Nowadays, there are a lot of religions and faiths all around the world. There are the Jewish, Muslims Cristian’s and many more. These religions do have something in common which is that they believe in one god. However; there are other faiths that do believe in multiple gods such as Buddhism and Hinduism. These faiths are considered Dharmic faiths. Dharmic faiths are mostly Indian religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism but, there are other dharmic faiths such as Sikhism and Jainism. Many people ask questions about these Dharmic faiths and what do they believe in. these Dharmic faiths all have different rituals and tradition. Each faith has their difference from the other belief but there are certain factors where an individual a see some similarities.
Buddhism all started from the teachings of Buddha. Buddha lived in northern India around mid 4th and 6th BCE (Before Common Era). His teachings spread from India till china, japan and Korea. At that time, Hinduism already existed such as the Brahmanic belief. Buddhism arose due to the sacrifice and ritual that the brahmanic belief implemented. So Buddhism was established for a more personal and spiritual belief in other words they followed the Eightfold Path which are the following: Right of Thought, Understanding, Livelihood, Concentration, Speech, Action, Effort and Mindfulness. Buddhism seeks stability of human nature and one’s body for example right of mindfulness promotes awareness with regard to the needs of the body and the sensations and feeling of an individual’s mind such as ideas, thoughts and conceptions. Buddhism believes in the four noble truths. The first noble truth is Dhukka where its composed of unease, discomfort, anxiety and unsatisfactoriness. Tanha is the second truth where it’s the cause of dhukka the origin of suffering. Nirodha is the third truth where it believes that there could be a stop to the unease and suffering in other words, there is a cure. Magga is the Fourth truth where its considered as the knowledge of the cure. These are the four truths which can be considered as pros and cons. There is unease and discomfort but in the same time there is a cure to all of that. Buddhism encountered new currents as it spread. Karma was one of them where through karma, they believe that virtuous action action create pleasure and that non virtuous actions will cause pain. In other words, food conduct creates goodness and bad conduct creates evil. Just like Buddhist, Hindus also believe in the universal law of cause and effect which is known as karma.
Hinduism is one of the oldest beliefs where it’s the 3rd largest religion after Islam and Christianity with over 900 million followers. Most of the followers of Hinduism live in India since it’s the birth place of Hinduism. A fundamental aspect of the religion is that the actions an individual implement will determine his or her current and future life. A key thought in the Hindu religion is « atman » meaning the belief in a so called soul. They believe that all living creatures have a soul where each individual works to achieve mokcha or in other words salvation. They believe in all creature’s soul where they consider cow as a sacred animal. Mokcha ends the cycle of rebirth in order to establish or become an absolute soul. This literally means that an individual’s soul will be absolutely clean. Hinduism and Buddhism do relate in certain things such as karma, reincarnation and that life of pure honor and devotion will lead them to enlightenment and salvation. Basically they try to achieve certain things in their life in order to live well in the afterlife. Hinduism have a caste system of each social wave. It consists of the Brahmins (priests) who are on top of the caste system, then comes Kshatriyas who are the kings, rulers and warriors. Then comes Vaisyas who are skilled workers. After Vaisyas comes Sudra who are unskilled workers. Dalits are the last of the caste system where there are considered the untouchables. They are the street sweepers and they take care of dead bodies (out-castes). Hinduism believe in many gods. They consider Brahman as the creator of this world and all living things. Vishnu is the god that protects the universe. However; they do have demi gods who they consider avatars. There is a famous story in the Hindu culture of Rama (an avatar) and his wife Sita. There is a city in India that’s named Varanasi. In Varanasi, they burn people who died of natural causes and they drown people in the Ganges river who died due to unnatural causes. They have some kind of monks there that actually apply the ash of the dead in their faces. The process of reincarnation is applied where people who died out of natural causes will tend to live a better after life than the others. People bath in the Ganges river that is full of dead people with all kind of microbes in that water, but people still do it in order to reach nirvana. Another Dharmic faith that’s different in some practices from Hinduism and Buddhism is Jainism. A faith that’s totally different from the others.
Jainism is a Dharmic faith that existed at the same time as Buddhism. Jainism was established by Mahavira. Mahavira belonged to the Warrior caste just like Buddha. At that time, Mahavira was called jina and that where the name of the religion emerged. In the belief of Jainism, the followers believe in reincarnation which will eventually lead them to liberation. The concept of Jainism is close to that of Buddhism. Mahavira believed that everything has life such as trees, plants and stone. In other words, everything is a living thing. Mahavira didn’t eat close to anything because he believed that everything has life. He walked around naked in the forest due to his renouncement of life. He promoted the belief in life and non-violence. Jains do not actually follow the strict diet of Mahavira. They refuse to eat meat so they announced themselves vegetarian but they would still try to do anything to prevent hurting anything or anyone. Jains would cover their mouth when going out to prevent anything from going to their mouth such as miniscule microbes. Jainism is more of an ascetic life thing than Buddhism. As I mentioned before, Jains are vegetarians but they aren’t ay vegetarians. They consume primarily plants. Even though they consider the fact that they are harming plants, they take it as a mean of survival and it’s the least hurting they ca implement. In other words, eating a plant is not like eating an animal. They do not consume plants that contains living things on them. There are certain insects who feed on plants where they are always inside the plants. At any point, a Jain can consume a living things by eating the plant.
Jainism has actually rejected some aspects of Hinduism such as the caste system (the brahmanical authority) , the fire sacrifice of widows and the gods and goddesses who have desire of women and weapons. The Jains believe in the 24 saints of enlightenment who are called the Tirthkaras who they consider the bridge builders. Mahavira is considered the 24 saint. In Jainism, the basic teachings of Dharma should be implemented by each follower such as forgiveness, humility, truthfulness, straight forwardness, purity and many others that’s promote peace and goodness. Like most Dharmic faiths, Jain monks do exist. They live a pretty religious life. Jain nuns have vows of poverty meaning they don’t need any comfort regarding a bed, pillows and many other things that we as individuals consider the norm of comfort. Monks and Munis would travel around bare foot and if night falls, they would stop and sleep in the middle of the road in hard ground. They won’t go around looking for villages or towns. Monks and Munis don’t use water because they believe that there are water organisms and that if they use water the will kill them. For that, they don’t use the toilet. All they want to do is seek purification and self- realization. Jainism is one of the Dharmic faiths that actually makes its followers to kind of think of the afterlife more than the current one. They live in order to spread goodness, peace and also care of all living organisms. As an individual can see, most of these Dharmic faiths worships multiple gods, however; there is a Dharmic faith that’s called Sikhism that’s a monotheistic faith meaning the worship of one god.
Sikhism has emerged in the area of Punjab, India. The followers of this religion are called Sikhs. The Sikh community was established by Guru Nanak. They have their sacred book that’s called Guru Granth Sahib. This book was made after the death of the tenth Guru. Many Sikhs in the world believe that their tradition was different from that of the Hindus but Nanak was actually raised a Hindu. Both his parents were in the merchant caste. Guru Nanak teached to have faith, to meditate to the name of one creator, striving for social justice for the poor and the oppressed, simple lifestyle and honesty in wholesome work. One if guru’s words were that anyone can have a direct relationship with god and that there is no need for a priest or any kind of religious person in order to be or get closer to god. Sikh men and women need to respect a certain dress code whereas women wear veils and men wear turbans. Sikhs actually don’t feel comfortable around Muslims whereas during the Mughal emperor rule, he implemented religious orthodoxy and he found the Sikhs both a threat and offensive. The emperor had the ninth guru arrested and executed. The Mughal emperor was Muslim. After that, the tenth guru “Singh” decided to establish a group of military Sikhs in order to be able to defend themselves from extinction of their religion. The Sikhs first military leader has led several attacks against the Mughals but he was later captured and executed. However; 50 years after, the Sikhs rose again and they started to gain territory faster. In 1799, Ranjit Singh took over Lahore in the Punjab province and established a state. Sikhism can be seen as a religion where they fought in order to exist. When they first took over Lahore, they were a minority but bit by bit, they started to gain more followers. Currently, there are 25 million Sikhs in India and many other all around the world. There is quite a big community of Sikhs in the United Kingdom where they still practice their teachings there. The Guru Granth Sahib which is the holy book is actually considered a person where Sikh followers believe that all the spirits of the 10 gurus are put into one spirit in the book. Sikh followers basically treat the book as a person whereas the book is given his own room and is taken care of very carefully.
The Sikhs do differ from the other Dharmic faiths to their monotheistic approach. However; they do preach simplicity and peace just like the Buddhists. Unlike the Jains, they don’t take their devotion too far where they starve themselves in order to protect living organisms and reach purification and self -realization. There are many individuals who think that Jains hurt their bodies when not eating well and starving their bodies. These people don’t know that that’s the way of life for them. Their religion implements what they do. They try to achieve whatever they were promised in their religion just like how Muslims apply the 5 pillars of Islam in order to go to heaven. In Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism, they do what they are supposed to do in order to reach nirvana and reincarnation. There are many individuals who convert to a Dharmic faith because they were actually convinced of the teachings and everything that comes with it. This shows how it actually effects people from a whole different environment.
One could say that all these Dharmic faiths come from the same motherland, India. Each faith starts the next one. An example would be Sikhism. The founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak was actually raised in a Hindu family from the merchant caste. Some ideas of Sikhism do come from Hinduism. Buddhism started in India and spread all around southeast Asia growing in follower’s decade after decade. Each faith promotes their own beliefs in different ways. Some might say that the Jains way of doing things is too harsh. Jains seem to actually like it? Their belief promotes goodness and peace. In order to apply it, they have to actually sacrifice many things like restriction in what they eat. Hinduism is a fascinating religion where their stories do take you to another world such as the story of Rama and Sita. The fact that they do have multiple gods and that each god has his loyal followers who actually live in order to achieve what they need to achieve in order to reach what they want. BY studying these Dharmic faiths, an individual might see the word from a different perspective whereas the amount of followers is just fascinating. It just shows how each individual has his own belief and the fact that religious norm does not exist. These Dharmic faiths have so much more behind them that a person would only know if they live with them there daily routine lives. Some of these Dharmic faiths preach appreciation of life. The hatred of the Sikhs towards the Muslims is due to the Mughals who wanted to erase the Sikhs from this word but the Sikhs fought and in the end they succeeded. They didn’t let go of their beliefs no matter what. It’s just mind-blowing how Sikhs consider their holy book as a person. Someone to take care of for the book is their path to the afterlife. Overall, Dharmic faiths all share similarities and in the same time differences but they all come under one word which is religion. All religions should be respected for respect creates unity.