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TRADITION

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India
Religion has consistently played an important and contentious role in Indian politics and society. The country has a long history of religious diversity; it has given rise...
Hinduism Hinduism
Hinduism is an Indian religion encompassing diverse ritualistic Vedic traditions stressing the importance of karma and societal norms. The vast field of Hindu scriptures...

Dharma (Hinduism)

For Hindus, dharma is the moral order of the universe and a code of living that embodies the fundamental principles of law, religion, and duty that governs all reality. The Hindu worldview asserts that is one by following one's dharma, a person can eventually achieve liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara). In the traditional Hindu view, a person’s duties are dependent upon his or her age, gender, occupation, and caste; dharma is construed at least in part in terms of prescribed rituals and caste obligations. Hindu reformers have interpreted dharma in multiple ways. For example, Mohandas Gandhi argued that dharma should be understood in more spiritual terms. He reinterpreted the role of dharma in Hindu society by highlighting its moral precepts and portrayed it as a dimension of human freedom.

Dharma is a central concept shared by many religions in the Indian subcontinent, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism—as well as in the Indo-Iranian faith of Zoroastrianism. In Hinduism, dharma is conceived as the moral precept that governs duty, religion, and law. Therefore, because dharma has the potential to affect all aspects of a believer’s life, many British colonialists considered the Dharmasastras—the textual compilation and analysis of dharmic ordinances—to be the civil law of Hindu peoples. Hence, colonists believed that dharmic texts were the reason for prevailing caste practices and ritual obligation in society. However, the relevance and potency of dharma is continuously challenged and even today the claim that dharma is compatible with a strict separation between the religious and secular realms is a matter of debate. The persistence of dharma in Indian society encourages spiritual practice and right conduct, but has also supported the persistence of the caste system. Even though the caste system was abolished when India gained her independence from the British, it is still socially pervasive. Modern Hindu reformers argue that regardless of its connection to dharmic rules expressed in ancient texts, the caste system is incompatible with democracy.
对于印度教徒来说,法是宇宙的道德秩序以及一种生活规则;法体现了统治万有的基本真理、和谐及法律原则。按照法的原则来生活,人将最终摆脱生死的轮回。根据印度教的传统观念,一个人的职责基于其年龄、性别、职位和种姓;至少在部分程度上,法被解释为统治种姓的特定仪式。印度教的改革者,如莫罕达斯•甘地,则从更精神性的层面来解释法,将其看做是人的自由的一个方面。