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Comparative Religions: Buddhist and Taoist Ancestors
Transcript of Comparative Religions: Buddhist and Taoist Ancestors
Began in India in the 5th Century BCE
Not based on a God or gods
Teachings of how to conquer suffering and distress
People believe following Buddha will lead to nirvana and enlightment
Two major branches: Theravada and Mahayana
Theravada spread in SE Asia
Mahayana spread in East Asia
Who is Buddha? (Continued)
Belief in Afterlife
People are born into a new life after death
Experience bardo for 49 days
Depends where they go based on their karma
Karma is used up-- higher realm
Mean and greedy--Pretas
Had been thinking only about food, sleep, and sex--animal
Shown with a wheel of life
Relation with Ancestors
Thailand’s Supreme Patriarch died
Had been head Buddhist monk for more than two decades
Thailand is the world’s most heavily Buddhist country
Taoist temples being built on Mount Yi in China
Previously made a tourist attraction
Attempt to recover religion in China
Taoism recently common in countryside, small communities
They Both had the "Dust in the Wind" Approach
Elders played a large role in all religious proceedings.
Because of their age they were considered the most enlightened and experienced and were often asked for their wisdom
It was custom that the dead also received great amounts of respect.
Their differences stem from their outlooks on life
Taoism sees the world as sweet
Buddhism sees the world as bitter
Who is Buddha?
Goes on journey four times:
1st journey: Sees a very old man
2nd journey: Sees a person with leperacy
3rd journey: Sees a dead body
4th journey: Sees a holy man
Chooses to give up his wealth
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Real name is "Siddhartha Gautama"
Born in Siddhatta Gotama c. 500 BCE, was part of royal family and was a Hindu prince
Gave up all things from past in search for enlightment or "Nirvana"
People follow his teachings to reach this same enlightment, escape cycle of life
How It Is Practiced
Place of worship is at stupas/pagodas
Buddhists also worship Boddhisattvas who have also reached enlightment but have not reached Nirvana
Monks and nuns who live in communities at monasteries carry on teachings
Buddhists meditate to cancel out desires that will lead them astray from suffering
Neo-Confucianism rejected the s superstitious views of any other Chinese religion
It was used by the Tang Dynasty
It took many things from other religions (from Buddhism it takes the practices and from Taoism it takes the outlook that life isn't all bad)
Optimistic view of life
Major goal: find balance
Yin and Yang
Believe in reincarnation
Worshipped in homes, temples
Light incense as method of communication
Pray, meditate, offer small items
Shrines dedicated to ancestors in homes
Tablet with ancestor's name
When someone dies:
No one can touch the body for three days
Relatives make offerings
Relatives burn the favorite possessions of the deceased after funeral
Relatives keep the ashes in an urn
New objects placed over the year
Glasses/tea cups, fresh flowers
Began 6th century BCE
Fortified as religion in 4th century CE
No gods or goddesses
Lao Tzu (Laozi)
Forces of nature
Developed during the period of warring states
Not very common practice
Family = living + dead
Greatest honor was being remembered after death
Giver and receiver get good energy
Guarantees giver a good afterlife
Loyalty to family
Importance of Ancestors
The Tao (Dao)
"Tao" means way
Way of nature, the universe
Intangible force, connection
"Exceeds capacity of human senses"
Value being one with nature
Chinese New Year
Tomb Sweeping Day
Tidy up graves
Offer food, tea, wine
Series of eight stages leading to desire
Hungry Ghost Festival
Ghosts visit living people
Lots of food offerings
Burn incense, papier-mâché objects