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The Postmodern Catholic

Midterm Review Sacred Paths
College Recommendations Guidelines
Sacred Paths
Homeworks and Outline: Sacred Paths
Reading Guide Questions Taoism 211-218
Reading Guide Questions Taoism
Homeworks: and Outline: Introduction to Catholicism
Unit IV Moses Reluctant Hero
Unit III God's Imperfect Instruments
Unit III God's Chosen Ones
The Mass, Vestements, and Sacred Vessels
Unit III The Sacraments
Iona Prep Interfaith Society
Islam Notes

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Midterm Review

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

Key characteristics?

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

Religious Teachings

Creeds, doctrines, codes, traditions

Sacred Texts:

The Vedas (oldest sacred texts), Upanishads, Mahabarata (largest) (Bhagavad Gita)

The Bible

The Talmud

The Koran (most widely read)

The Sutras

Tao Te Ching

Religious Leaders

Religious Leaders:

Greek Orthodox?

Tibetan Buddhism?



Greek Orthodox?

Roman Catholic?


Holy Persons

Christianity: saints, martyrs, mystics

Buddhism: bodhidsattvas, arhats

Hinduism: guru

Taoism: sage

Sacred Spaces




Synagogue (Little Temple)

Hinduism and Buddhism?



Church, cathedral,


Oldest religion (literate)

Four Teachings (sutras)

Kama (sensual pleasure)…desire

Artha (wealth, fame, power)….desire

Dharma (Call to Service)…renunciation

Moksha (Liberation)….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

Four Paths

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


A. Introduction

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 him

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


Buddha’s Enlightenment

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


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

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D. “The more I am able to affirm others, to say ‘yes” to them in myself, by discovering them in myself and myself in them, the more real I am. I am fully real if my own heart says yes to everyone” Thomas Merton