During this class, we have learned a lot about the religious traditions of Asia

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During this class, we have learned a lot about the religious
traditions of Asia – Confucianism, Taoism, Zen and Tibetan Buddhism,
Jainism, Sikhism, and Shinto. These traditions have shaped the cultures
and societies of Eastern and Southern Asia. We have also learned about
various concepts and practices that are unique to these religious
traditions. For this assignment, I would like you to choose 3 of these concepts/practices that you were particularly interested in and that you think would improve American society* if they were adopted here.
You will choose your 3 concepts/practices, research them further,
then write a paper explaining in detail what they are, how they work in
the religious traditions they originated in, and how you think these
concepts/practices would improve American society.
First, you need to choose your 3 concepts/practices – choose what
interested you in the course, what you would like to learn more about,
and what you think is a positive concept, practice, or virtue that would
improve American society in some way.
*if there is another society in the world that you are more
familiar with and would like to write about instead of American society,
feel free! For example, if you grew up in another country or feel
closer to another society/culture, feel free to write about how these
concepts would improve that society instead of American society
Here are the concepts/practices/values we studied in this course (if
there is something that we discussed that is not on this list or
something that you have heard about that is not on this list, you can
still do it – just let me know what you would like to research!):
Possible Concepts/Practices/Values:
Religious syncretism
Enchanted world (belief in deities, spirits, ghosts, kami, etc)
5 Relationships
Ancestor veneration
Filial Piety
Yin and Yang
Following the Tao
Silent Sitting
Zen Buddhism
No-Self doctrine
The 4 Noble Truths
Any (or all) of the Bodhisattva Precepts
Tibetan Buddhism
Tibetan focus on death
Obedience to one’s guru
Tantric meditation and visualization
Any (or all) of the 6 Paramitas
5 Bodhisattva paths
Any of the 5 Vows of Jainism
Jain fasting and/or diet
Sikh understanding of God
Sikh desire to overcome religious divisions
Belief in Kami
Shinto emphasis on cleanliness and beauty
Harae or misogi
Placement of Toriis/Jinja/Kamidana
Choose 3 of these concepts/virtues/practices that you found
particularly interesting, beautiful, or you would think would somehow
improve American society (also, if you are more familiar with another
country’s society and would like to write about how these
concepts/practices would improve that society that is fine as well!).
For each concept/practice/virtue that you choose, you will compose a 300 word “mini-paper” describing in detail what this concept/virtue/practice is
(you will need to do additional research on your topic) and then
explain why you think that this concept/virtue/practice would benefit
American society.
To do this, you could answer the following questions (but you do NOT need to answer ALL of them) about your topic:
What are the origins of this concept/practice?
Is it mentioned in any of the sacred texts of this tradition?
How is this concept/practice lived out?
What is this concept/practice supposed to accomplish?
How do members of this tradition incorporate this practice/concept into their lives?
Are there particular times during one’s life or during the year when
this concept/practice is more important than at other times?
Do members of this religion struggle to incorporate this practice? Is it harder to do in modern culture?
Has the practice of this concept changed over the history of this tradition?
Are there any holidays that are particularly associated with this concept/practice?
Your final paper should also include an Introduction and Conclusion paragraph.
The Introduction paragraph should include a brief introduction to
each of the three concepts that you have chosen, what religious
traditions they are from, and why you chose each of these three
Your conclusion paragraph should include some final thoughts on what
you learned about Asian Religions in general while doing the research
for this paper as well as the one concept that you think you most
benefit Western society (or the society of your choice) and why.
You should also include a works cited list that has at least 5 sources
(at least one for each topic) formatted in proper MLA or APA format
(you can consult a formatting website like easybib.com). Your paper
should also include at least one in-text citation for each of your “mini-papers” formatted
correctly, with your quote in quotation marks followed by the author
name (and page number if possible) in parentheses after the in-text
citation, like this:
The Torii is an “entrance to sacred ground” where the Kami are believed to reside (Lopez 49).
Your paper should be, in total, about 1100 words long (300 x 3 + 100 each for intro/conclusion) and is due Sunday, December 11.
Each “mini-paper” should clearly be labeled so that I know which topics
you are writing about and how long each “mini-paper” is. Please let me
know if you have any questions about this assignment.

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