"to tie back"
take a more flexible approach to religious tradition. They tend to be very open to contemporary ideas and influences, seeking to combine the modern with the more traditional.
"systems of doctrines proclaimed as absolutely true and accepted as such, even if they lie beyond the domain of one's personal experiences."
Indwelling; Sikh theology maintains that God dwells within nature and within human beings in such a way that God is personal and can be approached through worship
"18th century Enlightenment [idea that] allowed for the possibility that the world might have been created by God, but dispensed with any plausible role for the Divine...in [human] history."
those who publicly assert controversial positions that are unacceptable to the Orthodox Establishment of a religious tradition.
those that are guided more by their own personal spiritual experiences; they are people who tend to 'look at the whole of things' and see unity with that Whole as the most important part of a religious tradition.
the most obvious and basic aspect of religion
stand by the historical core of their religion. They strive to be careful followers of its established practices, laws, creeds, beliefs, traditions, doctrines, and dogmas
"the non-belief in any deity."
believers tend to be 'very strict' in following the orthodox way; in general they are also those who resist contemporary influences and they strongly, and sometimes harshly, affirm their understanding of life/religion as THE only correct expression of such.
the overcoming of the normal limitations imposed by the human condition, whether temporarily or abidingly.
An incarnation, or living embodiment, of a deity, usually of Vishnu, who is sent to earth to accomplish a divine purpose; Krishna and Rama are the most popular avatars.
Material success and social prestige, one of the four goals of life.
Ethical duty based on the divine order of reality; one of the four goals of life.
One who renounces physical pleasures and worldly attachments for the sake of spiritual advancement; common in Hinduism and many other religious traditions, most notably Jainism.
A trancelike state in which self-consciousness is lost, and the mind is absorbed into the ultimate reality; the culmination of the eight steps of Yoga.
A short section of the epic poem Mahabharata in which the god Krishna teaches the great warrior Arjuna about bhakti marga and other ways to God; Hinduism's most popular sacred text
A collection of over 200 texts composed between 900 and 200 B.C. that provide philosophical commentary on the Vedas.
The wheel of rebirth or reincarnation; the this-worldly realm in which rebirth occurs.
A wandering ascetic who has advanced to the fourth and highest stage of life.
A system of Hindu philosphy and one approach within jnana marga, "the path of knowledge," seeking to free the eternal self from the bondage of personhood, culminating in the experience of samadhi
Liberation or release of the individual self, atman, from the bondage of samsara; salvation; one of the four goals of life.
A system of Hindu philosphy and one approach within jnana marga, "the path of knowledge," holding that all reality is essentially Brahman; most notable advocate is the medieval Hindu philosopher Shankara.
a great warrior (of kshatria class) guided by the god Krishna in his crucial battle.
A collection of 1,017 Sanskrit hymns composed about 1500 B.C. or earlier; Hinduism's oldest sacred text.
The traditional practice of burning a widow on her husband's funeral pyre; outlawed 1829, though it still occurs rarely.
Cosmic illusion brought about by divine creative power.
A system of Hindu philosophy and one approach within jnana marga, "the path of knowledge," asserting that reality comprises two distinct categories: matter and eternal selves.
Pleasure, especially of sensual love; one of the four goals of life.
The moral law of cause and effect of actions; determines the nature of one's reincarnation.
Hindu elephant god
Sanskrit: "circle;" Patterned icons that visually excite; used in Vajrayana Buddhism to enhance meditation.
Sanskrit: "blowing out;" The ultimate goal of all Buddhists, the extinction of desire and any sense of individual selfhood, resulting in liberation from samsara and its limiting conditions.
Sanskrit: "the vehicle of the diamond;" Named for Vajra, the Buddha's diamond sceptor; prevalent form of Buddhism in Tibet; emphasizes the harnessing of sensual energies to attain nirvana.
Pali: "the way of the elders;" Prevalent form of Buddhism in Cambodia, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Sri Lanka, and Thailand; focuses on the earliest texts and emphasizes monastic lifestyle.
Coreographed hand movements used in the rituals of Vajrayana Buddhism.
An ancient language of India, similar to Sanskrit but more commonly understood, and used in the writing of the earliest Buddhist texts; most important for Theravada Buddhism.
Pali: "desire," thirst," or "craving;" The second of the Four Noble Truths, selfish desire, which causes dukkha.
One who has become enlightened; the ideal type for Theravada Buddhism.
Phrase or syllable chanted to evoke a deity or to enhance meditation; used in Hinduism and Buddhism, especially in Vajrayana.
Future Buddhas. As the ideal types for Mahayana Buddhism, beings who have experienced enlightenment but, motivated by compassion, stop short of entering nirvana so as to help others achieve it.
Sanskrit: "The Great Vehicle;" The largest of Buddhism's three divisions, prevalant in China, Japan, and Korea; encompasses a variety of forms, including those that emhasize devotion and prayer to the Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
The Buddhist community of monks and nuns; one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism.
Guatama the Buddha remained for many days in his spot beneath this fig tree (referred to ever since as the _____ or "wisdom" tree)
Most famous figure in Neo-Confucianism, and one of the world's greatest philosophers-determined the Four Books from among the Confucian texts: Analects, Book of Mencius, the Great Learning, and Doctrine of the Mean
Tao Te Ching
Chinese: "the book of the Way and its power [or virtue]"). Taoism's foundational text, traditionally thought to have been authorized by Lao Tzu in the seventh or sixth century B.C.; sometimes called the Lao Tzu.
The negative, passive, feminine, earthly component of the universe, characterized by darkness and weakness; complements yang.
The power of virtue acquired by the individual through living in harmony with Tao
assertion that seem illogical and contradictory on the surface, and yet contain deeper truths that are accessible more through intuition than through logical thinking.
The positive, active, masculine, heavenly component of the universe, characterized by light and strength; compliments yin.
the ideal form in Taoism-one who attains oneness with Tao through apprehension of its simplicity and natural unity.
The collected sayings of Confucius, one of the Four Books of Confucianism
For Confucianism, the moral order that permeates the universe, the Way that should be followed. Sometimes the word tao is lowercased to refer more generally to an individual tao, or "way."
regarded as the second founder of Confucianism. He claimed that human beings are naturally good, and that they commit evil acts in violation of their true nature.
The supreme human virtue, doing one's best to treat others as one would wish to be treated. "goodness," "love," "benevolance"
"gentleman," The mature person, an ideal human being with perfect moral character.
The cultural arts, skills of behavior valued by Confucius as being of moral benefit and as befitting the mature person.
"reciprocity;" A basic principle of Confucian ethics that says not to do to others what you would not want them to do to you.
Hebrew: "study," "knowledge;" The vast depository of the oral Torah, based on the Mishnah with extensive rabbinic commentary on each chapter; there are two versions, the Palestinian (completed about A.D. 450) and the Babylonian (completed about A.D. 600).
Greek: "dispersion;" The situation of Jews living away from their ancestral homeland, a circumstance that has been true for most Jews since the classical period.
Jewish mysticism, which teaches that God can best be known through the heart; developed mainly in the medieval period with such texts as the Zohar.
a holy man who is believed to have an especially close relationship with God
Originally, the movement arising in the late nineteenth century that sought to re-establish a Jewish homeland; since 1948, the general support of the State of Israel.
Hebrew: "the beginning of the year;" The festival occurring in early fall in commemoration of the new year.
Hebrew: "day of atonement;" Judaism's most important holy day, occurring in the fall on the tenth day of the new year; spent primarily at synagogue services in prayer for forgiveness of sins and marked by abstention from food and drinking (fasting).
The eight-day festival celebrated in early spring that commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt.
Hebrew: "my teacher;" A teacher of Torah and leader of Jewish worship
The ritual celebration marking the coming of age of a Jewish child, at whicht time the person takes on the religious responsibilities of an adult.
Bride and groom stand beneath bridal canopy, which creates a special, sacred place
Jewish prayer of mourning, begins the second stage of mourning.
"extinction;" the extinction of one's sense of separate existence before achieving union with Allah; the aim of Sufi mystics.
Arabic: "successors;" The military and political leaders of the Muslim community who succeeded Muhammad after his death.
The fifth of the Five Pillars; the journey to Mecca that all Muslims are to make at least once in their lifetime, if they can afford it and are physically able
Arabic: "emigration;" The emigration of Muhammad and his followers Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Yathrib (thereafter called Medina) in A.D. 622; the founding event of the Muslim community.
For Shi'i Islam, an early successor to Muhammad and leader of Islam (most Shi'i's acknowledge 12 Imams), believed to have special spiritual insight.
Arabic: "leader;" The leader of the Friday worship service who directs the prayers and delivers a sermon.
Arabic: "exertion" or "struggle;" Sometimes counted as the 6th pillar of Islam, the general spiritual struggle to be a devout Muslim. In a more narrow context, jihad refers to armed struggle (holy war) for the sake of Islam, which the Qur'an supports only if it is carried out in self-defense.
The stone cubical structure in the courtyard of the Great Mosque of Mecca, believed to have been buildt by Abraham and regared by Muslims as the scred center of the earth.
The Muslim place or building of worship, traditionally including a prayer hall and courtyard, with towers called minarets at the corners
Arabic: "recitiation;" Islam's primary sacred text, regarded by Muslim's as the direct words of Allah, revealed to Muammad through the archangel Gabriel.
The 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar, aperiod during which Muslims fast, in accordance with the thrid of the Five Pillars.
Arabic: "witnessing;" The confession of faith, the first of the Five Pillars and central creedal statement of Islam: "There is no god except God. Muhammad is the messenger of God."
The divine law, derived from the Qur'an and the Sunna, encompassing all and setting forth in detail how Muslims are to live.
A teacher and master in Islam, such as the leader of an order in Sufism.
The division of Islam dominant in Iraq and Iran, originating as a result of an early dispute over leadership; distinguishable from Sunni Islam mainly by its figure of the Imam and strong messianic expectations.
An adherent of Sufism, the form of Islam characterized by a mystical approach to Allah, who is experienced inwardly.
Arabic: "custom" or "tradition;" The teachings and actions of Muhammad recorded in writings known as hadith, which provide the model for being Muslim; Islam's second most important authority (after the Qua'ran).
The division of Islam practiced by most Muslims, named after the Sunna
Arabic: "community;" The community of all Muslims
a savior figure coming to restore Islam and bring order on earth
The school of gradual awakening, brought to Japan in the 13th century A.D. by Eisai; one of the two major sects of Zen.
shows Zen's celebration of simplicity
"mediation;" The Chinese sect of Buddhism that focuses on the experience of enlightenment; it began to flourish under the direction of Hui-neng in the 7th century A.D.; the Japanese equivalent to Zen.
The school of sudden awakening, brought to Japan in the 12th century A.D. by Eisai; one of the two major sects of Zen
Zen masters who are deemed competent to teach others.
A periodic meeting with the master during which the disciple offers an answer to an assigned koan.
a verbal puzzle designed to to short-circuit the workings of the rational, logical mind; used especially in Rinzai Zen as a means of triggering satori.
The basic method of Zen meditation, traditionally practiced while seated in the lotus position in a meditation hall.
The Zen experience of the enlightenment, a flash of insight in which the true nature of one's being is known directly.
mythic time of Aboriginal religion when the Ancestors inhabited and created the earth, giving form to the landscapes and creating various forms of life
supernatural beings of Aboriginal religion who gave shape to landscapes and created life in Australia
the natural form in which an Ancestor appeared during the Dreaming (could be an animal or landscape)
concept that dictates that certain activities are set aside for specific members of the community
main initiation ritual of the Aborigines; the initiate is surrounded by his male relatives who cut their arms and let their blood run over the initiate; the initiate then receives several wounds that are intended to leave scars; finally, the initiate is sent into the wilderness until his wounds have healed and the blood has washed away and returns to the tribe
"Great Spirit", "Great Mysterious", refers to the sixteen separate deities of the Lakota religion
Lakota trickster figure; mediator between the supernatural and human worlds
primary means for an individual to gain access to spiritual power that will ensure greater success in hunting, warfare, and curing the ill through an encounter with a guardian spirit or medium; carried out under supervision of medicine man; begins in sweat lodge for purification; a period of fasting and self-denial follows
ritual of the Lakota that celebrates the new year and prepares the tribe for the annual buffalo hunt; performed in late spring or early summer
an entity such as a mountain, tree, or pole that is believed to connect the earth to the heavens and is sometimes regarded as the center of the world