endeavors to establish a clear understanding of the same reality. It is a reality that tackles someone “being who is” in the face of the cultural and religious interference.

Confucius, a world-renowned philosopher from China, traveled far and wide the eastern world where he gathered profound knowledge on human thoughts. After attaining the requisite amount of knowledge and expertise, he began teaching Chinese the news ways aimed at understanding the development of personality better. Confucius body of thoughts and the subsequent application of his beliefs have led to the emergence of Confucianism. The definition of oneself according to Confucius does not consider the concrete and abstract approach. It does not view self on body or spirit. However, its main pillars depend on the concept that “human self” is mainly defined by personality, a collection of pseudo-development in reaction to the environment that the person interacts on a continuous basis. The nature of the interaction between the individual and its environment establishes relationships which guide his personality development.

In Confucianism, believers of the philosophy agree that human beings personalities are formed with four predetermined beginnings. The beginnings do not dictate someone’s future character entirely and do not mention self. There are four beginnings according to Confucius theory which comprises of the heart of wisdom, the heart of righteousness, heart of propriety, as well as the heart of wisdom. According to Confucius teachings, the beginnings above would lead Jen, Yi, Li, and Chih respectively. These “potential self” portended by the four origins of human beings are a representation of the flawless personality which people can achieve through a lifetime.  The underlying mission now is the realization of various personalities.

Relationships among human beings involve the interaction of people usually related to one another. Each and every member of the group has a pre-delegated duty towards the group members. When meeting one’s obligations to the group, the members adhere to a set of rules which act as a guide in their doings. In the case of a family, the family members conform to the family values which the older members of the family prepare. The elders within the family also exert a certain level of influence on the choices and by the young members. What are the end results of such a setup? The members of the relating group develop certain virtues which eventually shape up their personality. This Confucius theory bases its argument on the ideas stipulated by “The Great Learning” subsection Classic Rituals. Classic Rituals explains that investigation and knowledge extension are vital aspects in developing sincere thoughts and mind rectification. It further states that the process of adjusting one’s mind leads to character shape up which in turn guides personality.

According to the teachings of Confucius, the development of human character greatly depends on the person’s level and type of interactions. It is a concept which cuts through the various levels of societal setup; which includes family, community, and state. It is worth noting that from birth when everyone harbors the potential self, the actualization of the self is a slow process which involves learning from the people in the environment. It is, therefore, justified, to conclude that self is a manifestation of human relationships. The existence of different environments which people interact with has led to the development of various personalities.

Buddhism is a religion based on the concepts of beliefs and core principles. The religion has its unique way of creating unity among its believers. The beliefs of the religion are build on virtues that are taught to the new believers to familiarize them with what is expected from them once they agree with the religion doctrines. On the other hand, Confucianism theory explains the significant of human environment on the development of personality. It applies from the smallest social unit of the family to the complex system of the national government of a given country. Confucius states that human being is born with an empty mind which he refers to empty thing which is clueless but gains knowledge progressively leading to a define but dynamic “self.”

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