Hinduism is a religion based in India and neighboring countries. This religions origin is traced back to before 2000 BCE during the Harappa culture and was developed into distinguished written works and rituals in the Vedic Period during 2000 to 500 BCE. Practices and important knowledge are preserved in important lituratures called the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Ramayana. The Vedas are composed of  four written works including the Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and the Atharva Veda. The Rig Veda teaches important hymns. The Yajur Veda teaches about ceremonies important to Hinduism. The Sama Veda teaches chants used in Hinduism. Lastly, the Atharva Veda teaches the knowledge from the teacher also known as Atharva.

 The Upanishads are works that were produced after the Vedas. It teaches about religious and philosophical ideas.This work was produced during the Axis Age when religion turned a new direction. It was common in this period for Hindus to adopt the practices of Aranyakas who abandoned all social life to live in the solitude within the woods and created experiements to alter consciousness by breathing deeply in meditation, abstinence, mutism, avoiding sleep, and ingesting psychedelic plants. The Upanishads also provide information about important elements such as Brahman, Atman, Maya, Karma, Samsara, and Moksha. The Brahman is the most high God in Hinduism. Atman is the eternal soul of all things. The Maya translates to illusion and refers to the everyday world. Karma is a concept that all good deeds have a effect of good consequences and bad deeds have bad consequences. Samsara is the idea of reincarnation or rebirth through many lives until perfection is achieved. Lastly, Moksha is liberation from all suffering in the world caused by desire.

The Bhagavad Gita is part of an epic poem called Mahabharata that tells about Sons of Pandu conquered their cousins, the Kauravas, with the help from the god Krishna. This story shows the struggle between the prince’s desire to avoid violence and the duty to preserve the righteous kingdom.

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The Ramayana tells about indian life around 1000 BCE and teaches about Dharma. It tells about a perfect man named Rama who is an ideal husband and son.

Yoga is also a large part of the Hindu religion the parts include Jnana which is knowledge, karma which is selfless action, Bhakti or devotion, Raja or meditation, and Hatha or exercises.

There are many Hindu gods that derive from the highest god, Brahman. The most important ones are Vishnu, god of preservation, Shiva, god of destruction and recreation, Devi, goddess and divine mother, Durga, the goddess of perserverance, Lakshmi, goddess of success, Kali, goddess of destruction of recreation, Saraswati, goddess of music and culture, Krishna, loving manifestation of Vishnu, Rama, the royal manifestation of Vishnu, and Ganesha, the elephant-headed son of Shiva.

Buddhism is not a religion, it a set of rules for life to gain perfection. There are three ideas that set the foundation for attaining perfection. They are called the three jewels. The first is Buddha which is a perfect human being. Dharma is the total of all Buddhist teachings about how to view the world and live properly. Lastly, Sangha is the community of nuns and monks.

Buddhism also teaches the three marks of reality. They include change, no permanent identity, and Dukkha or suffering.

The Four Noble truths in Buddhism are that life is suffering, suffering comes from desire, you can only end suffering by ending desire, and that release from suffering can only be attained by the Noble Eightfold Path. The eightfold path explains what is needed for enlightenment. It includes the right understands, the right intervention, right speech, right action, right work, right effort, right meditation, and the right contemplation.

Buddhism teaches Ahimsa, to do no harm, Soul, Karma, and Nirvana.

There are three branches of Buddhism which are Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

Theravada is a conservative, monastic focus and it also known as “the way of the elders”. Mahayana, the “Big Vehicle” is a speculative view of the world and has a greater focus on layperson. Vajrayana, the “diamond vehicle” is a highly ritualistic focus of Buddhism in Tibet.

Ritual elements of Buddhism include Mantra, a short sacred chant, Mudra, hand gestures, Mandala, religious diagram, Vajra, a short scepter, and stupa, a circular dome shrine.

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