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Introduction

In all the human societies, there is the possibility to find a demonstration of a unique human culture, which culminates into beliefs and customs held by that society. Religion has had a great influence on the beliefs and customs of many societies. However, the religion in China has not been an organized and assimilated system of beliefs, it rather has been characterized by diverse religions. Buddhism has been the main religion in China, and it is the religion which leads to various beliefs1. The beliefs held by the majority of Chinese people who belong to the Buddhism religion, have similarities and differences from the modern beliefs of Buddhism believers in USA. Buddhism still exists in modern American culture. It is a very common religion in the United States behind Christianity and Judaism. However, some of the beliefs of this religion resemble the pre-modern China’s beliefs, while others are different.

Comparison

In the pre-modern China, the Buddhists had a desire for continuance of life after death. They believed that humans should continue with life after death depending on the actions during their life. The religion persuades people to live in a way that prepares them for salvation. This is to be done by living morally right and seeking the Grace of God. This is a shared belief, where in the popular American culture, every person in the Buddhist religion has to have good morals. There has been an ongoing debate over the collision between the traditional beliefs of Buddhists and the modern culture. Buddhism has been associated with the popular culture of democracy, science, and communism. These are the aspects which are largely related to the American popular culture.

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The Buddhist religion has no limitations on the mode of dressing of its members; picture number two shows this. The long hair does not lock out the man from joining the religion. The religion upholds the rights of individual and does not lock out homosexuals; picture number three shows this.

It is argued that the traditional beliefs held by Buddhists formed the platform to the solutions to problems facing humanity today. Another similarity between the two beliefs is that Buddhism accepts or recruits everybody, regardless of the person’s background. The religion seeks to transform individuals into fully conscious beings. This is evident in picture number five (#5) where blacks relate well with whites within the religion. The religion also allows multiracial marriages. Black Americans are getting married to whites and vice versa. Picture number one shows this clearly, as well as, picture five.  

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The believers of Buddhism in the United States believe that they need to reach out not to only their followers, but also to other people outside their ministry. This is a belief they share with the traditional Chinese Buddhist believers. Their objective is to attract as many people as possible. Buddhists believe in gatherings, where they reaffirm their faith. They meet in order to refresh their spiritual commitment. This is normally accompanied by blessings and inspiration. It is a common practice between the traditional Buddhists in China and the popular culture Buddhists in the United States. 

In addition, the Buddhists in the United States believe in forgiveness. They believe that they should let go negative things so that their hearts and minds could be healed. This is a common belief, which they share with the traditional Buddhists in China. They also believed in forgiveness.    

Differences

Traditionally, in the Buddhist religion of China, biological continuance was emphasized. When a Buddhist died in pre-modern China, it was necessary to ensure that his life was succeeded by another life. A person lived his or her life ensuring that he gave his life’s material pleasures to his successor. The body of a person was considered as a gift from the parents and, therefore, great care was to be taken of the body. This was viewed as great honor to the parents and the ancestors, as well as an assurance of a successor after death. In the United States’ popular culture, however, there are no superstitions, and the religion is based on reality on the ground. The religion accepts human beings the way they are. It appreciates human potentialities and limitations.

The pre-modern Chinese tradition was that there was a relation between the dead and the living. The Buddhists believed the dead had the power to influence the quality of life of people living in the world. The influence could be either positive or negative. This is a different belief from the popular American Buddhist culture. In the United States, the Buddhists believe in teaching others on the current issues, like the environment and wars. They give their followers spiritual field trips and courses. The Buddhist believers in the United States do not believe in unverifiable assumptions.

The Buddhist beliefs in China were mainly related to death and family life. The religion spread first in China, hence its acceptance. The religion is widespread with many followers, unlike in the United States. In the United States, the religion has been ranked third behind Christianity and Judaism. It is, however, popular in America, especially in the North.

Buddhists in the United States focus more on fellowship, learning, enrichment, service, and practice. There are schools in America which teach the Buddhism religion. Members are required to learn the doctrines of the religion. It aims at enriching people with the truth of the potentials they possess, as well as their limitations. The religion seeks to convert the day-to-day life to a more comfortable life worth living. The religion seeks to solve the challenges facing humanity. The group has been largely associated with the campaigns on the maintenance of the environment in America. It is different from the beliefs held by traditional Buddhists in China. They held that a person was meant to live an ideal life, which assured him salvation afterlife.

 In America, Buddhists believe in openness with one’s life and communication through faith. They believe they have a deep engagement with the living. They believe that one understands his or her own life through deep practice of hearing to oneself. The traditional culture in China, on the other hand, believed that there was communication between the living and the dead. They believed that the dead had influence on the lives of the living.

The Buddhists in the popular culture of America believe in their own happiness, which originates from their deep faith. They believe in happiness, which is beyond the difficulties of everyday life problems. They derive their joy from their faith and their daily activities. In the traditional Chinese culture, however, the religion was a link between the living and the dead. It was concerned with the legacy left behind by the dead. It was about the moral values of the living, which were to be reflected after they die. The religion did not have anything to do with the human daily problems or seeking solutions to them.

An individual’s actions within the religion are a matter of concern. The believers hold the assumption that what an individual has is because of his actions. This makes Buddhists believe in humility, knowing that they actions determine how they survive. In the traditional Chinese belief, actions of an individual were only reflected when one died. They believed that the wrong doings of an individual were reflected by the newborn that he transferred his life to.

Conclusion

The traditional belief in China has had some similarities and some differences with the popular culture in the United States. This is due to the fact that, as times change, human challenges are becoming more complex, and therefore, solutions need to be found. The steps taken by the Buddhist believers in the United States to deal with environmental issues are correct. The traditional Chinese culture to relate currents happenings to the dead is a wrong assumption. The challenges facing humankind today are because of pressure on resources, climate change, and increased population, among others. There is no relation between the dead and the living. I therefore disagree with the Chinese traditional culture that life is transferred after one dies.

 

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