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Hinduism - Essay Example

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One of the elements of human beings is religion, defined as the belief in a supreme power. Hinduism is one of the major religions on earth with beliefs and practices that are distinct from those of other religions. This paper seeks to explore Hinduism as a religion…
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Hinduism Introduction One of the elements of human beings is religion, defined as the belief in a supreme power. Hinduism is one of the major religions on earth with beliefs and practices that are distinct from those of other religions. This paper seeks to explore Hinduism as a religion. The paper will discuss the religious beliefs that are practiced by Hindus as well as their dialogue. Beliefs and dialogue One of the fundamental beliefs among the Hindu community that distinguishes it from other religion is its definition of the “meaning or purpose of life” (Oppenheimer, p. 1). While other religions’ primary objective focuses on allegiance to a supernatural power, Hinduism’s definition the purpose of life balances allegiance to the supreme authority and the need to fulfill bodily desires. Depending on a person’s level in life, the religion defines different goals to be pursued at every stage. The purposes of life at respective stages as defined under the religion include the need to achieve an individual’s purpose. As a result, the Hindus believe that every individual exists for a particular purpose and that purpose should be fulfilled in the person’s present life, before death. The religion also believes that every individual has a defined level of personal success that should be pursued and achieved. Similarly, every Hindu is entitled to fulfill personal desires that include “enjoyment, sexual and other desires” (Oppenheimer, p. 1). The religion’s definition of life further provides for personal intellect among its believers. These beliefs distinguish Hinduism religion from other religions that puts emphasis on the supreme power rather than on the believers. Hinduism beliefs therefore strike a balance between personal desires and spiritual desires instead of exalting spirituality above human desires and needs (Oppenheimer, p. 1). Hindus similarly believes in a set of rules, called Karma, that govern their actions. The Karma defines all set of actions that are religiously considered good as well as those that are perceived to be bad. The believers’ actions bind to their lives and are associated with consequences. While good actions are rewarded, bad actions that violate the religious set of rules are punished in subsequent lives. Another fundamental belief among the Hindu is the sanctity of all creatures. In reverence to the supernatural authority, the Hindus believe that all God’s creations are holly and should not be harmed. Creatures such as cows that are religiously believed to “represent God’s selfless love to his people” are therefore sacredly held with respect to believers’ actions and even words. The level of sanctity with which creations are held also explains the basis for the ‘non-violent’ nature of the Hindus. This is because violence against God’s creation would be a contravention of Karma towards punishment (Oppenheimer, p. 1). Reincarnation is another essential belief that is held among the Hindus. Under reincarnation, a person’s soul, upon the death of his or her body, is born in another body. The body that hosts the soul may be of a different form or status from the initial body and this depends on a person’s actions before death. The Hindus therefore believes in death of the body but not the soul. A person whose actions are good in his current life is believed to be reborn, upon his death, in a body of better status as a reward. A good soul in an animal other than human being may be reborn in a human body as a reward while a bad soul in a human being may be reborn in a human body at a lower social status or in an animal’s body (Oppenheimer, p. 1). The belief in Karma and reincarnation also establishes a lifecycle that ends upon realization of a person’s purpose in life. Behavior in a particular lifetime is therefore gauged by Karma to determine a person’s next form of life or salvation if the person’s acts correspond to his or her purpose of life (Hindu, p. 3). Hindus also believes in “personal purification” as a step towards “self realization” (Hindu, p. 3). This means that a believer has an opportunity to cleanse himself from possible wrongs that he has committed. There are a number of dialogue approaches that are applied towards ‘self-sanctity’ and include dialogue “through service, through yoga and meditation, and through inquiry” (Hindu, p. 3). Purification can also be attained through submission to the supreme power in “ritualistic worship, chanting of prayers, and devotional surrender” to God (Hindu, p. 3). Conclusion Hindu is one of the major religions on earth. Though its belief does not exalt the supreme authority as other religions do, Hindus submits to God through obedience to provisions of Karma upon which judgments into lifecycles are made. The religious beliefs also define actions and behavior among Hindus. Works cited Hindu. “Culture and religion.” Hindu Association of Western Australia. 2009. Web. 27 April, 2012. < http://www.omi.wa.gov.au/resources/publications/cr_diversity/hinduism.pdf> Oppenheimer, Robert. “Hinduism beliefs.” Hinduism beliefs. 2008. Web. 27 April, 2012. < http://hinduismbeliefs.org/>Read More
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