Considered the world’s oldest religion
Practiced primarily in India, Bangladesh, Sri
Lanka, and Nepal
Hindu traditions date to beginnings of civilization
in Indus River Valley (the word hindu may come from
the Persian word for that river - sindhu)
With a billion followers, Hinduism is
the world’s third largest religion
Belief in Deity
Diverse beliefs. Many Hindus believe
in Brahman (God) as the impersonal
(remote, not a friend) ultimate
reality/world soul. Many believe God
is both impersonal force and personal
savior. There are many, or countless,
gods and goddesses that represent
various aspects (pieces, features) of
the One Supreme God.
Sanskrit – an
Sanskrit is also
used in Hindu
Hindus believe that
every living thing has a
soul, which comes
from the creator,
As a result, most
Hindus are vegetarian
-do not eat meat; some
are vegan – no animal
products at all,
including eggs and
live on after
death, and that
all living things
can be reborn.
This is called:
The Caste System
The way Hindu society is organized.
The Caste System was brought to
India by Aryan conquerors – powerful
nomadic warriors from Central Asia
(KUH SHAT REE YUH)
(Commoners, Peasants, Servants)
Outcast – Out of Caste, Untouchable
(street sweepers, latrine cleaners)
followed the rules of
their caste would be
reborn to a higher
form in the next life.
A Hindu who
duties would be
reborn in a lower
form, perhaps as an
animal or insect.
The goal of Hinduism is to escape
the cycle of rebirth by reaching
Nirvana. Nirvana is a Sanskrit
word that means ending. Hindus
and Buddhists believe Nirvana is a
state of happiness without change
Hinduism Vocabulary & Chief Gods
Dharma – The sacred duty of all Hindus
Karma – Ethical (right, fair) law of cause and effect
Brahma – Chief Hindu God – Creator of the Universe
Vishnu – Chief Hindu God – Preserver of the Universe
Siva – Chief Hindu God – Destroyer of the Universe
Devi – Mother Goddess
Ganesha – beloved elephant-faced god who clears away
B based on
the teachings of
known as the Buddha,
-or Enlightened One, born and raised Hindu
Buddha said: “I teach suffering and the way out of
Buddhism is a way of life – ritual, repeated
– raised a rich prince,
protected from all
At age 29, Siddhartha left the palace four times and saw: old
age, sickness, and grieving because of death. The fourth time
he saw a man who had chosen to give up living in society for
religious (a Hindu) reasons, and who was content and at
peace despite having no possessions.
Siddhartha decided to leave his home to seek the
solution to these problems. First he tried
meditation, but this only offered temporary
escape. Then he tried fasting and came close to
death since he was, toward the end of this
period, only eating a single grain of rice each day.
Finally, he gave this up, as well. He decided that
neither extreme – luxury and plenty, such as he
had in the palace, or doing entirely without
possessions and pleasures, would lead to
enlightenment. He decided to pursue a “middle
way” of moderation and meditation.
Then one night, under the Bodhi
Siddhartha began to
have a breakthrough.
He found he could
remember his past
lives in detail
He saw how good
deeds and bad deeds
He learned that he had grown so far, spiritually, that he
would not reincarnate again. He had attained enlightenment!
The Four Noble Truths
Life is Suffering
Suffering is due to
Attachment can be
There is a path for
There are lots of Buddhist
Textstexts. Some, called
Satras are considered to be the
actual words of the Buddha. Some
Buddhists, however (Zen
Buddhists), reject scriptures as a
tool to help followers reach
If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.
Laughter is the language of the Gods.
When the student is ready, the master appears.
The Laughing Buddha: The
laughing Buddha reminds us that
to be happy we need to have a
loving heart. A big heart gives you
tolerance. It helps you to greet
each day with joy and all people
with gladness. It helps you to
tolerate a great many things with
a big happy smile that reaches
your eyes and your heart.
Buddha says that the best way to
solve a problem we might have
with someone else is to have a
warm and loving heart. By not
being resentful, by not bearing
grudges, only then are we able to
smile like the Buddha - only then
can we be truly happy.
The Goal - To Become The Greatest
Person in the World: Buddhism
teaches that a person is successful not
because he or she is better than
someone else, and not because they
received a higher grade on a test or
won a Gold Medal at the Olympics, or
beat out other ants to see who could
carry the biggest and heaviest grain of
rice. True achievement does not come
from competition or comparison. A
person (or an ant) is successful
because he or she has given their best
within their means. For this reason,
every single person can become the
greatest person in the world, all at the
Shinto (The Way
of the Gods)
Shinto has no moral code
Shinto is focused on the Kami or sense
(feeling) of the sacred.
Provides a creation myth, but no afterlife
– death is the end
Shinto worship and practice takes place in
shrines. The shrines are territories (of certain
Kami) marked by the presence of gates.
The gates are of
various sizes and
are usually painted
red or natural
Shrines have a
features a peaked
When one enters a
usually a water
is performed by
scooping up water
at a basin provided
and cleaning ones
hands and mouth.
Then you proceed to walk around the compound
where you will find various shrine buildings and
occasionally trees, rocks or other items deemed to
have some sense of kami or spiritual power.
Sometimes there will be
a fire burning and
people will waft the
smoke over their heads.
The most important
value in Shinto is
cleanliness both physical
and spiritual. Pollution,
which is mainly
identified with blood
and death, must be
avoided as much as
possible but can be
erased through elaborate
There are various kinds of Kami
(thousands, actually) – the main ones are:
Ujigami – village or clan gods
Kami – spirits which may be found in
water, rocks, trees, etc.
Earth elements – sun,
wind, rivers = Ameratsu
Omikami is the Sun
Goddess and the most
various animals, human
They’re called "KAN-NUSHI".
They wear blue or purple ceremonial skirt.
of Shinto priest.
rank higher wear
It can be either a
man or a woman.
There is no core sacred text in
Shinto, such as the Bible in
Instead, there are books of
mythology and history:
Kojiki – Record of Ancient
Nihon Shoki (Continuing
chronicles of Japan
And several others
Shinto and Buddhism
Until Buddhism was introduced in Japan, via
Korea, Shinto did not have a name – it became
necessary to distinguish it from the new religion,
so it was given its name.
The Kojiki and Nihon Suki were written to help
explain the differences between Shinto and
Buddhism and Confucianism.
These religions coexist easily in Japan.
K'ung Fu Tzu
born in 551 BCE
in the state of
Lu in China. He
advice to its
Confucius’ Effect on Chinese
Culture taught that it is better
to lead people with well-ordered
procedures than by rules and
punishment. He taught that this
would lead to people choosing to
do the right thing rather than
“lose face” – that a sense of shame
would motivate right behavior far
better than punishment. The
desire to “save face” is still
perhaps the most prominent
feature of Chinese culture.
Confucianism does not contain
all of the elements of some
other religions, like Christianity
and Islam. It is primarily an
ethical system to which rituals
at important times during one's
lifetime have been added.
• Confucianism is a "code of conduct" to
live this life, and it has had a tremendous
impact on how the Chinese live their
lives... with a great influence in Chinese
government, education, and attitudes
toward correct personal behavior and the
individual duties to society.
• There is no church nor clergy; no teaching
on the worship of God or gods, or life after
• Confucianism does not mention God.
• "Golden Rule" is: "What you do not
want done to yourself, do not do unto
others". "The injuries done to you by
an enemy should be returned with a
combination of love and justice".
• The Symbol means total harmony,
righteousness, in your own life and in
your relations with your neighbor.
The "universal virtues" are:
Wisdom, Benevolence, and Fortitude..
Knowledge "It is to know all men
Benevolence "It is to love all men”
Fortitude “To do what is right, in
Confucian ethical teachings
include the following six values:
• Li: includes ritual, propriety, etiquette, etc.
• Hsiao: love within the family: love of
parents for their children and of children
for their parents
• Yi: righteousness
• Xin: honesty and trustworthiness
• Jen: benevolence, humaneness towards
others; the highest Confucian virtue
• Chung: loyalty to the state, etc.
Four life passages have been
recognized and regulated by
Confucian tradition :
1. birth: The T'ai-shen (spirit of the fetus)
protects the expectant woman and deals
harshly with anyone who harasses the
mother to be.
2. reaching maturity: This life passage is
no longer being celebrated, except in
traditional families. It takes the form of a
group meal in which the young adult is
3. marriage: This is performed in six stages:
• 1)Proposal: the couple exchange the eight characters:
the year, month, day and hour of each of their births.
• 2) Engagement: after the wedding day is chosen, the
bride announces the wedding with invitations and a gift
of cookies made in the shape of the moon.
• 3) Dowry: This is carried to the groom's home in a
solemn procession. The bride-price is then sent to the
bride by the groom's parents. Gifts by the groom to the
bride, equal in value to the dowry, are sent to her.
• 4) Procession: The groom visits the bride's home and
brings her back to his place, with much fanfare.
• 5) Marriage and Reception: The couple recite their
vows, toast each other with wine, and then take center
stage at a banquet.
• 6) Morning after: The bride serves breakfast to the
groom's parents, who then reciprocate.
• death: At death, the relatives cry out aloud to
inform the neighbors. The family starts mourning
and puts on clothes made of a coarse material.
The corpse is washed and placed in a coffin.
Mourners bring incense and money to offset the
cost of the funeral. Food and significant objects of
the deceased are placed into the coffin. A
Buddhist or Taoist priest (or even a Christian
minister) performs the burial ritual. Friends and
family follow the coffin to the cemetery, along
with a willow branch which symbolizes the soul of
the person who has died. The willow branch is
carried back to the family altar where it is used to
"install" the spirit of the deceased. Liturgies are
performed on the 7th, 9th, 49th day after the
burial and on the first and third anniversaries of
Although three of these books are traditionally attributed to
Confucius (K'ung-tzu, 551-479 B.C.E.) it has been established
that he did not write a single word of them; they were
written down by his students after his death. The Analects
come closest to an actual description of his philosophy.
Daxue The Great Learning
Zhongyong The Doctrine of Mean
Lanyu, Analects of Confucius
Shiling Book of Odes
Xiayong, Book of Filial Piety
Confucianism is lived in syncretism
(union) with any other religion in
China... any Confucianist would be
very happy to become a Christian!.
The Gen and the sayings of Confucius
are very much parallel to the virtues
and commandments of the Bible.
Confucius said: "A virtuous man has three
awes:—(l) Awe for Heaven’s decree, (2)
Awe for great men and (3) Awe for saints’
words. When worshipping God, one must
feel as if He were visibly present."