Religions Of The World: Brief Description Of Aspects Of Hinduism, Buddhism, And Islam.

1797 words - 7 pages

HinduismBeliefs and Practices:Hinduism has commonly been viewed in the west as a polytheistic religion - one which worships multiple deities: gods and goddesses. Although it has been viewed by some as a monotheistic religion, because it recognizes only one supreme God: the panentheistic principle of Brahman, that all reality is a unity. To Hindus the entire universe is seen as one divine entity who is simultaneously at one with the universe and who transcends it as well.Some choose to view Hinduism as Trinitarian because Brahman is simultaneously visualized as a triad: Brahma the Creator, who is continuing to create new realities;Vishnu, (Krishna) the Preserver, who preserves these new creations. Whenever dharma (rder, righteousness, religion, and law) is threatened, Vishnu is said to travel from heaven to earth in one of ten incarnations. Shiva is responsible for destruction of things altough, is at times said to be compassionate, though destructive. Altough strictly speaking, Hinduism is a henotheistic religion -- a religion which recognizes a single deity, but which recognizes other gods and goddesses as facets or manifestations or aspects of that supreme God.Hindus tend to follow one of two major divisions within Hinduism:Vaishnavaism: which generally regards Vishnu as the ultimate deity orShivaism: which generally regards Shiva as the ultimate deity.However, many rural Hindus worship their own village goddess or an earth goddess. She is believed to rule over fertility and disease - and thus over life and death. Priesthood is regarded as a less important aspect in rural Hinduism: non-Brahmins and non-priests often carry out ritual and prayer there.Hindus believe in the repetitious Transmigration of the Soul or the transfer of one's soul after death into another body (reincarnation). This produces a continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth through their many lifetimes. Karma is the accumulated sum of ones good and bad deeds. Karma determines how you will live your next life. Through pure acts, thoughts and devotion, one can be reborn at a higher level. Eventually, one can escape this cycle of reincarnation and achieve enlightenment. Bad deeds can cause a person to be reborn as a lower level. The unequal distribution of wealth, prestige, suffering are thus seen as natural consequences for one's previous acts, both in this life and in previous lives.Hindus organize their lives around certain activities or "purusharthas." These are called the "the doctrine of the fourfold end of life." They are: The three goals of the "pravritti," those who are in the world, are:dharma: righteousness in their religious life. This is the most important of the three.artha: success in their economic life; material prosperity.kama: gratification of the senses; pleasure; sensual, sexual, and mental enjoyment.The main goal for the "nivritti," those who renounce the world. is:moksa: Liberation from thecycle of reincarnation.Meditation is often practiced, with...

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