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In explaining Buddhism one must first understand Hinduism from which Buddhism grew Buddhism is a reaction against Hinduism as protestant is against Catholicism According to The Worlds Religions by Houston Smith there are six aspects of religion that appear so often that a suggestion can be implied that they are seeds that make up humanity In constructing this paper first I will outline and explain these six aspects Then I will attempt to explain why Buddha found them to be obstacles for spiritual development and why Hinduism and Christianity endorse the importance of these six elements Authority The word authority as it pertains to the six elements of religion does not only pertain to Gods final authority but to the authority given to the religious structure Organized religion is important in that it gives people direction and guidance in their relationship to their God This authority can be seen in the positions of leadership of any organized religion where the leadership makes decisions that must be obeyed Buddha preached his religion with an absence of authority He attacked this authority on two fronts First he wanted to end monopolistic hold of the Hindu Brahmins on religious teaching by making the faith accessible to the average person taking away the secrecy of the Brahmins Buddha said there is no such thing as closed-fistedness in the Buddha The Worlds Religions pg 94 In other words the religious leadership did not hold all control on spiritual enlightenment This first attack on authority was directed at an institution of Hinduism most directly at the Brahmin caste The second front was pointed toward individual people The majority of the people relied on Brahmins to tell them what to do Buddha challenged each person to seek his or her own religion In comparison true Christianity advocates authority in worship and in deed For example Hear therefore O Israel and observe to do it that it
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