Asian Religions


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Presentation created for the Regional Studies course, 2009.

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  • Source:Toropov, Brandon and FatherLukeBuckles. The Complete Idiot’s Guide toWorldReligions. ThirdEdition. Alpha: UnitedStates, 2004.
  • Source:“Map of worldreligions.” 21 october 2009 <>.
  • Asian Religions

    1. 1. Major Asian ReligionsMajor Asian Religions
    2. 2. Religions in the World
    3. 3. Religions in Asia
    4. 4. Islam
    5. 5. Origins Islam originated in the Middle East. It builds up on Jewish and Christian traditions. The word Islam means both ―peace‖ and ―submission‖. Its followers are called Muslims, or ―one who submits to the will of God‖. Mohammed received the revelation throughout 23 years, dictated by the archangel Gabriel. He started preaching and Islam became a political as well as religious movement.
    6. 6. God Islam believes in one god: Allah.  It is the same god of Jews and Christians. Muhammed believed he was restoring the faith of Abraham, which Jews and Christians had strayed from.
    7. 7. After Muhammed The men who followed after Muhammed and saw the expansion of his empire were called Caliphs. Several dinasties then ruled the Islamic Empire. The Muslim faith was divided into several sects:  Sunni – orthodox theology; dominant force within Islam.  Shi’a – heavy emphasis on the individual role of clerics; the supreme leader is called Imam.  Sufi – the mystics of Islam; seek union with God through contemplation.
    8. 8. Basic Beliefs All events in life (both good and bad) are seen as a trial from Allah for the life to come. They believe in a reckoning with Allah, for the choices and actions undertaken in a single human life. On the Day of Judgment, Allah will decide whether individuals will go to Paraside or Hell.  Devout Christians and Jews can attain paradise as well. Death is not because of our sins (original sin), but simply a reality that brings us back to our Creator. Muslims must follow the example of the Prophet.
    9. 9. The Five Pillars Shahadah  ―There is no God but God and Muhammed is His prophet‖  La ilaha ila Alah, Mohammed rasul Alah Salat  Five daily prayers facing the Mecca Zakat  Charity towards those in need Ramadan  Fasting on the ninth month of the Muslim calendar Hajj  Pilgrimage to the Mecca
    10. 10. Sacred Texts Islam teaches social and personal codes or conduct through:  Qur’an: the holy book  Sharia’ah: the Law  Sunnah: the prophet’s sayings
    11. 11. The Qur’an Dictated to Muhammed by the archangel Gabriel:  Originally it was a verbal message, memorized and recited by the prophet and his followers.  Today, it is written in Arabic.  This means all Muslims must learn Arabic in order to read the Qur’an. It consists of 114 chapters, each divided into surahs.  Doctrinal messages  Historical accounts  ―Mystical expressions of sublime beauty‖
    12. 12. Misconceptions aboutIslam Muslim [does not] equal Arab. ―Sword of Islam‖ forcibly [did not] impose Islam on cultures conquered by the Muslim Empire. Jihad, [not] meaning all Muslims must engage in a holy war against those who do not accept Islam.  Jiahd means ―struggle‖ against the self first and foremost. Islam [does not] degrade and oppress women. The Qur’an [does not] advocate the slaughter of unbelievers or suicide attackers fighting for Islam.
    13. 13. Hinduis
    14. 14. Origins Hinduism is the name given to a family of religions and cultures that began and still flourish in India. The word "Hindu" comes from the name of the river Indus, which flows 1800 miles from Tibet through Kashmir and Pakistan to the sea. Hinduism has no founder, no creed, and no single source of authority.
    15. 15. God Belief in a single Divinity or supreme God that is present in everything. Each soul is individual and also part of that Divinity. Belief in other gods who are aspects of that supreme Divinity. Major Gods: • Brama the creator • Vishnu the preserver • Shiva the detroyer
    16. 16. Basic Beliefs For many Hindus, religion is a matter of practice rather than of beliefs. Its more what you do than what you believe. Belief that every soul is trapped in a cycle of birth and then death and then rebirth. Their ultimate aim is escape from the cycle altogether. This life, and this world, are only part of a training process. Hindus believe the universe doesnt have a beginning and an end. Its a cyclical pattern, so once it ends, it begins again.
    17. 17. Basic Beliefs There are 4 legitimate goals in life (purusharthas): • dharma (appropriate living), • artha (the pursuit of material gain by lawful means), • kama (delight of the senses), • moksha (release from rebirth). Each Hindu has 4 daily duties: • Revere the deities • Respect ancestors • Respect all beings • Honour all humankind
    18. 18. Samsara The quality of the next life depends on the souls Karma-the goodness or badness of their deeds in this life. The eternal cycle of birth and rebirth is called Samsara. The process of the soul being reborn into a new body is called Reincarnation. Whether one is reborn into a better life, a worse life, or even to live as an animal, depends on Karma, which is the value of a souls good and bad deeds. The ultimate aim of Hindus is liberation.
    19. 19. Sacred Texts Hinduism doesnt have a single scripture that is regarded as uniquely authoritative. Vedas – sacred hymns said to have existed forever. Upanishads – mystical words Brahmans – ritual instructions Baghavad-Gita – sets out in story form the proper way to behave and think. Four paths to liberation: • Throuh knowledge • Through love • Through work • Through experimentation
    20. 20. Rituals Most Hindus worship at home and have a shrine there. Hindu temples are the focus of religious life, but there is not a strong tradition of corporate congregational worship.
    21. 21. Buddhism
    22. 22. Origins Buddhism has its origins in India. The founder of Buddhism was Siddharta Gautama, who lived in India from approximately 563 to 483 BC. As a young man, Siddharta achieved an understanding of the cause of suffering. From then on, he was known as the Buddha, meaning ―the enlightened one‖ or ―the one who is awake‖.
    23. 23. God Buddhism has no omnipotent, creator God who exists apart from this or any other universe. Belief in a God of that kind is not part of Buddhism.
    24. 24. Basic Beliefs In his sermons, Siddharta taught the four main ideas that he had understood in his enlightenment. He calles those ideas the four noble truths. • First – Everything in life is suffering and sorrow. • Second – The cause of all suffering is people’s selfish desire for the temporary pleasures of this world. • Third – The way to end all suffering is to end all desires. • Fourth – The way to overcome such desires and attain enlightenment is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path, which is called the Middle Way between desires and self-denial. Following this path could lead to nirvana, release from selfishness and pain.
    25. 25. Dukkha All existence is dukkha; without permanence and therefore filled with suffering. This comes from a search to find something permanent in a world where nothing permanently exists. Life is a continuing process of birth and death, but the soul remains. The form in which one is reborn, animal or human, in heaven or in hell, depends on karma- impersonal ethical law. One can escape from this process by attaining nirvana or enlightenment. Enlightenment can be reached by following the Eightfold Path.
    26. 26. The Eightfold Path The Noble Eightfold Path is made up of the following: • Right views • Right aspirations • Right speech • Right conduct • Right livelihood • Right endeavor • Right mindfulness • Right meditation
    27. 27. Sacred Texts  There are many collections of Buddhist teachings, usually specific to geographical regions, that are regarded as important.  In addition to the Pali canon, sutras, containing the Buddhas advanced teaching, are treasured by Mahayana Buddhists.  There is no text directly written by Buddha.
    28. 28. Worship Statues of the Buddha appear in many forms and sizes throughout Asia. Because of the idea that anyone can reincarnate in any form (even animals or insects) buddhists are encouraged to respect all forms of life.
    29. 29. Confucianism
    30. 30. Origins Originated in China, with the teachings of Confucius. He lived in a time of great turmoil in China and tried to find a way for people to achieve a better life. It is debatable whether confucianism can be called a religion. There is no worship of God. Confucianism can actually coexist with many religions.
    31. 31. Basic Beliefs Cultivation of virtue is a central tenet of Confucianism.  Lǐ — ritual. This originally meant "to sacrifice." This refers to proper behavior and following rituals.  Xiào — filial piety, This was considered among the greatest of virtues, and had to be shown towards both the living and the dead.  Zhōng — loyalty. Refering to the relationship between ruler and minister.  Rén — humaneness. the Confucian version of the Golden Rule, which is phrased in the negative: "Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you."  Jūnzǐ — the perfect gentleman. Those who cultivate themselves morally and follow all proscriptions.
    32. 32. Social Order Society could have social order, harmony and good government if it was organized around five basic relationships:  Ruler and Subject  Father and Son  Husband and Wife  Older brother and Younger brother  Friend and Friend A code of proper conduct regulates each of these relationships.
    33. 33. Sacred Texts The teachings of Confucius are contained in the Analects, a collection of his sayings as remembered and recorded by his students. As this book is a compilation of pieces of conversations, questions and answers, or slices of Confucius life, there is no account of a coherent system of thought. The I Ching is a manual of divination for those seeking guidance.
    34. 34. Taoism
    35. 35. Origins Also known as ―daoism‖. Based on the teaching of Lao-Tzu. Tao literally means ―path‖ or ―the way‖. It has a rich history that criss-crosses that of Confucianism. There is no god; Confucianism is more like a philosophy of life.
    36. 36. Basic Beliefs The individual should seek the truth by means of a patient, accepting focus on natural patterns.  Practices like feng shui are designed to work with those natural patterns. Rejects Confucian emphasis on social hierarchy. Emphasizes spontaneity and self-reliance. Rejects calculated, goal-oriented efforts. Refrains from trying to influence political or social institutions.
    37. 37. Sacred Texts Derives from the Tao Te Ching. One of the most moving and sublime achievements of Chinese culture.
    38. 38. Shinto
    39. 39. Origins Indigenous, nature focused religion of Japan that incorporates ancient mythological rites. The Emperor of Japan is regarded as a direct descendant of Amaterasu (God). Shinto is completely assimilated into Japanese day-to-day tradition and customs. It has no founder. Nature worhips; with reverence of nature spirits.  Kami – something possesing a power that an individual believer does not have.
    40. 40. Basic Beliefs Emphasized harmony of natural beauty and a poetic appreciation of reality. Natural events are considered to be manifestations of heavenly energy within Shinto. Core beliefs:  Affirmation of family and tradition.  Affirmation of reverence toward nature.  Affirmation of physical cleanliness.  Affirmation of matsuri, or festivals held in honor of one or more kami.
    41. 41. Sacred Texts  The mythological history known as kojiki, or ―documents of ancient matters‖.  Deal with the ancient age of spirits as well as court proceedings, but they are not considered inspired writings of faith.