Asian Religions and Their Cultures
This chapter presents the religions of Asia, including Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and its various schools, Confucianism, Daoism, Judaism in Asia, Islam in Asia, and Shinto. Hinduism— literally, "Indianism"— is hard to define, and the religious element mixes with more general cultural practice. The probable Harappan belief in reincarnation and the immortality of the soul had reappeared by late Vedic times and became a further basic part of Hinduism. The Upanishads deal with good and evil, law, morality, and human duty and are often seen as the core of classical Hinduism. The chapter deals with some considerations on Asian religions as a whole and on the contrasts between them and the Western Judeo-Christian tradition. Buddhism divided early into two separate schools, Theravada and Mahayana, and as it spread eastward from India brought some aspects of Indian culture with it, including art forms, and developed some characteristics reflecting each of the different cultures that adopted it.