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Complete Religion Notes (All lectures inclusive)

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Henry Shiu

HHUMB04: Religious Traditions of the East Lecture Notes January 10, 2008: Lecture 1 Introduction KEY TERMS: Hinduism, Hindu, Religion, Dharma, Sanatana Dharma, Tilaks, Visnu, Siva, mleccha, Hindutva, Bharata Religion: general definition a ritualistic practice, where practicers are aiming for higher truth Hinduism laid down basis for most religions Jainism Indian Religions: Sikhism Buddhism Confucianism In China: Daoism Shintoism have certain belief of God Gods are not creators; more like spirits that guard the sun, tree, etc. not creator of these however Hinduism is the dominant religion of India - 85% of the one billion people living in India are known as Hindus - A problematic statement - The terms (Hinduism, Religion, India) are not terms that originate from indigenous words of India; each suggests uniformity and consistency that does not actually exist When studying Religious Traditions of the East, we must accustom ourselves to: Diversity Discontinuity Difference Hindu, Hinduism - not called by its name in the thst - Persian origin from around 12 century CE - Persians used the term Hindu to refer to Indians, not the religion - scholars argue that there is no such thing as Hinduism - a Western term given to the religion Sanatana Dharma - eternal religion or eternal truth - Dutyservice one owes to communityworld - To practice Hinduism means to practice duty - Most Hindus consider themselves as devotees or certain Gods like Siva or Visnu - Devotee of a GodGoddess wear Tilaks (=forehead markings that shows devotion to a God) o Horizontal Tilak Siva Devotee o Veritcal Tilak Visnu Devotee Mleecha = non Hindus (foreigners) Hindutva - Hindu-ness - Increase in word use last several decades Religion - derives from Latin, Religio - meaning has changed - in 17thcentury a stable meaning was determined - scholars agreed that there is no universal definition - one definition: Belief in God; contradictory since some religions dont believe in God; not wholesome - another definition: Ceremonies and sacred rituals - Westerners believe it is related to templeschurchesetc. Hindu practice is the foundation of all things in a Hindus life Outsider vs. Insider - insider = those that practice the religion being talked about - outsider = those that dont practice the religion being talked about - either will never know what the other knows - outsiders can see pattern of insiders India - about 95% of Hindus live here - named by outsiders because to refer to the land surrounding the Indus River - Bharata = indigenous term for India - A place of deep spiritualities - Attracted Hippies from the West, seeking mystical experience and enrichment from the Indian sages in the 1960s; seeking meaning of life - The idea of India is problematic because it may suggest greater cohesiveness and unity than it actually exists - Muslims o 10% (100 million) of Indian population o Live in northern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh - Sikhs o 2% (20 million) of Indian population o North-western India o Brings together IslamHinduism o Sought to reduce friction between IslamHindu - Christians o 2% (20 million) of Indian population o Brought by Thomas to India; another belief suggests that Jesus himself went to study in India in his missing years; another belief suggests that Jesus went to India with his mother Mary when he was dieing - Buddhist o 3-4 million of Indian population o Originally founded in India o Presently not popular in India o Many pray to Hindu Gods and some Hindus pray to Buddha overlapping - Jains o 2 million of Indian population o Practice of absolute non-violence o Tremendous effect on Gandhis philosophy - Zorostrainism o A few hundred thousands January 17, 2008: Lecture 2 Hinduism I KEY TERMS: Indus Valley Civilization, Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Harappa Culture, Ritual Purity, Procreation and Purity, Female Powers of Reproduction, Aryans, Sanskrit, Rishis, Vaidik dharma, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas, Bhagavad-Gita, Veda, Samhitas, Rig-Veda, Yajur- Veda, Sama-Veda, Atharva-Veda, Samhitas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Ritual Sacrifices, Prana, Atman, Triloka, Rita, Purusha, Hymn of Creation, That One, Indra, Brahma Hinduism - a lot of diversity - pluralistic religion - worlds oldest religion - prehistoric existence; oldest living religion; unknown founder - we know several cultures that contributes to the development of the religion o (1) Indus Valley Civilization o (2) The Aryans - Difficult to see what all Hindus have in common (1) Indus Valley Civilization - culture flourished between 3000 to 15 000 BCE according to archaeologists findings - 1850s, workers discover a lost civilization that has been the greatest culture known - Hindus dont consider it as a part of Hinduism - Dead culture - Language cryptic; dont know too much about it; dont know what they called themselves; the name Indus Valley given by discoverers - May have spanned over 1 million km 2 - Most important of the excavating sites are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa - Relatively peaceful civilization since not much weapons were found - A very orderly civilization plumbing was done; public bathing place found - Shows civilization was not only concerned with not only hygiene but ritual purity for religious reasons - Purity and pollution o Cultures have different beliefs of cleandirty o Both are determined due to its context, not the item itself (i.e. salad dressing in salad (good) salad dressing on shirt (bad-dirty); washroom tap water to drink (bad), to bateh (good) same water in kitchen) - Hindu temples nowadays are equipped with tapsbaths in order to follow this ritual - During the Indus Valley Civilization times, womens reproductive ability was celebrated; women seen as sacred - Practicers of meditation picture found shows man in cross-legged position - Summary of Indus Valley Civilization o Concerned with procreation (womens reproductive ability) and purity (baths) o Worship male animals as a way of incorporating their sexual abilities o Womens reproduction powers were also regarded as sacred o Female principle may have been revered as a goddess o Purification practices, meditation, and well-organized cities suggests the important of order and restraint (~self-control) 1500 BCE Indus Valley Civilization comes to an end when the Aryans (lighter skin) came in (2) The Aryans - werent highly organized - were nomads (wanderertravellers) rather than settled agriculturalists - brought in Gods, traditions, languages, rituals - Aryan language evolved into Sanskrit - Sanskrit o Official language of the Hindu Religion o Embodied perfect linguistic o Through syntax, one can get into nature o Some believe it is the origin of languages o EnglishEuropean language closely related to Sanskrit (the source) o God = deva; akin to English words divine, deity - Everything known about them comes from a collection of writings known as the Veda Veda (background) - Authoritative; sacred - Veda = wisdom; vid Sanskrit rootto see; video = to see in English - not a story; a literary manual; book of prayers; consisted of hymns, myths, spells, philosophical things
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