Religions Essay

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| Comparative Religions Project | | | Anthony Smith p.4 | 12/13/2012 | | Buddhism 1. What is the point of origin? The point of origin for Buddhism is northern India. 2. How did the religion/philosophy spread? Buddhism spread by trade, conquest, and monks. The Indian Ocean Trade network help spread the Buddhism to places that traded within the Indian Ocean. When Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor, there was contact between Greece and India. Monks walked around India teaching about Buddhism. With a stable monarchy, the monks were sent out farther and farther. 3. How many followers are there worldwide? There are 376 million Buddhists worldwide. It’s also 6% of the population. 4. Is the religion monotheistic or polytheistic? What are the deities called? Buddhism is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic. However, Theravada Buddhism is atheistic but does not deny the existence of beings that might be called “gods.” In Mahayana Buddhism there are celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas that are worshiped as “gods” and “goddesses.” There are many deities, but the most popular are Kuan Yin, the medicine Buddha, the Laughing Buddha, and the Green and White Taras. 5. Who founded the religion? When? Prince Gautama founded Buddhism in 563 BCE in India. Gautama founded Buddhism when he was 29 and left his palace to gain spiritual enlightenment. At age 35 he meditated for 7 weeks and “in a flash” he found his way and became the Buddha. 6. What is the name of the Holy Book? There are many Buddhist scriptures and religious texts that are divided into canonical and non-canonical categories. The Tripitaka is the earliest collection of Buddhist teachings and the only text that the Theravada Buddhists recognize as canonical. Mahayana Buddhism respects the Tripitaka as sacred

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