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What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity

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Presentation on theme: "What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity
The religion of the Indian people Tolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many" Many deities but a single, impersonal Ultimate Reality A philosophy and a way of life – focused both on this world and beyond

2 How did Hinduism begin? No particular founder
Vedic Tradition 3500 – 2500 years ago: rituals and many gods (polytheism) sacred texts (Vedas) social stratification (caste system) Vedic Tradition develops into Hinduism

3 One force, brahman, underlies everything.
Despite the complexity of the religion, all Hindus have the same goal and core beliefs. One force, brahman, underlies everything. The goal of life is to achieve moksha, or union with brahman. Every person has an atman, or essential self, and experiences reincarnation. Karma holds that our actions affect our fate in the next life.

4 What are the Sacred Texts?
Vedas - four sets of these. Rig Veda – oldest, written about 1500 B.C.E. and codified about 600 B.C.E. Upanishads – mystical and metaphysical section Mahabharata (includes Bhagavad-Gita) Ramayana Plus others

5 What do Hindus believe? One impersonal Ultimate Reality – Brahman
Manifest as many personal deities True essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman trapped in matter Reincarnation – atman is continually born into this world lifetime after lifetime (Samsara) Karma – spiritual actions keeps us bound to this world (good and bad) Ultimate goal of life – to release Atman and reunite with the divine, becoming as one with Brahman (Moksha)

6 What do Hindus believe? Hindus believe in dharma, the religious and moral duties of the person. They practice ahimsa, nonviolence. Brahma, the Creator Vishnu, the Preserver Shiva, the Destroyer Hindus worship many gods. The most important are:

7 How does Hinduism direct life in this world?
Respect for all life – vegetarian Human life as supreme: Four “stations” of life (Caste) - priests & teachers, nobles & warriors, merchant class, servant class. Fifth = untouchables Four stages of life – student, householder, retired, renunciant Four duties of life – pleasure, success, social responsibilities, religious responsibilities (moksha)

8 How do Hindus worship? Bhakti Yoga is seeking union with the divine through loving devotion to manifest deities In the home (household shrines) In the Temples (priests officiate) Puja – making offerings to and decorating the deity images Darsan – “seeing” the deity (not idol worship) Prasad – taking the divine within your own being through eating of food shared with the deity

9 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Brahma, the creator god

10 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Vishnu, the preserver god Incarnates as ten avatars (descents) including: Rama (featured in the Ramayana) Krishna (featured in the Mahabharata) (Each shown with his consort, Sita and Radha, respectively)

11 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Shiva, god of constructive destruction (the transformer) Appears as Shiva Nataraj, lord of the dance of creation… and with his wife, Parvati, and son Ganesha (the elephant headed remover of obstacles)

12 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, consort of Brahma Lakshmi, goddess of good fortune, consort of Vishnu

13 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Parvati, divine mother, wife of Shiva

14 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Durga, protectress Kali, destroyer of demons Plus about 330 million other deities

15 And we too are manifest forms of Brahman!
“We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; We are spiritual beings having a human experience!” Hinduism is about recognizing the all pervasiveness of the divine

16 Common Hinduism Questions
Why does Hinduism have so many Gods? Hindus all believe in one Supreme God who created many Gods, highly advanced spiritual beings, to be His helpers Do Hindus believe in reincarnation? Yes, we believe the soul (without body) is immortal and takes birth again and again. What is Karma? Karma is the universal principal of cause and effect. Both good and bad karma not only decide our fate (sorrow and happiness) in the present life, but also in future life.

17 Common Hinduism Questions
Why do Hindus worship the cow? By honoring this gentle animal, who gives more than she takes, we honor the creatures as well. Are Hindus idol worshipers? We worship God through the image so that we can commune with Him and receive His blessings. Are Hindus forbidden to eat meat? Hindus teach vegetarianism as a way of life to not hurt living creatures. Do Hindus have a Bible? Our “Bible” is called the Veda which means “wisdom” and which reveals the word of God.

18 Common Hinduism Questions
Are the gods of Hinduism really married? It is true that God is often depicted with a spouse in traditional stories, a symbol of love between husband and wife. What about caste and untouchability? Caste is the hereditary division of Indian society based on occupation (priests, warriors, business people, and workers). The lowest caste, untouchables, suffer from discrimination. This discrimination is now illegal in India, but it still happens.

19 Jainism: The Religion Jainism is an ascetic religion of India
Teaches the immortality and pilgrimage of the soul Denies the existence of a supreme being and emphasizes the art of non-violence.

20 Jainism: The Religion Response to Hinduism and rejection of castes system “Founder”—Mahavira or the last of 23 founders Tirthankaras—“ford builders” or “crossing builders”

21 The founders of Jainism
24 Tirthankaras (“ford maker”): great teachers Going back countless thousands of years before recorded history Mahavira (“great hero”) – the 24th and final Tirthankara – reformer of ancient Jainism Nataputta Vardhamana Lived BCE in northeast India 30 years as student (never married) 12 years as ascetic renunciant 30 years as spiritual teacher (tirthankara)

22 Mahavira ca. 599-527 BCE Parallels Buddha’s life
Family wealth vs. poverty Joined ascetics Ahimsa yields true release Ahimsa produces Jina (release from this life or conqueror over attachment, hence the name Jain)

23 Rock image of 24 Tirthankaras
Key Figures in Jainism Left: Mahavira picture Top: Mahavira statue Right: Mahavira on LionThrone Above: Rock image of 24 Tirthankaras

24 Major Tenets Everything is eternal; there is no all-powerful “God” that has created the world. When a living being dies, it is reincarnated. All living beings have souls. The 3 gems. Reverence for the deities (Siddhas, Jinas, and the 24 Tirthankaras). Vegetarianism, or Fruitarianism. The great vows, the Mahavrats.

25 Karma Karma is the natural moral law of the universe, in which every good or bad action has a corresponding effect on the person doing that action. According to Jainism there are 2 types of Karma . Ghati (destructive) and Aghati (non-destructive), each containing several sub-categories. The goal of Jainism is to liberate one’s soul, to become a Jina (spiritual victor). To become a Jina, one must escape Karma by leading an ascetic and intrinsically pure life.

26 Buddhism

27 What is Buddhism? Buddhism is a major world philosophy.
It is the 4th largest “religion” of the world, and has about 300,000,000 people living by it. It explains the purpose of life, injustices and inequality around the world. It also helps people by providing a way of life that will lead to true happiness.

28 The History of Buddhism
It was all started by Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha) who was a prince in Lumbini, 2500 years ago. He was very unhappy in his royal life, so he set off on a 6 year journey, exploring other religions. After his long journey and much meditation he was finally “enlightened”. He found the middle path, the key to human happiness. For the rest of his life he wandered Asia, preaching his new religion.

29 What Did Buddha Teach? He taught the 4 Noble truths which sum up Buddhism philosophy. He also taught the noble eight fold path He also taught the 5 precepts The final goal for the Buddhist is nirvana, union with the universe.

30 What are the Four Noble Truths?
The first was that life is suffering You can’t live without death, frustration, etc. The second is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion Getting what you want doesn’t guarantee happiness, it deprives you of it The third is that suffering can be overcome, and true happiness attained If we stop craving useless things, and live each day at a time (not living in the future) we will be happy and free. The fourth is that the Noble eight fold path leads to the end of all suffering

31 The Noble Eightfold Path
It taught 8 simple rules: To have a right understanding To have right thoughts To use right speech To do right actions To deal with right livelihood To give a right effort To have a right mindfulness To use the right meditation

32 The 5 precepts Do not take the life of anything living
Do not take anything not freely given Abstain from sensual overindulgence Refrain from untrue speech Avoid intoxication Do not lose mindfulness This is the moral code of the Buddhists

Nature of the soul Life after death Origin of the universe THESE ARE NOT ADDRESSED

34 Buddhism rejected the Hindu caste system
Buddhism rejected the Hindu caste system. Rather than focusing on priests, ritual and deities, Buddhism encouraged each person to seek self-enlightenment, thus a philosophy instead of a religion.

35 Spread of Buddhism

36 Mahayana Buddhism Emerged between the 3rd Century B.C.E. & 1st Century C.E. – very popular Reduced obligation on Buddhists Gave Buddha divine status Bodhisattvas delay entry to nirvana to help others Monasteries accepted gifts that merited salvation.

37 Decline of Buddhism Buddhism eventually declined in India as it took root in other parts of Asia.

38 Religions Founded in India

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