Origins of Jainism Buddhism and Hinduism
Ancient India history is characterized by great religious aspects, Vedic and Aryans ages, the first settlers and the Mauryan Empire (Mark). All these elements have had influence on the Indian religions. The focus on this paper will be on three major Indian religions: Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. In the investigation these religions, the paper will explain the origin of each religion in addition to comparing and contrasting each against the other. The practice of these religions in different countries shows the impact ancient India history.
Jainism is believed to have been founded by Varhamana Mahavira in 520 B.C.E. Varhamana was son to chief of state (Library of Congress ). He left home at the age of 30 and he spent the next twelve years in seeking spiritual enlightenment. He taught his new doctrine for about 30 years. While traveling all over India he gathered a discipline order of Monks as well as that of many common men and women. Mahavira took the doctrine of Karma and re-birth but developed his ideas into a new direction. The new direction being that plants, animals and human beings as well as inanimate objects had living soul entangled in them which they accumulated through Karma. Even rocks had souls locked inside them. THIS IS SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
Jains believed that suffering could dissipate some accumulated karma making progress towards total spiritual liberation. The soul would thrive or wither depending on the weight of the object they are enshrined. These ascetic people strived to make their souls light in hopes of escaping weight matter that could cause their withering. This is because, they believed that soul enmeshed in lighter objects would hover to the top of the universe and forever remain there in quiet ecstasy. Some early Jains starved themselves to death since they feared to destroy other objects in the process of getting food. Most took a less severe approach recognizing different levels of life. Human 1st, animals 2nd, plants 3rd and inanimate objects last. Jain were against all acts of violence; not wanting to kill creature including insects and therefore, they became vegetarians. Some priest practiced nudity as well claiming that clothes and loincloths were a symbol of attachment. After the death of Mahavira Jainism was still a small sector of India. Under the Mauryan dynasty Jainism flourished from 322-185B.C.E (Library of Congress ).
Siddhartha Gautama, Shakyamuni was best known as Buddha (enlighten one) and he founded Buddhism in 500 B.C.E (Library of Congress ). He was a contemporary like Varhamana Mahavira, Jainism. He was son to chief of Himalayan foothills what is now Nepal. At the age of 29 years, he felt displeasure with his life and left home to become a wandering ascetic in search of true enlightenment. His first destination was in Magadha Kingdom where he studied Yoga. Later, he practiced asceticism. One day while mediating under a tree he attained an enlightenment and had a full insight of the universe process. Later he would start preaching “middle life” basically a mixture of asceticism and a worldly life. He taught this around the Ganges Valley for 45 yrs.
The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path were considered as the real enlightenments. The Four Nobles are: first, accepting pain and suffering as part of life. Secondly, acknowledging that suffering and anxiety are as result of human attachments and desires. Thirdly, people can know their weaknesses and find ways to overcome them. Fourth, triumph is only realizable if we follow the eightfold path. Therefore, to integrated insight of Buddhism in individuals’ psychology, all people can follow Eightfold path that will lead them to liberation. What people should do is to recognize universality of suffering, decide to liberalize themselves by adopting to appropriate speech, right conduct, livelihood and endeavors (Mark). Buddhism stayed as a crucial religion in the Ancient India before spreading widely through the East, Southeast and Central Asia. At that time the religion had declined and it had only a few followers. It never lost hold in Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea and Japan.
Approximately, (400 B.C.E- 200 B.C.E.) the religion Brahmanism evolved into a more devotion drive religion, better known today as Hinduism (Library of Congress ). In Hinduism, Brahman were known for maintaining their high societal rank. Hinduism also allowed people to directly connect with their gods with the intervention of the priest. Hinduism is built on the foundation that Vedas are holy revelations and thus a special status system is indirectly set in them. It acts as life guiding tool with the aim of uniting with Brahman which is ground of all beings. Hindus believe in numerous methods of adoring the ultimate principles of life. As a result, new beliefs, deities and doctrines are usually incorporated in the worship. Upon the expiration of the third century B.C.E., Hinduism emphasized more on personalities and roles of many gods. The three major gods were Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma was the creator. Shiva was a creator too and also a destroyer. Vishnu was the sustainer and preserver of life. The religion had also female gods who comprised of Lakshmi and Sarawati. Lakshmi was a giver of wealth while Sarawat was a goddess for music and learning. Hinduism permitted the caste system to maintain everyday life stability since all people understood their social status. THIS IS SAMPLE ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW
In the above discussions; this paper has comprehensively covered the creation and development of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. In the following discussion, the paper will compare and contrast all the three religions. The basis of all the three religions is to express ones need to become spiritually enlighten, a form of all being. These religions are all very polytheists, believing in thousands of gods and goddess. Asceticism as a measure of personal discipline is mandatory for all three religions on the road to enlightenment. Both Jainism and Buddhism are from the Sramana culture of India as where Hinduism is from the Brahman culture of India. Jainism and Buddhism both were challenges to the old Brahmanic religion; rejecting any form of violence and animal sacrifices. They also rejected the caste system which was practiced in Brahmanism, a religion that came before them. They believed that every person had a chance to free their spirits and be with the gods of the universe forever not matter the social status. Hinduism on the other hand embraced and evolved from the Brahmanic religion Hinduisms belief Vedas are holy revelations and the status structure is indirectly set in them.
This paper has discussed the beginnings of Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism; there similarities and differences. All three played important roles in the evolution of India’s religious foundation. From Jainism which is considered the toughest religion to follow because of the strict rules to Buddhism and Hinduism with a more relaxed approach of spiritual enlightenment. The devotees following them have spread worldwide. I now have a better understanding of these religions.
Library of Congress . The History of Ancient India. 15 December 2011. Web. 2018.
Mark, Joshua J. Ancient India. 13 November 2012. Web. 2018.