Originally posted by Leveller
For those who think that Hinduism doesn't have problems can I suggest that you just take a look at the caste system. Again you could state that this
is a cultural occurence but then I believe that culture is a part of religion.
The caste system, originally described in the Vedas, but much abused and maligned over the years, is nothing but a representation of an efficient
human society. The four castes described in the scriptures are - the Brahmins, the Kshatriyas, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras. According to the Vedas,
an efficient human society is based on the strength of its educational/knowledge-pursuit system (Brahmin), its military and defense system
(Kshatriya), its economical and business system (Vaishya), and a strong, happy, productive workforce (Shudras).
This noble representation was misinterpreted, exploited, and abused by a few in the Indian society, leading to the indiscriminate creation of
thousands of castes and sub-castes, including the so-called "upper" castes. Fortunately, the caste system has been more or less abolished since
Indian independence and the distinctions are beginning to disappear and there is a significant change atleast with the educated and young.
It is said that the caste system is no more than one of economic exploitation of lower castes by upper castes. The conclusion of the sociologists is
quite different. They see it as less exploitative in the economic field than other systems prevalent in the past or even in the present. The popular
misconception has arisen because there is no social equality in the system. The concept of equality came up only at the time of the American and
French Revolutions. Before that there was feudalism in the West based on inequalities. The American innovation of equality and liberty has led to
capitalism (with some help from slavery) where profit is the main motive and human considerations are at best marginal. In both feudalism and the
subsequent development there is class if not caste resulting in economic inequalities and hence in exploitation and social tensions.
Originally posted by Leveller
You can't lump Buddhism in with Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism or Islam.
It isn't a religion.
Originally posted by Ouizel
Unlike religions, Buddhists aren't looking for converts.
The basic teaching of Hinduism is that our real nature is divine. God, the underlying reality, exists in every being.
The teachings of Hinduism are not based on any individual proclamation but, rather, are a body of knowledge that transcends sensory experience. This
wisdom has been tested by generations of seers, ancient and modern, through their personal and direct experiences. Hinduism provides each individual
the means and opportunity to discover his hidden potentiality.
Gradually he comes to the realization that he is not an island, but is interconnected with all life, with all existence. He becomes permeated with the
Supreme Consciousness, described variously, in the religions of the world, as God, Brahman, Nirvana, Father in Heaven, Allah, Jehovah, etc.
Hinduism is an open book, being ever ready to incorporate the discoveries of sages yet to come--It is a 'federation of faiths' and a
'commonwealth of spiritual concepts.' Hinduism provides help to all men and women in their spiritual development, regardless of their
religious affiliation. Hinduism does not seek to convert anyone, but to help the seekers of truth on their own spiritual paths.
Many of the
principles of this philosophy can be studied and practised in conjunction with any religion. In this sense, Hinduism (more specifically--Vedanta) can
be called the 'science of spirituality.'