World Religions Chapter 6 7 Essay

597 words - 3 pages

1.) Explain the main differences between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism, and discuss the advantages/disadvantages of each for Buddhism’s missionary expansion.
Theravada is more conservative than Mahayana, and Theravada believe that it is closer to Buddha’s original teachings. Theravadas main locations currently are Sri Lanka and Southeast Asian nations of Burma. Theravada Buddhism believes that a person can only achieve enlightenment through his or her own efforts. Mahayana Buddhism believe that there are being know as Bodhisattvas who helps humans with the struggles of life, and they respond to needed prayers. Theravada Buddhist believes that Buddha was only a man who found enlightenment. Mahayana Buddhism believes that Buddha was more than a man, and was in fact a divine being. Mahayana further explains that since Buddha was a divine eternal being who came to the earth to help others, than there must be many more who have done the same. Theravada Buddhism holds to the original teachings, therefore they believe that Buddha cared little to nothing about Gods and worship. The Mahayana believes that Buddha was an eternal being, therefore they could focus on the many eternal Buddha’s and worship them. The Mahayana’s like the Hindus are very accepting of other religions; so they believe things like Jesus Christ was an incarnation of Buddha. The basic beliefs of Theravada are far different from Mahayana, which is fascinating since they both believe in the same thing. Many religions have separations on certain issues that separate them and alienate one another. Baptist churches could be compared to Theravada because they are very conservative and strict; and New Age churches could be compared to Mahayana because they are very accepting and lenient. I personally believe that the Mahayana Buddhists have a better view of...

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