Ancient Asia as land is known to be home to many different religions. Nowadays these religions are mostly extinct or only exist in small groups, but they have made quite an impact on the history of Asia and its people.
Dharmic religions, also known as ʾIndic religions, are those religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Dharmic is also an adjective used to describe something or someone related to Dharmic religions. The three main Dharmic Religions are all nontheistic.
Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as Buddha. It started in India around the 6th century BC, but its origins can be traced back further to earlier religious movements. It focuses on the practice of mindfulness and good deeds for enlightenment. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, which affects their beliefs about suffering and mortality. They have no concrete view of a deity or a creator.
Buddhism was originally founded in Northern India but it quickly spread throughout Asia. Buddha taught that the problems of life could be solved through meditation and, if you follow the teachings of Buddhism, you could find enlightenment. This does not mean that all Buddhists are peaceful, however, as many were also responsible for war and other horrible things happening around them. It’s hard to say exactly how old this religion is because some think that its first members were only a small group while others believe it came about much earlier than Hinduism. The problem with this theory is that there are no records showing its existence before then, which puts it on an equal level with Hinduism regarding the age question.
Emperor Ashoka was one of the greatest rulers during his time and one of the first people that recognized that war was not a good way to solve problems. He even converted to Buddhism after seeing all the death, killing, and destruction it caused. This move somewhat made him lose favor with Hindu leaders as he now had an interest in another religion as well as his own so they were not happy about this but they could not do much to change it.
Hinduism is the world’s third-largest religion, after Christianity and Islam, with approximately 1 billion followers worldwide. It has its origins in the Indian subcontinent, most notably in India. Hinduism is not considered a monolithic religion because of its structure as a philosophy rather than an organized religion. In Hinduism, there are many gods with different roles within them. It is described as being pantheistic, however, modern scholars have begun to question this due to inconsistencies between early scriptures and current ones.
Hinduism is the oldest living philosophy and started between 1500- 500BC in India. Hindus have many followers all over the world and nowhere else. It has about one billion members and around eighty percent of them live in South Asia (mostly in India). The word “Hindu” originates from Sindhu, an ancient name for the river Indus that flows through Pakistan, India, and Afghanistan. Hindus believe there is more than one god. There are three main types of Hinduism:
- Vaishnavites focus on Vishnu;
- Shaivites on Shiva;
- Shaktos worship Devi as the female aspect of God.
Sikhism is a monotheistic faith that originated in the 15th century Punjab. Its founder was Guru Nanak Dev who was born in 1469AD in Talwandi (now known as Nankana Sahib). Sikhism is one of the youngest of the world’s major religions and over 95% of its adherents live in the Indian state of Punjab. There are approximately 30 million Sikhs worldwide making it the fifth-largest organized religion after Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.
Sikhism came to be in Northern India when Guru Nanak traveled around the region and spoke out against Hinduism, Islam, and other religions. He said that there was only one god which all people were equal before. While he did not say this himself it can be assumed that he was against castes since they are known for oppressing lower caste people. For centuries Sikhism existed as merely a sect of Hinduism but it soon gained followers who wanted to follow Sikh’s own teachings instead of living by the Dharma alone. From then on Sikhs saw themselves as their own religion with their own beliefs, symbols, and ways of life different from both Buddhism and Hinduism.
The oldest living Asian religion is Jainism, which originated around 2500 years ago. The two main branches today are Digambara and Śvētāmbara. According to Jains, there was a succession of twenty-four teachers from God Mahavira onwards. The last teacher was Lord Mahaviras son, Kundakunda . It was founded by a man named Parsva who died about 877 BC. It is very different from most other religions in the fact that they believe in the existence of truth, but not in God or a supreme being. They don’t practice idol worshiping either.
The Daoist religion, also known as “Daoism” started around 500 B.C . when many philosophers and alchemists were searching for the elixir of life; one such man was Laozi (also spelled Lao Tse) who founded philosophical Taoism. Laozi was said to be an older contemporary of Confucius (Kong Fuzi). His little-known writings mostly involve natural phenomena and humanity’s relationship with nature, which we now refer to as. The literal meaning of Dao is “the way” or “path”, which has evolved into the concept of the Dao, or the Way.
Confucianism was founded by Confucius, who was born in 551 B.C . in China. Confucius developed a system of social, ethical, political, and religious teachings which have shaped East Asia for two thousand years. His theories emphasize personal and governmental morality, correctness name-forms, good breeding in thought and action, family as a basis for order in society, respect towards elders/ancestors/superiors ready obedience to authority at all levels from father to ruler.
Confucianism is usually associated with East Asia even though it originated in Ancient China. Confucius taught that humans should be moral and virtuous individuals by living according to five virtues: wisdom, benevolence, courage, justice, and sincerity. The belief system spread throughout China and many emperors wanted their subjects to follow its teachings because they believed that doing so would make it easier to rule. That might have been the case, but if it were then why did ancient China fall in 1912?
Shinto is an animistic religion that started during Japan’s Jōmon Period ( 14 000- 300BC ). It has no written scriptures, however, it does have many sacred texts which are used to teach followers. It is based on the idea of kami, or spirits, found everywhere in nature. There are over 80 000 shrines dedicated to various Shinto deities across Japan.
Bahaism is a monotheistic religion that started around 1800 AD in Persia (now known as Iran ). Its founder was Baha’u’llah, who claimed he was the prophet predicted by the previous religions like Hinduism and Islam. The followers of Bahaism believe that there is only one god with infinite divine attributes, not separate from nature itself. They also believe in unity among all races/religions with world peace as a goal.
Islam, one of the youngest religions according to this list, was founded in Saudi Arabia when Muhammad received visions from god. These were then written down into what is now known as the Quran. Some followers still use these texts today while others interpret them differently because they believe that God could not give something so complicated to someone who did not understand anything about life at that time. The religion spread throughout Asia and Africa due to trades and conquest which eventually led up to the Islamic Golden Age where many important things happened both inside and outside art.