Buddhism and Hinduism

Hindu practices come from the
beliefs of many groups in India
Aryans migrated to India brought a collection of myths of
their gods
Aryan priests could sing long
hymns from memory, each hymn
for a different ritual
837 million followers worldwide (13 %)
Over 80 % of India’s population
Older than Christianity, Buddhism, & Islam
No single founder
Unique to India  Why didn’t it spread?
Geographical Barriers
Doesn’t seek converts
Monotheistic or Polytheistic
God is one-but goes by many names
Brahman-all of the universe is a part of
All other divinities are aspects of the
absolute and unknowable Brahman.
All these deities are but
Manifest forms (attributes
and functions) of the
impersonal Brahman
Hindu Trinity
Brahma – Creator
Vishnu – Preserver
Shiva - Destroyer
Sacred Texts
Priests gathered the hymns into four
collections called Vedas
Rig-Veda - most ancient and most
important (has 1028 hymns of praise)
Upanishads - collection of essays
that try to interpret and explain the
Vedic hymns
Bhagavad Gita – ethical ideas
central to Hindus
Basic ideas of the Upanishads
One true reality is Brahman
mighty spirit that creates and destroys
unchanging all powerful, spiritual force
Power beyond many gods
Too complex for people to understand
Brahman is a unifying and all powerful spirit
One aspect of Brahman is the Self (soul) called
Atman is everywhere
Atman is your essential self
Nothing that lives ever dies entirely
when a living thing dies, its inner self is
reborn into another form (reincarnation)
Reincarnation = Rebirth (samsara)
All wise Hindus must seek to reach a state
of perfect understanding called moksha
the inner self that reaches moksha will
never suffer another reincarnation
In moksha, the self disappears to merge
with Brahman
The power of Brahman,
the creative aspect of
This world
Senses, pain, suffering
Cosmic Illusion
Karma and Dharma
Hindus believe in an ethical law of
cause and effect called Karma
Moral behavior in one life guaranteed
rebirth into a higher class
Immoral behavior would drop a soul to a
lower class
Good karma = performing your dharma
Dharma - set of duties and
obligations of each caste
Caste System
According to the Rig-Veda, four
different groups of people were
created from the body of a Hindu God
created from the God’s mouth
priestly class and highest group in
Indian society
created from the God’s arm
ruler and warrior class
created from the God’s leg
landowners, merchants and
created from the God’s feet
servants and slaves
Hindus call these groups within
society jatis (castes)
Ritual purity was the basis for
rankings the castes
Higher castes are purer than lower
Lowest group in society were outside
the caste system (called
untouchables or outcastes)
And we too are manifest forms of
“We are not human beings
having spiritual experiences;
We are spiritual beings
having a human experience!”
“That art Thou”
Hinduism is about recognizing the all pervasiveness of the divine