What is Hinduism?: world's oldest religion o igi g na n t a ed e d in n Ind n i d a reincarnation (rebirth) Karma

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2 What is Hinduism?: Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, with a billion followers, which makes it the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is a conglomeration of religious, philosophical, and cultural ideas and practices that originated in India, characterized by: the belief in reincarnation (rebirth), one absolute being (god) of multiple manifestations, the law of cause and effect (Karma), following the path of righteousness, and the desire for liberation from the cycle of births and deaths.

3 How is Hinduism unique from other religions?: Hinduism is a way of life, a Dharma, that is, the law that governs all action. It has its own beliefs, traditions, advanced system of ethics, meaningful rituals, philosophy and theology. The religious tradition of Hinduism is solely responsible for the creation of such original concepts and practices as Yoga, Ayurveda, Vastu, Jyotish, Yajna, Puja, Tantra, Vedanta, Karma, etc.

4 How and when did Hinduism originate?: Hinduism has its origins in such remote past that it cannot be traced to any one individual. There is no human founder. Some scholars believe that Hinduism must have existed even in circa B.C.

5 What are the basic tenets of Hinduism?: There is no one Hinduism, and so it lacks any unified system of beliefs and ideas. Hinduism is a conglomerate of diverse beliefs and traditions, in which the prominent themes include: Dharma (ethics and duties) Samsara (rebirth) Karma (right action) Moksha (liberation from the cycle of Samsara) It also believes in truth, honesty, non-violence, celibacy, cleanliness, contentment, prayers, austerity, perseverance, penance, and pious company.

6 Samsara Hindus believe that there is a beginningless and endless cosmic evolutionary process known as samsara. Within that process, universes are created, evolve through time, and then dissolve. On the worldly plane, the samsaric cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution of worlds goes on forever. Souls enmeshed in samsara are inevitably subject to suffering.

7 Karma Part of the samsaric process is the law of karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual works out his own spiritual evolution through his thoughts, words, and deeds. The main idea here is that, as you shape your own destiny through your manner of existence and action, you reap what you sow ("What goes around, comes around").

8 Transmigration & Reincarnation As an extension of the doctrines of samsara and karma, Hindus believe in transmigration and reincarnation of the soul (jiva). The soul transmigrates from life to life, living many lives and suffering many deaths, until it has relieved itself of its karmic burden. When all aspects and consequences of one s karma good as well as bad are resolved, the soul is then liberated from the limitations of finite existence, transcends ego-consciousness in a realization of its True Self (Atman), and finally achieves union with Brahman.

9 The Cycle of Life: Samsara

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11 Universal Salvation (Moksha) Hindus believe that all souls (jivas) are evolving toward true self-knowledge (knowledge of Atman) and union with Brahman and will ultimately find moksha spiritual knowledge (vidya) of Self and God and liberation from the cycle of rebirth (karma and samsara). Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny. All souls ultimately achieve moksha. There is no eternal hell, no damnation.

12 What are the key Hindu scriptures?: The basic scriptures of Hinduism, which is collectively referred to as "Shastras", are essentially a collection of spiritual laws discovered by different saints and sages at different points in its long history. The Two types of sacred writings comprise the Hindu scriptures: "Shruti" (heard) and "Smriti" (memorized). They were passed on from generation to generation orally for centuries before they were written down mostly in the Sanskrit language. The Shruti are divided into Vedas the common name for hindu scripture.

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14 What are the major Hindu deities?: Hinduism believes that there is only one supreme Absolute called "Brahman". The most fundamental of Hindu deities is the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - creator, preserver and destroyer respectively. Hindus also worship spirits, trees, animals and even planets.

15 Polytheism Polytheism: the belief in more than one god. The gods and goddesses of Hinduism amount to thousands or even millions, all representing the many aspects of Brahman

16 Hindu Gods Brahma The Creator

17 Hindu Gods Vishnu The Preserver

18 Hindu Gods Shiva The Destroyer

19 Hindu Gods Brahma Vishnu Shiva

20 Ahimsa Hindus believe that all life is sacred and that it is to be loved and revered, and they therefore encourage the practice of ahimsa or non-violence. Many Hindus are vegetarians.

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26 Sources uismbasics.htm

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