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Religious and Ethnic Groups

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By speedy21
Words 1465
Pages 6
Xiomara Boyce
ETH/125
7/19/2013
Religious and Ethnic Groups: Buddhist and Asians
For my Religious and Ethnic Groups Paper I have chosen to write about Asian and Buddhism (Theravada). I chose to write my paper on the Asian community, because I have always been curious to their culture and their way of life. I find the Asian community to be very intriguing, colorful and vibrant. I decided that since I was going to research about Asian culture I would do my religion portion of the paper on Buddhism, the Theravada beliefs.
The religion of Buddhism is based off of the teachings of a man named Siddhartha. This man was born in Nepal about 500 years before Jesus; destine to be a great ruler or a holy man. He was sheltered from the outside walls of the palace by his father, a king in India, who thought that by doing so he would go down the path of being a ruler. Little did the king know that the sheltered life only brought him more towards the road of enlightenment. Siddhartha experienced 4 events when he finally left the palace for daily outings. The first of the events was an older man, and he’s never seen old people before, his servant called it change and told him how everyone gets old. The second event was a sick man, the servant told him everybody gets sick, and your father will get sick you will get sick. The third event was seeing a dead body; this event affected him the most when he realized that in the end everybody dies. On the fourth trip he sees a religious person meditating and trying to seek enlightenment. He decided to leave his wife and child in the palace and go out and study the worlds suffering. “There is no knowledge won without sacrifice.” It was believed that Siddhartha lived many lives before as many animals, human beings and even gods. The goal is to find enlightenment to end the cycle of death and rebirth. Siddhartha became an apprentice to a guru and learn his teachings for enlightenment. He learned after studying with multiple gurus that their methods did not bring one to a permanent form of enlightenment. “The thought occurred to me, his practice does not lead to direct knowledge to deeper awareness” –Siddhartha. He goes out on his own and started to subject his body to extreme suffering to learn why people continue to suffer for six years. He learned after those long six years that making his mind and body suffer was not the answer, so he decided to find enlightenment his own way, not the way others thought it to be found. He sat at the bodi tree and meditated and said that he would not move until he had solved his problem of the world’s suffering. It is said that while he meditated that the lord god of desire, Maya, challenged him with demons and did not succeed. Then the lord sent his three daughters to seduce him, but did not succeed. The lord then asked him who would be his witness as to whether Siddhartha was worthy, and Siddhartha said the earth is his witness, and the lord went away. Siddhartha continued to stay under the bodi tree and saw all his past lives go before him. He awakened his mind and body and became the Buddha.
Buddhism teachings people how to find their own peace and tranquility without the help of divine intervention. Meditation is key to finding one’s own enlightenment and people meditate for long periods of time just to reach this state. Many Buddhist monks and nuns train using the Five Precepts, which are: refrain from harming living beings, refrain from taking that which is not freely given, refrain from sexual misconduct, refrain from wrong speech; such as lying, idle chatter, malicious gossip or harsh speech and refrain from intoxicating drink and drugs which lead to carelessness. Seeing as the Buddhist people follow a non-violent life, I did have a hard time finding a concrete source to discrimination to or from another religion. I did find an article from NBC about conflict between the Buddhist and Muslim communities. I know that Islamic community differs greatly from Buddhism, because they follow the ancient strict rituals and teachings involving deities and deity worship. While the Buddhist community do not worship a deity, but just follow the teachings of one man to find their own path to enlightenment. The article talked about a Buddhist monk named U Wirathu, and how he launched a campaign against the Islam’s. He believed that Islam is bad for their environment and they should practice separately; “I believe Islam is a threat not just for Buddhism, but for the people and the country and the religion” –Wirathu. I did have a hard time finding information on discrimination as well, but I did learn from reading peoples thoughts across the web that there was a big problem with the Christian followers. I read a lot of Christians call Buddhists people who don’t live in reality, and that they are a false religion to have no God. All of the negative comments were coming from Christians because there is a Buddhist Democratic Senator.
Studying this religion has really helped gain better knowledge as to what they are really about. People think that they see Buddha as a god and worship, but I learned that that’s not true at all. I fell in love with the Buddhist culture and their way in seeking their own paths. I learned that, to them, it’s okay to be purely human and still try to find an enlightened state.
The Asian community is made up of a different cultures and traditions (mainly Buddhist). I know that Asian’s have a strong respect for family and elders and hard work. In the past the Asian community has been through heavy discrimination and prejudice, some that still go on today. Asians were treated just like slaves, they weren’t allowed to mix race with whites, to own land, to get an education and they had to live were the government placed them. Asians had to fight for their rights just like the African Americans did; they fought for their right to live wherever and to vote. They had to fight laws and other communities to get the respect that they deserve. During WW2 the Japanese were a major target to the discrimination from the American people. The Japanese people were placed into concentration camps by President Roosevelt to prevent “espionage” from within the country. A lot of people died during the four long years they were locked up due to medical issues as well as guards killing them. It wasn’t till fifty years later that the US government apologized for what was done by passing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 and sent the victims a signed apology with $20,000. To this day some people still discriminate against them but not as bad as in the past.
Studying the Asian community, I learned that their suffering and injustice was really for not. I learned how discrimination can come in any form and that what was done to this community was really just the US repeating history. The Chinese were treated the same way that the African Americans were and the Japanese were treated the same as Hitler treated the Jews.
In conclusion I learned that both communities are unfairly judged by their beliefs or their backgrounds. Also, I learned that even though they were judged the Buddhist community hasn’t really had that bad of a chance to grow in America. But the Asian communities have had a very difficult time to adjust to American culture in the beginning and are still trying to adjust. Again, all I can say is that when it comes to ethnic backgrounds we as American make it hard for new cultures to assimilate. It takes us years to fully accept a different ethnicity, and still hold some type of resentment towards any groups later down the road just because we can.

Sources * 2002. Theravada Buddhism. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/subdivisions/theravada_1.shtml * Geier, Kathleen. 2012. Discrimination against Asian American students in Ivy League admissions. http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_12/discrimination_against_asian_a041954.php * Grubin, David. 2010. The Buddha. * Hallowell, Billy. 2012. Meet America’s First-Ever Buddhist Senator & Hindu Representative. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/11/08/meet-americas-first-ever-buddhist-senator-hindu-representative/ * Ina, Satsuki. 1999. Children of the Camps. http://www.pbs.org/childofcamp/history/index.html * Le, C.N. 2013. "The First Asian Americans" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/first.shtml> (July 19, 2013).…...

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