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Racial Religion Paper

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Buddhism is a religion practiced by around 350 million people in the world. The practice of Buddhism is a journey that involves spiritual development, insight, and self-awareness. In fact, the word ‘Buddha’ means ‘one who is awake’. A Buddha is free from greed, hatred, and ignorance. The Buddhist religion teaches people to be fully responsible for their lives. Buddhists believe every action has a consequence, and change can be made.
Buddhism differs from other religious groups in many ways. First, there is no almighty God in Buddhism. Buddhists do not believe in heaven and hell, or judgment day. The idea of sin does not exist in Buddhism. In addition, the relationship between a Buddha and his disciples is that of a teacher/student, not a God and his followers. Another difference between Buddhism and other religions is there is no savior concept. A Buddha does not have the ability to wash away impurities. They believe in cause and effect. There is an action, and a reaction. Also, the concept of “Hell” is different in the Buddhist religion. Buddhist does not believe that “Hell” is a consequence, or eternal damnation. Instead, it is one of the six realms of Samsara (the worst of three undesirable realms). Samsara is a fundamental concept of Buddhism. It is the ‘perpetual cycles of existence; or endless rounds of rebirth among the six realms of existence.
Because Buddhists practice self-awareness, enlightenment, and responsibility they do not judge other religions. Holy wars are forbidden in Buddhism. It is forbidden to injure, or kill anyone in the name of religion. However, many religions debate whether or not Buddhism or Dharma should be considered a religion at all. There are several differences between Buddhism and main stream religion. The biggest difference is that there is no God. Buddhists follow teachings, and follow their own journey. This causes other religions to dispute the fact that Buddhism is a religion.
When Buddhism was brought into the western culture it was not accepted by mainstream Americans. Instead, the concept was embraced by those who rebelled against American Culture, such as the hippies. They embraced the peaceful, love, and anti-war teachings of Buddhism. In 1965 the country-of-origin quotas for U.S. immigration were lifted. Before that, anything Asian was considered “freaky”, “strange”, or “otherworldly”. By the late seventies, Asians accounted for almost forty percent of the immigrant population. This increase of Asian population had a major impact on American culture, because it allowed many Buddhists to move to America, including teachers who spread their knowledge and gained followers.
The core of the Buddhist religion is tolerance, peace, and love for all living things. Buddhists do not harm any living thing. However, they have been discriminated against, and in some cases tortured for their beliefs. Throughout history there are examples of purging involving Buddhists. Probably the most notable example would be the discrimination in Tibet. The Chinese invaded Tibet in the 1950s and the Dharma has been brutally oppressed ever since. In North Korea, the Dharma has been completely eliminated since the communist government. In addition, there have been numerous examples of temples being vandalized or burned in South Korea by Catholics who disagree with the Buddhist religion. Buddhists are peaceful, and anti-war, but they have been targeted by Islamic militants for helping India avoid an Islamic attack. These are extreme examples of prejudice, or crimes committed against Buddhists. There are also examples of stereotypes that lead to discrimination here in America. People assume that what they have heard is true, and they treat people of the Buddhist faith differently because of their religion.
In order to avoid discriminating against other religions, it is important to understand their beliefs. To be honest, before writing this paper I knew very little about the Buddhist religion. I knew that they were peaceful, and believed in tolerance. However, I would have assumed they believed in reincarnation (some of them do, but not all of them). I did not know any details about its origin, or their beliefs. What I have learned as a result of this paper has helped me understand Buddhism. In fact, there are many things I agree with. I am a Christian, but there are some concepts of the Buddhist religion I would incorporate. I like the idea of being responsible for yourself and your actions. I also agree that life is a journey, and it is important to try to achieve enlightenment and self-awareness along the way.
Buddhism is a religion that originated in India, but has many followers in the West as well. In America, many of the followers are Asian. The Asian population has grown significantly in America over the last few decades. In fact, according to the U.S. Census, the Asian population in 2011 was 18.2 million.
The Asian racial/ethnic group differs from other groups in many ways, much as any racial or ethnic group differs. Every group is unique, which makes our world so beautifully diverse. Asians have a different skin tone than other groups, they are typically shorter in stature, they have dark hair, and their eyes are more almond or slanted shape than some other groups. In addition, their cuisine is different than other groups. Also, they speak multiple languages. The term Asian refers to many different cultures such as; Korean, Mongolian, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Taiwanese, among others. There are some similarities between the different types of Asians, but there are also many differences between each culture.
Asians experience with other groups has not always been pleasant. When Chinese immigrants moved to America they were drawn to the possibility of striking it rich in California, during the gold rush. The Chinese were hired to work in the gold mines, as well is on the rail road for very little pay, and very grim living quarters. The Chinese were responsible for performing the hardest, dirtiest tasks but were only paid 60% of what other ethnic immigrants were paid (Asian-nation). Many groups viewed Asians as disposable, and they were treated as if they were.
Asians have quite possibly experienced more discrimination and prejudice than any other ethnic group. They have been discriminated against since they first came to America. They are often the target for hate crimes, and violence. One example of discrimination against Asians would be the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This was the first, and so far the only time in American history that a single ethnic group was forbidden to come to America. The Chinese were not allowed to come here, and the Chinese Americans whom already living here were denied their citizenship, including children that were born in America. After the Exclusion Act, Asians were denied rights to land, citizenship, or to testify in court. Another example of discrimination against the Asian group was during World War 2, when Japanese Americans faced imprisonment just because they were Japanese.
Even though the prejudice and discrimination against Asian Americans has been ongoing, so has the influence of the Asian community on our culture. Some of the influences are easy to see, such as the variety of foods that come from Asian countries. There are also more subtle influences like “Hello Kitty” cartoons and merchandise, and also “Bakugan”, and “Pokémon”. These cartoons, merchandise, and games are all direct influences from Asian culture, specifically Japan. In addition to cartoons, and toys influenced by Japan there is also the technology. Many of our technology are designed in Asian countries. Another influence the Asian culture has had on America is the amount of interracial marriages that involve Asian groups. There are many Asians that marry within the Asian group, but their spouse has a different cultural background. For example, a Filipino American man may marry a Chinese American woman. There is also an increasing amount of Asian men/women that marry outside their race/ethnic group. Yet another influence on our culture is the number of children who are adopted by American families, from Asian countries. It is not uncommon to see American families with an Asian child. Blended race or cultural families are becoming more and more common.
To understand the Asian group completely, it would take a large amount of research. They are very diverse, within their group. Even Asians from the same country can speak completely different languages, and have different traditions. One thing that is easy to understand is the amount of prejudice and discrimination the Asian culture has endured, regardless what country they are from.
The discrimination faced by both Buddhists, and Asians is similar in that many Asians are Buddhist, and also they are both misunderstood. Both have experienced violence, torture, and injustice. However, the difference is the Asian community fought against injustice, whereas those who follow Buddha practice tolerance. I feel that if the Asian community would not have fought against the discrimination and injustice they came across in America, it would still be the same. The fact that the Asian community is still the largest recipient of hate crimes and prejudice says how unfair and unjust their treatment was when they first came to America. The stereotypes involving Asians, as well as Buddhists cause discrimination to take place. Until America can learn to accept those who are different, and not allow fear and stereotypes to take hold there will always be discrimination.…...

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