Dharma is under the teachings of Buddhism as a religion which was practiced by the Hindu people in Ancient India. To understand dharma we must first understand the religion itself. From the previous chapters of the book we realized that Buddha was the founder of the religion. Buddhism is a form of religion whose inception was in India. Buddhism as a religion gained followers who were supposed to follow certain regulation, and that’s where Dharma originated as a teaching under Buddhism religion. According to the teaching of Buddhism, Dharma is comprehended as the way of the living of the people who practice the same religion. It somehow dictated how the people practicing the same religion behaved i.e. ritual, ethical conduct, caste rules, and civil and criminal law. (pg. 137)
According to the interpretation of the Buddhism, in habitual Hindu society, dharma has historically stood for a variety of ideas, ritual, ethical conduct, caste rules, and civil and criminal law. Its most familiar implication nonetheless pertains to two major morals: that communal life should be structured through precise and well-regulated classes, and that a person’s life in a class should be structured into distinct stages. Dharma also refers to the knowledge and principle of the originator of Buddhism.
As a religion it has spread all over the world. (pg.160) And the United States have been appreciated as the major vibrant center of Buddhism. It is quite evident from the book that the practice of Buddhism as a religion has been embraced even in Asia in the modern world.
It has also quite evident that it is no longer a male dominated field as most of the Buddhist branches worldwide are incorporating or are positively inviting the service of women in the spread of the religion as they are identifying new roles. (pg.161)
In the current state of affairs in the world, Buddhism has been identified as one of the forces among the many engaged in the social affairs of the society. (pg. 161) Because they have identified it role as a religion to the social problems affecting the modern world today i.e. Correcting injustice, oppression of women, famine, cruelty to animals, nuclear testing, warfare and ecological devastations.
To be able to elucidate more on the Zen Monastery, the comprehension of what a monastery is of much significance to the review. According to the book, (pg. 151) Zen is understood as the great way of enlightenment. As to my understanding of a Monastery, it denotes a structure that houses a room set aside for prayer (e.g. an oratory) as well as the household quarters and workplaces for monastic, whether monks or nuns, and whether dwell in as a community or solitarily. According to the book, Zen Monastery is one of the renowned monasteries of time (pg.158) and West’s most appreciated Zen Buddhist monasteries and schooling center. Since its inception, Zen Monetary has presented saintly practitioners through programs that take place within the context of authentic, full-time Zen monastic training. Throughout the year, instructors, workers and particular guests lead retreats that underscore each of the areas that form Zen Monetarist distinctive schooling atmosphere.
Life in a Zen Monastery incorporates the education in all the Buddhist aspects of religion i.e. discover the account of Buddhism from its initial stages to the surfacing of the Mahayana custom using true and non-sectarian methods they attempt to explain when, why, and how this particular branch of Buddhism came into being/reality. And also the practice of the Monastery ethical practices until one becomes a monk or a nun. It is always a practice that one can dedicate all his life as a celibate and practice being a Monk or nun for a lifetime or a short term representation. (pg.162)
Taoism and Confucianism
Taoism and Confucianism are religions common in East Asia. They grew largely in china before spreading to Japan and later Korea. Interesting though is the manner in which the two religions co-exist with each other as complementary values among the East Asia society.
Indigenous spiritual practices are still evident in these religions. This is clearly amplified by the conduction of particular features, one major one being the veneration of ancestors. Veneration which is basically paying of respect to the deceased ancestors is driven by the belief that the spirits of the ancestors remain closely bonded to their living descendants for quite some time. This respect is granted to them through funerals, mourning rites as well as continued offering of sacrifices in their honor.
Conduction of such rituals was majorly based on the ancient Chinese study and analysis of human and of nature. They therefore wanted to put their actions in order so that they could find a coherent and much convincing course within the changing cosmos. Upon the discovery that any action will produce an equal and opposite reaction they strived for a convenient way of discretion as well as moderation.
Taoism-the way of nature and immorality
Taoism places great importance on the withdrawal from crowds to a contemplative kind of life in nature. They thus strive to find that still and peaceful centre be it in a chaotic environment since they hold the notion that worldly things are of no great importance. This explains why they take a quiet and humble approach to life.
Immortal Taoism is reflected by practices such as sorcery, faith-healing as well as use o f power sources. These practices are argued to have existed since ancient times in china. They have with time been converted to institutions with clergies, detailed rituals and unique social movements. It is the consequent institutionalization of the immortal practices that eventually led to the rise and popularity of the immortal Taoism.
Popular Taoist rituals are rampant in most communist countries such as china and south Asia. The purification of the soul after death, burning of written prayers and money to send them to the other world as well as grave cleaning can be still be traced among the Chinese’s and the Asian community. This further affirms the fact that the rituals o f the religion are still in practice in the modern world. Domestic rituals are still being practiced; such as the conduction of farewell parties to the god of the kitchen during lunar year that is often in late January.
Is commonly referred to as the practice of virtues, since it majorly focuses on how people can harmoniously live together in a just and fair society. It emphasis on the study of classics and rituals among the Chinese community in a bid to impact them with the right ethics required to enhance harmony in the society.
Confucianism has continued to shape the ethics of the Chinese, and is also argued to have led to the immerges of selfless leaders who gave all they could to the improvement of the common good. It is Confucianism that was the basis of Chinese pride, as a country with the highest rate of law abiding citizens until recently when a sharp increase in the level of crime was noted.
Every religion seeks to contribute positively to the society, by ensuring that the moral fiber of the society remains glued. Confucians has managed to achieve this through it emphasis on moral conduct, respect and understanding of ourselves and others in our surrounding. It has helped the Chinese live together harmoniously with justice and fairness among themselves and is hence an integral part to the Chinese and Asian community.
Pages 20-43 (Hinduism)
Hinduism is a religion most practices by Indians, the core belief of the religion are that of diversity. They tend to believe that truth can come from all sides which is expressed in their prayer “may good thought come from all sides.” This enable them appreciate the inconsistent nature of their religion. Hinduism has no single founder. It is believed to have originated from India where it presently commands approximately 1 billion adherents. The several cultures that form Hinduism have several gods whom they believe upon. But the Hindu religion at large take all these diversity positively and believing that the truth could come from any corner.
Hinduism is thought to be the oldest religion in the history of mankind, having developed from a number of religions/cultures in India.
One very important god to the Hindu religion is Shiva; the destroyer. Shiva is thought to be the supreme god with those worshiping him being referred to as shaivites. He mostly depicted as meditating or dancing. Shiva is thought to be of composite diety.
The Image of Shiva as we might know him has developed over time with the combination of several religious perceptions put together in amalgamation to come up with Shiva. Shiva is said to have had two wives; parvati and sati. Shiva and Parvatiare said to have committed a lot together. Shiva is thought to have taught parvati the transcendent knowledge (Vedanta) while parvati taught Shiva the cosmological knowledge (Sankhya). For these, Parvati is thought to have been the source of power for Shiva.
Another important god to the Hindu religion is Vishnu. Vishnuis considered the chief god in the Hindu religion and forms part of the trinity together with Shiva and Brahma who is considered the mother goddess.
A pilgrimage is a long journey in search for moral significance for instance the Islam taking the journey to Mecca. However, the Hindus are not obligated to go for pilgrimages but for those who can afford it, they could visit places like: Attukal, Amarnath, Amararama, and Ayodhya among others. The pilgrimages are divided into categories one of them is the Dhams. Those who visit the Dhams are thought to help attain salvation.
Pages 60-81 (Buddhism)
Guatama Buddha is thought to have passed through thousands of lives before finally descending into the earth for his transmigration. He lived between 563 and 483 AD in presently Indo-Nepalese region. Its started when his mother Maya saw in a dream that she was having a white elephant in her womb which signified that she was about to give birth to a Buddha. She later become pregnant of Buddha and then painlessly gave birth to him. He spoke and walked immediately and was received by Brahma.
The teaching of Buddha also has some pillars or superlative qualities:
The Dharma is not a exploratory philosophy, but is the common Law established through clarification and is sermonized correctly. Therefore it is admirable from the start in the middle and at the end. And it specifies that it is an end that could only result from fate.
The Dharma can be experienced by observation of its teachings and for that reason he who follows it will see the consequence by himself through his own occurrences.
The Dharma is capable of presenting everlasting and instant fallout here and now, no matter how long it takes, for which there is no necessity to stay until the future.
Dharma gives an opportunity to everyone to practice it and experience the outcomes by themselves. Dharma is capable of being pierced upon, and therefore it is worth to be pursued as part of one’s life. It emphasizes that it can only be experienced by one who truly follow it to the latter. (The noble disciples) and have become enlightened with extreme wisdom.
And through these attributes, if put into practice, they have a belief that they will accomplish the utmost tranquility and contentment in the course of the practice of Dharma and each being is therefore totally liable to keep to their own practice and dedication.
Some of the common devotions of the Buddhist religion include bowing. Bowing is supposed to be done to images of Buddha and other religious superiors. Offering flowers, pilgrimage, chanting among others.
The Hindu cosmology is majorly based on Brahma, where 4 billion years makes 1 day for brahmas.
The Chinese Buddhism was introduced to China by India. Buddhism in Japan was successful because of the complementary it had with Shinto; the Japanese native religion. Though it was first accepted by the class, it later spread to the common population due to the complimentary. Though the emperor suppressed Buddhism, he started doing so after Buddhism had spread thus the success of Buddhism in China.
Fisher, M.Pat. Living Religions: an encyclopedia of the worlds faiths. New york: I.B.Tauris, 1997.