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General Awareness over the World Religions (Part 1)

As a reader of this Blog, it is better to have an idea about the various religions in the world, its philosophies, principles etc. One of the main intentions of this Blog is to help people think beyond the philosophies which they are mended by the society. When people are bound over a particular philosophy or theology, many times they ignore to think beyond the ideas which they are absorbed into. Having a general idea over the World Religions, its philosophies and theology may help the readers in broadening their mind and thus help them walk a step ahead In The Quest Of Truth.

Adherents.com, one of the world’s biggest religious portals lists around 43,351 groups. And remember, each and every group has different beliefs, rituals and philosophies. So, it is an enormous task to categorize and explain each and every sect and religion in this post. But, it is clear that our purpose here is not a detailed theological study but instead to understand and realize the fact that:
• Each and every person in a particular belief thinks that his/her faith is right
• Each and every faith contradict the other faith in at least one way
• This leads to a logical conclusion that a person in a particular faith has to believe that only his/her faith is completely ‘true’!

Some of you may feel this conclusion to be weird and if you feel so then either you are not aware of the world religions in detail or you are not a strict believer in your faith. To not be a strict believer in your faith just means that you are a hypocrite, bending your faith as you will so that it is compatible according to your need and the society. But, if you are a true believer in your religion ‘AND’ also have a comprehensive knowledge about the world religions, I must say that it would bring a few tough times in your life. And this tough time is the result of the confusion that will arise in you. It depends upon your nature on how you react with this confusion. Either you may take a bold step In The Quest of Truth, or be intolerant toward other religions. Both these journeys may take you to any extent. I shall cite a few examples in the coming posts on how religious intolerance, terrorism etc are related to the above mentioned conditions (i.e. being a true believer in your religion ‘AND’ also have a detailed knowledge about the world religions).

Actions are determined by Ignorance…” - Siddhartha Gautama (on the law of causation)

Dear Readers, now I attempt to give a general awareness of the world religions. One thing every religion (except a few) has in common is the concept of deity. In the beginning, I shall categories different thoughts based on this concept.

• Agnosticism:
It is simply a belief that we cannot prove either the existence or the non-existence of deity. So, it is a waste of time to argue or ponder about it.
o Agnostic theists: those who believe that a deity probably exists;
o Agnostic atheists: those who believe that it is very improbable that a deity exists.

• Apetheism:
The term is a portmanteau -- a combination of two words -- either "apathy" and "Theism" or "apathy and "Atheism." An Apatheist is a person who regards the existence of a God or Supreme Being as a relatively meaningless and irrelevant question. Unlike Theists, Agnostics, Atheists, etc, the unique feature of an Apatheist is that if it were possible to prove that God exists, their beliefs and behavior would not change. Similarly, there would be no change if someone proved that God does not exist.

• Atheism:
The lack of a belief that deity, in the form of one or more supernatural gods or goddesses, exists.



• Cosmicism:
It is philosophy developed by H.P. Lovecraft based on the insignificance and helplessness of humans, the absence of a deity, and the existence of "powerful beings and other cosmic forces" that are completely indifferent towards humanity.

• Deism:
Deism involves the belief in the existence of God, on purely rational grounds, without any reliance on revealed religion or religious authority.
o Do not accept the belief of most religions that God revealed himself to humanity through the writings of the Bible, the Qur'an or other religious texts.
o Disagree with Atheists who assert that there is no evidence of the existence of God.

"God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon." - Thomas Paine


• Humanism:
It is a philosophy which in most cases embraces Agnosticism or Atheistic belief about the non-existence of a deity. But it goes further to create ethical systems based upon reason and logic. It regards humanity as the measure of all things. Humanists emphasize a belief in the importance of doing good in society.

Most Humanists share these following opinions:
• Either they do not believe in the existence of a deity, or they don't really care about the topic.
• They believe that excellent codes of behavior and morality can be created through reason.
• Humans created the Gods and Goddesses in their own image.
• They are very concerned about human rights and equal opportunities for all.
• They tend to be at the liberal end of the spectrum on such controversial topics as abortion access; equal rights for gays, lesbians and bisexuals; same-sex marriage, physician assisted suicide, etc.


• Monotheism:
Monotheists believe in one, indivisible God, and not to associate anything to worship with that indivisible God. Example: Islam and Judaism.

• Pantheism:
God and the Universe are the same.

• Polytheism:
They believe and worship more that one deity.

Below is a Chart which includes the major beliefs, statistics, practices etc of most of the Major Religions of the World. Going through this chart may help the reader in understanding the diversity in human culture and beliefs, thus letting them a step nearer to the Truth at least in their sub-conscious mind.

Religion/Sect/
Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info
AladuraVarious prophet-healing churches founded since c.1918, West Nigeria. 1 million Generally monotheistic; a mix of Anglican, Pentecostal and traditional African beliefs. Strong emphasis on healing and salvation in this life through prayer, fasting and other rituals. Not emphasized; views vary. Spiritual healing is central. Mix of Anglican and African rituals; a prophet plays a prominent role. NoneReligionFacts article
Asatru


Revival of Norse and Germanic paganism, 1970s Scandinavia and USA. unknownPolytheistic, Norse gods and goddesses, Norse creation myths. Salvation or redemption not emphasized. Fatalistic view of universe. Valhalla (heaven) for death in battle; Hel (peaceful place) for most; Hifhel (hell) for the very evil. Sacrifice of food or drink, toast to the gods, shamanism (less frequently), celebration of solstice holidays. Nine Noble Virtues is moral code.

Eddas (Norse epics); the Havamal (proverbs attributed to Odin)ReligionFacts article

Asatru Alliance


Wikipedia
AtheismAppears in history, but especially after the Enlightenment (19th cent). 1.1 billion (this figure includes agnostic and non-religious, which tend to be grouped on surveys) There is no God or divine being. Beliefs about the universe generally based on latest scientific findings. Only humans can help themselves and each other solve the world's problems. nonenoneInfluential works include those by Marx, Freud, Feuerbach, and Voltaire.The Secular Web

BBC Religion


Wikipedia
Baha'i Faith


Founded by Bahá'u'lláh, 1863, Tehran, Iran. 5-7 million One God, who has revealed himself progressively through major world religions.The soul is eternal and essentially good. Purpose of life is to develop spiritually and draw closer to God.Soul separates from the body and begins a journey towards or away from God. Heaven and hell are states of being.Daily prayer, avoidance of intoxicants, scripture reading, hard work, education, work for social justice and equality.Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and other Bahá'í leadersReligionFacts section

The Baha'i World
BönIndigenous religion of Tibet. 100,000Nontheistic Buddhism, but meditation on peaceful and wrathful deities. Purpose is to gain enlightenment. Reincarnation until gain enlightenment Meditation on mandalas and Tibetan deities, astrology, monastic life. Bonpo canon ReligionFacts article

Tibet.com
Buddhism


Founded by Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha) in c. 520 BC, NE India. 360 million Varies: Theravada atheistic; Mahayana more polytheistic. Buddha taught nothing is permanent.Purpose is to avoid suffering and gain enlightenment and release from cycle of rebirth, or at least attain a better rebirth by gaining merit. Reincarnation (understood differently than in Hinduism, with no surviving soul) until gain enlightenment Meditation, mantras, devotion to deities (in some sects), mandalas (Tibetan) Tripitaka (Pali Canon); Mahayana sutras like the Lotus Sutra; others. ReligionFacts section

BuddhaNet
Religion/Sect/
Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info
Cao Dai


Founded in 1926, Vietnam by Ngo Van Chieu and others based on a séance. 4-6 million God represented by Divine Eye. Founders of Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity venerated, and saints including Victor Hugo. Goal is peace and harmony in each person and in the world. Salvation by "cultivating self and finding God in self."Reincarnation. Bad karma can lead to rebirth on a darker planet; good karma to better life on earth. Eventual attainment of nirvana or heaven. Hierarchy similar to Roman Catholicism. Daily prayer. Meditation. Communication with spirit world (now outlawed in Vietnam). Caodai canon ReligionFacts article

CaoDai.org
Chinese Religion


Indigenous folk religion of China.394 million Dualistic yin and yang; mythological beings and folk deities. Purpose is a favorable life and peaceful afterlife, attained through rituals and honoring of ancestors. Judgment, then reincarnation or temporary hell until gain a Buddhist-type paradise.Ancestor worship, prayer, longevity practices , divination, prophecy and astrology, feng shui. NoneReligionFacts section

Chinese Cultural Studies
Chopra Center


Founded by Deepak Chopra in 1991, California unknownmonism - God or Supreme Reality pervades all things; all is unity Humans have limitless potential, but do not recognize this. Health and success can be had by focusing on whole self (mind, body, spirit). ReincarnationYoga, meditation, massage, nutrition, mindfulness, detox sessions, positive thinking. Deepak Chopra's many books, such as the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success ReligionFacts article

Official Website
Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox)


Founded by Paul, and later people based on the principles of Jesus Christ in c. 30 AD, Israel. 2 billion One God who is a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit All have sinned and are thereby separated from God. Salvation is through faith in Christ and, for some, sacraments and good works. Eternal heaven or hell (or temporary purgatory). Prayer, Bible study, baptism, Eucharist, church on Sundays, numerous holidays. The Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments) ReligionFacts section

Wikipedia


BBC Religion
Christian Science


Founded by Mary Baker Eddy in 1879, Massachusetts. 150,000 - 400,000 One God. No Trinity (in traditional sense). Matter and evil do not exist. Salvation is "Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness and death destroyed."Heaven is "not a locality, but a divine state of Mind in which all the manifestations of Mind are harmonious and immortal."Spiritual healing through prayer and knowledge, Sunday services, daily Bible and Science & Health reading.Christian Bible, Science & Health with Key to the ScripturesReligionFacts article

Official Website
Confucianism


Founded by Confucius (551–479 BC), China 5-6 million Not addressed Purpose of life is to fulfill one's role in society with propriety, honor, and loyalty.Not addressed Honesty, politeness, propriety, humaneness, perform correct role in society, loyalty to family, nation AnalectsReligionFacts article

Wikipedia
Religion/Sect/
Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info
Deism


Especially popularized in the 18th-cent. Enlightenment under Kant, Voltaire, Paine, Jefferson, and others unknownOne Creator God who is uninterested in the world. Reason is basis for all knowledge. Not addressedNot addressed None prescribed, although some deists practice prayer. Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason and similar texts World Union of Deists

Wikipedia
Druze


Al-Darazi in 11th century, Cairo, Egypt. Roots in the Isma'iliyya sect of Shia Islam.500,000Universal Intelligence (al-Aql al-Kulli) or Divine Essence (akin to Neoplatonism), of which al-Hakim is believed to be an incarnation. Live a good life for a favorable reincarnation. Await the re-appearance of al-Hakim (a Fatimid caliph who disappeared in 1021), who will usher in a Golden Age for true believers. Reincarnation. Heaven is a spiritual existence when one has escaped reincarnation. Hell is distance from God in lifetime after lifetime. Modest lifestyles, fasting before Eid al-Adha. Beliefs and practices are hidden for protection from persecution. Special group of initiates called uqqal. Al-Naqd al-Khafi (Copy of the Secret); Al-Juz'al-Awwal (Essence of the First)Wikipedia

Lexicorient
Eckankar


John Paul Twitchell in 1965, Las Vegas.50-500,000The Divine Spirit, called "ECK" "Each of us is Soul, a spark of God sent to this world to gain spiritual experience." Salvation is liberation and God-realization. Reincarnation. The Soul is eternal by nature and on a spiritual journey. Liberation possible in a single lifetime. Spiritual Exercises of ECK: mantras, meditation, and dreams. These enable Soul travel and spiritual growth. Shariyat-Ki-Sugmad and books by Harold Klemp ReligionFacts article

Official Website
Epicureanism


Epicurus in c.300 BC, Athens. unknownA deistic sort of polytheism: the gods exist, but take no notice of humans. Materialism: everything is made of atoms, including gods and the soul. No afterlife. The soul dissolves when the body dies. Pursue the highest pleasures (friendship and tranquility) and avoid pain. Letters and Principal Doctrines of Epicurus ReligionFacts article

Epicurus.net
Falun Gong


Li Hongzhi in 1992 in China 10 million Countless gods and spiritual beings. The Falun (wheel) is an energy source located in the navel. Goal is spritual transcendence, achieved by practicing Falun Gong. Not addressed Five exercises to strengthen the Falun. Cultivation of truthfulness, benevolence and forbearance. Zhuan Falun and other writings by Master LiReligionFacts article

Falundafa.org
Gnosticism


Various teachers including Valentinus, 1st-2nd cents. AD ancient form extinct; small modern revival groups The supreme God is unknowable; the creator god is evil and matter is evil. Humans can return to the spiritual world through secret knowledge of the universe. Return to the spiritual world.Asceticism, celibacy Gnostic scriptures including various Gospels and Acts attributed to apostles. Wikipedia

Gnosis.org
Greek Religion


Variety of religions of ancient Greeks ancient form extinct Olympic pantheon (Zeus, etc.) mixed with eastern deities like Isis and Cybele Human life is subject to the whim of the gods and to Fate; these can be controlled through sacrifice and divination. Beliefs varied from no afterlife to shadowy existence in the underworld to a paradise-like afterlife (mainly in mystery religions). Animal sacrifice, harvest offerings, festivals, games, processions, dance, plays, in honor of the gods. Secret initiations and rituals in mystery religions. Epic poems of Homer and Hesiod. ReligionFacts section

Wikipedia


Ancient Greek Religion
Religion/Sect/
Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info
Hare Krishna



Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, 1966, USA (with roots in 15th-century Hindu movement) 250,000-1 million Krishna is the Supreme God. Salvation from this Age of Kali is by a return to Godhead, accomplished through Krishna-Consciousness. Reincarnation until unite with the Godhead. Chanting, dancing, evangelism, vegetarianism, temple worship, monastic-style living. The Bhagavad-Gita As It Is ReligionFacts article

ISKCON.com


Krishna.com
Hinduism


Indigenous religion of India as developed to present day. 900 million One Supreme Reality (Brahman) manifested in many gods and goddesses Humans are in bondage to ignorance and illusion, but are able to escape. Purpose is to gain release from rebirth, or at least a better rebirth. Reincarnation until gain enlightenment. Yoga, meditation, worship (puja), devotion to a god or goddess, pilgrimage to holy cities, live according to one's dharma (purpose/ role). The Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, etc. ReligionFacts section

BBC Religion
Islam


Believes that it existed from the beginning of humanity. Thus, respects all the prophets including Abraham, Moses, Jesus etc. Muhammad is believed to be the seal of prophets, 622 AD, Saudi Arabia 1.3 billion.
*Fastest Growing Religion in the world.
God, One and Only, Absolute and eternal, who beget not nor is begotten, Creator of the Universe, often accompanied by words Most Gracious and Most Merciful
(Allah in Arabic).
Humans must submit (Islam) to the will of God to gain Paradise after death.The sole purpose of humanity is to worship God in every walk of hi/her life.
Paradise or Hell. Five Pillars: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Pilgrimage, Fasting. Mosque services on Fridays. Ablutions before prayer. No alcohol or pork. Holidays related to the pilgrimage and fast of Ramadan. jihad - struggle for Self Purification.
Books given to Abraham, Moses (Torah), David (Psalms), Jesus (Injil) and Muhammad (Qur'an).(Scripture); Hadith (tradition)ReligionFacts section

BBC Religion

IslamiCity
Jainism


Mahavira, c. 550 BC, eastern India 4 million The universe is eternal; many gods exist. Gods, humans and all living things are classified in a complex hierarchy. The soul is uncreated and eternal and can attain perfect divinity. Purpose is to gain liberation from cycle of rebirth, by avoiding all bad karma, especially by causing no harm to any sentient being. Reincarnation until liberation.Monasticism under the Five Great Vows (Non-Violence, Truth, Celibacy, Non-Stealing, Non-Possessiveness); worship at temples and at home. Meditation and mantras. The teachings of Mahavira in various collections.ReligionFacts section

BBC Religion


Jainworld.com
Jehovah's Witnesses


Charles Taze Russell, 1879, Pittsburgh 6.5 million One God, Jehovah. No Trinity - Christ is the first creation of God; the Holy Spirit is a force. Salvation is through faith in Christ and obeying Jehovah's laws. The End of the World is soon. Heaven for 144,000 chosen Witnesses, eternity on new earth for other Witnesses. All others annihilated. No hell. No blood transfusions, no celebration of holidays, no use of crosses or religious images. Baptism, Sunday service at Kingdom Hall, strong emphasis on evangelism.New World Translation of the ScripturesReligionFacts section

Official Website


BBC Religion
Religion/Sect/
Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info
Judaism


The religion of the Hebrews (c. 1300 BC), especially after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. 14 million One God, Yahweh. Obey God's commandments, live ethically. Focus is more on this life than the next. Not historically emphasized. Beliefs vary from no afterlife to shadowy existence to the World to Come (similar to heaven). Circumcision at birth, bar/bat mitzvah at adulthood. Synagogue services on Saturdays. No pork or other non-kosher foods. Holidays related to historical events. Bible (Tanakh), Talmud ReligionFacts section

Judaism 101


BBC Religion
Mayan Religion



c.250 AD (rise of the Mayan civilization) Historically, up to 2 million. Some survival today. Many gods, including Itzamná, Kukulcán, Bolon Tzacab, and Chac Appease and nourish the gods; determine luckiest dates for various activities. The soul journeys through dark and threatening underworld; but sacrificial victims and women who die in childbirth go to heaven. Astronomy, divination, human sacrifice, elaborate burial for royalty, worship in stone pyramid-temples Dresden, Madrid, and Paris codices; Books of Chilam Balam; Popol Vuh; The Ritual of the BacabsReligionFacts article
Mormonism (LDS)


Joseph Smith, 1830, New York 12.2 millionGod the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate individual beings Humans existed as spirits before this life, salvation is returning to God. Salvation by faith in Christ, good works, ordinances, and evangelism.All return to spirit world for period of instruction before resurrection. Mormons to heaven with God and families; others rewarded but not with God; hell for those who reject God after death. Abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea; baptism for the dead; eternal marriage; temple garments under daily clothes; active evangelism. Christian Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great PriceReligionFacts section

Official Website


BBC Religion
New Age Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Annie Besant in the 19th C, Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949), flourished in 1970s and 80s 5 million (very approximate) The Divine is an impersonal life force that pervades all things Dawning of a New Age of heightened consciousness and international peace. Individuals can obtain a foretaste of the New Age through spiritual transformation ("Ascension"). More emphasis on the latter now. Evil comes from ignorance. Reincarnation based on karma Astrology; mysticism; use of crystals; yoga; tarot readings; holistic medicine; psychic abilities; angelic communications; channeling; amulets; fortune-telling Works of a variety of New Age writers Beliefnet

Religious Movements Homepage
New Thought


Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-66) and others, late 19th century, USA. 160,000Generally monism (all is One), but members might be theists, pantheists or panentheists. God is immanent; the universe is essentially spiritual. Man is divine, essentially spirit, and has infinite possibility. Mind can control the body. Sin and sickness caused by incorrect thinking. Man can live in oneness with God in love, truth, peace, health, and prosperity."Life is eternal in the invisible kingdom of God." Emphasis on spiritual and mental healing, but without rejection of modern medicine. Worship services; prayer for the sick; discussion of New Thought authors and ideas. Writings of Quimby (such as the The Quimby Manuscripts) and other New Thought authors ReligionFacts article

International New Thought Alliance


Religious Movements Homepage
Religion/Sect/
Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info
Rastafari


Teachings of Marcus Garvey (1920s, Jamaica) and coronation of Haile Selassie (1930, Ethiopia) 1 million God is Jah, who became incarnate in Jesus (who was black) and Haile Selassie. Humans are temples of Jah. Salvation is primarily in this world and consists of liberation from oppression and return to Africa. Some Rastas will experience "everliving" (physical immortality). Heaven is a return to Eden, which is in Africa. Many practices based on Jewish biblical Law. Abstinence from most or all meat, artificial foods, and alcohol. Use of marijuana in religious rituals and for medicine. Wearing of dreadlocks. Holy Piby (the "Blackman's Bible). The Ethiopian epic Kebra Negast also revered. ReligionFacts article

The Afrocentric Experience


Jamaicans.com
Scientology


L. Ron Hubbard, 1954, California70,000 or several million, depending on the sourceGod(s) not specified; reality explained in the Eight Dynamics Human consists of body, mind and thetan; capable of great things.
Gain spiritual freedom by ridding mind of engrams.
ReincarnationAuditing, progressing up various levels until "clear". Focus on education and drug recovery programs. Writings of Hubbard, such as Dianetics and Scientology ReligionFacts section

Official Website


Beliefnet
Seventh-day Adventists


Rooted in Millerite movement; Ellen White was main leader; founded 1863 in New England10 million [source] One God who is a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit Second Coming of Christ is imminent; salvation is by faith in Christ; emphasis on quality of life both now and in afterlife A "peaceful pause" after death until the coming of Christ, then resurrection to judgment and eternity in heaven or hell Sabbath observance on Saturdays; healthful lifestyle; baptism by immersion Bible only; but later prophets like Ellen White are authoritative when tested against Scriptures ReligionFacts article

Official Website


Beliefnet
Shinto


Indigenous religion of Japan. 3-4 million Polytheism based on the kami, ancient gods or spirits. Humans are pure by nature and can keep away evil through purification rituals and attain good things by calling on the kami. Death is bad and impure. Some humans become kami after death. Worship and offerings to kami at shrines and at home. Purification rituals. Important texts are Kojiki or 'Records of Ancient Matters' and Nihon-gi or 'Chronicles of Japan' ReligionFacts article

Wikipedia


Japan Guide


BBC Religion
Religion/Sect/ Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info
Sikhism


Guru Nanak, c. 1500 AD, Punjab, India. 23 million One God (Ik Onkar, Nam)Overcome the self, align life with will of God, and become a "saint soldier," fighting for good. Reincarnation until resolve karma and merge with God.Prayer and meditation on God's name, services at temple (gurdwara), turban and five Ks. Balance work, worship, and charity. No monasticism or asceticism. Adi Granth (Sri Guru Granth Sahib)ReligionFacts section

Sikhs.org


SikhNet.com
Spiritualism, a.k.a. SpiritismModern movement: c.1850, USA, UK, France11 millionBeliefs vary, but generally based in a Christian worldview.Body and spirit are separate entities. Morality and contact with spirits affect afterlife.A spiritual existence with access to the living. Condition depends on morality of life and advancement is possible.Sunday services. Seances and other communication with departed spirits. Spirit healing.No authoritative texts. Doctrine learned from spirit guides (advanced departed spirits).Encyclopedia Britannica

National Spiritualist Association of Churches


Adherents.com
StoicismZeno in c.313 BC, Athens. unknownPantheism: the logos pervades the universe. Purpose is happiness, achieved by virtue, i.e., living reasonably. Possible continued existence of the Soul, but not a personal existence. Ethical and philosophical training, self-reflection, careful judgment and inner calm. Fragments of founders plus later writers like Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius. ReligionFacts article

Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Taoism


Lao-Tzu, c. 550 BC, China. 20 million
(394 million adherents of Chinese religion)
Pantheism - the Tao pervades all. Yin-yang - opposites make up a unity. Purpose is inner harmony, peace, and longevity. Acheived by living in accordance with the Tao. Revert back to state of non-being, which is simply the other side of being. General attitude of detachment and non-struggle, "go with the flow" of the Tao. Tai-chi, acupuncture, and alchemy to help longevity.Tao Te Ching, Chuang-TzuReligionFacts section

Taopage.org


Beliefnet
Unification Church


Sun Myung Moon, 1954, South Korea. Over 1 million (3 million acc. to official sources) Monotheism, with the duality of God (esp. masculine and feminine) emphasized. No Trinity doctrine. Purpose is true love and world peace instead of selfish love. True love and the kingdom of God on earth will be restored by the creation of "true families." Eternal life in a spirit world. Blessing Ceremony The Divine Principle (1954) by Rev. Moon. ReligionFacts article

Official website
Unitarian Universalism


Formal merger of Unitarians and Universalists in 1961, USA.800,000 Not specified. Members might believe in one God, many gods, or no God. Salvation is "spiritual health or wholeness." Members seek "inner and outer peace," insight, health, compassion and strength.Not specified. Some believe in an afterlife, some do not. Very few believe in hell - "Universalism" indicates the belief that all will be saved. Ceremonies for marriages, funerals, etc. Church services have elements from various religions. Emphasis on civil rights, social justice, equality and environment. Most UUs are anti-death penalty and pro-gay rights. Many sacred texts are revered by various members; some none at all. The Bible is the most commonly used text. ReligionFacts article

UUA.org
Wicca


Based on ancient pagan beliefs, but modern form founded early 1900s. Founder generally said to be Gerald Gardner. 1-3 million Polytheism, centered on the Goddess and God, each in various forms; also a belief in a Supreme Being over all "If it harms none, do what you will."Reincarnation until reach the SummerlandPrayer, casting a circle, Drawing Down the Moon, reciting spells, dancing, singing, sharing cakes and wine or beerNo sacred text; foundational texts include The Witch Cult in Western Europe and The God of the WitchesReligionFacts article

Wicca.org


Wikipedia
Zoroastrianism


Zoroaster in c.6th cent. BC, Persia. Official religion of ancient Persia. May have influenced Judaism and Vedic religion. c. 200,000 One God, Ahura Mazda, but a dualistic worldview in which an evil spirit, Angra Mainyu, is almost as powerful. Humans are free to do good or evil, must choose the side of good. Judgement followed by heaven or hell. Hell is temporary until final purgation and return to Ahura Mazda. Good deeds, charity, equality, hard work. Zend Avesta ReligionFacts article

BBC Religion


WZO
Religion/Sect/
Belief System
Origins & History
Adherents Worldwide (approx.)
God(s) and Universe
Human Situation and Life's Purpose
Afterlife
Practices
Texts
More Info



As some of the readers have complained of lengthy posts, I hereby reduce the length by dividing the posts into many parts. It would be rather a big mistake from my side if I hadn’t given at least this much information regarding the World religions, which were evolved possibly from the advent of Human Beings. This part was largely focused on categorizing the World religions in its faith over a deity and also to give a very vague idea about its principles and practices. In the upcoming posts I shall bring some important points to be thought regarding some of the large World religions (which embrace the majority of human population) and some common paradoxes, issues related to its faith, system, beliefs, founders and philosophies.
(To be continued…)







Comments

  1. Dear Bewiser,

    Thanks a lot for that correction. I have corrected those statements in order to avoid confusion regarding Falun Gong. Below I am attaching two article one regarding Demonic Interference and another regarding Meat Eating in Falun Gong. Meat eating is infact not encouraged, but as you said it is not an important point to be noted in such a concise chart.

    I hope you will subscribed to The Evolving Religion, the posts may not be frequent but hope each post will be valuable.

    Thank you once again.

    Regards,

    Azmath

    Demonic Interference during Practice:


    What is demonic interference in practice? It refers to some interference that we often easily run into while practising qigong. How can qigong practice possibly invite demonic interference? Since it is indeed very difficult for a person to cultivate, he will not be able to succeed in true cultivation without the protection of my Law body. As soon as you step out of the door, you could possibly involve yourself in a matter of life and death. Human True Spirit is immortal. Then from your social activities in the previous lives, you may have owed somebody, done harm to somebody or committed some wrongdoing. The creditors will come to collect their debts. It is said in Buddhism: humans live just according to the causational principles of rewards and retributions. If you owe someone something, he will come for his payment. If he gets more than he should, he will return that to you next time. If a son disrespects his parents, it will be the other way round in the next life. This is the way it turns round. Yet, we have indeed observed demonic interference which prevents you from practising qigong. All this has a causational relationship, and it does not occur without a reason. It will not be allowed to exist without a reason.

    The most common form of demonic interference is that your surrounding environment is relatively peaceful when you are not practising qigong. Because you have learned the Gong, you will always enjoy practising it. However, as soon as you sit in practice, you would suddenly find it noisy outside. There are sounds of a car horn, walking in the hallway, talking, slamming of doors or a radio being played the outside instantly. It will not be quiet any more. The environment will be calm when you do not practise qigong. As soon as you begin to practise, it becomes noisy. Many of us have never thought further about why this happens, except for feeling odd about it and being dejected about being unable to practise qigong. You just feel it is "strange". This is demonic interference. It manipulates people to disturb you. This is the most simple form of interference which is aimed at stopping you from cultivation. If you practise qigong, and attain the Tao, won't you pay for so many things you have owed? The demons will not agree, and will not let you practise. However, this is also a phenomenon reflected at a certain level of cultivation, which will no longer be allowed to exist after a period of time. Namely, after the debt has been removed, it will no longer be allowed to come to interfere with you again. This is because cultivating our Falun Dafa enables you to make rapid progress, and it is also comparatively faster to break through your level of cultivation.

    There is another form of demonic interference. It is known that we can have our Celestial Eyes opened by practising qigong. After the Celestial Eyes open, some people will see some scary scenes or frightening faces when practising at home. Some of these people have messy long hair, some want to fight you or even make various movements, which are quite frightening. Sometimes when practising, one will see them all clinging to the windows from the outside, which is quite frightful. Why does such a situation exist? All of these are forms of demonic interference. However, it is very rare in our school of Falun Dafa, about one per cent. The majority will not encounter such a situation. Because it does not benefit our cultivation, it is, therefore, not allowed to interfere with you in this way. This kind of interference is the most common phenomenon in other conventional cultivation ways, and it will also last quite a long time. Some people can not practise qigong, and become frightened simply because of this. One normally chooses to practise qigong in a quiet environment at night. Seeing a person standing in front of him who looks half demon and half human, one would be too scared to continue the practice. Generally, there is not such a phenomenon in our Falun Dafa. However, there are still a few exceptions. Some people have extremely special situations.

    There is another kind of people who practise a cultivation way which cultivates both the interior and the exterior. They practise both Wushu (Martial Arts) and cultivate the interior. Such cultivation ways are commonly seen in the Tao School. Once a person learns such a cultivation way, he will often run into such a demon, which other cultivation ways would not normally encounter except for the cultivation ways that include interior and exterior cultivation, as well as Martial Arts. The practitioner will be challenged to a fight since there are many Taoist practitioners in the world, many of whom practise Martial Arts and the interior and exterior cultivation ways. A person practising Martial Arts could also increase his cultivation energy. Why? After getting rid of the desires for fame and gain and other attachments, he will also increase his cultivation energy. However, his desire to contend and compete with others will take time to be abandoned, and will be discarded relatively late. Therefore, he is likely to do something like this, which will also occur at a certain level. While sitting in a trance, he knows who is practising. Then his Yuanshen (True Spirit) will leave his physical body to challenge that person to a fight to determine whose Gongfu is better, and a fight will then break out. Such a case will also occur in other spaces where someone may look for him for a fight. If he refuses, that person will indeed kill him. Therefore, a fight will take place between the two. As soon as this practitioner falls asleep, someone will come to challenge him to a fight, and therefore he cannot go to sleep for the whole night. In fact, this is the time for him to let go of his desire to contend with others. If he cannot abandon this attachment of his, he will always be this way. If it lasts for long, he will still remain at the same level of cultivation for several years. This person will become unable to continue the practice. His physical body can not bear it as well and he could be disabled with so much energy consumed. Thus, such a situation will be seen frequently in the cultivation ways that include both the interior and the exterior cultivation, and it is quite common. Our interior cultivation way does not have such an experience as it is not allowed to take place. These several forms I have just talked about commonly exist.

    There is another form of demonic interference which every practitioner, including each member of our cultivation way, will encounter. It is the demon of sex, which is very serious. Because of sex between husband and wife in the society of ordinary people, human society can multiply. That is how mankind develops. There is the affection in human society. So it is in line with the principle of heaven and earth for ordinary people to do this. Since human beings have emotions, ordinary people live for them. Being angry is an emotion, and so are happiness, love or hatred, enjoying doing one thing or disliking doing another, judging who is good or bad, having hobbies or dislikes. They are all emotions. Then, as a practitioner and a supernormal person, you should not use such a principle to judge yourself, but should break through this. Therefore, there are many attachments which come from human emotions. We should care less about them and give them up in the end. Desires and lust are such things that belong to human attachments which should be all abandoned.

    In our cultivation way, the period of time when we cultivate among ordinary people should not be used to live as monks or nuns. The young practitioners should still establish families. How should we treat this issue, then? I have said that our cultivation way aims directly at one's heart and does not make you really lose any material interests. On the contrary, it tempers your Xinxing in the face of the material interests of ordinary people, and what will be really upgraded is your Xinxing. If you can give up your attachments, you will be able to abandon everything. When required to give up material interests, you can certainly do so. If you cannot give up your attachments, you will not be able to let go of anything. Therefore, the real purpose of cultivation is to cultivate your heart. The cultivation in the temple forces you to lose these interests. In order to enable you to get rid of these attachments, they force you to put an end to them and not to think about them. They use this method. But we do not require you to go that way, instead, we require you to care less about the material interests right in front of you. Therefore, the cultivation of our school is the most solid one. We do not want you all to be monks or nuns. We cultivate among ordinary people, and our cultivation way is becoming more and more popular in the future. Suppose everyone became a monk who is not a monk; if every practitioner of our Falun Dafa wanted to act this way, it would not be allowed to happen. While you are practising qigong, we require you not to divorce because you practise qigong. You practise it, but your spouse may not. This means we should care less about sex, and should not treat it as so important as ordinary people. Especially nowadays in contemporary society, such things as the so-called sex liberation and these pornographic materials are interfering with people. Some people regard them as being very important. As practitioners, we must care little about them.

    Judging from the high dimensions, it is said that ordinary people in society are simply playing with mud on the ground without realizing that it is dirty. We have said that you should not cause any family problems because of this matter. Therefore, it would be all right that you care less about it and keep a normal harmonic married life at the present stage. When you reach a certain level in the future, there will be another situation at that level. At present you should do this way, and it is all right for you to do so at our request. Of course, you can not follow what is going on in contemporary society. How could that be allowed!

    There is still another issue concerning this matter. As we know, we practitioners carry energy in our bodies. Now about 80% to 90% of the people here from this class will not only recover from their illnesses but also grow some cultivation energy. Thus, your body is carrying very powerful energy. The energy you carry in your body and your current Xinxing are not proportional. Your cultivation energy is temporarily high because it has been promoted instantly. Your Xinxing is being upgraded at the moment. Gradually, you will catch up with your cultivation energy. You are certain to catch up within this period of time. As a result, we have promoted your cultivation energy in advance. In other words, you have got a certain amount of energy now. Because energy cultivated from the Orthodox Law is upright and compassionate, everyone sitting here all feels an atmosphere of serenity and compassion. I have cultivated myself this way, and carry such a thing with me. Everyone sitting here can feel the harmony and has no evil thoughts in mind, and would even forget to smoke a cigarette. In the future, you also should follow the requirement of our Great Law, and the cultivation energy you have cultivated will also be this way. With the increase of your energy potency, the scattered energy of your cultivation energy which your body carries will be also quite powerful. Even though it is not that powerful, an ordinary person within your energy field, or staying at your home, could also be restrained by your presense. Your family members at home may be all restrained by you as well. Why? You do not have to think about it because this field is upright, serene and compassionate, a field of right mindfulness. So, people around do not want to have wrong thoughts or do bad things. This field plays such a role.

    The other day I mentioned that the Buddhas' lights illuminate all things and bring propriety and righteousness to brightness and perfection (, ). It means that the energy radiated from our bodies can rectify all the surrounding abnormal conditions. Under the impact of this field when you are not thinking about such things, your spouse will feel restrained without realizing it. If you do not think about it, you do not feel like thinking about such a thing, your spouse could not possibly think of it. But it is not absolute. In the current environment, if a TV is turned on, everything is there which could easily stimulate one's desires. However, under normal circumstances, you could play such a restraining role. When you reach the cultivation of the high level in the future, you will know yourself what to do without my telling you how. There will be another state which ensures you keep a harmonic life. So you do not have to pay too much attention to this issue, and it would also be an attachment to worry too much. Between a couple there is no such problem as sex, but there is the problem of lust. It would be all right if you can care little about it and feel mentally balanced.

    What kind of sex demon, then, will one encounter? If you are not good enough to resist temptations, it will occur in your dreams, while you are sleeping or sitting in practice. Suddenly such a scene will appear: If you are a male, a beauty will appear; if you are a female, a man of your mind's eye will show up. Yet, they will be naked. If the idea of sex flashes through your mind, you may ejaculate, and this has become a fact. Please think about it. In our cultivation, the essence of a flesh body is used to cultivate our lives. You should not ejaculate all the time. In the meantime, you have not passed the test of sexual desire. How could that be allowed? Therefore, I tell you all about this matter as everybody will certainly encounter such an experience. While expounding the Law, I am delivering the message to your minds with very powerful energy. You may not remember what I said specifically right after stepping out of the door, but you will remember what I said when you really come across a problem. As long as you regard yourself as a practitioner, you will instantly remember what I said and refrain yourself, and thus you will be able to pass this ordeal. If you fail the first time, it will be very difficult for you to refrain yourself the next time. However, there was such a person who regretted deeply his failure to pass the test the first time after he woke up. Such a mentality and state of mind will probably reinforce your mental impression. When running into the problem again, you will be able to control yourself, and therefore pass the test. If a person who has not passed the test does not care about it, it is certain to be more difficult to pass the test afterwards. I am sure.

    This form of interference comes from the demons or from the master who transforms an object into another to test you. Both forms exist because everyone should pass this ordeal. We begin cultivation as ordinary people, and such an ordeal is the first step. Every practitioner will experience it. Let me give you an instance. When I was giving a lecturing session in Wuhan, there was a student who was a young man of 30 years old. Right after attending my lecture, he went home, sat down cross-legged and quickly entered the state of tranquillity in Ding. After a while, he suddenly saw Buddha Amitabha appear from one side and Lao Zi from another side. This is what the practitioner said in his progress report. After showing up, neither said a word. Then they disappeared. Later, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara showed up with a vase in hand, from which white smoke came out. The practitioner sat there and felt very pleased as he could watch everything vividly. Suddenly the scene changed into a few beauties, who were flying Apsaras and astonishingly beautiful. They danced for him with graceful movements. He thought: Because I am practising here, the Bodhisattva is rewarding me by transforming a few beauties to dance for me. As he was delighted with this thought, these beauties suddenly became naked, making various gestures, and came to hug and caress him. As his Xinxing had improved very fast, at this time, this young man became alert. The first thought that came to his mind was: I am not an ordinary person. I am a practitioner. You should not treat me this way. I am cultivating Falun Dafa. As soon as this thought flashed in his mind, they all suddenly disappeared as they were all transformed illusions anyway. Then, Buddha Amitabha and Lao Zi appeared again. Pointing at the young man, Lao Zi smiled at Buddha Amitabha and said: This kid is teachable. That means this young man is good for cultivation and can be taught.

    Judging from the high dimensional spaces or in history, the issue of sex and desires is regarded as extremely important when a person is judged to see if he is able to cultivate or not. Therefore, we must really care little about these things. However, as we are cultivating ourselves among ordinary people, we do not require you to put an end to them completely, at least at the present stage, but you are required to care less about them, and should not treat them as before. As a practitioner, you should be this way. Whenever there is an interference of one kind or another, you must look for the cause yourself and find out what attachment has not been discarded.



    On the Issue of Eating Meat:


    Meat eating is also a sensitive issue; but it is not killing. We have not required our practitioners to stop eating meat though you have been learning the Law for such a long time. Many qigong masters tell you to stop eating meat from now on as soon as you walk into their classes. You may think: I am not yet mentally prepared to stop eating meat all of a sudden. Maybe chicken is being cooked at home, fish are being braised. They smell delicious, but I am not allowed to eat them. The same is true of cultivation in religions, which forces the practitioners to stop eating meat. Qigong of the Buddha School in general and some Taoist qigong practise the prohibition against eating meat in the same way. Here, we do not require you to do so; but we also share the same position. What is our opinion, then? Since our cultivation way is that the Law refines the practitioner, which means some conditions will be manifested in cultivation energy and the Law. During the process of cultivation, different states occur at different levels. One day or perhaps after my lecture today some people may enter such a state: they can no longer eat meat, which may also smell stinky to them, and make them vomit after eating it. You are not forced, nor do you have to control yourself to give up eating meat. Instead, if you do not feel like eating meat yourself, what is reflected from cultivation energy is that you cannot eat meat, when you have arrived at this level. You will really vomit should you eat meat.

    Practitioners from the previous sessions all know that such a state will occur in the cultivation of Falun Dafa, and different states will be manifested at different levels. Some practitioners have a relatively stronger desire for meat, obsessed with eating meat, and eat a lot of meat on a regular basis. When others feel allergic to meat, they still can eat it. What should be done in order to let go of this attachment? Such a person will have a stomachache if he eats meat. Otherwise, he will not. Such a state will occur, and it means that he should not eat meat any more. Does that mean that meat will be kept out of our school from today on? No, not so. How should we deal with this issue then? Being unable to eat meat comes from one's inner world. What is the purpose? The forceful prohibition against eating meat in the cultivation in the temple as well as this being unable to eat meat reflected in our school all aim at eliminating such a human desire and attachment.

    Some people will not eat their meals without meat in their bowls. That is an ordinary person's attachment. One morning when I was passing by the rear entrance of the Park of Triumph in Changchun, three people came out of the gate in the rear, talking loudly. One of them said: What qigong practice forbids its practitioners to eat meat? I would rather give up ten years of my life than stop eating meat! What a strong desire! Let us think about it. Should such an attachment be discarded or not? Definitely yes. It is right for a practitioner to abandon his various desires and attachments in the process of cultivation. In plain words, not giving up the desire to eat meat means not abandoning an attachment. How can one reach consummation in cultivation then? Therefore, as long as it is an attachment, it has to be eliminated. Yet, it does not mean that one will forever stop eating meat form now on. To stop eating meat is not the purpose. The purpose is to discard this attachment of yours. You will find that you can eat meat again once you let go of such an attachment during this period of time when you do not eat meat. Perhaps, you will again be able to eat meat which does not smell or taste awful. By then it does not matter if you eat meat.

    When you can eat meat again, both your attachment to and the desire for meat have gone. A great change may occur that meat will no longer taste inviting to you. There will be such a state: you will eat meat with your family if it is prepared at home, and will not miss eating it if it is not in the meal as it does not taste delicious. However, cultivation among ordinary people is rather complicated. If your family always cooks meat, you may, over some time, find meat very tasteful again. Such a relapse will occur later on, and it may be repeated many times during the process of one's cultivation. Suddenly, you may not be able to eat meat again, and do not eat it when you can not do so. You will vomit if you eat it. Wait until you can eat it and follow the natural course. Eating meat or not eating meat itself is not the purpose. The key point is letting go of that attachment.

    This school of our Falun Dafa goes very fast. As long as you upgrade your Xinxing, you will break through every level very quickly. Some people by nature do not have a keen attachment to meat and do not care about eating meat or not. It will take these people a couple of weeks to get over this attachment. For some people, it will take one, two, three months, or perhaps six months, unless it is a special case and in no more than a year, they will be able to eat meat again. Because meat has become a kind of staple food for mankind. However, those professional practitioners in the temple cannot eat meat.

    We are going to say something about the Buddhist view on eating meat. The earliest primitive Buddhism did not prohibit eating meat. When Sakyamuni led his disciples cultivating painstakingly in the forest, there was not such a rule of prohibition against eating meat. Why not? Because human society was very backward when Sakyamuni was preaching the Dharma some 2500 years ago. Some regions had agriculture while others did not. The cultivated farmland was very limited with forests everywhere. Grain was in short supply and was extremely rare. Human beings who had just emerged from primitive societies lived mainly on hunting, and in many regions they ate principally meat. In order to abandon their attachments to a maximum, Sakyamuni did not allow his disciples to have access to any wealth and material possessions, and took them with him begging for food, alms. They would eat whatever was given to them. As practitioners, they could not choose the food given to them which might include meat.

    There was a way of saying the prohibition against Hun (food that a practitioner should not eat) in the primitive Buddhism. This prohibition comes from the primitive Buddhism and now refers to the prohibition against eating meat. In fact, the prohibition at that time did not refer to meat, but to vegetables such as onions, ginger, garlic, etc.. Why should these be prohibited? Many monks today can not even explain it clearly, for many of them do not go into true cultivation, and there are many things they do not understand. What Sakyamuni preached is called "Precept (morality), Samadhi (meditation) and Wisdom". Precept refers to abandoning all ordinary people's desires. Samadhi means that a practitioner cultivates himself entirely in the state of deep meditation, sitting cross-legged in contemplation. Anything that interferes with one's deep meditation and cultivation was regarded as a serious obstruction. Whoever ate onions, ginger or garlic would generate a strong odour. The monks at that time usually sat cross-legged in a circle of seven or eight in the forest or a cave. If a person ate such things he would produce a very strong irritating odour, which affected others in meditation, and severely interfered with their cultivation. Hence, there was a prohibition against eating such food, and it was regarded as Hun. Many living entities the human body has developed in cultivation are all sick of such strong odours. Onions, ginger and garlic can also stimulate human desires, and eating too much will form a habit. Thus, they were considered Hun.

    Many monks in the past after reaching the high level cultivation, in full or half enlightenment state, also came to realize that those restrictions during the cultivation process did not actually matter. If the attachment can be abandoned, that matter itself will not be able to function anymore. What really bothers a practitioner is his heart. As a result, the accomplished monks in the past also understood that the issue of eating meat was not crucial to a practitioner. The key point is whether the attachment can be discarded. Without attachment it is all right to eat anything to fill the stomach. Since monks in the temple have cultivated themselves in this way, many of them have become accustomed to such a way. In addition, the prohibition against eating meat has become a standing rule and regulation of the temple instead of an issue of mere prohibition. Eating meat is not allowed definitely, and accordingly they are used to this way of cultivation. Let us look at Monk Jigong who is made to stand out in literary works. Monks are not supposed to eat meat. But he ate meat, and was thus made an outstanding figure. In fact, since he was expelled from Ling Yin Temple, obtaining food naturally became his primary concern, and therefore his life was in crisis. In order to feed his stomach, he ate whatever he could grab. As long as it could satisfy his hunger, he did not have an attachment for any particular food nor did he care about what he ate. On that level of cultivation, he came to understand this truth. As a matter of fact, Ji Gong only had meat on one or two occasions. Writers tend to become excited when talking about a monk who ate meat. The more surprising the subject is, the more interested readers will become. Life is the source of literary works, which are higher than life, and in this way he has been made popular by the writers. In fact, if that attachment is removed, it does not matter what one eats.

    In Southeast Asia and Southern China including Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, some lay Buddhists do not say that they cultivate the Buddha as if this term would sound old-fashioned. They would say that they eat Buddhist meals or they are vegetarians, which suggests that vegetarians are Buddhists. They take the cultivation of the Buddha as something so simple. Could being vegetarians cultivate the Buddha? It is known that eating meat is a human attachment, a desire, but only one attachment to let go of. Only by giving up all the attachments, all kinds of desires, such as jealousy, competition, complacency, showing off, and so many other attachments, can one reach consummation. Could only giving up the attachment to the meat diet cultivate the Buddha? Such a statement is not right.

    On the issue of food, in addition to eating meat, one should not have an attachment to any food. This is also true of other things. A person may say that he just likes to eat this. This is also an attachment. Having reached a certain level of cultivation, a practitioner will not have such an attachment. Obviously, the Law we are expounding is quite high, and we are doing this on the basis of the combination of different dimensions. It is impossible to reach this point all at once. You say you do feel like eating something, but you simply cannot eat it when it is high time that you removed your attachment in true cultivation. If you eat it, it will not be tasteful or may taste different. When I went to work for a work unit, the canteen always ran out of money and went bankrupt later on. Then everyone brought his lunch to work. It was troublesome and needed a lot of hustle to cook food in the morning. Sometimes, I would buy two steamed buns and a piece of beancurd dipped in soy sauce for a meal. That was quite simple as a matter of fact. Yet, eating that all the time was not all right, and this attachment also needed to be eliminated. As soon as I saw beancurd again, I felt sick in my mouth. I could not eat it again. Such a thing happened in order to prevent me from developing the attachment. Of course, this situation occurs when one has reached a certain level in his cultivation. A beginner in cultivation does not feel this way.

    The Buddha School does not allow their cultivators to drink alcohol. Have you ever seen a Buddha carrying a wine container? No. When I say you cannot eat meat, what I mean is that it does not matter for you to eat meat again in the future after you have given up your attachment through cultivation among ordinary people. However, after you have stopped drinking alcohol, you cannot drink it again. Does a practitioner have cultivation energy in his body? He has different forms of cultivation energy in him. Some supernormal capabilities appear on the surface of his body and they are all pure. As soon as he drinks alcohol, all of them will instantly leave his body because they fear that odour. It will be annoying if you have formed this habit as drinking does harm to your nature. Why do some Great Law cultivation ways encourage drinking? Because they do not cultivate their Chief Spirit () and drinking serves to make the Chief Spirit lose consciousness.

    Some people love drinking as much as their lives; some have a desire for drinking; and others have become so addicted to it that they have got poisoned by alcohol. They can not even hold up their rice bowls without drinking, and they have to drink. As practitioners we should not conduct ourselves this way. Drinking alcohol is definitely addictive. It is a desire and it stimulates the human addictive nerves. The more one drinks, the more addicted he will become. Let us think about it. Should we not give up such an attachment as practitioners? This attachment must be discarded. One may think like this: I can not work and do my business well without drinking as I am specially responsible for receiving clients and I am often on business trips. It will be difficult to make deals without drinking alcohol. I do not think so. In an ordinary business talk, especially doing business or having dealings with foreigners, you may choose a soft drink, he may ask for mineral water while the other would like a beer. Nobody will force you to drink alcohol. You may choose what you like and drink as much as you like. Especially among intellectuals, it is often true that there does not occur such a thing as being forced to drink.

    Smoking is also an attachment. Some people claim that smoking freshens them up. I call that self-cheating. Some people may feel tired from work or writing an article, and they take a break to smoke a cigarette. They feel that they are refreshed after smoking. In fact it is because they have taken a break. The human mind may create an illusion as well as a delusion, which will really become a belief later, a delusion, that one feels as if smoking does give oneself a lift. It can not do so, and it will not play such a role, either. Smoking does not do any good to the human body. If one has smoked for a long period of time, the doctor will discover that upon dissection his bronchi and lungs have become black.

    Don't we practitioners want our bodies purified? We shall constantly purify our bodies so as to progress towards higher levels of cultivation. Why then do you do the opposite by contaminating the body? In addition, smoking is also a strong desire. Some people can not give it up though they know it is harmful. As a matter of fact, let me tell you, it is not easy for one to give it up without the guidance of right thoughts. Being a practitioner, from this day on you take it as an attachment to quit, and see if you can make it. I advise everyone: those who want to cultivate genuinely should quit smoking from this day on, and therefore you are guaranteed to make it. No one thinks of smoking at this place during the lecturing sessions. If you want to quit smoking, you are guaranteed to make it, and you will feel sick if you try it again. It will be equally effective if you read this chapter of the book. Of course, we will not bother with it if you do not want to cultivate. I think that you should give it up as a practitioner. I once used such an example: Has anyone ever seen a Buddha or a Taoist sitting there with a cigarette in his mouth? How could that be possible? What is your objective as a practitioner? Should you not give up smoking? So I say that if you want to cultivate, you should give it up. Smoking harms your body and is a desire as well. It is just the opposite of what our practitioners want.

    On Sat, Nov 22, 2008 at 11:21 AM, bewiser wrote:

    bewiser has left a new comment on your post "Are Miracles 'Religious'?":

    I have a few notes.

    The Falun Gong note about "demonic aliens" is incorrect. I just did a search on falundafa.org and found that phrase doesn't exist in the teachings of Falun Gong. The part about "countless gods and spiritual beings" is accurate. You could say:

    "Countless gods and spiritual beings. Essence of the universe itself the principles of truthfulness, compassion, forbearance."

    The note about meat-eating being discouraged also isn't accurate. That is about getting rid of the attachment to eating meat, different from simply eating meat. The vast majority of practitioners eat meat. Maybe that note could be changed to "Relinquishing human attachments" or something?

    Cool site.

    Thanks for you consideration.



    Posted by bewiser to In The Quest of Truth at November 22, 2008 11:21 AM




    --
    peace

    ReplyDelete
  2. "religon" is Anti-Messiah.......

    DISCLAIMER: The following testimony is given regarding the religious systems of this wicked world, not individuals. Recorded for revelation, not condemnation, in hopes there would be those who would "see" and "hear", for all who do so will "come out from among them(this world and it's systems of religion) and be separate". They will "Come out of her" indeed and Truth!

    "The Way of Truth is evil spoken of" because of pagan "catholicism" and her harlot pagan "christian" daughters ;-( Their "imag"ined "jesus christ" is not The Messiah! It was some five hundred years ago that they named one head of their three-headed pagan "god", "jesus", during a time that has been called the "reformation". Prior to that time there was no "j" sound in the english language.......period.......

    Yet the "reformation" was an aptly named time! For it was a time when "catholicism" birthed her harlot "christian" daughters ;-( Her "christian" daughters are of her substance ;-( Her substance was merely "reformed" so that her "christian" daughters might appear a bit differently outwardly, yet inwardly they remained liken unto their pagan harlot mother ;-(

    "christianity" is but the byproduct of the fornicative relationship pagan "catholicism" has always had with "the god of this world", he who is "the father of lies", he who is "the angel of light", 'd'evil spirit that rules over this wicked world ;-(
    All religious systems, muslin, jewish, buddhist, catholic, christian ,,etc,, are Anti-Messiah!

    Religious systems of this world, all alike they are,
    Their captives have fought, killed and died, both near and far ;-(

    And then once a week, or multiple times a day they may pray,
    Yet as hypocrites they begin each new day ;-(

    Days that are filled with deceit and lies,
    For in a "religious system" Truth can not abide ;-(

    And so the fruit of death is born of religion's way,
    Because life is but a pawn in the wicked game they play ;-(

    Faith will not create a religious system!

    The Messiah testified of a "wicked world", and of His disciples being "in, not of, this world".

    John exhorted those who believed "to love not the world or it's things" for "the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one"!

    And James testified, "whoever is a friend of this world is the enemy of GOD(Father, Great Spirit, Creator,,)"!

    Those of this wicked world and it's religious systems are destroying and perverting Creation and The Creator, Our Father, has promised that HE "will destroy those who are destroying and perverting HIS Creation(earth, air, water, creatures, Truth, Love, Peace, .etc.)"!

    Hope is that there be those who take heed unto The Call of The Only True GOD and "Come out of her, MY people"!

    All who heed GOD's Call will exit "the broadway to destruction" and they will follow The Messiah on "The Way to The Truth of The Life"! They no longer will have their portion with the pagan "catholic" and "christian" LIES, or with any other religious system of this world.

    The Messiah testified, "whoever lives and believes in Me(His Teachings and Life example) shall never die." And then The Messiah questioned, "Do you believe this?" YES!

    And you? Do you believe? Or do you believe in death?

    While there is breath(spirit) there is hope!

    For Miracles Do Happen! Thankfully so!

    Hope is that there would be those who "come out" of the "strong delusion" that is the religious systems of this wicked world. Hope is that there would be those who believe in and receive of The Life. Hope is that there would be those who would "experience The Messiah and The Power that raised Him from among the dead".

    Hope is you will, or have experienced The Miracle that is receiving "a love of The Truth".

    All who have received "a love of The Truth" will have:

    Peace, in spite of the dis-ease(no-peace) that is of this wicked world, for "the WHOLE world is under the control of the evil one" indeed and Truth! (1 John 5:19) ....... francisco

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  3. What a huge table! Do you know about this edition of the Gita?

    http://www.YogaVidya.com/gita.html

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  7. hi, thank you for writing about belief..it's make me know about new knowledge...
    sometimes many people including me, feel so confuse to choose one of belief, it is because from we are born, there is a religion or belief that have stick in our self. Surely it is the gift from our family. It is also will grow our mind together with the condition and support from our environment. That's why we sometimes become lack of knowledge of other religion and see the other religion is not as good as ours. We also restricted and feel guilty when we interesting with other religion want to know it more...
    I hope this article would help us broaden our mind

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  8. I'm glad you write this article. There are still many parents (families) or particular societies that tended to force certain religion to their children. They not give the freedom for choice, although the children have become adults. Many people say that all religion is good, but actually they only give a diplomatic words, not from inner heart.

    Religious fanaticism has narrowed many peoples mind. Perhaps they lack the knowledge of their religion itself. The most funny is, a pair of lovers can not be married because of different religion (this is the fact of what I ever see). Many people says that love and affection comes from God, but I also wonder why human have the "right" to prevent the love in marriage. I hope this article can open the eyes of those who not open yet.

    Humans have been exist before any religion emerge on this earth. The universe has been exist before human and religions. And God, who is the One, have been exist far before any religions, human, and the universe. The owner of my soul, your soul, their soul, and all creatures is only one. Why we must be different!

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