Siddhartha Hinduism and Buddhism Background for

Hinduism and Buddhism
Hinduism and Buddhism
 Hinduism
 Emerged in India 2000-1500 B.C.
 One of the World’s oldest living religions
 No individual founder
 No “bible” but several religious texts
Rig Veda: oldest—hymns, rituals, etc. Polytheistic
Upanishads: newer—philosophical—monotheistic
 Structure of Hindu Society/Caste System (4 Castes)
 Brahmans = Priests
 Kshatriyas = Warriors
 Vaisyas = Merchants
 Shudras = Laborers
(Castes are a religious hierarchy, not an economic
 Two Classes “Outside” Caste System
 Sadhus [samanas]/wandering monks
 Untouchables
 Some Essential Concepts of Hinduism:
 Reincarnation
 Karma = good deeds/bad deeds that determine
 Maya = illusion (the earth often represented
 Samsara = the false world itself/the product of
 Yoga = the process of meditation
 Yogi = spiritual teacher/adviser
 Atman = the individual soul/the divine part of a
 Brahman = the universal soul (the divine/God)
 Enlightenment/liberation = the realization that
Atman and Brahman are identical
 Reform: Buddhism began as a reform to Hinduism
 Buddha did not believe in the Caste System or in many of the
traditions of Hinduism
 Buddha (c. 563-483 B.C.)
 Named Shakyamuni (known as Siddhartha Gotama)
 He was a prince
 Recognized at birth as special by wise men. They believed he
would be a special monk or great conquerer
 The Four Sights - at 29 he left the palace and
 A sick man
 An old man
 A dead man
 A monk
What could this mean?
 Wandering – He decided to leave the palace and seek
the truth for himself. He tried to follow these methods to
attain truth/enlightenment:
 Dharma—doing one’s duty to family, etc.
 Kama—pleasure, especially sexual
 Artha – Wealth, money, material possessions
 Moksha—Liberation/Retirement
 Attainment – Nothing worked. Finally, desperate for
meaning, he sat under the bodhi (bo) tree and inteneded not
to arise until he attained enlightenment or else died. He
became enlightened and proceeded to teach “4 noble
 Life is suffering
 The cause of suffering is desire/selfishness
 Suffering can be stopped
 The way to end suffering is to follow the eight-fold
path of Buddhism—Basically the “middle-way”;
avoid excess
 Theory of Dependent Origination at heart of
 Everything is caused by something else
 Nothing exists on its own
 Nothing is permanent or unchangeable
 Everything can be changed

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