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Religion for Dummies

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FC: Asian Religions for Dummies | By Tyler, Monique, and Mike

1: The three main religions in Asian and Indian culture are Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism. The oldest being Hinduism which differs from other monotheistic religions because it doesn't have a single founder, a single holy text, or a single system of beliefs. The next major religion is Buddhism which is actually considered more of a way of life than a religion because they don't worship a god or deity. The last major religion in Asian and Indian culture is Confucianism which like Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion because it's not spiritual but is more of a set of guidelines on how to live your life. | Overview

3: Hinduism was originally formed in India around 1500bce. There are four Vedas, the rig Veda,sama Veda, yajur Veda and the atharva Veda. They are the main text in Hinduism kind of like sacred text. the Upanishads abound the spiritual knowlage, they are the last part of the Vedas.They are texts like the Sanskrit and the Ramayana. Brahma known as the original creator, known as the god with 2 faces.The main gods in Hinduism are Brahma, Avishnu and shakti. Reincarnation the Hindus believe that after the human passes away the soul leaves the body, the soul is reborn into a different form. Dharma its a goal that Hindus believe in just like karma. Dharma means virtue and karma means pleasure.Meditation and yoga is a method trained to lead a union be a good leader and meditation is a way a famil trains there mind. Hinduism has become the third largest religion in the world its practice everywhere but mainly in northern India. Hinduism has over 950,000 million followers. | Hinduism

5: Confucianism | Born in 551 BC, Confucius, a young scholar named k'ung-tze, was known as the Chinese's first teacher. He had originally hoped to get a job as a political adviser, but was more upset with the violence and moral decay of his era. He had some ideas and new views on the world, and traveled around china to persuade the political leaders of them. Very few listened, but a faithful band of followers revered him as a great teacher, and they recorded his sayings as Analects, and spread his message. Almost every Chinese pupil studied his sayings creating Confucianism, or the system of Confucian ideas, an important part of Chinese culture. It is an Eastern religion/philosophy. Originated in China and spread to Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam. Confucius provided a set of ideas that eventually became widely accepted. His interests in philosophy was political and ethical not spiritual. He believed he was useless to speculate on spiritual questions, he thought it was better to assume that there is an order in the universe. If humans would act in harmony with the universe, then their own affairs will prosper. Main ideas of Confusianism was the civilization of virtue and the development of moral perfection, which he sought to install in others. Confusius taught that immorality resulted from ignorance and that knowledge is what leads to virtuous lifestyle.

6: Some elements that stand out is duty and humanity, the concept of duty meant that people had to subordinate their own interests to the community. The five constant relationships are parent and child, husband and wife, older sibling and younger sibling, older friend and younger friend, ruler and subject. The parents should be loving, and the child should revere their parents. Husbands should fulfill their duties, and wives should be obedient. The elder sibling should be kind and the younger sibling should be respectful. The older friend should be considerate and the younger friend should be deferential. Rulers should be benevolent and subjects should be loyal. Family is a big part in Confucianism, Confucius said "The duty of children to their parents is the foundation from which all virtues spring." the Confucian concept of duty is expressed in the form of a "worth ethic".

7: Confucianism is a complex system of morals and ethics but it is considered a religion because of the impact it has on the way people live their lives. Ethical teachings of Confucianism include Li: includes rituals, property, etiquette, etc. Hsiao: love within the family: love of parents for their children and of children for parents. Yi: righteousness. Xin: honesty and trustworthiness. Jen: benevolence, humanness towards others; the highest Confucian virtue. Chung: loyalty to the state,etc. When societies operate under laws, people are punished by authorities after having committed illegal activities. Today Confucianism is often found intermingled with Taoism. It is difficult to distinguish between what is Taoist and what is Confucian because they both have the same ideas about man, society, rulers, heaven, and the universe, Confucianism deals with practical and earthly while taoism deals with esoteric and the heavenly. Primary followers of Confucianism are found in mainland China and Taiwan. Confucianism practiced here is usually a combination with Buddhism and Taoism and often in conjunction with ancestor worship. The largest population of non- Chinese followers is found in Korea.

9: Buddhism | Buddhism originated when Siddhartha Guatama gave up his comfortable life of luxury to find the true meaning of life and through his enlightenment he began his teaching which became the basis for Buddhism. Siddhartha Guatama or Buddha had been the prince and future King of a small kingdom in the Himalayas . He was raised in luxury and married at the age of 16 to the neighboring princess. However, as he grew up he became aware of the pains and sufferings of common people and abandoned his old life to find the true meaning of life. He began by following ascetics who practiced self-denial to understand ultimate reality. Through these practices he nearly died through the physical abuse to his own body. Because of this brush with death he quite following ascetics and instead turned to meditation. Through meditation he achieved enlightenment and spent the rest of his life teaching his discoveries. The difference between Buddhism and Hinduism is first Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion because Buddhists don’t worship a god but instead try to achieve enlightenment in the world through ending desire on selfish goals. Also, Hinduism is more complicated because of its multiple gods’. In addition Buddha rejected the caste system instead he said all humans could reach nirvana, the end of the self and the reunion with the Great World Soul. Buddha’s main teachings were first the Four Noble Truths which were; 1) Life is full of suffering, 2) This suffering is caused by our desire to satisfy ourselves, 3) The way to end suffering is to end the desire to satisfy ourselves, 4) The way to end desire is to follow the Middle Path. The first noble truth means that yes there is happiness in the world but happiness never lasts forever, so in a sense life is just suffering. The second noble truth was said to be caused by humanities ignorance of karma and greediness for the wrong pleasures. Examples of this would be to rob someone so you could have money.

10: The third noble truth is achieved by changing ones views on what is important and instead reaching the state of Nirvana which is an end of suffering. The fourth noble truth is fairly straight forward; the way to end desire is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path or Middle Path. The middle Path is representative in the “Turning of the Dharma Wheel” which is a wheel with eight points which are the eight parts of the Eightfold Path and every part is needed for the wheel to keep turning. The eight parts are; 1) Right View, 2) Right Thought, 3) Right Speech, 4) Right action, 5) Right Livelihood, 6) Right Effort, 7) Right mindfulness, and 8) Right Concentration. The right view is to understand things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truths. The right thought means clear and kind thoughts build strong characters. The right speech is to speak kind and respect and trust everyone and be trusted by everyone. The right action means to not only respect your own body but that of others, so to abstain from harming, murdering, or stealing from one another. The right livelihood means that a person should make a living only in the things that don’t harm other beings such as drug and weapons trade. The right effort is seen as a prerequisite for the other principles, so if you do not have the right effort to achieve Nirvana then you will never be able to. The right mindfulness is the ability to see things as they are with bias thoughts. The right concentration is the development of mental force that occurs in natural consciousness, to develop the right concentration Buddhists meditate. The role and purpose of meditation in Buddhism is to develop mindfulness, concentration, supramundane powers, tranquility, and enlightenment. The main branches of Buddhism are Nikaya, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. Nikaya branch bases its teachings strictly on the Pali Canon. While the Mahayana branch bases its ideals on the bodhisattava and are concerned with the purpose of Buddhahood, which means they believe in rebirth. Last is the Vajrayana which shares the ideals of Mahayana but also practices spiritual techniques to enhance Buddhist practices. The worldwide impact of Buddhism is actually very little if any because Buddhists are very accepting of others beliefs, also because Buddhist don’t do missions or things like it, they speak of their beliefs to those who are curious. Today 376 million people practice Buddhism in multiple countries but the main countries are China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Also Buddhism is the 4th largest religion today.

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