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Asian Religions at a Glance Hinduism – Buddhism – Confucianism

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1 Asian Religions at a Glance Hinduism – Buddhism – Confucianism
Evangelism Course (3) St. Mark Church Heliopolis November 2010

2 Dear Father, as we look today to learn more about some of the World Religions, please guide us and help us to be respectful of what we learn. Use this information as a tool to guide us in sharing the Gospel’s message. In your precious name, Amen. Let us Pray First of all I would like to note that I am not a professional scholar in any such area … I am just a person who is trying to investigate and share … so forgive any pitfalls that may occur The main goal of this presentation is to outline the basics of the three main Asian religions bearing in mind our Christianity and how it compares with such religions that are quite ancient …. All started before Christ!!!

3 First: Hinduism

4 One of the oldest religions: dates back to 4000 – 2500 BC
Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Throughout its extensive history, there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as 'a way of life' or 'a family of religions' rather than a single religion

5 Mostly India and Nepal and Sri Lanka – 950 million followers worldwide
Third largest religion after Christianity and Islam

6 Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
Belief A lot of gods and goddesses are just manifestations of the supreme Brahman Hindus believe in a triumvirate, i.e three gods in controle: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva Brahma is the first … responsible for the creation Vishnu is the preserver of the universe, while Shiva's role is to destroy it in order to re- create. This is important since it is sometimes mixed up with our Christian doctrine of the Trinity

7 Brahma is the least worshipped god in Hinduism today.
There are only two temples in the whole of India devoted to him, compared with the many thousands devoted to the other two.

8 His role is to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil.
So far, he has been incarnated nine times, but Hindus believe that he will be reincarnated one last time close to the end of this world. Here are a few: fish – pig – a creature half man half lion – dwarf – hunter Vishnu’s Incarnation

9 Hindu worship is primarily an individual act rather than a communal one, as it involves making personal offerings to the gods. Worshippers repeat the names of their favorite gods and goddesses. Water, fruit, flowers and incense are offered to god. The majority of Hindu homes have a shrine where offerings are made and prayers are said. A shrine can be anything: a room, a small altar or simply pictures or statues of the deity. Family members often worship together. Rituals should strictly speaking be performed three times a day.

10 Pilgrimage is an important aspect of Hinduism.
It's an undertaking to see and be seen by the god/gods. Popular pilgrimage places are rivers, but temples, mountains, and other sacred sites in India are also destinations for pilgrimages, as sites where the gods may have appeared or become manifest in the world.

11 The purpose of life is to realize that we are part of a whole (a totality – a god or gods)
This can only be realized by going through cycles of birth, life and death and re-birth The result of sin is the repeated cycle of rebirths. Bad acts and thoughts will cause one to be born at a lower level, as a person or even an animal!!!

12 Salvation is reached through
The release from the wheel of fire, the cycle of rebirths, through which we must work to better ourselves, and realize our oneness with Brahman. It must be worked out by each individual through successive lives Life is a continuous struggle to reach Nirvana which is oneness with the totality of those gods

13 Hindus recognize three possible paths to moksha, (salvation) – all through the practice of Yoga
 The first is the way of works or karma yoga.  Liberation may be reached by fulfilling one’s familial and social duties and thus overcoming the weight of bad karma one has brought about by his bad actions.

14 The way of knowledge The second way of salvation is the way of knowledge, or jnana yoga.  The basic idea of the way of knowledge is that the cause of our bondage to the cycle of rebirths in this world is ignorance.  Our ignorance consists of the mistaken belief that we are individual selves, and not one with the ultimate divine reality – Brahman. 

15 It is this same ignorance that gives rise to our bad actions, which result in bad karma. 
Salvation is achieved through attaining a state of consciousness in which we realize our identity with Brahman.  This is achieved through deep meditation, often as a part of the discipline of yoga.

16 Way of Devotion The third way of salvation is the way of devotion, or bhakti yoga.  This is the way most favored by the common people of India.  It satisfies the longing for a more emotional and personal approach to religion.  It involves the self- surrender to one of the many personal gods and goddesses of Hinduism. 

17 Such devotion is expressed through acts of worship, temple rituals, and pilgrimages. 
Some Hindus conceive of ultimate salvation as absorption into the one divine reality, with all loss of individual existence.  Others conceive of it as heavenly existence in adoration of the personal god. 

18 Perhaps the most famous Hindu in recent history was Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).
Using Hindu principles or nonviolence, he led India in a mass passive protest of British rule, which ultimately ended in the British withdrawal from the subcontinent.

19 Hinduism and Christianity
Many people left Hinduism for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. These people left a life of hopelessness, where they were dependent on their own works to escape from samsara, to a life of hope and assurance of their salvation.  They left their millions-in- one impersonal gods, and found the one true God of the universe, who cares intimately for each one of them. 

20 Second Buddhism

21 Buddhism is a tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development.
Buddhists strive for a deep insight into the true nature of life and do not worship gods or deities. Buddhism is said to have developed from Hinduism

22 Dates back to 560 – 490 BC The founder is Siddhartha Guatama (is claimed to have reached enlightenment in 535 BC and assumed the title of “The Buddha” – contemporary of Confucius)

23 360 million

24 Buddhism has no creator god to explain the origin of the universe.
Instead, it teaches that everything depends on everything else: present events are caused by past events and become the cause of future events. Gods are the conception of a particular time and culture, and may be used more or less wisely in the development of one’s spiritual practice

25 The world The physical world as we know it, with all its imperfections and suffering, is the product of what the Buddha called dependent origination. The Buddha taught that this was a 12-stage process - a circular chain, not a straight line. Each stage gives rise to the one directly after it.

26 Teaching "I teach suffering, its origin, cessation and path. That's all I teach", declared the Buddha 2500 years ago. Life exits in itself – there is no meaning attached to it. It is just a series of sufferings and all one should do is try to escape that suffering


28 The Buddha is often compared to a physician.
In the first two Noble Truths he diagnosed the problem (suffering) and identified its cause. The third Noble Truth is the realization that there is a cure. The fourth Noble Truth, in which the Buddha set out the Eightfold Path, is the prescription, the way to achieve a release from suffering.

29 Causes of Suffering These are the three ultimate causes of suffering:
Greed and desire Ignorance or delusion (represented by a pig) Hatred and destructive urges, (represented by a snake)

30 Outcome of sin Humans are trapped in a repetitive cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Each successive birth may be into a better, a worse life, or a similar life, depending on Karma - - the sins and merits that have accumulated during their present and previous lives.

31 The places of Re-birth Four states are very bad Hell realms
As an animal As a hungry ghost Titans or angry gods Two desirable The realm of humanity: in spite of the suffering yet they are the most fortunate state since they have a greater chance of enlightenment Heaven: the home of the gods is the most enjoyable … not eternal and is subdivided into 26 levels of increasing happiness

32 One’s goal is to escape from this cycle and reach Nirvana.
Once this is reached, the mind experiences complete freedom and liberation. Suffering ends because desire and craving - - the causes of suffering - - are no more

33 What next … After death an enlightened person is liberated from the cycle of rebirth, but Buddhism gives no definite answers as to what happens next. The Buddha discouraged his followers from asking too many questions about nirvana. He wanted them to concentrate on the task at hand, which was freeing themselves from the cycle of suffering. Asking questions is like arguing with the doctor who is trying to save your life.


35 Without calming our mind and examining our s beliefs, mind’s nature and its beliefs we can never reach enlightenment Meditation

36 Everything is based on mind
Everything is led by mind Everything is fashioned by mind If you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow

37 Buddhism advocates doing good deeds, but not just following strict rules
It is up to each person to consider the wisest course of action for their future long term happiness Five “guides” are often given as advice

38 The five guides that lead to good
Not to lie Not to steal or defraud Not to kill or injure others Not to hurt via sexual relationships Not to cloud your mind with too many intoxicants Finally: Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else - you are the one getting burnt

39 Third

40 Confucianism is a way of life taught by Confucius in the 6th–5th century BC

41 Sometimes viewed as a philosophy, sometimes as a religion,
Confucianism is A complex system of moral, social, political and religious teaching built by Confucius on the ancient Chinese traditions and perpetuated as the State religion down to the present day

42 The story of Confucianism does not really begin with Confucius, nor was Confucius the founder of Confucianism in the same way that Buddha was the founder of Buddhism. Rather, Confucius considered himself a transmitter who consciously tried to retrieve the meaning of the past by breathing vitality into seemingly outmoded rituals.

43 Confucius' love of antiquity was motivated by his strong desire to understand why certain rituals had survived for centuries. He had a great sense of history and a strong faith in the power of culture.

44 Confucianism has been followed by the Chinese for more than two millennia.
It has deeply influenced spiritual and political life in China East Asians may profess themselves to be, Taoists, Buddhists, Muslims, or Christians - but seldom do they give up being Confucians.

45 While numerous spirits associated with natural phenomena were recognized--spirits of mountains and rivers, of land and grain, of the four quarters of the heavens, the sun, moon, and stars— they were all subordinated to the supreme Heaven-god, T'ien (Heaven) also called Ti (Lord), or Shang-ti (Supreme Lord). All other spirits were but his ministers, acting in obedience to his will.

46 The controversy over the number of followers reflects this reality …
The numbers of followers of Confucianism varies from 6 million to 300 million. In spite of the strong influence of Buddhism and Daoism, Confucian ethics have had the strongest influence on the moral fabric of Chinese society. It also spread in Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong

47 Highly optimistic view of human nature.
Confucianism believes that man has an extraordinary possibility of being inspiringly wise Human beings are teachable, improvable, perfectible through personal and communal efforts

48 Teachings Chiefly ETHICAL
To make oneself as good as possible, this was with him the main business of life. Everything that was conducive to the practice of goodness was to be eagerly sought and made use of. To this end right knowledge was to be held indispensable.


50 His motto was, to associate with the truly great and to make friends of the most virtuous.
Besides association with the good, Confucius urged on his disciples the importance of always welcoming the correction of one's faults. Then, too, the daily examination of conscience was inculcated.

51 when a disciple asked Confucius for a guiding principle for all conduct, the master answered:
"Is not mutual goodwill such a principle? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others".

52 Aside from its important ethical principles, Confucianism does not prescribe any specific rituals or practices. These are filled by the practices of Chinese religion, Taoism, Buddhism, or other religion which Confucians follow.

53 challenge

54 A Buddhist num who was once Christian said
That what really made all the difference in her first exposure to Buddhism was the practicing Buddhists she came across She writes: “I saw that they were relaxed and happy - perhaps that was the most remarkable, and indeed slightly puzzling, thing about them.”

55 “So why did I need to look elsewhere for guidance?
Was it simply that Jesus himself was in some way lacking as a spiritual template? Was it dissatisfaction with the church and its institutional forms - what some forms of Christianity has done to Jesus? Or was it simply that another way presented itself that more adequately fulfilled my need at that time?”

56 The Dalai Lama said: 'Everyone wants to be happy; no one wants to suffer.' Jesus and the Buddha are extraordinary friends and teachers. They can show us the Way, but we can't rely on them to make us happy, or to take away our suffering. That is up to us.”

57 Jesus does not just show the way … HE IS THE WAY!!!
Here is the BIG difference: Jesus does not just show the way … HE IS THE WAY!!! It is only through HIM that we can find true JOY even in times of utter suffering and ETERNAL HAPPINESS even after death!!!

58 Buddha, or Confucius … Gandhi or Dalai Lama were great men who taught great teachings They taught about the truths as far as they could strive hard to reach

59 Our Lord Jesus is God Incarnated … He WAS … IS … and WILL always BE
But Our Lord Jesus is God Incarnated … He WAS … IS … and WILL always BE Our Lord Jesus Christ taught THE TRUTH not “about it” Coz HE IS THE TRUTH, THE WAY and THE LIFE

60 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect …” 1 Peter 3:14-16

61 Let’s Pray Heavenly Father, learning about all these religions can be a little overwhelming to us and may be causing our heads to spin a little form such an overload of information. Lord, You know how this information can be used to Your glory in each of us.

62 Dear lord We know that through You all things are possible. 
Continue to open our hearts to ways to share You with those people You put in our paths. You have given us the promise of eternal life and fulfilled it through the life, death, and resurrection of Your holy and precious Son, in whose name we pray, Amen.

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