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Chapter 4

subcontinent a large landmass that is a part of a continent
monsoons seasonal winds that bring heavy rains and warm air or cool, dry air
citadel a fortress
Vedas sacred writings about Aryan history and society
rajas regional leaders in Vedic society who protected a group of villages
varnas social classes that divided Vedic society into four groups
castes divisions of varnas that determined what jobs one could hold and whom a person could marry
Hinduism one of the world's oldest religions, practiced by most people in India today
reincarnation Hindu belief that the atman (soul) will be released from the body after death and later reborn in another; also called samsara
karma the sum effect of a person's deeds and actions during life
moksha escape from the cycle of rebirth, considered by Hindus to be the ultimate goal of human existence
dharma set of spiritual duties and obligations for Hindus
yoga a series of physical and mental exercises that aid meditation
Jainism religion founded by Hindus who broke away because they believed moksha could be achieved through giving up worldly goods and controlling one's actions
ahimsa in Jainism, nonviolence and respect for all living things
Buddhism the religion founded by the Siddhartha Gautama, which teaches the Four Noble Truths and following the Eightfold Path
Buddha founder of Buddhism; translated as Enlightened One
Four Noble Truths in Buddhism, the guidelines that are the essence of the Buddha's teaching; that life is suffering, that the annihilation of desires can relieve suffering, and that the way to relieve suffering is to follow the Eightfold Path
Eightfold Path the Middle Way and part of the Four Noble Truths that the Buddha taught as the means to nirvana or enlightenment
nirvana a state of peaceful existence, free from suffering
Middle Way a life lived in moderation, avoiding extremes of comfort and discomfort in the search for enlightenment
loess a fine dusty soil carried into China by desert winds
court a gathering of nobles around a monarch
oracle bones inscribed bits of animals bones or turtle shell that were used to seek advice from dead ancestors
Mandate of Heaven principle stating that the gods would support a just ruler, but they would not allow anyone corrupt to take power
dynastic cycle the rise and fall of the Chinese dynasties
Confucianism a belief system based on the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius that stressed treating one another humanely and honoring one's family
Daoism a system of ideas and beliefs based on the teachings of Chinese thinker Laozi, who believed that people should live a simple, honest life and not interfere in the course of natural events
Created by: tinsleylett