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Posts tagged ‘Gautam Buddha’

Religions without Prophets – List of those religions where prophets were not born.

Sikhism: Formed in 15th Century AD as a reaction to the social and religious practices of the time in the Indian subcontinent. The Sikh Gurus (or teachers) have emphasized on recognizing all humans as equal before Waheguru (Guru Nanak), regardless of colour, caste or lineage. The Sikh Gurus did not call themselves as prophets. The emphasis is on a single all pervading God and creating a relationship with him. There is no place for intermediaries. The Sikh holy book is known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Which was compiled by Arjan Dev Singh, added the teachings of 5 Gurus beginning with Guru Nanak Dev Ji and includes passages from both Hindu and Sufi saints.The Sikh Gurus have referred to their compositions as “dhur ki bani” or the word of primal divine source. Place of ritual is Gurudwara Sahib. Major locations of stronghold are States of West Punjab, NWFP in Pakistan & in India East Punjab, Delhi NCR, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Major places of worship; Golden Temple Amritsar – India, Nanakana Sahib – Pakistan, Ponta Sahib – Punjab, Hem Kund, Nanak Matta – Uttrakhand, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Delhi – India.

Buddhism: Founded by Prince Siddhartha Gautama of North India in 6th Century BC who was after his enlighten known as Gautama Buddha? Its sacred texts are Pali Canon (Tripitaka), numerous Mahayana sutras written originally in Pali. As per Tibetan Buddhism Monk is the spiritual leader. Buddhism follows the system taught by Buddha. Place of worship is Temple, meditation hall. Main sects in Buddhism are Theravada and Mahayana. Major locations of stronghold are India, China, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, South East Asia. Major locations: Sarnath, Gaya, Patna, Twang, Dharamshala, Leh, Laol Spiti, Gangtok – India, Colombo – Sri Lanka, Bangkok – Thailand, Cambodia, Guangzou, Lahsa – China, Bagan – Burma.

Jainism: Jains derive their name from the jinas, spiritual conquerors who have achieved liberation and perfection. Included among these are the 24 spiritual leaders called “ford-makers” or tirthankaras. The last of the tirthankaras was Mahavira (599-527 BC), a contemporary of the Buddha and the man generally considered the founder of Jainism. Jinas are believed to reside in the

top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, liberated souls are revered more than the gods. Formed in 550 BC, sacred scriptures are the teachings ofMahavira written originally in Sanskrit, major sects are Digambaras (“sky-clad”); Shvetambaras (“white-clad”), monks are the spiritual leader’s place of worship is the temple. Major location is India. Major places of worship are: Palitana, Shankheshwar, Shikharji, Vataman, Mumbai, Mahudi Shri Ghantakarna Vir Temple and Ahmedabad – India.

Taoism: also known as Daoism was founded by Lao – Tze in China in 550 BC, based on the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, a short tract written in the 6th century BC in China. Its emphasis on spiritual harmony within the individual complements; Taoism is also increasingly influential in the West, especially in the fields of alternative medicine and martial arts like Tai Chi. There are two main strands and schools within Taoism, usually labeled “philosophical Taoism” (Tao-chia) and “religious Taoism” (Tao-chaio). Tao Te Ching, Chuang-Tzu is sacred scripture originally written in traditional Chinese. Sage is a spiritual leader in Taoism. House of worship is temple. Major locations are; China, South East Asia.

 

Shintoism: Shinto (also Shintoism) is the term for the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of Japan. Shinto has no founder, no official sacred scriptures, and no fixed creeds, but it has preserved its main beliefs and rituals throughout the ages. The word Shinto, which comes from the Chinese shin tao, meaning “the way of kami“, came into use in order to distinguish indigenous Japanese beliefs from Buddhism, which had been introduced into Japan in the 6th century AD. Shinto has no founder or founding date. When the Japanese people and Japanese culture became aware of themselves, Shinto was already there. Yayoi culture, which originated in the northern area of the island of Kyushu around the 3rd or 2nd century BC, is directly related to later Japanese culture and Shinto. Among the primary Yayoi religious phenomena were agricultural rites and shamanism. Early shamans (miko) performed the ceremonies; eventually those of the Yamato tribe did so; on behalf of the other tribes and their chieftain assumed duties that led to headship of the Shinto state. Texts comprises of Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), Nihongi or Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan). Major location is Japan. Major places of worship are: Mt. Fuji, Dazaifu Tenmangu, Oyama Shrine, Toshogu Shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Ise Shrines, Izumo Shrine, Atsuta Shrine, Heian Shrine, Meiji Shrine all are in Japan.

Baha’ism: Also popularly known as Bahai Faith was founded in 1844 – 1882 in Iran by the two controversial leaders proclaimed to be the first preacher of Bahai named Bab & Baha ullah, declaring themselves as the prophets of modern world. The laws of the Bahá’í Faith primarily come from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, written by Baha’u’llah, which is also a main scripture, It is sometimes also referred to as The Aqdas, “the Most Holy Book”, “the Book of Laws” and occasionally the Book of Aqdas, originally written in Arabic & its title in Persian. The Manifestations of God are analogous to divine mirrors which reflect God’s created attributes and thus reveal aspects of God without being incarnations of God’s essence.

It is through these divine educators that humans can approach God, and through them God brings divine revelation and law. Bahá’ís believe that God expresses his will at all times and in manyways, and specifically through a series of divine messengers referred to as Manifestations of God or sometimes divine educators. The supreme seat is based in Israel. Major locations are Israel, Europe, US, India, South East Asia.

Greek Religion: Greek religion is the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. Greek people recognized the major gods and goddesses: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Athena, Hermes, Demeter, Hestia and Hera though philosophies such as Stoicism and some forms of Platonism. Grreks believes in afterlife or re incarnation. Their sacred texts are Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Pindar’s Odes. Major Locations are Greece, Italy, and Cyprus. Major places of worship were: Arcadia.

Benaras (Varanasi) – The Oldest City in the World

Varanasi (Kashi) or simply Benaras has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus & Buddhism for ages. Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. These few lines by Mark Twain say it all:

“Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”.

A vibrant city full of life with incredible colors & traditions beaded like multi-cultured pearls. Though badly maintained & filthy as it looks like but shows a true path of moksha. Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the origins of Varanasi are yet unknown.The city is also famous for the its Aghori Sadhus known for their cannibalism habits. Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals. Varanasi is the cultural capital of India and the melting pot of Indian civilization. Varanasi or Benaras has a well-developed transport network and is well connected to all the major Indian cities and states by air, road and rail. Ganges is said to have its origins in the tresses of Lord Shiva and in Varanasi, it expands to the mighty river that we know of. The city is a center of learning and civilization for over 3000 years.

With Sarnath embedded in its roots, the place where Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment, where Ashoka – Great King of Mauryan Empire of India had made his capital known as Lion Capital where the first national emblem pillar was put in place by him. Varanasi has been a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Knowledge, philosophy, culture, devotion to Gods, Indian arts and crafts have all flourished here for centuries. Also a pilgrimage place for Jains, Varanasi is believed to be the birthplace of Parsvanath, the twenty-third Tirthankar. Vaishnavism and Shaivism have co-existed in Varanasi harmoniously. With a number of temples, Mrs. Annie Besant chose Varanasi as the home for her ‘Theosophical Society’ and Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, to institute ‘Benares Hindu University, the biggest Hindu University in the world. Ayurveda is said to be originated at Varanasi. Maharshi Patanjali, the preceptor of Ayurveda and Yoga, was also affiliated with this city. Varanasi is also famous for its trade and commerce, especially for the finest silks and gold and silver brocades, since the early days.

In 1781 Benaras had also witnessed a major rebellion known as Benaras Rebellion of 1781 – 1782 when In 1781, in response to the need for revenue to fight the war in Madras against Hyder Ali, Warren Hastings, the Governor-General of India, had pressed Chait Singh (d.1810), ruler of Benaras, to make additional revenue payments in 1778 and 1779 of five lakhs as a sort of war tax.

Art & Culture History: Varanasi has also been a great center of learning for ages. Varanasi is associated with promotion of spiritualism, mysticism, Sanskrit, yoga and Hindi language and honored authors such as the famous novelist Prem Chand and Tulsi Das. Being the cultural capital of India, Varanasi has provided the right platform for all cultural activities to flourish. Many exponents of dance and music have come from Varanasi. Ravi Shankar, renowned Sitar maestro and Ustad Bismillah Khan, (the famous Shehnai player) forms the soul of city’s culture. The art and culture of Varanasi is unique. It is the rich cultural tradition of Varanasi that makes it the cultural capital of India. A combination of archaeology, mythology, geography, art and history makes Varanasi a great center of Indian culture. Though Varanasi is associated mainly with Hinduism and Buddhism but one can find glimpse of many religious beliefs, types of worship and religious institutions at Varanasi. For centuries, Varanasi has produced master craftsmen and earned name and fame for its beautiful Sarees, handicrafts, textiles, toys, ornaments, metal work, clay and woodwork and other crafts such as handmade carpets from a nearby town Bhadoi. At Varanasi one gets to explore the city of affluence, intellectuals, oral traditions, castes and customs, personalities, professions and communal harmony. All these combine together to give a distinct look to the city of moksha, Varanasi.

City Facts: Languages Spoken: Hindi, Sanskrit,Urdu, Bhojpuri and English, STD Code: 0542, Population: About 1.4 million. During summers, weather can be as hot as 45° C and humid too as Varanasi lies at the Tropic of cancer. Torrential rains and high humidity accompanies the monsoons that usually come in late June or early July for about two months. In winters it is pleasant and temperature dips down to about 7°C.  October to April is the best time to visit Benaras.

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