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Tibetan Buddhism

In: Religion Topics

Submitted By dongling555s
Words 739
Pages 3
Meng Li
Exam Essay 1
RELS-U277-001
Dr. Wessinger

Hinduism is defined as an animistic Basic Religion. The term Basic Religion is created and introduced by an American historian of religions, Lewis M. Hopfe. Indigenous peoples “original inhabitants” who are living in simple economics and people who are living in industrialized and information economies practice Basic Religion in their daily lives. There are many characteristics of Basic Religion. For example, as other religions, Basic Religion also has an ultimate concern that is whether the believers are in harmony with sacred beings and forces. Also, for the view of human nature, Basic Religion emphasizes on the relationship between the living and the dead. For instance, the spirits of the dead will continue to exist, and the living and their ancestors will affect one another. Moreover, Animism is a term that is used to describe the cosmology of Basic Religion. Personal gods, impersonal forces throughout nature, in natural objects, animals, and humans, and spirits in nature are three very important components of Animism. Therefore, Animism is absolutely polytheistic.
Monism is a philosophical term that asserts there’s only one ultimate reality that is considered to be the essence of all existing things in the world. As opposed to polytheism that believes in multiple gods, monotheism believes in only one god or the oneness of god. One of the evidence of Indian tradition’s oneness is Upanishads. These texts come at the end of Vedas, providing both monistic philosophy and monotheistic theology. Most of the Upanishads describe nirguna Brahman as mysterious power that is the ultimate reality and moksha as the ultimate goal. Some of the Upanishads describe saguna Brahman as a personal god that creates all things in the world. In reality, most Indians believe that there is no big difference between nirguna Brahman and saguna Brahman on the ultimate level because they are all ultimate reality, but expressed through nirguna Brahman and worshipped through the image of saguna Brahman. Also, Upanishads encourage people to connect their atman meaning “self” with God to reach self-enlightenment. The Bhagavad Gita is a monotheistic scripture of Hinduism. It contains a discussion between Krishna and Arjuna on the eve of the Kurukshetra battle. Before this battle, Krishna reveals his form as God to Arjuna, and thus Krishna is considered as the ultimate god and the combination of nirguna Brahman and the physical world.
The methods of Hinduism as Basic Religion are found in many different aspects. For instance, taboos of Hinduism are related to purity and impurity. Women become untouchable when they are menstruating, giving birth, and for a time after giving birth; Marriage is usually engaged within one’s caste; Food is viewed as a gift from God, so sacrifices of animals is necessary; Milk and milk products are sacred food because they are from cows which are sacred animals. In Vedic time, it is extremely important to have a son of a family to light the funeral pyre and offer rice balls to the dead in order to make the ancestral spirit go to a pleasant place. The drawing of kolam is practiced every morning by traditional Indian families to invite good fortune to the house. Shamans also play an important role in linking the spirit with people, and they are viewed as people who have power to access unseen sources to help people reach the harmony with the sacred.
In the Upanishads’ texts, the term maya (“magic”) is used to refer to Brahman’s power that creates the universe. Maya can be translated as “delusion.” Maya is also to delude one’s soul to understand that everyone and everything is part of Brahman. In addition, the monotheistic scripture of Hinduism, Bhagavad Gita, views Krishna as the ultimate god. As the stories of Bhagavata Purana described, in order to achieve union with God, the gopis, the young married women of the village, are willing to meet Krishna in the forest at night and make love with him to show their unconditional devotion to Krishna.
Hindu Bhakti (devotion) is the combination of Monotheism, Monism, and Polytheism. For example, simply, it is the love felt by the believers towards their personal Gods. Personal Gods can be Vishnu, Shiva, and Shakti. Although there is no ultimate god required, it more focus on the relationship between the devotee and the God. Believers feel the love of God by devotion to reach the self-enlightenment, which is an ultimate goal.…...

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