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How Do Characteristics of Religion Create a Dynamic, Living Religion?

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Buddhism is an over, thousand year old religion, starting India around the 4th Century BC. It follows the teachings of Buddha, who promoted peace and harmony within the human being and between human beings to reach Nirvana, which means liberation and is the goal of all Buddhists to reach.

Buddhism is a religion because of its characteristics. For an idea or a following to be called a religion, it must have certain characteristics that are involved in the phenomena. These include Beliefs and Believers, sacred texts and writings, ethics and finally, Rituals and ceremonies . These characteristics all form to create a dynamic, living religion; one that is constantly evolving.

Buddhism maintains a central belief like any other religion, that there is greater being that is either transcendent or immanent. In this case, Buddha was an immanent God. It is important to believers for a religion to have a core belief so that the believers can search for the meaning of their life. Buddhism, like all other religions have differing sets of belief. For Buddhism, the belief that powerful beings called Bodhisattvas can help normal beings to attain nirvana, is only held by a section of the Buddhist community. Both sides of this belief would still be considered Buddhists. This creates a dynamic and living religion by determining what was written in the original sacred texts, then over time using these writings to determine the beliefs and revelations from God.

Another characteristic of religion is that they have sacred texts and writings. These texts perform as important roles in their particular faith. Buddhists main sacred text is the Tripitaka, which is Buddha's earliest writings on his discoveries on enlightenment. Sacred texts such as Tripitaka present believers with important role models which they can base their lives on. Sacred texts and writings help contribute to the dynamic, living religion as it contains all of the writings, oral stories and traditions that people in the past lived by. They also give information about rituals and rites that help community and personal ethics. Which helps human beings treat people the way we want to be treated, therefore people treat each other with respect no matter what religion, which in return, creates a dynamic, living religion.

Ethics is the reasoning behind moral decision making. The ethics and precepts of a religion are the laws which embody key values of a religion and allow for the practical application of that religion. In other words, ethics offers a system of standards which regulate moral decision making .Ethics in Buddhism are found within the sacred texts and writings of the religion. The Tripitaka also presents the Five Precepts that all lay Buddhists must observe which embody these values or guiding laws. These help to create a dynamic, living religion as we treat and do things to other human beings as what we think is right.

Rituals and ceremonies are practical



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