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Indian Religions
Hinduism & Buddhism
• 3rd largest religion in world today
• 3500 years old (introduced by Aryans)
•War =Desire for Cattle
•Men and women were equal
•no single founder; no single,
sacred text (open-ended)
•Vedas (written by both men
and women)
•Aryans invade and conquer
•Native population similar to
•Have an advanced culture
•Weights and measures
•Septic system, etc
•Ravaged by natural
•Aryans “enslave” natives
•Native population, Dravidians,
become Dasas, or Untouchables
As Aryans settle in northern
India, women lose status.
• polytheistic or monotheistic??? (explain)
• all-powerful spiritual force/creator: “Brahman”
“God is one, but wise people know it by many names.”
•ultimate goal is “moksha” (union with Brahman)
- only achieved by Brahmins (very rare)
- ends the cycle of reincarnation
Hindu Beliefs
• karma: a person’s actions that affect
fate in next life (good or bad)
• dharma: religious and moral duties
of an individual (tied to caste system)
• ahisma: non-violence (Gandhi)
- sect of Jainism ( brooms story)
* meditation and yoga very common
Do good deeds, according to your
DHARMA, then you advance with
good KARMA through reincarnation.
1000’s of positive reincarnations =
MOKSHA= free of the reincarnation
•Founder was Siddhartha Gautama (“Buddha”)
- 566-483 B.C.
- Member of Kshatriya caste (prince)
- Sick person, old person, dead body
- Left family to find “answers” (story)
“4 Noble Truths”
1. All life is full of suffering.
2. The cause of suffering is our desire
for illusions (selfishness).
3. To overcome suffering, one must
overcome desire.
4. Follow the Eightfold Path to achieve
enlightenment (“right …”)
• Final goal is “Nirvana”: union with
the universe
• Meditation to achieve enlightenment
• Eventually spread to other areas of
Asia (absorbed by Hinduism in India)