Religion can be defined as the spiritual approach of human beings, which has the criteria involving norms, values, culture, beliefs, etc. People articulate their religion with the help of rituals, art, texts, music, etc. All these shape the culture of the society. In a simple term, we can say that culture and religion are interrelated with each other. According to the views of Michael David Coogan and Vasudha Narayanan, different religions have taken birth at different place according to the culture and values of the people. If we talk about eastern religion, it is a particular group that combines various religions of eastern countries.
In the eastern countries such as China, India, Southeast Asia, etc. various religious are popular such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism (Coogan & Narayanan, 2005, pg 101). This paper is associated with the various parameters that are associated with the Eastern Religions. With the help of this paper, I am trying to summarize some important attributes of Eastern Religions and comparing Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism, so that the reader can acquire a deep knowledge of these religions. Comparison of Hinduism, Buddhism and Confucianism Countries of Origin
Hinduism: Various scholars have considered that it is the world oldest religion and originated in India in about 10,000 BC. In the views of various philosopher, there are mainly three periods of the origin of Hinduism—first is the ancient, i. e. 6500 BCE to 1000 AD second is the medieval, which is from 1000 to 1800 AD, and the last one is modern, which is from 1800 AD to the present (Robinson, 2005). Buddhism: Philosophy of Buddhism is related to the non-theistic religion, which is originated by Siddhartha Gautama Buddha in fifth century in India as an antagonistic threat of Hindu Brahmans (Boeree, 1999).
Confucianism: It comes into the category of East Asian Religions. The country of origin of this religion is China and it was founded by Confucius in 551 BC. This harmony is based on the very complicated structure of the moral values. It was originated to counter the war in the China in the period of Zhou dynasty (Robinson, 2004). With the help of above information, it can be identified that origin place of Hinduism and Buddhism is India but the time is different and Confucianism is originated in the China. Historical Figures and Events Hinduism: Hinduism came into being in late Neolithic period (5500-2600 BCE).
The sources of Modern Hinduism are Vedas and Rigveda (1700-1100 BC) is the oldest among them. The epic poems Ramayana and Mahabharata of Hinduism were written roughly in the period ranging from 500-100 BCE. The abstract concept of Brahman was followed by Adi Shankara. The prominent teachers of Hinduism such as Ramanuja, Madhva and Chaitany had a belief in Rama & Krishna. During the nineteenth century, many Hindu philosophers including Shri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Prabhupada and Swami Vivekananda succeeded to spread the concept of Vedanta & Yoga to western part of the world (Klostermaier).
Buddhism: In the 3rd century BC, this religion was extended to South India and Shri Lanka by an Indian King Ashoka. There are mainly two sects of Buddhism—first one is Mahayana and another is Theravada. According to the belief given in Theravada, Buddha is known as a historical figure. It believes that personality of a human is self disciplined. In the 1st century AD, it was spread in the various countries of Southeast Asia such as Thailand, Burma, Laos, etc. The Mahayana sect considers that currently in Gautama is the most modern Buddha among all the past Buddhas.
It was spread in 2nd century to all the areas of Korea and Japan. Mahayana believes that in order to spread Buddhism all over the world, there would be bodhisattvas. In the 7th century, the sequence of revitalizing lamas in Tibet was the senior line of Buddhism (Boeree, 1999). Confucianism: This is a very convoluted system that strongly manipulated the social and political structures of the China in the second century BCE. It has also influenced the thinking and behavior of the human being in China. There was a development of spiritual discipline in the first century C.
E. which is known as Ch’an, and in simple terms, it can be called meditation. It was a result of Chinese and Indian Buddhism coming into touch with each other. In the present scenario, it is very popular in various Southeast Asian countries such as Taiwan, Korea and Japan. It is also persuading the human beings of eastern ancestries that are living all over the world (Robinsoon, 2004). Central Beliefs Hinduism: As per the views of various scholars, it has been analyzed that this religion is very diverse in nature.
The core belief of Hinduism is the action and its successive reaction of an individual, which is known as Karma. According to Hindu religion, Karma of individuals creates their birth cycle, which includes birth, rebirth, death and Moksha. It is also known as Samsara. Moksha can be achieved by loving god. The cycle of birth and rebirth is also based on the various karmas and Yoga such as psycho-physical contemplation, Raja Yoga, etc. Yoga is pathway of self-sacrificing, which helps an individual to identify and differentiate reality and unreality (Klostermaier).
Buddhism: Various scholars describe that central beliefs of Buddhism are characterized within the four Nobel Truths and the Eightfold Path. As per the knowledge of philosophers, these four Nobel truths are mainly related to the life of human beings and their sufferings. Fist one explains that life of all human beings is suffering due to the various reasons. Next truth is related to the desire of human begins, which says that the main reason behind the suffering of life is desire. Third Nobel truth is that by devoting the life for God and ending desires, human beings can end the sufferings of life.
Last Nobel truth guides people to follow the Eightfold path, which will help them to finish the various reasons of suffering and moving towards the path of Moksha. The Eightfold path of Buddhism includes eight principles, which are right aspirations of human being, right conduct, right views of individual, right speech, right efforts, right mindfulness, right meditation and Right livelihood (Boeree, 1999). Confucianism: The central beliefs of this religion are to worship and give respect to the ancestors.
The nucleolus theme of this religion is to respect the relationships and fulfill the responsibilities according to the different positions and status. This considers that an individual should respect his parents, teachers, elders, younger siblings, students, etc. According to this, in order to enhance self discipline and personality, people should follow contemplation. Its central conviction is to achieve the commonwealth of entire universe (Robinson, 2004). Nature of God Hinduism: The nature of god in Hinduism is both monotheistic and polytheistic.
According to this religion, all Gods have one entity, but they are known as different Gods and Goddess. Hence, as per the nature of this religion, there are various Gods, such as Vishnu, Shiva Shakti, Mahalaxmi, Saraswati, Ganeshji, but they all recognized as a single divinity (Robinson, 2005). Buddhism: As per the analysts, this religion believes in the reality of God but does not define a single God. According to Buddha, a person should be enlightened and should not trust on the supports of outsiders. This religion teaches the followers that everything in the universe has their own existence (Boeree, 1999).
Confucianism: As per the beliefs of this religion, it has not yet declared existence of divinity. It has encouraged the harmonization with Tien to maintain the relationships and environmental synchronization. Tien is the combination of Heaven, Tao and Ultimate (Robinson, 2004). Texts Hinduism: The earliest collections of Hinduism writings are Vedas, which are mainly four, e. g. Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. Other important Hindu Texts are the Upanishads, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, etc.
All these texts are characterized with the philosophy of Hinduism and Karma (Hinduism, 2008). Buddhism: The main Buddhism text is Tripitaka. This is basically the amalgamation of three writings of Buddhism. This is followed by both Theravada Buddhists and Mahayana Buddhists. The Sutras is another text that is followed by Mahayana Buddhists only. Lotus Sutra describes about the oration of Buddha and Bodhisattvas. This book very well explains the Buddhism (Boeree, 1999). Confucianism: There are various texts assembled by this religion.
Some of the texts are as follow: The Si Shu or the four books, The Chung Yung or the Doctrine of the mean, etc. were given by Chu His in the period of Sung dynasty. Some other texts are The Wu Jing or Five Classics, The Shih Ching or Classic of Odes: 300 poems and songs, etc, and these were the writings of Meng Tzu. The Ch’un Ch’iu or spring and Autumn Annals: a history of the state of Lu and The Li Ching or Classic of Rites: a group of three books on the LI the rites of propriety are some other important texts of this religion (Robinson, 2004).
Ritual and Practice Hinduism: as per the philosophy of Hinduism, the rituals and practices are in the form of Puja of the images and sculpture of the God at the holy place, temples and home shrines. In the early morning before eating food or drink, Puja is done by some Hindus, which is a ritual practice by them. Without Puja they do not start their daily schedule. In Puja they remember God and pray Him to give them peace, wealth and health. Due to this reason, Puja is also defined as the way to develop an interrelationship of human beings and divine.
Readings of Vedas and Mantras is also one of the main practices of Hinduism. Hindus also celebrate various occasions and celebrate the birthdays of God and Goddess. On the special days such as anniversaries, birthdays, etc. they organizes special worships and Yagya (Robinson, 2005). Buddhism: In Buddhism there are also numerous practices and rituals for the human beings to complete their journey of life and gain blessing of others, so that they can enlighten their experiences.
These practices include meditation, prayer wheels, liberations, mantras (ways to devote our spirits and essence with secret sounds), Mudras, etc. (Boeree, 1999). Confucianism: In this religion, there are mainly four passages of life that have been distinguished as rituals and practices. These are birth, reaching at the maturity age, marriage and death. Birth is the practice of protection of fetus, which is known as The T’ai-shen. In this they protect the women who are expecting pregnancy from the harassment and punish the persons who annoy a mother.
The next passage is the age of reaching maturity, the stage in which a young adult is provided chicken. Third passage of the marriage includes six stages proposal, engagement, dowry, procession, Marriage and Reception and morning after. The last passage of the ritual and practices is death. In this the relatives of the dead inform neighbors about the death by crying and shouting. This is the last practice of an individual according to this religion (Robinson, 2004). Ethics and Morality Hinduism: The primary ethics of Hinduism is related to the cycle of birth, death and rebirth of a single soul.
They believe in living their life according to the Dharma and by following right ways and higher truths. They perform selfless actions and always pray for the wealth and health of entire humanity. They follow their traditions, cultures and give respect to other’s values and beliefs also. The main principle of Hindus is Karma and Yoga. They work without any expectation because they believe that their Karmas shape their life cycle of rebirth or Moksha. Hindu women are the great example of following moral and values for example, Sita Ji, Rahda Ji, Meera Bai, etc. (Klostermaier)
Buddhism: The ethics and morality of Buddhism is the practice of non-extremism. It frequently discusses the path of self-indulgence. In this religion, ethics and morality are based on five principles. First one is always avoiding taking something from life because they believe that desires are the main cause behind every suffering; second is speaking truth, never using other’s things without permission or never steal other’s thing, never doing an immoral sexual behavior and staying away from drugs and alcohols, because these are the cause of loss of mindfulness (Boeree, 1999).
Confucianism: The ethics and morality of this religion include Yi (justice), Li (politeness, good manners, good practice, etc. ), Xin (sincerity, consistency and reliability), Hsiao (respect for the elders, love for the younger, etc. ), Chung (loyalty, belief, etc. ), etc. (Robinson, 2004).
Boeree, C. G. (1999). An Introduction to Buddhism. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from http://webspace. ship. edu/cgboer/buddhaintro. html Coogan, M. D. & Narayanan, V. (2005). Eastern religions: origins, beliefs, practices, holy texts, sacred places (eds. ). Published by Oxford University Press US.
Hinduism (2008). Retrieved March 23, 2009 from http://www. sacred-texts. com/hin/ Klostermaier, K. K. Hinduism: A Short History. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from http://www. oneworld-publications. com/books/texts/hinduism-a-short-history-ch1. htm Robinson, B. A. (2005 August 26). Hinduism: A general introduction. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from http://www. religioustolerance. org/hinduism2. htm Robinson, B. A. (2004, July 4). Religions of the world: Confucianism: Founded by K’ung Fu Tzu. Retrieved March 23, 2009 from http://www. religioustolerance. org/confuciu. htm