When studying the different religions of the world we tend of focus on the distinctions between these religions and understanding what makes them unique, however it is important to note that although these religions are distinct and unique in their own way, there are common themes and structures that can be applied to them. Some of the common elements present in the different religions that we will be studying this semester are:
In your reading of Chapter 5 – Encouraging Buddhism: The Middle Path to Liberation you have gained a better understanding of what the religion of Buddhism is all about from the context of its history, beliefs and practices, code of ethics, etc. You will now use the information gleaned in the chapter to expand upon particular elements of Buddhism enumerated below:
Buddhism Written Report
When studying the different religions of the world we tend of focus on the distinctions between these religions
and understanding what makes them unique, however it is important to note that although these religions are
distinct and unique in their own way, there are common themes and structures that can be applied to them.
Some of the common elements present in the different religions that we will be studying this semester are:
– Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Writings
o Divinely inspired writings that contain origins of the religion, essential beliefs, and major
teachings. Some religions also revere writings of prominent figures throughout their history
who have contributed to expounding the theology of the religion (ex: writings of the
– Beliefs and Practices
o Tenets of the religion that unify its community of believers on a variety of topics ranging
from their relationship with the divine, soteriology, creation, eschatology, anthropology, etc.
– Prayer and Worship
o Liturgical practices that believers of the faith participate in throughout their daily lives. Some
liturgical practices and rituals of prayer are performed in conjunction with the celebration of
religious festivals at particular times of the week (ex: Sabbath) or times of the year (ex:
– Morality – Code of Ethics
o Guiding principles that adherents of the faith abide by throughout their lives informed by the
theology of the religion
o Understanding how the religion was established and the advances of the religion throughout
human history that shape the global image of the religion today while also recognizing
changes in theology that have occurred throughout history due to major historical events
In your reading of Chapter 5 – Encountering Buddhism: The Middle Path to Liberation you have gained a better
understanding of what the religion of Buddhism is all about from the context of its history, beliefs and practices,
code of ethics, etc. You will now use the information gleaned in the chapter to expand upon particular elements
of Buddhism enumerated below:
1. Buddhist Symbols – ½ page
a. Identify a common Buddhist symbol and explain its significance
i. Consider the following:
1. History/Origins of the symbol
2. Important religious figure(s) associated with the symbol and their involvement
3. How the symbol is utilized by Buddhists today?
a. Is it used during prayer/worship?
b. Worn as an outward sign of faith?
b. Distinguish between the terms: Buddhism and The Buddha as they relate to the religion
2. Life of Siddhartha Gautama – ½ to 1 page
a. Discuss who Siddhartha Gautama was and the impact that he had on Buddhism
b. Describe 3 key events from the Siddhartha Gautama’s life
c. Address how these events are commemorated by Buddhist today
3. Beliefs and Practices – 2 – 3 pages
o Throughout his life, Siddhartha Gautama did not record any of his teachings, but he is known
for his influential sermons and the discussions that he had with his fellow monks. These
sermons were transmitted orally for centuries before they were finally committed to writing
by several different Buddhist groups. One of the most famous of The Buddha’s discourses is
his first discourse titled Setting in Motion the Wheel of Dhamma and in this discourse he
outlines two ideas that would become the foundation of all Buddhist thought: The Four
Noble Truths and The Noble Eightfold Path.
a. Interpret the meaning of each of The Four Noble Truths:
• This section of the report should be about 1 to 1 ½ page in length
i. All life is suffering.
ii. The Cause of Suffering is desire.
iii. To end desire is to end suffering.
iv. To end desire, one must follow the Noble Eightfold Path.
b. Articulate the significance of each of the aspects of The Noble Eightfold Path listed below
and demonstrate how Buddhists believe that following these practical techniques will help
them to achieve nirvana
i. Right Understanding
ii. Right Thought (Intention)
iii. Right Speech
iv. Right Conduct
v. Right Livelihood
vi. Right Effort
vii. Right Mindfulness
viii. Right Concentration (Contemplation)
When completing this written report, the following guidelines must be followed. Failure to do so will result in
points being deducted from your grade:
a. This report must be typed in 12pt. font, double-spaced, & Times New Roman
b. Each section of the report must:
a. Include Section Title on a separate line
i. Ex: Buddhists Symbols, Beliefs and Practices, etc.
b. Adhere to the page length as outlined above
c. Incorporate at least 2 direct quotations with appropriate footnotes from either the course text
(World RELG4: Introduction to World Religions) or one of the databases/encyclopedias
available through St. Thomas University Library
i. When citing your sources, you must use Chicago Manuel Style
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