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Essay on Ancient Religions of India

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Dating back to the period around 500 B.C.E., three religions spread throughout India. Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism prospered in this philosophical time. These religions shared several of the same concepts. However, each maintained individuality by branching off and putting emphasis on what they believed to be the key to liberation or enlightenment.
Hinduism is the easiest to distinguish from the group for several reasons. One is that they believe in the idea of a creator/God. This God is called Brahman. Hindus worship deities, along with spirits, trees, and animals. Hinduism has no known founder and no prophets, unlike both Buddhism and Jainism. Another main contrast between the 3 is that the Hindus had a caste system, while the others did not. This meant that they had a social structure in which classes were determined by heredity. Believers in Hinduism believe that there are four stages in life. The first one is dharma, the moral law. Not everyone’s dharma is the same, and duties are individual. Ultimately, you are to follow your own dharma in order to stop the rebirth cycle even if it seems to contradictory. Second is artha, which is focused on wealth, or material possessions. Everyone should enjoy these things. The third stage is kama, where you are supposed to delight in desires and passions. The fourth stage is the supreme accomplishment, moksha, which is unity with Brahman. This final stage puts an end to reincarnation. Hindus also believed in something that neither the Buddhists nor Jains would consider: animal sacrifice. Jains and many Buddhists don’t even eat meat, and some extremists would go as far as starvation as to not harm another for self-gain. Although, it was never written that Buddhists had ...


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...nt to receive. It all goes back to the good ole’ golden rule. I believe this is an idea that is preached by many and applied by few, including myself at times. I can’t say that we should necessarily follow all the extremes that sometimes apply in these religions, but the basic idea to be a good person could only make society a better place. And, whether or not someone’s a Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Christian, Mormon, Jew, or any other religion, the idea that we need pass along good karma should be singular. I think this is one commonality that, regardless of whom you are or where you come from, could only make the world a better place.




Works Cited

http://www.pbs.org/edens/thailand/buddhism.htm
http://hinduism.about.com/od/basics/p/hinduismbasics.htm
http://www.buddhist-tourism.com/buddhism/buddhist-ethics.html
http://www.religioustolerance.org/jainism.htm



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