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Buddha Religion and service learning

Part 1

1. Non-duality also means that one is affected by what happens in the world system. This is respect to the political, corporate or social systems. One should therefore take appropriate action in alleviating the wrongs happening in any facet of life

2. The belief of Bodhisattvahood, its leading into Buddhahood and the emphasis on meditation. The first way is through the replacement of the arhat ideal by enabling anyone to take up the bidhisattva vow. This vow is taken in either a monastic or a secular context. Another innovation is in the interpretation of Buddha’s nature. This is based on the existence of countless Buddha’s spread over countless universes. The third way is embedded in doctrine and philosophy where in the reaffirming of the existence of the soul but the rejection of its

3. The multiplications of divine beings, the establishment of Lotus Sutra and other schools. This period saw the founding of the Jodo-shu by Genku (1133-1212), where enlightenment was not achievable by man alone but by surrendering to Buddha Amida. This led to the decline of Tendai and Shingon schools.

4. It is based on Buddhahood. It perpetuates the attainment of “enlightenment” as a possibility for any person and the teachings affirm the realities of day-to-day experiences. This is of great importance to the East Asian Buddhism because it aligns with Shakyamuni’s empathetic purpose of opening the way to enlightenment to all people.

5. Experimental Buddhism is the conformation of Buddhist traditions and institutions to the modern ways. This concept is evidenced where the Dharma in Japan is being adapted to suit the environment of the current world system and ideals.

6. The main motivation to go on Buddhist-style pilgrimage is to experience a sense of detachment from the world and being free of the worldly attachments. A pilgrim is described as someone who has abandoned the world. With this respect, I would therefore be free from the cares and worries of this world and would have attained a sense of self-realization. Some of the preferred destinations for my Buddhist-style pilgrimage would be the regions located in the Gangetic plains of northern India and Southern Nepal.

7. Women Buddhists in northern America have been able to provide leadership unfettered by the patriarchal environment common in most of the northern American states. Sociologists cite that women leaders who are Buddhists serve in these positions in the same capacity as their male counterparts and thereby establishing new cultural settings.

8. The term Bodhisattva means someone on the path to Awakening. The Mahayana terms such people to have distanced and segregated them from earthly pleasures. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is one who can be considered as such. This is because he forsook the earthly pleasures in sacrifice for the betterment of society. This also led to his popular approval after his death.

9. The practice of self-immolation practiced by Buddhists cannot be compared to natural suicide because the aspect has much deeper meaning. Self-immolation by Buddhist monks is taken as an act of sacrifice for the betterment of society. With this regard, it is self-emulations are deemed religious since it involves the detachment from earthly pleasures and the sacrifice of ones life for the betterment of society.

Part II: Essays

Response 1

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists. He is believed to be a reincarnation of 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. The Tibetan spiritual leaders are recognized as reincarnations of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and patron saint of Tibet. On November 28 2011, he delivered a very informative yet inspiring speech. His view of the underlying progress and changes in the Buddhist religion over the past few years is very insightful and rightfully placed.

He states that the Buddhist traditions have changed immensely over the past fifty years. He sites that in the past, the Buddhist communities shared a lot in common with only a distant inkling to each other’s existence. The different Buddhist communities did not appreciate the much they held in common with each other. This aspect can be attributed to the lack of efficient and well laid out transport and communication system. Technological advancements have greatly influenced religion among communities, as people are now aware of the happenings the world over.

The aspect of change within the Buddhism is one of the key themes evidenced in his speech. This aspect has been evidenced during my service learning experience in a very realistic manner. The Buddhist learning environment and manner has changed over the years, in the past, the learning of Buddhism was restricted to certain communities and regions. The different Buddhist communities could not interact with each other and hence upheld their own teachings. However, during my service learning experience is that I am now able to access the entire array of Buddhist traditions that is being taught in vast lands. In addition, I have been able to meet with people who study different Buddhist traditions and together we have been able to learn from one another.

The Dalai Lama also speaks of the unique philosophy of interdependence evidenced in the Buddhist religion unlike other religions. This has been experienced in my own service learning experience as we have been able to research and learn from other religions without any inherent bias towards any religion. Through this, I have been able to realize the inherent similarity within the various religions of the world as evidenced by the Dalai Lama. All religions share inherent similarities on the common virtues such as love and the need for peace.

Another interesting theme that the Dalai Lama speaks on is the importance of works. I have realized the importance of putting into practice what I have been learning in my day-day life. During my service learning experience, I have learnt that the more you put into practice what you have learnt and meditate upon, the more the philosophy of Buddhism becomes real in your life and develops much meaning.

Response 2

The world over, there are many who develop an interest into the Buddhist religion and aspire to know more about it. However, very few take this interest seriously and endeavor their lives to the practices and values of the Buddhism. One of this few ones is non-other that Steve jobs. The author of the article indicates that Buddhism had a much greater meaning for Steve jobs than just a “lotus-scented footnote”. Steve Jobs was a very dedicated Buddhist who seriously learnt, meditated and practiced the Zen philosophies. He occasionally took part in lengthy meditation retreats in Tassajara. This is identified as the first established Zen monastery in the United States of America.

Other aspects of Buddhism evidenced in his life involve his religious marriage to his wife. Steve Jobs married his wife under Buddhist customs and practices. Steve jobs also offered most of his funds for charity indicating that he valued the sacrifice of oneself for the betterment of society.

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