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Growth and Development of World Religions PowerPoint Presentation
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Growth and Development of World Religions

Growth and Development of World Religions

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Growth and Development of World Religions

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  1. Growth and Development of World Religions

  2. Growth and Development of World Religions Explain how world religions or belief systems grew and their significance. • Hinduism • Judaism • Buddhism • Christianity • Islam

  3. Five of the world’s major faiths and ethical systems emerged establishing institutions, systems of thought, and cultural styles that would influence neighboring peoples and endure for centuries.

  4. Buddhism • A religious belief system which stems from Hinduism. • Buddhism deals with finding the peace within.

  5. Buddhism • Buddhism still popular in India, and has spread to all of Asia. Continues to expand around the world • Comes from the teachings of a great man; stresses the humanity of their teacher (rather than his divinity); teaches non-violence; developed simple traditions of resisting temptations and getting rid of materialistic possessions. • But Buddhism has a modern appeal and remains popular all over the world in the 21st Century – 2nd fastest growing religion in the world today • Buddha means ‘someone who has awakened from sleep’ • It was the Buddha’s ‘Great Awakening’ that resulted in the discovery of the eternal secret of the meaning of life

  6. Siddhartha Gautama: Early Life • Founder of Buddhism came from a kshatriya family, and he gave up his privileged position to seek enlightenment • He was born Siddhartha Gautama in 563 BC in a small state in the foothills of the Himalayas • His wealthy father kept him in a sheltered life of luxury, determined that he would never know misery • Siddhartha married his cousin and excelled in his studies; he was being groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps as governor

  7. Humans and Suffering • Siddhartha became dissatisfied with his comfortable life, and on short journeys in his chariot around the palace he became aware for the first time of how fragile humans were • He saw more and more misery and suffering amongst the ordinary people, and learned of monks who have withdrawn from the world to lead holy lives and perfect their souls • He became determined to take up the simple life himself, and wander the land in the hope it would give him insight into suffering

  8. Search for Enlightenment • About 524 BC Siddhartha left his wife, family and luxurious home to lead the life of a holy man • He wandered the Ganges Valley seeking an understanding of suffering. • He lived a simple life, practicing a form of fasting (practically starving) and constantly meditating • However, none of these tactics gave him the answers he was seeking Siddhartha as Meditating Ascetic – Gandharan 2nd Century BC

  9. Enlightenment Under the Banyan Tree • Eventually abandoned his lifestyle because it was leading nowhere • According to legend he sat down under a huge banyan tree to meditate upon a better path • Determined to stay seated until he understood the problem of human suffering • For 49 days he sat in meditation, tempted by demons with the pleasures of the flesh • Just before dawn on the 50th day he gained the knowledge he was looking for on how to eliminate suffering • At that point he became the Buddha – ‘the enlightened one’ Banyan Tree Buddhist Shrine

  10. He realized suffering comes from… • Wanting what we like but do not have • Wanting to keep what we like and already have • Not wanting what we dislike but have

  11. Buddha and the ‘Turning of the Wheel’ • Buddha publicly announced his doctrine in 528 BC, near the holy city of Banaras (modern Varanasi) • Buddhists refer to this sermon as the ‘Turning of the Wheel of Law’ because it was the beginning of his quest to spread the laws of righteousness

  12. Disciples and Death Death of the Buddha. Gandharan 2nd C CE • He quickly attracted disciples from all over the Ganges valley • He taught them to live simple lives and wear yellow robes and travel the land preaching Buddhism, living off donations • For more than 40 years the Buddha himself led his disciples all over northern India • Around 438 BC he died at the age of 80, leaving his disciples with a final message: • ‘Decay is inherent in all component things! Work out your salvation with diligence’

  13. The Middle Way • Buddhism called the ‘Middle Way’ because it lies between normal human life and desire, and extreme simplicity • Demands only a moderate form of rejection and simplicity • Philosophy is called Dharma (‘religious good deeds leading to a good afterlife’) and is based on ‘Four Noble Truths’ • The Four Noble Truths are: 1. Suffering dominates our life 2. The cause of suffering is desire 3. Suffering can be extinguished by extinguishing desire, thereby attaining nirvana the ‘going out of the fire’ of desire 4. There is an 8-fold path that leads out of suffering to nirvana

  14. Eight-fold path calls for humans to lead balanced and moderate lives, rejecting both the devotion to luxury found in so many human societies, and the extreme asceticism of hermits and Jains Noble Eight-fold path means pursuing ‘right’ views, right resolve, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration –leading a decent, ethical, meditative life If they pursue the right path of personal effort and redemption, each individual could escape the cycle of reincarnation and achieve the state of nirvana - Reincarnation - Rebirth of the soul in another body - Nirvana - perfect spiritual independence The Noble Eight-Fold Path to Nirvana

  15. Buddhism was not originally a religion. • Buddha criticized all earlier religions; he was an agnostic with no knowledge of God or gods

  16. Why did people like Buddhism? • Buddhism offered an escape from the cycle of incarnation without the help of brahmin (priests), and also rejected the caste system Caste System – a social scale in which a social hierarchy is maintained generation after generation • Message of Buddhism thus appealed strongly to the lower classes • Because it did not demand anything extreme, Buddhism became far more popular

  17. Language was another important reason for the appeal of Buddhism The Buddha and his disciples avoided using Sanskrit (literary language used by the brahmins (priests) in their rituals) They used local languages instead that reached a much larger audience Appeal of Buddhism: Language

  18. Buddhist Shrines and Stupas • Early Buddhists recognized holy sites that became places to pray • Pilgrims flocked to sites associated with the Buddha’s life • Also popular were stupas - shrines housing relics of the Buddha and his first disciples The Great Stupa at Sanchi, probably Constructed by Ashoka, 3rd Century BCE sanchi.htm

  19. Buddhist Organization • Buddhists were also highly organized • From the days of the Buddha himself, converts joined communities where they dedicated their lives to the search for enlightenment • Monasteries paid for and supported by gifts from Buddhist followers allowed monks to spend most of their time preaching and explaining the dharma to audiences - Dharma - one's righteous duty, or any virtuous path • During the centuries following Buddha’s death, monastic organization proved extremely efficient at spreading the Buddhist message and gaining converts • Eventually Buddhist monasteries began to accept gifts from wealthy benefactors and treated these gifts as acts of generosity that deserved salvation • Thus wealthy individuals could enjoy the comforts of the world, avoid the sacrifices demanded by early Buddhism, and still ensure salvation

  20. Takht-I-Bahi (Pakistan Today) This monastery flourished from 200 BC to 300 BC

  21. Developments in Later Buddhism • Although Buddhism was easier to follow than other religions, it still made heavy demands on people not willing to give up all they had. • Pure Buddhism involved much sacrifice – giving up personal property, desire for social standing, and detachment from family and the world • Between 200 BC and 100 AD Buddhist beliefs changed to allow less demanding rules for salvation, leading to an explosion in popularity for the faith • The first change was to make the Buddha a GOD • Although the Buddha did not consider himself a god, some of his later followers did, this helped converts channel their energies and identify more closely with the faith

  22. Boddhisatvas • Second important development was the notion of the boddhisatva (‘an enlightened being’) • Boddhisatvas were individuals who had reached spiritual perfection and deserved the reward of nirvana, but who intentionally delayed their entry into nirvana to help others who were still struggling • Like Christian saints, boddhisatvas served as examples of spiritual excellence and inspiration Boddhisatva, Gandharan Sculpture, 2nd Century CE

  23. Mahayana Buddhism • These developments in later Buddhism opened the faith to large numbers of people • During the early centuries of the Common Era Buddhism spread quickly throughout India • Eventually, with the opening up of the Silk Roads, Buddhist monks carried the faith to Central Asia, China, Japan, Korea and SE Asia - Silk Road – Trade Route that extended from Europe to Asia