I have read the book Living Religions recently. This book affected me deeply and urged me to express my impression. This paper discusses the features of the world religions that amazed me the most and tells about their place in the modern society.
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The first religion that interested me is Hinduism. It is a religion of Indians, which is considered to be the oldest religion in the world. The features of this religion captured my interest. For example, it is hard to believe that there are 300 million divinities in India. This vividly contrasts with the teaching of Koran about the only God – Allah – and the absence of other gods. The Vedas are one of the earliest sources of human thoughts and beliefs. I found out that they include thousands of ancient spells and hymns. Such legacy is significant to society in general and to me in particular, because that is the millennial work of Indians, which is as relevant nowadays as it was centuries ago.
The other fascinating thing is that Hindus threat the cow as sacred. It astonished me since cows can even walk around the Indian cities, and nobody has the rights to hurt them. Another exciting particularity of Hinduism is Yoga. There are different kinds of it designed for particular groups of people. I believe it helps to make the mind clear and provides a spiritual rest. Hinduism is a very original religion that connects the art and the faith, the development of body and mind. I think this religion is immortal because it is close to our life and comprehensible for everyone.
Another impressive religion is Jainism. This ascetic teaching offers clues to our global survival (Fisher 121). Jains understand that humans are imperfect, but they believe that we can achieve perfection and freedom through the control of our senses and thoughts. I agree with this approach.
Jainism has own particularities. In Jain cosmology, the universe does not have the beginning or the end. Also, Jains believe in the reincarnation. This belief impressed me, because we, Muslims, believe in the Eden and the life after death that is predicted in Koran. It is very interesting to find out about such differences in views. Some people equate this religion to Buddhism, but their perception of sufferings is divergent. Jainism says that suffering and evil are only the signs of bad life, and people can acquire the happiness and liberty if they observe the laws and precepts of their prophets. Another unique feature of this religion is female ascetics. It amazed me that Jainism is the only religion in India that allows women to refuse the marriage. However, Jain tradition related to fasting before death at the end of life impressed me the most. They believe that this practice cleanses their karma. Jainism is a very peaceful and bright religion. I like it because it suggests human perfection and freedom.
The last religion that amazed me is Buddhism. The Buddha is the major teacher of Buddhism. He taught about earthly sufferings and the ways to cure them (Fisher 137). The fact that surprised me the most is that this religion has no God who created the world, no divinity that Indians have to pray to. Nevertheless, it is one of the strongest and the most common religions. Koran, on the contrary, tells about the God, who was the creator of the world, and includes many everyday prayers to him.
One more feature of Buddhism is that it does not focus on the unseen reality. It does not pay attention to the nature of soul or to the origin of the universe, and it is very strange to us. I do not agree with such thinking, because questions like these assist people with gaining knowledge about the world and themselves. I think it is a religion of realistic people. However, Buddhists believe that they were born many times. For example, Buddha said that he remembered all his past lives and told stories about them to illustrate the different lessons. Moreover, I have learnt that the only way to end the sufferings is to end the greed and make a life free of attachments that have no karmic values (Fisher 149). In my opinion, Buddhism is free religion. It is like medicine that can help us to cure our sufferings. It is a religion that gives people the opportunity to pass the eight ways of salvation themselves without different ceremonies and sacrifices. It is a religion of humanism, justice and self-improvement.
Nowadays there are many different religions, but Christianity is the most common religion in the world. The Bible is the scripture and a spiritual guidance of Christianity. In contrast to Buddhism and Hinduism, it tells about one God, who created the world, and urges people to pray to him. Christians also believe in the Eden and the life after death, and that is very different from Jain faith in the reincarnation. Christianity is a very strong religion that has overcome hundreds of obstacles. It established many precepts that are the basis of the society. It urges people to live in love to each other and to the whole world. Thus, we have to respect the faiths of other people. Such a principle induces me to be open-minded.
In conclusion, there are many different religions in the world except Christianity and Islam. Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism are religions that impressed me the most. Each of them occupies an important place in the modern society and has own particularities that have to be respected. Christianity and Islam are the most common religions today, but other religions have to be regarded as well.