Sacred Writing in Hinduism and Buddhism
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- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Sacred Books, in my opinion, are the most important things that can preserve the knowledge of religion. When transmitted orally certain interpretations may occur, especially when translated into different languages. India was a mother of many religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism.
Hinduism “has no one identifiable founder, no strong organizational structure to defend it and spread its influence, nor any creed to define and stabilize its beliefs; and in a way that seems to defy reason, Hinduism unites the worship of many gods with a belief in a single divine reality.” (Molloy: 74)
The Hindu scriptures are divided into two parts, the shrutis (what is heard) and the smritis (what is remembered). The Vedas are the shrutis.
“The word “veda” is derived from Sanskrit vid to know, hence veda means knowledge.” (Cole:37) There are four distinct collections of the Vedas. The first of these four is Rig-Veda, this is the oldest, largest, and most important. It contains1028 suktas, or hymns to the gods, magical poems, riddles, and legends, among others. It has a total of 10, 462 verses which are divided into ten books. “Their formulation indicates that they present the work of priestly leaders, who seem to be an educated class concerned with regulating contact with the gods and maintaining its own social status.” (Mugambi: 61) Most hymns of the Rig-Veda serve two purposes: to praise the god being addressed and to ask the god favors or benefits. Another function of the Rig-Veda is to petition for forgiveness of sins.
The second collection of Vedas is Sama-Veda. It contains the lyrics of sacred songs which are largely verses taken from the hymns of Rig-Veda and set to music. These 1810 verses are meant to be chanted at the soma sacrifice.
The third collection of the Vedas is Yajur-Veda. “This is a collection of supplementary sacrificial formulae to be used by the priest who is responsible for the manual action.” (Mugambi: 62) It contains instructions for priests regarding the times and materials for the sacrifice, the construction of the fire altar, and formulae for the soma sacrifice.
The forth Veda is the Atharva-Veda. This is a collection of prayers to cure sickness and demonic possession.
In addition to the four collections of the Vedas, there were three other collections which were later assembled and came to be included in what is called Vedic literature. These are Brahmanas, Aranyankas, and Upanishads.
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What is the sacred literature for Hinduism and Buddhism?
The most sacred literature for Hinduism are the Vedas ("Books of Knowledge"), and the Tripitaka for Buddhism.
What are the sacred books of buddhism and Hinduism?
You know, christianity has the Bible, Judaism has de Corán.
I want to learn more about buddhism and hinduism. ¿What can I read?
Buddhism uses the Tripitaka. In my tradition, Theravada, it's called the Tipitaka. It consists of the Suttas, which are the Buddha's discourses; the Vinaya Pitaka, which is the monastic discipline, including the rules of the monks (the Patimokkha) that they recite on every full moon gathering (Uposatha); and finally, the Abhidhamma Pitaka, which is a theoretical framework that was constructed later in the history of Buddhism. Think of abhidhamma as a sort of ethical psychology. You can read a lot of these texts at Accesstoinsight.org. In addition, there are essays and commentaries writt…