Religious Traditions of the East

A religion is a structure of way of life and practices hidden on the statement that procedures within the humankind are subject to a few paranormal power or powers such that human necessities, any physical or emotional, can be fulfilled by men’s incoming into associations with such powers. The paranormal powers in subject are called supernatural in virtue of the truth that they can supposedly be recognized, connected to or inclined chiefly by means other than persons of motive and logic know-how.

The primary conviction attribute of every part of religions is, therefore, faith in a superior paranormal power which can manage daily proceedings, and the primary practice distinctive of every religion is the attempt to persuade this power. The power, though, is visualized of in two essential ways which vary sharply from one another. One means perceives the authority as an distant force, a type of paranormal power, which can be controlled and restricted (Walsh, 1998).

Historical thought, as applied to the study of religion, has often concentrated attention on two questions which history is incapable of answering – those of the origin and nature of religion. The only thing history can tell us about the origin of religion is that it occurred in prehistoric times. As for the nature of religion, the definition of the term is a historical question.

Nothing is more wearisome than to have a philosopher invent his own meaning for the word religion and then go through history, either distinguishing “true religion,” which fits the definition, from “religion falsely called,” which does not, or, even worse, trying to force all religion whatever into his own mold. By contrast with this philosophical procedure, the normal philological – and that is, historical – way of finding out what a word means is to determine what it has been used to mean and then describe the range and distribution of its uses (Smith, 1996).

Religions of the East Some religions believe in one God who created the Earth and everything in it. Others have several gods who take many forms and influence human lives in sometimes surprising ways. And while, for example, Buddhists and Jains do not generally believe in God at all, other believers prefer to refer to a higher power or life force that creates and sustains all things. But what most religions have in common is the idea of transcendence – that there are more things in life than those we can understand with our minds or experience with our senses.

The spiritual dimension to existence – that is to say the mysterious, powerful, and invisible force in this life (and beyond) – is at heart of all the world’s major religions (Barnes, 2005). The mainstay belief of Eastern religions is the permanence of life that cannot be destroyed, but may take different forms (hence the belief in reincarnation). One of these forms is that of deity, dedicated to fulfill specific needs, such as the conduct of war, the solution of epidemics, famine, or drought – but this deity is just another expression, rather than a Creator, of life.

Hence, the sacredness of all humans is not supported by God’s will: the caste system preached by early Hinduism suggested that each human being had a limited value and could be disposed of under specific circumstances. Humans may be able to achieve the deepest spiritual awareness by their own effort, through meditation and mortification of bodily needs: it is not clear whether this awareness implies a vision of the deity or personal eternity. Despite obvious differences from the monotheistic religions, it is important to highlight areas of confluence.

The eastern beliefs in meditation and flesh mortification have inspired Christian asceticism, which has flourished in the monastic movements. In addition, both types of spirituality preach fairness and kindness in human relationships (Coward, Hinnells, & Williams, 2000). The Hinduism vs. Confucianism Hinduism has been called the oldest living religion. Certainly its roots are very old indeed. Its antiquity may have something to do with the complexity of this ancient faith, but perhaps complexity is not so much the problem with grasping the essence of Hinduism so much as its diversity.

If one could challenge Hinduism’s claim to be the oldest of the world’s religions, no one could doubt its title to the most diverse. In fact Hinduism has many faces, it is “all things to all men,” not so much a single religious entity as an umbrella which shelters beneath its cover a whole panoply of religious ideas and expressions. The diversity which marks Hinduism begins with the Hindu notion of deity. There is a strange kind of unity in the vast multiplicity of the Hindu pantheon.

One is never really certain whether the Hindu religion is pantheistic or polytheistic or dualistic or even monotheistic: there are indications that it is all of these. In fact, many Hindus would have some difficulty addressing these categories at all. These terms, which westerners like to use to describe religious systems, just don’t fit. They are merely ways to describe the Sacred, and in that limited sense these terms are all acceptable to the Hindu (Boraks, 1988). The difficulties arise when we try to understand precisely what this means, for the diversity of Hinduism is truly vast and its history long and complex.

Some might claim, both form within the tradition and form outside it, that because of this diversity there is ‘no such thing as Hinduism’, while other might claim that, in spite of its diversity, there is an ‘essence’ which structures or patterns its manifestations (Flood, 1996). Confucianism, on the other hand, is chiefly a Chinese, or more exactly, East Asian, ritual. To appreciate Confucianism as a mode of existence or as a customary scheme of principles, we have to go its motherland and discover out how it all began and how it was evolved through time.

A famous way that is utilized in introducing the Chinese Confucian custom is to separate its past into as many eras as there are in Chinese empire. As such, Confucianism turns into branch of a much more complex past and the Confucian development is mixed up with the universal alteration in opinionated, societal, financial, religious and cultural being. In many circumstances, Confucianism increased power and optimistic influence from these changes in political, social, economic, religious and cultural being.

On many occasions Confucianism gained strength and positive influence from these alterations, however, on other circumstances it endured from the collapse of the societal fabric and counter by becoming either more flexible or more rigid. All through the history of Chinese empires, Confucianism altered and modified itself to new opinionated and societal demands, and these alters and modifications are as vital as the experience of the early Confucian masters (Yao, 2000). At first glance, Confucianism does not appear to be a religion at all.

There are no gods, no creeds, no sacraments, and no holy books as such. It may even be argued that Confucius, its founder, never intended to establish a religion. One might wonder, therefore, how it can be considered a religion. To answer this objection, it is helpful to remember that there are two dimensions of religion, the vertical and the horizontal. By the vertical dimension of religion is meant one’s individual relationship to God or the gods. By the horizontal is meant one’s relationships to one’s neighbors, the social dimension or religion.

Both are important. Confucianism does not deny the vertical; it merely emphasizes the horizontal. And it does so by perpetuating a solemn code of ethics which, if observed, will bring about peace and harmony on earth (Boraks, 1988). Hinduism stresses a future world through its teaching that living in accord with Hindu doctrine assures a progressive reincarnation until perfection is finally reached. On the other hand, religions such as Confucianism and Protestantism emphasize a this-worldly ethical orientation (Swenson, 1999). Hinduism in Canada

Hindus, generally, have been positively received in Canada. This has been helped by the fact that the first major group of Hindus came to Canada as part of the large influx of South Asian professionals who arrived in Canada as independent immigrants in the 1960s, Canada was short of qualified professors in the rapidly expanding universities of the day and had vacancies in other professional areas such as teaching, engineering, and medicine. Well-qualified Hindus filled many such positions and were gratefully received into Canadian life for the contribution they made.

The fact that many in this first large group of Hindus were educated; upper-middle-class persons who spoke English fluently enabled them to fit into Canadian society fairly smoothly and to be generally appreciated by the host culture. Later groups of Hindu immigrants were not always received with as positive a reception. It has helped draw Hindus together so that Hinduism has an organizational basis on which to be recognized as a formal religion within Canada.

Toward this end the Vishva Hindu Parishad of Vancouver in 1983 organized a national conference to develop the constitution for a Hindu Council of Canada. The Vishva Hindu Parishad has also been active in Hindu student associations in Canadian universities. Not all Hindus have been satisfied with this unifying approach. In Toronto, where Hindu numbers are sufficiently large to make such a development possible, various ethnic groupings have established their own institutional organizations and obtained their own buildings

Currently, more than 50 Hindu temples and associations in Ontario are present, the majority in the Toronto vicinity. The first Hindu temple that was built there was recognized in 1967 when a previous church was acquired, the Prarthana Samaj. Immigrants from Guyana and Trinidad under the leadership of Dr. Bhupendra Doobray, a cardiovascular surgeon who also served as priest, purchased a building on Young Street in 1981 that became their temple – the Vishnu Mandir. A new temple was built in 1984, which attracted India-born Hindus in large numbers, enabling a full-time priest to be brought from India.

Sunday services attracted 250 people and continued to grow, necessitating the tearing down of the newly built temple to construct a larger one that opened in 1990. The worship services are delivered in Sanskrit, Hindi, and English. A diversity of imagery are there in the temple and the face altar cleave to figures of the deities Durga, Hanuman, Ganesh, and Rama, with dialogue happening concerning the probable addition of the Buddha and Lord Mahavira of the Jains.

Enrichment is also added at the university level. The formation of the Shastri Indo Canadian Institute in 1968, with most Canadian universities as members, has done a great deal to foster intellectual exchange between India and Canada, This was especially so in Religious Studies Departments where books from India on Hinduism (as well as Jainism and Buddhism) were placed in the libraries using Indian government rupee funding. The primary scriptural texts in Sanskrit were purchased along with translations.

This library resource supported the teaching of Sanskrit language and Hinduism to Canadian students interested in Indian religion as well as to the children of Hindu immigrants who wished to formally study their own religious tradition (Coward et al. , 2000). Conclusion Today’s religious world shows a multiplicity of religions. And only unity of religion can lead to spiritual unity. This spiritual reality leads to a nurture of the self, enhanced connections with God, with others, with nature, and a consequent enlargement of meaning, hope, and community.

Hence healthy religion builds on an internal, intrinsic spirituality. Such a religion will lead people to recognize their spiritual needs and facilitate their spiritual development through closely relating religion’s ultimate meanings, symbols, and sustaining energies to people’s spiritual yearnings. Expressing one’s spirituality through religion can be considered a very typical human activity. As a human, it is as natural to be religious as it is to be spiritual as what happened to Canada when Hinduism was introduced.