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Buddhism Versus Hinduism
Transcript of Buddhism Versus Hinduism
(Lesser Vehicle) Also known in less respectful terms as Hinayana, a term coined by the other major tradition, Mahayana. It is the older of the two traditions and is known as the Way of the Elders. Those who are Theravadan interpret the Buddhist teachings more conservatively. Popular In: Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia Beliefs: Mahayana
(Greater Vehicle) They honor the Buddha as a perfected master, and focus on the historical figure. A monastic lifestyle is stressed, and wisdom is something to strive for. Theravadans fixate on freedom through the effort of an individual. The younger of the two traditions, Mahayanists accept more texts and teachings than the Theravandans. Beliefs: Mahayanists focus on the more heavenly nature of the Buddha, and they put great significance on how important the many different buddhas are, those from the past and those to come. They believe that compassion should be striven for just as much as wisdom. Mahayanists put more emphasis on kindness towards everything, and the supreme goal of Mahayana is to become a bodhisattva, someone who has reached Enlightenment, but has postponed their journey to Nirvana to help others reach salvation. Popular In: Mongolia, China, Tibet, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Nepal To compare... Theravadans see the Buddha as a more historical figure and master, while Mahayanists see him as being more heavenly.
Theravadans focus more on finding wisdom, but Mahayanists also believe compassion is equally important.
Theravadans focus on finding freedom through the effort of a person, Mahayanists focus more on being kind to everyone and everything. Subdivisions and Sects Zen Buddhism A branch of Mahayana that claims to convey the spirit of enlightenment that was achieved by the Buddha. Zen teaches that everyone can reach this enlightenment, a form of spiritual awakening to the proper nature of reality. Although, it requires the tutelage in the right forms of spiritual cultivation by a master.
Zen began around the sixth century CE in China, and then also appeared in Korea, Vietnam, and Japan. Zen Buddhism also gained many Western followers in the twentieth century. Vajrayana
(Diamond Vehicle) Also known as Esoteric Buddhism, it is a third movement that came to be as Buddhism extended into other areas out of India and came into contact with other religions. Vajrayana began around the sixth century BCE in India and later appeared in Tibet. This school which has its own unique texts, the Tantras, highlights the value of the master-student relationship and has a more occult Path to Enlightenment. The Three Jewels It consists of three cornerstones:
Buddha - the teacher
Dharma - the teachings or laws
Sangha - the community of believers Buddhism always has these three cornerstones in all its various forms. Devout Buddhists believers and monks believe that these elements will shelter and protect them. This belief is expressed in the prayer, "I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Dharma. I take refuge in the Sangha." To those who choose to spend their lives as a Buddhist monk, which is a path open to all, the Three Jewels are the center of their everyday lives. They use meditation, prayer, and other ceremonial acts to keep themselves on the Eightfold Path. Monks who follow the Theravada tradition live secluded lives in monastery retreats, but monks who follow the Mahayana tradition also includes services to the general public as part of their Path. Festivals and Holidays Buddhists countries throughout Asia celebrate holidays to honor the life and teachings of the Buddha. Uposatha Days Every month there are four days that are celebrated as uposatha days in the Theravada tradition. The four uposatha days are celebrated on the new moon, full moon, and the eighth day after both the new and full moons. Prayers, sermons, and offerings characterize the uposatha ceremonies. The ceremonies consist of presenting flowers to an image of the Buddha, reciting the sutras which are essential texts on the teachings of the Buddha, and meditation. On uposatha days monks admit their errors and listen to narrations of the rules of the conduct. Religious followers of Buddhism dress in simple clothes and take special vows. Vassa A three month retreat during the rainy season (July to October) practiced by Theravada Buddhists. The Buddha made this retreat himself. Many Buddhist believers will take the vow of a monk for three months, and full-time monks count their years in the community by how many vassas they have attended. The end of vassa is frequently distinguished by great celebrations and giving gifts to the monks. The celebration of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and death or Final Nirvana. These events are celebrated in all Buddhist countries. In Theravadan countries, these three events are celebrated on the same day. This day is the full moon of the sixth lunar month, which usually occurrs sometime in April. In countries of the Mahayana tradition, the events are celebrated separately. The Buddha's birth is remembered on April 8, his Enlightenment on December 8, and his death on February 15. The Buddha's birth is combined with native religious ceremonies in Japan into the flower festival known as Hanamatsuri. Japan and China have a long tradition of ancestor worship, so Buddhists have an All Souls Festival for the deceased. This festival has two purposes, to remember the dead and to bring final peace to those who have died without a burial. Mahayana Vs. Theravada Since the teachings of Buddha were first written down long after his death, both schools quarrel about each other's writings. The Theravada school disapproves of the Mahayana's writings. They believe that their writings are not authentic. The Mahayanas believe that Buddha taught only very basic teachings to the Theravadas. The Buddha's deepest insights he saved for the Mahayanas. Buddhist Monks Beliefs Zen has its base in the belief that the world and all its elements are not many things, but one reality. If you analyze how diverse the world is, you block out the oneness of the world and its elements. Enlightenment about the reality of the world does not come from rationally examining the world, but by meditating and other methods created to break through the assumptions of logical thinking. Intuition, the irrational part of the mind allows you to apprehend reason.
The central part of Zen Buddhism is the monastery, where masters and pupils collaborate in the search for Enlightenment. The Zen monks and nuns usually study Buddhist scriptures, Chinese classics, poetics, and Zen literature. Life in the community centers around humility, labor, service, prayer, and gratitude, along with meditation. Places of Worship Temples and Shrines Temples were built and dedicated to Buddha and his relics were placed at shrines and were highly treasured. Is thought to have been born around the sixth to fourth centuries BCE as the son of a warrior prince. At age 29 he left his life of luxury to become an ascetic and search for the answers of the problems of human existence. He reached Enlightenment while sitting under a bodhi tree while meditating. The following subdivisions and sects are just two of the many variations of Buddhism. Modern-Day Issue Sexism Like many of the major world religions, Buddhism has a gender bias towards men, a problem that has existed for a long time. Some Buddhist nuns have had difficulty being taken seriously and being treated as equals by monks. The monks are in no rush to approve of or ordain women, but there are a few lucky exceptions. The nuns who do not fall into that lucky category have very little opportunities to practice and study their faith, and many become household servants for monks. Vesak This is the interior of the Wat Arun temple in Bangkok, Thailand during Vesak. Wat Arun means Temple of the Dawn. This is an image of the bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India, where the Buddha reached his Enlightenment. A Tibetan tanka scroll painting depicting the Wheel of Life that illustrates the Buddhist doctrine of Transmigration. Founder None Origin of Name British writers from the 19th century developed the term as a way to mention the practices and ideas of religion in India. The term Hindu was originally not a religious term, but as a way for the people of India to differentiate themselves from the Turks so they could describe themselves as a different ethnic group. Age More than 3,000 years, but a more modern form of Hinduism has been developed more recently. Monotheistic or Polytheistic? Both. There are many godly beings in Hinduism, but a wide-spread belief is that there is only one creative principle in the universe, called the brahman. Holy Texts Ridveda is a collection of hymns to the gods. It is the oldest religious text in the world. Three other collections of texts, Samaveda, Yajurveda, and Atharveda were added later. These Vedas were written over a time period of many centuries and passed down by word of mouth, and gathered in their current forms by the first millennium BCE. Place of Worship Temples Customs Daily Rites Consist of offering flowers, food, and fruit to the gods and reciting the Vedas. Temple Worship Worshiping a god is an action of "calling forth the presence of a god and entertaining the deity in the manner of a royal guest." The first act of temple worship consists of the opening of the temple doors. This means a different thing to people who worship different ultimate beings. The three deities who are generally followed as the being in charge of the universe are Vishnu, Shiva, and Shakti. To the worshipers of Vishnu, opening the doors symbolizes opening the gates of heaven. For followers of Shiva, it ensures the building is protected. Visitors of the temple participate in chants and listen to religious presentations. The images of gods are venerated with gifts of flowers, fruits and perfume. Household Worship At the heart of household worship are the changes in a person's life, like the rite of passage from childhood to becoming an adult, marriage and childbirth. Marriages A major household rite with elaborate ceremonies the can last up to three days. Girls usually do not meet their future husbands until the ceremony. Funerals and Time of Mourning The customary funeral process is cremation. A part of the funeral rite is to give a gift of food to the Brahmins for the deceased's benefit. A pyre is constructed in preparation for the cremation, and the dead must be cremated before nightfall. Only men go to the site of the cremation. Ghee is poured on the pyre by the local priest and the deceased's family members. The dead's toes point south so its soul can reach Yama's (the god of death) home easily. The body is then lit on fire. After the pyre has burned for a period of time, a bamboo pole is struck across the deceased's head, and the funeral ends. No sweet eating is one of the many strict rules a mourner must follow after a death. The ashes of the deceased must be placed in a river or stream so the soul can be released, although the Ganges River is the preferable over all other rivers and streams. The Ganges River is considered the holiest river because it is said to flow from the god Shiva's head, though all rivers are holy to some extent. On the thirteenth day after the dead's cremation, the mourning family observes the end of the most intense of the mourning periods. The family goes to a temple, bringing a coconut. Lit camphor is moved over the fire on a stone altar. The coconut is cut in half over the fire, allowing the coconut water to fall into the flames. The coconut is cut into quarters; two quarters are left on the altar the other two are given to the poor outside the temple. The ceremony is completed by the priest with a prayer that ends in a chant. The Caste System In Hindu society, the castes are called jatis. A jati is a heavily regulated social group that a person is born into. Every jati has its own rules and myths about kinship, jobs, diet, and many other behaviors. Generally, a person is expected to marry someone in the same jati as themselves. Jatis are classified in a social and ritual hierarchy in which each jati expects respect from lower ranking jatis and gives respect to those in superior jatis. There are thousands of jatis, but all fall into four classes, or varnas. Beliefs Gods Primary Deities Vishnu He is the protector and preserver of the world and is worshiped in various forms and incarnations.
One of his forms is Krishna. The son of Vasudava and Deviki, it was prophesied that Deviki would have eight sons, and the last would kill King Kamsa, Deviki's brother, and end his evil ways. His father traded Krishna with his adopted parents' son so Krishna would be safe from King Kamsa. After defeating all the opponents at the wrestling match Kamsa invited him to, Krishna was able to end Kamsa's evil ways by killing him.
Another of his incarnations is Rama. Vishnu was born as a man, Rama, so that he could defeat the demon Ravana, the demon king, who sent demons to torment holy men. Rama was the hero of Ramayana who was able to eventually defeat Ravana by using matras given to him by a holy man to call upon the divine weapons of fire.
The worship of Vishnu is called Vaisnavism. Shiva In Sanskirt, his name means "auspicious one." Shiva is not as straightforward as Vishnu. He is reputed as a slaughterer and as a repairer. His worship is known as Shivaism. Shiva has a female consort that is referred to by many names. Sometimes his consort is the goddess Shakti. They have two sons, Skanda and Ganesa. They live on the top of Mount Kailasa in the Himalayas. Shiva sometimes appears in images as a wandering beggar, a person who is half male and half female, or as a dancer. Skakti She is called the mother goddess and represents all parts of human life. Similar to the god Shiva, she can be violent or helpful, depending on the form that Skakti appears. As Parvati, she is seen as an exquisite, middle-aged lady. As Kali, she appears as a giantess with large tusks, a touge the color of blood, and black skin. She wears a human skull necklace and carries a variety of weapons. Other Deities Ganesa The son of Shiva and Skakti, he has an elephant head. Ganesa is the remover of obstacles and is prayed to before any endeavors. Lakshmi The patroness of wealth and is married to Vishnu. Sarasvati Or Saraswati, is the goddess of learning and arts. Students pray to her before a big exam. Hanuman The monkey god that is connected with Rama's adventures. He assisted Vishnu's human form, Rama, in rescuing his wife, Sita, from Ravana. Manasa She is the goddess of snakes and is worshiped by peasants in certain areas. Sacred Objects Animals One if the most important sacred creatures in Hinduism is the cow. Cattle are protected, and even the jatis that are not vegetarian do not eat beef. Other sacred animals to Hindus are tree squirrels, monkeys, and some snakes. Plants Banyan trees and tulsi trees are sacred to Hindus. Festivals Significant temples hold a festival at least annually. Hindu festivals are a mix of religious ceremonies, music, dances, parades of the favored god in an area, along with other celebratory events. Several festivals relate to nature's cycle. The celebration of the New Year is called Diwali. Events that happen during Diwali are the exchange of gifts, lighting of ceremonial lamps, gambling (which is said to bring luck in the coming year,) and fireworks so the spirits of the dead are frightened away. Modern-Day Issue:
Terrorism and Violence Against Christian Conversion In 1999, Graham Staines, an Australian missionary, along with his two sons were burned to death by a gang that was led by Dara Singh, an activist of Bajrang Dal, an extremist group of Hindus. Bajrang Dal members celebrated because of this bloodshed, but many Hindus were ashamed of this act, because Hinduism is a religion based on non-violence. Bajrang Dal has several goals relating to the protection of India as a Hindu country and to Hinduism itself, one of them being to stop Christian conversion in India. Another incident occurred in May of 2005 when Hindus raided a tribal Christian village and forced them to convert to Hinduism. The untouchables were regarded as the lowest of all the jatis, with no place in the varnas, and held the most undesirable jobs, such as street sweeping and leatherworking. They are called untouchables because of the uncleanliness of their work. People from this jati have been named Harijan which means "children of God" by Mohandas K. Gandhi. In more recent times, untouchables have have called themselves Dalit, which means "oppressed" while trying to gain equal rights. Comparing Buddhism and Hinduism Buddhism and Hinduism share similar characteristics, such as their country of origin, and their beliefs, such as the belief in reincarnation. There are some differences between these two religions, though. Buddhism has no God, while Hinduism has many gods. One of the oldest living religions in the world, most of Hinduism's origins have been lost to time. A complex religion centered around the teachings of the Buddha. An important goal for Buddhists is to break the cycle of reincarnation and reach Nirvana. Pilgrims praying and bathing in the Ganges River, the holiest river to Hindus.