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Account of the social and religious conditions in northern India at the time of the Buddha Essay

In the time of the Buddha economic developments began to increase . the introduction of iron plough shares and other tools produced agriculture surpluses which led to prosperity and strong trade. The period is characterised by the growth of large towns and the first use of money. one of the main effects of these changes was the creation of new professions, such as trade officials and traders, which had no place in the ancient class system. Life in northern India improved at this time.

Population increased dramatically at this time and also the economic growth increase. Nuns and monks depended on ordinary people to help them for food and equipment. It is therefore arguable that urban development was pre-condition for the growth of Buddhist monasteries.

People still believed in the four casts although many people did start to take less notice of the casts due to his teachings, but there were still the poor and the rich and there was plenty of poverty and suffering and many men devoted there life to faiths mainly Buddhism due to the impact of the Buddha.

The status of women was still unclear. Socially a women’s was would be determined by her birth just as for men and she would marry in her class. However women did not directly wield power politically and it is possible women weren’t treated equal when it come to religion.

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During the time of the Buddha there were many other religions. Hinduism probably the biggest religion which evolved from the Vedic religion. Hinduism at the time of the Buddha believed in casts and reincarnation.

Another religion which started around the same time as Buddhism was Jainism. Mahavariva the jain leader lived further east than the Buddha. Although the two leaders never met, there are a number of Buddhist scriptures that refer to conversations between the Buddha and some of Mahviras disciples. In Jainism it is taught that law of moral causation or karma is based on actions not intentions, this is the opposite of Buddhism as intentions fill up karma.

Alongside these trends of religions there were also ancient religions especially in villages and tribes. these beliefs included local nature spirits and demons. Folk religions had various magical practises, such as fortune telling, palmistry and spells.

The Buddha rejected all the religious ideas at his time. Assess this view.

In my opinion the Buddha did reject a lot of religious ideas at his time but not all of them and he used some ideas from other religions to form Buddhism.

First of all I agree with this statement because he rejected some ideas from other religions including Hinduism. He rejected the cast system because he believed everyone was born equal and it was unjust if someone was born in the Shurdas then they will not have equal opportunities, this is one of the religious ideas the Buddha rejected.

The Buddha rejected sacrifice, as he believed there was nothing you had to sacrifice yourself for. He did not believe in one god he believed in many gods and thought it was not appropriate to sacrifice yourself. The Buddha partially rejected atman as he did not believe in the Hinduism type of eternal soul and rejected part of this idea.

The Buddha rejected the concept of god, as he believed it was not irrelevant in human life. The Buddha taught that intentions are more important than actions. He disagreed with Jainism, that actions are more important than intentions.

The Buddha also accepted and used some other religious ideas. He believed in reincarnation and adapted the ideas of Hinduism in this case he accepted this idea on religion. The Buddha also accepted Samsara, which formed from Hinduism. He accepted this idea but modified it slightly. The Buddha also accepted karma he taught actions have consequences. E.g. if you have been good in your previous life you should then have a good life this time, this was also taught by Hinduism so the Buddha also accepted this idea.

The Buddha approved meditation similar to the Hindu way but the Buddha taught in a different way that was to deepen the Buddhist view of life. Like Hinduism the Buddha taught people that self-discipline was essential for life as it give respect understanding and respect.

Overall I disagree with this statement as the Buddha did not disagree with all religious views. He rejected casts which in my opinion as is correct as everyone is equal and he did change some views from Hinduism but they were for the good. The Buddha also accepted many religious ideas as he accepted reincarnation, karma and many others so he did not reject all religious view. Overall I believe this statement is incorrect.

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