Portal:Indian religions/Selected article

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Portal:Indian religions/Selected article/1

Valmiki, a contemporary of Rama, composes the Ramayana.

Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religion of the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Śrauta among numerous other traditions. Among other practices and philosophies, Hinduism includes a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of "daily morality" based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a conglomeration of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs.

Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its direct roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India and, as such, Hinduism is often called the "oldest living religion" or the "oldest living major religion" in the world.

One orthodox classification of Hindu texts is to divide into Śruti ("revealed") and Smriti ("remembered") texts. These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, rituals and temple building among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads, Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, Manusmriti, Bhagavad Gītā and Āgamas.

Hinduism, with about one billion followers (950 million estimated in India), is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.


Portal:Indian religions/Selected article/2

Raja Ram Mohan Roy portrait

Brahmo Samaj (Bengali ব্রাহ্ম সমাজ Bramho Shômaj) is the societal component of Brahmoism, a monotheistic reformist and renaissance movement of Hindu religion. It is practised today mainly as the Adi Dharm after its eclipse in Bengal consequent to the exit of the Tattwabodini Sabha from its ranks in 1859. After the publication of Hemendranath Tagore's Brahmo Anusthan (code of practice) in 1860 which formally divorced Brahmoism from Hinduism, the first Brahmo Samaj was founded in 1861 at Lahore by Pandit Nobin Chandra Roy.

It was one of the most influential religious reformist movements responsible for the making of modern India. It was started at Calcutta on 20 August 1828 by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore as reformation of the prevailing Brahmanism of the time (specifically Kulin practices) and began the Bengal Renaissance of the 19th century pioneering all religious, social and educational advance of the Hindu community in the 19th century. Its Trust Deed was made in 1830 formalising its inception and it was duly and publicly inaugurated in January 1830 by the consecration of the first house of prayer, now known as the Adi Brahmo Samaj. From the Brahmo Samaj springs Brahmoism, one of the modern sects or faiths of Hinduism. It is not recognised in India as a separate religion distinct from Hinduism despite its non-syncretic "foundation of Rammohun Roy's reformed spiritual Hinduism (contained in the 1830 Banian deed) and inclusion of root Hebraic – Islamic creed and practice" though the position is different in Bangladesh.


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The Harimandir Sahib, known popularly as the Golden Temple, is a sacred shrine for Sikhs.

Sikhism, or commonly known as Sikhi, meaning "instruction", is a monotheistic, monist, pantheist religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak and continued to progress through the ten successive Sikh gurus (the last guru being the holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib). It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world, with approximately 30 million Sikhs. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally 'wisdom of the Gurū'). Punjab, India is the only region in the world with a majority Sikh population.[1]

Sikhs are expected to embody the qualities of a "Sant-Sipāhī"—a saint-soldier. One must have control over one's internal vices and be able to be constantly immersed in virtues clarified in the Guru Granth Sahib.

The principal beliefs of Sikhi are faith in Waheguru—represented by the phrase ik ōaṅkār, meaning one God, who prevails in everything, along with a praxis in which the Sikh is enjoined to engage in social reform through the pursuit of justice for all human beings. Sikhi teaches that God is Akal Purakh (eternal) and advocates the pursuit of salvation in a social context through the congregational practice of meditation on the name and message of God. The followers of Sikhi are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh gurus, or enlightened leaders, as well as the holy scripture entitled the Gurū Granth Sāhib, which, along with the writings of six of the ten Sikh Gurus, includes selected works of many devotees from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, conferred the leadership of the Sikh community to the Gurū Granth Sāhib and the corporate body of the Khālsā Panth (the Granth and the Panth). Sikhi's traditions and teachings are associated with the history, society and culture of Punjab. Adherents of Sikhī are known as Sikhs (students or disciples) and number over 30 million across the world.

Most Sikhs live in Punjab, India, although there is a significant Sikh diaspora. Until the Partition of India with the division of Punjab and the subsequent independence of Pakistan and later India, millions of Sikhs lived in what is now Pakistani Punjab.


Portal:Indian religions/Selected article/4

Statue of Adinatha, the first tirthankara and the traditional founder of Jainism

Jainism (pronounced [dʒɛːnɪzəm]), traditionally known as Jaina dharma, is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings and emphasises spiritual independence and equality between all forms of life. Practitioners believe that non-violence and self-control are the means by which they can obtain liberation from the cycle of reincarnations. Currently, Jainism is divided into two major sects; Digambara and Śvētāmbara.

Jainism is one of the oldest religions of the world,[2] identified with the Śramaṇa tradition of ancient India and connected by some to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Jains traditionally trace their history through a succession of twenty-four propagators of faith known as tirthankara with Ādinātha as the first tirthankara and Mahāvīra as the last. For long periods of time Jainism was the state religion of Indian kingdoms and widely adopted in the Indian subcontinent. The religion has been in decline since the 8th century CE due to the growth of Hinduism and oppression by Muslim invaders.

Jainism is a religious minority in India, with 4.2 million followers, and there are small but notable immigrant communities in Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and the United States. Jains have the highest degree of literacy for a religious community in India,[3] and their manuscript libraries are the oldest in the country.


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Standing Buddha. One of the earliest known representations of the Buddha, 1st–2nd century CE. Greco-Buddhist art, Gandhara. (Tokyo National Museum

Buddhism is a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha, meaning "the awakened one". The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering (dukkha) through the elimination of ignorance (avidyā) by way of understanding and the seeing of dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda) and the elimination of craving (taṇhā), and thus the attainment of the cessation of all suffering, known as the sublime state of nirvāņa.

Two major branches of Buddhism are generally recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar etc.). Mahayana is found throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan etc.) and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai). In some classifications, Vajrayana—practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia, and adjacent parts of China and Russia—is recognized as a third branch, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana.

While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, both branches are now found throughout the world. Estimates of Buddhists worldwide vary significantly depending on the way Buddhist adherence is defined. Conservative estimates are between 350 and 750 million.

Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation, the importance and canonicity of various teachings and scriptures, and especially their respective practices. The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). Taking "refuge in the triple gem" has traditionally been a declaration and commitment to being on the Buddhist path, and in general distinguishes a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist. Other practices may include following ethical precepts; support of the monastic community; renouncing conventional living and becoming a monastic; the development of mindfulness and practice of meditation; cultivation of higher wisdom and discernment; study of scriptures; devotional practices; ceremonies; and in the Mahayana tradition, invocation of buddhas and bodhisattvas.


Portal:Indian religions/Selected article/6

Kabir

Sant Mat (Hindi: संत मत) was a loosely associated group of teachers that became prominent in the northern part of the Indian sub-continent from about the 13th century. Theologically, their teachings are distinguished by an inward, loving devotion to a divine principle, and socially by an egalitarianism opposed to the qualitative distinctions of the Hindu caste system, and to those between Hindus and Muslims.[4]

The sant lineage can be divided into two main groups: The northern group of Sants from the provinces of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, who expressed themselves mainly in vernacular Hindi, and the southern group, whose language is archaic Marathi, represented by Namdev and other Sants of Maharashtra.


Portal:Indian religions/Selected article/7

Venerable Hsuan Hua meditating in the Lotus Position. Hong Kong, 1953.

Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism[note 1] that developed in China during the 6th century as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, northeast to Korea and east to Japan.[6]

The word Zen is derived from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word 禪 (dʑjen) (Modern Mandarin: Chán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna,[7] which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state".[8]

Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings.[9] As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrine[9][10] and favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher.[11]

The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, especially Yogācāra, the Tathāgatagarbha Sutras and Huayan.[12][13] The Prajñāpāramitā literature[14] and, to a lesser extent, Madhyamaka have also been influential.


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