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Essay One - The Samana Movement Quila Toews 997556201 The...

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The discussion of religion within India should most certainly begin with Brahmanism, which later turns into Hinduism. A defining characteristic of Brahmanism is the divinely ordained categorization of all people at birth, into four social classes called varnas : the Brahmanas , Kstariyas , Vaisyas and Sudras (Skilton 15). As social conditions changed within India, the arrogant wealthy Brahmanas who put on unnecessarily extravagant sacrificial ceremonies became increasingly distant from the pious, truthful and poor, but more saintly population (Harvey 11). As the communities became more aware of this changing order, they began to not blindly accept, but to criticize this Hindu system. It was this changing atmosphere within Indian religion that Buddhism was developed, as people began to seek out meaning and true happiness in these uncertain times (Harvey 13). Buddhism was spearheaded by a movement led by samanas , or parivrajakas , who were wandering ascetics who gave up all material possessions, family ties and lived off alms in order to better seek liberation. The Buddha was also known as one of these wanderers, and made it his quest to seek spiritual enlightenment, and the end of suffering (Skilton 17). The Buddha was inspired to live a life of asceticism after he became aware of impermanence ( anitya) through the sites of an old man, a sick man, a corpse and a monk with a calm demeanor who he came to idolize (Harvey 18). It
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