Hinduism and Buddhism Develop

** SETTING THE STAGE**

At first, two groups, the Aryans and non-Aryans, followed their own religion and then blended, which blended as well the Gods they followed and their forms of religion. This blending of cultures led to the worshiping of many varied gods, as well as a complexity in part of both groups that led to questioning the world and their place in it. This resulted in the influence of new religious ideas and cultures, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

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Hinduism Evolves Over Centuries

Hinduism is a set of religious beliefs that are combined into a single one. Over the years, Hinduism has been developing so much that today it is considered as the world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Most of the Hindus today still follow the same customs of Hinduism. Hinduism is often stated to be the “the oldest living religion”, and also the “oldest living tradition”. Hinduism differ from other religions because it has no single founder, instead it is combination of different beliefs. Hinduism is the predominant religion of the Indian Continental. Other countries with large Hindu population is found across southern Asia.

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** Origins and Beliefs**

Hindus share a common worldview on religion. They see religion as a way to liberate themselves from disappointments, illusions, and mistakes made daily. Moksha, described as a state of perfect understanding of all things, is faithfully believed by the Hindus. It is said, that to achieve perfect moksha, a person needs to be able to differentiate between atman, the individual soul of a living being, and Brahman, the world soul that contains and unites all atmans. This understanding is said to not be achieved in one lifetime, which explains the belief in reincarnation, or rebirth. To be able to achieve moksha, you need to be born again and again to have a perfect understanding. This is followed by karma, good or bad deeds, which influences specific life circumstances.

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Hinduism changes and develops

Hinduism has been changing and developing in the last 2,500 years. Brahman is the world soul and it is divided into three different personalities. Brahma is the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer. It is said that Brahma grew in the lotus out of the navel of sleeping Vishnu. The daily alternation of light and dark is attributed to the activity of Brahma. In Hinduism, they believe that in order for the Brahma to create the world and produce human race, he made a goddess out of himself. He became half woman and and half man, and that was the way he created the world. Brahma has four head but used to have five. He lost his fifth head because once he lied to Vishnu and Shiva got very angry and cut one head of his.

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Hinduism and Society

Hindu ideas about karma and reincarnation strengthened the caste system. If a person was born as an upper-caste male—a Brahmin, a warrior or a merchant—his good fortune was said to come from good karma earned in a former life. However if a person who was born as a female, a laborer, or an untouchable might be getting the results of bad deeds in a former life.

Together, the beliefs of Hinduism and it caste structure dominated every aspect of a person’s life. These beliefs determined what one could eat and the way in which one ate it, personal cleanliness, and the people one could associate with, how one should be dressed and so on.

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New Religious Arise

Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, was born about 599 B.C. and died in 527 B.C. Mahavira believed that everything in the universe has a soul and so should not be harmed. They sweep ants off their path and wear gauze masks over their mouths to avoid breathing in an insect accidentally. In keeping with this nonviolence, followers of Jainism looked for occupations that would not harm any creature. So they have a tradition of working in trade and commerce.
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Because of their business activities, Jains today make up one of the wealthiest communities in India. Jains have traditionally preached tolerance of all religions. As a result they have made few efforts to convert followers of other faiths. Because of this tolerance, Jains have not sent out missionaries. Almost all of the nearly five million Jains in the world today live in India.
Some main points of Jainism:
 Every living being has a soul.
 Every soul is potentially divine, with innate qualities of infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss (masked by its karmas).
 Therefore, regard every living being as yourself, harming no one and be kind to all living beings.
 Every soul is born as a celestial, human, sub-human or hellish being according to its own karmas.
 Every soul is the architect of its own life, here or hereafter.
 When a soul is freed from karmas, it becomes free and attains divine consciousness, experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss.
 Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct (triple gems of Jainism) provide the way to this realization. There is no supreme divine creator, owner, preserver or destroyer. The universe is self-regulated and every soul has the potential to achieve divine consciousness (siddha) through its own efforts.
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The Buddha seeks enlightenment

The founder of Buddhism was Siddhartha Gautama which was born on a wealthy family and it was forecasted that if he stayed home he would become a world ruler but if he ever got to see the real world, he would become a great spiritual leader. Because of this prophecy, his father isolated him from the rest of the world in his palace, there he married and had a child.

Siddhartha’s Quest
Siddhartha wondered and thought about the world that lay outside his palace, so when he was 29, we went out four times. The first he saw an old man, then a sick man, then a corpse, and last but not least a holy man. He afterwards understood how life was full of sufferings, such as aging, getting sick, and dying. How everyone’s destiny was carved into rock. He knew that the only way to escape this was to find religious truth. So after his son was born, he decided to leave the palace.

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The Four Noble Truths:
According to the Pali Tipitaka, the Four Noble Truths were the first teaching of Gautama Buddha after attaining Nirvana.[32] They are sometimes considered as containing the essence of the Buddha's teachings and are presented in the manner of a medical diagnosis and remedial prescription – a style common at that time:

1. Life as we know it ultimately is or leads to suffering/uneasiness (dukkha) in one way or another.
2. Suffering is caused by craving or attachments to worldly pleasures of all kinds. This is often expressed as a deluded clinging to a certain sense of existence, to selfhood, or to the things or phenomena that we consider the cause of happiness or unhappiness.
3. Suffering ends when craving ends, when one is freed from desire. This is achieved by eliminating all delusion, thereby reaching a liberated state of Enlightenment (bodhi);
4. Reaching this liberated state is achieved by following the path laid out by the Buddha.
Buddhism and Society
Many if the Buddha’s early followers included laborers and craftspeople because of his rejection of the caste system. He also gained a large following in northeast Asia, where the Aryans had less influence. The Buddha reluctantly admitted women to religious orders. Though he feared that women’s presence would distract men from their religious duties.
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Budhism in India

Buddhism is a world religion, which arose in ancient Magadha, India, and is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who is known as the Buddha also called the Enlightened One. It flourished during the reign of Maurya Empire.

The practice of Buddhism as a distinct and organized religion declined from the land of its origin in around 13th century, but not without leaving a significant impact. Hindus continued to absorb Buddhist practices and teachings, such as meditation and the renunciation of the material world.

Siddhartha Gautama was the historical founder of Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama was born as a Kshatriya prince in Lumbini, Nepal in 623 B.C.
Gautama is the key figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to Gautama were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later. Early Western scholarship tended to accept the biography of the Buddha presented in the Buddhist scriptures as largely historical, but currently "scholars are increasingly reluctant to make unqualified claims about the historical facts of the Buddha's life and teachings

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