A discussion on women in traditional worlds

Working woman, Japan, c National Museum of Denmark. Both male and female roles influence each other.

A discussion on women in traditional worlds

Buddhist traditions in the East: Buddhism is not a single monolithic religion. Many of its adherents have combined the teachings of the Buddha with local religious rituals, beliefs and customs. Little conflict occurs, because Buddhism at its core is a philosophical system to which such additions can be easily grafted.

There are now three main systems of thought within Buddhism which are geographically and philosophically separate. Each tradition in turn has many sects. One source divides the religion into three main groups by their location: Buddhist missionaries from India took the religion to a number of countries, but it initially only achieved a foothold in Sri Lanka.

They promoted the Vibhajjavada school Separative Teaching. By the 15th century, this form of the religion reached almost its present geographical extent. Concepts and practices include: Dana - thoughtful, ceremonial giving Sila - accepting Buddhist teaching and following it in practice; refraining from killing, stealing, wrong behavior, use of drugs.

On special days, three additional precepts may be added, restricting adornment, entertainment and comfort. The Cosmos - consists of billions of worlds grouped into clusters; clusters are grouped into galaxies, which are themselves grouped into super-galaxies.

The universe also has many levels: Paritta - ritual chanting. Worship - of relics of a Buddha, of items made by a Buddha, or of other symbolic relics. Festivals - days of the full moon, and three other days during the lunar cycle are celebrated.

A discussion on women in traditional worlds

Pilgrimages - particularly to Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka and India. It found initial acceptance there among the workers; later, it gradually penetrated the ruling class.

Buddhism reached Japan in the 6th century. Eastern Buddhism contains many distinct schools: They celebrate the New Year, harvest festivals, and five anniversaries from the lives of Buddha and of the Bodhissattva Kuan-yin. It has been, until recently, wrongly dismissed as a degenerate form of Buddhism.

Ceremony and ritual are emphasized. They developed the practice of searching out a young child at the time of death of an important teacher.

The child is believed to be the successor to the deceased teacher. They celebrate New Years, harvest festivals and anniversaries of five important events in the life of the Buddha. Buddhist and Tibetan culture suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution when an attempt was made to destroy all religious belief.

Buddhism in the West: Southern Buddhism became established in Europe early in the 20th century. Buddhism came to the U. Today, there are racial and cultural divides in American Buddhism, between nationalities of new immigrants, and between Caucasians and Asians.

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They exist largely as two solitudes, with little interaction. For Asian-American Buddhists, the temple "has more congregational importance, playing a key religious, social and cultural role in the community. Caucasians Buddhists focus on meditation. Their groups tend to be "more lay orientated, with more women in positions of leadership.

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A brief discussion of Buddhist traditions: East and West