World Religions Report
November 30, 2012
Buddhism is a religion with approximately 300 million adherents worldwide. Buddhism comes from 'budhi', meaning 'to awaken'. It is one of the largest religions in the world, just behind Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. For this study, I conducted an interview and researched the religion to gain a better understanding of their practices and beliefs. I also included a comparative section to help understand the differences and similarities between this religion and Christianity, one of the largest known religions.
Buddhism is different from many religions because they there is no belief in a supernatural deity, known ...view middle of the document...
This sect does not follow many of the scriptures or religious rites (Religion Facts, 2004). Instead, they refer to Buddha’s original teachings of meditation to find a Buddha-like nature within themselves.
The West Lafayette Zen group is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. With very few practicing Buddhists in the area, their meeting area is located in the Unitarian Universalist Church in West Lafayette, Indiana. This location was chosen because it is a place of worship for all religions. In my area, religious pluralism is not common. Therefore, finding a small gathering of Buddhists was quite exciting. The description of the gathering place will not stack up against a great Buddhist Temple though.
Most Buddhist temples are very ornate in design. This is to represent the enlightened mind of Buddha. Often, temples are designed to represent the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. Lavish decorations are also found in great temples. These decorations are often vibrant in color and depict a variation of colors. These colors are important to the Buddhist religion because each color represents an aura that is emanated from the body of the Buddha when he gained enlightenment (Harderwijk, 2011).
The WL Zen group meets twice a week at the UU Church. When the group meets, they bring items resembling the Buddhist religion to set up a place for learning. Different Buddha statues, ornate rugs, and throws are brought in to bring out the spirit of Buddhism, through the vibrant colors of the Buddhist flag. The WL Zen group believes that their teachings and beliefs are more important than having a luxurious place to gather.
Mark Hicks is one of the followers in the Zen group that I visited. He described himself as a simple man that is trying to make it in a tough world. He works in a local manufacturing business to support himself and his 16-year-old son. Mark seems very sincere in his beliefs in the Buddhist religion.
While interviewing Mark, he explained to me that Buddhism changed his life. His life was leading in a downward spiral many years ago. He was introduced to Buddhism ten years ago and his life was never the same. Buddhism taught him the importance in his own life and his actions. He felt as if his life of drugs and alcohol was a way to relieve him of daily suffering. Through his new found religion, he realized that his suffering was because of his own actions. However, this new found way of life does not come without challenges.
Mark states that one of the challenges to practicing this religion is that not many people understand the religion or why he is interested in it. He has to deal with people judging him for his differences. He feels that if he lived in an area where more religious pluralism exists, he would not have to endure the stereotyping that he receives. Another challenge to practicing this religion is finding a place in the community to practice. Luckily, the UU...