The Beliefs And Practices Of Judaism And Buddhism

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INTRODUCTION

Religion may not be easy to define, as it is defined differently for different people.it may be defined as the belief in and worship. Religion may also be used to justify class, gender and colonial forms of discrimination and exploitation. Religion may heal and also hurt people. Teaching and learning about different religions educate citizens to live in a multi-religious world and nation.

JUDAISM

Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient monotheistic, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text. It encompasses the religion, philosophy and culture of the Jewish people.

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Basic beliefs in Judaism

Judaism does not have a formal dogma or set of beliefs one must hold to be a Jew. It is noted that right living and right actions are more important than right belief. Jews belief in one god. They regard god as the only creative cause of excistence, therefore everything has come into existence by his will. It is believed he has human qualities, he is present in everything, he has a convenant relationship with the people of Israel and that he is god of all creation. God is portrayed as the embodiment of love, mercy and grace, he is also perceived as a god of encompassing anger and retributive justice. To reap the benefits of a relationship with him, you need to love him and obey his commandments.

According to Jewish tradition, god reviled a set of laws to Moses on mount Sinai and those laws were to be believed by the Hebrew people. Accepting those laws of god’s instructions of living life correctly, the Hebrew people entered into a convenant relationship with god as his ‘’chosen people’’

The word ‘’messiah’’ can be interpreted literally as the ‘’anointed one’’, and refers to a leader that will redeem humanity and establish god’s kingdom on earth by ushering in an era of ‘’perfect peace’’. The messiah is expected to be a political leader that will not only gather the ‘’chosen people’’ and free them from oppression, but also reinstate Jewish political sovereignty in the land of the Israel.

Practices (rituals) in Judaism

  1. Circumcision of all male children when they are 8 days old. This rite serves as an external symbol of the enduring covenant between Abraham and god and a commitment to Judaism.
  2. ‘’coming of age’’ I performed when a boy reaches the age of 13. It is enacted by the candidate through the public reading of a selected text from the Torah in the synagogue. A celebration is held and blessings are pronounced on the boy as he takes full responsibility for his behavior and assumes his duties as a Jewish man.
  3. Marriage. The wedding ceremony takes place under a canopy ‘’called a huppah’’, and the groom invokes the matriarchs as exemplary models. The canopy is symbolic of the home that will be made by the bride and groom. Then, over a cup of wine, seven blessings are said, which recall the story of adam and eve as well as that of the restoration of Israel. Lastly, the bridegroom breaks a glass under his foot as a reminder of the destruction of the temple.
  4. Death. During the rite the shema is uttered by the dying person. Grief is symbolized by making a small tear in the clothes, and a kaddish. This is followed by seven days of mourning, during which those closest to the deceased refrain from any normal activities. A more general period of mourning continues for the next 11 months and culminates in the placement of a memorial stone at the graveside.

BUDDHISM

Buddhism was founded in the 6th century by siddharta Gautama, better known as Buddha, in northern India. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and interpreted philosophies.

Beliefs in Buddhism

All Buddhism traditions agree that there are states of existence more refined and longer-lived than the merely human. Buddhism teaches that we live more than once, that we pass from one body to the next. However Buddhists disagree with one another over details of the buddha’s teaching, they all agree that the 4 noble truths are the very core of Buddhism.

4 noble truths

  1. Human life has a lot of suffering
  2. The cause of suffering is greed
  3. There is an end to suffering
  4. The way to end suffering is to follow the middle path

3 noble truths

  1. Everything in life is impermanent and always changing
  2. Because nothing is permanent, a life based on possessing things or persons doesn’t make you happy
  3. There is no eternal, unchanging soul and self is just a collection of changing characteristics or attributes

The eightfold path

  • Right understanding and viewpoint ( based on the four noble truths)
  • Right values and attitude ( compassion rather than selfishness)
  • Right speech ( don’t tell lies, avoid harsh, abusive speech, avoid gossip)
  • Right action( help others live honestly, don’t harm living things, take care of the environment)
  • Right work( do something useful, avoid jobs which harm others)
  • Right effort( encourage good, helpful thoughts, discourage unwholesome destructive thoughts)
  • Right mindfulness( be aware of what you feel, think and do)
  • Right meditation( calm mind, practice meditation which leads to nirvana)

Gods, whether indian or local, were domesticated and brought into the larger Buddhist scheme of things. A local god who had once been feared and respected over a wide area of Tibet suddenly found himself still respected, but not feared any more, as a divine protector of the Buddhist teachings.

Practices of the Buddhism

Buddhism incorporates a variety of rituals and practices, which are intended to aid in the journey to enlightenment and bring blessings on one self and others. The practice of meditation is central to nearly all forms of Buddhism, it derives directly from Buddha’s experience teachings.

Conclusion

Religious inspiration has not died out. People still receive messages which they interpret as coming from god and they go on to start new religions. Knowledge about different religions helps one to grow spiritually, since it encourages one to think about fundamental questions in life.

REFERENCES

  1. Ref:folk.uio.no/leirvik/os/ocoalition/ostocation-SADoE.htm.
  2. http://www.sace.org.za/upload/files/Ethics-Broucher.pdf
  3. http://www.gov.za/documents/constitution-republic-south-africa-1996
  4. https://www.sace.org.za>assets>uploads
  5. https://www.uri.org>buddhist-beliefs
  6. http://www.info.gov.za/otherdocs/2003/religion.pdf
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