Mahayana Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Mahayana Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts
The following are some basic terms and concepts in Mahayana Buddhism:
1. Heart: Prajnaparamita-Hrdaya Sutra: One of the smallest sutras, and with the Diamond Sutra, one of the most popular of the 40 sutras, in the vast Prajnaparamita literature. Its emphasis is on emptiness.
2. The Six Perfections, or ‘paramitas,’ are virtues to be refined to strengthen practice and bring a person to enlightenment. Collectively, they are the path of the Bodhisattva, that is, one who is devoted to serving the highest welfare of all living beings with the aroused heart of unconditional love, skillful wisdom, and all-encompassing compassion.
3. Sila Paramita (Perfection of Morality) is not about unhesitating obedience to a number of rules. Indeed, there are precepts in Mahayana Buddhism, but the precepts are somewhat like training wheels. They guide people until they find their own balance. A bodhisattva or enlightened being is said to react correctly to every situation without having to refer to a list of rules. In the practice of sila paramita, people are said to develop selfless compassion. Along the way, individuals are said to practice renunciation and achieve an appreciation for karma.
4. Mahayana holds that anyone can potentially attain Buddhahood, transcending personality and becoming one with the impersonal Ultimate Reality, which is Infinite Bliss (Nirvana).
5. The Chinese have thus decided not to permit adherence to and practice of Buddhism in Tibet and they have systematically set out to eradicate this Buddhism in Tibet.


Theravada Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Theravada Buddhism: Basic Terms and Concepts
Theravada Buddhism has been one of the predominant religions of Thailand, Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Sri Lanka. The following are some concepts and beliefs in this religion:
1. The Law of Dependent Origination is one of the most significant teachings of the Buddha which is very philosophical. Its philosophical foundation is that life or the world is built on a set of relations, in which the arising and cessation of factors depend on some other factors which condition them.
2. The core teaching of Theravada Buddhism is that life is suffering; suffering is due to craving; there is a way to overcome craving; and the way to overcome craving is the Eight-fold Path, the Middle Way (between pleasure and mortification). The central philosophy of this branch of Buddhism is therefore its Four Noble Truths.
3. Also within the Abhidharma Pitaka is the ‘Dhammapada,’ a popular Buddhist text consisting of the Buddha’s sayings  and simple discussions of Buddhist doctrine based on the Buddha’s daily life.
4. Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born in the sixth century B.C. in what is now modern Nepal. His father, Suddhodana, was the ruler of the Sakya people, and Siddhartha grew up living the extravagant life of a young prince.
5. The second basket, the ‘Sutra Pitaka’ (Discourse Basket) was recited by Ananda, Buddha's cousin and considered as his closest companion. The largest basket, it contains the Buddha's teachings on doctrine and behavior, focusing especially on meditation techniques. It encompasses doctrinal sermons and ethical discourses attributed to the Buddha or, in a few cases, to his disciples.


Hinduism: Basic Terms and Concepts

Hinduism: Basic Terms and Concepts
Hinduism refers to a rich aggregate of tradition of practices and texts, some of which date to the 2nd millennium BCE or possibly earlier.
1. The Yajur Veda was used by udgatri priests and comprises short prose to go with ritual acts, many of which are addressed to the ritual instruments and offerings. It was also used by the adhvaryu, priests who recited appropriate formulas from the Yajur-Veda while actually performing the sacrificial actions.
2. The ‘Upanishads’ constitute the core of Indian philosophy. They are collections of writings where all the essential teachings that are fundamental to Hinduism — the concepts of 'karma' (action), 'samsara' (reincarnation), 'moksha' (nirvana), the 'atman' (soul), and the 'Brahman' (Absolute Almighty) are found.
3. The Bhagavad Gita, often referred to as simply the Gita, refers to a Hindu scripture written about 2000 years ago. It is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 25 - 42 of its 6th book).
4. Kāma (pleasure) involves the pleasure of the senses, both aesthetic (refined artistic) pleasures and sensual or sexual pleasure.
5. In Hindu philosophy, the term atman’ also refers to the true essence of everything, including the universe. The atman is believed to be the only thing that truly exists, an immortal substance that transmigrates from body to body.


Islam: Basic Terms and Concepts

Islam: Basic Terms and Concepts
The following are some basic information about the religion Islam:
1.  Around the year ad 570, Muhammad was born in Mecca, at the time the central city of the Arabian Peninsula. He belonged to the clan of Hashim, a poor but respected branch of the esteemed and prominent tribe of Quraysh.


How Much Do You Know About the Iglesia Ni Cristo: A Fun Quiz Game

How Much Do You Know About the Iglesia Ni Cristo: A Fun Quiz Game

The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) or Church of Christ has its Centennial Celebration this year (2014). This Christian religion which has amazingly reached various parts of the world actually originated from the Philippines. Just recently, the INC has broken various Guinness World records through its noble charitable humanitarian undertakings like its relief goods distribution, free medical services, and walk for a cause (for Haiyan/Yolanda victims).

But how much do you know about this phenomenal Philippine-born international religion? Try this automated fun quiz game and learn how much you know about this religion which has been there since July 27, 1914.

To have an access to this e-learning fun QUIZ GAME, you just have to click the Facebook LIKE button above (if you have not liked it yet).

HOW TO SHARE IT: Use the SHARE button below to accomplish sharing using your Facebook, Twitter, etc, account. Or, you may link this quiz by using the URL above.

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LESSON 1: Introduction

What is religion?

What is the significance of religion?

1. Definition of Terms

1.1. What is ‘belief system’?

   Define ‘worldview’

1.1.1. Define Monism (All is one)

1.1.2. Define Polytheism (Many Gods)

1.1.3. Define Monotheism (One God)

1.1.4. Define Atheism (No God)

1.1.5. Give an example of a belief system or a worldview

1.2. Define ‘Religion’

1.2.1. What is man’s higher dimension?

1.2.2. What are transcendent beliefs?

1.2.3. What is religious text or scriptures?

1.2.4. What is religious ritual?

1.2.5. What is religious sacred space (e.g., church, temple, mosque, synagogue)?

1.3. Spirituality (define)

Briefly discuss the following elements of spirituality:

1.3.1. holistic (fully integrated view to life),

1.3.2. quest for meaning (including the purpose of life),

1.3.3. quest for the sacred (beliefs about God),

1.3.4. suggests a self-reflective existence.

1.4. What is Philosophy of Religion? (Define and briefly discuss)

1.5. What is Theology? (Define and briefly discuss)


2. Delineating ‘religion’

2.1. Compare and contrast Religion vs. Spirituality (briefly discuss)

2.2. Compare and contrast Religion vs. Theology (briefly discuss)

2.3. Compare and contrast Religion vs. Philosophy of Religion (briefly discuss)


Countering Euthyphro Dilemma

AGAINST MORAL THEISM or God-based ethics, non-theists usually submit the famous philosophical argument called “the Euthyphro Dilemma”.
The argument involves asking whether God loves the things that are moral because they are moral, or moral things are good because they were loved by God. Concerning God issuing decrees for humans, non-theists ask pertinently, “Does God command something because it is right, or is it right because He commands it?” If God commands something because it is right, then God Himself would be subject to a higher law and, therefore, not above all. But if something is right simply because God commands it, then He is arbitrary and His commands are without foundation. Moreover, it would appear that if God had commanded us to severely torture each other night and day, then the act becomes right and obligatory.


What is Man? (The Biblical Philosophy of Man)

MAN IS THE MOST MYSTERIOUS of God’s creation. Many theories arose as to his origins. Many define him as a “rational animal” which evolved from the lowest forms and has the capacity to develop into the highest form, become superman and even become a god freed from the limitations he presently finds himself in. The wisdom of man contained in science and philosophy produced diverse ideas about what man is and what he can become without the help of the Being who caused his existence.
            Man came into existence because God created him for a purpose. This fact man must know from God because, by himself alone, he will never be able to find out who he is, how he came to be, what he is for, and what is in store for him in the future ...


On Painful Trials

1. Consider trials as pure joy
Consider the many kinds of trials that you experience as pure joy. Through trials, our faith is being put to the test and this develops our perseverance—and those who persevere until the end will be justified before God and worthy of receiving salvation.As the Bible teaches, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4, NIV) ...


Death Penalty and the Bible

THERE ARE AT LEAST 10 “crimes” that deserve capital punishment according to the Old Testament of the Bible:
1. Murder
Exo. 21:12: "Whoever hits a man and kills him is to be put to death.”
Exo. 21:14: “But when a man gets angry and deliberately kills another man, he is to be put to death, even if he has run to my altar for safety.”
2. Rape
Deut. 22:25: "Suppose a man out in the countryside rapes a girl who is engaged to someone else. Then only the man is to be put to death;”
3. Adultery
Lev. 20:10, 11-12: “If a man commits adultery with the wife of a fellow Israelite, both he and the woman shall be put to death” ...



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