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Chapter 5-4 Hinduism- the oldest religion. No prophet, books or bureaucratic structure, is an intricate web of religious, philosophical, social, economic and artistic elements in Indian civilization ( largest Hindu temple complex ) Angkor Wat

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Chapter 5 4 hinduism the oldest religion
Chapter 5-4 Hinduism- the oldest religion

  • No prophet, books or bureaucratic structure, is an intricate web of religious, philosophical, social, economic and artistic elements in Indian civilization (largest Hindu temple complex) Angkor Wat

  • Originated from Indus Valley, 4000yrs ago in today’s Pakistan, spread by contagious diffusion

  • Souls, in the next life, move upward in the hierarchy and then to escape from the eternal cycle through union with the “Brahman”, up or down movement depend on “good” or “bad” behavior in the present life

  • Reincarnation -(ahimsa) if you mistreat an animal in this life, chances are you will be that animal in a future life, all creature are ranked, even within human, caste system, goal is to move up to higher hierarchy and eventually liberated from the cycle and reunion with Brahman (universal soul).

The caste system in hindusim
The Caste System in Hindusim

  • “Caste System” bound to the Hinduism - to observe dharma (duties) to keep balance of society/nature then move onto higher level in next life.-

    • 1. Brahmins(White) - Priests and Teachers (don’t eat meat)

    • 2. Ksatriyas(Red) - Warriors and Rulers

    • 3. Vaisyas(Brown) - Farmers, Merchants, Artisans,etc Ganhdi means “Greengrocer

    • 4. Sudras(Black) - Laborers

    • Outcastes -“untouchables” could not enter temples……a generation ago.-- Polluted Laborers

  • There are literally thousands of subclasses in India, often with an administrative or corporate structure. When Gandhi wanted to go to England to study law, he had to ask his subcaste for permission to leave India.

Boys reborn at age:

Brahmins - peace, self-harmony

purity, loving-forgiveness, vision

wisdom and faith


Twice Born

Ks.atriya-heroic mind, inner fire,

courage in battle, generosity and

noble leadership

member of Vedic religion, eligible to learn Sanskrit


Vaishya - Trade, agriculture,

rearing of cattle


Sudras - service


Untouchable - sometimes

The untouchables
The Untouchables

  • 20% of Hindus. Some ejected from castes to untouchables, example of Gandhi.

  • Job Description - dealing with the bodies of dead animals or human body, manufacturing leather goods, cleaning up the human and animal waste

  • Gandhi - went on fasts in the hope of improving the condition of the Untouchables

    Hinduism -Diffusion/Cultural Landscape

  • Essentially is a cultural religion of South Asia.

  • Hinduism is “a way of life”, if you build a temple you will be rewarded. So, there are many “shrines” which should be in a “comfortable” position (for example, under a large, shady tree) and near water which has a holy function in Hinduism.

  • A village temple should face the village from a prominent position

  • Bathing in Ganges River. They believe Ganges springs from the hair of Siva, one of the main deities.

  • Hindus achieve purification by bathing in the Ganges, and bodies of the dead are washed with water from it before being cremated. (once in 12 years)

Hindu shrine
Hindu Shrine

Chapter 12

Rejection to hinduism
Rejection to Hinduism

  • Jainism began in 6th century B.C. as a revolt against the authority of the early Hindu doctrines, caste distinctions and modifies concepts of karma and transmigration of souls - 4 million followers (link for Jainism)

  • Sikhism - rejecting the formalism of both Hinduism and Islam and proclaiming a gospel of universal toleration, and

  • Buddhism - 6th century B.C. Emphasizes four noble truths:

    • 1) existence involves suffering

    • 2) suffering is the result of desire

    • 3) pain ceases when desire is destroyed

    • 4) the destruction of desire comes through knowledge of correct behavior and correct thoughts


  • A protest to the Hinduism’s strict social hierarchy that protected the privileged and kept majority in poverty (other examples– Jainism, and Sikhism)

  • Founded by Prince Siddhartah (Gautama), the heir to a wealthy kingdom – Nepal

  • Buddha - Enlightened One was the first prominent Indian religious leader to speak out against Hinduism’s caste system

  • Enlightenment would come through

    • self-knowledge,

    • elimination of greed, craving and desire;

    • complete honesty; and

    • never hurting another person or animal- vegetarians

  • Seeking Perfect Wisdom and the permanent escape from all anguish via the realization of True Ultimate Reality - Nirvana

Buddhism diffusion
Buddhism - Diffusion

  • Emperor Asoka - started diffusion process. It reached Sri Lanka, Mediterranean, Tibet, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia

  • Contagious diffusion - but decline at home in 4th century, 8th century dominance broke by Islam in N India, 15th century disappeared.

  • While Buddhism spread to distant lands, it began to decline in its region of origin. After Asoka, India is mainly Hinduism.

  • Figure 5.32 – diffusion paths

Branches of buddhism vehicles
Branches of Buddhism (vehicles)

  • Mahayana (Greater Vehicle)

    -Vietnam/China/Japan /Korea

    - appeals to superhuman/ personal meditation/ worship

  • Theravada (vehicle of Elders), conservative

    - Sri Lanka/Myanmar/Thailand /Laos/Cambodia

    - salvation is personal matter/ good behavior/be monk or nun

  • Lamaism (Vajrayana)

    - Tibet: Dalai Lama: reincarnated Buddha. Self-discipline, conversion through meditation and study of philosophy

  • Zen

    - Japan, Taiwan and US

    - Zen Master

Lamaism - Tibetan religion of about 3 million Tibetans and 7 million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.

  • The Dalai Lama is the equivalent of the Pope for them. A secondary leader is the Teshu Lama (or Panchen Lama). These two are regarded as ‘Living Buddhas”, being reincarnations of Buddha passing from one existence to another. When one dies, his successor is sought from among the baby boys born at the time the leader passed away because it is believed that the soul of the Buddha has only passed into another existence.

  • Tibetan Capitol - Lahsa

Cultural Landscape million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.Because Prince Siddhartha sat under the “Bodhi”, this tree has become the symbolic characteristic of Buddhism. Photo: The site of Buddha’s enlightenmentPagoda- symbolizes peace, compassion and the noble exemplary qualities of the Buddha.Buddhism - artifacts

Taoism million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.

  • 1) “Tao-te-ching” - “Book of the Way” , Simplicity, spontaneity, tenderness, and tranquility. Avoid “Competition, possession and even the pursuit of knowledge . Evils - War, punishment, taxation, and ceremonial ostentation

  • 2) The best government is the least government

  • 3) Taoism became a cult of the masses, Lao-Tsu is god which himself would have disapproved.

  • 4)A sort of Taoist witchcraft emerged

    Feng Shui- harmony with nature

  • “Feng” means Winds, “Shui” means Water

  • Consult with “geomancers” for doing everything, including building houses, naming the business, garden layout, location of the stores, highway systems, president’s palace, maybe …The White House facing

Confucianism million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.

  • Confucius - born 551-479 b.c. advocated

  • 1) Present life is more important than the future life,

  • 2) Urged poor to assert themselves,

  • 3) human virtues and abilities to determine one’s position in society

  • 4) educated the landless and the weak

  • 5) disliked supernatural mysticism

  • 6) Confucian Classics - guide for Chinese civilization

Issues in cemeteries and funerals
Issues in cemeteries and funerals million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.

  • Christian faiths bury their dead while Hindus, Buddhists, and Shintoistscremate the dead

  • Decoration of graves/elaborate rituals and in parklike cemeteries

  • Significant economic enterprise in Western cultures - cemeteries and funeral business

  • Hanging Coffins in China

Shintoism buddhism
Shintoism/Buddhism million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.

Japan -“Nippon”- origin of sun)

  • Shintoism- Japanese ethnic religion, closely related to Buddhism, a case of syncretism.

  • Most Shinto shrines house sacred objects such as mirrors (the symbol of the Sun Goddess), swords and jewel on the altar where the gods are believed to be reside.

  • Observes deified emperors, family spirits, and divinities residing in rivers, trees, mountains, rocks, moon and sun (animistic )

  • Gods are approached through ceremonial torii (gateway arches), Buddhist temples are guarded by two dogs (Fu Dog))

  • New managers visit three places: small Shinto shrine in office corner, leaders of labor union, and local fishery.

Pair of Stone Lions

Snow Lion

Temple in kyoto
Temple in Kyoto million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.

  • Toji – means “East Temple” – Buddhist temple, highest wooden tower in Japan

Chapter 12

American religion identification survey 2008
American Religion Identification Survey, 2008 million Mongols and others, including Richard Gere.

Note: "Catholic" includes Roman, Greek and Eastern Rite Catholics. Christian generic includes non-denominational, unspecified Christian and Protestant, evangelical/born-again. Protestant denominations includes Churches of Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventist.