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Word Count: 596
Religion is an ambiguous term and the pursuit to find a suitable definition that encompasses the whole of world religions has been long and arduousThere are two separate schools of thought on the idea one from the anthropologist Melford Spiro who defines religion as an institution consisting of culturally patterned interaction with culturally postulated super-human beings However the scholar Frederick Streng defines religion as a process whereby people reach beyond themselves to connect with the true and ultimate reality that will save them from the destructive forces of everyday existence Looking specifically at the eastern cultures of Buddhism Taoism and Confucianism I will evaluate and discuss each of these definitions and how they may or may not relate to each separate religionSpiros definition of religion as it relates to Buddhism is vague and doesnt embody it as a whole though it has some relevance to it to make it partly true In Buddhism the Buddha can be considered super human as he was conceived when his mother Maya had a dream of a white baby elephant entering her side and is described as a man whos limbs shone with the colour gold The Buddha was sent to the earth to achieveenlightenment and lead his followers as Arhats with him to Nirvana This definition also rings true with the idea of Buddhism being institutionalized by its monks and nuns However it fails to narrow into Karma and Samsara which are central to the Buddhist religionSamsara is simply suffering believing that reincarnation is a cruel cycle that can only be stopped by obtaining enlightenment AndKarma is explained asKarma is a Sanskrit word that basically translates into action According to Buddhists karma is the outcome of a persons good or bad actions Kusala karma good action involves positive acts such as generosity righteousness and meditation which brings about good results and happiness in this life and in future lives Akusalakarma bad action such as stealing killing or sexual
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