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Chapter

Lecture and textbook notes on Hinduism

10 Pages
163 Views
Fall 2011

Department
Religion
Course Code
RLGA01H3
Professor
Henry Shiu

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RLGA01H 2010-09-14 to 2010-10-05
HINDUISM – WEEK 1
HINDUISM and the termRELIGION
Hinduism is the dominant religion of India.
85% of the one billion people in India are known to the world as Hindus
Problematic terms in the statement:
Hinduism
Religion
India
These are not terms that originate from the indigenous words in Indiathere is no equivalent word for
religion”, they do not call their natural habitat India, and they did not name themselves Hindus
Each one of these terms suggest uniformity and consistency that does not actually exist
In the East, actual practices of the religion may differ, as well as the belief in different deities—Eastern
religions are not as institutionalized
When we study the religious tradition of the East, we must accustom ourselves to:
Diversity; Discontinuity; Difference
We must keep in mind that one label does not indicate that the practices and beliefs of these religions is
also uniform and static
The Hindu” and hence Hinduism are of Persian origin from around the 12th century CE
The term Hindu was originally only used to refer to people living in India; not the religion they
practiced—as such, not all Hindus practice and believe in the same things
As a result of this, the words Hindu” and Hinduism have become synonymous with the religion
In Hinduism, the phrase sanatana dharma means “eternal lawthe closest term to religion
Based on a principle of eternality that Hindus believe in
Most Hindus see themselves as devotees as a particular god or goddess, such as Siva or Visnu
People usually have tilaks or forehead markings to indicate which deity they are following
In Eastern cultures, you typically did not find terms to mean religion”—after many centuries these
words were developed—and did not find the concept of it either
Religion” is a Western concept that has much to do with a Creator God
The word religion” derives from the Latin religio
Application of the term religion” requires care as to what we mean by the word
People have many different understandings and definitions of what constitutes a religious practice
OUTSIDER vs. INSIDER
If you are inside as a practitioner of a religion, you tend to understand the claims of your traditions better
than an outside
As an outsider, we can try to critically analyze the historical developments of a single traditions
Such a historical analysis often leads us to draw conclusions that are in conflict with the insiders who
actually practice the religions
The insiders know things that the outsiders will never know, the outsiders know things that the insiders
cannot know
1
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RLGA01H 2010-09-14 to 2010-10-05
People outside of Sikhism feel that the religion is a result of Hinduism and Islam melding – this insults
the Sikhs who feel that their religion is a result of their prophet receiving divine vision, not as a result of
a historical melding of two ancient religions
Insiders often do not receive much trust from people outside of their religion
Be objective in the understanding by using many tools to aid in understanding
It is helpful for insiders to also consider outsiders view of their religion
Most Indians practice Hinduism
WEEK 1 REVIEW
On one hand, we expect that, in the practice of a religion, we expect to look for a universal truth; we have high
respect for those who founded the religion and we feel there are sacred teachingsit is very sacred
On the other hand, there is a substantial amount of human involvement in the development of religion—it is very
secular
As society changes, spiritual needs also change accordingly
The Ten Ways of Religion indicate an approx. idea of how religions develop they develop according to the
needs of the people at different times and in different locations
HINDUISM – WEEK 2
A result of a combination of the remainders of the Indus Valley civilization and the influences of the Aryans
two distinct cultures that came about at different times via different people
The name India was named by outsiders according to the Indis River
Insiders named their land Bharata: the indigenous term for India
In the 1960s, India attracted hippies from the West who were seeking mystical experience & enrichment from the
Indian sages
The term India suggests greater cohesiveness and unity that actually exists
There are easily hundreds of different dialects and languages
There are many different religions being practiced
Many people take a different view of perception of the same religions
Spiritual practices differ from person to person and family to family
Indus Valley Culture
Indus Valley culture flourished between 3000BCE to 1500BCE and may have spanned over one million sq. Km
Most important of the excavating sites are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa
The cultural and historical information on this is not plentiful and not detailed, however:
They seem concerned with procreation (female reproductive system) and purity
Appeared to have already developed their own writing system
2
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RLGA01H 2010-09-14 to 2010-10-05
Great baths (similar to those in the Roman Empire) were found and believed to serve more than just
hygienic purposes—something to do with spiritual purity
The will to restore order is also believed to be a strong influence
Worship male animals as a way of incorporating their sexual powers
Female reproduction powers were also regarded as sacred
Female principle may have been revered as a goddess
Purification practices, meditation, and well-organized cities suggest the importance of order and restraint
In each of the houses, they has toilets and separate plumbing systems—hundreds of year ago!
Every society has its own conception of order, how to maintain it, and how to restore it
(i.e. pork may be seen as a dirtying substance, cows may be seen as a virtuous being not consuming
these meats helps to maintain order for the groups of people holding these beliefs)
Something that we do daily (a tradition in society) may help us decide what is right and what is wrong”
In many cultures, the left hand is taboo; In Tibet, the left hand is sacred
In modern day India, there are temples that have cleansing areas not for hygienic purposes, but as a symbol of
wanted to purify oneself before entering farther into the halls of the temple
We have no real idea or record of when meditation was “created” or started being practiced
The Aryans
Lighter skinned, living around Central Asia:
They were not highly organized and were nomads rather than settled agriculturalists, but had a very
developed view if their teachings
Believed to have possibly entered, invaded, and conquered the Indus Valley civilization
Definitely entered into India in 1300BCE
The Aryan language evolved into Sanskrit, the official language of the scriptural writings of the Hindu religion—
not just a language, but some kind of revelation about the reality
The Sanskrit word for God is deva, akin to the English words divine and deity
Almost everything we know about them comes from a collection of writings known as Vedato see something,
clearly; allows up to see” into the reality
Hinduism is sometimes called Vaidik dharma, meaning the religions of Veda
The teachings of Veda were not actually put into written scriptures until fairly recently
Available only in an oral format for many years
The power of the Veda comes from the iteration of the words as the sounds and syllables hold the power
themselves—think Harry Potter spells
The words of the Veda were revealed to ancient seers called rishis—therefore the sacred words of the teachings
were only known by the priests; the practitioners of the religion did not even completely know what they were
practicing or believing in—which were passed down generations after generations
3
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Description
RLGA01H 2010-09-14 to 2010-10-05 HINDUISM WEEK 1 HINDUISM and the term RELIGION Hinduism is the dominant religion of India. 85% of the one billion people in India are known to the world as Hindus Problematic terms in the statement: Hinduism Religion India These are not terms that originate from the indigenous words in Indiathere is no equivalent word for religion, they do not call their natural habitat India, and they did not name themselves Hindus Each one of these terms suggest uniformity and consistency that does not actually exist In the East, actual practices of the religion may differ, as well as the belief in different deitiesEastern religions are not as institutionalized When we study the religious tradition of the East, we must accustom ourselves to: Diversity; Discontinuity; Difference We must keep in mind that one label does not indicate that the practices and beliefs of these religions is also uniform and static th The Hindu and hence Hinduism are of Persian origin from around the 12 century CE The term Hindu was originally only used to refer to people living in India; not the religion they practicedas such, not all Hindus practice and believe in the same things As a result of this, the words Hindu and Hinduism have become synonymous with the religion In Hinduism, the phrase sanatana dharma means eternal law the closest term to religion Based on a principle of eternality that Hindus believe in Most Hindus see themselves as devotees as a particular god or goddess, such as Siva or Visnu People usually have tilaks or forehead markings to indicate which deity they are following In Eastern cultures, you typically did not find terms to mean religionafter many centuries these words were developedand did not find the concept of it either Religion is a Western concept that has much to do with a Creator God The word religion derives from the Latin religio Application of the term religion requires care as to what we mean by the word People have many different understandings and definitions of what constitutes a religious practice OUTSIDER vs. INSIDER If you are inside as a practitioner of a religion, you tend to understand the claims of your traditions better than an outside As an outsider, we can try to critically analyze the historical developments of a single traditions Such a historical analysis often leads us to draw conclusions that are in conflict with the insiders who actually practice the religions The insiders know things that the outsiders will never know, the outsiders know things that the insiders cannot know 1 www.notesolution.com
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