Buddhism and hinduism in USA origins and examples

This essay has a total of 1244 words and 5 pages.


buddhism and hinduism in USA origins and examples




The Unites States is home to the most diverse spectrum of religions in the world. There
are representations of nearly every religion in the world. There are three basic ways
religions arrive in the US: import, export, and baggage. Buddhism and Hinduism are two
Asian religions that have made it across the Pacific Ocean and now exist along side many
others in America. ISKCON, a form of Hinduism, and Zen, a form of Buddhism, are two such
groups.

All Indian movements have always had a charismatic leader associated with them.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was no different. Born Abhay Charan De 1896-1977 was the
founder and spiritual master of ISKCON, International Society of Krishna Consciousness. He
was given this mission as a youth from his spiritual Visnuite leader upon his death. He
was a successful businessman who had attended the University of Calcutta. Yet it was not
until he was 70 years old and completely broke, that he came to the US. This was the
perfect time, for it was the 1960’s and it seemed everybody was looking into new forms of
spirituality. His beliefs caught on in this time of mind expansionism. In every ISKCON
temple there will be a picture of Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on an altar-like set up.
This shows how much respect ISKCON devotees have for their former leader.

Every religion has a given set of guidelines or certain authorities that devotees must
follow. ISKCON members have to basically give up their lives to their spiritual master.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada developed four rules that must always be followed: no
eating meat, fish, or eggs; no elicit sex; no intoxicants; and no gambling. ISKCON seems
to be more focused on the orthopraxy of their ways instead of basing themselves on ancient
ways. Members have to proclaim Krishna as their supreme Lord in every form. Temples have
altars and many statues or depictions of Krishna in which one can perform puja to Krishna.
Mantras are also performed several times daily. These mantras are usually very simple
like, “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.” Like other forms of Hinduism, ISKCON holds the Vedas and
the Bhagavad Gita historically true, but does not follow traditional Indian ways.
Devotees of Krishna believe that he lives in a paradisal world and with enough love and
devotion for Krishna they can break free from the karmic cycle and enter into this
paradise.

ISKCON beliefs are derived from the Chaitanya Krishnaite sect, which was started by
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He is believed to have been an incarnation of Radha and Krishna.
He taught that with enough love for Krishna, one could burn away from karma to achieve
moksha. ISKCON and Chaitanya Krishnaitism differs from other Vishnuite groups, because
they do not hold Vishnu as there God, but just one of his incarnations.

Moundsville, West Virginia is home to many ISKCON members. These people live and work on
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