Belief Systems

Topics: Buddhism, Gautama Buddha, Hinduism Pages: 8 (2486 words) Published: January 23, 2013
Belief systems and philosophies have greatly affected the people and societies where they are practiced. They give guidelines on how to live their lives and affect every aspect of their cultures. Two such belief systems and philosophies are Hinduism and Confucianism.

Hinduism is a religion with no founder. The people who practice this religion believe in moksha and reincarnation. Moksha is the freedom from earthly desires and a complete understanding of the world. Reincarnation is the belief that people are reborn over and over again until achieving moksha. Whether or not they are born into a good life depends on their previous life’s karma (good or bad deeds). In Hinduism, they also have a caste system. It divides people into four social classes and hardly gives any social mobility at all. People are decided which class they belong to at birth. For example, if a child is born into a family of slaves, that child will be a slave for the rest of his life.

Confucianism is a philosophy started by Confucius in China. In Confucianism, the people valued education and believed in filial piety, the respect for elders. They also believed in the spirits of ancestors and created the famous quote, “do not do unto others, what you would not want them to do unto you.”

Hinduism and Confucianism greatly affected the people and societies they were practiced in. In Hinduism, because of the belief in reincarnation and karma, people avoided doing bad deeds. Those who achieved moksha gained a complete understanding of the world and got rid of their desires. However, the caste systems also introduced discrimination. People of different classes were treated differently. In Confucianism, it brought a sophisticated education system and people respected their elders. It also affected the roles of family members. For example, the oldest males were always considered the head the family.

Therefore, it is evident that these belief systems had a tremendous impact upon the social standing and family relationships of the societies that practiced them.

Sample Essay 2

There are many diverse religions and philosophies that exist around the world. Many of these belief systems have deeply affected both the people and societies where they're practiced. Two examples of these religions are Buddhism and Hinduism.

Hinduism is believed to have been the oldest religion that still exists to this day. There is currently no known founder. It's a polytheistic religion that has many major beliefs, such as reincarnation and karma. According to Hindi beliefs, what a person does in a lifetime affects what place in society that person will be in his or her next life. The many gods that Hindus believe in are all the faces and personalities of one god. Moksha is a worldly understanding that Hindus strive to attain. However, it's believed to occur over many lifetimes, and is achieved through reincarnation, or rebirth.

Buddhism is a polytheistic religion that is quite similar to Hinduism. It was founded by a man named Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, the Enlightened one. Like Hindus, Buddhists believe in reincarnation and nirvana, a concept similar to moksha. They both deal with the concept of the understanding of life and the end of the cycle of reincarnation. While reaching Enlightenment, or wisdom, the Buddha founded the Four Noble Truths that state in order to achieve happiness and stop all suffering, one must give up all worldly attachments and desires by living a life of poverty. Unlike Hinduism, however, Buddhists reject the idea of the caste system, a division of social classes. Thus, the first followers of Buddhism were essentially people who were low socially, such as laborers and commoners.

As Buddhism and Hinduism became harder and harder to follow, there were many changes made. Most Buddhists found it hard to give up all of their wants and desires. Two groups, the Theravada and Mahayana sects, were formed. The latter had provided...
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