hinduism n.
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  1. Hinduism

  2. History and Origins of Hinduism • 1500 BCE Vedic beliefs spread through N. India by Aryan invaders • The Vedas are the foremost in authority, importance and antiquity (hyms & poems) • Other major scriptures include the Upanishads (philosophical reflections), the Mahābhārata and Rāmāyana(epic stories) • The Bhagavad Gītā, a treatise from the Mahābhārata, spoken by the god Krishna, is of special importance

  3. Distinctive Beliefs and Practices of Hinduism • “Hindu” is a word used by Muslim (and later English) invaders to describe all the vast array of diverse devotional traditions of India • Would describe themselves generally by the term followers of the Sanātana Dharma (a Sanskrit phrase meaning "the eternal law") • “Hindus” believe in an ultimate great spirit or “world soul”, Brahman, who takes many incarnations or manifestations (avatars), which may all be worshipped (Henotheism) • Specific devotional tradition will determine beliefs and practices • Worship (Puja) usually takes place at home or temple (usually cannot take place in a hospital) • Ayurvedic medicine—Ancient India medical treatments and practices are used by many people from India

  4. Shiva Ganesh Krishna Hanuman Rama

  5. Reincarnation in Hinduism • We are composed of an immortal soul (“Subtle Body” or “Atman”) and a Physical Body • At death the Atman “transmigrates” either immediately or over period of time to another physical body • Karma (deeds) determine form of next incarnation • After many lives, atman can discover its unity with Brahman (self-realization) • This enlightened state is called “moksha”, after which no more incarnations occur

  6. Karma • The universe/reality is just created in a way that every act of evil is perfectly balanced by an appropriate retribution • These evils can be “worked out” over many lives until a person’s soul (Atman) can be fully absorbed into the oneness of Brahman • When this final escape is achieved one is free from the Karmic cycle • Reincarnation is not in itself a good thing for Hindus, but is something to be escaped

  7. Bioethical Issues • Typically Hindus will have no objections to autopsies, transfusions or transplants (check for variations) • Some Hindus will seek abortions for female fetuses after prenatal tests (strong cultural pressure on mothers to produce a boy) • However, traditional Hindu doctrine considers the fetus a living entity • Sometimes medical problems in newborns will be attributed to bad Karma from past lives

  8. Hindu Vegetarianism • Many practice lactovegetarianism which allows dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, cream, and ghee but excludes eggs • Not based in worry over eating “souls of dead relatives”, but the practice of “loving kindness” (Ahimsa) towards other living beings (all of which manifest the spirit of Brahman) • Some will eat meat, especially those who have embraced Western cultural patterns

  9. Caste System • Since ancient times Indian society has been divided into 4 main “castes”: 1. Brahmins (teachers, scholars and priests), 2. Kshatriyas (kings and warriors), 3. Vaishyas (traders), and 4. Shudras (agriculturists, service providers, and some artisan groups) • Also a fifth group formerly called "untouchables" (now called Dalits) was considered either the lower section of Shudras or outside the caste system altogether

  10. Symbols of World Religions “Aum”-Hindusim Cross-Christianity Wheel of life-Buddhism Crescent Moon-Islam Star of David-Judaism