Religions of South Asia. Hinduism Sikhism Buddhism Jainism

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1 Religions of South Asia Hinduism Sikhism Buddhism Jainism

2 Hinduism Historical Origins: Hinduism is one of the world s oldest religions and originated in India in about 1500 BC. Scholars believe that it developed from the beliefs of a group of Indo- European people who spoke Sanskrit. The Sacred writings of Hindus include the Vedas, which are poems and hymns, and the Puranas, which are sacred stories. Other Hindu texts, such as the Mahabharata, of which the Bhagavad Gita is a part, teach Hindu beliefs in the form of epic poems.

3 Hinduism Summary of beliefs: In general, Hindus believe in one universal spirit called Brahman. This spirit takes the form of many deities, or gods and goddesses. The most important deities are Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer. Hindus believe that souls are constantly being reborn. Karma, the negative or positive effect of one s actions, determines if the soul moves to higher or lower state of being. Hindu religious practice includes worship, study, and rituals, such as bathing in the Ganges River.

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5 Sikhism Historical Origins: Followers of Sikhism are called Sikhs, which means student. Sikhism emerged in 1469 in Punjab, rising from the religious experience and teachings of Guru Nanak, Sikhism s first prophet. Nine gurus followed. The tenth, Guru Gobind Singh, vested his authority in the Sikh scripture the Guru Granth Sahib and the Khalsa the community of initiated Sikhs. This led to the creation of a highly democratic religious community that practice social justice.

6 Sikhism Summary of beliefs: Sikhs believe in one God who is formless, all-powerful, all-loving, and without fear or hate toward anyone. One can achieve unity with God through service to humanity, meditation, and honest labor. Sikhs do not use tobacco or alcohol, and they often follow a strict dress code, which includes never cutting their hair. Vaisakhi is a significant holiday during which Sikhs celebrate their history, community and values. Celebrated every April, it marks the day in the late 17 th century when the tenth prophet of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, formalized the community of committed Sikhs (Khalsa). By accepting initiation into the Khalsa, one agrees to live a life in accordance with Sikh values and discipline.

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8 Buddhism Historical origins: Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha or enlightened one. He was born a prince in India in the 400s or 500s BC. Siddhartha was protected from seeing sickness, death, poverty, or old age until he was 29. However, after he learned about suffering, he left his palace to lead a religious life. While he was meditating several years later, Buddhists believe he received enlightenment about the meaning of life.

9 Buddhism Summary of Beliefs: Buddhists believe that a law of cause and effect called karma controls the universe. Buddhists teach that suffering occurs because people desire what they do not have. A person who gives up desire and other negative emotions will achieve a state called nirvana, or the end of suffering. The basic beliefs of Buddhism are summarized in the Four Noble Truths. The actions that help people achieve nirvana are called the Eightfold Path. Four Noble Truths: Suffering is a part of life. Desire is the cause of suffering. It is possible to move beyond suffering. There is a path that leads to the end of suffering.

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11 Jainism Historic Origins: Jainism doesn't have a single founder. The truth has been revealed at different times by a tirthankara, which means a teacher who 'makes a ford' i.e. shows the way. Other religions call such a person a 'prophet'. As great omniscient teachers, Tirthankaras accomplished the highest spiritual goal of existence and then teach others how to achieve it. Mahavira is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form; although this is true only in the widest sense. He is sometimes wrongly called "the founder of Jainism". He taught during the 6 th century BC and helped shape some of its current ideas.

12 Jainism Summary of beliefs: Jains believe that animals and plants, as well as human beings, contain living souls. Each of these souls could be divine and should be treated as such and, because of this, are strict vegetarians. Jains also believe in reincarnation and seek to attain liberation - which means escaping the continuous cycle of death and rebirth so the immortal soul lives in a state of bliss and is achieved by eliminating all karma from the soul. Jainism is a religion of self-help and there are no gods or spiritual beings that will help human beings. Jainism has three main principles, the 'three jewels', which are right belief, right knowledge,and right conduct. The supreme principle of Jain living is non violence (ahimsa) and it is one of the 5 mahavratas (Great Vows). The others are non-attachment to possessions, not lying, not stealing, and celibacy

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