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World Religions A Voyage of Discovery

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1 World Religions A Voyage of Discovery

2 Some Basics 95% of Hindus live in India
Hinduism emerged as a religion, it did not begin with a founder or particular event Hinduism shares no doctrinal statements Hindus hold that no one religion can possibly claim knowledge of absolute truth

3 Samsara - the cycle of rebirth
Experiential rebirth Moksha Liberation or release of the individual self (atman) from the bondage of samsura; salvation; one of the four life goals Samadhi Trance like state where mind is absorbed into the ultimate reality; goal of the 8 steps of yoga birth karma death Samsara - the cycle of rebirth

4 Mythic Stories & descriptions of 330 million gods & goddesses
Polytheistic Extensions of the One Reality Important triad of gods; Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva Avatars- incarnations of the gods or goddesses Provide points of contact with individuals Cosmology Many worlds, many lifetimes Somehow came to be Long periods of creation & destruction, endless repetition Reincarnation; cyclical pattern to human life also Occurs on different levels, sometimes transcends the earthly for many years and then returns to earth

5 1. Brahma is the Creator god
2. Vishnu is the Preserving god 3. Shiva is the Destroying god 3 primary forms of Brahman An avatar is the incarnation of a god or goddess e.g. Krishna and Rama

6 Doctrinal Monism Salvation through moksha Sacredness of life
The Ultimate Reality is made up of only one essence; Brahman The atman or eternal self which is identified with Brahman Salvation through moksha Cycle of rebirth The fourth goal of life Karma Three Paths to Liberation Karma Marga Jnana Marga Bhakti Marga Sacredness of life Four goals of life Four stages of life

7 Ethical Dharma The Three paths of Liberation
Living in harmony with the station in life Karma is determined by adherence to dharma The Three paths of Liberation The Path of Works The Path of Knowledge The Path of Devotion

8 Three Paths to Liberation
Yoga: discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility Path of Action Service to others Path of Knowledge Learning- information Thinking- reflection on learning View of self- assimilating reflection Path of Devotion Devotion to Brahman

9 Ritual Home Shrines Visiting temples of particular gods or goddesses
Puja Visiting temples of particular gods or goddesses Decorating and venerating cows

10 Social The Caste System Brahmins Priests- purest, wisest, most learned
Kshatriyas Warriors- protect and rule Vaishya Farmers & Merchants- provide food and goods Shudra Servants- serve all the other castes- not permitted to study scripture Asprishya Untouchables- lower than the lowest caste- degrading jobs Outlawed in India

11 Most men progress through the first two only
Four Stages of Life Hindu males of the first 3 castes Women are to be daughters, wives and mothers (Patriarchal society) Student From about 13 to marriage Studies with a guru Householder Marriage to first grandchild Pursues a career Marries, raises a family “Forest dweller” Retreats from worldly bonds Wife may accompany him Spiritual Pilgrim Wandering ascetic Transcend ordinary ways of the world Forsakes all worldly possessions, even his name Most men progress through the first two only

12 especially as dictated
Four Goals of Life Dharma one’s duties in life, especially as dictated by caste Artha pursuit of both material and political wealth Kama pursuit of artistic, recreational, and sensual pleasure Moksha pursuit of liberation from the cycle of rebirth through actions, thoughts, and devotions

13 Material temples home shrines Ganges River Scriptures many images of
gods/goddesses home shrines many images of gods/goddesses murti Ganges River symbol of life w/o end ritual bathing and other rivers Scriptures

14 Scriptures The Vedas Shruti Scriptures (the most sacred) The Holy
1. Rig Veda - hymns to various gods 2. Soma Veda - hymns chanted at sacrifices 3. Yajur Veda - instructions for priests regarding sacrifices 4. Atharva Veda - hymns, charms, spells and incantations for domestic use The Vedas The Holy Vedasc

15 The Upanishads The Upanishads
Shruti Scriptures – also… The Upanishads concerned with the cycle of rebirth the mystical relationship between Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and atmon (soul) often shared in a dialogue between guru and student The Upanishads

16 Puranas Mahabharata Smirti Scriptures stories of the gods:
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva a Hindu epic poem

17 Hinduism Beliefs and Practices (continued) Atman:
is the “real self” (mind, body, and emotions are “maya” or illusions) Hindus strive for release from maya in order to achieve union with Brahman/atman Moksha (liberation) is achieved through rigorous physical and mental discipline

18 Hinduism Hinduism through a Catholic Lens Similarities:
Tolerance of religious diversity pursuing social issues honoring Jesus and his teachings the tradition of depicting and venerating religious images

19 Hinduism Hinduism through a Catholic Lens (continued) Differences:
karma reincarnation the caste system Jesus as the one and only incarnation of God

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