I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges

So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
Saint John, Letter to Galatians 4:16

Freedom of Religion - Freedom from Religion - Freedom of Public Display of Religion and Traditions

We establish no religion in this country, nor will we ever. We command no worship. We mandate no belief. But we poison our society when we remove its theological underpinnings. We court corruption when we leave it bereft of belief. All are free to believe or not believe; all are free to practice a faith or not. But those who believe must be free to speak of and act on their belief.
Ronald Reagan (Temple Hillel Speech, 1984)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chapter 6: Asia, Far East, and Polynesian Religions-Culture

Traditional eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism (Parsis), Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, and other eastern cults have been categorized as eastern religions, but geographically it is East Asia, South East Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Polynesia, et cetera. Within the category of eastern religions, on the basis of religion, one would have to include Islam and Judaism along with early Christianity. But this is the accepted nomenclature towards geographical description concerning religious history by theological scholars and historians. In effect, Judaism and Islam remain as traditionally eastern religions, while Christianity spread and took foothold in the western world. However, with Islam, or rather the orthodox conquering Islam that originated in the 7th century AD is increasingly spreading westward, and as in the Crusade period, endangers the established Christian sects of the western world and Islamic Fascism whose jihad and sharia ideology endangers all free nations. This will be discussed in later chapters, along with eastern sects and religions that are not in the mainstream of Eastern Asia. 

Eastern religions, mainly Buddhism, has made its way westward and today one can see temples in such places like the United States.
Thus, as the Wikipedia entry puts it –
In the study of comparative religion, the East Asian religions (also known as Far Eastern religions, Chinese religions, or Taoic religions) form a subset of the Eastern religions. This group includes Caodaism, Chen Tao, Chondogyo, Confucianism, Jeungism, Shinto, Taoism, I-Kuan Tao and elements of Mahayana Buddhism.
Three thousand years ago at the steppes of southern Russia emerged an Indo-European people known as the Cimmerians near the Caspian Sea and the Persians east of the Caspian Sea. These northern Persians were called Scythians. They were nomadic like their neighbors but had a special aptitude for horsemanship, which afforded them greater mobility and developed into good use in war. 
In the 7th century AD, the Scythians took over the lands of the Cimmerians and their territory stretched from present-day Romania to Turkestan. Communication was also established between the East and the West, as well as trade, art and religious ideas. They established routes to China that remained long after the Scythians disappeared, furthering the link between East and West and also religious ideas. From the 1st Century AD the silk route was part of this major route.
Interesting information from Herodotus, the Greek historian in 5th Century BC provides us with the religious ideas of these people. While there were three versions of the origin of the Scythian people, Herodotus believed the version he wrote was the correct one:
There is also another different story, now to be related, in which I am more inclined to put faith than in any other. It is that the wandering Scythians once dwelt in Asia, and there warred with the Massagetae, but with ill success; they therefore quitted their homes, crossed the Araxes, and entered the land of Cimmeria. [I]
Other knowledge of the Scythians has been gleaned from archaeological remains, which include the kurgan tombs that contained objects of their culture like weapons, horse harness, and art objects made of gold and silk, as well as animal sacrifices – including evidence that possibly human sacrifice on occasion occurred. The remains usually have been well preserved because of permafrost and mummification techniques applied for the royalty. Scythian cities and fortifications have also been uncovered, providing more information.
The Scythians in southern China evidently influenced, at least in art, the people of China and their influence spreading as far as Korea and Japan. The language was a form of the Indo-European family.
From Herodotus we get the most information about their religion. The prime divinities were the Sky Father (Papa) and Mother Earth (Api). Then there were fire gods and war gods. No images were made of the gods or were their altars or temples and this is because of their nomadic nature, primarily. From these horse people sprang the culture of the Mongol and the Turko-Tataric tribes who also became great horsemen east of the Scythian country and the plateaus of central Asia. This category of religion was adopted by a people who were nomadic, and not until they became civilized or settled to stay building cities, or like the Mongols adopting the religions of China influenced by control by Chinese emperors and monks.
Nomads and tribal people like the Mongols, Genghis Khan being a famous example, had tribal leadership who had become experts in curing diseases and the ability to communicate with gods and spirits. Shamanism was passed down through the generations and was closely tied with ancestor worship who was the shaman’s guardian spirit, not unlike the concept of a guardian angel in the Judeo-Christian theology. Among the Mongol, Hun and Turkish tribes the worship of Tengri was their common connection and the nomadic tribes called the Magyars (Hungarian) all believed in shamanism. The transition from primal religion, a world of spirits – both friendly and evil, originating as first religions dating pre-history in the Far East, Australia, the southern two thirds of Africa, northern South America and among the Eskimo tribes of the colder regions of North America.
In the Far East of Asia includes Australia, New Guinea, Papua, Sulawesi, Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines, Micronesia, Macronesia and Polynesia; as well as India, Mongolia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, China, Japan, Korea and eastern portions of Russia.
Little known by many is the Konds or Kui people of India who lived deep within the jungles of Eastern Ghats, who numbered about one million. They were hunting and gathering people who had became agriculturalists cultivating rice from paddies and other agricultural plants when they began to slash and burn the jungle to create farming land.
It took the western world some time in the timeline of human history to begin to understand eastern religions or even bother to study them. The similarity of ancient religion in the regions described revolved around Shamanism even included the Kui but their religion was more. The Kui creator-god was Bura, who created not only the world but his goddess companion, Tari. Their religious rites revolve around mysticism and those rituals revolved around the farmer’s calendar, as well as hunting and gathering food in the wild. They continually sought the blessings upon the important aspects of life, which included marriage and their villages being safe from disease. After they had turned to farming, instead of hunting and gathering clans, they began to perform human sacrifice in order to ensure fertility – for the land and the perpetuation of their people. In 1835, the East India Company in its exploratory mission stumbled upon these people, the first western world people to meet them and record about their religion and culture.
Aborigines – Dreamers of Land Down Under
When Australia was discovered by European explorers it was believed they had no religion. They were wrong and the truth is that the Aborigine has deep spiritual beliefs that were part of their daily lives. While there were many groups of Aborigines, tribes, they shared the concept that there was no high god, and while most parts of Aborigine Australia practiced circumcision as a ritual, tribes in eastern Australia did not. Having no written language, their culture and religion is passed down orally from generation to generation and amongst the tribes.
Aborigines did not believe in life after death, at least in the western concept; and because of the ancestral theology no specific spirit has prominence, except for one named Wandjina, seen on cave art.

Ancestral beings once roamed the Earth, the Aborigine believe, that dates back to a place and time known as Dreamtime. These ancestral beings were kangaroo-men, emu-men, bowerbird-women and fig-men. They lived like humans, hunting, fighting, married, laughed, performed ceremonies like humans. Their footprints and evidence that they were on Earth are the hills, waterholes, trees, caves, stars, and general landscape. Some Aborigine clans claim direct descendants from these great creatures, now spirits, and those clans are responsible for looking after the holy sites. The major sites are sacred and only chosen can visit, but others may be visited by the general population, including women and children. The activities of ancestor beings now in the realm of Dreamtime manipulate or affect human behavior. Aborigine morality is the conformation to traditions set by those in Dreamtime.
These stories have passed down for generations, as mentioned previously, there isn’t any written language. There were no priests and everyone played a role in ceremonies, but the older men were expected to tell the stories passed down for senior citizens of the clan were respected. The older men also guarded special stones or boards with patterns and artwork that represented the oral history. These precious artifacts were hidden in caves and brought for special ritual occasions. In the same way, the caves where these artifacts were kept, there was artwork scrawled upon the cave walls. These artifacts and cave drawings could only be viewed by men.
Dreamtime occurrences or activities were re-enacted in ceremonies known as corroborees. Participants danced and sang the song-cycle. Previous to this ceremonial performance, they painted their bodies and prepared the ceremonial site. Some of these ceremonies were only viewed by the men, while others viewed by the whole group/clan. Women have their own songs and dances that are related to fertility and their roles as mother and wife. Some ceremonies marked a time period of one’s life, such as when a male Aborigine becomes a man when he is circumcised, which is not a specific age. After the ceremony is complete, the young man is introduced to the mysteries of the sacred life of men, learning the stories and songs, and seeing the sacred boards, stones and cave sites they had never before seen. Circumcision, in effect is an initiation rite and the man who performs the circumcision is responsible for providing him with a wife from his own clan or kin-group.
Since Aborigines, in the past, have been strictly hunters and gatherers, they had less control over their food supply than the cultivating farmer – so food gathering and hunting rites were important.
Within the Dreamtime belief the Aborigine identifies that while the earthly-material body becomes consumed from age and ultimately death, the spirit is an enduring reality. At death the spirit is released from the body to return to the spiritual world. To an Aborigine, all humans are connected spiritually, and all of life’s tribulations and circumstances are sometimes caused by evil spirits – bringing death, disease and disasters – in death the spirit survives and descendents try to protect them after they have gone to Dreamtime.
As civilization encroached upon the Aborigine, much of their traditions and oral history has been lost, kept only by those Europeans who were interested enough to record what they understood from what the Aborigine people related. There are some today who try to maintain these traditions and beliefs of old, and in recent history there has been a return of remembering and keeping the Aborigine identity – just as tribes of North America have done. However, increasing circumstances, such as economics and government policies have changed these traditions, as well as the original identity of the Aborigine.
Polynesia – the Triangle of Hawaii, New Zealand and Easter Islands
Religious belief is shared among the areas within what is known as Polynesia, as the Maoris of New Zealand who have creation stories, gods; despite cultural differences.
In the Maori creation story, the first parents were Ranginui and Papatuanuku who were entwined in eternal embrace (Heaven and Earth).
The sons born to them were kept between them and away from light. The sons constantly struggled to escape. One son, Tane, placed his feet against Ranginui and arms against Papa and with the help of his brothers, forced his parents apart. Ranginui then became the sky and Papatuanuku the earth – becoming the Sky Father and the Earth Mother, classic in pre-history and ancient religions. The parents grieve when they are separated and thus the rain and mists from their tears falls upon Mother Earth. When the brothers had been liberated and introduced to the world of light, they soon fought for power. Tane became the god of the forests, Tangaroa of the seas, Tumatauenga of war, Rongo of agriculture, and Whiro, the evil one, became ruler of the darkness. Tawhirimates, who remained with his father, became the god of the winds and hurricanes. Of course, these gods were immortal, and decided to make a companion by forming a female from the earth, Tane breathing life force (hauora, the soul) into the female form – naming her Hinetitama and took her as his wife. Their offspring became the human race overseen by the powers called atua.
Ancient Maori thinkers would ponder about the beginning of life and express their beliefs in chants.
Besides the immortal gods there were other powers, depending upon which tribe in a given territory would relay the story of, some were known as guardians (kaitiaki) who warned humans of danger or provided encouragement during the troubles of life.
Many tribes would provide an inanimate object the character of a mythical monster, such as a log or floating reeds or weeds upon the water. These were considered sacred and were to be avoided identified as tapu. Some of these monsters would dwell in deep holes in rivers or lakes, sometimes being a good entity or sometimes a bad one. Thus, spirits could be good or evil, like a departed ancestor who had not received a proper funeral became a wandering spirit that troubled descendants until the proper ritual and funeral was performed. Spirits of aborted infants were malicious and troublesome to the living.
The religious organization of the Maori had no temples or altars, but did have special places for certain rites to be performed. Holy men regarded as seers (tohunga matakite) who placed sacred stones in a clearing in the forest as a place to worship a particular god. The stones were not shrines or idols, but a means to attract the particular deity’s attention, so to speak, and a place to put offerings instead of the bare ground. In agricultural rituals, sticks were used and called god-sticks.
Sacrifices were in the form of offerings were to pacify the gods and were the first fruit of harvest; however, the first person killed in war was offered to Tumatauenga, and the person who killed the enemy warrior would eat the heart if he was a person with status. This would give that person the spiritual power of the deceased. The only other human sacrifice known was a practice of burying the body of a slave beneath the main pole of a newly constructed meeting house. The slave wasn’t necessarily murdered to meet these requirements, but a slave who had died during that period. Human sacrifice was not common practice among the Maori as other cultures believed when first introduced to these people.
The land where the meeting house was built in the area that was the forecourt was sacred and treated so when meetings were held. When a Maori died the body was taken to the meeting house to lie in state during the mourning and ritual period of the funeral. This ritual could last several days and nights with all of the family in attendance.
Certain talismans symbolized protection of vitality, spiritual power, fertility, land and forest. When babies sneezed at birth it was a sign of its life force. Spiritual force was important to life, for if lost a person would die. Spiritual power is a gift from the god. If used so, it could harm an individual or an entire community. Tapu is the system of warning about dangers and also protected individuals from an uncontrolled spiritual power. When one is in the state of Noa they are free from any tapu restrictions. There was a purification rite if tapu was compromised, a rite called whakanoa.
Ritual was an important factor in Maori life. If a priest (seer) made a mistake in his incantation rites it meant that disaster was soon to arrive. Water, fire and cooked food had a special part in rituals. If a priest wanted to protect himself from forces of spiritual power that he was conjuring, he would stand waist-deep in running water, like in a stream or river.
In death, the Maori returned to the womb of Papatuanuku. Mother Earth and land is sacred for land provides food and nourishment, but also provides a Maori their identity.
Dreams and visions are seen as messages from the world of the spirit. [II] When a person had a dream he would visit a priest to have it interpreted. It was believed that when a person slept his spirit would leave the earthly body and travel, often great distances. It was important in Maori society, as other societies in Polynesia, that when a sleeping person was awoke it should be done so gently, so the spirit could return to the body.
Birth and death were great events in the Maori society. A priest or the father would recite a karakia to have supernatural power given to the child, especially if it was the first-born. After being a born a great feast was held. Every child born into the community was a full member of the tribe without any further rituals or rites of initiation like in the Aborigine culture.
When a person died, the rituals were elaborate and long and this practice is still prominent among the Maori. Mourning is a public ritual and usually the rites and ceremony was conducted at the tribal meeting house. There is no heaven or hell in regards to reward and punishment after death – the departed spirits either go above or below and live a spiritual life that is parallel to what they lived during earthly life. Spirits that have passed can still interact with those they left behind.
The place where the dead are, the spirits of those formerly living, is guarded by the Great Hine of the Dark (Hinenuiotepo) and all must pass this supernatural being in order to reach the underworld.
Despite being close to Africa, the Malagasy people are considered Asians, speaking a Malayo-Polynesian language, so they are included in this chapter.
There isn’t any organized religion in Madagascar and there is no word for or describing religion in the Malagasy language. They practice ancestral customs [III] and those original customs have been influenced by visiting Arabs and Europeans. Along with these continued traditional beliefs live Christians and Moslems. There are no scriptures written by the Malagasy people in their religious beliefs, and unlike other Polynesian cultures – little stories passed on.
All over Madagascar there are tombs that are sacred places because the Malagasy worship their ancestors and the tombs and resting places are decorated with elaborate artwork, carved poles and the skulls of oxen killed to honor the dead. An upright stone pillar at the tomb/grave is a record of that ancestor. Public rituals are conducted in the center of the village where a large pole is erected for such purposes. Some tribes have a special building for housing sacred objects and where rituals are performed.
Spiritual power (hasina) is found in sacred places. Talismans like charms and amulets have spiritual power which protects the wearer from evil. In former times warriors would wear these talismans in battle.
Some animals have spiritual power, especially the crocodile, which is honored during rituals and celebrations and found in their songs. Cats and owls can reveal omens, and pigs are considered unclean animals – which are suspected that the Arabs have had some influence in that respect.
Taboos were important, for to break it would mean dangerous results.
Some people, who are considered sacred act as guardians of shrines of the ancestors, foretell the future, know cures for sickness – especially if it comes from an evil spell, cast horoscopes, and act as guides for other people in sacred rituals. Rulers or prominent men in society have a holy man to guide them through life.
Some tribes offer themselves to be possessed by a spirit and will go into a trance-like state, speak in strange voices or dialect and sometimes in frenzied dance. These individuals are boosted into the spiritual world or taken by possession by smoking hemp. This state of being is called tromba.
In Madagascar all humans are valuable because they possess souls, and a proverb states:
The soul makes the man. [IV]
All spirits of man are overseen by the Lord Creator, Andriamanitra.
Living Religions of the East
Hinduism represents 16% of the world population (1999), Christianity being the largest at 33% and Islam coming in second at 18% or higher since 1999.
Hinduism like other living religions has evolved over a long period of human history. Hindus do not attend churches, synagogues or mosques with no central organization of authority, although ancient temples exist. Little was known about Hinduism in the western world until the 19th century. It is a way of life called Dharma, aligning the body, mind and soul in harmony and with nature.
Hindus describe their religious tradition as Sanātana Dharma. Sanātana translates to very ancient and eternal. Dharma translates to tradition and moral order, as well as their word for their religion in living the good way of life, performing good deeds and choosing the right path.
Hinduism has been traced to the Indus Valley between 4000 and 1200 BC. It evolved from the Vedic religion of ancient India; however, certain practices such as the worship of sacred trees and the mother goddess go back to a culture known as Harappan around 3000 BC. Other Hindu rituals and beliefs are older than that. As you can see, thus far, the oldest concept of religion in history and pre-history is the Mother Goddess, different names in different cultures and languages – but the principal being the same. In the Krishna cycle, the cow is sacred and the majority of these Hindu are vegetarians in a symbol of reverence for all animals. The color red is sacred and often men and women paint their foreheads red to publicize that they are Hindu.
Gods of Hinduism
Brahman: Hinduism is thought of as a polytheistic religion but their belief is unity in everything. Brahman is the Absolute, Supreme Being and representative of the Ultimate Reality. The purpose of life is to realize that we are part of God and by doing so we can leave this place of existence and rejoin with God. No founder or prophet that initiated Hinduism. It is not a religion of philosophy, exchanging thought with living. There are no theological institutes to be taught formally. Just because one is born in a Hindu family doesn’t make them Hindu. It is a culture.
In Paganism, God is part of the world, for most Western religions the world is a creation of God and all that is in it. To the Hindu, God is not a personification but a great energy, a force. But yet there are other gods and goddesses – but they are not separate. For example, the goddesses are the female part of God, because the Supreme Being is both masculine and feminine.
Western world writers often have misrepresented Hinduism in fiction as well as non-fiction books. But Hindu scholars recognize 33 gods of the Vedas pantheon which include the Cosmic Trinity [V] - Agni (god of fire), Vayu (god of air) and Surya (god of energy or life).
The gods of the Puranas, which include the Hindu Trinity: Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (savior and protector who incarnate ten times), and Shiva (Destroyer of evil, Creator of new life).
It is complex, yet simple.
Brahman is the reality of all things and especially identity of an individual soul called atman. All creatures go through a cycle of rebirth called samsara – reincarnation. This cycle can only be broken by self-realization of spirit, enlightenment and then the soul is liberated and moksha is attained. The enlightenment can only be attained by Yoga, and the measurement of an individual’s enlightenment is by his karma. The accumulation of all of one’s deeds, good or bad, in life determines the person’s next reincarnation. The goal in life is to achieve moska, the union of an individual’s soul with Braham – no more reincarnations. One would think that reincarnation to a Hindu is a blessing – but he looks at it as a curse. Death is not feared, but reincarnation is like purgatory in other religions.
After so many reincarnations, living life and its ups and downs, tragedies, wars, poverty, and whatever else can befall upon a human – he reaches his final union with Brahman and loses his identity, no more a person or individual spirit into nothingness. There is no more self, no more consciousness of being, no heaven, and no hell (that was already lived in the series of reincarnation and disappears in the vastness of the universe.
Reincarnation, or the conception of it, is the main reason why there is the caste system in India.
New Age of Hinduism
Modern Hindus have come to practice yoga, becoming popular in America during the late 1960s and 1970s, during the culture and drug revolution, where youth were trying to find themselves, and in reality they just had to take a moment and look in the mirror. Yoga is a path; a salvation to enlightenment in one’s working their way towards moksha. The four ways to salvation is:
  1. Karma Yoga – the way of good works.
  2. Jnana Yoga – the way of knowledge.
  3. Bhakti Yoga – the way of devotion. This being the prime choice among Hindus because it satisfies human emotion and a more personal approach to their religious beliefs.
  4. Raja Yoga – the way of contemplation or meditation. This was the form of yoga that was popular in America during the culture revolution – the Hippie Era or Age of Aquarius. This last yoga is called the royal road because it takes a Hindu or Buddhist through meditation with the eight steps of Raja Yoga.
Four Goals of Life
The four goals of life for Hindus are: Kama, artha, dharma, and moksha.
While Hinduism has no doctrine, so to speak, it does have scriptures but they are far from scriptures of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. All the scriptures define the Supreme Being, God, as Brahman.
Vedas: Various sects and Hindu traditions rely on their own set of scriptures with some things in common. The Vedas were brought to ancient India by Aryan invaders after 1200 BC. The Vedas are ancient compared to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, I Ching and Avesta and contains hymns, incantations and rituals from ancient India. The Rig Veda is the oldest of the four Vedas written around 1500 BC. The Vedas are the oldest known texts in the Indo-European language. It is used by linguistics in comparing ancient languages. The earliest Vedas describes deities who are personifications of nature – such as storms and fire. Prayers and sacrifices were offered to these gods.
Upanishads: The later portion of the Vedas, which relates a development in Hinduism toward the conception of the divine. Brahman is an impersonal entity, but in the Upanishads it is sometimes referred to as Isvara on personal terms.
Puranas: This theology revolves around the Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
Ramayana and Mahabharata: Major sources of classical mythology of Hinduism are these scriptures, which includes in the 18th chapter the Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) and the most popular religious text of Hinduism.
Caste System
This system within Hindu culture determines the social status of each person, determined by reincarnation. There are four basic castes or social classes, but there are thousands of sub-groups within those castes. Nearly every facet of life there are rules and obligations under this system. At the top are the Brahmins or priests. Then there are the warriors and rulers (Kshatriyas). Third are the Vaisyas who are merchants and farmers. Next is the Shudras who are the laboring class. Only the top three castes can achieve salvalion because they are the twice born. Outside of this caste system are the untouchables – outcasts of society. This system, for obvious reasons was outlawed in the 1940s, but many still abide by the custom.
The caste one is born into is determined by the result of karma, deeds, from their previous life. Untouchable class gets its name because no other class can even touch a person considered an untouchable. When you are an untouchable, maybe a shoemaker, no other class will accept you and there is no hope in improving this situation. I believe that it is the most prejudice and discriminatory system in human history.
Hinduism is so complex with variations over time that it would take a book in itself to thoroughly discuss it.
Sikh Faith – The Gurus
Originating in Pakistan and northwest India called Punjab, which translates to land of the five rivers, the Sikh religion was established towards the end of the 15th century. The religion was founded by Guru Nanak Dev and is the 5th largest religion of the world. [VI]
The Sikh universal god is waheguru and followers pursue and meditate delivering the message of waheguru. Sikhism is a religious philosophy and from the Nanak scripture he wrote:
Realization of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living. [VII]
The sacred scriptures are Guru, but the Sikh community is also called guru.
A distinctive feature of Sikhism is that Nanak and his nine successors share the same truth and God’s insight. During the period of the first five gurus the Sikh scriptures were written. Arjan, the fifth guru was the turning point in Sikh history. After he passed on to another plane there was increased political strife between the Sikhs and the Muslims. Arjan built the famous Hari Mandir, called the Golden Temple of Amritsar and has become the central point of worship for the Sikh.
In 1606, Guru Arjan was killed after being taken into custody by Muslims and he is viewed as a martyr. Under Arjan’s leadership the Sikh began a revolt against the Muslims, gathering converts from the Jat farming communities. Sikh, to escape death and imprisonment went to the mountainous area of eastern Punjab
Gobind Singh, a successor and guru of the Sikh people led an assault against the Islamic local power in order to preserve their religion. After a victory at Bhangani in 1686, 20 years later the Sikh was defeated, but Guru Gobind kept the community of Sikh together. During this period the caste system was changed and women had more equality, as well as the initiation ceremony for 14-year-old boys and girls that made them members of the adult community or Khalsa. Five members of each community represent the beloved one (god) and Guru Gobind Singh, a sort of prophet-savior of the people. Those initiated into the Khalsa are sprinkled with sugar water on their head and over their eyes after praying and singing sacred songs. The initiates are also instructed in the basic rules of Khalsa membership, focusing on loyalty and moral conduct. Their hair must remain uncut and they must avoid adultery and tobacco, as well as reject meat killed in the Muslim way.
A tragic story about a Sikh immigrant in America occurred after the attack by Islamic fascists on September 11th 2001, when a Sikh man was gunned down at a gas station by a man who mistook him for a Moslem – just because he wore a turban. The turban is to keep the hair, required to be uncut after their 14-year-old initiation, neat and orderly and protected from sun and dirt. This incident describes the situation when people act without understanding or having knowledge about customs and traditions of people with other religions, as well as condemning all of one group of people for the violent and wrongful acts of those who profess membership within that particular religion – in this case Islam. Books like this and many others can enlighten people and turn ignorance into knowledge, preventing such occurrences as took place in a town of Texas in 2001.
Holy Scriptures of Sikh
At the heart of the Sikh ritual and rites there is the holy book, as with all philosophical religions. The ceremony begins with a reading from it with songs and prayers relating to it. The Holy Scripture is called Guru Granth and contains spiritual poetry of the historical gurus, a product, largely, of Arjan. Guru Gobind Singh produced the final edition after gathering all the work of Arjan, who gathered information back to the original guru. This compiled work is called Adi Granth, meaning the first scripture. Strangely, Guru Gobind Singh’s own hymns and poetry were not included, and would have been lost if it were not for a disciple who included them after his death. This Holy Scripture is called Dasam Granth.
However, when Guru Gobind Singh wrote it in 1708, he changed the structure of the Sikh religion, which provided a more concrete establishment for Sikh congregations. Originally, Guru Nanak (founder) had been against such earthly structures as found across India in the form of temples, shrines, centers of pilgrimage, et cetera, of other religions found in that part of the world. Guru Gobind Singh changed that. Today his book of Holy Scripture is the center of Sikh ritual and Sikhs bow down before it like the Hindu do their idols of worship.
When a child is born it is brought into the temple and the scripture is read in the process of choosing a name for the baby. Marriage ceremonies also pay tribute to this book of scriptures in the ritual where bride and groom circle it four times, while songs of duty and obligation are sung.
When a person dies, special readings from the Holy Scripture are read from the book for a period of seven to ten days. The temple is not just where Sikhs gather, but a place to keep the book of scriptures. Temples are called gurdwara, which translates to guru’s door. The Guru Granth and the Guru Panth are essentially what is focused upon today by the Sikh.
In the Sikh religion there are no priests and anyone can conduct worship; though they must first receive teaching of the Granth.
Sikh Belief
As man begins to become aware of God, he is prompted to see his own life in a different way. The individual seeker realizes that he is tangled up in his own self-seeking pride, ignorance and selfishness, with a consuming passion for the world and its pleasures. [VIII]
The Sikh religion does not promote missionaries to recruit from the outside of Sikh community; however, some groups of Sikhs have converts in America. The Sikh religion does not deny the existence of truth in other faiths, the main concern being that members devote themselves to God. It is one of the most peaceful religions in the world.
Only 3 million people practice Jainism and most of them are in India. The most famous person representing Jainism was Mahatma Ghandi, although technically he is not a Jain, he grew up among them and accepted Jainism’s doctrine, mainly non-violence to all living things – ahimsa. Influence of Jainism can be seen in India in its banking and commercial systems.
The founder of Jainism was Jina, who lived during a period of human history that produced great philosophers and spiritualists between the 7th and 5th centuries BC, like Greek philosophers, Hebrew prophets, Confucius in China, and Zoroaster in Persia.
In 6th century India there was a period of political, intellectual and social upheaval, a period of transition. Religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and primal religious beliefs began to diverge and take root as philosophy (Confucianism) root. Jainism was viewed by traditional Buddhist and Hindu teachers as heretics and during this period the Ajivikas sect emerged. Their heresy was due to their refusal to accept the Vedas as the authorized text of the Hindu and also rejected the caste system and practice of sacrifice – mainly because it required the killing of a living being.
Vardhamana or Mahavira (Great Hero) was an elder of Buddha, whose life is not as well known as the founder of Buddhism, Buddha. Mahavira was an historical person whose name was Nigantha Nataputta, mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures. Mahavira was born around 540 BC, whose father was a Kshatriyas chief named Siddhartha. Mahavira died in 468 BC, some scholars state that his life span was from 599-527 BC. He was part of the warrior ruling class and educated as a prince and was a lifelong bachelor and another account states he married a princess who gave birth to a daughter. At the death of his parents, he renounced his way of life and became a beggar, which probably backs up the fact that he was a bachelor. Initially he followed a group called Parava, the Peace Makers, who were the founding teachers of Jainism. For 12 years Mahavira wandered from place to place, wearing only a loincloth, but discarded that material object and went about the rest of his life naked.
Mahavira’s Enlightenment
At about the age of 40, and after a long fast, Mahavira achieved complete enlightenment and spiritual liberation. His soul, kevalin, was perfected. He was released from karma and placed upon the wheel of rebirth.
Mahavira died from voluntary starvation at Pava, a village close to his birthplace, and today is a pilgrimage center for Jain followers. His final rest, according to Jainism was nirvana – a good place to be after physical death.
Most of Mahavira’s followers were taken from the Kshatriyas’ aristocrat class, leading them away from selfishness, pride and other material things of the earthly world. For two hundred years after Mahavira’s death followers were a minority within India’s society. Famine around the 3rd century BC when Emperor Chandragupta abdicated his throne to turn to Jainism was when there was an exodus of Jain monks from the Ganga Valley in north India to Deccan in the south. During this period Jainism divided into two sects – Digambaras (sky clad) and the Svetambaras (white clad) and by the 1st century AD the two sects were established and remain today.
Jainism Text
Traditionally their sacred literature has been passed down orally from Mahavira. The canon is structured into twelve sections (Angas), which replaced the 14-part texts of Purvas. Accepted by the Svetambaras, it was rejected by the Digambaras. All texts were written in the Ardha-Magadhi language.
The Soul
Conscious and knowing are the essential characters of the soul.
In its original state, the soul knows everything: nothing is hidden from it, it commands the knowledge of existence in all its various aspects, and at all times, past, present, and future. In its present state in this world, ensconced in a material body, the soul’s knowledge is made imperfect and incomplete by the limitations matter places on it. [IX]
Karma and Rebirth – Reincarnation
The Jain doctrine of karma is purely a law of nature. By effort, discipline and knowledge and knowledge, humans can control karma. To achieve salvation (moksha), humans must free their soul from matter. Some souls like Mahavira achieve salvation in one life. It means that, as most Indian religions, reincarnation is a process where the soul attempts to achieve a high enough level of purity in order not to be forced to return to earth in physical body.
Contrary to some views, Jainism is not fatalistic, but it is atheistic – there is no creator, Supreme Being and each soul is responsible unto itself. However, while not fatalistic, it is a pessimistic philosophy religion. The world is a place of misery and sorrow, the ultimate goal being to control karma to reach nirvana – place of peace and happiness.
Karma can be reached by detaching the importance of material things, such as food, clothing, lodging, sex, and things like jewelry; preventing emotions like anger, pride, deceit, and greed; uniting the body and mind; preventing false belief.
There are also vows: non-violence to souls, truthfulness, no stealing, chastity, no attachment to worldly possessions, and limits in their use; to spend at least 48 minutes per day in unbroken meditation; set aside one particular day for no traveling and serious meditation; to live as a monk for a temporary period of 24 hours, no food or drink, no ornaments, scents, no weapons, no sex, and clothing limited to plain cotton cloth; and support the community by giving to those in need. Other vows and practices: eat only leftovers; abstain from alcohol, gambling, eating meat, adultery, hunting and thieving. And as life is drawing to a close, purity is most important in order to reach karma – cleansing the soul, so to speak.
This religion’s name comes from the word Parsi, the word that describes the people from Persia (Iran) it is descendents of those who migrated to India from Persia at the end of the 9th century AD. The Parsis follow the faith of Zoroastrianism, leaving Persia to escape Islamic persecution and the story of their journey is told in the Qissa-I Sanjan (Tale of Sanjan) written in 1600 and based on oral history up to that point.
The story begins with an astrologer-priest who encouraged a group of Zoroastrians to leave northern Persia and journey to a land that is Pakistan today. They settled there for 20 years and then another astrologer-priest advised them it was time to move again. While at sea, a terrible storm came upon them and they prayed to god that if they were spared they would build a great Fire Temple as an act of thanksgiving. Their prayers were answered and they landed at Sanjan on the northern coast of India in 936 AD. They requested permission to settle there from a local prince, who gave them permission but under certain conditions that they speak in the local language, they should observe the local wedding customs, and that they not be armed with weaponry of war. The Parsi wished to assure their peaceful intentions, so they presented the prince with sixteen statements (shlokas) that explained their faith and cultural customs. They chose in the statements those features of their religion that resembled Hinduism and social customs that would not offend their new neighbors. The ruler, obviously impressed with these peaceful people, provided them with land in which to build their promised Fire Temple.
This journey to India is believed by the Parsis that it was a divine plan that was written in the stars. [X] Under Hindu rule the Parsi lived a quiet and secure life.
In 1297 AD, Muslim armies invaded Gujarat and again in 1465 in order to achieve their Islamic control of the region. Fearing a reenactment of the persecution they received in Persia, the Parsi fought with the Hindu, but was not victorious. However, the persecution they had been wrought upon in Persia was worse than what they received after the invasion of Islam.
Another dramatic event that affected the Parsi was the arrival of Europeans, particularly the British traders in 7th century AD. The British developed the island of Bombay as a commercial base of operations and in order to attract immigrants offered freedom of religion and other liberties, which appealed to the Parsi as well as other minority groups. The Parsi became the leading element of Bombay’s growth and India’s commercial capital. In their endeavor, the Parsi gained control of 50% of the island by 1859.
After 1857, when the government of India transferred from the East India Company to the crown and parliament of London, the Indians needed Western education, not just power in wealth and influence, so Parsi rose to positions of considerable power because of their Western education, attained influential positions in official posts. The Parsi ran and owned much of India’s commerce, such as banks, textile industry, and trade with the East. While this phenomenon declined in the 12th century, the Parsi remained influential and made up the middle-class of India, being well educated communities. The number of Parsi has declined since World War II, but 70% of the Parsi population still lives in Bombay.
These social conditions and changes have been entered here because it had influence upon the Parsi religion. The main factor of influence was their commitment to Western education, some studying their religion at universities in London. Most Parsi has studied under Protestant scholars and this also affected their religion and brought about reform. For example, in prayer, the sacred language of Avestan was used, but changed to the vernacular. Soon the Parsi communities were Europeanized, not approved by the Parsi orthodox followers. Unexpectedly, these orthodox Parsi developed Theosophy, which was against the materialism of the West and warning Indians about it. Early in the 20th century, a Parsi form of Theosophy began under the leadership of Behram-shah Shroff (1857-1927). He claimed that he had been taken to an unknown hideout in the Persian mountains by a wandering secret order of Zoroastrians. He claimed that in their cave were ancient treasures and texts of instruction from Zoroastrian.
Most Parsi followed neither the Western version nor the Theosophical version of their religion, but continued the orthodox traditions quietly amongst themselves.
A living religion based upon a founder who is called the Enlightened One. Siddhartha Guatama lived in northern India in the 6th century (BC) and the religion spread all over Asia, especially China. Buddhism shares certain concepts with the Hindu religion: Karma, Dharma, and Reincarnation. Classical Buddhism is not involved in worshiping deities and doesn’t teach the existence of the soul or Ka. After Buddhism extended across Asia, it almost disappeared in India with Hinduism being the primary religion.
Expansion and Division of Buddhism
The expansion of Buddhism began in Sri Lanka and in its expansion it split into three main sanctions:
Theravada Buddhism – becoming dominant in most of Southeast Asia since the 13th century (AD) and established by the monarchies of Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos.
Mahāyāna Buddhism – mostly found in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia.
Vajrayāna Buddhism – also called Tantric Buddhism, Mantrayana, Tantrayana, Esoteric Buddhism or True Words Sect.
The three main forms of Buddhism is further dissected by two more forms:
Tibetan Buddhism – developed in isolated regions of Tibet derived from Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.
Zen Buddhism – developed from the Chinese Mahayana school of thought known as Chan. This form of Buddhism is becoming popular in the Western Hemisphere. In the United States it was introduced in the 1970s, during the Hippie cult era.
It has been argued that Buddhism is more a philosophy rather than a religion, but other religions that remain from its ancient roots are based on concepts of philosophy, including Christianity. For example, from the Venerable Gyatrul Rinpochem:
When the mind begins to become still, we then begin to truly see it. When you first try to stabilize and pacify the mind, initially it will become very busy because it's not accustomed to being still. In fact, it doesn't even necessarily want to become still, but it is essential to get a hold of the mind to recognize its nature. This practice is extremely important. ... Eventually you will find yourself in a state where your mind is clear and open all the time. It is just like when the clouds are removed from the sky and the sun can clearly be seen, shining all the time. This is coming close to the state of liberation, liberation from all traces of suffering. ... The truth of this practice is universal. It isn't necessary to call it a religion to practice it. Whether one is a Hindu or a Moslem or a Christian or a Buddhist simply doesn't matter. Anyone can practice this because this is the nature of the mind, the nature of everyone's mind. If you can get a handle on your mind, and pacify it in this way, you will definitely experience these results, and you will see them in your daily life situation. There is no need to put this into any kind of category, any kind of "ism. [XI]
In the Webster’s New World Dictionary, religion is described as –
Any specific system of belief and worship, often involving a code of ethics and a philosophy.
Another example of this transition from philosophy to religion would be Confucianism. The founder was a philosopher-teacher and later followers viewed Confucianism as a religion, deifying Confucius. Such is the same of Buddha, the Enlightened One. Jesus of Nazareth, later signified as The Christ was a follower of Hebrew (Jewish) religion; however he also was a reformer as well as a philosopher who, after his physical death was deified by the Roman Catholic Church, the first organized Christian establishment that later branched off as did Buddhism.
Along with the teachings of philosophy, Buddhism is comprised of various moralities and guidelines to follow during the course of one’s life. Buddha, as Jesus of Nazareth, Mohammed the Prophet, and Confucius did not advocate being deified – Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed considered themselves a philosopher-teacher or reformer-teacher and Jesus/Mohammed viewed themselves as messengers of God to guide humanity to follow a certain path of physical living that prepares the soul for spiritual life after death.
Nevertheless, Buddha has become the recognized religion of Bhutan, Cambodia, Kalmykia, Thailand and Tibet (government in exile because of communist China). Because Vietnam is a communist country, Buddha monks are still being harassed by the government.
Buddha therefore is:
Traditionally conceived as a path of salvation attained through insight into the ultimate nature of reality. [XII]
The life of Guatama Buddha is intermingled with legend, which makes scholars hesitant in writing specific histories of his life. However, it has been established that he lived in the 6th Century BC, born in the city of Lumbini in the year 563 BC. Born into royalty as a prince, his father King Śuddhodana, his destiny was foretold by a wise man visiting the palace. The wise man foretold that he would either be a great king or a holy man and that depended upon if the prince had the opportunity to see what life was beyond the palace. So, not wanting his son to be a holy man and become king, Siddhartha’s father kept from any contact with the people of the kingdom. Despite this, at the age of 29, Siddhartha slipped away from the palace several times. These encounters with the common folk became known in Buddhist literature as the Four Sights. He learned of the suffering of ordinary life away from the wealth that shielded him from such a life as how common people lived. In these Four Sights, the four times he ventured out into the world of reality, caused him to seek spiritual existence away from the sheltered life of princedom. In his first venture, Guatama starved himself almost to the point of death. A village girl who fed him milk and rice saved him from such a fate. After his recovery, Gautama decided that an extreme ascetic life of prolonged fasting, holding one’s breath and purposefully exposing oneself to pain had no spiritual benefit and was only self destructive. He then concentrated upon anapanasati meditation, and this brought him to the discovery of the Middle Way – a path of moderation in self-indulgence and self-mortification. By the time Gautama reached 35 years of age he had settled into the life of the Middle Way and could be found meditating under a sacred fig tree (Bodhi Tree) in the town of Bodh Gaya, India, vowing to not move until he discovered the path to Nirvana. After awakening from his meditation and attracting a band of followers, Gautama began a monastic order. From that point, Buddha spent the rest of his life teaching Dharma and traveling all over northeastern India. Buddha died at the age of 80 in 483 BC in Kushinagar, India.
Four Noble Truths
The Four Noble Truths are:
  1. Life as we know it ultimately is or leads to suffering/uneasiness (dukkha) in one way or another.
  2. Suffering is caused by craving or attachments to worldly pleasures of all kinds. This is often expressed as a deluded clinging to a certain sense of existence, to selfhood, or to the things or phenomena that we consider the cause of happiness or unhappiness.
  3. Suffering ends when craving ends, when one is freed from desire. This is achieved by eliminating all delusion, thereby reaching a liberated state of Enlightenment (Bodhi).
  4. Reaching this liberated state is achieved by following the path laid out by the Buddha.
    1. Prajñā is the wisdom that purifies the mind, allowing it to attain spiritual insight into the true nature of all things.
    2. Śila is the ethics or morality, or abstention from unwholesome deeds.
    3. Samādhi is the mental discipline required to develop mastery over one’s own mind. This is done through the practice of various contemplative and meditative practices, and includes: vyāyāma” making an effort to improve; sati: awareness to see things for what they are with clear consciousness, being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion.

Middle Way
  1. The practice of non-extremism: a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self mortification.
  2. The middle ground between metaphysical views – that things ultimately either do or do not exist.
  3. An explanation of Nirvana, perfect enlightenment – a state wherein it becomes clear that all dualities apparent in the world are delusory.
  4. Another term for emptiness, the ultimate nature of all phenomena, lack of inherent existence, which avoids the extremes of permanence and nihilism or inherent existence and nothingness.
Buddhist scholars fill their lives with intellectual theories, philosophies and world-view concepts and while some schools of Buddhism discourage doctrinal study, others regard it as essential in teaching Buddhism. Liberation in the advent of Nirvana is the goal of Buddhism and what is called the Buddhist Path. It is an awakening, a perception of reality, bringing forth knowledge of the true nature of one self and the cycles of suffering (Dukkha) and reincarnation or involuntary rebirths (Samsara).
Three Marks of Existence
Impermanence is one of the Three Marks of Existence. It is based upon the concept that things and experiences are inconstant, unsteady and impermanent. Experience is achieved through our senses and those senses are further developed by external conditions. Life and things that surround us are constantly changing – nothing is lasting.
Dukkha or suffering is a central concept of Buddhism, which makes a Buddhist appear pessimistic, but a Buddhist is neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but a realist.
Anatta (Sanskrit) refers to the Indian philosophy of not-self. This self or soul is called ātman that is a permanent essence conceived by just existing; the concept being related to Brahman, Vedantic ideology in the sense that logic, metaphysics and science all have an underlying and persistent reality in a Platonic form. Buddhists however, reject those concepts of ātman because of their beliefs in changeability.
If you think this is complex thought, there is more, like the doctrinarian concept of the Twelve Nidānas that describes the connections and characteristics of existence in cycles. There is more to Śūnyatā that is too complex to address in this chapter and condensed version of my manuscript.
Buddhism requires years of teaching to understand, indeed it encompasses a lifetime of thought and philosophical study. All the concepts lead to a final goal of liberation in the form of Nirvana and as the Mahayana Buddhists, encouraging to follow the path of a Bodhisattva.
Buddhist Ethics
The Buddhist as a system of ethics called The Five Precepts that are taken further for those who live the life of a Buddhist monk (6-8):
  1. To refrain from taking life.
  2. To refrain from taking that which is not given.
  3. To refrain from sensual misconduct.
  4. To refrain from lying.
  5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness.
  6. To refrain from eating at the wrong time – only from sunrise to noon.
  7. To refrain from dancing and playing music, wearing jewelry and cosmetics, attending shows and other performances.
  8. To refrain from using high or luxurious seats and bedding – living simply in a all manners and forms.
Monastic Life
Vinaya is a moral code for monks and nuns (who follow the full eight codes of conduct aforementioned). It is a life of self attainment, of spiritual peace always striving to achieve the highest levels of spirituality, which varies from one sect to another. For example, the Bodhisattvas refuse to eat meat and live the life of a vegetarian and a lifetime of celibacy. In Japan, however, the monastic Vinaya are allowed to marry like clergy of other religions. The Buddhist monks spend much time in meditation which is the primary path to Samādhi. There are two types of meditation: Samatha and Vipassanā.
Zen Buddhism
This form of Buddhism is probably the most known, pronounced Ch’an in Chinese and Zen in Japanese – popular in both China and Japan.
It is formally a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism [1st century BC) and its gist is meditation in the attainment of enlightenment. Zen originated in the Shaolin Temple of China by the Indian Pallava prince who became a monk, Bodhidharma, who migrated to China in the 7th century (AD) to teach a special transmission outside scriptures. Zen is a distinct school of Buddhism that spread to Vietnam, Korea, India, Taiwan, Mongolia, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, and Japan. Within Zen there are legends and mythologies that have been passed down through Chinese and Japanese folklore that is separated from the original Zen.
Zen Buddhism originated through what has come to be known as the Flower Sermon. Gautama Buddha when giving a dharma talk to his disciples – he fell into silence and the disciples thought he may be ill or tired. Buddha, after a period of time, held up a flower and the disciples tried to determine the meaning, but none came up with the correct answer, except for one of Buddha’s disciples, Mahākāśyapa, studied the flower silently and began to image in his mind Buddha’s thoughts, which he revealed. Buddha acknowledged the insight and said:
I possess the true Dharma eye, the marvelous mind of Nirvana, the true form of the formless, the subtle dharma gate that does not rest on words or letters but is a special transmission outside of scriptures. This I entrust to Mahākāśyapa. [XIII] Zen then is the direct experience rather than on rational creeds or revealed scriptures. [XIV] Wisdom was passed, not through words, but through a lineage of one-to-one direct transmission of thought from teacher to student. It is commonly taught that such lineage continued all the way from the Buddha’s time to the present. Historically, this claim is disputed, due to lack of evidence to support it. [XV]
Historical records that provide written knowledge of Zen Buddhism history no longer exist; some scholars believe that Zen originated from the yogic genre of practicing the fixation of one’s mind. Emphasis is placed upon Buddha-nature, the universal nature of inherent wisdom – nature of the mind. Distinctive from other Buddhist sects in that Zen doesn’t emphasize upon religious texts and/or verbal conversation. Turning the eye inward, Zen deepens Buddhism in a metaphysical state of mind and is not philosophical and iconoclastic. While the practice of turning the eye inward can be found in the Buddhist canonical scriptures within the many suttas and sutras and yet Zen being separated from scriptures; early teachers were well versed in Buddhist text. Training is through practice and techniques passed down – much based on text like the Platform Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, Shurangama Sutra and Lankavatara Sutra.
Meditation is practiced in the Buddha sitting position, as when Buddha received enlightenment under the Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya and concentration as part of the Eightfold Path.
In many Zen monasteries a daily liturgy service is conducted with prayers and chanting.
John Daido Loori (Roshi) refers to the chanting from Zen master Dōgen, known from the statement:
Painted rice cakes will not satisfy hunger.
The meaning of the statement is that the scriptures along cannot bring full enlightenment and Zen fills that gap.
In a lecture about Soul in Zen, John Tarrant Roshi in Berkeley, California stated:
The western classic opposition is between spirit and soul.  Spirit is the transformative function and it's eternal.  It doesn't learn, I think, really. It's the way in which we're all one and it's the way in which, even when you are--it kicks in sometimes when you're very sick, if you're close to death, you notice that your life is perfect at that moment even though you're dying.  That sort of experience.  It's a very classic spirit experience. … My theory about all this was that when we took the great traditions out of Asiawe brought across the spirit but soul is a local thing and we didn't bring that with it.  Then we'd try to have this event often which was a very purely spiritual event, but it wasn't sufficiently inhabited. … If the soul takes over, it's just full of longing and vapors.  We get moody all the time and nobody can bear us. … But soul is also necessary because without it, without that point of view, the spirit tends to start making rules a lot, I've noticed.  If you notice as a spiritual community gets older, it gets a lot more rules and those rules usually don't seem like they're going to help anything. 
Classic Zen was primarily developed in the Tang dynasty of China that was divided into the Five Houses of Zen, five separate schools or sects. In its beginning, the schools were not institutionalized. The Five Houses of Zen is:
Guiyang – named after Guishan Lingyou and Yangshan Huigi. (8th & 9th centuries AD)
Linji – named after Master Linji Yixuan (9th century AD)
Caodong – named after masters Dongshan Liangjie (807-869) and Caoshan Benji (840-901).
Yunmen – named after Master Yunmen Wenyan (10th century).
Fayan – named after Master Fayan Wenyi (885-958).

Phenomenology of Religions, its chapters, annexes and appendices are protected under US and international copyright laws - please respect that. Linked/Sourced excerpts may be used if author is identified and linked. No commercial reproduction may be produced without the express permission of the author. Unless otherwise identified, photographs/images are public domain or the property of Keith Allen Lehman.

[I] Herodotus, 4.11 - translated by G. Rawlinson.
[II] Case-study 7: The Maoris; Eerdmans’ Handbook to the World Religions; James Irwin; pp. 152-153.
[III] Case-study: Madagascar; Eerdmans’ Handbook to World Religions; Alan Rogers; p. 156.
[IV] Case-study 8: Madagascar; Eerdmans’ Handbook to World Religions; Alan Rogers; p. 155.
[V] The Christian Church wasn’t the first to utilize the conception of a Trinity.
[VI] Wikipedia entry, Sikhism.
[VII] Sikhism: Religion in focus; Geoff Teece.
[VIII] Religion of the Gurus: The Sikh Faith; Eerdmans’ Handbook to World Religions; Douglas Davies; p. 203.
[IX] Respect for All Life: Jainism; Eerdmans’ Handbook to World Religions; Myrtle Langley; p. 212.
[X] Courage and Faith: The Parsis; Eerdmans’ Handbook to World Religions; John Hinnelis; p. 217.
[XI] Introduction to Buddhism, Venerable Gyatrul Rinpochem.
[XII] Buddhism, Wikipedia entry.
[XIII] Zen Buddhism: A History, Vol 1, India and China; Heinrich Domoulin, World Wisdom, 2005.
[XV] Scholars have traced the Flower Sermon back to the 14th century (AD) and Buddha lived in the 6th century (AD).

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