REL 1020 Unit 1 Study Guide
The term “Religion”
∙ “Religion” is the study of world religions
a) Problems with the term “religion”
1. The term is ambiguous (many meanings for personal interpretation)
2. “Religion” already has a history/the term comes with preconceived
∙ Religion is abstract and modernly shaped
∙ The definitions of religion will be useful when it relates to you, but not necessarily true/false.
a) Émile Durkheim (sociology): a religion is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, that is to say, things set apart and forbidden beliefs and practices which unite into one single moral community called a Church, all those who adhere to them.
b) William James (psychology): religion is the feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude.
c) Paul Tillich (theology): the religious aspect points to that which is ultimate, infinite, unconditional in man’s spiritual life. Religion, in the largest and most basic sense of the word, is ultimate concern.
Studies of/Approaches to Religion:
∙ Functionalist: Not focused on religious contents but focused on what religion does and how it functions with society. These functions may be negative or positive. a) Functionalists & their ideas of how religion functions Don't forget about the age old question of What are the 3 most common urban layouts and shapes?
1. Sigmund Freud: “universal obsessional neurosis”
2. Karl Marx: “opium of the people”
3. Émile Durkheim: unites a “moral community”
∙ Descriptive/Substantive: Focused on the texts, rituals, and beliefs of religion. Is focused on the contents of religion.
a) Teachings: varies at ideal/real levels, not the most important part of religion b) Beliefs: individually oriented, large variety, “real” level, may not be consistent with teachings We also discuss several other topics like What are the Ways to measure development?
c) Doctrines: Public, formal, officially adopted by religious structures (churches, synagogues, etc.), recited often in church
d) Myths: Not considered “false,” all religions have myths, even modern ones. Composed of four characteristics: We also discuss several other topics like What is Optimistic about human nature?
1. Originally oral stories
2. Narratives (beginnings, middles, and ends)
3. Involves activities of “greater than human beings.” Not all are in human forms, they can be animals worshipped as deities.
4. Provides meaning and orientation for entire groups of people
∙ Modes of Experience: the experiences and interpretations vary. Ex: prayer may be valued, approached, and understood differently.
∙ Historical Development/Origins of religion: from what we know, all of the studied history demonstrates people being religious.
1. All religions change over time (values, understandings, practices)
∙ Material Culture: the physical objects of religions. Ex: temples, mosques, churches, etc. Bruce Lincoln’s Four Domains of Religion Don't forget about the age old question of Who invented accordion?
Don't forget about the age old question of What are the chemical properties of oxygen and carbon dioxide that require gases to be transported?
If you want to learn more check out What is Wada Test?
1. Discourse: Communication/formal/writing within a religion. Concepts or ideas that refer to textual context but also implied rules of the “language” of the religion (how or when to use or emphasize religion)
2. Practices: May focus on how to be authentically living as a human. Found in the discourse/will vary
3. Community: Identity formation for themselves and others within the community. There are professional communities (ex: monks) and nonprofessional ones (lay people)
4. Institution: a group of people working together on a common goal. Ex: Shganga (well established, formal, regulates the previous 3 above, perpetuates the religion over time/allowing it to remain alive by changing it)
Three Framing Questions for Our Study:
1. What is Ultimate Reality?
a) Ultimate: really or genuinely true or real (God, Dao, BuddhaMind, etc.) b) The highest divine of the religion
2. How should we live in this world?
a) Includes rituals and ethics/morals
3. What is our ultimate purpose?
∙ Ultimate: highest meaning of human life and what finally (or ultimately) may happen after death
Religions in the World:
∙ Religions are affected by:
e) Religion and Science
∙ Each of these categories are linked to modernization. Ex: Urbanization, Globalization, and religion & science are effects of modernization, and multiculturalism is an effect of globalization.
Features of a Useful Approach to Study Religion
1. Balance: You should begin with insider/emic beliefs and then reconstruct what they said as an outsider perspective. Etic categories: myths, rituals, symbols, etc.
b) Immanuel Kant: “No stigmata of a religion can be considered true if an insider disagrees.” This is problematic because every insider is different.
2. Empathy: See the world from another person’s perspective.
3. Comparison: Max Müller: “To know one is to know none.” Originally, this quote was from Goethe and was referring to languages. Müller used it to describe religion. Knowing
more than one religion teaches you about religion itself. Every religion is different so knowing only one is useless
∙ The study of religion is the study of PEOPLE, not gods/goddesses. We study their ways of life and formal/informal practices of religion.
a) Formal: doctrines, monasteries, nunneries
b) Informal: stories, songs, myths
∙ Religions operate at the ideal (perfect) level and the real (actual) level. Ex: ideally, students would be taught the traditional way. Really, they are taught in a modern way. ∙ Not all religions believe in gods/God
∙ “Hinduism” is an attempt to describe Indian culture in the past; YET, it is an example of neologism (a relatively new word)
a) Term formed by outsiders of the religion
b) Reification: Treating an abstract concept that varies/is diverse as if it were one single, unified, concrete term.
i. Hinduism is the product of many religions
ii. There are so many forms of Hindus so combing them into one unified category is problematic/ignores their differences
∙ India is the 2nd most populated country and will be the most populous by 2022. The country’s majority of people are young (35 or below). It is a subcontinent PreHistory of India:
∙ Analogy of Hinduism as a river (3 streams combined into one)
1. Indus Valley of Civilization
a) Problem: we can’t decipher their language/script yet so we do not know much. However, hieroglyphs helped us because of the “Rosetta Stone”
engraved with carvings from Egypt. This was found by Napoleon.
b) Archaeologists found large bathing tanks that looked like pools. Used for ritual bathing to emphasize purity/purification through water.
c) Also found many female figurines with large stomachs and breasts so goddesses representing fertility.
d) Also found ProtoShiva seal. Shiva was a deity.
2. Indigenous/ local people
3. Migration of Aryans
a) The Aryan migrants spoke in Sanskrit and then produced a language called “Veda.” Only spoken orally, not written.
a) Earliest strata: hymns/poems about gods/goddesses
b) Later: Dharma/literature/sacred text
c) Historical figures lost importance/relevance as the years went on. This movement continues.
∙ The deities in hymns, Vedic Period:
a) Deva god
b) Indra the god of the storms/lightening and the ideal warrior. He was highly praised. Fights drought by producing rain.
c) Varuna human deity of the sky/he is above so he is the judge/king
d) Agni cognate for “ignite” so he is the god of fire (in nature and in bellies for digestion). He is the priest of the gods because he represents the people to the divine. Conveys sacrifices through fire to the gods.
e) Saraswati: goddess of wisdom and learning. Her characteristic is water/a river
∙ Rig Vedic View:
a) The universe was created through sacrifice and proper sacrifice sustains the divine order (early word for order was rita; later the term dharma appears more frequently).
b) You must perform a sacrifice and then follow your particular religious duty (dharma). This will lead you to a happy afterlife
∙ Iconography: studies identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images.
∙ Henotheism: believing that one of the many gods is worthy of worship and praise. Each are worshipped at different times for different reasons.
∙ Sacrifices and deities are still around. There are multiple deities and texts ∙ Comparing different religions should be done by:
a) Dynamic Equivalents: elements that play equivalent roles within the religious traditions
∙ Hermeneutics: the attempt to keep a tradition viable and coherent by reappropriating past practices and beliefs.
a) Determines whether a tradition will address modern issues (stem cell research, greenhouse effect, etc.)
b) If a religion cannot justify the relevance of its tradition to succeeding generations, it “dies.”
∙ Cosmologies: the explanation of where the universe, stars, cosmos, and all life comes from
a) All religions have different ideas of cosmology
b) At the end of the day, maybe only a supreme power in the highest heaven knows how the universe was created, but maybe he does not know. This allows for speculation
∙ Vedic hymns tell the story of the world’s creation. The gods/devas sacrifice the primeval man, Purusha, a male in the cosmos to symbolize the male gender of any being. The caste system then emerged.
∙ Agni allows happy afterlives through cremation.
a) Conveyed sacrificial offerings from devotee to the other gods. He is seen as a priest with a fatherson relationship to the worshipper. Agni allows the dead to reunite with ancestors through cremation.
∙ A thousand or more years after Rigveda, the Vedanta period occurred. The Vedanta period was the end of the Vedic period.
∙ Rigveda focused on hymns and sacrifices and was for the common people while the Vedanta period focused on Upanishad literature.
a) Upanishad literature emphasized how much the world has changed. Upanishad was the last section of the Veda.
i. Veda: the most ancient Hindu scriptures, written in early Sanskrit and containing hymns, philosophy, and guidance on ritual for the priests of
Vedic religion. Believed to have been directly revealed to seers among
the early Aryans in India, and preserved by oral tradition.
b) Upanishad literature emphasized how a student must be taught by an experienced and authentic guru.
∙ Path of the Householder: Tasks of pursuing a career and raising a family. This path is learned about through epic poems (epics are long and important to entire nations) and Puranas (compendiums of myths, usually with a sectarian emphasis).
a) The Mahabharata is the longest epic. It has 18 chapters and is much longer than the Bible
∙ Path of the Renouncer: Reaching enlightenment through giving up worldly possessions. Samsara:
∙ Samsara: “To wander around.” Religiously, Samsara means that:
a) We are born more than once
b) The real us (the soul) has been living through a cycle of samsara (life, death, etc.) and continues through death
∙ Samsara was not a positive concept; people wanted to be liberated/escape this cycle ∙ In order to be liberated from samsara, you must do these things:
1. You must study the Veda
2. You must study with an authentic guru
3. You must practice meditation to focus on the soul
4. You must practice asceticism (denying of physical pleasures, such as eating or drinking, so that you can experience Moksha)
a) Moksha: The path of freedom or liberation of escaping Samsara
b) Practicing yoga is another practice of asceticism in which you assume that Upanishad is true and brings you to moksha through the path of the
a) Unique because it highly emphasizes the emotional religious experience while Rigveda was more mechanical.
b) There is high devotion to a god/goddess in which you have a personal relationship with them
c) Discusses the path of the householder
d) There are many sectarians (smaller groups within a larger one)
e) There are many colloquial printing of the deities/avatars (descents from God to earth in a physical form with a specific goal of aiding the world).
f) You can approach the divine on your own, regardless of age, gender, caste level, etc. Therefore, you do not need a priest.
g) One of the most popular forms of Hinduism
∙ Hindus may worship a variety of deities, one god or goddess in particular, or none at all. Over the centuries three deities in particular have attracted so many devotees and engendered so much interest that each one has become associated with a major religious tradition.
∙ The three deities are Shiva (whose devotees are called Shaivas or Shaivites), Vishnu (whose devotee are called Vaishnavas or Vaishnavites), and the god (deva) or Goddess (Devi) (whose devotees are called Shaktas).
a) Shiva is a very important deity who is the “destroyer” of sins, the family man, and emphasizes the path of renouncer as a god.
b) Vishnu is the preserver and protector of the universe
The Bhagavad Gita (The song of the lord):
∙ The Bhagavad Gita: a portion of the Mahabharata, having the form of a dialogue between the hero Arjuna and his charioteer, the avatar Krishna, in which a doctrine combining Brahmanical and other elements is evolved.
a) Here, Krishna (who is God temporarily disguised as a charioteer) instructs Arjuna in morality, duty, and metaphysics or the ultimate nature of reality
b) Story starts with Arjuna about to go to war with his own family. He puts down his bow and decides that he cannot do it. Krishna tells him that if he kills them, he will only be killing their physical being, not their soul/Atman.
c) Confronts moral questions and conflicts that may be universal to the human condition.
d) Different traditions are synthesized into a whole through the Bhagavad Gita
Krishna and Arjuna:
a) Worshipped as the 8th avatar/incarnation (taking on flesh)
b) He is the incarnate God and the supreme God/focus of Bhakti
c) He is known as a miracle worker
d) Worked for Arjuna as a charioteer
a) Hero of Mahabharata
b) Son of Indra
c) He is known for his famous archery skills
The Three Paths of the Bhagavad Gita:
∙ These three paths combine the path of the renouncer and the path of the householder. There are distinct paths but not mutually exclusive.
1. Karma Marga: the path of ethical and ritual works, or “action.” Your path is your duty (dharma). You worship because it is your duty not because you need an incentive.
2. Jnana Marga: the path of knowledge/wisdom. Ex: studying with a guru 3. Bhakti marga: The path of devotion
The Laws of Manu:
∙ Legal and moral codes: “Catur Varna Ashrama Dharma”
a) Catur: four (of each category)
b) Varna: occupational group/caste
c) Ashrama: stages of life
d) Dharma: duty in life/religious obligations
∙ Many Hindus regard the Vedas as authoritative, eternal, and complete. ∙ Upanishad: Sanskrit, “sitting down near a teacher.” A philosophical text from the later period of Vedic literature, also called Vedanta (end of the Vedas). Vedic literature concerning the self, Brahman, samsara, and liberation.
∙ In Hindu scripture, newer writings generally do not supersede the old; rather they are often added to an everexpanding canon.
∙ The Epics: Mahabharata and Ramayana
∙ The Puranas: poems that extol the power and virtue of various gods and goddesses that are widely used in Bhakti or devotional practices.
∙ The caste system:
a) A man’s mouth symbolizes the priest, because he speaks.
b) From his arms extends the warriors
c) From his thighs are the workers/merchants/farmers
d) From his feet are the servants
e) Order: priest, warriors, workers, and then servants
∙ The untouchables are “so low” that they are not even included in the caste system. Hinduism in the Modern Era:
∙ India won “her” independence from Great Britain in the 1940’s and wrote a constitution in the 1950’s.
∙ There is still a presence of all of the traditions, beliefs, deities, and etc. from the past. All ideas are still present.
∙ Reformers believed that Hinduism emphasized:
1. Solutions to worldly concerns in order to improve the world
2. The centrality of ethics
3. The reinterpretation of traditional practices into new ones
4. Modern Hindu thinkers suggest that Hinduism teaches the unity of all religions 5. Reification: the tendency to treat abstract ideas as if they are a single, unified category.
∙ Ghandi said that converting to other religion(s) is problematic because you have already identified your true self.
∙ Ghandi led the Indian Independence Movement. He is the champion of nonviolent protests. He argued for equal rights because “untouchables” are loved by gods as well. He says they are the “Children of God.”
∙ He believes that “untouchability” is an issue because it compares people’s “worth” and will ruin Hinduism.
∙ Side note: Ghandi calls the untouchables the “children of God,” but some people were offended by this. The term, “Harijan” was created. Harijan: a man of God. The untouchables actually want to be referred to as the “Dalit.” Dalit: selfdesignation of people who had traditionally been classified as untouchables or outcasts. The Indian government chooses to disregard this matter in hopes of not drawing attention to the issue.
∙ Alexander Duff (1878): “Out of all of the many fabricated religions, Hinduism is the most stupendous.”
∙ Thomas Babington Macaulay: “Western literature is superior,” “Human life and nature are never equal,” and “All of the Sanskrit books have less value combined than a single shelf of books in an English elementary school.”
Responding to Critiques:
∙ In response, Ramakrishna said that all religions have truth, but it is best found through Hindu traditions.
∙ His student, Vivekananda, introduced the term, “Hinduism” to a United Nations meeting. He said that Hinduism was solely an example of monism. This is problematic because Hinduism combines monotheism, polytheism, bhakti, and etc.
a) Monism: a theory or doctrine that denies the existence of a distinction or duality in some sphere, such as that between matter and mind, or God and the world. c whole with no independent parts. All of reality is one.
Other WellKnown Information:
∙ Hindutva: a new term (1925) that means “Hinduness”
∙ Even though India allows religious freedom, a Hindunationalist said, “India is a Hindu nation and if you don’t like it, get out.” This is an example of religious nationalism (Hindu nationalism).
∙ The Destruction of Babri Masjid: A group of Hindunationalists tore down a mosque (Masjid), brick by brick. They claimed it was because it was built on top of a Hindu mosque, but it was wildly speculated to be an excuse. 1000’s of people were killed, it was very destructive.
Hindu Worship in the Home
∙ Puja: worship
∙ Rituals performed in the home are significant ways in which Hindus express devotion ∙ Hindus pray to dead women for fruition (fulfillment/realization)
∙ Some domestic rituals do not involve prayers to a deity but to dead women, or strictly speaking, to women who died when their husbands were alive; that is, they died when they were sumangalis or “auspicious women”/favorable women.
∙ Darsana/Darshan: a popular Hindu rite (religious ceremony/act).
a) Darsana: seeing, and being seen by, a deity or holy person. This is “religious seeing,” which is more than a mere visual experience; it is a way to directly apprehend the divine and to gain its blessings.
b) It is also the beholding of a deity (especially in image form), revered person, or sacred object. The experience is considered to be reciprocal and results in the human viewer's receiving a blessing.
c) They go to “see” the image of the deity in the sanctum of a temple, and they go specially at those times of day when the image is most beautifully adorned with fresh flowers and when the image is fully visible.
i. The large eyes on images of the deities are to represent iconography (the traditional or conventional images or symbols associated with a subject
and especially a religious or legendary subject)
d) The Hindus go on pilgrimages, in which there is an emotional act between seeing and being seen by the deity.
e) Ghandi was a big figure of Darshan
The Spirit of Indian Philosophy:
∙ Ramakrishna says that Indian philosophy emphasizes:
1. The spiritual
2. A belief in the close relationship between philosophy and life
4. Philosophical idealism
5. The belief that intuition is the only method for knowing the ultimate
6. Acceptance of authority
7. An overall synthesizing tradition
∙ He emphasizes monistic view and says that Hinduism is the most tolerant and accepting religion.
∙ Her image conflicts with her views because she is seen as conservative, but she says that women are obviously superior and should fight for respect rather than equality. ∙ Her opinion on HinduMuslim relations: she thinks that their verbal relations need to turn physical and that all Muslims need to leave India because they are not in agreeance with Ram or Hinduism.
Lec. 5 Buddhism:
The Term “Buddhism”:
∙ Similarly to “Hinduism,” “Buddhism” is a new term (an example of neologism)
∙ This is also problematic because Buddhism is historically diverse and practiced in different ways.
∙ The second dharmic religion (Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism)
∙ Unlike Hinduism, Buddhism traces itself to a specific figure, Siddhartha Gautama, who later becomes the Buddha.
a) He becomes the Buddha after his awaking from his night of enlightenment b) Another name for him is the, “Shakyamuni Buddha”
c) The Buddha called himself “Tathagata”
∙ He lived during the time when the Upanishads were current (along with the issue of samsara)
∙ The Buddha and the founder of Jain (the Mahavira) both:
a) Reject the Veda
b) Reject the Sanskrit language
c) Reject Brahman priesthood and sacrifices
The Four Sights that led to the Buddha’s “Great Renunciation”
1. An old man
2. A sick man
3. A corpse
4. A religious renouncer/spiritual seeker
∙ The Pali Canon is the body of scripture in Theravada Buddhism. It was one of the first Buddhist canons to be committed to writing and the only canon of early Buddhism to survive to the modern day.
a) Was a collection of Buddhist scripts
∙ In the Pali Canon, the Buddha defined karma as Intentional/volitional thoughts, words, or deeds and their consequences; action or cause; the law of causation. The emphasis on intentionality is a characteristic feature of Buddhist discussions about karma. ∙ The stories of the Buddha date 400500 years after he died
Stories of the Pali Canon:
∙ The Buddha’s last words were, “Be a lamb unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.”
a) This quote emphasizes that you must find salvation on your own, through mindfulness, meditation, ethical behavior, and etc.
∙ After 45 years of teaching, the Buddha knowingly ate poisoned food and died. He did not necessarily want to die, but the Buddha wanted the giver of the food to receive his karma for poisoning the Buddha.
∙ The Buddha’s father attempted to keep him a “walled palace.” We all have walled palaces in which we see what we want to see and are somewhat shielded from what we do not want to see.
∙ He tried and mastered all practices (meditation, ascetism, yoga, etc.) and found that they did not help him find his answers. He decided to meditate under the Bodhi tree, this is where he experienced his night of enlightenment.
∙ Buddha named the final goal of Buddhism as “Nirvana.”
a) Nirvana’s literal definition is: Blowing out/extinguishing of a fever.
b) Buddhism Nirvana: The relief from breaking the “fever” of the MIND. Relief from over attachment.
c) A transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth.
d) A state of perfect happiness; an ideal or idyllic place but NOT a physical location e) It is an inbody experience
f) Another version/term for “Moksha”
Pali Canon Parables:
∙ The Pali Canon consists of parables (stories used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson) ∙ The most famous parable, “The Parable of the Mustard Seed”
a) A mother, Kisa Gotami, seeks help to bring back her dead son. The
“physician”/the Buddha tells her that she needs to collect mustard seed from a person that has never lost anyone close to them. Through this journey, she finds many houses with mustard seed, but none lack the loss of a loved one.
b) The main moral of the story was:
I. Everybody experiences death and suffering
II. Grieving will not obtain peace of mind, it will make your loved ones’ pain worse.
III. He who seeks peace should pull out the arrow lamentations, useless longings, and the selfmade pangs of grief. He who has removed this
unwholesome arrow and has calmed himself will obtain peace of mind.
Verily, he who has conquered grief will always be free from grief – sane
and immune – confident, happy, and close to Nirvana, I say” (Allen,
IV. Kisa entered the first stage of enlightenment from her experience. She decided to become a disciple of Buddha’s and went on to become the first female arahant.
V. In other words, one should accept that everyone dies and practice methods to reach enlightenment instead.
The Four Noble Truths:
∙ The Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths comprise the essence of Buddha's teachings, though they leave much left unexplained. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.
1. Suffering: Life is constant suffering/clinging to existence is suffering
2. Cause of Suffering: Suffering comes from unquenchable “thirst”/desire. This leads to rebirth thus the miserable cycle of reliving
3. End/Cessation of Suffering: Suffering ends through the eightfold path 4. Path: the eightfold path ends suffering
∙ Siddhartha was rejected by five ascetics but the compassion of a girl, Sujata (a lay person). Sujata gave him rice porridge when he was starving; this gave her karmic blessings.
∙ The ascetics originally didn’t listen to him because he took food instead of starving himself. He told them that weakening the body also weakens your mind/ability to practice (meditate, etc.). They then listened to his sermon and believed him and he went and mediated under the Bodhi tree.
∙ Buddhism is “the middle path” because it is in between over indulgence (extreme fun/partying) and under indulgence (extreme ascetism).
Theravada Buddhism: the only modern form that can trace its origin back to the years immediately following disputes.
a) Also known as Hinayana or the “Way of the elders”
b) Doesn’t ask about cosmologies/assumes that the eightfold path is the beginning c) South and Southeast Asia
The Eightfold Path:
∙ The way to end suffering/a path to nirvana
∙ In the Pali Canon/Tripitaka/”The Three Baskets,” the beginning is the eightfold path ∙ The three notable parts of the Noble Eightfold Path:
1. The Right Knowledge/Wisdom: seeing things as they are, in accordance with the Buddha’s teachings
2. The Right Ethics/Behavior/Precepts: abstaining from killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct
3. The Right Meditation: mindfulness and focused awareness of the body and mind and the phenomena arising within and affecting each
The First Sermon
∙ The sermon that the Buddha gives to the five doubtful ascetics
∙ Says that the four noble truths are the truths of the entire world
∙ We are not an eternal self/soul of Atman
a) The Pali Canon said: The Buddha said that during his night of enlightenment, he searched everywhere but could not find atman
∙ Suffering is caused by craving (the thirst) these five aggregates:
1. Physical Form causes us to have:
2. Feelings/cessations that turn into:
3. Perceptions which turn into:
4. Mental formations (concepts) which turn into:
∙ Why does craving the five aggregates cause suffering?
a) Each one of these has the three marks:
1. Impermanence (anitya)
2. Suffering/unsatisfactoriness (dukkha)
3. Noself: no single, permanent, selfsufficient essence (anatman)
∙ The 12Fold Chain: the way that karma occurs. Because of certain causes/conditions, you continuously experience rebirth.
∙ Buddhism is the “Middle Way/Path” between asceticism & overindulgence; between eternal existence (atman) and nonexistence; between theism (belief in a higher power) and nontheism.
∙ Greed, anger, and ignorance leads to bad karma
∙ Only humans can experience nirvana, so deities are stuck in samsara
∙ The Buddhism salvation is nirvana. In nirvana, karma and the cycle of reincarnation ends. ∙ Parinirvana:
a) Referring to what happens to an enlightened being after death
b) There is no real way to describe this because no one is sure what it is like c) Nirvanaafterdeath so someone who has attained nirvana and then died d) People do not pray to the Buddha because he has reached parinirvana so he has
not been reborn and could not accomplish anything for them. He is also not a God.
∙ He was the son of a king, raised with all luxuries. He was called, “Siddhartha Gautama.” ∙ When he was a child, he was very delicately brought up.
∙ His father wanted Buddha to be the emperor and conquer the world. His father wanted to prevent him from noticing the problems of the world and becoming a spiritual teacher. ∙ He became the Buddha after his night of enlightenment
Atheism the belief that there is no God or gods.
Globalization The linking and intermixing of cultures.
Modernization The general process through which societies transform economically, socially, and culturally to become more in keeping with the standards set by industrialized Europe. Monism The belief that all reality is ultimately one. In some Hindu traditions, for instance, Brahman is the supreme, unitary reality and is the only thing that truly exists in an ultimate sense. In Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta system, Brahman is all that exists; Brahman is the only existent [something that may be said to exist] that is eternal, permanent, and unchanging. Monotheism The belief in only one god.
Multiculturalism The coexistence of different peoples and cultural ways in one time and place. Nontheistic Term denoting a religion that does not maintain belief in God or gods. Pantheism The belief that the divine reality is identical to nature or the material world.
Panentheism The belief that the divine reality is identical to nature but is not exhausted by it; that is, the divine reality is the natural world while also being greater than or transcending material reality.
Polytheism The belief in multiple gods.
Revealed ethics Truth regarding right behavior believed to be divinely established and intentionally made known to human beings.
Revelation The expression of the divine will, commonly recorded in sacred texts. Ritual Formal religious actions conducted in a prescribed location and manner that follow a prescribed order.
Secularization The general turning away from traditional religious authority and institutions.
Transcendence General category for whatever is perceived as existing above and beyond the normal, mundane, or material world.
Transtheistic view that gods and goddesses may exist but salvation or liberation does not come from them, examples include certain Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Daoist traditions. Urbanization The shift of population centers from rural, agricultural settings to cities.
Arati (aahratee; Sanskrit) A ceremony involving the waving of a lamp before one’s object of devotion or worship. In some South Asian traditions, arati is a purification rite that removes drishthi (the “evil eye” or negative projections).
Brahman (Brahmun; Sanskrit) “that which expands or pervades,” God, Ultimate Reality, the allpervasive, the ground/source of the universe [Brahmin member of the priestly caste, a “possessor of Brahman”; Brahma a creator deity; Brahmanas Vedic ritual texts—all related to the term Brahman].
Guru (gooroo; Sanskrit) “[one who is] heavy with merit” a teacher or preceptor. Hindutva (hindootvah; Sanskrit) “Hinduness” a neologism (new word) that encompasses the ideology of Hindu nationalism.
Karma (kurmah; Sanskrit) from the verbal root “to do” or “to make,” in early Veda: sacrificial actions and the results associated with the Vedic sacrificial tradition properly performed; in late Veda (Upanishads) and after: any thought, word, or deed and its consequences in this lifetime or in another; action or cause; the law of cause and effect.
Mantra (muntrah; Sanskrit) A sacred sound, name, or verse that can be used as an object of meditation, ritual adoration, or magical invocation.
Nirguna (nirgoonah; Sanskrit) “Without qualities,” referring to Brahman as being beyond description.
Prasada (pruhsaadah; Tamil) “kindness or graciousness,” consecrated offering, considered to be imbued after worship with the merciful blessing of the deity.
Saguna (saahgoonah; Sanskrit) “With qualities.” Referring to Brahman as having specific, identifiable traits or characteristics.
Samskara (sumskaahrah; Sanskrit) “to put together,” “to perfect;” general term for rites of passage found in the textual traditions of the Dharmic family of religions (i.e., the Hindu, Jain,
Buddhist, and Sikh traditions). Many Hindus observe 16 traditional samskaras including the naming of a child, formal induction to Vedic study, and last rites or funerary rituals.
Sannyasi (sunnyaahsee; Sanskrit) Monkhood; the samskara of formal renunciation; one who follows a “path of renunciation” rather than a “path of the householder.”
Tapas (tuhpus; Sanskrit) the purifying heat of austerity or asceticism.
Anatman (unaatmun; Sanskrit) “without atman,” doctrine attributed to the Buddha that asserts the absence or lack of an independent, eternal self or soul.
Bodhisattva (bowdhisuttva; Sanskrit, “an awakened being”) One on the verge of awakening or becoming a Buddha.
Interdependent or Dependent Origination (Sanskrit: pratityasamutpada, “arising on the ground of a preceding cause”) the chain of causality, the realization that our sense of “self” arises in response to a set of conditions. These conditions are borne of a vast network of relationships that are inextricably linked to all phenomena. All things result from previous causes and conditions including our false sense of independent existence. A formal definition is that all things arise, exist, and cease to exist based upon previous causes and conditions. Mahayana (muhhaahyaahna; Sanskrit, “greater vehicle”) A wide variety of Buddhist traditions that developed between 100 B.C.E. and 100 C.E. characterized by an emphasis on the bodhisattva path.
Mandala (muhndaahla; Sanskrit “circle”) a circular diagram used in meditation. Mantra (muntrah; Sanskrit) Sacred sounds or syllables used as a focus for meditation, as an invocation of a deity, or as a protective spell.
Samadhi (sahmaahdhee; Sanskrit, “hold together”) A profound state of meditative trance.
Sangha (suhnghaah; Pali/Sanskrit) “Assemblage or community [of Buddhists].” Shunyata (shoonyahtaah; Sanskrit “emptiness”) doctrine that asserts that all phenomena are devoid of independent, intrinsic existence. The older doctrine of “Interdependent Origination” explains how a false sense of self is generated. Emptiness expands upon and extends the concept of Interdependent Origination to all of reality by stressing the relational underpinnings of all components of existence. The true nature of reality as perceived by enlightened beings. Skandhas (skuhndhaah; Sanskrit, “heap,” “bundle,” “conglomeration,” “piling together”) five aggregates (form, feeling/sensation, perception, mental formations/predisposition, and consciousness) that reassemble momentbymoment and give rise to a false sense of self as an independent, unchanging identity or ego.
Stupa (stoohpuh; Sanskrit, “heap”) Reliquary mounds in which the remains or personal objects of Buddhist masters are buried and venerated.
Sutra (soohtrah; Sanskrit, “a thread”) Verses of text or scripture; Buddhist sutras contain stories and sermons attributed to the Buddha.
Tathagata (tuhthagaahtah; Sanskrit, “one who has thus come” or “one who has thus gone” or
“one who has arrived at truth”) what the Buddha called himself in Buddhist literature; an epithet of the Buddha meaning possibly the one who has come and gone like all Buddhas past, present, or future or one who is beyond coming and going (i.e., samsara).
Three Poisons Greed/selfishness, anger/ill will, ignorance/delusion; the three basic emotional states said to be the root causes of all human suffering.
Upaya (Sanskrit, “skillful means/methods”) the Buddha’s ability to cater his teachings to any person or audience; also refers to using one’s own insight, based upon tradition, to make decisions related to ethics and spiritual progress.