The Secular Age

Decent Essays

We live in what is sometimes describes as a “secular age,” meaning, in effect, that religion is not an especially important issue for most people. However, there is much evidence to suggest that this is not true. In many societies, including the United States, religion and religious values shape the lives of millions of individuals and play a key role in politics and culture as well. The religion that my paper and my presentation will cover is the beautiful and expansive religion of Buddhism. It is my intention, throughout the course of my paper, to explain the main tenants of Buddhism, the history of the religion, and provide insight on the culture of the religion.

Approximately 350 million people in the world today are practicing Buddhist, making Buddhism the world’s fourth largest religion. However Buddhism has an influence even greater than the number of its adherents would indicate. From the time that its founder, Siddhartha Gautama, preached his first sermon 2500 years ago, Buddhism has spread from its homeland in India to China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Tibet, and abroad. Although China is the largest country in the world to be officially atheist, a large majority of its populace adheres to Buddhist traditions and is even practicing Buddhists. They are noticeably influenced by the culture. In fact, all of the countries that came under the influence of Buddhism were enriched culturally and artistically. The image of the Buddha, which means “Enlightened One,” appears

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