Acceptanceof Faith Diversity: Draft
November 08, 2015
Providersof healthcare must be aware of the spiritual/religious diversity oftheir patients. This paper will explore and compare the worldviews ofChristianity and Buddhism. The Christian healing components offorgiveness, faith and salvations are identified along with theBuddhist prime component of healing through meditation. This paperwill also discuss why it what is important for to patients to be whencared for by those of different beliefs. The conclusion will discussthe writer’s spiritual views on healing and the findings of thelearned importance of prayer and meditation.
Christianity and BuddhismWorldviews and Comparative Analysis
The prime reality for Christians is the creationistic view of theuniverse by an omnipotent God told through the writings in the bookof Genesis in the Bible (Shelly & Miller, 2006). While IinBuddhism, the prime reality is the path to enlightenment.Enlightenment and ultimately nirvana is the only way to avoid thecycle of death and rebirth. Obtaining nirvana has a different meaningfrom sect to sect in of Buddhism (Paramahamsa, 2008). In Buddhism,gods only play a minor role in giving assistance and encouragement tothose seeking nirvana.
Christians view their role as that of stewards to the world aroundthem, created by god. The surrounding environment is comprised of asboth thethe visible seen and the invisibleunseen, the physical andthe spiritual. Buddhism views the world in a cycle of change, birth,suffering and destruction. This is the physical realm of constantchange. The spiritual goal of attaining nirvana or liberation fromthe cycle, is entering the stream and some believe becoming one withthe stream. This transcendence others view as simply becoming(Paramahamsa, 2008).
Human beings are imago dei or made in the image of god in theChristian worldview. This separates us from the rest of the animalkingdom with a soul, moral accountability and responsibilities(Shelly & Miller, 2006). Buddhism views a human being as is thesum of momentary events experienced through six senses, six objectsand six cognitions: Eye-color-visual, ear-sound-auditory,nose-odor-olfactory, tongue-taste-gustatory, skin-touch-tactile andmind-perceived objects-mental (Paramahamsa, 2008).
The Christians, while fearing death, view it as the entrance toeternal life through the belief in Jesus Christ’s salvation as theson of God. The Buddhists believe that if one has not gained nirvana,the cycle of death and rebirth continues. One can be reborn as aspirit, human, animal or god. One hopes to be reborn as a human asnirvana can only be obtained in the human form (Paramahamsa, 2008).
The Christians gain knowledge through prayer and by studying theteachings of the bible. God gaive man a conscious understanding ofthe scripture in which he is led by the Holy Spirit (Rasi, 2011). HowBuddhists view the gaining of knowledge of varies from sect to sect,but it is generally the thoughts of perception or inference. If onesees that something is blue for the first time, it is categorized inmemory and later the perception of another similar colored item isperceived blue as well. This works for all things as a house ismemorized as a house (Paramahamsa, 2008).
Christians believe they are given a life of autonomy by God to choosewhat is right or wrong. They are guided by personal morals and ethicslearned through the teachings of the bible and Jesus Christ. Wrightand wrong in Buddhism is based onin god and bad karma. In theteachings of Buddha, performing good or bad karma, results in good orbad karma. Residual karma follows one into the next life and maydetermine ones rebirth form. The path to enlightenment is the eightlimbs/rights: view, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort,awareness and meditation (Paramahamsa, 2008)
The Christian worldview of human history is based on the biblicalstory of creation from Genesies, followed by the sinful fall of man,and the eventual redemption through Jesus Christ. The Buddhistmeaning of human history are the four noble truths. The first truthis to be is to suffer. The second truth is that one must overcomesuffering by removing karmic cause. The third truth is to remove thecause one must meditate to understand and sow karmic seeds of goodwith the eight-fold rights. This can take many cycles of death andrebirth. The forth truth is when meditation is corrected of allkarmic residue, man is liberated to the state of nirvana which is thefinal goal of being (Paramahamsa, 2008).
Components of Healing
The critical Christian components of healing are forgiveness, faithand salvation. Jesus healed a paralyzed man saying “Son, your sinsare forgiven.” (Mark 2:5) and the man walked. It is important forman to forgive as well “For if you forgive other people when theysin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you”(Matthew 6:14). One must have faith in healing as well. In Matthew, awoman is healed by touching Jesus’ clothes and he states“Takeheart, daughter, your faith has healed you.” (Matthew 9:22) Thefinal and complete healing is salvation through Jesus Christ (Shelly& Miller, 2006).
The critical Buddhism component is meditation,meditation illness isviewed as an imbalance of the mind and body connection (Saeloo etal., Hatthakit, &Nilmanat, 2012). Disease is thought to be causedby karmic residues from past lives. Balance is obtained withmeditation and the physical meditative practice of yoga. Knowledgegained through meditation can correct wrong views and make the mindwholesome (Paramahamsa, 2008).
Providing Care withSpiritual Differences
Spiritual/religious diversity in the patient-caregiver relationshipcan positively or negatively affect the care of the whole person.Healthcare workers need to identify their own religiosity in order toavoid possible conflict. Spiritual wellbeing is an important aspectof care and therefore, nurses need to assess their patients’spiritual need. They should not disassociate when patient’sspirituality differs from their own (Taylor et al.,, Park, &Pfeiffer, 2014). The positive effects of helping a patient with theirown spiritual needs are a reduction in both worry and pain. Patientsexperience faster healing from less stress and good emotional support(Shelly & Miller, 2006). Patients may feel cut off or judged ifthey feel pushed to practice the nurse’s religion and, thesenegative emotions could even delay healing. Patients sometimesrequest to have items of religious significance in their room or tohold the items. Items such as like crosses, Buddha statuette, rosary,nenju prayer beads or religious books can help a patient focus inprayer or meditation. Private time for prayer or meditation should bearranged in between the physical caregivingcare giving sessions.
Every major religion incorporates some sort ofprayer or meditation that promotesing health or healing. This paperhas compared and explored the worldviews of Christianity andBuddhism. It has also identified the critical components of healingin the Christianity and Buddhistm faiths. Patients look up to theirhealthcare providers for more than just the physical treatment oftheir illness, but theyshould also expect a spiritual awarenessregardless of their faith.
Itn is this writer’s opinion that healthcare providers shouldencourage and support patients and families spiritual needs. Thiswriter has witnessed the power of God in answering prayer and seenthe calming force it has in relieving a patient’s pain. If prayeris requested and the nurse is comfortable, they should join thepatient in prayer. If 95% of Americans believe in God and 80% believeprayer can heal, according to the Gallop poll, shouldn’t caregiversdo a better job in meeting their patient’s spiritual needs?(Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008)?
Prayer and meditation have many positivehealing benefits. They bBoth stimulate the cardiovascular, immune andhormone systems to aid healing. The peaceful state reduces stress andfuels positive emotions allowing patients to better cope with painand illness. Patient care should include a spiritual/religiousassessment with referral to appropriate religious/spiritual careprovider. Hospitals should have an onsite chapel or spiritual placefor patients’ families to go for prayer or meditation. Studies haveshown spirituality corresponds to fewer and shorter hospitaladmissions (Narayanasamy & Narayanasamy, 2008).
Narayanasamy,A., & Narayanasamy, M. (2008). The healing power of prayer andits implications for nursing. British Journal of Nursing,17(6), 394-398. Retrieved from EBSCOhost
Paramahamsa,K. R. (2008). Buddhism in scripture and practice. [ProQuestebrary]. Retrieved fromhttp://site.ebrary.com.library.gcu.edu:2048/lib/grandcanyon/reader.action?docID=10266324&ppg=1
Rasi,H. (2011). Why do different scientists interpret reality differently?Dialogue, 23(1), 14-18. Retrieved from:http://dialogue.adventist.org/articles/23_1_rasi_e.pdf
Saeloo,J., Hatthakit, U., & Nilmanat, K. (2012). Development andevaluation of a self-healing nursing model using Buddhist meditationto treat hypertension. Pacific Rim International Journal ofNursing Research, 16(1), 64-77. Retrieved from EBSCOhost
Shelly,J., & Miller, A. (2006). Called to care: A Christian worldviewfor nursing (2nd ed.). [Adobe Reader]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.gcumedia.com/digital-resources/intervarsity-press/2006/called-to-care_a-christian-worldview-for-nursing_ebook_2e.php
Taylor,E., Park, C., & Pfeiffer, J. (2014). Nurse religiosity andspiritual care. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 70(11),2612-2621. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jan.12446
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