Presentation on theme: "Asian Religions at a Glance Hinduism – Buddhism – Confucianism"— Presentation transcript:
1Asian Religions at a Glance Hinduism – Buddhism – Confucianism Evangelism Course (3)St. Mark ChurchHeliopolisNovember 2010
2Dear 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 PrayFirst 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 occurThe 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!!!
4One 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
5Mostly India and Nepal and Sri Lanka – 950 million followers worldwide Third largest religion after Christianity and Islam
6Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva BeliefA lot of gods and goddesses are just manifestations of the supreme BrahmanHindus believe in a triumvirate, i.e three gods in controle:Brahma, Vishnu and ShivaBrahma is the first … responsible for the creationVishnu 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
7Brahma 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.
8His 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 – hunterVishnu’s Incarnation
9Hindu 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.
10Pilgrimage 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.
11The 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-birthThe 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!!!
12Salvation 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 livesLife is a continuous struggle to reach Nirvana which is oneness with the totality of those gods
13Hindus 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.
14The way of knowledgeThe 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.
15It 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.
16Way of DevotionThe 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.
17Such 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.
18Perhaps 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.
19Hinduism 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.
21Buddhism 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
22Dates back to 560 – 490 BCThe founder is Siddhartha Guatama(is claimed to have reached enlightenment in 535 BC and assumed the title of “The Buddha” – contemporary of Confucius)
24Buddhism 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
25The worldThe 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.
26Teaching"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
28The 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.
29Causes of Suffering These are the three ultimate causes of suffering: Greed and desireIgnorance or delusion (represented by a pig)Hatred and destructive urges, (represented by a snake)
30Outcome of sinHumans 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.
31The places of Re-birth Four states are very bad Hell realms As an animalAs a hungry ghostTitans or angry godsTwo desirableThe realm of humanity: in spite of the suffering yet they are the most fortunate state since they have a greater chance of enlightenmentHeaven: the home of the gods is the most enjoyable … not eternal and is subdivided into 26 levels of increasing happiness
32One’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
33What 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.
35Without calming our mind and examining our s beliefs, mind’s nature and its beliefs we can never reach enlightenmentMeditation
36Everything is based on mind Everything is led by mindEverything is fashioned by mindIf you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow
37Buddhism 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 happinessFive “guides” are often given as advice
38The five guides that lead to good Not to lieNot to steal or defraudNot to kill or injure othersNot to hurt via sexual relationshipsNot to cloud your mind with too many intoxicantsFinally: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
40Confucianism is a way of life taught by Confucius in the 6th–5th century BC .
41Sometimes 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
42The 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.
43Confucius' 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.
44Confucianism has been followed by the Chinese for more than two millennia. It has deeply influenced spiritual and political life in ChinaEast Asians may profess themselves to be, Taoists, Buddhists, Muslims, or Christians - but seldom do they give up being Confucians.
45While 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.
46The 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
47Highly optimistic view of human nature. Confucianism believes that man has an extraordinary possibility of being inspiringly wiseHuman beings are teachable, improvable, perfectible through personal and communal efforts
48Teachings 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.
50His 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.
51when 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".
52Aside 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.
54A 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 acrossShe 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?”
56The 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.”
57Jesus 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!!!
58Buddha, or Confucius …Gandhi or Dalai Lama were great men who taught great teachingsThey taught about the truths as far as they could strive hard to reach
59Our Lord Jesus is God Incarnated … He WAS … IS … and WILL always BE ButOur Lord Jesus is God Incarnated … He WAS … IS … and WILL always BEOur Lord Jesus Christ taught THE TRUTH not “about it”CozHE 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
61Let’s PrayHeavenly 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.
62Dear 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.