14: Hinduism and Buddhism
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The Monkey Temple in Kathmandu.
and Buddhism (Click here to see a Bodhnath Stupa.)
The students will be able to compare and contrast the
beliefs of the Hindu and Buddhist religions.
1. Introduce the lesson by discussing how important
the religion of Nepalese people is in their everyday
life. Be sure to tell the class that Hinduism and
Buddhism are the largest religions in the country.
2. Have the students read the paragraphs on Hinduism
and Buddhism either orally or silently. Discuss the
reading, restating the key issues
1. Read the paragraphs and answer the questions.
2. Compare and contrast the two religions.
1. Have the student compare their religious beliefs
with that of Buddhism and Hinduism. Share this
information with the class.
2. Write a paragraph that answers these questions: Are
the actions of the people in the United States
governed by religious beliefs? Why or why not?
Nepal is known for its diverse land and people. When
it comes to religious beliefs, the country is more
similar. The two main religions of Nepal are Hinduism
and Buddhism. Approximately 85 percent of the people
in Nepal are Hindus with approximately 25 percent
Buddhist, percentages that are slightly misleading
because many Nepalese consider themselves to be both
Hindus and Buddhist.
The Hindu religion is a religion of tolerance. A
person of any faith can practice Hinduism. There is no
formal doctrine or governing structure to the
religion. There is no formal doctrine because Hinduism
holds that each person is different and each person
perceives god according to his or her own desires. The
Hindu religion has a caste system, which stems from
Brahma (the Hindu god figure). If a man in the Brahma
priest class is believed to have come from Brahmas'
mouth. The warriors' caste is said to have come from
Brahmas' arms. Artisans and traders were created from
Brahmas' thigh, and serfs were from Brahmas' feet. The
most important aspect of the Hindu religion is that
people remain true to their family and their social
The Buddhist religion was formed by Siddhartha Gautama
around the year 500 BC. Gautama is often called the
"Enlightened One" and Buddha because of his
vision, which started the Buddhist religion. The
Buddhist religion believes that all the problems'
people have is due to their "self." Buddha
believed that the "self" is in an endless
cycle of rebirth. Life is a continuous series of cause
and effect experiences referred to as
states that the only way to escape the effects of
karma is to follow the doctrines of Buddhism. Some
Buddhist even believe that one can escape karma by
following the example of little Buddhas-to-be who have
reached Nirvana (the extinction of self) through many
lifetimes and experiences.
1. What does the term "caste" mean?
2. What does the term "serf" mean?
3. Compare and contrast Hinduism and Buddhism.
Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Copyright 1994-1999,
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
term used to indicate the priest class
of the principal religions of eastern and central Asia
which stems from the teachings of Gautama Buddha. Its
tenets hold that suffering is inherent to life and
only through purification of the self can one hope to
diminish the degree of life's suffering.
karma or actions used to generate good karma
Buddhist temple. Gompas are found all over the Nepal
of Tibetan Buddhism 1250 years ago.
pollution. Once you have eaten food from a plate it is
jutho and no one may eat the remaining food. A dead
body is considered to contain jutho and may not be
touched by a Sherpa.
force generated by a person's actions
scarf presented as a sign of honor. These may be
blessed and become sacred relics.
Buddhist teacher or priest
One of the holiest festivals for the Sherpa, Mani
Rimdu celebrates the completion of 10 days of prayers
for the benefit of all beings dedicated to Pawa
Cherenzig, the god of compassion. Marked by dances
from all over the region, the festival dancers wear
various masks which depict different gods. The Sherpa
believe that for each god, there are different forms
of worship, chants or movements that help bring that
god closer to the dancer and eventually become a part
of him which is considered to benefit all people. Some
believe that prayers, deep thinking, or meditation can
be done to achieve the same harmony and make people
wall carved with Buddhist mantras
of humans residing on Mt. Everest
strips of colored cloth printed with prayers that are
"said" whenever the flag flaps in the wind.
Prayer flags are located along the trekking and
climbing routes and are used by the Sherpa to decorate
and bless their homes, school, gompas, etc.
offered. It is also the act of praying or chanting and
offering gifts to the gods. Before any climb of Mt.
Everest a large puja is performed asking the gods for
protection and permission to climb within their
heights. The puja will last several hours and each
member will smear a little tso on their face in
lama. Title for high lamas and reincarnates,
or painted, elaborately colored wall hanging. Usually
tankas depict scenes from the life of the deities.
They are magnificently ornate and rich with
symbol of follower's of Shiva
made of cooked rice. May be smeared across the
forehead and on the face and neck as a symbol of
respect and homage to the gods.
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