The Ancient World (HUM 124 - UNC Asheville)/Religions

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Religions[edit | edit source]

As we go through different texts we will come across new and different religions. This page will be used to document information learned about these religions and to give a brief overview of each religion.

Buddhism[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Buddhism arose in the 6th century BCE in India, occurring during the late Vedic period. Buddhism heavily resulted from Hinduism, however much of the core teachings are adjusted. Emphasized a focus on turning inwards to analyze the self concept. Places an importance on self control. The goal of Buddhism is to reach a state called "nirvana" in order to end the cycle of rebirth. However the Buddha himself didn't elaborate about the state of Nirvana, hoping to put emphasis on the journey, instead of the destination.

Nirvana: to extinguish

Three Refuges/Jewels[edit | edit source]

"I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha."

  • Buddha: The enlightened one. Siddhartha Gautama reached this state through meditation. Known as the Buddha or the Enlightened One.
  • Dharma: principles of cosmic law and order. Buddhism teachings.
  • Sangha: community of practicing Buddhists

Asceticism: practices of physical and mental self-denial

Four Passing Sights[edit | edit source]

Buddha leaves home to practice extreme asceticism. While on this journey, he encounters a sick person, an old person, a dead person, and an ascetic. These all represent a component of human suffering and forces the privileged Buddha to begin to ask philosophical questions. He concludes, upon seeing the ascetic, that this must be the model for how to proceed. While practicing this however, he learns that one should take care of the body in moderation to aid in seeking answers. This is the driving component of the roots of Buddhism. Siddhartha sits underneath a Bodhi tree and stays here until he reaches enlightenment. Once reaching this state he begins to share his teachings:

Four Noble Truths[edit | edit source]

These truths serve as a compass to guide to awakening.

  • Dukkha (suffering): Life is characterized by dukkha (suffering and dissatisfaction)
  • Samudya (origin): Dukkha (suffering) is caused by tanha (thirst, desire craving, ignorance, attachment). This is the nature of desire, there is never satisfaction
  • Nirodha (ending): There is a way to end suffering. To end dukkha one must extinguish their approach to desire. This is one of the most complex teachings to understand completely. The root of the desire must be determined and then extinguished
  • Magga (path): To extinguish dukkha, one must follow the Eightfold Path.
    • Eightfold Path: Eight habits that push one further towards a healthier mindset. All of these habits are interconnected and thus all must be addressed.
      • Right concentration
      • Right views
      • Right action
      • Right mindfulness
      • Right speech
      • Right effort
      • Right intentions
      • Right livelihood

These four noble truths rest on a concept of the Middle Way, or the necessity of moderation.

  • Finding the path between luxury/indulgence and extreme asceticism.

Karma: casual trigger that sets up conditions for the next life based on actions, speak, etc.

Understanding of Self[edit | edit source]

Anatman: Everything is in a state of constant change and because nothing is permanent there is no self.

Related Texts[edit | edit source]

Christianity[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Related Texts[edit | edit source]

Hinduism[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

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Ifa[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Ifa originated from the Yoruba ethnic group, who migrated from northern Africa to what is now southwestern Nigeria approximately 1000 years ago. It is a polytheistic religion composed of approximately 600 gods. An important part of Ifa is Ifa divination, a ritualistic practice performed by priests involving specific tools and the recitation of Ifa divination poetry.

Related Texts[edit | edit source]

Ifa Divination Poetry

Judaism[edit | edit source]

Background[edit | edit source]

Related Texts[edit | edit source]