Cultures and Religions SOUTH ASIA -

Cultures and Religions SOUTH ASIA -

Culture and Religion in SOUTH ASIA CULTURE OF SOUTH ASIA A culturally fragmented region Religious and linguistic diversity Religions Islam is predominant in Pakistan and Bangladesh (165 million in India).

Hinduism is predominant in India. Sikhism thrives in northern India. Buddhism is predominant in Sri Lanka. Hinduism emerged from the beliefs and practices brought to India by the Aryans. (6th century BC) Buddhism emerged during the 6th century BC; made the state religion of India in 3rd century BC

Islam swept through central India from the 8th 10th centuries AD HINDUISM One of the worlds oldest religions. Not just a religion; also a culture in itself. MAJOR TENETS OF HINDUISM Three main ideas are important in

understanding the Hindu religion and the caste system Reincarnation Karma Dharma REINCARNATION Every living thing has a soul. When a living thing dies, its soul moves into another living creature.

Souls are reborn in a newly created life. CASTE SYSTEM 1) Brahmans, the priestly and learned class; 2) Kshatriyas, the warriors and rulers; 3) Vaisyas, farmers and merchants; 4) Sudras, peasants and laborers. 5) Panchamas, the untouchables who performed the most menial tasks.

KARMA Every action brings about certain results. There is no escaping the consequences of ones actions. Good behavior is rewarded when the soul is reborn into a higher ranking living creature. DHARMA A set of rules that must be

followed by all living things if they wish to work their way up the ladder of reincarnation. Each persons dharma is different. THREE BASIC PRACTICES Puja or worship Cremation of the dead

Regulations of the caste system RELIGIOUS CONTRASTS ISLAM Monotheistic No idols One sacred book Uniform dogma - 5 pillars

Intolerant (of other religions) Eat beef/Sacrifice cows Bury Dead Social Equality (in theory) Theocratic society HINDUISM Polytheistic Many idols

Various sacred writings Varying beliefs Absorbed other religions Venerate cows Burn dead (& alive) Caste separation State of secondary importance

BUDDHISM Founded by: Siddhartha Gautama (563 - 483 B.C.) Focuses on knowledge, especially self-knowledge Elimination of worldly desires, determination not to hurt or kill people or animals FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

Sorrow and suffering are part of all life. People suffer because they desire things they cannot have. The way to escape suffering is to end desire. To end desire, follow the middle path. EIGHTFOLD PATH TO THE MIDDLE WAY

Right understanding Right purpose Right speech Right conduct

Right means of earning a living Right effort Right awareness Right meditation

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