You are on page 1of 7

Megan Larsen

World Religions 2300


May 4, 2015
Comparison Paper
There are many different types of religions in the world among different cultures. Three
of the worlds better know religions include Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism. Buddhism is
one of the oldest religions in the world. Historically, Buddhism has been centered in Eastern
culture, but the faith has experienced increased popularity in the west in the last century.
Christianity is the world's biggest religion; its based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived
in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago. Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and
Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900
million adherents worldwide. Through learning about these religions I have learned about the
space, beliefs, and practice of each religion. By comparing and contrasting these main points of
each religion, one will be able to recognize connections and realize the importance of learning
about our worlds religions.
Buddhism
The Tibetan Buddhist Temple where the service took place looked like an ordinary
building from the outside, but across the parking lot there was another building which was
different. What I mean by this is that the wall was painted with beautiful images that are known
in Buddhism. When walking into the worship space everyone must remove their shoes at the
door, which is a sign of respect; it creates a barrior between the world and worship. When

entering the worship space the focal point of the room is the front wall which holds multiple
golden statues of different Buddhas. Decorating the room was mats to sit/meditate on, colorfully
painted walls, incents for worship, and a beautiful fabric draped over pictures of Buddhas to
show respect. There were a lot of people in the small worship space so with all the mats on the
floor it was hard for people to come and go from the room; the room did serve its additional
purpose though.
When learning about Buddhism, one of the first things to understand is the Three Marks
of Existence which are all things suffer; all things are impermanent; and all things are
interdependent. The main religious leader of Buddhism would be considered as The Buddha
whose name was Siddhartha Gautama. Stories tell the he was born of god and was birthed from
his mothers side already able to walk and talk declaring that he was sent to help all mankind.
Another important teaching of Buddhism is its basic doctrines which include the four noble
truths: dukka, trishna, nirvana, and the eightfold path. Dukka is realizing there is an existence
of suffering. Trishna means that suffering has a cause, namely when one develops an unhealthy
craving and/or attachment. Nirvana means that there is a cessation of suffering which leads to the
eightfold path of right views, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right
effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Buddhism characteristically describes reality
in terms of process and relation rather than entity or substance.
In the rituals there was meditation where we sat a specific way and had our left hand
under our right hand in our lap. The people who participated in the worship spun prayer wheels
and used mala beads all while they recited ancient Buddhist prayers. After they would finish a
section of prayer the teacher would ring a bell to indicate the end of that part. Everyone who was
at the session was able to participate in they wanted. The teacher was the highest of their

hierarchy, but in Buddhism the highest type of teacher is the Dalai Lama. The purpose for all of
these rituals is because Buddhists believe that meditation and rituals will bring them closer to
enlightenment, which leads to Nirvana.
Christianity
The outside of the cathedral was very tall, but I dont why the two columns are as tall as
they are. On the top of the cathedral I could see there were gargoyles that are rain spouts; the
gargoyles are way to protect the cathedral from any evil from entering. When walking into the
cathedral the focal point of the space was in the front center of the room where there was an alter
to prepare sacrament and many large, wooden chairs for the priests to sit. There were many
stained glass windows which had pictures of stories of Jesus life and different saints of the
Catholic Church. Colorful murals covered the ceiling and front wall which featured angels, bible
stories, and Jesus on the cross. The space was very functional to get around because of the wide
aisles and large open space in the front to perform the mass. Size wise, the Buddhist and
Christian spaces were exact opposites of each other as far as space and comfort goes. What
compared between the two is the Buddhist temple had many pictures of Buddhas decorating the
space. The Catholic temple had paints/stain glass images of Jesus Christ and other historical
leaders of their church.
When learning about Christianity, learn about the three primary beliefs which are the
Trinity; Jesus dying for the sins of the world (Atonement and Resurrection); the Ten
Commandments leading to salvation. The trinity includes God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit
which all work together with the same common purpose of resisting temptation from the devil.
Jesus Christ is the son of God and God had the Virgin Mary give birth to the savior of the world.
In Buddhism, there is a very similar experience with Siddhartha Gautama who was born of God

as well and sent to earth to help mankind with the message of God/Buddha. Another similarity
between Christianity and Buddhism is they both have set standards to reach their final goals of
salvation or nirvana. This includes the eightfold path of Buddhism and The Ten
Commandments of Christianity.
There are many different ways to worship in Christianity, one way is through music. In
the mass, the congregation sang hymns and there was a mens choir that sang hymns. There was
an organ that played for everyone to sing along to and the organ sounded so dramatic and cool. A
way to receive blessings is by holy water; the priest blessed some holy water and two priests
went around the congregation sprinkling the holy water on everyone. For the sacrament the priest
held up a wafer resembling the body of Jesus and blessed it for the congregation to partake and
the same with the wine. Other elements of this were many candles around the alter space and
incense to help with the blessing process. Not just the priests participated in the mass; there were
also servers of the sacrament, three people to help priest with sacrament, and the Mens Choir.
The congregation was able to participate in the mass by taking the sacrament and singing along
with the organ. The benefit of these rituals seemed to be to bless members of sin, bring the spirit,
and strengthen the members spiritually. In the Buddhist religion, there is also congregational
prayers and singing, but there is different meanings and purposes for each religion. On the
contrasting side, in Christianity, there is a sacrament in order to remember Jesus Christs
sacrifice for mankinds sins and there isnt anything like that in Buddhism.
Hinduism
Focus points for the room were the two shrines/alters in which they had golden statues
with bright colors and food around. In the room there were two large rugs on the floor where

people would sit for the service and on some of the walls there were colored curtains which they
put storage behind. For the alters, there were a lot of red and purple cloths and there was a large
yellow/gold designed frame around the main shrine. Since this was a different place than their
usual worship space anyone could tell that they were still adjusting to it, but they made it work
for their needs. Overall the space was open and inviting to visitors. These three religions all had
alters in theirs worship space in which members would give offerings or practices for
remembrance and cleansing. When it comes to size, the Christian and Hindu worship spaces
were the biggest and easiest to worship in. All three space contained bright colors and many
symbols of leaders in their religions. When it came to sitting, both the Buddhist and Hindu
temples both did their worshiping by sitting on the floor and the Christian church had benches
for their members to sit on.
Hindus understands their deity as living in all things on earth; their deity loves them and
wants them to be with him again. There are over 300 million Gods because of this, but the main
God they worship is Brahman. There are many ways to worship, but two major ways are through
meditation and yoga. We are away from God, this is our problem; through trying to be good and
the karma of reincarnation Hindus believe that they can get to a state where they can be with
Brahman. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and
no commonly agreed set of teachings. In all these religions, there is an importance to live good in
this life in order to live with their God once more. All believe that everyone is connected so one
should treat everyone with respect. With Hinduism and Buddhism, they believe that everything
in the universe is connected. Since Hinduism is the only religion out of these three which
believes in reincarnation, they believe that there is a soul in all living things. This is the biggest
difference between the beliefs of these three religions.

The different elements of worship were some sort of incense that they moved over the
little statues of their Gods, platters of food offerings, the priest doing blessing for offerings in
different language, specific painted lines on forehead, and sprinkling of something small and
white over the small statues. For this ritual the main purpose was thanking God. They were
giving back to God what God has provided for them in life and the priest was blessing the
offerings for God. The main participants were the priest doing the service, Hindu member
praying and offering food, and a man who would occasionally bring things out for the priest to
use it the service. In the service one could tell that there was hierarchy because the Priest was
doing the service and all of the chanting. Benefits to this ritual would be getting closer to God
and letting him/her know that one sees the hand of God in their life. When it comes to alters with
statues, Buddhism and Hinduism are very similar. They both have many gold statues on their
alters, give food offerings, use incense, and pray to them. Christianity doesnt have statues in
which they give food to or anything like that because they dont believe in worshiping idols or
statues. They worship God, but not through a statue.
Three of the worlds better know religions include Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism.
Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Historically, Buddhism has been centered in
Eastern culture, but the faith has experienced increased popularity in the west in the last century.
Christianity is the world's biggest religion; its based on the teachings of Jesus Christ who lived
in the Holy Land 2,000 years ago. Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and
Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900
million adherents worldwide. Through learning about these religions I have learned the
significance they have in different cultures and how these different beliefs affect how people

decide to live. With comparing and contrasting these religions from very different parts of the
world its clear to see there are many differences, but surprisingly, there are many similarities.