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Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity

Health Care Provider and Faith Diversity
Twentieth century brought a diversified community here in America. The beliefs and practices of the world religions have become part of the collage of the American society. This diversity emanate in our neighborhoods, workplaces, schools and in healthcare. The differences in faith traditions help define one’s meaning especially when in sensitive situations.
As healthcare shifted to patient- centered care, diversity in faith beliefs has become more apparent. Cultural awareness is imperative to health care providers to develop cultural competency and sensitivity. Awareness of this is imperative if we are to understand the synergy between religions and cultures in the world today.
Christianity and Buddhism are 2 most common religions in Asian country. Christianity is a development of Judaism and is an Abrahamic religion versus Buddhism which derived from Hinduism and is a Dharmic religion.
Today Christianity is the largest religion in the world. It represents 33 percent of the world’s population. This population of Christians consists of Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and other forms of Christianity (Pentecostal, Methodist etc.). Christianity originated from Roman province of Judea.
Christian’s belief is centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The story of creation, fall, redemption and glorification. Christian’s believe in tri- unity – God the father, Son, and Holy Spirit). He is the God who is omniscient and omnipotent; a God who is good, faithful, patience, merciful, gracious, loving and just. He is the God who created all things in heaven and earth, visible and invisible. He is the supreme God and upholds things together and rules over history. Humans fell from sin through Adam and Eve but He so love the world that he gave His beloved son to saves us from sins and through Jesus Christ death and resurrection the world attained salvation. God has created every human being in His image and likeness and thus is good by nature. Humans are entrusted to rule over God’s creations on earth and proclaim God’s word. He is the prime reality and acting according to His will is the highest goal in life. Life here on earth is the preparation in the life after death or judgment day. Christian’s principle of thinking is no presuppositions. It is structured by the revealed knowledge of God, meaning everything will come from Him by knowing His word which is written in the bible and having a relationship with Him through our everyday life works, worships and prayers. In short, the starting point of Christian knowledge and knowing right or wrong is base on the thinking in the grace of God as shown by means of self revelation. Christian’s believe in life after death, eternity in heaven with God or hell with Satan. Your soul will be resurrected in heaven if you accept Jesus as your savior. That decision is whether to let Christ to guide your life. His death not only proved life after death but opened heaven to us by removing the only thing that keeps us out of heaven: sin. As Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25).
On the other hand, Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world. 98 percent live in Asia namely; Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Japan. By immigrants they convert to Moscow to San Francisco. Buddhism originated from Nepal, India.
Buddhism is focus on the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha. Buddhism unlike Christianity is non-theistic religion, it does not believe in a supreme creator (God). It has been named as a practical religion. It does not agree in hypothetical belief about first beginning; there is no revelation, no worship of a divine being or glorification of the Buddha. Everything that the Buddha taught was based on his own observation of the way things are. Everything in his teaching is confirmed by our own detection of the way things are. Humans from Buddhist standpoint is not a divine creation. Human nature bear covetousness, animosity, misconception, callowness, lust, etc. and they were compared by the Buddha as ‘the fools’ and ‘the blind’. Human is given freewill in Buddhism to decide his destiny. This independence is come along and conducted with responsibility. The man is capable of judging what is correct and what is not. Buddhist studies the 4 Noble Truths (truth of suffering, cause, end, and way) for guidance on how to live appropriately. Their goal is to achieve the maximum awareness which is the Nirvana. It can be accomplished by human beings only and not by gods. Buddhist also believes that the makeup of the universe keeps changing. Nothing is permanent and existence is endless. Unlike Christian who believes that creation started from God, Buddhist universe has no beginning. Essential features of the earth come together to create a specific form then eventually will break apart and destroyed over and over again. Until Nirvana or cessation of passion, aggression, ignorance and attempt to prove existence to the world is reached, one will be replaced into any of the 31 level of existence over and over again due to karma. Buddhist believes that human body is made up with earth, water, wind, and fire. As the four elements undergo the law of causality, the body of conscious being must all undergo it. It will disintegrate and the body parts are returned to the earth. Unlike Christian who believes that when a person dies their soul is resurrects to heaven, Buddhist body is reincarnated into 6 realms (humans on earth, starved ghost, animals, Atula’s, human soul/hell, and God’s realm) depending on their karma which is governed by law of causality. The goal is not heaven but to accomplish understanding and be freed from the cycle of rebirth and death.
Buddha’s teaching centers on the integrity of wisdom and compassion. The philosophy is that humans with improved wisdom and compassion are not deceived and will live a peaceful life, not only for themselves but for those that surrounds them. Buddhism believes that a wise man makes his own heaven or hell. So, for Buddhist the Supreme Being is man and there is no higher power that guides them. They believe that man is the master of their own destiny. Buddha said “All realization come from effort of intelligence that derive from one’s experience.” Buddhism values reasoning and believes in the ultimate reality of developing an awareness of actuality. Buddhism finds imbalance between a person’s view of reality and actual state of things.
In closing Buddhism and Christianity are basically different on suffering and the concept of the divine. The Buddhist see the individual as the redeemer of suffering as opposed to the Christian view of an external God, Christ, as the redeemer of man’s suffering. Christianity takes the approach that all things are the creation of an external God. Salvation and resurrection is not a belief of the Buddhist. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the savior and anyone who believes and follow Christ work will be with Him in heaven. Buddhist believes eternal life is attained by self, depending on one’s present life. If Nirvana is not attained, the person will keep returning to earth in the form of a realm depending on how bad or good the person life was. Basically, Buddhism believes on what can be seen and proven versus Christianity who believes both on the seen and unseen realm of this world through Jesus Christ. Although both have different view on prime reality, death and salvation, both teachings are base on wisdom, compassion and love for the prosperity of human beings.
3 John 2 “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things be in health, just as your soul prosper.” As healthcare revolutionized and become more aware of the importance of treating a person as a whole- body, mind, and spirit, spirituality takes a bigger role in the health system. Addressing the spiritual needs of the person improve coping skills and social support, hope, decrease anxiety, and helps relaxation. Studies show that aspects of faith, hope, forgiveness, good support system and prayer improve patient’s chance of surviving. In a Christian perspective, we are more than flesh and blood. I believe that the root of all sickness is stress which is a disruption of the inner balance. Feeling of fear and condemnation is the root of unhealthy lifestyle and thus give birth to sickness. Come to think of it when a person is stress about troubles in life, he gets depressed which will make him lose interest in life and not eat or do anything. On the other hand if we hold on to the promises of God and not be weary and live according to his will, we will be at peace. Proverbs 4:20-22 “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight; keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.” In relation to Buddhist perspective of healing, it also teaches the concept of mind as the beginning of everything bad including sickness. Buddhism declares that everything that happens to us now is the result of our past actions, not only in this lifetime but in other lifetimes. As its philosophy is total personal responsibility, it rely on healing that comes from the individual’s action or karma which calls for consistent caution and consciousness of all the actions of our body, speech and mind. One should avoid harmful actions to self and to others. Christians believe in healing with the help of God through faith in divine healing. Prayers and bible readings promote peace and hope. Buddhist does not believe in divine healing but they believe in spiritual peace and freedom from anxiety by obedience to and activating Buddha’s wisdom are vital factors that benefits healing and recuperating process. Healthcare providers need to provide private and uninterrupted meditation and chanting time. Another healing practice is giving; this involves giving material or spiritual gifts to those in need. Being good to others improves there karma. Allowing patient uninterrupted time for prayers and meditation improves healing process. Healthcare providers should support and nurture this spiritual part of healing.
Creating a healing environment appropriate for the individual’s spiritual need is essential in promoting health and fast recovery. No matter what culture or spiritual perspective one has, there are basic healing elements that are integral in promoting healing. It is compassionate genuine care, trust, and respect. These components are universal in creating an environment that promotes hope, harmony and balance in life.
This research increased my awareness on how Buddhism sees life and its purpose and made me appreciate my God as a Christian more. Buddhism seems to have to keep working to attain peace and their universe is uncertain. Buddhism life seems to be like a wheel, you just go over and over again trying to achieve that wisdom and knowledge or suffering will not end. Christian belief is so easy and uncomplicated. All I have to do is focus on the cross and everything is explainable on how much God loves and forgave me. He created me and even after falling from sin he sent Jesus Christ to redeem me and through Jesus blood I am holy, righteous and blameless yesterday, today and tomorrow. From this love, I am empowered to follow His works. I think God knows that punishing will just makes His people hide and ashamed to have a relationship and follow Him. Like in a parent child relationship hitting or punishing a child from a wrong doing only creates resentment but showing love creates security. Anyway, doing this research in relation to me being a nurse and providing care to a diverse community, I have learned that Buddhist sees sickness or adversity as an opportunity to redeem oneself. Choice and practice are 2 factors that they have most control off and are obtained from precept practice, meditation and skillful choice. As a nurse, allowing private and uninterrupted time for them to practice this lessens their suffering and promotes a feeling of belief in oneself and comfort. As a nurse I can encourage the patients to view the world as interdependent and turn their thoughts toward nirvana and the benefit of all living things by providing a clear knowledge of current situation.
Balboni, M. J., Puchalski, C. M., & Peteet, J. R. (Oct., 2014). The relationship between medicine, spirituality and religion: Three models for integration.. Journal of Religion and Health, 53:5, 1586-1598. http://dx.doi.org/1573-6571
Esposito, J. L., Fasching, D. J., & Lewis, T. (2006). World Religions Today (Second ed.). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
Husain, A., & Sherr, M. E. (2015). Religion and spirituality in competency-based social work practice. Social Work & Christianity, 42:1, 3-6. http://dx.doi.org/1944-7779
Lama, D., & Cutler M.D, H. C. (2003). The Art of Happiness at Work. New York: Riverhead Books.
Lamothe, R. (March, 2013). The Spirits of Capitalism and Christianity and Their Impact on the Formation of Healthcare Leaders. . Journal of Religion & Health, 52:1, 3-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-012-9631-8.
Phat, T. C. (2000). Buddhism Religion of Freedom. Houston, Texas: Long Plan Printing.
Young, A. (March, 2005). CHRISTIAN AND BUDDHIST PERSPECTIVES ON NEURO PSYCHOLOGY AND THE HUMAN PERSON: PNEUMAANDPRATITYASAMUTPADA.   Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science, 40: 1, 143-165. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9744.2005.00650.x.

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