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A Number of Different Religions, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

During your unit’s anticipated time in India providing humanitarian aid you will undoubtedly encounter a number of different religions. Although a large majority of Indians are followers of the Hindu religion, two other religions, Buddhism and Jainism, enjoy significant memberships as well. The particulars of Hinduism and Buddhism are likely known to most members of your unit but the beliefs of Jainism may be new to most of them.

Despite not being well known outside the borders of India, Jainism is a well-established religion that is highly dependent on the principle of non-violence. Non-violence is one of the five great vows of Jainism. In addition to non-violence, members of Jainism believe in a non-attachment to material things, no lying, no stealing, and the promotion of sexual restraint. In fact, strict members of the religion hold celibacy as the ideal.

Jainism views the world as a highly integrated unit in which everything including persons, animals, and plants are all dependent upon each other. In this regard, Jainism believes that all such entities possess living souls and that human beings do not operate on a higher plane are equal in value to animals and plants. Because humans, animals, and plants are equal they are all deserving of respect and consideration.

In regard to the aid provided to members of the Jainism, one must be mindful of the fact that members of the religion are strict vegetarians. This belief cannot be compromised and it extends to their being highly mindful as to the use of the world’s resources so they are highly sensitive to how material things are manufactured and transported.

As to its belief in reincarnation, Jainism teaches that the goal of all followers is to obtain a state of ultimate liberation where one is able to escape the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Jainism believes that once one escapes this cycle the soul lives in an eternal state of bliss.

For most members of the unit the fact that Jainism does not have any priests or ministers will seem a bit odd but this is not unusual in eastern style religions. Instead, the religion relies upon monks and nuns to provide spiritual guidance. Finally, there is no deism in Jainism. Instead, the religion is self-directed as each individual attempts to reach eternal bliss. A concept of a god figure does not factor in this process.

As the present policy is to maintain a “soft power” in regard to diplomatic relations with foreign governments it is imperative that all members of the unit demonstrate respect for the views of Jainism. Members of this religion are extremely passive in their approach to life situations and the rigid and authoritarian military style will seem strange to these individuals. Members of the unit should also be mindful that followers of Jainism may express some resistance in receiving aid of any kind. They strictly believe that one must possess no more than what is needed so the receipt of aid may be refused. Providing any aid must, therefore, be done carefully and in a manner that respects the basic simplicity of these religious members.

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