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Postcard from Sri Lanka ... The Hindu Temple

Temple statue

A statue inside a Hindu temple in Colombo.

Hindus are the second largest religious group in Sri Lanka. The religion was initially introduced to Sri Lanka by the early Tamil kings and it gained its main foothold in the north of the island.

Today, there are significant "parishes" in the major towns of Colombo and Kandy. You will also see Hindu shrines in many Buddhist temples (maybe they are having an each-way bet).

Buddhism actually had its beginnings in Hinduism which is probably the world's oldest religious tradition.

The architecture of the Hindu temples reflects the complexity of this religion. Elaborate decoration and imagery covers the facades and insides of their places of worship.

Hinduism embraces a multitude of deities, sects and philosophies.

The classic Hindu attitude is perhaps to regard their many gods and goddesses as different forms of a single supreme entity - and the different religious approaches of the belief as alternate ways of worshipping and realizing a supreme state of being.

But the modern practice of this religion is more concerned with the need for social action and advocating a spiritual and moral code in day-to-day life.

Hindus believe in:

  • re-incarnation,
  • that an action will have some bearing on later rewards (karma),
  • that a person must act in accordance with their station in life (dharma),
  • and in the caste system.

To improve your station in life, which is decided by the caste system, you must fulfill your duties in your present life in the hope that you will be reborn into a higher caste.

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