Buddhism: The Eight Characteristics Of Religion

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Religion is a way to respond to the sometimes unanswerable questions in life. Religion is used to look for the ultimate meaning, and the purpose to these questions, when answered they can give a peace of mind to people. In our society today there are five main religions practiced in the world, these are; Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Buddhism. The eight characteristics of a religion include cultic practices or rituals, beliefs, sacred stories, social structure, sacred texts, sacred symbols, religious ethics and religious experiences. Out of the 5 major religions I have chosen Buddhism. Buddhism roots started in 6th century BC in India. Its founder was Siddhartha Gautama.

Many buddhists visit, pray and meditate at temples and shrines.
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They believe meditation as a type of conditioning for one's mind and spiritual selves, and that by achieving these states of meditation they bring their thoughts and feelings under control. Only when this is achieved is it possible for them to achieve awareness which can lead towards enlightenment. Buddhists often meditate in groups, this also has a benefit in which the Buddhist is given a calm reminder that they are part of a larger Buddhist community.The traditional way Zen Buddhists meditate, or perform Zazen (seated-meditation) is by sitting on a Zafu (thick, round cushion) in the full-lotus position. The purpose of the Zafu is to elevate the hips, therefore forcing the knees to be firmly grounded to the floor. In addition a Zabuton (mat) is recommended to be placed underneath to cushion the knees from a hard surface. Once the buddhist is in this position they let go of free floating thoughts in their mind whilst calmly breathing and having a focus on one thing. Meditation is not a skill that can be achieved overnight and can require many years of practice. The most challenging part of meditation is clearing the mind, this is overcome by many through the use of the including; A mantra, which is just a series of words that are chanted, often repetitively. Another way is to concentrate on their breath or to focus on an object such as the flame of a …show more content…
This guide is known to Buddhists as the Eightfold Path. ‘The steps of the Noble Eightfold Path are Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Moreover, there are three themes into which the Path is divided: good moral conduct (Understanding, Thought, Speech); meditation and mental development (Action, Livelihood, Effort), and wisdom or insight (Mindfulness and Concentration).’.

In the third Noble Truth I mention the cycle of rebirth. This is because Buddhists believe in death and the reincarnation of the spirit. Another belief they have is that depending on the kind of life you currently live determines your next life and so forth, this belief is called ‘karma’.

Buddhists believe in the Three Jewels which can be compared to the Holy Trinity in Christianity. The Three Jewels include Buddha, dharma (the teaching of Buddha), and the sangha (buddhist community). Buddhists use these three ideals as their basic, primary guide through

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