Complete Religion Notes (All lectures inclusive)

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10 Dec 2010
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January 10, 2008: Lecture 1 Introduction
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: 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
Indian Religions:
Hinduism laid down basis for most religions
Jainism
Sikhism
Buddhism
In China:
Confucianism
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 past
- Persian origin from around 12th 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
- Duty/service one owes to community/world
- To practice Hinduism means to practice duty
- Most Hindus consider themselves as devotees or certain Gods like Siva or Visnu
- Devotee of a God/Goddess 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 17th century a stable meaning was determined
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- 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 temples/churches/etc.
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 Islam/Hinduism
o Sought to reduce friction between Islam/Hindu
- 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
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: 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
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- 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 km2
- 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 clean/dirty
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 taps/baths 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 (wanderer/travellers) 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 English/European 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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