Topic

Hinduism and Buddhism
  • The origins, beliefs, practices, and impact of Hinduism and Buddhism on Indian culture.
  • The impact of governments on belief systems and political systems influencing gender and class issues.
  • Social classes of the cultures.

Essential Questions
  • Do belief systems united or divide?
  • Are all religions similar?
  • Why do people have religion? Are all religions just different ways of expressing the same things?
  • Why do people develop and believe in religions?
  • How has religion influenced world history?
  • Why did many ancient peoples believe that spirits exist in non-living things?
  • How does Hinduism answer life's great questions?
  • What was the Buddha's secret to end all suffering?

Common Core Standards

  • RH.9-10.3. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • RH.9-10.6. Compare the point of view of two or more authors for how they treat the same or similar topics, including which details they include and emphasize in their respective accounts
  • WHST.9-10.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Suggested Student Objectives

  • Explaining the major beliefs and practices of Brahmanism in India and how they evolved into early Hinduism.
  • Descibing the life and teachings of the Buddha and explaining ways in which those teachings were a response to the Brahmanic system.
  • Evaluating the achievements of the emperor Ashoka, and assessing his contribution to the expansion of Buddhism in India.
  • Analyzing how Brahmanism responded tot he social, political, and theological challenges posed by Buddhism and other reform movements.

Activities

  • Read and analyze selections from Brain Thompson's The Story of Prince Rama and describe how Indian epic stories reflect social values.
  • Describe the basic features of social relationships in the Hindu faith, showing how emphasis was placed on group membership, not the individual. How did this affect such insititutions as marriage and one's choice of occupation? How did the belief in dharma, ones fundamental duty in life, determine social behavior?
  • Analyze this statement: "Women were better off as Buddhists than they were in Brahmanic society."
  • Explain how Buddhist teachings challenged the Brahmanic social system, especially caste, dietary practices, language usage, and role of women. How did Buddha's reforms contribute to the spread of Buddhism in India and beyond?
  • Assume the roles of different castes and role-play an episode in the daily life in an Indian village. Did affiliation with an unprivileged caste provide any advantages? What were some disadvantages? What were the criteria for ranking castes?
  • Read the account of Gupta India by the Chinese monk FA Xian. What impressed him about life in India? How did Gupta kings promote Hinduism, while fostering Buddhist culture at the same time? How did they integrate marginal groups into the political system?
  • Research how Ashoka's support for Buddhism affected the spread of that religion in India. Compare with the effects of the Roman emperors' tolerance for and support of Christianity on the spread of that faith in the later empire. Would religious beliefs have spread as rapidly without the backing of a strong empire?


Resource Links


GALE Student Resources in Context (login required) Search: Hinduism, Buddhism for primary sources, images, reference materials, etc.
History of the Caste System in India
Internet Indian History Sourcebook from Fordham University
Life of Buddha from Souled Out.org


Suggested Additional Readings

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Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms
Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms


Assessments


Complete the following Thematic Essay-
Historical Context: Throughout world history, religion has played a major role in the lives of various people. Through religion people have held beliefs that have guided them in their daily living. From the earliest river valley civilizations to the recent Iranian revolution in 1979, religion has been a prominent feature in humankind’s culture. Religion has also been a source of conflict and change in world history.

In a well-written essay that includes an introduction, with a thesis statement, and a closing paragraph, complete the following two tasks:
- CHOOSE THREE RELIGIONS/BELIEF SYSTEMS AND EXPLAIN TWO MAJOR BELIEFS OF THE RELIGION
- CHOOSE THREE EXAMPLES IN WORLD HISTORY THAT SHOW HOW RELIGION HAS CAUSED CHANGE OR CONFLICT AND EXPLAIN HOW THEY HAVE CAUSED CONFLICT OR CHANGE


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