Hinduism and Buddhism

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1 Hinduism and Buddhism

2 Indus Valley Civilization (2,500 BCE-1,500 BCE) TWO MAJOR SITES: 1) MOHENJO-DARO 2) HARAPPA CHARACTERISTICS: 1. WELL-PLANNED TOWNS AND CITIES 2. SOCIETY BUILT ON TRADE 3. POLYTHEISTIC RELIGION 4. WRITTEN LANGUAGE BUT WE CANNOT INTERPRET IT 5. TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT??

3 Possible reasons for the collapse of this civilization? 1. Excessive flooding 2. Deforestation 3. Ecological disaster (an earthquake, e.g.) 4. Aryan invasion 5. Drying up of the local river system

4 Aryan Civilization Aryans began their invasion of West India through the Khyber and Bolan Passes Aryans were originally pastoralists and nomads They were led by tribal chieftans called rajahs Aryan homeland: Central Asian steppes Aryans also an Indo-European people (cf. Hittites); taller, lighter-skinned than the Dravidians Their society was patriarchal Written language (Sanskrit) eventually develops

5 The Caste system a key component of the Aryan social order Priests (Brahmins) at the top Warriors (Kshatriyas) next Artisans, merchants and farmers (Vaishyas) next Common laborers, servants, and slaves (Shudras) at the bottom Untouchables (outcastes, pariahs) handled dead bodies, collected trash

6 Indian spiritual, legal and cultural classics The Vedic period (1, B.C.E.) 1) The Vedas 2) The Brahmanas 3) The Upanishads The Epic Period (350 B.C.E C.E.) 1) The Mahabharata 2) The Ramayana 3) Law of Manu

7 Basic teachings of Hinduism Every living thing has a soul (atman) Every soul is a reflection of the World Soul (Brahman) Goal of existence to merge with Brahman Problem: cycle of life, death and rebirth (reincarnation) prevents this merging One s karma reflects good and bad actions made in life Way to spiritual progress: follow one s dharma (or moral duty; aka the Law)

8 Four aims in life (all legitimate) Kama, or sensual pleasure Artha, or wealth and power Dharma, or duty; and Moksha, the ultimate goal (e.g., the loving union of the individual soul with the personal god or with Brahman)

9 Major gods in Hinduism 1) Brahman, the Creator 2) Vishnu, the Preserver 3) S(h)iva, the Destroyer Other gods are also noteworthy (e.g., Ganesh, the elephant god, or Lakshmi, Vishnu s wife)

10 Buddhism a reaction to Hinduism Founder: Siddhartha Gautama (ca B.C.E.), born into a noble family in Northern India Dissatisfaction with his life led to fasting and ascetism Finally, he chose a Middle Way of moderation and peace Liberation from reincarnation (samsara) by means of the Eightfold Path of Good Conduct Leads to nirvana (enlightenment) Rejected the caste system as well as the numerous Hindu gods

11 Growth and Diffusion of Buddhism After its founding in the 6 th century B.C.E., Buddhism spread to other South and East Asian countries (including Japan, Korea and China) Many rulers endowed Buddhist temples, stupas and monasteries Two different schools of Buddhism develop: Theravada/ Hinayana (Lesser Vehicle) and Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) Buddhism

12 Chandragupta Maurya (+298 B.C.E.) - Founder of the Mauryan Empire (lasted from B.C.E.) - Of humble birth, he may originally have served with Alexander the Great s armies in N. India - Autocratic; took power by leading revolt against the Greeks - Political control depended upon large armies, secret police and spies - Kautilya was his key, Macchiavellian-like adviser - Backed government intervention in support of industry - Near the end of his life, he became a Jainist and retired to a monastery

13 Ashoka (r B.C.E.) - Grandson of Chandragupta - Accomplished ruler - Had a vast public works program - Expansionist foreign policy also (conquered Kalinga (Orissa), in E. India, in a bloody campaign over 100,000 people killed) -After taking stock of the carnage caused by this conquest, Ashoka became remorseful and changed his values -- He converted to Buddhism and then supported Buddhist missionary activity to other lands ; he also funded the construction of stupas (domelike temples) -- Lastly, he issued a series of edicts (laws), most of which were put on pillars or rocks all around India

14 Location of rock and pillar edicts

15 The Gupta Empire (320 C.E.-535 C.E.) -Two centuries of Gupta rule gave India its greatest period of political stability -Golden Age in India for the development of mathematics, science and art -Gupta rulers favored the Hindu religion over Buddhism -The Gupta empire was smaller than the Mauryan empire -The Guptas decentralized power to local rulers

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