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Hinduism, Buddhism, & Sikhism
Transcript of Hinduism, Buddhism, & Sikhism
World Cultures 2013
“Buddha” was the title given to the man who started the philosophy and religion known as Buddhism. Buddha was born with the name Siddhartha Gautama. He lived between 560 B.C. and 480 B.C.
Siddhartha was a prince in Nepal, a country north of India in the Himalayan foothills. As a young man, he was raised in luxury and
his parents made sure he never saw anything that was sad or unpleasant.
One day Siddhartha left the palace and journeyed to the outside world. For the first time he saw old age, sickness, and death. These sights shocked him and changed the course of his life. Siddhartha gave up his kingdom and left his wife and children in order to search for the reasons why men must experience suffering and sadness. He wandered for six years through northern India without finding the answer. Then one day, while meditating under a tree, the answer came to him. When this happened, he became known as “Buddha” which means the “Enlightened One” – the one with spiritual knowledge. Buddha preached his first sermon in Deer Park in the Indian hold city of Benares. He dedicated the rest of his life to helping people overcome suffering.
Buddha’s teachings included the “Four Noble Truths.” The first truth was that suffering is a part of life. Also, because of man’s actions in this life, he may be reborn into more suffering in the next life. The second truth stated that the origin of man’s suffering is his desire for things he cannot have and his attachment to material objects. The third truth taught that man must overcome his desires in order to get rid of suffering and find peace.
Life is Suffering
Suffering = Material Objects
Overcome your Desires
The fourth truth showed man how to overcome desire by following the “Noble Eightfold Path.” The Eightfold Path consisted of eight practices: (1) right faith, (2) right resolve to resist evil, (3) right speech, (4) right action, (5) right living, (6) right effort, (7) right thought, and (8) right meditation.
1 - Right Faith
2 - Right to Resolve to Resist Evil
8 - Right Meditation
3 - Right Speech
7 - Right Thought
6 - Right Effort
4 - Right Action
5 - Right Living
According to Buddha, man would go through several rebirths before he would be able to overcome his desires. Those who finally rid themselves of all desires would reach “nirvana.” In nirvana, man’s soul would stop its cycle of rebirth and would become one with the Universe.
Buddha encouraged his followers to become monks and nuns in order to spread his teachings. At first, Buddhism was slow to spread in India because it was opposed by powerful Brahmin priests who were leaders of the Hindu religion. However, during the 200’s B.C., an Indian ruler named Asoka made Buddhism the official religion and sent missionaries to spread Buddhism to Central and East Asia. After Asoka’s death, Buddhism became less important in India because it was gradually absorbed into Hinduism. Today, Buddhism has less than a million followers in India, but it remains popular in China, Korea, Japan, and many countries of Southeast Asia.
Buddhism greatly influenced art and architecture throughout Asia. Statues of Buddha are common as are Buddhist temples. One such temple is the pagoda, a sacred pyramid-shaped tower that is frequently seen in China, Japan, and Korea. A pagoda has roofs curving upward where each story of the tower meets the next story above.
1. Priests/teachers: Brahmin
so low that they are actually outside the system and are not a caste
Hinduism is the world’s third most popular religion. The religion originated about 4,000 years ago in Northern India and is the world’s oldest religion. Hinduism has no founder; instead it was developed by a group of people called the Brahmins. Their teachings are based on ancient Aryan practices.
Hindus have a sacred text called the Vedas which are written in hymn or mantra form. They help to guide their daily life. Other scriptures that help to guide Hindus on their journey through life include the Mahabharata which is an epic poem about a family at war; the Bhagavad-Gita is part of the poem and means “The Song of God”. In these scriptures many stories are told of good conquering evil.
1. Hindus believe in one all powerful God, but they pray to various other gods to guide them to the universal God. (Brahma - the creator, Vishnu - the preserver, Shiva - the destroyer; most popular gods)
2. Hindus believe in reincarnation, which teaches that a person is born, lives, dies, and is reborn again many times. There are 4 goals in the cycle of life, they are…
a. Moksha, which is the release of the soul from the cycle of rebirth by spiritual knowledge or selflessly working for the good of society.
b. Artha, which is the pursuit of material gains.
c.Karma, which states that a person’s social position in the next life depends upon his/her conduct in the present life.
d. Dharma, which provides a code of behavior or set of moral and ethical rules governing the conduct of each social class. An upper class Hindu and a lower class Hindu have different sets of rules or dharmas to live by.
Hindus puja (worship) everyday at a shrine in their home, but communal puja (worship) takes place at a Mandir (Hindu Temple). People will gather at the Mandir on the weekends for puja (worship). Each Mandir is dedicated to a different god. People bring water, fruits, flowers, and incense as offerings to the gods. Hindus also take pilgrimages (journey) to places where gods have manifested into the world or appeared. Another aspect of Hindu life is that they cremate their dead, meaning they burn the bodies instead of burying them.
The caste system is a type of social organization in which a person’s occupation and position in life is determined by the circumstances of his/her birth. People are born into a particular caste and remain a part of that caste all of their life. Although the government has attempted to abolish the caste system, such long standing traditions do not easily die. The caste system, however, is less prevalent in the cities of India but remains very visible in villages. Though there are thousands of castes and subcastes, the five major divisions are:
Sikhs are people sharing common religious, social, and political institutions. 25 million people worldwide identify themselves as Sikh faithful, making it the fifth largest world-religion. Sikhism teaches that all human beings are equal and can realize God within them through devotion to God, truthful living and service to humanity. The Sikh faith was founded about 500 years ago by Guru Nanak (1469-1539) and shaped by his nine successors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in South Asia. The Sikh Gurus based their teachings on a revelation (message) from God.
Sikh Gurus – For Sikhs, the “Guru” is an enlightener who awakens human beings to the full experience of God. Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru, spoke forcefully against political tyranny, social injustice, religious hypocrisy, empty rituals and superstitions. The last Guru did not appoint a human successor. Instead, he transferred his authority jointly to two institutions: the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh scripture) and the Guru Khalsa Panth (the community of Sikh believers initiated through a special ceremony).
Sikh Scripture – The Guru Granth Sahib teaches through poetry that is set to a formal system of Sikh classical music. The hymns of the Guru Granth Sahib provide broad guidelines for harmonious living. In the compilation of the Sikh scripture, the hymns of many non-Sikh spiritual guides from diverse religious traditions are included making the scriptures universal.
Order of Khalsa – Order of the Khalsa is to practice the essential Sikh values: truthfulness, trust, loyalty, productive labor, sharing, integrity, and spirituality. Members of the Khalsa are expected to devote themselves to the service of society. They are famous for defending the oppressed (bullied) and empowering the downtrodden (treated badly). All Sikhs initiated into the Order of Khalsa can be identified by their articles of faith.
Articles of Faith – Sikhs display their commitment to their beliefs by wearing the Sikh articles of faith. Sikhs do not cut their hair (kesh). Sikh men cover their hair with a turban, while Sikh women may either wear a turban or scarf. Kanga is a small comb worn in the hair to remind a Sikh about the importance of cleanliness. The kirpan, which resembles a sword and symbolizes the protection of the weak by Sikhs, is suspended near one’s uncut hair. The kachhera, which is worn much like under-shorts, reminds a Sikh to restrain from overindulgence. The kara is worn around one’s wrist like a bracelet and its circular shape reminds a Sikh that the Creator is infinite – without a beginning and without an end. All of these articles of faith have deep spiritual meaning.
Gurdwara – The Gurdwara is the Sikh place of worship where the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, is read. All Gurdwaras across the globe support the Sikh institution called the langar, which is a free community kitchen open to all. Visitors of any religion can expect shelter, comfort and food at all Gurdwaras. Since the Sikh faith does not have an ordained clergy, any woman or man form the congregation may lead religious services.
Core Beliefs –
• recognize a single Creator who sustains all people of all faiths
• everyone has equal status (men and women alike)
• no sacred day or time – only the time and place where God is remembered is sacred
• no clergy or ordained minister – all humans are capable of realizing God
• sacred duty to the welfare of humanity, must donate to charity, and do charity work
• denounces polytheism, idol worship, superstitions, or blind rituals
• emphasis on living in the present as the human life is precious
• encourages literacy, individual growth, hard work, family life, and honest living
• tries to create a world society where all human beings may live as equals
Vaisakhi, also spelled Baisakhi, is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar. It is the Sikh New Year festival and is celebrated on April 13 or 14. It also commemorates 1699, the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith. At the original gathering, the Guru called upon Sikhs to uphold their faith and preserve the Sikh religion. Guru Gobind Singh then lifted his sword and asked that anyone prepared to give his life for his faith to come forward. There was a big silence, but the Guru went on repeating his demand. One Sikh finally came forward and followed the Guru into a tent. Shortly after, the Guru reappeared alone with his sword covered in blood, and asked for a second volunteer. Another Sikh stepped forward and again the Guru took him into the tent, and re-appeared alone with his sword covered with blood. This was repeated until five Sikhs had offered their heads for the Guru. Finally, the Guru emerged from the tent with all five men dressed spiritually in blue. This was the beginning of the Order of Khalsa and the celebration of Vaisakhi. Vaisakhi is celebrated with Gudwaras (holy buildings) being decorated and visited. Parades, dancing and singing happen throughout the day. Many Sikhs choose to be baptised into the Khalsa brotherhood on this day.