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Modernity of Buddhism and Christianity

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Published: Thu, 21 Sep 2017

Adib Rahim

Draft: Tribal to Universal Religion

Prompt: Historians argue that religious traditions emerge within and through traditions and beliefs that already exist. These new religions borrow from, adapt, and reject older traditions, and their ideas can often be traced back to multiple existing systems of belief. The documents collected in “Tribal to Universal Religion” help you trace part of that lineage. Relying on a full analysis of the form, style, and context of these documents, consider how new religions break out of their localized context: How do Buddhism and Christianity draw from older traditions while creating something new?

Historians have argued that traditions from religions have emerged within traditions and beliefs that have already existed before. These religions often borrowed, adapted or rejected the older traditions to create what their religions are now today. These religions borrowed core values but went in different directions. For example we see this idea with Buddhism and Hinduism and Christianity and Judaism. We see an alteration of old ideas and new ideas to appeal to people at the time to end controversy over the main set of values believed at the time.

Christianity carried over many of the values and ideas of Judaism but at the same time branches off from the religion going in a different direction. Christianity and Judaism are mostly similar as they believe in this one god who is this almighty power. Christianity and Judaism also tend to share values of the Hebrew bible (Old Testament) but Christianity involves the New Testament to. “Paul became the most vigorous missionary of Jesus, traveling throughout the Mediterranean converting nonbelievers and corresponding with communities of fellow followers Paul spread his gospel to others who were neither Jewish nor had known Jesus” In this quote we see that the Paul’s intent was to spread the word of god. Like Judaism there seems to be this emphasis on this obligation to god. Jews were considered to be only put in this earth to be only obligated to god. This idea is represented with this idea of circumcision. Circumcision in the Old Testament was a symbolic act to show your loyalty/obligation to god to which a Jewish male was entered to a covenant with god. “The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.” Even if you are a Jewish male following Judaism laws but you are not physically circumsized you aren’t actually Jewish”. But theres also this similar idea with Christianity that covenant with god is through the acceptance and belief of your god. Christians weren’t only bound to mark with this mark of circumcision. We see the same idea with Judaism. “A man is not a Jew if he is only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. “No a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly: and circumcision of the heart, by the spirit, not by the written code”. We see this juxtaposing idea of circumcision throughout both religions. This value of being attached to only god is seen through both religions. Unlike Judaism, Christianity believed that Jesus as “god”. “Immediately after the suffering of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven” with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” This quote from the Christian bible shows how Jesus is glorified as this almighty being like god describing with much power and authority. We see phrases like “stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heaven will be shaken “. This connotative language incites fear within the reader which the intent of a god is supposed to be as you’re only fear should be god.

In Buddhism we see that there are values and beliefs that branch off of Hinduism but still go in different directions. Both religions believe in this idea of reincarnation and this idea that suffering is caused by attachment to things and people in this “physical world”. There are two types of Hindus which are the Vedas and Upinishads There are two types of Buddhism commonly known Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada Buddhism believes heavily on Buddha. Mahayana Buddhism believes in this belief that these godly beings exist in other realms but they cannot help people in our physical world. They both share the fundamentals of Buddhism but they still arise differently in some aspects. Unlike Hinduism anyone can enter this state of nirvana no matter your stance in society or this caste system. We are introduced to the youth of Buddha in “Buddhism:Gotama’s discovery” we see his first encounter with this idea of “Universal suffering”. We see Buddha being taken to a park by his charioteer in his carriage. He encounters 4 different men changing his view on his lifestyle. First he sees a man who is suffering with old age. The second encounter he sees a man who is suffering with sickness. The third encounter he sees death. This encounter leaves Buddha very confused as he is questioning this idea of life, if life is only full of suffering of old age, sickness and death. He then encounters a man who is appeared to have a shaven head and a yellow robe that can be described as solitary. Buddha follows this man to disattach himself from universal suffering. Was Buddha actually a “god” or rather just a being filled with wisdom. Connecting this idea to Hinduism we see this idea of questioning the fundamentals about the nature of life, death and how to act in accordance to your religion in The Bhagavad Gita. We are introduced to reach this way of spirituality is to be truthful.” We see this binary with the two religions with karma vs Dharma. Karma is the act of something towards dharma which is a sacred duty. Every action that we do has an equal reaction and over the course of their lifetime if one is accordance with this divine we can gradually work our karma. “The person whose mind is always free from attachment, who has subdued the mind and senses, and who is free from desires, attains the supreme perfection of freedom from Karma through renunciation.”

Conclusively we see the alteration of old ideas that religions use to establish their core values. We see this juxtaposing idea with Christianity and Judaism and Buddhism and Hinduism.

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