What is Hinduism?. One of the oldest religions of humanity The religion of the Indian people Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Tolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many" Many deities but a single, impersonal Ultimate Reality
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What is Hinduism? • One of the oldest religions of humanity • The religion of the Indian people • Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism • 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
How did Hinduism begin? • No particular founder • Indus River Valley Civilization >5000 years ago • Aryans enter 4000 - 3500 years ago • Vedic Tradition 3500 – 2500 years ago: • rituals and many gods (polytheism) • sacred texts (Vedas) • social stratification (caste system) • Upanishads (metaphysical philosophy) 2800 – 2400 years ago • Vedic Tradition develops into Hinduism
What are the Sacred Texts? • Shruti (“heard”) – oldest, most authoritative: • Four Vedas (“truth”) – myths, rituals, chants • Upanishads - metaphysical speculation • Plus other texts • Smriti (“remembered”) – the Great Indian Epics: • Ramayana • Mahabharata (includes Bhagavad-Gita) • Plus others
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 (“That art thou”) • Reincarnation – atman is continually born into this world lifetime after lifetime (Samsara) • Karma – spiritual impurity due to 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)
How does Hinduism directlife 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 • Four stages of life – student, householder, retired, renunciant • Four duties of life – pleasure, success, social responsibilities, religious responsibilities (moksha)
What are the spiritualpractices of Hinduism? • The Four Yogas - seeking union with the divine: • Karma Yoga – the path of action through selfless service (releases built up karma without building up new karma) • Jnana Yoga – the path of knowledge (understanding the true nature of reality and the self) • Raja Yoga – the path of meditation • Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion • Guru – a spiritual teacher, especially helpful for Jnana and Raja yoga
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
Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon Brahma, the creator god
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)
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)
What about the goddesses?Devi – the feminine divine Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, consort ofBrahma
What about the goddesses?Devi – the feminine divine Lakshmi, goddess of good fortune, consortof Vishnu
What about the goddesses?Devi – the feminine divine Parvati, divine mother, wife ofShiva
What about the goddesses?Devi – the feminine divine Durga, protectress Kali, destroyer of demons Plus about 330 million other deities
All these deities are but Manifest forms (attributes and functions) of the impersonal Brahman
And we too are manifest forms of God! “We are not human beingshaving spiritual experiences;We are spiritual beingshaving a human experience!” “That art Thou” Hinduism is about recognizing the all pervasiveness of the divine
Buddhism… The “middle way of wisdom and compassion” • A 2500 year old tradition that began in India and spread and diversified throughout the Far East • A philosophy, religion, and spiritual practice followed by more than 300 million people • Based on the teachings of the Buddha
The “Three Jewels” of Buddhism Buddha – the teacher Dharma – the teachings Sangha – the community
Who was the Buddha? • Born Siddhartha Gautama – of noble caste in India, 563 B.C.E. • Raised in great luxury to be a king • Empathy for the suffering of others; at age 29 rejected the life of luxury to seek enlightenment and the solution to suffering • Followed a strict ascetic lifestyle for six years • Rejected this extreme, sat in meditation, achieved Nirvana – an awakening to the truth about life, becoming a Buddha, the “Awakened One”at the age of 35 • Spent the remaining 45 years of his life teaching others how to achieve the peace of mind he had achieved
What did the Buddha teach? The Four Noble Truths: • To live is to suffer • The cause of suffering is self-centered desire & attachments • The solution is to eliminate desire and attachment, thus achieving Nirvana (“extinction”) • The way to Nirvana is through the “Eight-Fold Path”
What is the Eight-Fold Path? • Wisdom: • Right understanding • Right motivation • Moral discipline: • Right speech • Right action • Right livelihood • Mental discipline: • Right effort • Right mindfulness • Right meditation
Right View • You must see the world as it really is, not as you want it to be. • All things are subject to suffering. • “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”
Right Intention • Resist your desires. • Give up greed and selfishness. • Resist anger. • Do not intend to hurt others. • Learn compassion for others.
Right Speech • NO lying. • NO gossiping. • NO slander. • NO swearing. • NO idle conversation – only speak when you have something important to say.
Right Action • NO harming of others, especially murder or suicide (all life is sacred) • NO stealing • NO sexual misconduct, such as rape, sex for any purpose other than procreation
Right Livelihood • Wealth is OK if gained through peaceful and ethical means. • NO making or selling of weapons, dealing in living beings (man or animals), butchering of meats, dealing in intoxicants.
Right Effort • You must always be trying to improve yourself. • Every effort to follow the Eightfold Path and to be a better person adds to your karma.
Right Mindfulness • You must be aware of yourself – all of your thoughts, feelings, strengths and weaknesses. • You must be honest and open with yourself.
Right Concentration • Not only can you not DO the things that are forbidden, you can not even THINK about doing them! • All thoughts must be wholesome, good, and pure.
How does Buddhism differ from Hinduism? Buddhism rejects… • Authority of the ancient Vedic texts • The Vedic caste system • The Vedic and Hindu deities • The efficacy of Vedic worship and ritual • The concept of Brahman
What do Buddhists believe? • Rebirth (reincarnation) results from attachments (karma) • Nirvana is a peaceful, detached state of mind • Achieving Nirvana means escape from the cycle of rebirth Once Gautama Buddha died, after 80 years of life in this world, having achieved Nirvana and teaching multitudes his way of life, he ceased to exist as a distinct being • Buddhism is non-theistic: Buddha is not the Buddhist God – he is just a revered teacher
Buddhist Metaphysics • Dukkha: life in this world is filled with suffering • Anicca: everything in this world is impermanent • Anatta:the self/soul is also impermanent – there is no eternal, unchanging self (“no soul” – no atman) • Suffering is a state of mind – achieve a balanced, peaceful, detached state of mind and suffering can be extinguished (Nirvana)
What are some Buddhist texts? • Tripitaka(the Pali Cannon) – the “Three Baskets”: • Vinaya (“discipline”) – rules for monastic life • Sutta (“discourse”) – sermons of the Buddha • Abhidhamma (metaphysical “teachings”) • Dhammapada – collected sayings of the Buddha • Other texts used by specific schools
The Spread of Buddhism • Within two centuries after the Buddha died, Buddhism began to spread north and east into Asia • By 13th century Buddhism had disappeared from India
Schools of Buddhism - Theravada The “Way of the Elders” (a.k.a.: the “small vehicle”) • Oldest school of Buddhism • Found in southern Asia (Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, etc.) • Monasticism is the ideal life for achieving Nirvana • A “do-it-yourself” approach to enlightenment • Focus on wisdom and meditation • Goal is to become a Buddha • Fairly unified in belief & practice (some cultural differences)
Schools of Buddhism - Mahayana The “Great Vehicle” • Developed first century C.E. • Found in Northern Asia (China, Japan, etc.) • Lay Buddhism – Buddhism “for the masses” • Devotional – seek guidance from Bodhisattvas (“wise beings”) & heavenly Buddhas (kwan Yin, Amida, etc.) • Focus on compassion • Goal is to become a bodhisattva and assist others toward enlightenment (the “Bodhisattva Ideal”) • Diverse schools and sects including: • Pureland, Nichiren, Tendai, Shingon, and others
Schools of Buddhism - Tibetan Vajrayana – the “Diamond Vehicle” • Developed 7th century C.E. • A mix of Theravada & Mahayana: • Rituals (Tantra): • Mantras (chanting) • Mandalas & Thankas (symbolic images) • Mudras (hand gestures) • Bodhisattvas, including living Lamas (Dalai Lama) • Meditation, monasticism, wisdom & compassion • Bardo Thodol -Tibetan Book of the Dead
Schools of Buddhism –Zen The “meditation” school: • Lay and monastic • Seeks sudden enlightenment (satori) through meditation, arriving at emptiness (sunyata) and the “Buddha Nature” • Use of meditation masters (Roshi) • Koans (paradoxical riddles to confound reason) • Beauty, arts & aesthetics – gardens, archery, the tea ceremony, calligraphy, etc.