ch 5 margin reviews

1. What different answers to the problem
of disorder arose in classical China?
• Confucianism argued that
• Dao/ Tao ism provided an
social harmony could only be
alternative, arguing that
restored through the moral
disorder stemmed from human
example of superiors.
actions and that order could
Confucius emphasized that,
return to life if people withdrew
because human society (both
from the world of political and
within the family and in
social activism and instead
public life) consisted
aligned themselves with dao,
primarily of unequal
the way of nature.
relationships, social harmony • This meant simplicity in living,
relied on the superior party
small self-sufficient
in these relationships
communities, limited
behaving with sincerity,
government, and the
benevolence, and genuine
abandonment of education and
concern for others.
active efforts at selfimprovement.
2. Why has Confucianism been defined as a
“humanistic philosophy” rather than a
supernatural religion?
• The thrust of Confucian teaching was distinctly
this-worldly and practical, concerned with human
relationships, effective government, and social
• Confucianism is based on the cultivation of ren—
translated as human-heartedness, benevolence,
goodness, nobility of heart. Ren is not achieved
through divine intervention but rather is nurtured
within the person through personal reflection,
education, and a willingness to strive
continuously to perfect one’s moral character.
3. How did the Dao /Tao ist outlook
differ from that of Confucianism?
• Dao Tao ists found Confucian emphasis on
education and the earnest striving for moral
improvement and good government artificial
and useless. Instead, Dao / Tao ists urged
withdrawal into the world of nature and
encouraged behavior that was spontaneous,
individualistic, and natural.
• Dao / Tao ists turned the spotlight onto the
immense realm of nature and its mysterious
unfolding patterns, while Confucians focused
on the world of human relationships.
4. In what ways did the religious traditions
of South Asia change over the centuries?
• It is difficult to generalize about religious
tradition in South Asia because of the variety
of religious patterns in the region. However,
there was a general evolution away from a
religion based on external sacrifice and ritual
to one of philosophical speculation, and finally
to one of devotional worship and detached
action in the world.
5. In what ways did Buddhism reflect Hindu
traditions, & in what ways did it challenge them?
• Buddhism reflected Hindu
traditions in the idea that
ordinary life is an illusion, in
the concepts of karma and
rebirth, the goal of
overcoming the incessant
demands of the ego, the
practice of meditation, and
the hope for final release
from the cycle of rebirth.
• Buddhism challenged Hindu
traditions through its
rejection of the religious
authority of the Brahmins, the
lack of interest in abstract
speculation about the
creation of the world or the
existence of gods, and its
rejection of the inequalities of
a Hindu-based caste system
through its belief that neither
caste position nor gender was
a barrier to enlightenment.
6. What is the difference between the Theravada
and Mahayana expressions of Buddhism?
• The Theravada expression was
championed by monks and nuns
who withdrew from society to
devote themselves fully to the
quest for nirvana.
• It portrayed the Buddha as an
immensely wise teacher and
model, but certainly not divine.
• It was more psychological than
religious, a set of practices rather
than a set of beliefs.
• Gods, while never completely
denied, played little role in
assisting believers in their search
for enlightenment.
• The Mahayana expression proclaimed that
help was available to reach enlightenment.
• Within this expression, bodhisattvas,
spiritually developed people who
postponed their own entry into nirvana in
order to assist those who were still
suffering, could help the believer.
• The Buddha became something of a god,
and both earlier and future Buddhas were
available to offer their help on the path to
• The Mahayana expression developed
elaborate descriptions of these
supernatural beings, together with various
levels of heavens and hells that ultimately
transformed Buddhism into a popular
religion of salvation.
• As part of this development, religious merit
leading to salvation might now be earned by
acts of piety and devotion, and merit might
be transferred to others.
7. What new emphases characterized Hinduism
as it responded to the challenge of Buddhism
in India?
• Hinduism emphasized more clearly that action in
the world and the detached performance of caste
duties might provide a path to salvation.
• Another emphasis was on devotion to one or
another of India’s many gods and goddesses. One
manifestation of this emphasis was the bhakti
movement, which involved intense adoration of
and identification with a particular deity through
songs, prayers, and rituals associated with the
many cults that emerged throughout India. The
most popular deities were Vishnu and Shiva.
8. How would you compare the lives & teachings of
Jesus & the Buddha? In what different ways did the 2
religions evolve after the deaths of their founders?
• from lower-class family.
• Both became spiritual seekers,
powerful religious experiences
provided the motivation for
their life’s work attracting
bands of followers
• Both were “wisdom teachers,”
challenging the conventional
values of their time
• Jesus inherited from his Jewish
tradition an intense devotion to
a single personal deity with
whom he was on intimate
• From a rich family
• Both became spiritual seekers,
powerful religious experiences
provided the motivation for their
life’s work attracting bands of
• Both were “wisdom teachers,”
challenging the conventional
values of their time
• The Buddha’s original message
largely ignored the supernatural,
involved no miracles, and taught a
path of intense self-effort aimed at
ethical living and “mindfulness” as
a means of ending suffering.
• Teachings had a sharper social
and more political edge than
those of the Buddha.
• Public life was very brief,
probably less than three
• Both messages emerged
soon after their deaths as
separate religions proclaimed
to much wider and more
inclusive audiences.
• The Christian faith was
ultimately promoted as the
single legal faith in the Roman
• Public life was over forty
• Both messages emerged
soon after their deaths as
separate religions
proclaimed to much wider
and more inclusive
. Buddhism, while supported
by some rulers, was never
promoted to the exclusion
of other faiths in India.
In what ways was Christianity transformed in
the five centuries following the death of Jesus?
• Jesus became divine in the eyes of his followers.
• Christianity developed from a small Jewish sect into a world
religion that included non-Jews.
• It spread throughout the Roman Empire, first largely among
the “lower stratum” of people in the towns and cities, but as
it gained in popularity, Roman rulers sought to use its
popularity as a glue to hold together a very diverse
population in a weakening imperial state.
• In the fourth century, Christianity became the official religion
of the Roman Empire, and all polytheistic religions were
• Christianity adopted elements of religious practice in the
Roman world as it spread and converted the population.

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