Portal:Indian religions/Selected biography

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Bodhidharma

Bodhidharma was a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century CE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch'an (Sanskrit: Dhyāna, Japanese: Zen) to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan.

Little contemporary biographical information on Bodhidharma is extant, and subsequent accounts became layered with legend.Two popular traditions exist regarding Bodhidharma's origins. An Indian tradition regards Bodhidharma to be the third son of a Tamil Pallava king from Kanchipuram, while the Japanese tradition regards Bodhidharma to be from Persia.

The accounts also differ on the date of his arrival, with one early account claiming that he arrived during the Liú Sòng Dynasty (420–479) and later accounts dating his arrival to the Liáng Dynasty (502–557). Bodhidharma was primarily active in the lands of the Northern Wèi Dynasty (386–534). Modern scholarship dates him to about the early 5th century.

Several stories about Bodhidharma have become popular legends, which are still being used in the Ch'an and Zen-tradition.

Bodhidharma's teachings and practice centered on meditation and the Lankavatara Sutra.

The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall (952) identifies Bodhidharma as the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism in an uninterrupted line that extends all the way back to the Buddha himself.

Throughout Buddhist art, Bodhidharma is depicted as a rather ill-tempered, profusely bearded and wide-eyed barbarian. He is referred as "The Blue-Eyed Barbarian" (碧眼胡) in Chinese Chan texts.


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Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda (Bengali: [ʃami bibekanɒnɖo] ( ), Shāmi Bibekānando; 12 January 1863 – 4 July 1902), born Narendra Nath Datta (Bengali: [nɔrend̪ro nat̪ʰ d̪ɔt̪t̪o]), was an Indian Hindu monk. He was a key figure in the introduction of Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the western world and was credited with raising interfaith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion in the late 19th century. He was a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and contributed to the notion of nationalism in colonial India. He was the chief disciple of the 19th century saint Ramakrishna and the founder of the Ramakrishna Math and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his inspiring speech beginning with "Sisters and Brothers of America," through which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Born into an aristocratic Bengali family of Calcutta, Vivekananda showed an inclination towards spirituality. He was influenced by his guru Ramakrishna from whom he learnt that all living beings were an embodiment of the divine self and hence, service to God could be rendered by service to mankind. After the death of his guru, Vivekananda toured the Indian subcontinent extensively and acquired a first-hand knowledge of the conditions that prevailed in British India. He later travelled to the United States to represent India as a delegate in the 1893 Parliament of World Religions. He conducted hundreds of public and private lectures and classes, disseminating tenets of Hindu philosophy in the United States, England and Europe. In India, Vivekananda is regarded as a patriotic saint and his birthday is celebrated as the National Youth Day.


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Sikh Gurus with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana

Guru Nanak About this sound pronunciation  (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ; Hindi: गुरु नानक, Urdu: گرونانک[ˈɡʊɾu ˈnɑnək] Gurū Nānak) (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) is the founder of the religion of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus, the eleventh guru being the living Guru, Guru Granth Sahib. His birth is celebrated world-wide on Kartik Puranmashi, the full-moon day which falls on different dates each year in the month of Katak, October-November.

Guru Nanak travelled to places far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of God's creations and constitutes the eternal Truth.

It is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Guru Nanak's sanctity, divinity and religious authority descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was devolved on to them.


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Ramana Maharshi

Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950) is widely acknowledged as one of the outstanding Indian gurus of modern times.[1] He was born as Venkataraman Iyer, in Tiruchuli, Tamil Nadu (South India).

At the age of sixteen, Venkataraman lost his sense of individual selfhood, an awakening which he later recognised as enlightenment. A few weeks thereafter he traveled to the holy mountain Arunachala, at Tiruvannamalai, where he remained for the rest of his life.

His first years were spent in solitude, but his stillness and his appearance as a sanyassin soon attracted devotees. In later years, he responded to questions, but always insisted that silence was the purest teaching. His verbal teachings flowed from his own understanding of Reality. In later years, a community grew up around him, where he was available twenty-four hours a day to visitors. Though worshipped by thousands, he never allowed anyone to treat him as special, or receive private gifts. He treated all with equal respect. Since the 1930s, his teachings have also been popularised in the west.

Venkataraman was renamed Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by one of his earliest followers, Ganapati Muni. This was the name he became known by to the world.

In response to questions on self-liberation and the classic texts on Yoga and Vedanta, Ramana recommended self-enquiry as the principal way to awaken to the "I-I", realizing the Self and attaining liberation. He also recommended Bhakti, and gave his approval to a variety of paths and practices.


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