Comparing Origins and History of Hinduism and Buddhism in India, history homework help

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Unit 2 Essay: Comparing the Origins and History of Hinduism and Buddhism in India

A major theme in India’s ancient and early medieval periods is the early origins and historical development of Hinduism and Buddhism. Chapter 3 of World History repeatedly returns to this theme, covering religious ideas as well as social and political dimensions to the history of these traditions.

For your essay, please write a comparative study of the origins and history of these two traditions in ancient and medieval times. As you write it, although you should judge for yourself what to include in this study, you might think about and consider the following elements:

  • The Vedic Age (1700-600 BCE):
    • The Vedic peoples, Rig Veda, Brahmins, and Brahmanism.
    • The Brahmanas and Upanishads.
    • Varna social system.
  • Transition to Empire (600-321):
    • Siddhartha Gautama (c. 563-480)
    • Caste system.
  • Mauryan Empire (321-184 BCE) and King Ashoka.
  • Regional States, Trade, and Devotional Religion (200 BCE-300 CE)
    • The Kushan Kingdom and King Kanishka
    • New developments in Buddhism: Mahayana Buddhism
    • New developments in Hinduism: Dharma Scriptures, Indian Epics, and devotional Hinduism
  • Medieval India (600-1300 CE): Medieval Kingdoms and Hinduism.

Although the timelines may vary somewhat, overviews of the history of these religious traditions at these two websites will provide you with some additional assistance in writing this essay:

Important Note: Please note that this should not be an unhistorical, general study of Hinduism and Buddhism. You will not want to write a comparative study of these traditions’ major religious ideas and practices, except insofar as those relate to their historical development and the essay topic. You could, for example, organize your essay by addressing a set of comparative points in the body paragraphs.

1. Compare and contrast how each tradition began.

2. Compare and contrast how each tradition developed over time.

3. Compare and contrast the social role each tradition played.

4. Compare and contrast the political roles each tradition played.

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