The Caste System The mouth? The arms? The legs? The feet? WHO IS… Brahmins Kshatriyas Vaishyas Shudras
The Vedic Age The foundations for Hinduism were established!
Hinduism Basic BeliefsBasic Beliefs –Dharma: duties that must be followed to achieve liberation –Karma: sum effect of one’s actions –Moksha: Liberation – release from reincarnation –Samsara: reincarnation (birth, death, rebirth) Sacred textsSacred texts –Vedas (sacred hymns of knowledge) –Upanishads (philosophocal reflecetions on Vedas)
Jainism Vardhamana Mahavira, BCEVardhamana Mahavira, BCE Abandoned privileged family to lead ascetic lifeAbandoned privileged family to lead ascetic life Promotes 7 th c. movement based on UpanishadsPromotes 7 th c. movement based on Upanishads Emphasis on selfless living, concern for all beingsEmphasis on selfless living, concern for all beings AhimsaAhimsa –Principle of extreme non-violence –Jainists sweep earth, strain water, use slow movements to avoid killing insects –Ahimsa continues to inspire modern movements (Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr.)
Religions of South Asia
Buddhism in the Subcontinent
The essence of Buddhism The “middle way of wisdom and compassion.” 2,500 year old tradition. The 3 jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, the teacher. Dharma, the teachings. Sangha, the community.
Siddhartha Gautama ( BCE) Born Born in NE India (Nepal). Raised Raised in great luxury to be a king. At At 29 he rejected his luxurious life to seek enlightenment and the source of suffering. Lived Lived a strict, ascetic life for 6 yrs. Rejecting Rejecting this extreme, sat in meditation, and found nirvana. Became Became “The Enlightened One,” One,” at 35.
What is the fundamental cause of all suffering? Desire! Therefore, Therefore, extinguish the self, don’t obsess about oneself.
Four Noble Truths 1. There is suffering in the world. To live is to suffer. (Dukkha) The Buddha found this out when he was young and experienced suffering and death in others.
Four Noble Truths 2. The cause of suffering is self- centered desire and attachments. (Tanha)
Four Noble Truths 3. The solution is to eliminate desire and attachments. (Nirvana = “extinction”)
Four Noble Truths 4. To reach nirvana, one must follow the Eightfold Path.
Eightfold Path Nirvana The union with the ultimate spiritual reality. Escape from the cycle of rebirth.
Buddha – 19c Thailand
Buddha’s head : 2c Pakistan Buddha’s head : 2c Pakistan
Mandala: Wheel of Life Motif
Types of Buddhism Therevada Buddhism Mahayana Buddhism Tibetan Buddhism Zen Buddhism
Theravada Buddhism The oldest school of Buddhism. The “Way of the Elders” or the “Small Vehicle.” Found in southern Asia. The monastic life is the best way to achieve nirvana. Focus on wisdom and meditation. Goal is to become a “Buddha,” or “Enlightened One.” Over 100,000,000 followers today.
Mahayana Buddhism The “Great Vehicle.” Founded in northern Asia (China, Japan). Buddhism “for the masses.” Seek guidance from Boddhisatvas, wise beings. Goal: Not just individual escape from the wheel, but the salvation of all humanity through self- sacrifice of those enlightened few.
Seated Boddhisatva – 16c
Tibetan Buddhism The “Diamond Vehicle.” [Vajrayana] Developed in Tibet in the 7c CE. A mix of Theravada and Mahayana. Boddhisatvas include Lamas, like the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Book of the Dead [Bardo Thodol].
The Dalai Lama
zen Buddhism The “Meditation School.” Seeks sudden enlightenment [satori] through meditation, arriving at emptiness [sunyata]. Use of meditation masters [Roshi]. Beauty, art, and aesthetics: Gardens. Archery. Tea ceremony. Calligraphy.
Buddhism in America (1999)
Distribution of Buddhism Centers in the US, 2001
Chandragupta : 321 BCE-298 BCE Unified northern India. Defeated the Persian general Seleucus. Divided his empire into provinces, then districts for tax assessments and law enforcement. He feared assassination [like Saddam Hussein] food tasters, slept in different rooms, etc. 301 BCE gave up his throne & became a Jain.
The Maurya Empire 321 BCE – 185 BCE
KautilyaKautilya Chandragupta’s advisor. Brahmin caste. Wrote The Treatise on Material Gain or the Arthashastra. A guide for the king and his ministers: Supports royal power. The great evil in society is anarchy. Therefore, a single authority is needed to employ force when necessary!
Asoka (304 – 232 BCE) Religious conversion after the gruesome battle of Kalinga in 262 BCE. Dedicated his life to Buddhism. Built extensive roads. Conflict how to balance Kautilya’s methods of keeping power and Buddha’s demands to become a selfless person?
Asoka’s law code Edicts scattered in more than 30 places in India, Nepal, Pakistan, & Afghanistan. Written mostly in Sanskrit, but one was in Greek and Aramaic. 10 rock edicts. Each pillar [stupa] is 40’-50’ high. Buddhist principles dominate his laws.
One of Asoka’s Stupas
Women Under an Asoka tree
Turmoil & a power Vacuum: 220 BCE – 320 CE Tamils The Maurya Empire is divided into many kingdoms.
Gupta Empire: 320 CE – 647 CE
Gupta Rulers Chandra Gupta I r. 320 – 335 CE “Great King of Kings” Chandra Gupta II r CE Profitable trade with the Mediterranean world! Hindu revival. Huns invade – 450 CE
Fa-Hsien: Life in Gupta India Chinese Buddhist monk traveled along the Silk Road and visited India in the 5c. He was following the path of the Buddha. He reported the people to be happy, relatively free of government oppression, and inclined towards courtesy and charity. Other references in the journal, however, indicate that the caste system was rapidly assuming its basic features, including "untouchability," the social isolation of a lowest class that is doomed to menial labor.
KalidasaKalidasa The greatest of Indian poets. His most famous play was Shakuntala. During the reign of Chandra Gupta II.
Gupta Art Greatly influenced Southeast Asian art & architecture.
Medicine Literature Mathematics Astronomy Printed medicinal guides 1000 diseases classified Plastic Surgery C-sections performed Inoculations 500 healing plants identified Decimal System Concept of Zero PI = Kalidasa Solar Calendar The earth is round Gupta India Gupta Achievements
The Decline of the Guptas Invasion of the White Huns in the 4c signaled the end of the Gupta Golden Age, even though at first, the Guptas defeated them. After the decline of the Gupta empire, north India broke into a number of separate Hindu kingdoms and was not really unified again until the coming of the Muslims in the 7c. QUESTION: Is the best literature and art written as the civilization is on the rise, at its height, or in its decline?
BhartrhariBhartrhari 5c India court poet and philosopher. Knowledge is man's crowning mark, A treasure secretly buried, The source of luxury, fame, and bliss, A guru most venerable, A friend on foreign journeys, The pinnacle of divinity. Knowledge is valued by kings beyond wealth--- When he lacks it, a man is a brute.