Unit 5: Hinduism and Buddhism

Chapter 3, Section 1 and 2 and Handouts

Unit Overview:

Hinduism and Buddhism are two of the five great religions of the world. They actual predate Christianity by over 750 and 500 years respectively. (Holy cow! I need to mediate on that one for a bit!) We will study the historic origins of these two ancient religions and how they shaped societies throughout the Asiatic world. We will also look at the modern day practices of these two religions.

Life Long Understandings:

  • The Hindu caste system created a rigid and oppressive social class structure that India still struggles with it today.

  • Despite the caste system, Hindu believes are rooted in seeking internal peace (darma) through the progressive process of reincarnation.
  • Buddhists, founded as reaction to the rigidity of Hinduism, is a devotedly individualized religion where one seeks internal peace through following the Middle Path.

Key Questions:

1) What was the caste system and why did it develop in India?
2) What are the essential similarities and differences between Hinduism and Buddhism?
3) Why is the creation of Buddhism a reaction to Hinduism?


Study Guide:


Lecture PowerPoint:


Supporting Links:

3.1 The Indo-Europeans

3.2 Hinduism

3.2 Buddhism