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Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.

In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.

The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.

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Cardinals place their coat of arms in their titular church in Rome: arms of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos at SS. Nome di Maria al Foro Traiano
Ecclesiastical heraldry is the tradition of heraldry developed by Christian clergy. Initially used to mark documents, ecclesiastical heraldry evolved as a system for identifying people and dioceses. It is most formalized within the Roman Catholic Church, where most bishops, including the Pope, have a personal coat of arms. Similar customs are followed by clergy in the Anglican Church, the Lutheran Church, the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches, and the Orthodox Churches. Institutions such as schools and dioceses bear arms called impersonal or corporate arms.

Ecclesiastical heraldry differs notably from other heraldry in the use of special symbols around the shield to indicate rank in a church or denomination. The most prominent of these symbols is the ecclesiastical hat, commonly the Roman galero or Geneva Bonnet. The color and ornamentation of this hat carry a precise meaning. Cardinals are famous for the "red hat", but other offices are assigned a distinctive hat color. The hat is ornamented with tassels in a quantity commensurate with the office.

The papal coat of arms has its own heraldic customs, primarily the Papal Tiara (or mitre), the keys of Saint Peter, and the ombrellino (umbrella). Institutional arms have slightly different traditions, using the mitre and crozier more often than personal arms.

Selected picture

A depiction of Jesus and the Sacred Heart
Credit: Pompeo Batoni

The Sacred Heart is a religious devotion to Jesus' physical heart. This devotion is predominantly used in the Roman Catholic Church and represents divine love for humanity. It also stresses the central Christian concept of loving and adoring Jesus.

Selected religious figure or deity

Patañjali as an incarnation of Adi Sesha
Patañjali (Devanāgarī पतञ्जलि) is the compiler of the Yoga Sutra, a major work containing aphorisms on the philosophical aspects of mind and consciousness, and also the author of a major commentary on Panini's Ashtadhyayi, although many scholars do not consider these two texts to have been written by the same individual. In recent decades the Yoga Sutra has become quite popular worldwide for the precepts regarding practice of Raja Yoga and the philosophical basis of the Yoga movement for health and harmonizing bodymind. "Yoga" in traditional Hinduism involves inner contemplation, a rigorous system of meditation practice, ethics, metaphysics, and devotion to the one common soul, God, or Brahman.

Desiring to teach yoga to the world, he is said to have fallen (pat-) from heaven into the open palms (-añjali) of a woman, hence the name Patañjali.

Did you know...

  • ...that according to the Torah, Moses lived to be 120 years old?

On this day...

May 23:

Selected quote

Bahai star

My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty ancient, imperishable and everlasting.

Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.

Verily I say unto thee: Of all men the most negligent is he that disputeth idly and seeketh to advance himself over his brother. Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.

Bahá'u'lláh, the Kalimat-i-Maknunih

Selected scripture

Standard edition of the Thai Pali Canon
The Pali Canon is the standard scripture collection of the Theravada Buddhist tradition. It was not printed until the nineteenth century, but is now available in electronic form. However, the English translation, by the Pali Text Society, is not yet complete. The Canon was written down from oral tradition in the last century B.C.E. Most scholars give it some sort of pre-eminence among sources for early Buddhism. It is composed in the Pali language, and falls into three general categories, called pitaka (piṭaka, basket) in Pali. Because of this, the canon is traditionally known as the tipitaka (tipiṭaka; three baskets). The three pitakas are as follows.

1. Vinaya Pitaka, dealing with rules for monks and nuns.
2. Sutta Pitaka, discourses, most ascribed to the Buddha, but some to disciples.
3. Abhidhamma Pitaka, variously described as philosophy, psychology, metaphysics, and so on.

According to the scriptures a council was held shortly after the Buddha's death to collect and preserve his teachings. It is traditionally believed by Theravadins that most of the Pali Canon was recited orally from this time, with only a few later additions. There are wide differences of opinion among scholars as to what extent the teachings may be traced to the historical Buddha himself.

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