Buddhism Challenging the Beliefs of Vedic Religions

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BUDDHISM CHALLENGING THE BELIEFS OF VEDIC RELIGIONS In the dawn of early human civilizations and religions, one religion was rising to top all the other based on its beliefs. Siddharta Gautama started the religion out of northern India to free himself of a “dusty” life. The religion was called Buddhism and was founded around 520 B.C.E. and started a “war of the religions” to gain more followers, and would eventually become the 4th largest religion in the world. Buddhism made a large dispute to the beliefs of Vedic religions because was no caste system to separate social classes, everyone could reach enlightenment or nirvana, not only the royal Brahmins, and people believed that the ability to rid yourself of a selfish/sorrowful life was inside of yourself as long as you follow the middle or eightfold path. In early times, almost all religions had a caste system, which separated social classes into ranks. According to “The Laws of Manu”, the caste system was separated into four ranks (“Laws of Manu”, 10). The highest rank of citizens was called the Brahmins (or Brahmans). The Brahmins were the high priests of Vedic society and the most respected; also, they were the only ones able reach nirvana (Armstrong, 7). The second rank was called the Kshatiya. The Kshatiya were the warriors, and were honored for fighting for their societies. The third rank was called the Vaishya. The Vaishya were the farmers of Vedic society, they were highly disrespected, but not as much as the lowest rank. The last rank was called the Shudra. The Shudra were known as the servants to the royal Brahmins. This separation of ranks led to many leaving the Vedic societies and religions like Hinduism, and joining Buddhism. This ultimately affected the number of followers in Vedic religion. In Vedic societies, many believed that ONLY Brahmins could reach sort of enlightenment or type of

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