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Buddhism and Hinduism - Essay Example

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From the earliest times religion continues to influence almost every aspect of human lives. Today people from various background, social class and location face so many problems and challenges as well as issues of safety, health and mortality that religion is bound to exist…
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Buddhism and Hinduism
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Download file to see previous pages Even though there are countless religions, they all and each and every one of them serve the same purpose, i.e. they answer questions which interest all human beings at certain point of their lives - Why are we here How should I live my life What happens when I die
Not only that, religion also helps people transmit their values from generation to generation and can influence the way people interact with their natural environment. Religion is there for us to teach us "how to see ourselves in light of the universe and gives purpose and meaning to life." (Wenner)
Today's global society gives very good chances that within the lifetime of a person, he can very well meet people from all around the world, from every corner of our planet. So, understanding and tolerance to the religious beliefs of other people is one of the most important steps that mankind should make in order to "someday prosper together in peace." (Wenner)
Hinduism is considered to be the oldest and most complex religion of the world. Trying to provide an adequate background and history of the development of Hinduism is a very difficult task, due to the fact that it has neither specific founder nor theology; it originated "in the religious practices of Aryan tribes who moved to India from central Asia more than three thousand years ago." (Wenner) Aryan tribes attacked and conquered the Harappan people who occupied the territories of modern India around 1500 BC. Eventually, through adaptation and assimilation of the religious beliefs of both groups, they created and developed similar systems of religious practices that were founded on both, polytheism of the Aryans and the sacredness and worship of fertility of the Harappan people.
The mostly Aryan society soon developed the caste system, which divided society according to people's occupational class. The caste system ranked people in the following way: the highest caste was that of Brahmins (priests), then went Kshatriyas (class of warriors, soldiers and kings, who often fought wars, were also referred to this caste), third caste was for Vaishyas (merchants, laborers, farmers, craftsmen), the lowest caste was Harijahns, "the untouchables" (beggars; it is thought that people belonging to this caste descended from the aboriginal Harappans who were extremely poor and experienced discrimination). (Wenner)
"The higher a person's caste, the more that person is blessed with the benefits and luxuries life has to offer. Although the caste system was outlawed in 1948, it is still important to the Hindu people of India and is still recognized as the proper way to stratify society.
Since the early days of Hinduism, it has branched and now encompasses a wide variety of religious beliefs and religious organizations. Not only is it the primary religion of the region around India, but portions of Hindu beliefs have found their way across oceans to other countries and have been influential in the foundations of other religions, such as Transcendental Meditation and Buddhism." (Wenner)
Perhaps, two qualities that distinguish Hinduism from all other religions of the world are, first, that being a Hindu you have absolute freedom what you believe in and whether you believe in anything at all or no will not prevent you from belonging to Hinduism. Indeed, in order to survive, Hinduism has to and does ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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