Expression of Buddhism Practices in the United States Expression of Buddhism Practices in the United States University of Phoenix World Religious Traditions I REL 133 Buddhism in the United States The exploration of Buddhism, and how its practices will be expressed, as it moves into America will indeed be an interesting topic. Questions will arise while concepts and beliefs will be tested. As Buddhism spreads in America will the religion endure change, becoming more casual and gender equal?
Some thought is that Buddhism will be scientifically compatible enough to intrigue those who believe in modern day medicine, but need the soul and spirit treated in the same instance. This will cause a connection between science and spirit. Buddhism offers the idea a great deal of areas are considered to be a miracle in life. The expectation is that Buddhism will have a significant psychological impact with these concepts as the culture integrates into the West (Bauerle, 2000). Introduction
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The development and history of Buddhism is a very interesting journey. “The one who became Buddha was born about 563 B. C. E. ” (Fisher, 2003, p. 141). Over time Buddhism evolved into different denominations containing various interpretations of the teachings. Buddhism moved across the lands and into the hearts of people with various backgrounds. During the evolvement of Buddhism it eventually reached the United States where is has secured its importance in American’s lives, even those with no Asian history at all (Heartland Sangha American Buddhism, 2008).
Some have derived the name “American Buddhism” since its arrival in the United States. Buddhist believers consider this to be just a label. Buddhists in America do see their religion growing and multiplying, due in part to technology today. Buddhism is considered to be in its infant stages in American, however, with media development the history and practices are easily accessed. More American’s today are interested in what Buddhism has to offer their body and spirit (Heartland Sangha American Buddhism, 2008).
Hinduism and Buddhism both originated in the Indian subcontinent. They share a significant history which entangles a strange relationship. Before finding his own path, Buddha was raised in a traditional Hindu family and approached Hindu gurus trying to find answers to suffering. With many similarities and differences both beliefs have obtained their own significance in the religious world. Traveling across the lands practicing their beliefs, they both strive for acknowledgment and respect just as many others religions do (Jayram, V. , 2007).
This discussion will reflect on the history of Buddhism and its development. It will look at how Buddhism is practiced in the United States and how those practices may evolve. The topic will also reflect on Hinduism comparing it with the beliefs, development, evolvement and practices of Buddhism. It will offer interesting and valuable information in regard to the importance and relevance of Buddhism in today’s America. History of Buddhism The history of Buddhism began some 2,500 years ago with Siddhartha Gautama also known as Buddha or the Enlightened One.
He was born in Lumbini a northern part of India in the year 580 BC, although his exact birth and death times are uncertain (Buddhist Temples, 2008). Siddhartha left home at the age of 29 leaving behind his wealth, position and family to become a monk in search of enlightenment, which he eventually achieved through an assortment of meditation and discipline (Pearson, 2005). Throughout life Siddhartha set out on a journey to teach people the path of enlightenment, which would set them free from the cycle of life and death.
With time Buddhism spread to several countries of the world, which resulted in the development of a religion. Buddhism passed on from India to China and East Asia in 50 CE, then to Japan in 550 CE. Later Buddhism peaked in China around 589 CE, then to Tibet in 609 CE and finally making its way to the USA in 1905 CE. In today’s current times, Buddhism has spread to almost all the countries of the world, with the population of Buddhists estimated to be in the amount of 360 million followers. Parts of Australia and the United Kingdom are also being introduced to Buddhism (Buddhist Temples, 2008).
The initial teachings of Buddha were called the Four Noble Truths which he shares in a sermon at a deer park in Sarnath, India. He outlined what became known as the central belief system for the Buddhist religion, which are; human existence is suffering, suffering is caused by desire, only by ending desire can humans end suffering and that Buddha’s eightfold path can end desire. The Four Noble Truths taken together are called Dharma; also known as the Path of Righteousness as living one’s life according to the codes of conduct intended for the Buddhists.
Buddha’s Eightfold Path is similar to the traditional beliefs found in Christianity and other faiths; they include a focus on selflessness, concentration on helping others, and dissatisfaction with violence and war, including the mistreatment of animals (Pearson, 2005). Meditation is the heart of the Buddhist way of life which helps an individual reach a higher level of consciousness. Through meditation an individual’s mind could be at peace, while understanding and calming the movements of the mind. The Enlightened One reaches a level where he is free from mistake and psychological barriers.
Buddhists also believe that practicing meditation will reduce one’s stress and anxiety in life. In the end, following all these Buddhist traditions generates a better realization of goals, projects and ambitions in the Buddhist way of life. How is the practice of Buddhism expressed in the United States? The United States population continues to be interesting to explore some of the things that will happen as Buddhism come into America. (Bauerle, 2007, p. 1) Buddhism is the right medicine and will become much more connected and casual if individuals will go through with it.
There are many Buddhist centers in the United States, and as they become popular, America will begin to see a big explosion. As Buddhism is practiced in America, it is going to be a tradition, because there will be a lot of frills of the traditions needed for inspiration. However, people will have to become accustom to a modern American life. Basically as Americans, we need the meditation, because it helps connect people with one another. (Bauerle, 2007, p. 2) The meditation will take upon a different form in which to help people actually move and use movement as a part of meditation because of its dynamics.
For instance, Tai Chi, Qi, Gong, movement meditations, yoga and dance because there is a real sense to understand how an individual works with his or her physical body. In using his or her physical body it will be done as a part of a spiritual expression. (Bauele, 2007, p. 2) Equally important, Buddhism teaches us to have peace within ourselves, and if we do not understand the true nature of the world, then we will never experience peace within. (Choo, 2006, January 22, p. 1) Buddha has taught others through controlling the power of their mind that they are free of greed, hatred and delusion.
Many years ago, Buddha discovered the way of peace and happiness through realizing the true nature of life and this universe. Buddha discovered that the whole world had certain characteristics and that life continued to exist because of certain reason. (Choo, 2006, January 22, p. 1) In the United States, the majority of people is very discontented and can not be fully happy in life because they have become conscious that nothing is permanent in life. Without each of our lives yearning for permanent and complete satisfaction, every individual is very miserable.
Until he or she realize that it is the nature of this world and our lives are constantly shaped with circumstances in which we all have to endure, then we can accept as it is and become at peace with our lives and the world as well. More importantly, Buddha encouraged his followers to use their common sense and human intelligence to analyze his teachings before accepting them. The natural law cause and effect rules the world. (Choo, 2006, January 22, p. 1) No matter who you may be, where you may go, or what you may believe, this universal law rules supreme.
There is no escape and it is perfectly impartial if Americans can live a harmless life, and put forth effort to reduce their greed, hatred and delusion, then Buddhism can be expressed in the United States. Comparing and Contrasting Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the most influential religions in the world. Both of these religion originated in India with similar philosophy and culture. Hinduism and Buddhism contrast with each other, the two religions are similar in philosophy, but they differ when it comes to share structure. Buddhism and Hinduism are both Polytheistic, which “means being of enlightenment” (Cline, Austin, 2008). The Buddhist religions are Manjushri, (Bodhisattvas of Wisdom) and Avaloktesvara (Bodhisattvas of Compassion)” (Ross, Kelley, 2004). ‘The Hindu Polytheism are Vishun (God of Order), Shiva, (God of Destruction and Reproduction, and Maha-devi (The Great Goddess)” (Ross). “Buddhism and Hinduism both believe in Samsara (birth and rebirth). The two religions have a way to break the cycle and that is a belief in the theory of achieving Moksha. Moksha deals with the idea that one can reach freedom from Samsara and therefore birth, death, rebirth, re-death, and it continues to repeat itself” (V. Jayaram, 2007).
The Hindus have the laws of Karma. The laws of karma are a belief of certain effects for particular actions. Therefore, making Hinduism strives to be good to one another and ensure good Karma. The Buddhist religion as the same ideas for Karma as the Hindus, the only difference is that the Buddhist as a ranking system and the Hindus do. The Hindus and Buddhist believe in non-violence. The Buddhists must avoid killing or harming any living thing. The Buddhist scriptures do not refer to violence when resolving conflicts. The two religions convey the concept of non-violence, as the most important virtue. Conclusion
To recap what we have discussed. We have covered a small but diverse part of Buddhism. Like its history of when, and where Buddhism was create, 530 in India, and who created it, Siddhartha Gautama. We also discussed the Four Noble Truths, the way in which Buddhism is practiced here in the U. S. , in a way it has become mainstream through practices like Yoga, and meditation. We have talked about how Americans have become disconnected and can never be happy in life because we know nothing in permanent. Also that Buddha is about teaching people to use common sense and intelligence to understand his teachings.
Finally we talked about how Hinduism and Buddhism share some similarities, like ideas about the “after-life”, and the belief that violence is not the answer to any problem. We hope that you have been able to learn from us and that you take something with you. References Bauerle, Brian. , (2000). Reshaping of buddhism in the united states. Heartland Sangha American Buddhism. Retrieved December 12, 2008, from http://www. heartlandsangha. org/Bauerle1. html Buddhist-Temples. com. (2008). History of Buddhism. Retrieved December 12, 2008 from http://www. buddhist-temples. com/history-of-buddhism. html Choo, J. 2006, January 22). The Practice of Buddhism. p. 1. , Retrieved December 11, 2008, from http://en. allexperts. com/q/Buddhists-948/pratice-Buddhism. htm. Cline, Austin, (2008). Bodhisattvas, New York Times Retrieved December 15,2008. http://atheism. about. com/library/glossary/eastern/bldef_bodhisattvahtm Fisher, Mary P (2003). Living Religions (5th ed. ). Upper Saddle River, N. J. : Prentice-Hall Inc. Heartland Sangha American Buddhism (2008). What you do may just go down in history. Retrieved December 2, 2008, from http://www. heartlandsangha. org/history. html Jayram, V. (2007). Hinduism and buddhism.
Hinduwebsite. Retrieved December 13, 2008, from http://www. hinduwebsite. com/hinduism/h_buddhism. asp Pearson, J. (2005). Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha; 2005, p2-2, 1p. University of Phoenix, electronic library, EBSCOhost. Retrieved December 12, 2008 from http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true=f5h=15320183=ehost-live Ross, Kelley L. Ph. D. (2004). The Devotionalistic Gods in Hinduism. RetrievedDecember 15,2008. http://www. friesian. com/gods. htm V. Jayaram. (2007). Hinduism and Buddhism. Retrieved December 15, 2008. http://www. hinduwebsite. com/hinduism/h_buddhism. asp