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Ninian Smart’s Seven Dimensions in Buddhism

Humans have attempted to clarify the causes and explanations for their existence ever since dawn of creation. As a byproduct of this need for information, a variety of beliefs and ideals have emerged in an attempt to answer this age-old dilemma. Ninian Smart argues that there is no one-size-fits-all definition of religion. Instead, in order to properly comprehend it, one must employ the seven factors. Ritual (practice), mythical, theological, morality, interpersonal, social, and material are the seven dimensions. Buddhism is a religion established by Siddhartha Gautama, an Indian prince who afterward became the Buddha. All seven dimensions can be used to comprehend Buddhism.

The rituals are the first aspect needed to comprehend a religion. Buddhists use rituals to show their devotion for the Buddha and to obtain inner serenity. Meditation is a Buddhist ritual that is widely practiced. The goal of meditation is to concentrate and cleanse the mind. Buddhists meditate using the stages of Samadhi (mind-calming) and Vipassana (mind-opening) (self-contemplation). Individuals must adapt their physique, breath, and thoughts during these processes in order to ensure the achievement of meditation. Rituals play an important role in Buddhism.

The mythology of a faith is the second dimension utilized to comprehend it. Each Buddhist group has its own mythology and legends. Because many mythologies were not transcribed, but rather passed down through the generations by word of mouth, each denomination’s mythology is unique. The account of Buddha’s life is a well-known component of Buddhism mythology. According to one version of Buddha’s life, he was granted a revelation that he would become a monk rather than continuing in his father’s legacy once he was born.

Thirdly, there is the sensory and emotional aspect. Consciousness is highly valued in Buddhism. Buddhists meditate in order to improve their mental well-being and development. The Buddha advised individuals to avoid seeking ultimate solutions to body-mind links and instead focus on realistic and practical approaches for two-way engagement. As a result, the Buddhist analysis recognizes the mental and intellectual, as well as the somatic and physiological, allowing for a complete comprehension of emotion notions. In fact, the physique, sensations, thoughts, perceptions, and evaluations are all considered aspects of emotion notions in Buddhism.

The fourth factor is the theological and intellectual dimension, which tries to answer questions about God’s existence or His willingness to react to petitions. The eight-fold and four noble truths are the main doctrines of Buddhism. The four noble truths are: existence is experiencing pain (dukhka); suffering has a reason, which is hankering and connectedness (trishna); there is a power of death, which is nirvana; and there is a route to the cessation of suffering, which is the eightfold path of right ideology, right resilience, right talks, appropriate conduct, values and skills, right effort, right awareness, and right reason. Buddhism sees reality as a process and a relationship rather than an object or a material.

The fifth element is the moral and legal dimension, which includes religious regulations and laws derived from a religion’s history and doctrinal elements. In Buddhism, the term for morals or values is Śīla or sīla (Pāli). La is one of three categories of the Noble Eightfold Path in Buddhism, and it is a standard of behavior that incorporates a dedication to harmony and personality, with nonviolence as the primary motivator. Killing, stealing, sexual immorality, lying, and the use of consciousness drugs such as alcohol are all prohibited by Buddhists.

The social and institutional component is the sixth dimension, and it is here that the individualized image of the faith, inclusive of the adherents, is most important. The institutional dimension refers to how worshiping structures are organized. In Buddhism, for example, sangha refers to a specific group of monks and nuns. The organization’s self-containment for its own security is the social and institutional aspects. From the beginning, Buddhists, like many other new organizations, were punished for their doctrines and radical worldview.

Finally, there’s the material dimension, which is Smart’s ultimate dimension. This dimension examines how religions have used architectural structures, dramatic performances, and works of art to adequately represent their faith. Buddhism has manifested its beliefs through gigantic Buddha statues, as well as other forms of art such as drawings. Outsiders may find Buddhism to be a bizarre faith. Brother Ludlow aided in the bridging of the divide by bringing out a variety of parallels between the two. Both have secular clergy and are committed to providing compassionate treatment. Buddhists and Mormons share values such as meditation, reverence, creativity, and moderation. Their moral compass is nearly same.

To conclude, religions are explicit systems of ideas and practices that emerge from certain worldviews. From this vantage point, it would be easier to tell the difference between normal and spiritual or heavenly.

Work Cited

“Ninian Smart.” Ethics in World Religions,

Universe Staff, et al. “Gaining a Better Understanding of Buddhism.” The Daily Universe, 26 Aug. 2013,


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