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Religion Essay

1091 words - 5 pages

Hannah TanzerThe ancient world was filled with vast amounts of things to believe in. History shows that since the beginning of time it seems everyone has been searching for the right thing to believe. Religion has sculpted and changed the world since the beginning of humankind yet the geographies of certain regions led to many different belief systems. For example, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Daoism are some of the beliefs in ancient times. Each belief system had different ideas on how to live and how to get to the afterlife due to regions in which they originated from.The geography of southwest Asia aided to the development of religions such as Judaism. ...view middle of the document...

In this case the invasions of the Aryans led to the blending of Aryan and Dravidian beliefs, creating the syncretic religion of Hinduism. Hindu's believe that salvation is achieved through a spiritual oneness of the soul and the ultimate reality of the universe. To obtain this goal, the soul must reach liberation from the cycle of rebirth. As a result, Hindu's believe in reincarnation and the caste system. From the law book of Manu it is explained that "for the sake of the prosperity of the worlds, he created the Brahman, the Kshatriya, the vaishya and the shudra" (doc. 5). This is their method of obtaining enlightenment. Not only did they organize their society to obtain enlightenment but they looked up to and "encouraged proper moral behavior" (doc. 2). Furthermore, due to the abundant rivers in south Asia, many religions spread and eventually Buddhism emerged. When Siddhartha Gautama decided that the caste system and the need to materially organize society for reaching enlightenment, like in Hinduism, wasn't for him he decided that his new mission would be to reach enlightenment his own way. When he finally achieved nirvana he became the Buddha, or awakened one. The Buddha and his disciples do not believe in prayer, the need for external life or salvation but rather focus on escaping the cycle of reincarnation and reaching their ultimate goal. The Buddha explained how not even "abstinence… will cleanse a man who is not free from delusions" (doc. 8). This was proclaimed by the Buddha at the sermon at Benares. He was telling his followers that in order to achieve nirvana, one must follow the middle path because it is the only way. This document may contain a bias towards the beliefs of Buddhism due to the fact that it was spoken by the Buddha himself, who is the person who created the middle path. He believes the middle path is the best way rather than extreme asceticism because "the middle way avoids of these and leads to peace, insight, full wisdom and nirvana" (doc. 9). The Buddha's disciples believed just as strong in the middle path...

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