How The Sacred Structures And Multiple Pilgrimages Influence The Hindu Religion

How The Sacred Structures And Multiple Pilgrimages Influence The Hindu Religion

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One of Ninian Smart’s seven dimensions of religion is the material dimension. Though vague this dimension is one of the most prevalent dimensions across the board. The material dimension can relate to anything from natural phenomena to sculptures and paintings, it can be influential to a society as a whole or simply a personal interpretation. Diana Eck explains how the sacred structures and multiple pilgrimages influence the Hindu religion, by examining the design of the Hindu temple and scrutinizing the destinations of pilgrimages. Rather than going into the design of churches, David Morgan explains the relationship that occurs between a Christian viewer and a sacred image, for example, the bloody body of Jesus. Finally, Susan Darlington takes the reader to a Buddhist ceremony involving a tree. While in completely different way, all three authors manage to depict the material dimension of religion.
Focusing on the Hindu religion, Diana Eck attempts to explain how the consecration and the design of sacred places can, and most often is, a religious ritual in and of itself. She allows the reader to see that the design of the Hindu Temple is a representation of the image of the cosmos. The architect is often assisted by a “priestly architect” (Eck, 59), who preforms one of the final rituals at the end of the temple creation process. This ritual connects the temple itself to the deity it is focused around. The even in the design and creation of a temple the architects know that in building a temple they have no creative voice in the structure (Eck, 60). The first section of Eck 's work allows the reader to develop an understanding for how and why the Hindu People view the temple as such a sacred worshiping area. She goes on to exp...


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...o Buddhism. These ecology monks are concerned with emphasizing the “relationship between the Sangha and the forest” (Darlington, 2). Darlington’s essay is a demonstration of how the material dimension of religion can affect a whole society.
In conclusion, the material dimension of religion can be fulfilled in multiple different ways. This dimension can be established on a basis of the environment, a picture, or even a building. Every religion expresses their faith through material items, however the reason behind the expression may not be wholly spiritual. In exploring this dimension of religion, readers can gain an appreciation for the subjectivity of all seven dimensions of religion. The importance of the dimensions may not be consistent across the board, however in Religious studies the material dimension can be recognized in a multitude of different cultures.

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