good are rewarded by being born into higher forms of
goodness, and those who achieve the highest form of
goodness finally escape both life and death. These
people, having reached their final stage of goodness, are
not born again and, therefore, do not die again, but
remain forever in the Buddhist paradise, called Nirvana.
In Buddhism, special objects may be used in
worship services and other ceremonies.
BELLS AND DRUMS. In pagodas, bells or
drums are used for announcements. They are located on
or near the porch of the pagoda. The bells are used to
announce a meeting or special event. The drums are
used to sound the presence of dignitaries.
GONGS. In both pagodas and homes, Buddhists
use gongs to announce the time of a service or meeting,
to mark the different phases of a ceremony, and to set
the tempo for chants.
BEADS. As an aid to meditation, devout
Buddhists may use a string of 108 beads. Each bead
symbolizes one of the desires a devout Buddhist must
overcome to be eligible to achieve enlightenment.
CANDLES AND LAMPS. Buddhists commonly
use lighted candles and lamps to symbolize how
Buddhas teachings lead to enlightenment.
INCENSE. Burning incense as an offering in
memory of Buddha is also widely practiced.
FOOD, WINE, AND WATER. Buddhists place
food, wine, and water before the altar of Buddha. The
food, wine, and water signify that the best is first shared
with Buddha. Only the presence of the food is essential
for the purposes of worship, and the items themselves
are later consumed by the worshipers.
FLOWERS. Traditionally, Buddhists use
flowers in several different rituals. Buddhist families
may place flowers before Buddha during worship in the
pagoda or on personal altars in the home. A Buddhist
may present flowers when calling upon monks or older
relatives, or place flowers on graves.
Now that we have looked at the fundamentals of
lets talk about another major
Of the four major religions, Christianity is probably
the most widely practiced among Navy and Marine
Corps personnel and their dependents. Christianity was
founded upon the life, teachings, deeds, death, and
resurrection of Jesus Christ as told in the New
Testament of the Bible. In its broadest sense,
Christianity embraces all persons who express a belief
in Christ and his teachings. As a religious philosophy,
Christianity is practiced worldwide through several
different organized groups or churches, referred to as
Within America, Christianity as practiced through
its several denominations or branches is one of the
largest religious communities. As an RP, you must be
aware of the different criteria observed by each
denomination with which you may come into contact
and respect the titles and worship traditions of each
denomination. You must also remember to use the term
denomination guardedly, as many Christian churches
will consider themselves to be entities and not offshoots
of a larger denomination or group. As a major religion,
however, Christianity includes the largest percentage of
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel, and Christian
chaplains comprise the largest faith group within the
Christianity started from a little group of men and
women who followed Jesus while he was living on
earth. Less than 300 years later, Christianity was the
religion of the great Roman Empire. Despite its early
oppression, Christianity spread to all parts of the world.
From its early history, divisions in the Christian
church were extensive. To hold his empire together, the
Emperor Constantine (A.D. 306-337) mandated
Christianity. He encouraged the leaders of the church
to gather publicly.
Such gatherings were called
Ecumenical Councils because representatives of the full
or universal church were present. Even today,
Ecumenical Councils rule on teachings within the
church, blessing some as proper expressions of the faith
while banning others.
In spite of Constantines attempts to mandate
Christianity, groups continued to diversify and remove
themselves from the Christian mainstream. At first,
these groups had few devotees. Years later, however,
these Christian divisions developed into entire regions
that defended rival teachings. The first division
followed the Council of Chalcedon in the fifth century
and resulted in the initial break between Greek and
About A.D. 1054, the next
significant split occurred between the Greek and Latin
factions of the church. Officially, this event marked the