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Ancient China, India, Japan. The Search for Truth and Enlightenment 2500 B.C.-A.D. 1800s. Major Religious Traditions. Hinduism (India 1500 B.C.) Confucianism (China 551-479 B.C. Confucius teaches) Shintoism or Taoism (Japan 500s B.C.) Buddhism (All three regions circa 560 B.C.)

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Ancient China, India, Japan


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    1. Ancient China, India, Japan The Search for Truth and Enlightenment 2500 B.C.-A.D. 1800s

    2. Major Religious Traditions • Hinduism (India 1500 B.C.) • Confucianism (China 551-479 B.C. Confucius teaches) • Shintoism or Taoism (Japan 500s B.C.) • Buddhism (All three regions circa 560 B.C.) • Ask the fundamental questions of humanity: • Who am I? • What is the meaning of Life? • What is mankind’s relationship to/ with nature?

    3. FOCUS QUESTION • How have the Hindu concepts of dharma, karma, the caste system, and reincarnation influenced Indian culture and literature? Consider the influence on international cultures and works of literature.

    4. Ancient India • The first settlers of India are unknown • Advanced civilization flourished in northern India between 2500 and 1500 B.C.- The Indus Valley Civilization. • The death blow of the Indus Valley civilization: The Aryans

    5. Major Ancient Indian Literary Periods • Vedic (1500-500 B.C.)- collection of hymns and other texts that formed the cornerstone of the Aryan culture- Aggressive, nomadic warriors of Persian descent that conquered the Indus Valley Civilization. Hindus believed that the hymns were revealed to humans directly by the gods. • The Classical Period (500 B.C.- A.D. 1000)- Sanskrit (“perfect speech”). Believed to be a sacred language spoken by the gods. Sanskrit was seen as the only appropriate form of expression

    6. Hinduism • “Brahman”- The center, The World Soul, the unifying principal of the cosmos, and the sum of all that ever was or will be. • “Atman”- The essential inner self. Hindus must discover this inner self. • Then a devout Hindu dedicates their life to seeking ways to merge Atman with Brahman. • Three Deities or “Trimurti”: • Brahma- The Creator • Vishnu- The Protector • Shiva-The Destroyer/Preserver

    7. Dharma • Sanskrit-“to hold” English- “religion” • Dharma= duty, ethics, morality, law, and order • Everyone is born with a unique Dharma • Dharma unfolds throughout life according to personal choices • What to do or not do in a given situation and must be determined by the individual • Requires that a person fulfill the duties of his or her station in life

    8. Karma, The Caste System, and Reincarnation • A person’s dharma is determined in part by his or her caste (social class) • People are not created equal- segregated by occupation (thousands of subcastes) • Karma= action. One’s Karma will influence one’s rebirth and future life. • Reincarnation= “transmigration of souls”- rebirth of soul into a new body • Good Karma= higher caste

    9. Buddhism 563-483 B.C. • Founded by Siddhartha Gautama- prince who left wealth for spiritual peace • Buddha= Enlightened One • Life is an endless cycle of suffering caused by the desire for earthly goods. • Yoga- to master the earthly desire (self-denial, meditation, postures, breathing practices, and ethical, nonviolent behavior). • By twelfth century A.D. Buddhism had nearly disappeared from India, but many Hindus still practice vegetarianism, meditation, and self-denial.

    10. The Rig-Veda1000 B.C. • “ Hymns of Supreme sacred knowledge” • The most sacred books of Hinduism • Divinely inspired or heard directly from the gods • Performed orally by Vedic priests (also written in Sanskrit) • Revealed a lot about early Indo-European civilizations such as the nomadic Aryans. • Aryans are described as farmers, wearing wool clothing, made iron tools and developed communities • They were also drunkards, gamblers, and fighters. • Highly poetic and worshiped the forces of nature

    11. Journal #8 • Consider the TONE often associated with night and darkness. • List the qualities that you often associate with night and freewrite a poem PERSONIFYING night. • BONUS: Vary sentence structure and diction

    12. Ramayana 200 B.C.- A.D. 200 • One of two Hindu epics • Poet- Valmiki • Mirrors epic heroes such as Gilgamesh and Achilles • Poem of 25,000 couplets written in Sanskrit • There is not one Ramayana in India • The most common Ramayanas are in the ‘vernacular’ Indian languages. • Mirror of Indian culture

    13. Prince Rama • Part man, part god • Incarnation of Vishnu (the protector) • Exhibits miraculous feats of strength • He is a great warrior • His wife, Sita, is abducted by the king of demons, Ravana • Rama and his brother, Lakshmana ally with monkey king, Hanuman to overthrow Ravana’s kingdom

    14. Focus Questions • How does this epic parallel the other epics we’ve read in this class? • Compare and contrast this epic to The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Epic of Gilgamesh • What aspects of Hinduism are embodied in the text? • What aspects of Ancient Indian culture are reflected in the text?