Sample Religious Studies Paper on Buddhism


Question one: Samsara, Nirvana and Sunyata

Samsara refers to the conventional Buddhist perception that nothing in the universe can guarantee or even bring lasting happiness. To the proponents of Samsara, stressing and sorrowful situations are part of humanity and so one must strive to survive in the midst of all that. Nirvana on the other hand describes an inherent state of freedom from all the stress, apathy and suffering described above by Samsara. Correspondingly, Sunyata refers to a state of being empty in the sense that nothing in this world is permanent. To Sunyata, nothing is as perceived and that Samsara and Nirvana are the same. They uses ‘boddhisattva’ innovation in explaining this and stresses on the significance of applying wisdom to perceive situations.

Question two: Challenges that faced Buddhism in China

When Buddhism was first introduced in China, before the Common Era, from the neighboring India and some parts of Central Asia, most of the Chinese rejected its doctrines. To them, Buddhism was an exotic and precarious challenge to the social and ethical order of the Chinese people. Buddhism in the ancient Chinese societies faced special challenges following its introduction. For instance, Daoism, the Chinese most popular religion, though did not have the rationality, prestige and the philosophical depth associated with Buddhism, was by then predominant in the country. As a result, most Chinese found it hard to transform from Daoism to Buddhism.

Similarly, Confucianism, which in most cases stressed on the importance family values, obedience, and social stability, was another challenge that faced the introduction of Buddhism into China. Most proponents of Confucianism disapproved of the introduction of Buddhism as they considered it a barbarian religion. In the contemporary Chinese societies, family was rated a significant social system yet Buddhism prohibited marriage going against the wish of the majority. The Confucians also forbade any action that could harm an individual’s body and criticize the practice of shaving heads that was common among the monks.

Question three: Buddha relics

To most proponents, the relic of Buddha embodies the presence of the deity and are in most cases considered as symbol of wisdom, knowledge, and vision. The argument is that no noticeable or proved differences exist between a living Buddha and collections of relics on the same. The Buddha relics are also used as a symbol of spiritual force that in most cases are associated with the living Buddha. For instance, the Buddha dharma, literary books, and texts on Buddha are significant relics that helps for deeper comprehension of Buddhism. Bones and Beads of the Buddha that are used to signify the presence of the deity are source of inspiration and power among most devotee Buddhists. The relics in most cases inspires devotees to subscribe more to the teachings and beliefs associated with Buddhism.

Question four: The Detraditionalization of Buddhism

The process of detraditionalization of Buddhism, though a complex one, has been instrumental to the formation of modern Buddhism. This process is articulately steered by various ideologies and social practices of the western cultures. Notably, most of the loyal Buddhists around the world prefer the Yanisa and the Lobsang, two of the most common forms of Buddhism. However, even the most devoted Buddhists are becoming detraditionalized a fact attributed to the rapidly emerging wealthy and educated middle income populace in most parts of Asia and in the West.

To most Buddhism converts living in the Western countries, the knowledge about Buddha are in most cases obtained from books and are largely considered to be independent of the institutional frameworks. Other literatures in the West only provide the ‘essence of Buddhism’ concept from perceived experiences rather than from social realities. These approaches constitute the processes of detraditionalization creating a community of Buddhist sympathizers who read and practice Buddhist cultures but do not exclusively identify themselves as Buddhists. These Buddhist who are the products of the detraditionalization process are not devotees and are unaware of most Buddhism doctrines.

Question five: The historical Buddha and the Avalokiteshvara

I will side with the Avalokiteshvara in the argument as it is true that most people in China have developed even deeper comprehension of Buddhism than before. In china, Buddhism remains the oldest foreign religion even though its spread was temporarily hindered after the fall of Tang Dynasty and the subsequent Arabs invasions that commenced the spread of Islam. Despite all these, Buddhism in China has continued to grow and spread with most people and institutions subscribing to its doctrines. For instance, Buddhism in China is accepted in the country’s institutional structures in the midst of imperial establishments. Similarly, most individuals and Government institutions in China do often support and finance Buddhist festivals and processions an explicit sign that most people are continuing to subscribe to the doctrines of Buddhism. In addition, there are a number of Chinese legislations by the imperial court that permits and supports the practice of Buddhism in the country.

Past Chinese rulers such as Emperor Ming long supported Buddhism and created Monasteries for most of the then Buddhist Monks in the country. Generally, in China, there is widespread administrative acceptance of Buddhism ranging from the various notable jurisdictions over Buddhism to the formation of the Buddhism Profundities to help further the rights and aspirations of Buddhists. Currently, Buddhism forms a significant part of the Chinese cultures and has had profound influences on most of the Chinese Arts, Architectural designs, Literatures and Philosophies. Additionally, most of the Buddhist texts are now translated into Chinese language to be used in a number of Buddhist schools around the country. For instance, the Chan School that is believed to have been in existence since the 6th century concentrates primarily on Buddhist doctrines a further indication of the widespread acceptance of Buddhism in China.