The Mystical Dimension Of Religion Essay

The Mystical Dimension Of Religion Essay

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“In thinking about religion, it is easy to be confused about what it is.” (Smart, 1992) To combat this, Smart uses seven dimensions to define common characteristics of religion. Much of what will be explored will fit his dimensions. The practical and ritual dimension can been seen in all three religions through worship and rituals and patterns of behaviour. The latter are those acts that help the believer develop spiritual awareness or ethical insight, such as yoga or meditation in Buddhism and Hinduism. The experiential and emotional dimension of religion explains that religion feeds on human emotions and key events from history to illustrate this is, the enlightenment of the Buddha, or the visions of Muhammad. A person will not follow something without meaning or emotion driving it. The narrative or mythic dimension of religion refers to the use of story telling in religion. Typically, all faiths use stories to illustrate their beliefs or events in history, whether they might be of things to come, or like in this essay, stories of the Buddha, or Muhammad. The use of story telling is important as the stories are often based on accounts of history or documents that have been found. Story telling can enhance the believers faith and are often integrated into rituals. The doctrinal and philosophical dimension of religion talks about the importance of the holy books/ doctrines. Since the doctrines typically have an account of the leaders life, and the leaders are usually educated, believers read the doctrines to gain an insight into the leaders life; and thus strive to become more like them or abide by their teachings. The ethical and legal dimension of religion can also be viewed as part of the doctrinal dimension. As e...


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...and bad intentions, they will be reborn as a lesser being than they currently are, such as an animal. If a person leads good life and has good intentions, they will be reborn as a higher state such as a God. This is called a cyclic existence and continues until enlightenment is reached. (Kelsang, 2007) Once a person has become enlightened, all of their worldly desires and suffering are forgotten, and the person will have reached the highest state possible, known as Nirvana. Nirvana cannot be defined; the best that one can say is that it is a state of existence. Nirvana is transcendent, beyond space, time and definition. From this one can infer that to be a religious Buddhist, one must be striving for perfection, be focused on living an ethical life (the ethical dimension) and be thinking about how their actions in this life will affect their Karma and rebirth.

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