Hinduism is the oldest living religion

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Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists in many countries outside of the sub-continent and around the world. It has over 900 million followers worldwide.

In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, or at least elements within it stretch back many thousands of years. Yet Hinduism is hard to define as just a religion. Some people see it as a total way of life in everything they do. It is also closely associated with the other Indian religions Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism because many of the main beliefs are similar.

Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Throughout its extensive history, there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as 'a way of life' or 'a family of religions' rather than a single religion.

  • Hinduism originated around the Indus Valley near the River Indus it was introduced by the Indo- Aryans.

  • About 80% of the Indian population identify themselves as Hindu.

  • Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God Brahman, whose values and teachings are represented by many other gods and deities. Hinduism polytheistic

  • Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by Karma (the belief if you do good things, good things will happen to you).

  • Reincarnation is a main belief in Hinduism. Hindus believe that when you die your soul is reborn again. Reincarnation means rebirth.

  • Hindus believe that the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived (karma).

  • The main Hindu texts are the Vedas and their supplements (books based on the Vedas). Veda is a Sanskrit word meaning 'knowledge'. These scriptures do not mention the word 'Hindu' but many scriptures discuss dharma, which can be rendered as 'code of conduct', 'law', or 'duty'

  • Hindus celebrate many holy days, but the Festival of Lights, Diwali is the best known.

    1. Where was Hinduism founded? Who introduced it to the world? How many people there today practice Hinduism?

    1. What are the main beliefs of the religion? Explain them.

    1. What is the main language and text of Hinduism?

Marco Polo born September 15, 1254 – died January 9, 1324. He was a Venetian (From Venice, Italy) merchant traveler whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which introduced Europeans to Central Asia and China. This book allowed people to see into a world they never knew. They learned of the Chinese Dynasties, like the Han, Zhou, Qin, Ming, they learned about Buddhism from China and Hinduism from Asia. He saw the mongol empire located north of china and became a friend of Kublia Kahn. Marco Polo’s writings influenced an entire continent to learn about East Asia to travel and began communication between European countries and East Asian countries. He opened up the eastern hemisphere!

He learned the mercantile trade from his father and uncle, who traveled through Asia, and apparently met Kublai Khan. In 1269, they returned to Venice to meet Marco for the first time. The three of them (Marco, his father, and uncle) embarked on an epic journey to Asia. He traveled along the silk road as a trader. He say the great wall of china, sailed in the south china sea, navigated around India. He returning to Italy after 24 years and was imprisoned, and dictated his stories to a cellmate. He was released in 1299, became a wealthy merchant, married and had three children. He died in 1324, and was buried in San Lorenzo. His pioneering journey inspired Christopher Columbus and others. He also had an influence on European cartography, leading to the introduction of the Fra Mauro map.http://www.emersonkent.com/images/marco_polo_travels.jpg

    1. What is the Silk Road?

    1. Who is Marco Polo?

    1. Look at the map and list 5 countries that he traveled to:

    1. How did Marco Polo influence Europeans through his travels?

    1. How did he “open up the eastern hemisphere”?

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