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REL 133 Current Issues of Buddhism

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REL 133 Current Issues of Buddhism
Current Issues in Buddhism
Calvin Young
REL 133
April 28, 2015
Dr. William Sunday
Current Issues in Buddhism
As the culture develops and modernizes, particular issues arise in regards to religions. When challenges arise, it is important to study and understand how each religion will resist or change to the pressure. This paper will examine the similarities of Buddhism to other religions to find common themes or characteristics. Then, different ways the Buddhism is responding to the changing needs of the modern world will be explained. Finally, women’s roles in Buddhism and how they have changed will be explored.
Common Characteristics
As Buddhism originated from the Hindu region, it shares many themes and beliefs with Sikhism, Jainism, and Hinduism. The first of these beliefs is the cycle of rebirth, also known as samsara, the belief in karma that influences one’s rebirth. While Buddhism does not believe in the presence of an immortal soul, Buddhism does teach that one’s personality and essence is reborn into the next life to continue the path towards nirvana and escape from the unending cycle of reincarnation (Molloy, 2013). Stemming from the belief that one may be reborn into different life forms, depending on one’s karma, is an expanded prohibition towards harming another life form or Ahimsa. While Buddhism does not go the extreme that some followers of Jainism have been known to, Buddhism does encourage a vegetarian diet among its followers, and discourages any profession that results in the harm of another living being. Also, due to Buddhism’s expansion into China and Japan, its influence on the modern practices of Daoism, Confucianism and Shinto can be clearly seen. Buddhism can be seen as the philosophical teachings of a single man that have grown into a religion, similar to Confucianism. This nature has allowed both Confucianism and Buddhism the flexibility to meld with, influence, and co-exist with other cultures and religions. This nature is best



References: Appleton, N. (2011, Spring). In the footsteps of the Buddha? Women and the bodhisatta path in Theravada Buddhism. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 27(1), 33-51, 147. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/jfemistudreli.27.1.33 BuddhaNet. (2008). Buddhism and women: Position of women at the time of the Buddha. Retrieved from http://buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/position.html Dewaraja, L. S. (1994). The position of women in buddhism. Retrieved from http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/dewaraja/wheel280.html Molloy, M. V. (2013). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. O 'Brien, B. (2015). Buddhism and sexism: Can there be buddhist gender equality? Retrieved from http://buddhism.about.com/od/becomingabuddhist/a/sexism.html Shaw, M. (1994). Passionate enlightenment: Women in tantric buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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