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Buddhism. Many aspects of the belief system represent notions of continuity and change including gender roles, sacred places and scripts and the contemporary issue of technology.

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Introduction

´╗┐Buddhism is an ever-growing religion with approximately 350 million adherents worldwide, prominently found in Thailand, Indo-China, Burma, and Sri Lanka[1]. The word ?Buddhism? comes from ?Budhi? which literally means ?to awaken?. This essentially makes up the basis for the belief system as it originated when Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince commonly known as Buddha, was himself awakened during his lifetime. It is every adherent?s goal in life to reach this same state of enlightenment, or nirvana. Not only is Buddhism a religion, it is often a way of life for many Buddhists[2]. Buddhism is a traditionalistic religion containing aspects that remain constant over time but is also highly adaptable and advances with current global progressions and issues. Many aspects of the belief system represent notions of continuity and change including gender roles, sacred places and scripts and the contemporary issue of technology. Buddhism has been subject to both aspects of continuity and change almost from the time the religion originated. This was clearly highlighted in the role and acceptance of dissent in the belief system in 383BC. This was after Buddha?s death in a time known as the Second Council where a large change occurred and the significant split into two variants of the religion occurred. This was due to arising conflicting interpretations of Buddha?s teachings and the meaning behind them. ...read more.

Middle

In the Vajrayana variant there are many female Buddhas and bodhisattva including Green Tara, Kuan Yin and prajnaparamita who represents the mother of all Buddha?s as she is the anicca[11]. As well as this, the rapid increase of the religion, most notably in Australia, will undoubtedly create an incline in discussion of gender issues as it is a nation based on equality and multiculturalism. Buddhist sacred places and scripts are a highly traditional and continual aspect of the religion. Despite the split into separate variants of Buddhism, the message of Buddha remains the same for all. Initially the teachings of Buddha were passed down through oral tradition although as time progressed the four major councils formed the sangha and dharma consistent in practice and doctrine and had them form a written canon, the Tipitaka[12]. This text has not changed in any way since 250BCE and continues to be the foundation of all Buddhist communities. This is one of only a few things that have remained constant despite divergence and change within the religion. As time progressed, the Mahayana variant also created sacred texts, usually attributed to bodhisattva. These texts held a great amount of authority as they were held in likeness to the words of Buddha himself. These texts are an essential part of Buddhism as they are used in important activities and rituals that remain constant with tradition over time. ...read more.

Conclusion

With this comes the continuation of traditional aspects as well as applying these in ways to suit the consensus of different cultures, most notably western. Many influencing factors attribute to the continuity and change of Buddhism including gender roles, sacred places and scripts and contemporary issues. Each of these play a fundamental role in underpinning the belief system in contemporary society and the religion will inevitability continue to change given its highly adaptable nature. ________________ [1] Buddhanet, 2012, Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc., global, http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/bud_statwrld.htm [2] Buddhanet, 2012, Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc., global, http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/5minbud.htm [3] Buddhism?s Impact and Appeal in the West, Culturescope Volume 79, April 2006 [4] Vajrayana Institute, 2012, Vajrayana Buddhism, Australia, http://www.vajrayana.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=56&Itemid=81 [5] Buddhism?s Impact and Appeal in the West, Culturescope Volume 79, April 2006 [6] TSC Learning, 2012, TSC Learning Inc., Australia, http://www.tsclearning.catholic.edu.au/groups/societyculture/weblog/2953c/Belief_System__Buddhism__Gender_Roles.html [7] Buddhanet, 2012, Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc., global, http://www.buddhanet.net/ftp07.htm [8] Buddhism?s Impact and Appeal in the West, Culturescope Volume 79, April 2006 [9] Buddhanet, 2012, Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc., global, Buddhanet.com [10] Enabling Organisation, 2012, BSQ Tracts on Buddhism No.7, http://www.enabling.org/ia/vipassana/Archive/D/DeSilva/WomenInBuddhism/womenInBuddhismSwarnaDeSilva.html [11] Vajrayana Institute, 2012, Vajrayana Buddhism, Australia, http://www.vajrayana.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=56&Itemid=81 [12] Buddhism?s Impact and Appeal in the West, Culturescope Volume 79, April 2006 [13] Buddhism?s Impact and Appeal in the West, Culturescope Volume 79, April 2006 [14] Buddhism?s Impact and Appeal in the West, Culturescope Volume 79, April 2006 [15] Buddhanet, 2012, Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc., global, Buddhanet.com [16] Buddhism Australia, 2012, Census date from ABS, Australia, http://www.buddhismaustralia.org/census2001.htm ...read more.

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