A community, a system of belief, a tradition and a way of life- Catholicism and Theravada Buddhism are all of these and many more. There are many affinities between Theravada Buddhism and Catholicism, but each tradition is marked with its own unique origins. Thus it is valuable to explore Buddhist rituals, practices, ethics and morals comparatively to those Catholic, but equally important to examine those features that are uniquely their own religion.
Every religion that strives to achieve its own way of life chooses distinctive practices and rituals to reach their desired spiritual goals. When considering Catholicism and Buddhism, the two main forms of worship are prayer and meditation.
While Nirvana is the ultimate spiritual
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Whilst there are many similarities between the traditions, many differences are apparent when considering Ninian’s dimension, ‘ritual and practice’. The first disparity between Buddhist and Catholic worship is the reasons for their devotion. Catholic prayer is a personalised approach to petition, praise and/or thank their God. Catholic prayer is both controlled and spontaneous. This is contrary to the Theravada Buddhist practice as meditation is always disciplined, controlled, self-contained and nonpetitional. When Catholics pray it is either in public or private, whilst Buddhist meditation is strictly physically and spiritually solitary. For monks, it is sufficient for practicing meditation and no prayer, as prayer is a distraction to achieving Nirvana. Whereas for Mahayana Buddhism, followers can benefit from prayer but Buddha does not claim the capacity to answer prayers of petition. This is contrary to Catholics, as they believe their prayers can be heard and answered by their God.
Catholic morality is based on key passages from Christian scripture. The Christian Beatitudes are taught by the Catholic Church and reflects the way in which Catholics should operate within the community. The Buddhist Eightfold Path has similar themes to the Beatitudes as it teaches Buddhists significant morality needed to be a worthy