The word Hinduism derives from the word "HINDU" which means Indian. It is the religion practiced by the Indians.
It is a pantheistic yet monistic religion. That is the whole reality is ultimately one and the Supreme divine reality is called the Brahman. Every thing including man is part of the Brahman. The world and everything in it is simply an illusion (maya). Nothing but Brahman substantially exists.
Brahman is circular; time too is circular without finality and purpose. This means when man dies he reincarnates (samsara). Human life is full of suffering. Man's life is determined by his karma (the cosmic principle of law and justice).
The main source of Hinduism is the Veda, which is a collection of the sacred texts dealing with religion and philosophical doctrines. The most philosophical of these texts are the Upanishads, the Bhagavadgita and the Brathma Sutra.
The six schools or systems of Hinduism are Nyaya, Vaisesika, Sankha, Yoga, Purva- Himamsa and Uttara-Mimamsa (also called Vedanta).
Jainism is derived from the word jina' which means a spiritual conqueror It literally means 'the followers of jina. It is very conservative, and rejects the idea of animal sacrifice.
Vardhamana revived Jainism. He was born in 468 BC. At thirty, he left his family and began a rigorous life of fasting, abstinence, and meditation.
He attained illumination thirteen years later to become a 'spiritual conqueror He died in 540 at the age of seventy-two years. Jainism is restricted to India. It has two sections: Svetanibaras and Digambaras.
It teaches the dualism (spirit and matter) of reality called Jiva and Ajiva. However, rejects the idea of universal spirit of God. The spirit exists in individual soul or life giving principle.
Siddhartha Gotama Shakyamuni, an Indian formerly of Hindu faith but later seceeded, to found Buddhism. He was born into a princely family of Gotama in 563 BC. Shocked by the reality of human suffering, outside the luxury of the palace, where he grew up, he later left the palace, his wife and property and began living a wandering life, reflecting on the mystery of human existence and human suffering. He eventually came to the conviction that suffering and pains are constitutive of human reality.
Even happiness is suffering since it is transient and the realization of its transient nature is suffering. Man needs a bit of reflection to realize that life is fullof suffering.
After much reflection, Siddhartha Gotama Shakyamuni became the Buddha the enlightened and claimed to have developed the truth about human suffering. This truth is four-fold known as the four noble truths, which constitutes the core of Buddha's philosophy. These are:
1. There is suffering all over the world.
2. Man's 'thirst' and 'desire are the causes of suffering.
3. Suffering can be stopped by complete suppression of thirst and total annihilation of desire.
4. The way leading to the suppression of suffering is by application of moderation in everything.
Taoism is a Chinese philosophy and religion based on the concept of Tao. Its essence is contained in a book called Tao Te Ching, traditionally, believed to have been written by the Chinese philosopher Lad Tao (Ca 604 B.C.).
Tao means 'the way' but Taoism means more than that. Tao is superior to all things, manifests itself in all things. It is boundless, Self-existing, self-actuating, and Self-defensive.
underlying unity of multiplicity, the harmony of opposites, the undifferentiated one, the Real one, and the Great one. Tao is not great but Greatness itself, the sum total of all things, silent, empty existing by itself, unchanging and inexhaustible.
The Taoist ethics recommends the imitation of It is the Tao's way of acting-non-action, simplicity, and quiescence. It is basically, a paradoxical ethics e.g. Tao does not act yet leaves nothing undone. Extremes should be avoided.
Confucianism is also a Chinese philosophy and religion. It is not metaphysical but ethical or moral philosophy. Founded by Confucius K'ung-Fu Tzu who was born in 551 B.C., a contemporary of Buddha.
Confucianism is really the traditional philosophy of the Chinese people. Confucius aimed at transmitting the wisdom of Chinese people to posterity than originating a system. He was a moral reformer Occasioned by the socio-political upheaval and moral degeneration of China at the time. The remedy to him was moral degeneration and revival of traditional morality.
A perfect man is a disciplined man, who knows how to respond to every situation in life according to circumstances. He remains undisturbed and tranquil in the midst of vicissitudes of life. He is not biased, but broad minded. A man of action and not of words, warm in manner, dignified in comportment, faithful in speech, diligent in work amiable in relationship with others, and above all a man of love. Piety is also his cardinal virtue. He is also a man of moderation.
Man is intrinsically good and all men are endowed by nature with the tendency to be good and feel good