A concise introduction to world religions by Oxtob

A concise introduction to world religions by Oxtoby Willard and Alan

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Religious Theme of Samsara

           According to Oxtoby et al the philosophical or the religious theme of the Samsara is based on the concept of reincarnation. In Hinduism, it is assumed that the human soul does not change throughout his lifetime even after death. The soul is said to be ferried to in the subtle body to its subsequent destination. The karma which is the moral actions of the deceased and his individual desires at death are the ones that influence nature of the new body to be formed. Passing over from the current body to the next involves a series of steps which is referred to as the Samsara. Based on the philosophical concept of the Samsara the soul is manifested over wide range of living beings and transmits to another body through a continuous life cycle of birth, death and rebirth process (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 145).

Dad vision’s impact on Siddhartha

            I tend to think that Siddhartha’s vision of his dad plowing in the field gave him peace of mind that he had not experienced before. He experienced a session in his life where he had no feelings, where all his desires were gone, he had no slightest feeling of fear or irritation but only calm happiness filled his heart. Through this vision, Siddhartha discovered that there was an option through which he could finally resolve his dilemma. He discovered that relaxing and concentrating on the mind was the way through which he could seek wisdom. From the vision, Siddhartha practiced the same art of relaxing and focusing on the mind from which he discovered that humans are closely linked to each other and everything else in the world. He discovered how the actions of each of us affects and changes us (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 385).

Role of Puja in Bhakti-Yoga 

            Puja is an act of devotion to God in Hinduism through offering ones desires and thoughts. Puja allows one to establish a divine connection with God and takes up several forms of worship. On the other hand Bhakti-Yoga is fundamentally the expression of love to God. In this type of yoga, the main aim to build closer ties with God. Its practice is attributed to gaining eternal peace. Puja ensures that Bhakti-Yoga stands out from other types of yoga and allows it to establish spiritual connection with God. Puja informs the best way through which Bhakti-Yoga should be used in worshiping God. Through Bhakti-Yoga, puja coaches people on how to devote themselves to God as well as showing their love and affection to Him. While practicing Bhakti-Yoga, puja allows people to channel their spiritual energy for one to experience express communication with God (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 316).

Hindu Conception of Sacrifice as World Maintenance

            The concept of sacrifices in Hinduism dates back to creation. Sacrifice (Yajna) based on Hinduism is an ongoing process which began after creation of the universe. Sacrifice is said to have been going on in each and every part of the universe since creation and aids in maintenance of the world. Sacrifice in regard to the Hindu began with creation of the universe a process which is explained as a sacrifice. The origin of sacrifice is shown as a medium through which desires are fulfilled. Sacrifice is argued to be the main aspect through which life is propagated in the universe. Through sacrifice the sun is able to draw water from water sources and to form rain which consequently grows plants to support life in the universe (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 26).

Why Lord Buddha stayed in the city

            The Lord Buddha in his early years lived in the city of Kapilavatthu. The Buddha lived there since it was the place of his birth. He loved staying in the city since he came from a wealthy family and they stayed in a beautiful city palace. It is also possible that the Lord Buddha in his early years lived in the city since he could afford the luxurious city life. His family was well endowed with wealth and he was able to pay for all his expenses. It is also possible that the beautiful sceneries in the city attracted him. The respect that he was accorded by people could also be another reason that made him and his disciples love the city. I also tend to think that the Lord Buddha’s discovery of misery, diseases and aging among other problems in the city could be another factor that made him and his disciples more interested in the city (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 386).

The truth of suffering in getting what you want

            Getting precisely what you desire may be taken as an example to suffering. Getting what one wants involves a series of activities through which a certain percentage of struggles which involves suffering is experienced. On the other hand, suffering in regard to Buddhism is caused by wanting something. There exists a noble truth that when one wants something and gets it, he or she will soon get bored with it and will want something else. This will consequently amount to physiological suffering since one cannot satisfy himself by getting what he wants. Therefore, getting what one wants precisely does not warranty happiness and does not distinguish suffering (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 390).

Long Essay Prompt


The practices of Buddhism aim at developing specific intrinsic qualities on people such as expanding their wisdom, developing self awareness and compassion. The sole purpose of Buddhism is to produce enlightened people who are able to see the absolute reality of the world. Buddhism has got strong philosophical aspects but also contains major religion feature. I would hence argue that it is not equitable to illustrate Buddhism as a system of self-development rather than a religion (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 145).

Buddhism as a Religion

            According to Oxtoby, Willard and Alan (387), Buddhism is a spiritual practice which is aimed at enlightening oneself to gain insight into the true reality of life. Buddhism contains strong features of a religion which includes belief, strong faith and transformation of oneself. In all religions, there contain features of faith of the expected outcome and belief in something. There also exists an aspect of self-transformation where each and every partisan of that religion aims at transforming his behaviors to conform to the directions of the religion. Usually, people conform to various religions because they need to change their lives especially through improving their moral conduct in order to live a fulfilling life. Additionally, religion protects people from wrong doings. It also offers comfort in specific beliefs which cannot be quantified as true or false. Buddhism is characterized by these aspects hence it would not be fair to expressly refer to it as a philosophy and not a religion.

Buddhism like any other religion remains to be an applied philosophy when one is not practicing it. Without practice, a religion remains to be a set of thoughts of how one ought to live morally but the quality of religion is experienced when one takes applies it. Buddhism is however criticized in the idea that it transforms lives even without practice an aspect that is not experienced in other religions. In this regard, Buddhists insist that one has to fully believe in the teachings for self-transformation just like one has to fully have faith to be healed. In some aspects of Buddhism such as meditation, one has to be actively involved in the practice to achieve self-development (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 438).

Just like other religions, Buddhism aims at changing people’s conduct as well as their beliefs and attitudes. It also stresses on the idea of control of anger and hatred as well as controlling ones desires to achieve spiritual nourishment. Failure to containing these aspects would result to dire karma which involves hurting self and others. Practices such as meditation are essential in Buddhism for one to achieve spiritual nourishment. The religion aspect of Buddhism can also be derived from its slogan which emphasizes on doing good, avoiding evil and spiritual cleansing. It puts more emphasis on moral conduct and restrains evil practices (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 426).


Many scholars especially in the western world view Buddhism as a philosophy. Although it has got a greater philosophical aspect than other religions, it would be unfair to declare Buddhism as a system of self-development. This is because it has practical nature and it can be equitably referred to as applied philosophy of religion. Its religious nature is observed through its spiritual concern of life. Additionally, it aims at restoration of hope in people and is optimistic just like other religions (Oxtoby, Willard and Alan 439).

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