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Religion Coursework

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  1. India's traditional schools of Philosophy are always classified as orthodox and  heterodox systems. This classification is based on the acceptance of Vedas. The heterodox schools of India are in complete rejection of the Vedas to being an independently valid source of drama and moksha. On the other side the Orthodox regard the Vedas as an infallible source of knowledge. The Hindu system had a caste system which is associated with social class while the non-Hindus were not subject to the caste systems even though some non-Hindus were with time absorbed in the cultural hierarchy of the Hindu.
  2. Sruti is the first source of dharma (vedas or Revelation) and Smriti comes second in authority. Smriti is considered traditional in the Hindu law. Despite being a written source, Smriti is not considers to have devine origins like the Sruti. Smriti texts has become binding of sacred literature which includes the six Vedangas, Mahabharata, Ithihasas, Ramayana and the Puranas.
  3. The main teachings of the  principal Upanishads are the quest for something that is unchanging, certain deeper reality that does not pass like everything else in life. This quest had two parts; the quest for the essential reality for one's personal being and the quest for the essential reality in life.
  4. The mahabharata is one of the epics of ancient India. Apart from the epic native of kurukshetra War with the fates of the Pandavas and the Kauravas, it contains much philosophical and devotional material which includes the discussion of the four goals of life. In connection to that, the Ramayana which is also a great epic of India forms a vital part of  Hindu canon and portrays the duties of relationships and ideal characters like being an ideal father, ideal brother, ideal wife , ideal servant and king.
  5. Heterodox schools include the philosophical tenets of Jainism, Buddhism and the Carvaka. The Buddhist philosophy can be termed as non-theistic philosophy and does not give primacy to the existence of God but keeps focus on the concept of Karma, reincarnation and Moksha.
  6.  The major aim of Buddhism is to bring to an end the concept of cycle of birth and in the process attain salvation. The main concept of Jain philosophy was the emphasized concept of Anekanatavada and has also been largely influenced by subjectivism which is part of the Western philosophy.
  7.  The Carvaka school emphasizes the concepts of atheism and materialism. In all these philosophies, they try to look for the truth by an inward introspection of the self.
  8. The six schools of thought are namely; Yoga which emphasizes on the practical methods of direct experience, Sankhya which is a manifestation framework, Vendata which is contemplative self-inquiry, Vaisheshika that emphasizes in physical sciences, Nyaya that calls for reasoning and Mimasa that emphasizes on freedom through action. The three fundamental vendata texts are the Upanishad, the Brahma-sutras and the Bhagaradgita (song of the Lord).
  9. Gaudiya Vaisnavas holds believes that the metaphysical views on Ramanuja and Madharacarya are different ways of speaking about the same thing or simply the different angles of vision. Srinivasadasa in his opinion gives teachers who he thinks are the predecessors of Ramanujacharya in propounding the Visishtadvaita Vedanta. From the perspective of the Sankhya philosophy, the reactive mind state or intellect is the outcome, the change or the manifestation of Cosmic mind. Bharuchi appears to hold the believe that a combination of knowledge and works are vital for salvation. He also seems to believe in a difference between the Jivas and the Brahman. Mahatma Ghandi on his comentary about Gita sees the battle as "an allegory in which the battlefield is the soul and Arjuna, man's higher impulses struggling against evil."
  10. The modern Indian thinkers include; Professor Irfan Habib, Emeritus of History at the Aligarh Muslim University, author of The Agrarian Sys- tem of Mughal India (1963; revised edition 1999, An Atlas of the Mughal Empire (1982), Prabhat Patnaik a Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, author of Time, Inflation and Growth (1988), Accumulation and Stability under Capitalism (1997). Also  Harsha Bhogle, Anand Mahindra, Kishore Biyani and Harinder Baweja  are considered Modern Indian thinkers.
  11. The   three jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha, the Dhamma or the teachings and finally the Sangha which is a community of monks and nuns. Buddha is the main source of authority and inspiration and is the way to escape suffering and can only be achieved through one's own effort. Buddha has faced a great challenge after the enlightenment of the Dhamma and is indifferent on passing his knowledge or remain with it. He finally decided to pass his wisdom. The Sangha is the pragmatic realization of Buddha's thought and its an institution with no hierarchy. It’s an institution of Monks and nuns after they have vowed themselves into celibacy and is based on this high ideal.
  12.  After the passing of Buddha certain groups remained with the old faith and believes while some new faithful influenced by the Westerner in the form of Monastic members.
  13.  The most important teachings in the early Buddhist schools is that it is an expression of gratitude and respect to the Triple Gem. Its an act of veneration that is offered to that which is worthy.
  14. The awakening of faith is the representative text of tathagata-garbha school of Mahayana. In the wisdom of the amous Hua-yen Master, Fa-tsang, Indian Buddhism should be categorized into four major groups; Hinayana, Madhyamika, Yogacara and the Tathagata-garbha and the later one improving the ideas of its predecessor school. This type of Buddhism tends to be more religious compared to the Theravada. It teaches that enlightenment can be attained by a single lifetime and can be achieved by even a layman.
  15.  The decline of Buddhism in India has been due to the rise of Islam in the country over time as it also led to the monks leaving. Also the arriving of the Westernization idea  has done much to dilute the effect of Buddhism. It changed form and was absorbed into Hindu practices.

China

  1. Confucians  advocates for the respect of elders and seeking education for the world to be percent. An example is asking children to go to school and get an education that may be important for them to earn a living. Taoism  is about letting individuals to allow nature to take its course and respond to it appropriately. An example is when an individual falls ill, taoism states that the person should stay home and heal, but non believers will insist to going to work and get more sick.
  2. Wu-wei and the Tao Te are mutually defining. It is not possible to understand one without the other. Wu-wei is an important concepts that is about knowing when to act and when not to act. Tao Te is concerned with helping others as a way of helping ourselves. It also states that they wise are not fast to talk unless they are required to.
  3. According to  mo tzu’s utilitarianism, universal love is strongly inbuilt in man's character. It states that love is the source of happiness that is realized all over the world while hate is the source of all the pain realized all over the world.
  1. 19.  Han fei tzu states that the law should be let to chose the leaders.  Legalist school believe that laws are important in ensuring that there is harmony in society and states are well run. Confucius on their part used 5th law as a source of  primary moral education and regulation.
  2. 20.  At the Chinese middle period, the significance of Confucianism declined, while Taoism and Buddhism gained more prominence over the period. They emphasized on individuals salvation hence offering a better alternative compared to Confucian believes.
  3. 21.    Old text schools held more religious and transcendental understanding of Confucius and its doctrine principally about heaven and humanity. It was represented by Han scholar Tung Chung-shu. New text schools viewed Confucius as a perfect being and they believed that they concept of heaven and humanity was individual matter. It was represented by Yang Hsiung.
  4. 22.  Neo-daoist led to the introduction into china of Buddhism. Neo-Daoist ideas were very instrumental in the introduction of Buddhist ideas and Daoism went further and led to the introduction of Chan (Zen).
  5. 23.  Confucianists direct their major focus on character development along with ones ability to fulfill their obligations to the country and family. Buddhists are more concerned with the elimination of suffering of individuals. It tries to minimize the attachment that is likely to cause suffering.
  6. 24.  Buddhist teaching have been acceptable in china because it touches on may aspects of human life. It covers the mindsets of the Chinese people, politics, literature, medicine among many other areas of their lives.
  7. Theravada- refers to the elders teachings. In this teaching, it states that nothing is permanent. Mahayana- refers to great vehicle. It teaches that salvation is only through believing in the power of Amitabha. T'ien T'ai- lineage that is named after Zhi Yi. It is intended to harmonize various scriptures and doctrines that exist in the Buddhist.  ch’an- it believes that meditation is the only way that can be used to achieve salvation.
  8. Buddhist teachings led to a paradigm shift in the way the Chinese people viewed life. These teachings also promised to addressed the issues that were more pressing to the Chinese people. This threatened the  Confucians. The neo-Confucians were not threatened because the new school of thought conformed to what they always preached.
  9. Chu His wanted to explain the nature of reality and ethics concerned with human conduct. Chu His believed that T'ai Chiwas the basis of all reality. He goes further and says that for people to live properly ch'i, which is their vital energy must be purified. This can be done by taming desires.
  10. The school of principle was developed first. It gained so much popularity during the Song Dynasty. Its philosophical mainstreams were extensively elaborated by Zhu Xi. Lu Jiuyuan, developed the school of mind but it did not last for a long period of time. The founders of the schools of thought were brother who later turned to be enemies.
  11. empirical school criticized  neo-Confucian for its lack of direct relation between the relevant issues affecting the community and the philosophical ideas they propagate.
  12. the modern Chinese philosophy is characteristic by better schools of thought, more people who are talented, more freedom for the people and more studies are undertaken.

Japan

  1. Japanese Buddhism is taught to b e imported from China. In the early days devotees and monks would travel and come back to the mainland with teachings that strengthen the existence of Buddhism in Japan.

 On development of the two schools of Buddhism in Japan, they were bent towards Japan than China.

  1. The Tendai Buddhism emphasized on the teachings of Lotus Sutra and also the relevance of ascetic exile for right meditation. Daishi the founder of Tendai gave it a new meaning by saying that every person had the ability to be enlightened. He believed in the adherence to the set rites and scriptures. Shingon school has its roots in India and it was more Indian than Chinese due to the mention of Mandalas and Mantra. It was more esoteric than the Tendai group. Both have origin relationship.
  2. Buddhism taught the Japanese that there is no central self and that believing in the soul existence is an act of distortion. Buddhism emphasized on the subjective aspects of value and was more  interested making life happier by changing the environment. Confucianism has influence on the Japanese art and cultures. The principles that it created were taken to be universally correct and it based the believes on the sophisticated understanding of the human character. It brought about renewed attention to man and the secular society of Japan including respect for the elders.
  3. Japan is now characterized by many aspects as a result of Confucianism, the seniority system, the loyalty to company, stable family structures, low rates of crime compared to the western countries and finally the strong education system.
  4. Zen is one of the schools of Buddhism that came to Japan after the Tendai and Shingon sects and was seriously taken up by the military. It was first established in Kanakura under the Hojo family. Zen maily taught sitting meditation. Jodo is a school of pure land Buddhism and was strongly influenced by Mappo which says that humans ability to listen to and engage in Buddhism fades over time and advocates reliance due to human limitations. Hokke Buddhism teaches that to be a strong follower one must believe in Lotus Sutra, in Shakyamuni Buddha and tell other people the same.
  5. The two schools of Zen had different ways of achieving enlightenment. The followers of Rinzai held the believe that they could achieve enlightenment through spontaneous flashes while the Soto on the other hand sought enlightenment through periodic meditation. The development of this two was attributed to the two monks that were responsible with the development of Zen Buddhism in Japan.
  6. The comprehensive virtue of the Confucian tradition which is the vital energy for human beings and the world. The chung yung describes sincerity which comes outwards from humans. By the process of finding one’s self one creates a triad between heaven and earth. The Chang Tsai holds on the believe that compassion is the most high expression of kinship.
  7. The school of ancient learning (kogakuha) holds that human nature is initially good and makes no distinction between physical and original nature. Evil in physical nature is not explained.
  8. It began with Meiji Restoration in 1868 and further continues to the Westernized versions. An inquiry into the Good was the first work by Nishida Kitaro that opened to the Western world. His concern with pure experience was from the Western thought and derived the nothingness concept from Buddhism. Watsudji in his work criticized both the confusion collectivism and the western individualism.
  9. Kyoto school elaborates the religious ideas that are used to formulate the religious and social insights that are in themselves unique. It brings its ideas as the logic of species and says that true wisdom is to be separated from intellectual knowledge.
  10. Watsuji tetsuro is a concept that emphasizes the relationship between power and freedom. The elaboration of ethics is based on the universal principles. It taught individuals self motivation for the sake of the society.
  1. The hymn is mainly concerned with cosmology and the universe's origin. It attempts to explain to the world what might have been the source of the universe that today we have. There are many interpretations that have to put forth to attempt to explain it.
  2. The main ideas that are discussed in  Upanishads are; forces that drives nature, understanding of one's self, evolution and creation of mankind and the universe and death. These topics all touch on humans important aspect of life.
  3. There may be messages that may be given but they have one goal; the only truth is divine essence, the human body is only temporal but the soul is that which is finite. This is the ultimate truth.
  4. The three aspects of the nature of  brahman are Jiva, Jagat and Jagat.
  5. According to the  vaisheshika philosophy, it is believed that all matter is of very small particles that cannot be broken down called atoms.
  6. Prakriti is the source of everything in the universe, and it happens in a very gradual process. It is believed to be eternal, it has not beginning, and above all endless. Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas are the three qualities that form Prakriti. When the three are in stable state, no creation or evolution would happen because Prakriti is stable. Evolution would only occur when the three factor become unstable.
  7. The gunas are  Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas.  Sattwa- it is a state of joy and harmony and balance.  Rajas- refers to state where there is change, energy and movement and  Tamas – it is a state of inactivity and darkness.
  8. Satkaryavada states that nothing cannot produce nothing. What does not exist cannot be produced any way.
  9. According to badarayana the world is not an illusion, it is something real that exists. It has an origin and existence.  Sankara on the other side believes that the world is has an appearance that is illusionary in nature.
  10. Brahman- refers to the supreme being that is believed to have the power in the universe and has total control over it.
  11. Atman exists within jiva. Atman refers to the soul while jiva is used to refer to living being. Therefore, soul exists within the living being.
  12. Brahman is believed to be the power that is behind the world, in relation to its origin and it controls everything that happens within it.
  13. In philosophy, avidya and maya refers to the forces that are responsible for the evolution of the earth. Avidya is when it is looked at individual level and maya when looked at universally.
  14. All the three realities that are used in hindu are important because they explain the relationship that exists between God, man and the universe.
  15. It provides an empirical and logical basis for realism. It looks at the difference between the being and the soul. It may also look at the difference that exists between Ishwara and jada.
  16. All the three schools have three common categories; first- the universe also known as jagat, second- jiva or the individual, and finally Brahman, the supreme being that governs the universe.
  17. It is a formal denial against the existence of Brahmanism.
  18. The three marks of existence are; impermanence, suffering and unsatisfactoriness. The four noble truths are life is painful and frustrating, every suffering has a cause, cause of suffering can be ended and finally means of ending cause of suffering.
  19. In hindu  dharamas is used in regard to property ownership. It is used to clearly show how property can be owned by individuals.
  20. sunyata  is used to refer to emptiness. Further, it can be explained using the concept of being unreal or non-existent. Realization of sunyata  leads to enjoyment of fruits.
  21. nagarjuna’s middle way states that reality does not have any core components but body sysyetm that reciprocally affect each other.
  22. Nagarjuna denies by stating that by understanding cause and effect, there are only two possible causes of action, denial or assertion of the identity provided.
  23. According to  vijnanavada, reality is pure consciousness that can be supported by putting in place proper and logical arguments.

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