Most religious leaders come to power through elections or appointment. However, the leader of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, is simply found. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, the idea that a person’s soul never dies and is instead born into a new body. Additionally, the death of one Dalai Lama spurs the quest for a young person born with that special soul. The search for the fourteenth Dalai Lama began in 1933, when the previous Dalai Lama died. At first, the monks tasked with finding the reincarnated Dalai Lama didn’t know where to begin. The faithful waited several years for a breakthrough. Which came in the form a vision. A senior leader of the Gelug school saw a vivid picture in his mind of a three- story monastery with a blue and gold roof, near the monastery stood a small, humble house. Believing that the reincarnated Dalai Lama lived in this home, three search parties of monks quickly set off to find it. After some time; one of the search parties stumbled upon a house on the outskirts of Tibet. At first glance, the building looked quite ordinary. Meanwhile, a nearby path led directly to a monastery that was three stories tall. The monks were thrilled when they saw that the monastery had a shining blue and gold roof. They felt they were close to finding there Dalai Lama. Disguised as servants, the monks introduced themselfs to the family who lived in the house. To the family’s surprise, their two- year- old son, Lhamo, appeared to recognize one of the monks and began speaking to him in a language that the boy’s parents did not understand. To the monks, this seemed like a promising sign. Still, they needed to test Lhamo to be absoluteally certain that they were faced with the old soul of their leader. The monks left the family’s home and returned a few days later. This time, they revealed their true identities and brought a collection of objects for Lhamo’s test. Some of the objects had belonged the 13th Dalai Lama, while others had not. When presented with the collection, Lhamo chose the previous Dalai Lama’s personal possessions without fail. The toddler even declared, “It’s mine!” when selecting each item. 1 The monks knew that they had found the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. In 1940, Lhamo was initiated as a novice monk. The new Dalai Lama received a broad education in subjects like logic, philosophy, and poetry. At the age of fifteen the teenager officially stepped up to lead the Gelug school. Since then, the Dalai Lama was a champion of human and religious rights, standing tall in the face of adversity and serving as a spiritual leader to millions of people all over the world.
In the past, many great civilizations were heavily influenced by religion. Their religious beliefs inspired and shaped their art, culture, architecture, and technology, and helped drive their progress forward.
However, there are instances in which religion leaves a positive, lasting impression, that further influences the actions and beliefs of people. There are many people who have stood for what they believed in - literally, changed the way in which religion was perceived. An example of these types of people are Martin Luther, who’s teachings lead him to create and post the 95 thesis on church doors in Germany, which lead to John Calvin, and his purified approach to life. Between these two men, and because of these two men, are many more people with religious ideas and belief systems. Without the confidence of these people, religion would not of been able to fully develop into what it is
A religion is a system of beliefs that explains things about the Universe, answers essential philosophical questions and tells its followers how to live their lives in order to achieve the goal of that religion, whether it be pleasing the gods of the religion, acquiring salvation from a curse, punishment, ailment etc. that the religion claims people or persons have or self-betterment. In the religions of Ancient Egypt, Buddhism and Christianity, a clear link between environment and religion can be seen. Religion has always been present in large civilizations and is a product of the environment, climate and geography.
Religion has been a powerful force in human history. Mankind has longed and searched for the answers to its purpose, the reason for being and the possibility of life after physical death. They reasoned that an afterlife would be a place of accounting and reckoning for the life they lived on earth. Religious belief systems seemed to give the answers as to how to prepare for the afterlife. Religion became the means of giving answers to those basic yet deep-seated questions of both life and death. Religion provided a format of rules and laws for conduct and treatment toward others based on the desires and wishes of a god or gods that people envisioned, imagined or invented. Religious belief systems have been a powerful force for good and bad...good in the sense that it provided a measure of individual behavior and order in society for the wellbeing of the whole, but bad in the sense that men of ambition who craved power and control over others would often use religion as a tool of manipulation and fear. A casual glance of history tells us that complete civilizations have been built, grown and maintained around elaborate religious systems, ancient Egypt being a prime example.
Religion has played a big part of history around the world. Through religion we have learned so much about different cultures, beliefs and Traditions. Some of the religions that we discover in history are still dominate religions until this day. The Christianity and Islam Religion are two of the most practiced religions around the world today. From Christianity and Islam you get Christians and Muslims. The Christians and Muslims during the Crusades have similar and not so similar views on personal virtues and religious practices.
Through history, religion has shaped civilizations in several aspects. In ancient Indian and Egyptian civilizations it was very strong shaping force in political structures, but both the religious beliefs and the resulting political system were different, just like pharaohs were different from rajas.
Today, new technology and theories provide proof on how our world functions. Through these new developments, the sciences can advance. This advancement not only allowed us to increase knowledge but our rationality likewise. Traits that are only unique to us in the entire animal kingdom. Like science, Religion is seen to have as much of an influential role in our development as a species. Organized religion helps create a connection between people which results in community and culture. Ideas would be able to spread and grow far easier within a community. This was due to religion’s prevalence in the ancient world more so than the present day. A key example was the establishment of Christianity as the Roman Empire’s official religion. As
Religion has been a major factor for the growth and development of societies since the establishment of even the very first ancient civilizations. Though each of the ancient societies—the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Indians, and the Mesopotamians—had different spiritual beliefs, they each shared the common belief that the presence of religion within a civilization would have positive results upon the entire civilization.
Someone's reputation often depends on his work, behavior, and achievements. Reputation is the opinion or beliefs that people generally have about a person based on his past. Some people see the Dalai Lama as an evil person and the others see him as a kind and peaceful person. He has a good reputation in the West. However, Chinese people hate him and accuse him of hypocrisy. So the Dalai Lama has two different reputations.
The Dalai Lama once said, “Major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness… the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives” (Huffington Post). This quote by the Dalai Lama speaks to the issues of pluralism and interfaith understanding. Pluralism is used to describe the diversity of different cultures and how they actively interact with one another. It engages the differences between cultures to obtain a deeper, more profound understanding of each other’s beliefs. To engage in pluralism means to equally support, accept and participate in the decisions of various religious groups as well as placing a positive value on faith and practice. In pluralism, all religious practices are considered beneficial as long as they follow the laws of the state and do not harm individuals within the community.
“Religion is meant to teach us true spiritual human character. It is meant for self-transformation. It is meant to transform anxiety into peace, arrogance into humility, envy into compassion, to awaken the pure soul in man and his love for the Source, which is God.” (Radhanath Swami)
As a student of religion I have learnt that religion is an indispensable part of human life. History shows that every religion, it may be revealed or not, has risen in the crucial moment of the human history. According to the Semitic tradition human history has began with Adam and Eve, first prophet in Abrahamic tradition. In Indian tradition, though God is omnipresent but he directly intervened into this world, what we called Avatara, to make a clear distinction between right and wrong. In primitive society also people’s lives were highly motivated with religious affiliation.
They became the cornerstone of many earlier and later civilizations. Even today many countries, especially those in the Middle East, have religious leaders who work with the government to enact laws and “guide” the spiritual aspect of the lives of their citizens. Unfortunately, with such strong beliefs and convictions can come conflict. This conflict can be on a small scale, such as discrimination against those who don’t share the same beliefs to full-scale war which was the case in the first Crusades. In more recent times we have seen mass genocides of people based in part on religious beliefs such as the annihilation of the Jews during the Second World War. Today we see it played out in acts of terrorism, jihads. Religion is a powerful tool that can be used both to help and enrich the lives of people or used as justification for intolerance against others.