An Intercultural Analysis on the Impact of Catholicism and Buddhism in Communication

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Abstract

Communication defines our human development and within this lies our need for cultural identity. An important aspect of this identity is our religious beliefs as it defines most of our core values. The two religious cultures discussed in this paper are Catholicism and Buddhism through an analysis of their brief history, the dimensions of intercultural communication, and a survey of people’s religious practices. The brief insight into the religion’s history gives insight to the practices of this culture to be able to further understand its community, which allows for an analysis of their cultural dimensions, and finally, a direct source of people’s opinion on religion from the answers of the survey. The methods used for this paper were the use of secondary sources such as journal articles, and a primary source, which was a survey conducted for this paper to investigate if people consider themselves to be religious. With these tools, this paper explores the importance of inter-religious dialogue in relation to our intercultural identity and how religions like Catholicism and Buddhism impact Communication.

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Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing. -Rollo May. Communication is the core of culture and of life itself because it is the basis of all human contact (Brown, 2013). An important aspect of Communication is based on our frame of reference, which is our different perceptions and interpretations. This is based on our race, gender, religion, personality, beliefs, values, language, income, among others. This frame of reference is unique to each individual, and it will influence how each individual communicates (Brown, 2013). When evaluating my frame of reference, I realize how impactful being born and raised Catholic influenced my life, while also being taught how to care for others, the importance of the positive deeds and the relevance of having a positive outlook leading to a happier life, which reminded me of Buddhism. For this paper, I decided to evaluate how religious culture influences our mindset, specifically Catholicism and Buddhism. These cultures have fundamental differences in practice, but also have similarities regarding on how a person should behave. I will assess these and other characteristics that affect Communication in the previously mentioned religious cultures by using the seven dimensions of cultural differences, various scholarly sources and results from a survey conducted for this paper. Through this analysis, we will be able to understand how these religious cultures impact our communication and delve into the importance of religion in our own cultural identity.

First of all, before going in depth with each culture, I would like to address the importance of inter-religious dialogue, aided by Alain Wolf’s (2012) journal article: Intercultural Identity and Inter-Religious Dialogue: A Holy Place to Be?. He expresses what I have noticed to be very common: the absence of religion in intercultural identity: inter-religious dialogue at the present time is not such a marker of intercultural identity.

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