At first glance the traditions of Christianity and Buddhism appear very different from each other. One centers around a God that was at one time physically manifest on earth in the human form of his "son" Jesus Christ, the other primarily worships a historical figure that gained divine status through enlightenment. This assessment is broad at best, especially in the case of Buddhism where the Theravada and Mahayana traditions differ significantly. Christianity also has division within itself, the most prominent being between the Roman Catholic and Protestant systems. There are however, despite obvious differences, some very interesting similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, especially regarding prayer and worship, which fall into the "ritual dimension" of Ninian Smart's analytical model (Smart). The purpose of this paper is to argue that Buddhism, particularly the Mahayana and Pure Land forms, and Christianity particularly Roman Catholicism are extremely similar regarding the practice and purpose of prayer. The Encyclopedia Britannica defines prayer as follows; "act of communication by humans with the sacred or holy God, gods, transcendent realm, or supernatural. Found in all religions at all times, prayer may be a corporate or personal act utilizing various forms or techniques" (Prayer, Britannica). This definition is the one that was kept in mind in the composition of this paper as it allows for a wide range of practices to be interpreted as prayer. For instance the Buddhist practice of meditation fits the above definition. This paper will explore the practice of performing prayer and worship as well as the purpose of it in the traditions in questi...
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Amore, Roy C. and Julia Ching. "The Buddhist Tradition." World Religion: Eastern Traditions. Ed. Willard G. Oxtoby. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2002. 198-315.
Bhogal, Balbinder Singh. "Mahayana Buddhism." Lecture Series for Introduction to Religion Class at York University. Toronto. 1 Feb. 2005.
Ford, Stephen. "Review of Buddhism." Tutorial workshop for Introduction to Religion Class at York University. Toronto. 21 Feb. 2005.
Oxtoby, Willard G. "The Christian Tradition." World Religion: Western Traditions. Ed. Willard G. Oxtoby. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2002. 200-339.
"Prayer." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. York University Libraries. 1 Mar. 2005. .
Smart, Ninian. Analytical Model Adapted from Religious Experiences of Mankind. 1969. New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1996.
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