Re-Cap of Confucian and Shinto Concepts
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Hindu Spiritual Disciplines
Re-Cap of Confucian and Shinto ConceptsConfucian Ideas
Five key relationshipsImportance of proprietyElevation of scholarship over pedigreeNature of virtueFilial pietyConfucian ClassicsFour Books
AnimismImportance of kamiSignificance of torii gatesHarmony with natureShinto/Buddhist multiplexMisogiKannagaraShinto as indigenous religion
HinduismTruth is one; sages call it by various names.- Rig Veda2Hindu OriginsHinduism- a collection of traditions?Any who use the Vedas in spiritual practiceSanatana Dharma (Eternal Religion)What perspective does this represent?Early emphasis on meditation practice as well as a variety of divine manifestationsPoly-, Mono-, or Mon-?
3The DharmaDharma dutiesnatural lawsocial law/welfareethicsall life activitiesHarappan CivilizationVery old civilizationCirca 2500 B.C.EBased on archaeological evidenceUse of lingams/menhirs- upright stone monumentsWorshipped Siva-like godAlso an indigenous Dravidian populationIs Hinduism another example of indigenous religion?Invaded by AryansCirca 2000-900 B.C. E.May or may not have brought religious ideas with them
The Vedas The foundation of most Hindu practiceRig Veda- Sanskrit hymns devoted to devasSamhitas- the text of any of the VedasBrahmanas- detailing proper performance of ritualAranyakas- for reclusive meditation; dangerous ritualsUpanishads- the teachings of spiritual mastersWhy do most people skip to the end?realization of the oneness of the godhead, a supreme formless reality behind thee world of transitory appearances Vedas written downCirca 1500-400 B.C.E.Switches from oral tradition to written documents in Sanskrit
The Rig VedaOldest known scripture in the worldLists major deities in a traditionally polytheistic pantheonPresented side by side with the concept of one universal and unseen realityPraises and implores the blessings of the devas (shining ones)Devas could be thunder Gods, Gods of the dawn., gods of drink, transparent as the sky (polytheistic)Major Message of the VedasExistence of an Ultimate Realitybeyond human understandingceaselessly creatingsustaining all lifeencompassing all that isDeveloped into bhakti (devotional) practice because of difficulty in worshipping the formless?
Epic Poems- @400BCE-400CERamayanaVishnu producing an avatar (Rama) to help uplift humanityPortrays duties of relationships and ideal forms of roles (servant, prince, etc)MahabarataShows all sides of human natureFocuses on the importance of righteous action18th book- The Bagavad-Gita- story of Krishna as an avatar of a chariot driver instructing Arjuna The BrahminPriests who controlled the aspects of Vedic worshipBrahman (supreme reality)Without featuresWith features (god manifestation)Mantras introduced as ritual formulasThe sound invokes a reality they connote or describeAtman- personal soul that inhabits human beings
CastesEach caste (varna) is composed of multiple sub-categories (jat)List of castesBrahmin- priestsKshatriyas- nobility (kings, warriors, vassals)Vaishyas-backbone of economy (farmers and merchants)Shudra- manual laborers and artisansDalits- Untouchables- (dead body removal, filth removal, other uncleanRenamed by M.K. Gandhi= harijans (children of God)Dalits now find that term patronizing/condescending Universal Castes?
Why Is the Caste System Important?This concept is integral to the precepts of Sanatana DharmaVedas contain laws that govern all aspects of lifeEvery person serves in their nicheSociety functions smoothly when these positions are accepted by allIt moves people from selfish desires to common good in the social orderWhat tradition also embraces this idea?
The Caste System (Cont.)What are the up sides of a caste system?Why are caste systems somewhat incomprehensible to Western thinkers?Does this mean that Western religions are inherently selfish?
Concepts for the UpanishadsContemplation of the Luminous SelfHow can this phrase be interpreted?ReincarnationSenses give an impermanent and inaccurate view of the worldTurning away from sensory input and transient material world Looking for connections with BrahmanIs God out there?Is God In Here?
16Human Beings Contain...A collection of transient and intransient formsAtman= the subtle self in you that isYou= your conscious ego selfThe Brahman We (as the atman) are but waves on the ocean of BrahmanConnections to what other traditions?Good and Bad KarmaKarmaAction and its consequenceas a person acts so they becomeif a person has impure thoughts they become impure, if they are pure in thoughts they are pureWe bear the results and consequences of our actionsin this lifeand the next (reincarnated form)every move has far reaching consequencesBreaking the CycleMokshaLiberation from the karmic cycle= wheel of birth, life, death (Samsara)Freedom from all constraints of this lifespacetimematterjoining with the Brahman?Requires many lifetimes of upward striving incarnation before one can move beyond the earthly transcendence
Major Theistic Groups (Bhakti)Three major groupings of deity worshippersVaishnavites- worship divine as Vishnuthe lotus floats serenely on the water with its roots firmly in the mudrefined spiritual energy rising from worldly contaminationSaivites- worship divine as Siva (the destroyer)Often represented with a consort (Parvati his spouse)Saktas-worship the female creative powerKaliwarrior goddessdestruction is actually transformation
Vishnus SymbolsConch shellMakes the purest sound from which creation springsGolden mace/clubA weapon signifying total power to destroy evilRotating disc/discusAnother weapon with the same symbolismLotus flowerFertility and regeneration; nurturing of the soul from worshipping Vishnu
Sivas symbolsCircle of flamesThe universe in its entiretySnake around neckSymbol of fertility and strengthSmall drumRepresents sound of creationHand gesture (abhaya mudra)Symbol for fearlessnessLifted right footSymbolic of freedom from samsaraFlame in handThe essence of creation and destructionKali
YogaYogayoke or union with the infinite consciousnessFrom root yuj meaning to bind fastAll are considered paths of liberationOne should use some form of disciplined technique to achieve this.Raja YogaJnana YogaKarma YogaBhakti YogaDharma Yoga
Raja (Hatha) YogaConsists of more than just he elements familiar to westernersYama- virtues/observancesNiyama- restraintsAsana- psoturesPranayama- breathingPratyahara-inward focusDharana-concentration for meditationDhyana- mediationSamadhi- insight
Physiological and PhysicalRaja Yoga asanas - physical posturesprana - invisible life energychakras - bodily energy centersmantras- sound repetitionyantras - a visual formOne Version of Yoga
Rational ApproachJnana Yogarational mind emphasisrestraint, renunciation, resignation, concentration, faithDeveloping an intellectual understanding of the relationships between the concepts expressed above and their impact on daily lifeIs this important to practice or to study?Union Through Virtuous ActionKarma Yogaany service rendered without though or interest in its effect on anythingGod doing it through you, but not youActions have consequences in real world and also in the karmic worldIs there an equivalent to this in Western society?Another Version of Yoga
Devotional UnionBhakti YogaLove relationship with/to a divine manifestation serves as the ultimate example of devotionThe bhakti practitioner expects the possibility of a physical appearance of god/godsHunter at Sivas shrine- p. 81Still Another Kind of Yoga!
Dharma YogaOften intermingled with karma yoga or any other of the yogic pathsFocused on following duties associated with caste and Hindu life cycleCarrying out gender roles as well as societal rolesWomen serve men and bear children
The Hindu Life CycleTraditional life periods25yrs eachChaste student learning from teacherHouseholder stageraise a family contribute productively to societyRetirement from society and beginnings of serious meditation and scriptural study Partial renunciateAscetic stage- full detachment from societya sannyasinMost males do not follow this full path to its end stageGuruThe guruVenerable/venerated teachers or spiritual guidesdo not proclaim themselves teachers, the students simply comeno guru necessary for the sincere earnest seeker?P. 98- floating wood symbolism Does that metaphor apply universally?A Stereotypical Guru?
Establishment of independent Indian state- 1947Gandhi established two overreaching preceptsawareness of spiritual truth (satyagraha)non-violent resistance to military-industrial oppression
Modern HinduismExclusivity Vs. UniversalismSanatana DharmaInherently ecumenicalNon-proselytizingNaturally universal in appeal?Social/Political factorsHistory of India and PakistanConstant tensions between Muslims and HindusMore Modern HinduismChristianity appeals to those who are trapped into older caste-centered beliefs?Mahatma GandhiRamakrishnaVivekanandaPramahansa YoganandaMaharishi Mahesh YogiICW on HinduismDo you see political/social developments intertwined with religious practice in the United States? Do we have a caste system in place even though America is supposed to be the land of opportunity? How does that relate to dominant religious norms?