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Religion

Religion

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Comparative Analysis


 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: A Comparative Analysis
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are traditionally called the Abrahamic religions. They highlight and trace their common origin to the patriarch Abraham or recognize a spiritual tradition identified with him. Abraham appears in the scred texts of all of these religions. The major Abrahamic religions in chronological order of founding are: Judaism (late second millennium BCE), Christianity (first century CE), and Islam (seventh century CE).

Influence to the World:
Christianity claims 33% of the world's population, Islam comes second with 21%, and Judaism has 0.2%.

The Acts of Generosity of Tzu Chi Foundation

The Acts of Generosity of Tzu Chi Foundation

The famous Tzu Chi Foundation stands for the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, Republic of China. Literally "Compassionate Relief", Tzu Chi is an international humanitarian organization and a non-governmental organization (NGO) with an international network of volunteers and employees. Tzu Chi Foundation has been awarded a special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Tzu Chi Foundation has many sub-organizations such as the Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) and also the Tzu Chi Collegiate Youth Association (Tzu Ching). Tzu Chi volunteers and relief workers are mostly identifiable worldwide by their blue and white uniforms called ‘lántiān báiyún,’( lit. 'blue sky, white clouds').

Buddhist nun Master Cheng Yen on May 14, 1966 established The Tzu Chi Foundation as a charity organization with Buddhist origins in Hualien, Taiwan. She was inspired by her master and mentor, the late Venerable Master Yin Shun (Yìn Shùn dǎoshī) a proponent of Humanistic Buddhism, who encouraged her to "work for Buddhism and for all sentient beings". The organization thus started with a motto of "instructing the rich and saving the poor" as a group of thirty housewives who donated a small amount of money each day to care for needy families.

World Religions and Belief Systems: Definition of Terms

World Religions and Belief Systems: Definition of Terms

In the subject Introduction to World Religions and Belief Systems, the learners are expected to demonstrate understanding of belief system or worldview, Religion, Spirituality, Philosophy of Religion, Theology, the elements of religion, belief system, and spirituality. Being familiar with the following terms and concepts are very important as an introduction:

1.  ‘Materialism’ is the philosophical doctrine that physical matter is the only ultimate reality. It maintains that all that exists is reducible to matter or to qualities or upshots of matter.

2. Theists believe that unlike opposing ethical theories, theistic moral system (which is also called ‘moral supernaturalism’) can satisfactorily explain the existence of objective ethical values and moral laws.

3. Worldview is more than culture as it extends to perceptions of time and space, of happiness and of well-being. In fact, the beliefs, values, and behaviors of a culture stem from its worldviews.

Judaism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Judaism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Judaism has been correctly depicted as a religion, a race, a culture, and a nation. To be a member of the Jewish people, a person needs either to have been born to a Jewish mother or to have converted to the Jewish faith by one of the generally acknowledged movements within Judaism.


1.  Far more than just a person with the gift of prophecy, a ‘prophet’ is fundamentally a “spokesman for God, a person chosen by God to speak to people on God's behalf and convey a message or teaching. Prophets were role models of holiness, scholarship and closeness to God. They set the standards for the entire community” (“Prophet,” n.d.).

2. Moses is another great figure in Judaism. In Hebrew, he is called ‘Moshe Rabbenu’ (‘Moses our teacher’).

3. Concerning Jewish poetry, a Jewish liturgical poem, customarily designated to be sung, chanted, or recited during religious services, is called ‘piyyut’ or ‘piyut’ (plural ‘piyyutim’ or ‘piyutim’). Piyyutim are usually written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and most follow certain poetic scheme, like an acrostic following the order of the Hebrew alphabet or spelling out the name of the author. Piyyutim are said to have been written since Temple times.

Shintoism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Shintoism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Shintoism (or simply ‘Shinto’) is an ancient religion of Japan. ‘Shinto’ means the way of the gods.

1.Shintoism, which is also called ‘kami-no-michi,’ began at least as long ago as 1000 B.C.E. but is still practiced today by multitudes of people, especially Japanese.

2. Kojiki (‘Records of Ancient Matters’ or ‘An Account of Ancient Matters’), together with the Nihon shoki, is deemed a sacred text of the Shinto religion. Also known as ‘Furukotofumi,’ Kojiki is the oldest extant chronicle in Japan, dating from the early 8th century (711–712).

3.Nihon shoki, also called Nihongi (‘Chronicles of Japan’), is the second oldest book of classical Japanese history. The book is more elaborate and detailed than the Kojiki.

Taoism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Taoism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Taoism (/ˈdaʊɪzəm/), also known as Daoism, is a religious, philosophical, and ritual tradition which began in China. The core teaching of Taoism is becoming one with ‘Tao.’

1. Taoism highlights living in harmony with the ‘Tao’ (also ‘Dao’) (literally ‘Way’).

2. Tao is also a central idea in Chinese religions other than Taoism, like Confucianism. In Taoism, nevertheless, Tao stands for the principle that is both the source and the design of development of all that exists.

3. The ‘Tao Te Ching’ (or ‘Daodejing;’ “Classic of the Way of Power”), a compact book comprising teachings credited to Laozi (also Lao Tzu), is generally considered the grounding work of the Taoism together with the later writings of Zhuangzi.

Mahayana Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Mahayana Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Mahayana Buddhism is the branch of Buddhism prominent in North Asia, such as in China, Mongolia, Tibet, Korea, and Japan. It arose out of schisms, basically about both doctrine and monastic rules, within Indian Buddhism in the first century C.E.

1. Mahayana Buddhism is the branch of Buddhism that is also known as the Great Vehicle. This Great Vehicle Buddhism considers itself a more genuine version of the Buddhism.

2. Revered by most Buddhists , the Lotus Sutra is probably the most weighty of these sutras. It is said to describe a sermon delivered by the Buddha to a gathering of buddhas, boddhisatvas, and other celestial beings. This sermon accentuates Mahayana concepts such as the significance of becoming a boddhisatva and attaining one’s buddha-nature.
 
3. The Heart Sutra, which is very short, is another vital Mahayana text. Presented as the teachings the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, this sutra describes the five ‘skandhas’ (elements of human nature), as well as the Mahayana views of ‘emptiness,’ nirvana, and ultimate reality.
 

Theravada Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Theravada Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Theravada Buddhism refers to the branch or school of Buddhism that draws its scriptural inspiration from the Tipitaka, or Pali canon, which is claimed to contain the earliest surviving record of the Buddha’s teachings. Theravada has been one of the predominant religions of Thailand, Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Sri Lanka.

1. Theravada (from Pali words ‘thera,’ meaning ‘elders,’ and ‘vada,’ meaning  ‘word’ or ‘doctrine’), the ‘Doctrine of the Elders,’ is the name for the school of Buddhism that takes its scriptural inspiration from the Pali Canon, or Tipitaka, which is generally acknowledged as the oldest record of the Buddha’s teachings.

2. Buddhism’s ‘Tripitaka’ (‘Tipitaka’ in Pali) is the earliest collection of Buddhist teachings and the only text acknowledged as canonical by Theravada Buddhism. The schools of the Mahayana (‘Greater Vehicle’) branch also revere it, yet regard as scripture additional writings that are not accepted by Theravada.

3. The first basket, the ‘Vinaya Pitaka’ (Discipline Basket) was recalled by a monk named Upali. The earliest and smallest basket, it provides for the rules and regulations for the monastic community (the ‘sangha’), comprising 227 rules for monks, supplementary regulations for nuns, and rules for the interaction between the sangha and the laity. These rules were basically taken from the Buddha's responses to particular situations in the community.

Hinduism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Hinduism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Hinduism pertains to the major world religion arising from the Indian subcontinent and consisting of numerousl and varied systems of philosophy, belief, and ritual. It also refers to a rich aggregate of tradition of practices and texts, some of which date to the 2nd millennium BCE or possibly earlier.

1. Hinduism is a religious tradition of Indian origin, encompassing the beliefs and practices of Hindus. The word ‘Hindu’ is taken from the name of the river ‘Sindhu,’ or ‘Indus.’

2. ‘Aryan’ is a word which means ‘noble’ was used as a self-designation by Indo-Iranian people. The term was employed by the Indic people of the Vedic period in India as an ethnic label for themselves, as well as to designate the noble class and geographic location known as ‘Āryāvarta’ where Indo-Aryan culture was based (“Aryan,” n.d.).

3. Hinduism’s most sacred scriptures are the Vedas (‘Books of Knowledge’). Veda (Sanskrit, “knowledge”) refers to the most ancient sacred literature of Hinduism, or individual books belonging to that literature. ‘Vedas’ designates a collection of texts written in Sanskrit from about 1200 BCE to 100 CE, considered the absolute authority for religious knowledge and a test of Hindu orthodoxy.

Islam: Basic Terms and Concepts

Islam: Basic Terms and Concepts

Islam is a major world religion based on the revelations of Muhammad (its recognized last prophet) and was first established in Mecca (now in Saudi Arabia).

1. Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion that espouses that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of man’s existence is to worship and serve God. The Arabic word for God is ‘Allah.’

2. Muhammad the prophet (570?-632) is the last prophet according to Islam, whose revelations, covering political and social as well as religious principles, became the basis of Islamic religion and civilization.

3. The Qur’an (Koran) is the holy book of Islam. Islam holds that this sacred scripture is the infallible word of Allah, as it was revealed to the prophet Muhammad in the 7th century. In 114 chapters, called ‘suras,’ the Qur’an discusses a number of topics, including the life of Muhammad, the relationship between God and humans, prophets and messengers, and human responsibility and judgment.

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