Studying Eastern ReligionsInstructions: In the form of an expository essay of around 750-1000 words, compose an answer to the following question:Based…

Studying Eastern Religions

Studying Eastern Religions

Instructions: In the form of an expository essay of around 750-1000 words, compose an answer to the following question:

Based on the materials assigned for this topic, how might we best characterize the academic approach to the study of religion and what is most important for us to take note of in preparing to engage in an analytical inquiry into the religious traditions of Asia over the course of the coming term?

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Please prepare your assignment in a word processing program, save it for your own records, and then upload it here. Before submitting your response, do be sure that you have carefully checked it for spelling, grammar, format, and style. Also, please note that any direct quotations from the assigned readings that you might want to integrate into your discussion must identified with double quotation marks (“…”) and the location of the quotation cited parenthetically immediately thereafter, for example: “…the quotation…” (pg. 43). Your submission will be automatically checked by a tool in Brightspace (Turnitin Originality Check) to ensure that any quotations you chose to use are properly cited. Outside sources should never be utilized or quoted in your assignment. Please stick solely to the assigned materials.

Instructions: In the form of an expository essay of around 750-1000 words, compose an answer to the following question:

Based on the materials assigned for this topic, how might we best characterize the academic approach to the study of religion and what is most important for us to take note of in preparing to engage in an analytical inquiry into the religious traditions of Asia over the course of the coming term?

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B PFW Organic Che x @ Module 1 – Fall 20 x B 1.1 Tasks (Studyin X B 1.2 "What is Relig x B 1.4 Analytical Out x
/d21/le/content/383928/viewContent/6992191/View
5.2. Methods for the Study of Religion (pp. 25-26): There are many different
ways in which religion can be studied in an academic, rather than a theological,
setting: anthropological, sociological, textual (literary), historical, or through
the "religious studies" or "study of religion" approach. This latter approach
allows one to discern and analyze the intersections of religion with personal,
social, political, and cultural life, but is quite different from the faith-based
approaches commonly associated with the study of religion from a theological
perspective, as well as from interfaith and experiential approaches.
5.3. Some Practical Matters (p. 26): There is no clear dividing line between East
and West, and the religions traditions discussed in this course are now found
throughout the world. At the same time, these religious traditions are all ones
that developed in Asia and are still very much centered there. Conventions
utilized in the textbook include the use of BCE and CE to refer to calendar
dates along with dispensing with diacritics (special accent marks placed above
or below letters to represent sounds that do not exist in English) for non-
English terms that are transliterated into Latin characters.
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B PFW Organic Che x @ Module 1 – Fall 20 x B 1.1 Tasks (Studyin X B 1.2 "What is Relig x
@ 1.4 Analytical Out X
/d21/le/content/383928/viewContent/6992191/View
examples of religious expression might be understood comparatively as variations
of underlying themes shared by all.
5. Why Study Religion? (pp. 24-26): The first and most obvious reason to study
religion from the academic perspective in the context of a course offered at a
public university is that it exists. More so than that, however, religion has
historically played a very visible role in human affairs, pervading many different
aspects of human life both past and present, that to fully understand the human
experience in any meaningful way requires at least some understanding of religion.
5.1. Insider versus Outsider (pp. 24-25): It is important to keep in mind that
the understanding of religion by a practitioner (an "insider") is going to be
different than the understanding of the same by a distanced, academic
observer (an "outsider"). When approaching an unfamiliar religious tradition,
outsiders need to be sensitive to the ways in which it might be seen to serve
the needs of its followers. Similarly, when an insider approaches the academic
study of their own religious tradition, he or she needs to be sensitive to the
way in which it appears from the outside.
5.2. Methods for the Study of Religion (pp. 25-26): There are many different
ways in which religion can be studied in an academic, rather than a theological,
setting: anthropological, sociological, textual (literary), historical, or through
the "religious studies" or "study of religion" approach. This latter approach
allows one to discern and analyze the intersections of religion with personal,
social, political, and cultural life, but is quite different from the faith-based
approaches commonly associated with the study of religion from a theological
perspective, as well as from interfaith and experiential approaches.
5.3. Some Practical Matters (p. 26): There is no clear dividing line between East
and West, and the religions traditions discussed in this course are now found
throughout the world. At the same time, these religious traditions are all ones
that developed in Asia and are still very much centered there. Conventions
utilized in the textbook include the use of BCE and CE to refer to calendar
dates along with dispensing with diacritics (special accent marks placed above
or below letters to represent sounds that do not exist in English) for non-
English terms that are transliterated into Latin characters.
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PFW Organic Che x B Module 1 – Fall 20 x B 1.1 Tasks (Studyin x B 1.2 "What is Relig x
1.4 Analytical Out X
1/d21/le/content/383928/viewContent/6992191/View
from a very early period of time, and many Christians today often refer
to the Bible as the word of God.
3.9.3. God’s Final Prophet (p. 23): The chapters (surabs) which make up the
sacred text of Islam, the Qur’an, are believed to be the very words of
God as revealed to the prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel,
memorized and recorded by his followers, and compiled in its final
form as a book after his death (632 CE).
3.9.4. The Lotus Sutra (p. 23): The teachings of the Buddha were initially
transmitted orally, but eventually they came to be written down.
Although traditionally such textual collections have not possessed the
same status in Buddhism as the Torah has in Judaism or the Qur’an has
in Islam, in the case of some forms of Buddhism, such as the Nichiren
school, texts such as the famous Lotus Sutra play a prominent
devotional role similar to the Torah or Qur’an.
3.9.5. Creation through the Word of God (p. 23): Some scriptural traditions
have promoted the idea that certain texts, such as the Torah or the
Qur’an, existed even before the world was created.
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What Is Religion? (pp. 23-24): It is important to note that there is no universal
definition of religion accepted by all scholars, and definitions often depend upon
a particular scholar’s perspective and what he or she is predisposed to focus on by
virtue of that perspective when examining the subject in the first place. Typical
scholarly approaches range from focusing on how religion functions in human life,
to its socio-economic dimensions, to its relationship to human psychological
processes, to its sociological and anthropological dimensions, to how different
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B PFW Organic Che x @ Module 1 – Fall 20 x B 1.1 Tasks (Studyin x @ 1.2 "What is Relig x
1.4 Analytical Out X
/d21/le/content/383928/viewContent/6992191/View
salvation of the world. In placing their trust in Jesus as Lord, Christian
followers look forward to reaching heaven after they die.
3.9. Scriptural Religion (pp. 22-23): The final historical pattern of religion
discussed in this chapter, "scriptural religion," is characterized by the
emphasis it places on the written sacred text, or "scripture," which is believed
to contain divine communications. Historically speaking, some of the earliest
scriptures having a bearing on the living religious traditions of today are the
Avesta of Zoroastrianism, the Vedas of Hinduism, and the Torah of Judaism,
all of which took shape approximately 3000 years ago.
3.9.1. Living by Torah (p. 22): Scripture began to play a more important role
in Jewish life after the destruction of the First Temple around 586 BCE.
This role became even more important after the destruction of the
Second Temple in the year 70 CE.
3.9.2. The Word of God (pp. 22-23): The texts comprising what is
commonly referred to as the Bible have been central to Christianity
from a very early period of time, and many Christians today often refer
to the Bible as the word of God.
3.9.3. God’s Final Prophet (p. 23): The chapters (surabs) which make up the
A
sacred text of Islam, the Qur’an, are believed to be the very words of
God as revealed to the prophet Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel,
memorized and recorded by his followers, and compiled in its final
form as a book after his death (632 CE).
3.9.4. The Lotus Sutra (p. 23): The teachings of the Buddha were initially
transmitted orally, but eventually they came to be written down.
Although traditionally such textual collections have not possessed the
same status in Buddhism as the Torah has in Judaism or the Qur’an has
in Islam, in the case of some forms of Buddhism, such as the Nichiren
school, texts such as the famous Lotus Sutra play a prominent
devotional role similar to the Torah or Qur’an.
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B PFW Organic Che x B Module 1 – Fall 20 x B 1.1 Tasks (Studyin X B 1.2 "What is Relig x
1.4 Analytical Out X
/d21/le/content/383928/viewContent/6992191/View
group s myownes. members Of such groups often beneYou at unacgoing
initiation into the group helped them not only to secure blessings in this life
but also a favorable outcome in the afterlife.
3.7.1. Theistic Mysticism (p. 18): While European religious thought
eventually came to embrace mysticism, mystery religions did not become
common among the Asian religious traditions with the exception of
some forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism.
3.8. Avatar: God on Earth (pp. 18-22): The eighth pattern, called by the authors
of the chapter "avatar religion" after the Sanskrit theological term for the
"coming down (of a god to earth)" is characterized by the centrality of a deity
who is envisioned by his worshippers as a savior figure whose incarnation in
human form rescues the world from some evil power, as well as saving those
who put their faith in him from an unfavorable outcome after death. His
devotees consider the avatar to be a god in truly human form.
3.8.1. Krishna, Avatar of Vishnu (pp. 19-21): In some Hindu stories Vishnu
is the ultimate deity, the god who lies at the origin of everything there
is, including the creator god Brahman. The Hindu scripture known as
the Bhagavad Gita tells the story of Krishna, one of the most important
avatars of Vishnu. In that text, Krishna promises that those who
practice devotion to him will be reborn in his heaven when they die.
3.8.2. Amitabha, the Buddha of Saving Grace (p. 21): Like the Hindu
avatar god Krishna, in some Buddhist traditions the figure of the
Amitabha Buddha is understood to make available a paradise free of all
suffering, disease, and ill will in which those who put their trust in him
will be reborn after they die.
3.8.3. Jesus the Christ: God Come Down (pp. 19-22): The New Testament
says that Jesus "emptied himself of divinity" and came down for the
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B PFW Organic Che x @ Module 1 – Fall 20 x B 1.1 Tasks (Studyin x B 1.2 "What is Relig x
B 1.4 Analytical Out x
m/d21/le/content/383928/viewContent/6992191/View
3.6.1. Ganges Spirituality (p. 17): This pattern came into definite form in
the region of the Ganges River in India around 500 BCE, being
particularly well displayed in the initial articulations of Jainism and
Buddhism. A prominent feature of ancient Ganges spirituality was the
rejection of the idea of hereditary priesthood, saying instead that
members of any social caste, as long as they were sincere and vitreous,
could lead a life devoted to spiritual pursuits.
3.7. Mystery Religion (p. 18): Becoming particularly popular in the eastern and
central Mediterranean world in the final few centuries of the first millennium
BCE, the seventh pattern, "mystery religion," refers to a wave of Greek and
Roman traditions in which core teachings and rituals were kept secret from
outsiders and revealed only to those prepared to undergo initiation into the
group’s "mysteries." Members of such groups often believed that undergoing
initiation into the group helped them not only to secure blessings in this life
but also a favorable outcome in the afterlife.
3.7.1. Theistic Mysticism (p. 18): While European religious thought
eventually came to embrace mysticism, mystery religions did not become
common among the Asian religious traditions with the exception of
some forms of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Daoism.
3.8. Avatar: God on Earth (pp. 18-22): The eighth pattern, called by the authors
of the chapter "avatar religion" after the Sanskrit theological term for the
"coming down (of a god to earth)" is characterized by the centrality of a deity
who is envisioned by his worshippers as a savior figure whose incarnation in
human form rescues the world from some evil power, as well as saving those
who put their faith in him from an unfavorable outcome after death. His
devotees consider the avatar to be a god in truly human form.
3.8.1. Krishna, Avatar of Vishnu (pp. 19-21): In some Hindu stories Vishnu
is the ultimate deity, the god who lies at the origin of everything there
is, including the creator god Brahman. The Hindu scripture known as
the Bhagavad Gita tells the story of Krishna, one of the most important
avatars of Vishnu In that text Krishna promises that those who
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Image transcription text

PFW Organic Che x B Module 1 – Fall 20 x B 1.1 Tasks (Studyin x B 1.2 "What is Relig x
1.4 Analytical Out x
m/d21/le/content/383928/viewContent/6992191/View
existence.
3.5.1. Finding he Dao Within (p. 16): The Chinese sage Laozi (ca. 600 BCE)
said that the Dao, the mysterious energy that underlies all things, is like
water: it will take on the shape of whatever container it is poured into.
The Dao does not have a "personality," and there is no reason for
human being to fear, love, or appease it.
3.5.2. "That Is You": Sitting near the Sages of Old India (p. 16-17): In
some ways similar to the Daoist perspective, the Hindu Upanishads,
composed between 1500 and 600 BCE in northern India, talk of the sat
("being," "truth," or "the real") as the energy hidden within and
sustaining everything.
3.5.3. The First Principle: Greek Philosophy before Socrates (p. 17): The
ancient Greek philosophers also asked questions similar to those asked
by the authors of the Upanishads: what is the first principle, the first
cause, the source from which all else comes? The solutions they
proposed looked to understand of the causal principle underlying all
things without bringing a personal deity into the picture.
3.6. Purity and Monasticism (p. 17): Emerging in the period following the initial
blossoming of the previous pattern, forms of religious expression associated
with the sixth pattern, "purity and monasticism," typically sought an
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experience of religious truth gained through the practice of asceticism and
adherence to an ethic of non-violence towards all creatures. One of the major
goals of such practice the achievement of perfect purity of mind, or
"enlightenment."
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