Unit One: The Nature of religious Traditions
Existentialism: branch of philosophy concerning the nature of the human condition. Key Questions?
Do we need salvation?
Soteriology: study of a religion’s salvific tradition
What is our destiny?
Heaven, hell, nirvana, godhood?
Nature of the world?
Cosmology: myths, religion, science
What is good or evil?: ethical systems
What is real?
The Religious Experience
All religious traditions begin with an individual’s or a small group’s experience
Sense of connection to all things
Sense of something greater than self
Sense of peace and serenity
Sense of purpose and responsibility for all living things
Siddartha the Buddha
Jesus the Christ
Creeds, doctrines, codes, traditions
The Vedas (oldest sacred texts), Upanishads, Mahabarata (largest) (Bhagavad Gita)
The Koran (most widely read)
Tao Te Ching
Christianity: saints, martyrs, mystics
Buddhism: bodhidsattvas, arhats
Synagogue (Little Temple)
Hinduism and Buddhism?
Oldest religion (literate)
Four Teachings (sutras)
Kama (sensual pleasure)…desire
Artha (wealth, fame, power)….desire
Dharma (Call to Service)…renunciation
Path = Yoga
Yoga…"method of training designed to lead to integration or union of the human spirit with God."
God = Brahman: characteristics?
Monistic…universal essence, Source and Ground of Being
Theistic…characterized by one of the many Hindu deities
A. Jnana Yoga
…the way to God through knowledge
B. Bhakti Yoga …the way to God through love (devotion) (Christianity often seen as a Bhakti path to God
C. Karma Yoga …the way to God through selfless works (Does Christianity fit here?)
D. Raja Yoga …the way to God through meditation, contemplation and physical exercises
Basic Tenets: Hinduism
Respect for life: very incarnational
Ganges: giver of life, cleanser of karma
Samsara…wheel of rebirth. Also means worldly and individual suffering
Karma…moral law of cause and effect. Our thoughts, emotions, and actions in this life determine our form
in the next
Dharma…duty, or teaching leading to Selflessness
Nirvana…This ultimately leads to nirvana..the release and extinguishing of the self
Vishnu…preserver Hindu Trinity
Kali…goddess of death and alleviator of fears
Ganesha…god of prosperity and remover of obstacles
Durga…goddess of balance
Krishna…avatar (incarnated divine being)
Chakras (Seven Levels of Energy)
Chakra comes from the Sanskrit, "circle"
The body is seen as an energy field w/ seven levels, each representing a specific power center
When chakra energy is blocked, spiritual development is hindered and emotional/physical difficulties germinate
A person can channel through the chakras
Began in Northern India (Nepal) around 530 BCE
A reaction to Hinduism
Corruption of the caste system
Buddhism stems from "Buddha", meaning he who is awake, who "woke up", "the Awakened One"
Siddhartha, the prince
Born in Nepal (566-486 BCE)
Born to King Suddhodhana and Queen Mahamaya
Siddhartha’s mother died only seven days after his birth
King Suddhodhana was driven to make sure his son would become his successor
He refused to expose Siddhartha to life’s miseries by spoiling him
Siddhartha eventually married and had a son
1. The Four Passing Sights
While on a pleasure excursion, Siddhartha notices an old man
He questions his servant, Channa, who eventually exposes Siddhartha to the truths and realities of life that had been denied
Sid. later sees a diseased man and witnesses a burial
He is reduced to tears and suffering
For the first time, Siddhartha feels the pains of life and moves into compassion for all humans
The Great Going Forth
At 29, Siddhartha decides to leave everything behind and enter the forests of Northern India
He joined five other ascetics
He slept on the ground, begged for food (a grain of rice, a sesame seed, a nectarine, and water), and rarely bathed
For six years, he took this path and almost died
One evening, Sid. sat under a fig tree (Bo Tree, from "bodhi": wisdom)
Here, it is traditionally believed that he experienced his enlightenment; where he came to see the true nature of his
existence, and all other’s existence
As a result, Buddha would reject the traditional Hindu teaching of Atman (the eternal, True-Self), and develop the doctrine
of No-Self, or Anatman
reflects the idea that nothing, without exception, has a permanent, unchanging character. Everything is in
a state of flux or change. There is, in fact, no-self.
The more one could realize this no-self, the more connected, the more interrelated, one became to all others, and all things.
To achieve this state, Buddha developed the Doctrine of the Middle Way, or Middle Path
This teaching was essentially a psychological training and discipline of mind and body