Buddhism is a religion with a major following of believers from the Far East Nations. These nations are among the most populous countries of the world commanding about three quarters of the world population; with large part of China professing Buddhism it can be regarded as that religion enjoying the largest number of believers. Bearing in mind that many of this nation are (or they were) communists by ideology it is doubtless that establishment of any form of religion has not been easy, and Buddhism has not been an exception.
Craik Kenneth: (1943). In this narration two most important names feature-a devoted Buddha who runs away at the time of heightened persecution, and the second one belonging to an American author and artist, George Crane. Tsai ran away from Mongolia as a young Buddhist monk in the wake of attack by the Red Army in 1959. Unfortunately many of the remaining monks are killed in this operation that was meant to do away with the Buddhism religion.
According to Tsai, the main character in the Bones of the Master, he ran away to save the teaching of Buddha. Craik Kenneth: (1943). His exodus takes him to Hong Kong and eventually to the United States where, in New York he meets his neighbor and friend George Crane. As they were all working on translation of poems their relationship gets to grow deep despite their age, although it appeared quiet unusual for Crane in the way the Buddha friend expressed his faith.
In observing the Buddhism culture to the maximum Tsai seeks to return to Mongolia with the main aim of searching for the bones of his master and also construct a shrine for his master. Tsai also has a statue of the master which was given him by his student of meditation, but this seems so awkward to Crane who fears for its size and weight. Crane feared because with such a massive thing with them they might not even be allowed to go beyond the boundaries of China. In this return journey he asks his friend Crane to accompany him, and the later is more than willing to come along.
The land at this moment is still very dangerous for any individual who professes Buddhism as his religion and for this very reason Crane is worried on how they will enter Mongolia, a land which is more obvious that he is the only one remaining of the stock of Buddhist monks. Craik Kenneth: (1943). George Crane (2000), came out to explain the very basic concepts of Buddhism and begins by saying that this religion is built on main principles and one of them is basically that life is about suffering. He notes that human life is centered on striving and attachments and therefore according to Crane it is this struggles that bring about suffering.
Futhermore, of utmost importance according to his views is how to overcome this sufferings in which he suggests that the believer should choose the way of the right action and views. At this point, Crane, who most obviously has been influenced by the Buddha practices points out that this actions lead to a path or a way of nirvana or unification with the universe, in which the author says it is about one being in control of her own experiences. Further on Crane says that this path is brought down into four divisions, three of which deal with mental experiences and the remaining one deal with the physical part of the approach.
By doing this the author is giving as the insight of the importance of emotions for any believer of the religion of Buddhism. In addition, an individual of the Buddhism faith should act with emotions in addition to his or her mind as a sign of understanding the faith. Concequently, the believer should use the triangle of emotions, imagination and wisdom as a rule of following the right path. This insight therefore makes us to understand that Buddha religion brings an individual to closer understanding himself and the influence of his actions affect his relation with the spiritual world.
Death appears to play a central role, an important pillar in the Buddhism philosophy. Infact, according to this philosophy death has never existed because the spirit undergoes a reformation called reincarnation, a kind of a circle involving deaths and births believed to be eternal up to the point of spirit achieving Enlightment and eventually enters nirvana. Another believe is in the idea of Karma which is actually the totality of good and bad deeds associated to an individual during his or her lifetime and which his future life in nirnava.
Devotional Practices The Buddhism religion is characterized by a series of practices which are meant to show how devoted the faithful is in the religion. These devotional practices are a sign of veneration expressed before Buddha. Craik Kenneth: (1943). Shrines It is difficult for a Buddhist to worship without the use of shrines. Shrines are special worship points where the image of Buddha is placed and the worshippers bow down around the image during worshipping.
For along time Buddha images and shrines have been used as objects of worshipping and devotion to Buddha – being important in the sense that they are used as objects of inspiration and helps one to remain focused in worship hence showing maximum reverence and gratitude towards the teachings of the Buddha. Images and shrines reminds one of the importance of having perfection in wisdom and compassion in Buddha in addition to the inspirational aspect which serve in developing important qualities as one recalls the majesty of the teachings of Buddha.
A Buddhist will tell you that the image in the shrine helps them to be peaceful because when they go to the temple and see the image it helps them to know that there are some peaceful beings elsewhere and they also ought to be so. Psychologically therefore one settles down. Craik Kenneth: (1943). There are several ways in which the faithful of the Buddha show respect to their majesty, the Buddha. This by: Folding palms and placing them on the chest. This action expresses deep respect to Buddha; Dharma and Sangha.
Another way is by Prostration before the image of the Buddha as a sign of showing deep veneration and makes one set to listen to the teachings. Prostration before Buddha helps a Buddhist to focus on the qualities of Buddha which include compassion, patience and wisdom. George Crane (2000). Therefore, the practices employed by Tsung Tsai from USA are the clear ways of showing how devoted he was to his traditional religion. The first expression of the practice is that of meditation. In the travel account we come of the meditation class organized under Tsung Tsai through the of appreciation him by one of his students.
The class organized under Buddhist meditation types of the Western world appreciated their teacher on his return to Mongolia by giving him a gift of a statue of Buddha. Possibly they had understood the weight contained in this act of devotion because establishing a shrine for Buddha is the highest form of devotion one expresses to Buddha. George Crane (2000). Masters are highly respected among the Buddha because they are the teachers of the traditions, meditations and devotional practices among the monk communities. As an act of devotion therefore there has to be some respect and reverence to masters of the religion.
We remember vividly that before Tsung Tsai left for Hong Kong while escaping the massacre he had to visit his master before leaving. While away his master dies, most likely by the bullets of the insurgents, and is buried not in accordance with the proper Buddhist traditions he used to teach. Consequently, Tsung Tsai seeks to come back to accord his master the required burial as per the Buddhist culture. George Crane (2000). Finally we recognize an act of wisdom as a devotional practice. Wisdom is about having a right understanding about all aspects of life, that is, recognition of one’s environment as it is.
This act of wisdom is not viewed by Buddhists as any act of intelligence but the way one is refined and with time becomes freed of ignorance of this religion wisdom is described as a devotional practice where should give in fully to be transformed . Wisdom is achieved through ethical practices and therefore our mental displine is important in the achievement of understanding. To the Buddhists wisdom is very imperative during meditation where one requires clarity of the mind . This is probably the main reason the old master teacher of Tsung Tsai spend times alone in meditation.
According to the Buddha wisdom is a characteristic of an enlightened personality and the possessor is compassionate and is likely to operate wisely. George Crane (2000). Conclusion Devotional practices are the basis of any religion and the determinant of how engraved to the acts of the religion one is. To Buddhism in particular they show reverence and respect to the master and his Buddha. Bones of the master is a clear insight to explaining to us the clear insights of the culture of worship evolved behind the curtains of Buddhism. Craik Kenneth: (1943).
T sung Tsai can be described as a Cha’n master and monk and is seen as the last Ch’an on earth. Ch’an is a form of Buddhism from Chinese and when it was later introduced in Japan it was renamed as Zen. Therefore a Ch’an monk is associated with the Mongolian or Chinese while the Zen is to Japan. According to Ch’an traditions in Buddhist writings women are accorded the same status as men, and that is why Crane receives a gift from a lama woman and also believed that he was taught the religion by this woman. Craik Kenneth: (1943). Hinduism and Buddhism are closely related religions and evolved together in the Far East.
As a result it has been documented that Buddhism and Hinduism a rose from closely related ideas. In addition the early development in the Indian valleys as documented show that there was a strong flow of faith between the two religions such that at one time the Buddha temples were built under the control of Hindu kings. Furthermore, the worship through the use of images brings them together in addition to a strong culture embodied in devotional acts of meditation, building of shrines and the role of teachers in the passing of this beliefs to the next generations. Both religions show venerations to many deities. Kadodwala, Dilip. (1995).
Kadodwala, Dilip. (1995). Hinduism. World Religions Series. New York: Thomson Learning, ISBN 1-568-47-377-X. L.C. BL1203.K33. Grades 57.
Craik Kenneth: (1943). The Nature of Explanation Cambridge University Press.
George Crane (2000). Bones of the Master: A Journey to Secret Mongolia Bantam Books, (paperback) 304 pages.