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Syncretic Nature of Asian Religions

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Introduction: Among all other continents, Asia reflects a continent with an extensive and affluent exhibit of culture, traditions, ideals, worldviews, and religions such that customs and ways of living in one nation may differ greatly from that of another nation.

Thesis: Because Asia reflects a broad range of culture, tradition, and systems of belief which varies across different locations, it is argued that most of its major religions have developed adaptive natures as they have begun to spread to various parts of the continent in order to generate expansion, thereby leading to syncretism. To that effect, it is also strongly believed that the naming method of religions within Asia (utilization of –isms) is thereby an effective way of creating distinctions between disparate systems of beliefs.

Outline

I.            Asian culture and religions: an overview of the vast range of cultures, traditions, and ways of living, customs, and beliefs present within the region.

Asian culture is not reflective of one single system of tradition and of belief, it reflects a very large body of such constructs such that from the Middle East to the Oriental East, and down to the Southeast, collections of varying rituals, ideals, and views in life are present. This section discusses some of the highlights of Asia’s culture and some of the major religions present within the continent that have continued to influence people today.

Religions to be discussed: (brief discussions only)

  1. Buddhism: A belief that highlights individual spiritual progression and achievement of a profound understanding into the real value and temperament of life. It revolves around the belief that all life is interrelated such that sympathy is innate and imperative to all.
  2. Hinduism: Presumably the longest running religion in the world, it is perceived as a way of life rather than an actual religion. It takes profound beliefs in one god with several manifestations, thus resulting to a henotheistic forms of worship.
  3. Confucianism: A system of belief attributed to the ideals developed by Confucius for the community, it does not represent belief in a certain god, but represents a code of values which govern the society, the family, and the individual.
  4. Daoism: A primeval convention of thinking and spiritual conviction that centers its ideals on the Tao (the way), deemed as the most definitive ingenious principle of the cosmos in which all things are united and attached.

II.            Buddhism: A representation of the syncretic nature of religions in Asia

  1. Buddhism

Buddhism reflects one of the most widely spread system of belief or religion within the continent. From its foundation in India, it has evolved into more adaptive forms of Buddhism as it continued to spread across various parts of Asia, thus, becoming an open and adaptive religion. Due to such transformations, Buddhism in India may have some disparate ideals as compared to Buddhism in Taiwan. To a certain degree, therefore, Buddhism is syncretic in nature, such that it is diverse, free, and unrestricted –this has therefore allowed this system of belief to flourish across the continent, despite the great number of systems of beliefs scattered all over the region.

  1. Buddhism and Hinduism Commonalities
  2. Buddhism and Confucianism Commonalities
  3. Buddhism and Daoism Commonalities

III.            Utilization of –isms in naming religions

Isms reflect systems of beliefs which are philosophical, political, or moral. The naming system has been effective in creating distinctions across these systems, such that any form of confusion may be avoided. To a certain degree, especially with consideration of the syncretic nature of religions across Asia, attachment of this suffixes is regarded as effectual.

 

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