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Confucian Ideas Five key relationships Importance of propriety Elevation of scholarship over pedigree Nature of virtue Filial piety Confucian Classics Four Books. Shinto Ideas Animism Importance of kami Significance of torii gates Harmony with nature Shinto/Buddhist multiplex Misogi

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re cap of confucian and shinto concepts
Confucian Ideas

Five key relationships

Importance of propriety

Elevation of scholarship over pedigree

Nature of virtue

Filial piety

Confucian Classics

Four Books

Shinto Ideas


Importance of kami

Significance of torii gates

Harmony with nature

Shinto/Buddhist multiplex



Shinto as indigenous religion

Re-Cap of Confucian and Shinto Concepts


Truth is one; sages call it by various names.

- Rig Veda

hindu origins
Hindu Origins
  • Hinduism- a collection of traditions?
    • Any who use the Vedas in spiritual practice
    • Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Religion)
      • What perspective does this represent?
    • Early emphasis on meditation practice as well as a variety of divine manifestations
    • Poly-, Mono-, or Mon-?
the dharma
The Dharma
  • Dharma
    • duties
    • natural law
    • social law/welfare
    • ethics
    • all life activities
harappan civilization
Harappan Civilization
  • Very old civilization
    • Circa 2500 B.C.E
    • Based on archaeological evidence
    • Use of lingams/menhirs- upright stone monuments
    • Worshipped Siva-like god
    • Also an indigenous Dravidian population
    • Is Hinduism another example of “indigenous” religion?
  • Invaded by Aryans
    • Circa 2000-900 B.C. E.
    • May or may not have brought religious ideas with them
the vedas
The Vedas
  • The foundation of most Hindu practice
    • Rig Veda- Sanskrit hymns devoted to devas
      • Samhitas- the text of any of the Vedas
    • Brahmanas- detailing proper performance of ritual
    • Aranyakas- for reclusive meditation; “dangerous” rituals
    • Upanishads- the teachings of spiritual masters
      • Why do most people skip to the end?
      • realization of the oneness of the godhead, a supreme formless reality behind thee world of transitory appearances
  • Vedas written down
    • Circa 1500-400 B.C.E.
    • Switches from oral tradition to written documents in Sanskrit
the rig veda
The Rig Veda
  • Oldest known scripture in the world
    • Lists major deities in a traditionally polytheistic pantheon
    • Presented side by side with the concept of one universal and unseen reality
    • Praises and implores the blessings of the devas (shining ones)
        • Devas could be thunder Gods, God’s of the dawn., god’s of drink, transparent as the sky (polytheistic)
major message of the vedas
Major Message of the Vedas
  • Existence of an Ultimate Reality
    • beyond human understanding
    • ceaselessly creating
    • sustaining all life
    • encompassing all that is
  • Developed into bhakti (devotional) practice because of difficulty in worshipping the formless?
epic poems @400bce 400ce
Epic Poems- @400BCE-400CE
  • Ramayana
    • Vishnu producing an avatar (Rama) to help uplift humanity
    • Portrays duties of relationships and ideal forms of roles (servant, prince, etc…)
  • Mahabarata
    • Shows all sides of human nature
    • Focuses on the importance of righteous action
    • 18th book- The Bagavad-Gita- story of Krishna as an avatar of a chariot driver instructing Arjuna
the brahmin
The Brahmin
  • Priests who controlled the aspects of Vedic worship
    • Brahman (supreme reality)
      • Without features
      • With features (god manifestation)
    • Mantras introduced as ritual formulas
      • The sound invokes a reality they connote or describe
    • Atman- personal “soul” that inhabits human beings
  • Each caste (varna) is composed of multiple sub-categories (jat)
  • List of castes
    • Brahmin- priests
    • Kshatriyas- nobility (kings, warriors, vassals)
    • Vaishyas-backbone of economy (farmers and merchants)
    • Shudra- manual laborers and artisans
    • Dalits- “Untouchables”- (dead body removal, filth removal, other “unclean”
      • Renamed by M.K. Gandhi= harijans (“children of God”)
      • Dalits now find that term patronizing/condescending
why is the caste system important
Why Is the Caste System Important?
  • This concept is integral to the precepts of Sanatana Dharma
    • Vedas contain laws that govern all aspects of life
    • Every person serves in their niche
    • Society functions smoothly when these positions are accepted by all
    • It moves people from selfish desires to common good in the social order
    • What tradition also embraces this idea?
the caste system cont
The Caste System (Cont.)
  • What are the up sides of a caste system?
  • Why are caste systems somewhat incomprehensible to Western thinkers?
  • Does this mean that Western religions are inherently selfish?
concepts for the upanishads
Concepts for the Upanishads
  • Contemplation of the “Luminous Self”
    • How can this phrase be interpreted?
  • Reincarnation
  • Senses give an impermanent and inaccurate view of the world
  • Turning away from sensory input and transient material world
  • Looking for connections with Brahman
      • Is God “out there?”
      • Is God “In Here?”
human beings contain
Human Beings Contain...
  • A collection of transient and intransient forms
    • Atman= the subtle self in you that is
    • “You”= your conscious ego self
    • The Brahman
      • We (as the atman) are but waves on the ocean of Brahman
    • Connections to what other traditions?
good and bad karma
Good and Bad Karma
  • Karma
    • Action and its consequence
      • as a person acts so they become…if a person has impure thoughts they become impure, if they are pure in thoughts they are pure
    • We bear the results and consequences of our actions
      • in this life
      • and the next (reincarnated form)
      • every move has far reaching consequences
breaking the cycle
Breaking the Cycle
  • Moksha
      • Liberation from the karmic cycle= wheel of birth, life, death (Samsara)
      • Freedom from all constraints of this life
        • space
        • time
        • matter
        • joining with the Brahman?
      • Requires many lifetimes of upward striving incarnation before one can move beyond the earthly transcendence
major theistic groups bhakti
Major Theistic Groups (Bhakti)
  • Three major groupings of deity worshippers
    • Vaishnavites- worship divine as Vishnu
        • the lotus floats serenely on the water with its roots firmly in the mud
        • refined spiritual energy rising from worldly contamination
    • Saivites- worship divine as Siva (the destroyer)
        • Often represented with a consort (Parvati his spouse)
    • Saktas-worship the female creative power
        • Kali
          • warrior goddess
          • destruction is actually transformation
vishnu s symbols
Vishnu’s Symbols
  • Conch shell
    • Makes the purest sound from which creation springs
  • Golden mace/club
    • A weapon signifying total power to destroy evil
  • Rotating disc/discus
    • Another weapon with the same symbolism
  • Lotus flower
    • Fertility and regeneration; nurturing of the soul from worshipping Vishnu
siva s symbols
Siva’s symbols
  • Circle of flames
    • The universe in its entirety
  • Snake around neck
    • Symbol of fertility and strength
  • Small drum
    • Represents sound of creation
  • Hand gesture (abhaya mudra)
    • Symbol for fearlessness
  • Lifted right foot
    • Symbolic of freedom from samsara
  • Flame in hand
    • The essence of creation and destruction
  • Yoga
    • “yoke” or “union” with the infinite consciousness
    • From root “yuj” meaning “to bind fast”
    • All are considered paths of liberation
    • One should use some form of disciplined technique to achieve this.
      • Raja Yoga
      • Jnana Yoga
      • Karma Yoga
      • Bhakti Yoga
      • Dharma Yoga
raja hatha yoga
Raja (Hatha) Yoga
  • Consists of more than just he elements familiar to westerners
      • Yama- virtues/observances
      • Niyama- restraints
      • Asana- psotures
      • Pranayama- breathing
      • Pratyahara-inward focus
      • Dharana-concentration for meditation
      • Dhyana- mediation
      • Samadhi- insight
physiological and physical
Physiological and Physical
  • Raja Yoga
    • asanas - physical postures
    • prana - invisible life energy
    • chakras - bodily energy centers
    • mantras- sound repetition
    • yantras - a visual form
rational approach
Rational Approach
  • Jnana Yoga
    • rational mind emphasis
      • restraint, renunciation, resignation, concentration, faith
      • Developing an intellectual understanding of the relationships between the concepts expressed above and their impact on daily life
  • Is this important to practice or to study?
union through virtuous action
Union Through Virtuous Action
  • Karma Yoga
    • any service rendered without though or interest in its effect on anything
    • God doing it through you, but not you
    • Actions have consequences in real world and also in the karmic world
  • Is there an equivalent to this in Western society?
devotional union
Devotional Union
  • Bhakti Yoga
    • Love relationship with/to a divine manifestation serves as the ultimate example of devotion
  • The bhakti practitioner expects the possibility of a physical appearance of god/gods
  • Hunter at Siva’s shrine- p. 81
dharma yoga
Dharma Yoga
  • Often intermingled with karma yoga or any other of the yogic paths
  • Focused on following duties associated with caste and Hindu life cycle
  • Carrying out gender roles as well as societal roles
    • Women serve men and bear children
the hindu life cycle
The Hindu Life Cycle
  • Traditional life periods
    • 25yrs each
      • Chaste student learning from teacher
      • Householder stage
        • raise a family contribute productively to society
      • Retirement from society and beginnings of serious meditation and scriptural study
        • Partial renunciate
      • Ascetic stage- full detachment from society
        • a sannyasin
    • Most males do not follow this full path to its end stage
  • The guru
    • Venerable/venerated teachers or spiritual guides
      • do not proclaim themselves teachers, the students simply come
      • no guru necessary for the sincere earnest seeker?
    • P. 98- floating wood symbolism
    • Does that metaphor apply universally?
modern hinduism
Establishment of independent Indian state- 1947

Gandhi established two overreaching precepts

awareness of spiritual truth (satyagraha)

non-violent resistance to military-industrial oppression

Modern Hinduism
exclusivity vs universalism
Exclusivity Vs. Universalism
  • Sanatana Dharma
    • Inherently ecumenical
    • Non-proselytizing
    • “Naturally” universal in appeal?
  • Social/Political factors
    • History of India and Pakistan
    • Constant tensions between Muslims and Hindus
more modern hinduism
More Modern Hinduism
  • Christianity appeals to those who are trapped into older caste-centered beliefs?
    • Mahatma Gandhi
    • Ramakrishna
    • Vivekananda
    • PramahansaYogananda
    • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
icw on hinduism
ICW on Hinduism

Do you see political/social developments intertwined with religious practice in the United States? Do we have a “caste” system in place even though America is supposed to be the “land of opportunity?” How does that relate to dominant religious norms?