For this assignments you will give one 220 word response to 2 classmates comments regarding the presented Deity presentation which both are attached. Read all the comments and give a final response with a length of approximately 220 words. You may further clarify, modify, or defend your explanation, exploration, or conclusion at this time. Do not respond to the comments given to your presentation individually but categorize them by questions or comments, and then respond only to the major problems or questions in a clear and succinct manner .
My Deity Presentation:
Religion refers to the worship of a supreme being or the belief in a supernatural power that controls things. The supreme being can be God or other personal gods. The five main religious groups that are recognized worldwide include Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and the traditional folk religion. However, there are other several religions which are culture based. This paper discusses the Vedanta Hinduism and the Deity in Daoism.
Deity in Daoism (Dao)
Daoism, a Chinese traditional religion, has its beliefs revolving around the principle of “how?” or the way things should get done. The “way” can also be referred to as Dao. This is the most dominant principle of all, and it controls the elements and beings that exist in the universe. The religion recognizes many activities and rituals which include the worship of spirits, deities and many other rituals. This doctrine came about as a merger of the many religions in China and Daoism was regarded as the primary religion (Chanzit, 132-148).
Daoism gained its popularity after the differences between its cults of individual and rituals came out. Its rite ranged from meditation, fasting rituals and the keeping of specific moral standards. The concept of WAY was a mysterious principle that had gone into people’s heads and was controlling the world.
Zhuang, a philosopher scholar, decided to study and find out more about the religion.In this study, Zhuang identified other religions such as the shamanic practices in the southern part of China. The practices gave believers the power to travel several miles in just an hour, ability to ride the cloud among other powers.
During the times of WARRING STATES and HAN, Daoism was popular in all levels of the society. The leader of Daoism by then was so immersed in the universe that he accepted the natural Way occurrences and happenings within the organization. Although CONFUCIANISM was the state doctrine of the Han kingdom, Daoist was still prevalent, and its writings and the mythical figure was yet recognized by the Han dynasty (Bokenkamp et al, 98). This led to the slow elevation of Daoism to a state doctrine which led to it, being a deity.
Later during Han period, Daoism practices like shamanic rituals and healing by exorcism were popularized by the Dao believers. The Daoist leaders, therefore, initiated their states and challenged the rule of the Han dynasty. Confucianism lost its powers since it could not defend its rule over the Daoism practices and Daoism won. This led to the transformation of Daoism from a pure power to a state religion with power and practices that controlled the existence and way of being in the universe.
To convince the state and others that the religion was worth, Daoist masters compiled several things that constituted the rule of the Dao religion. Scriptures, biographies, legends, medical instruction, and ritual practices were drafted and all bind into the DAOIST CANON. It is from this canon that any reference was made in case any of the rituals or practices brought about a contradiction.
The Divinization of Laozi
After Daoism won over Buddhism and Confucianism, it had to put measures in place to claim and own the religion and its associated practices within the state.Most of these views were documented in the Taiping Jing (the book of great peace). This book aimed at preaching an encouraging the era of peace within the southern China.
With an effective leader, Laozi by then, the society was established into a perfect culture of Daoism. The established era would employ the Taiping Jing rules to eliminated corrupted ways in the society by order of their king Laozi.
The confession of sins and recitation of the Daode Jing made Laozi be identified as a deity. Laozi was personified as the Dao and the model of the Daoist sage.It is believed that lord Lao constantly descended to the earth and gave teachings to both humanity and the other leaders who were identified on the earth (Skar, 413).This meant that Laozi had power the human race and that he could provide revelations relating the human living and also give direction to humanity.
Lord Laozi’s lineages
Lord Lao appeared to Zhang Daoling, and a covenant was established with which the power of unity was advised. Zhang Daoling who was a traditional healer was granted power and named the Celestial Master. Zhang was therefore given the duty of establishing a community of people who acknowledged and followed the Daoist rule.
Through Zhang, a culture of the religious and social organization was established. Given his healing powers, the Master performed many healing miracles to the different groups of people in the society.
Illnesses were associated with moral faults, unlike other religions who believe sickness was due to certain demonic influences. Under the healing ritual, several activities were undertaken. The sick person had to first submit their fault and confess, repenting was done through the Master’s watch and the healing aid finally done by the Celestial master.
The three caverns
Daoism has two main poles; individuals and the communal practices. These are further described in the three cavern which formally defines the clear Daoist community. With the southern China clustered into three groups; the Shangqing, the Lingbao and the Sanhuang, each of the groups has its corresponding heaven and a god who rules it. The caverns provided grounds for several doctrinal practices and other activities like priestly ordinations.
The Daoist heavens are arranged according to the three caverns. The heavens are not only the deities’ residing places but also articulates to the depth of the spiritual states and the degree of priestly ordinations. However, there are 32 heavens of the Lingbao and 36 heavens of Shangqing. There exists the highest heaven which is the Grand Veil. Different languages are spoken on each called the secret language. The god of the Grand veil is the greatest followed by the others who are arranged in a hierarchical manner.
Vedanta Hinduism (Brahman)
Vedanta is one of the six systems of the Indian philosophy. Vanda refers to the end of the Vedas. Vedas is a term used to refer to the religious and sacred scripture writings of the Indian. Brahman refers to the supreme being of the Hindu religion. Brahman is the god of Hinduism, and many philosophy schools have used this as a subject of study (Deutsch, 48-64).Brahman is believed to be the creator, but the relationship between Brahman and individual souls is not clear.
According to Vedanta, every being is divine.God resides in every individual and that they are part of god. Vedas defines god as an infinite existence that dwells in human spirits, hearts, and self.
This refers to the oldest existing vedanta philosophy school. The term Advaita means “not two” and is used in the Vedanta philosophy to refer to Brahman who was the supreme being of the Hindu religion.Advaita Vedanta brings out the explanation of the Upanishads. In the recent past, the Indian culture has broadly accepted the paradigmatic Hindu spirituality and widely recognized Brahman as the god of the Hindu religion.
Advaita Vedantists deal with several beliefs about the mind, soul and the god.
Mind- the mind is seen as the sensory organ of the human body. It gives an interpretation to the different incoming stimuli from the universe.
Soul- Brahman has believed the god of Hindu and that every Hindu’s soul is part of Brahman. The universe is regarded as one entity through the one god who is Brahman.
God- The universe is believed to be an apparent evolution of Brahman’s power. Indians must acknowledge and outshine ignorance and realize themselves as being part of the universe and the freedom on it (Sivaraman, 412).
Vedanta philosophical schools
Advaita, the school of nondualism- it holds that Brahman is the singular being and that anything else is a delusion. Upon rejection of the existence of any other supreme being besides, Brahman, individuals ceased to exist.
School of qualified non-dualism- this school believes in the existence of three; Brahman, the individual souls, and nature. Brahman is regarded as independent, but the other two’s existence depends on Brahman. After Brahman creates a soul, it is part of him but exists separately in a natural setting he has designed for the soul.
School of dualism-the school believes in the existence of more than one reality. Brahman as god is only the controller of the souls that exist in the world of Brahman.
Spiritual definition of Vedanta
Vedanta as previously stated means the end of Vedas while Vedas refers to knowledge. This means the end of the end of knowing (Alsen, 99-116). According to Hinduism, Vedanta is the prime goal of every individual since it means the beginning of transcendental knowledge. This is knowledge of the spirit that is beyond mind and senses. It is the knowledge of Brahman which leads to liberation.
According to Hinduism, liberation by Brahman was what every individual sought. Anyone who desired that was to focus on the knowledge of Brahman and him alone. Vedanta, therefore, is used to teach the Indians of how they can renounce the world and delve into knowing Brahman. With the transcended knowledge of Brahman, one can enter a realm of purity and consciousness which is eternal.
There is a misconception that Hindus worship many gods. Given the different groups of Indians, there exists a huge difference in the way Hittites and other Hindus worship. A large percentage of Hindu believe in the existence of Brahman who is their supreme god. Some believe that the twelve manifestations of Brahman are enough to convince them that he is their god. Many Hindus, therefore, believe in Brahman and the worship of one god.
Religion is a cultural or spiritual belief that a certain group of people decides to follow. With different societies and diverse culture, each group embraces a religion that suits their environment and other underlying factors. Each religion has a supreme being in whom they believe in and attributes all the values and respect to.
Just like the Indians acknowledge Brahman as their god and worship him, the Chinese, the southern Chinese, in particular, attributes their respect and honor to Laozi. Several differences have been observed to distinguish the two religions as discussed above.
RE: Deity in Daoism (Dao) and Vedanta Hinduism (Brahman)
Hello! I think that you have an interesting format with your essay and that you picked two religions that we did not cover much over during this semester. I found your essay very informative as you covered many different parts of the religion. I do not think you should have mentioned the other ideas of religion, such as Christianity in your introduction without fully talking about them within the body paragraphs. Within your essay though, you did not cover all the same subjects on both of the religions. You talk about specific things such as schooling for Vedanta, but not for Dao.
RE: Deity in Daoism (Dao) and Vedanta Hinduism (Brahman)
You’ve chosen two interesting religions. I agree that religion is praising a supreme being and that it could be based on culture or spirituality. In the beginning you stated that you will discuss Vedanta Hinduism and the Deity in Daoism, and you did so. I like your focus throughout the paper. I did not become confused, but I was wanting more. However, I do believe you’ve done a great outline of each and explaining what each are. I kind of was looking more for what makes them more of a cultural religion, but perhaps I was just mistaken. I think you crossed that point when you stated the values and how. They are more of how to live or an explanation what to do. Overall, I believe you’ve done an excellent job. Best wishes on upcoming endeavors.
Alsen, Eberhard. “The Role of Vedanta Hinduism in Salinger’s Seymour Novel.” Renascence 33.2 (1981): 99-116.
Bokenkamp, Stephen R., and Peter Nickerson. Early Daoist Scriptures. Vol. 1. Univ of California Press, 1999.
Chanzit, Adam, and Zeng Chuanhui. Daoism in China: an introduction. Floating World Edithions, 2006.
Deutsch, Eliot, and Rohit Dalvi. “The Essential Vedanta a New Source Book of Advaita Vedanta.” (2004).
Sivaraman, Krishna, ed. Hindu Spirituality: Vedas Through Vedanta. Vol. 6. Motilal Banarsidass Publishe, 1989.
Skar, Lowell. “CHAPTER FIFTEEN RITUAL MOVEMENTS, DEITY CULTS AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF DAOISM IN SONG AND YUAN TIMES.” Daoism Handbook 14 (2000): 413.
Torwesten, Hans. Vedanta: Heart of Hinduism. Grove Press, 1994. (Torwesten, Hans, 1994)