Death And The Afterlife Essay

2898 words - 12 pages

The following term paper is constructed in the form of researching
the various religions of India, China, and Japan on the topic of death and
their views of the afterlife and then comparing and contrasting the
religions at the end. Shinto Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion that has
been around since approximately 200 B.C.E. Unlike other religions, Shinto
was not organized or systematized and had little theology. Instead, Shinto
was a Japanese form of religious practice with close ties to the ordinary
individuals’ everyday lives. Since Shinto was based on tradition, it had
few rituals for death and the afterlife. The basic Shinto concept of the
afterlife is that after one dies, ...view middle of the document...

In
summation, Shinto is an interesting religion that is primarily based on
tradition. Due to this fact though, they had little ceremonies and
understanding of death to themselves. Thus, when Buddhism was introduced to
their way of life, they embraced it and took some of the traditions and
teachings of Buddha to fill in the gaps of their own religion. Thus, in
Shinto, one is born practicing Shinto, but as they move through their life
they progressively become more Buddhist. Buddhism Buddhism is a religion
and philosophy that is largely based off the teachings of Siddhartha
Gautama. He is seen by Buddhists as an enlightened teacher who brought the
concept of how to reach Nirvana through breaking the cycle of life and
death. The main concept within Buddhism that drives the cycle of life and
death, or samsara, is known as Karma. Karma is said to be the consequence
or results brought about by ones actions, whether good or bad. Different
forms of Buddhism have different understandings of Karma, for instance, in
Theravada Buddhism it is believed that nothing can be done to reverse ones
Karma, contrary to other forms of Buddhism that believe that reciting
certain scriptures such as mantras can take away negative Karma from an
individual. Buddhists see rebirth as a process in which someone goes
through a successions of lifetimes in which they go from birth to death.
Rebirth and reincarnation are considered different to other Indian
teachings however. In rebirth, the new life is somewhat connected to the
old life by the things that were done in the old life. The direction of the
new life is somewhat determined the past of the old life. It is believed
that without rebirth, life has no past or future, and remains short and
vain. Many assume that reincarnation is the transfer of the soul to another
body, however Buddhists believe in a no-soul doctrine. Using an example
with candles, as you light a line of successive candles with the light of
the preceding candle, each flame is somewhat connected, but it is not the
same light. Similarly, Buddhists see reincarnation as a transmigration; the
life is somewhat connected, but not the same life such as in the case of
rebirth. In summation, Buddhism took up the same basic concepts Hinduism as
well as other Asian cultures and religions. Buddhism thought that life was
a constant cycle of life, death, and then rebirth or reincarnation.
Buddhists believed that one is stuck inside this cycle of samsara because
they have attachments or desires with the living world. In order to break
the cycle, one must free itself from desire, and if done, they would reach
Nirvana and detach themselves from worldly pleasures and pave the way to
salvation. Daoism Daoism or Taoism originated in Southeast Asia from the
teachings of Lao Tzu. Taoism stressed the importance of being one with
nature. The core beliefs that all forms of Taoism follow include: Tao, De,
Wu Wei, and Pu. These can be...

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