Religion: – We have two types of Religion Buddhism and Hinduism. They have own scripts.
The word Hinduism was introduced in the 19th century to define the aggregate beliefs of the Arya, immigrants who left Central Asia in 1500 BC, and animist religions of native populations in India. Basic cosmic law rules the good order of the world, be aware and respect cosmic law. Lead the life of a good Hindu, observe rules, perform all rites, and accept the caste of birth. Caste system supplies code of conduct and rites done. Encompasses all parts of life; rites but also who to take drink from, associate with, marry, etc.
Principles of Hinduism: – ‘Dharma’ religious law and moral code by which people can earn enlightenment. Karma is the life balance of action and reaction; individuals responsible for decisions and consequences. Leading good Hindu life will bring rebirth into a better life. Samsara is cycle of reincarnations determined by karma. Moksha is liberation from samsara; individual unites with universal timelessness, ultimate serenity, nirvana. Path to moksha is good Hindu life.
Each deity has different names, as well as different symbols, attributes, tasks and powers according to what god it represents. Each deity has a vehicle, an animal usually which serves master. Primary Hindu gods are “BRAHMA, VISHNU AND SHIVA”.
Brahma is the creator of the universe. Attributes are the rosary, the receptacle of holy water, the ladle and the book. Mount is a goose or swan. Brahma usually represented with four heads, allows him to watch over world. Very few statues of Brahma since creation is done.
Saraswati is Brahma’s consort and is goddess of knowledge, learning and music. She is often portrayed with four arms, playing the veena (seven stringed musical instrument) with two hands as well as holding a rosary and a book. Sit on a lotus riding a peacock or a swan. Often a crescent moon on forehead. Worshipped by Buddhists as a form of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of wisdom.
Vishnu is the preserver of life and the world. Attributes are the conch shell, the disc, the lotus and the mace. Mount is Garuda, a mythical half-man and half-bird. He often appears in some of the following forms:
Narayan, which means “who guides development in all fields” or universal knowledge.
Buddha is Ninth reincarnation of Vishnu.
Rama is warrior who rescued wife Sita who had been taken by Ravan, demon-king of Ceylon.
Krishna is personification of manhood who bewitched ‘gopis’ (milkmaids and shepherdesses) with whom he frolicked. Rama and Krishna is more popular in India.
Shiva is the destroyer and regenerator. Attributes are the trident, the tambourine, the tiger skin, the club, and the lingam. Mount is Nandi the bull.
Pashupati is master and protector of animals, especially of cattle, who is the friend of life.
Bhairav is the form of Shiva eager to destroy everything, including evil. Usually a black statue, with necklace of human skulls.
Hanuman is the monkey god. Symbolizes faithfulness and willingness to help. Associated with successful military undertakings and assisted Rama in fight against demon-king Ravan who kept Ram’s wife Sita imprisoned for 12 years.
Ganesh, (Ganapati) one of the most popular gods in Nepal. Infallible, charitable and has power to decide fate of any human enterprise. Universal power. Shiva and Parvati’s son. Shiva was away, Parvati bore a son while he was gone. Ordered son not to let anyone in. Shiva came home, young guardsman barred him from entering so he chopped off the guard’s head with sword. Parvati terrorized, Shiva promised to bring him back to life by beheading the first living creature he found in the forest. Saw elephant first, so cut off its head, rushed back and put it on Ganesh’s head. Ganesh always dressed in red, four arms and body covered with layers of sandalwood paste..
Parvati, Shiva’s consort. In benevolent forms, Devi, Uma, Shakti or Annapurna as the “dispenser of abundance.” As wreaking havoc, forms of Kali, Durga or Bhagavati.
Based on meditations of “GAUTAMA SIDDHARTA” also called Sakyamuni (wise man of the Sakya clan) and later the Buddha (Enlightened one). Philosophical doctrine and code of conduct. Based on the three jewels “Buddha himself, dharma, Buddha’s teachings and prescribed conduct, and sangha the community”.
Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal around 544 BC. Son of Raja
(Title for rulers and wealthy landlords) who sought reason for human misery. Left his family and experimented and traveled; found enlightenment through meditation at Bodh Gaya.
Dharma is the doctrine of four truths discovered through meditation.
Existence is unhappiness.
Everything in life brings suffering, birth, responding to needs and death. Origin of suffering is in needs, wants and desires of men and being attached to material values (illusions of the senses). Unhappiness is caused by selfish cravings or passions.
Selfish cravings can be eliminated by renunciation desires and following the eight-fold path:
Right views, understanding and vision.
Right purpose, aspiration and intention.
Right speech.Right vocation and honest livelihood.
Right conduct and action.Right effort and dedication.
Right alertness and mindfulness.
Right concentration and meditation.
Sangha is community of Buddhists.
Used to mean monastic community but concept broadened. Showing the path to enlightenment.
About 100 years after Buddha’s death, communities disagreed and split over ways to achieve enlightenment. Traditional school of Theravada Buddhists follows Buddha’s original teachings. Mahayana school accepts some changes; various ways to enlightenment (became Zen). Scripts appeared also introducing changes.
Deification of Buddha, and separation between mortal Buddha like Siddharta who will reappear, and transcendental ones which are only understood through meditation (Dhyani Buddhas). While enlightenment reached through individual effort, idea spread that meditation Buddhas gave merit to those who worship them. Bodhisattvas are humans who reached enlightenment but instead of joining nirvana chose to help others reach enlightenment.