9.2 Religions of Ancient India Origins of Hinduism
9.2 Religions of Ancient India Origins of Hinduism Hinduism is one of the worlds oldest religions and the third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism developed from the faith of the Aryans.
The sacred writings called Vedas, teach the key ideas of Aryan religion. Origins of Hinduism What is Hinduism? A core belief of Hinduism is that there is one universal spirit called Brahman. The Upanishads describe the search for Brahman, saying
that every living thing has a soul that is part of Brahman. Most ancient Indians could not understand the idea of Brahman. They believe in many different deities that were more like people. Over time, many Hindus came to think of all the deities as different parts of Brahman, the one universal spirit. Hindus also believe in reincarnation or the rebirth of the soul.
Origins of Hinduism Karma and Dharma According to karma, peoples status in life is not an accident. It is based on what they did in past lives. To earn a better existence in the next life, Hindus believe that they must follow dharma, or personal duty. Peoples duties
are different depending on their place in society. Origins of Hinduism Hindu Beliefs Indians accepted the Hindu idea that all life is sacred. Animals as well as people are treated with kindness and respect. The belief in reincarnation also made Indians more accepting of the varna
system. It was thought that if a person led a good life, they would be reborn into a higher jati (subcaste). Ganges River Indian Hindus believe that the Ganges River is sacred. They believe that the river is the physical form of a female deity, and they bathe in the river to
purify themselves. Rise of Buddhism During the 500s B.C., some Indians felt unhappy with the many ceremonies of the Hindu religion. They left their homes and looked for peace in the hills and forests. Many trained their minds to focus and think in positive ways this training was called meditation.
A teacher, Siddhartha Gautama became known as the Buddha. He founded a new religion called Buddhism. Rise of Buddhism The Buddha Today, Buddhism is a major world religion. Siddhartha grew up as a prince. Then one day he left his palace to explore the life of ordinary people in the kingdom.
For the first time, he understood that the world was filled with suffering. He game up everything and became a monk. His teaching became known as Buddhism. Rise of Buddhism What did the Buddha teach? The Buddha taught his followers the Four Noble Truths: Life is full of suffering. People suffer because they desire worldly things and want to satisfy themselves.
The way to end suffering is to stop desiring things. The only way to stop desiring things is to follow the Eightfold Path. When people were finally free from all earthly concerns, they would reach nirvana a feeling of perfect peace and happiness. Buddhism spread because it welcomed people from all walks of life. The Buddha placed little importance on the varna system and explained that the success of life depended on peoples behavior now. Buddha believed in reincarnation but in a different way. He taught that people could end the
cycle of rebirth by following the Eightfold Path rather than their dharma. Rise of Buddhism Theravada Buddhism Theravada means teaching of the elders. Followers view Buddha as a great teacher not a god. This is the major religion of the modern-day country of Sri Lanka.
Rise of Buddhism Mahayana Buddhism Teaches that Buddha is a god. They believe that the Eightfold Path is too difficult for most people. Mahayana Buddhism spread northward into China and from there to Korea and Japan. Buddhist leaders called lamas led
the government of Tibet. Buddhism Today Few Buddhists live in India, however it is widely practiced in Southeast Asia and East Asia. There are an estimated 376 million Buddhists in the world today.
Buddhism Today Jainism Today there are 6 million followers of Jainism most of them live in India. Who is Mahavira? The current form of Jainism was developed by a religious leader names Mahavira.
He came from a wealthy royal family in northern India. After his parents died, he gave up his wealth and property he owned nothing and begged for his food. Many of Mahaviras teachings were like those of the Buddha. The Jains practiced strict poverty. Jainism What is Ahimsa? Ahimsa means practicing nonviolence toward all living things. Believing that all
life is sacred, Mahaviras followers tried to avoid harming any living creature. This idea has long influenced Indias culture and politics. Mohandas Gandhi In the 1900s, the Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi wanted to free India from Great Britain. He led a nonviolent struggle against British
rule and eventually gained independence. Gandhis method of nonviolence resistance influenced many others, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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