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Best Religious Text of All Time

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    1

    Agasti Lakshmi Strota

    This is a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi by the great sage Agasti. It is said to be a very fruitful prayer. The benefits of reciting this prayer are listed at the end of the page. Jaya Padma-pala-akshi Jay Tvam Sri Pati Priyeye Jaya Matr Maha Lakshmi Sansaaraarn-avtaarini Glory be to Ma Lashmi, who has eyes like lotus flower petals. Glory be to the one who is dear to the husband of Sri (Sri Herself). Glory be to Mother Lakshmi, The Great Lakshmi, who delivers us from the ocean of this world Maha-Lakshmi Namast-ubhayam Namast-ubhyam Sur-eshwari Hari-Priye Namast-ubhyam Namast-ubhyam Daya-Nidhe O Great Lakshmi, I bow to you. I bow to you O Queen of Gods. O Dear to the Lord Hari, I bow to You, I bow to You O full of Kindness Padma-alye Namast-ubhyam Namast-ubhyam cha Sarvade Sarva-Bhoot-Hit-Aarthye Vasuvrishtim Sada Kuru O Seated on a Lotus Seat, I bow to you, I bow to you always. For the benefit of all beings, please spread your mercy always. Jagan-Martr-Namast-Ubhyam Namast-ubhyam DayaNidhe Dayavati Namast-ubhyam Vishv-eshwari Namo-Astu Te O Mother of this World, I bow to You, I bow to You O full of Kindness, O Kind-Hearted, I bow to You, O Ruler of this world, I am bowed to you. Namah
    7.63
    8 votes
    2
    7.57
    7 votes
    3

    Sahih Bukhari

    • Religious Text Of: Islam
    Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī (Arabic: صحيح البخاري‎), is one of the Al-Kutub Al-Sittah (six major hadiths) of sunni Islam. These prophetic traditions, or hadith, were collected by the Persian Muslim scholar Muhammad ibn Ismail al-Bukhari, after being transmitted orally for generations. Sunni Muslims view this as one of the three most trusted collections of hadith along with Sahih Muslim and al-Muwatta . In some circles, it is considered the most authentic book after the Qur'an. The Arabic word sahih translates as authentic or correct. The actual title of the book commonly referred to as Sahih al-Bukhari, according to Ibn al-Salah, is: al-Jaami’ al-Sahih al-Musnad al-Mukhtasar min Umur Rasool Allah wa sunanihi wa Ayyamihi. A word for word translation is: The Abridged Collection of Authentic Hadith with Connected Chains regarding Matters Pertaining to the Prophet, His practices and His Times. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani mentioned the same title replacing the word umur, matters, with hadith. Al-Bukhari traveled widely throughout the Abbasid empire from the age of 16, collecting those traditions he thought trustworthy. It is said that al-Bukhari collected over 300,000 hadith and included only 2,602
    7.29
    7 votes
    4
    Sri Sukta

    Sri Sukta

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Śrī Sūkta, also called Śrī Sūktam, is a Sanskrit devotional hymn (set of Śloka-s) revering Śrī as Lakṣmī, the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity and fertility. The hymns are found in the Rig Vedic khilanis, which are appendixes to the Ṛkveda that probably date to pre-Buddhist times. Śrī Sūkta is recited, with a strict adherence to the Chandas, to invoke the goddess' blessings. The Śrī Sūkta forms part of the khilanis or appendices to the Ṛkveda. These were late additions to the Ṛkveda, found only in the Bāṣkala śākhā, and the hymn themselves exist in several strata that differ both in content and period of composition. For instance, according to J. Scheftelowitz, strata 1 consists of verses 1-19 (with verses 3-12 addressed to the goddess Śri and 1-2 and 13-17 to Lakṣmī), while the second strata has verses 16-29 (i.e., the second version deletes verses 16-19 of the first). The third strata, with verses beginning from number 23, similarly overlaps with the second version. The first strata is the most commonly attested and is usually appended to the Maṇḍala 5 of Ṛkveda. Most of its verses were probably composed during the period of the Brāhmaṇa, with a few added in the Upaniṣadic
    7.00
    7 votes
    5
    Books of Samuel

    Books of Samuel

    The two Books of Samuel (Hebrew: Sefer Sh'muel ספר שמואל‎) are part of a series of historical books (Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) that make up a theological history of the Israelites and affirm and explain God's law for Israel under the guidance of the prophets. The first Book of Samuel begins with a description of the prophet Samuel's birth and of how God called to him as a boy. The story of the Ark that follows tells of Israel's oppression by the Philistines, which brings about Samuel's anointing of Saul as Israel's first king. But Saul proves unworthy and God's choice turns to David, who defeats Israel's enemies and brings the Ark to Jerusalem. God then promises David and his successors an eternal dynasty. According to Jewish tradition the author was Samuel himself, but this idea is no longer regarded as tenable. Modern scholarly thinking is that the books originated by combining a number of independent texts of various ages when the larger Deuteronomistic history (the Former Prophets plus Deuteronomy) was being composed in the period c.630-540 BCE. See Book of Samuel at Bible Gateway The childless Hannah vows to Yahweh that if she has a son, he will be dedicated to Yahweh.
    7.83
    6 votes
    6

    Tablets of the Divine Plan

    • Religious Text Of: Bahá'í Faith
    The Tablets of the Divine Plan collectively refers to 14 letters (tablets) written between September 1916 and March 1917 by `Abdu'l-Bahá to Bahá'ís in the United States and Canada. Included in multiple books, the first five tablets were printed in America in Star of the West - Vol. VII, No. 10, September 8, 1916, and all the tablets again after World War I in Vol. IX, No. 14, November 23, 1918, before being presented again at the Ridván meeting of 1919. Four of the letters were addressed to the Bahá’í community of North America and ten subsidiary ones were addressed to five specific segments of that community. Of primary significance was the role of leadership given to its recipients in establishing their cause throughout the planet by pioneering - introducing the religion into the many countries and regions and islands mentioned. These collective letters, along with Bahá'u'lláh’s Tablet of Carmel and `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament were described by Shoghi Effendi as three of the "Charters" of the Bahá'í Faith.
    6.86
    7 votes
    7
    King James Version of the Bible

    King James Version of the Bible

    • Religious Text Of: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    The Authorized Version, commonly known as the King James Version, King James Bible, AV, KJB, or KJV, is an English translation of the Christian Bible by the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611. First printed by the King's Printer Robert Barker, this was the third official translation into English. The first was the Great Bible commissioned by the Church of England in the reign of King Henry VIII, and the second was the Bishop's Bible of 1568. In January 1604, King James VI of Scotland and I of England convened the Hampton Court Conference where a new English version was conceived in response to the perceived problems of the earlier translations as detected by the Puritans, a faction within the Church of England. James gave the translators instructions intended to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology and reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England and its belief in an ordained clergy. The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament was translated from Hebrew text,
    7.50
    6 votes
    8

    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

    • Religious Text Of: Bahá'í Faith
    Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh is a compilation of selected tablets and extracts from tablets by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. Shoghi Effendi, head of the Bahá'í Faith from 1921 to 1957, made the selection and performed the translation, which was first published 1935. The work consists of "a selection of the most characteristic and hitherto unpublished passages from the outstanding works of the Author of the Bahá'í Revelation," according to Shoghi Effendi. The passages come from the whole range of Bahá'u'lláh's writings, dated from about 1853 to 1892. The book is divided in five parts: Among others, passages from the following works are included: In addition, works partially translated in Gleanings were published more completely in the following compilations: The book was published without a list of which passages were derived from which works of Bahá'u'lláh, but such a list has been reconstructed subsequently and is on the web. Because of its broad selection,Gleanings is one of the first works of Bahá'u'lláh many people read. Rúḥíyyih Rabbání, Shoghi Effendi's widow, called it "a magnificent gift" to the Western Bahá'ís. Queen Marie of Romania wrote
    7.33
    6 votes
    9

    Pistis Sophia

    • Religious Text Of: Gnosticism
    Pistis Sophia is an important Gnostic text discovered in 1773, possibly written as early as the 2nd century. The five remaining copies, which scholars place in the 5th or 6th centuries, relate the Gnostic teachings of the transfigured Jesus to the assembled disciples (including his mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Martha), when the risen Christ had accomplished eleven years speaking with his disciples. In it, the complex structures and hierarchies of heaven familiar in Gnostic teachings are revealed. The text proclaims that Jesus remained on earth after the resurrection for 11 years, and was able in this time to teach his disciples up to the first (i.e. beginner) level of the mystery. It starts with an allegory paralleling the death and resurrection of Jesus, and describing the descent and ascent of the soul. After that it proceeds to describe important figures within the gnostic cosmology, and then finally lists 32 carnal desires to overcome before salvation is possible, overcoming all 32 constituting salvation. The female divinity of gnosticism is Sophia, a being with many aspects and names. She is sometimes identified with the Holy Spirit itself but, according to her various
    8.40
    5 votes
    10
    Second Book of Nephi

    Second Book of Nephi

    The Second Book of Nephi /ˈniːfaɪ/ is the second book of the Book of Mormon. The book is usually referred to as Second Nephi, and is abbreviated "2 Ne." According to the book, it was written by the ancient prophet Nephi, son of Lehi, who lived around 600 BC. Unlike the First Book of Nephi, this book contains a less secular history of the Nephite people, but instead discusses visions and prophecies of Nephi himself and other ancient prophets, such as Isaiah. Second Nephi begins with the prophecies of Lehi concerning the future of his seed, and speaks to his posterity. As Lehi is old, and will soon die he wishes to bestow blessings upon his children. He emphasizes that if the people are righteous, they will prosper; but if they are wicked, they will be destroyed. This is a general blessing and curse upon all peoples who inhabit the land where Lehi and his family lived. In 2 Nephi chapter 2, Lehi expounds to Jacob, about the redemption and salvation through Jesus. He speaks about opposites—that without evil there is no good; without sin there is no righteousness; that without these things there is no God; and if there is no God there is no earth. He talks about the importance of The
    7.17
    6 votes
    11

    Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana

    Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna (Reconstructed Sanskrit: Mahāyāna Śraddhotpāda Śāstra; traditional Chinese: 大乘起信論; simplified Chinese: 大乘起信论; pinyin: Dàshéng Qǐxìn Lùn; Japanese: 大乗起信論; Korean: 대승기신론; Vietnamese: Đại thừa khởi tín luận) is a text of the Mahāyāna branch of Buddhism. While the text is attributed by the faithful to Aśvaghoṣa, no Sanskrit version of the text is extant. The earliest known versions are written in Chinese, and contemporary scholars believe that the text is a Chinese composition. Paramartha (499-569) is traditionally thought to have translated the text in 553. However, many modern scholars now opine that it was actually composed by Paramartha or one of his students. King remarks that, although Paramartha undoubtedly was among the most prolific translators of Sanskrit texts into Chinese, he may have originated, not translated, the Buddha Nature Treatise as well as the Awakening of Faith. Other experts dispute that it has anything to do at all with Paramartha. Śikṣānanda translated or re-edited another version, perhaps during 695-700. The term Mahayana points not to the Mahayana school, but to suchness or "the Absolute": Written from the perspective of
    8.20
    5 votes
    12

    Ganesha Sahasranama

    The Ganesha Sahasranama (Sanskrit:गणेश सहस्रनाम; gaṇeśa sahasranāma) is a litany of the names of Hindu deity Ganesha (Gaṇeśa). A sahasranama is a Hindu hymn of praise in which a deity is referred to by 1,000 or more different names. Ganesha Sahasranamas are recited in many temples today as a living part of Ganesha devotion. There are two different major versions of the Ganesha Sahasranama, with subvariants of each version. One major version appears in chapter I.46 of the Ganesha Purana (Gaṇeśa Purāṇa), an important scripture of the Ganapatya (Gāṇapatya). This version provides an encyclopedic review of Ganesha's attributes and roles as they were understood by the Ganapatya. A Sanskrit commentary on a subvariant of this version of the Ganesha Sahasranama was written by Bhaskararaya. (Bhāskararāya). Bhaskararaya titles his commentary Khadyota (“Firefly”), making a play on words based on two different meanings of this Sanskrit term. In his opening remarks Bhaskararaya says that some will say that because the commentary is very brief it is inconsequential like a firefly (khadyota) but to devotees it will shine like the sun (khadyota). The source text (Sanskrit:मूल; mūla) of
    8.20
    5 votes
    13
    Shobogenzo

    Shobogenzo

    • Religious Text Of: Soto Zen
    Shōbōgenzō (正法眼蔵, lit. "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye") The term Shōbōgenzō has three main usages in Buddhism: (1) It can refer to the essence of the Buddha's realization and teaching, that is, to the Buddha Dharma itself, as viewed from the perspective of Mahayana Buddhism, (2) it is the title of a koan collection with commentaries by Dahui Zonggao, and (3) it is used in the title of two works by Dōgen Kigen. In Mahayana Buddhism the term Shōbōgenzō refers generally to the Buddha Dharma, and in Zen Buddhism, it refers specifically to the realization of Buddha's awakening that is not contained in the written words of the sutras (Pali: suttas). In general Buddhist usage, the term "treasury of the Dharma" refers to the written words of the Buddha's teaching collected in the Sutras as the middle of the Three Treasures of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In Zen, the real treasure of the Dharma is not to be found in books but in one's own Buddha Nature and the ability to see this Correct View (first of the Noble Eightfold Path) of the treasure of Dharma is called the "Treasure of the Correct Dharma Eye". In the legends of the Zen tradition, the Shōbōgenzō has been handed down from
    8.20
    5 votes
    14
    Mahabharata

    Mahabharata

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Mahabharata (Sanskrit Mahābhārata महाभारत, IPA: [məɦaːˈbʱaːrət̪ə]) is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Ramayana. Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandava princes, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or purusharthas (12.161). Among the principal works and stories that are a part of the Mahabharata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Ramayana, and the Rishyasringa, often considered as works in their own right. Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers. The oldest preserved parts of the text are not thought to be appreciably older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the story probably fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE. The text probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (c. 4th century). The title may be translated as "the great tale of the Bhārata dynasty". According to the Mahabharata itself, the tale is extended
    9.25
    4 votes
    15
    Analects of Confucius

    Analects of Confucius

    • Religious Text Of: Confucianism
    The Analects, or Lunyu (simplified Chinese: 论语; traditional Chinese: 論語; pinyin: Lún Yǔ; literally "Selected Sayings"), also known as the Analects of Confucius, is the collection of sayings and ideas attributed to the Chinese philosopher Confucius and his contemporaries, traditionally believed to have been written by Confucius' followers. It is believed to have been written during the Warring States period (475 BC - 221 BC), and it achieved its final form during the mid-Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). By the early Han dynasty the Analects was considered merely a "commentary" on the Five Classics, but the status of the Analects grew to be one of the central texts of Confucianism by the end of that dynasty. During the late Song dynasty (960-1279) the importance of the Analects as a philosophy work was raised above that of the older Five Classics, and it was recognized as one of the "Four Books". The Analects has been one of the most widely read and studied books in China for the last 2,000 years, and continues to have a substantial influence on Chinese and East Asian thought and values today. The vast majority of scholars specializing in the study of the Analects believe that the text
    7.80
    5 votes
    16

    Golden Light Sutra

    The Suvarṇaprabhāsa-sūtra (Sanskrit: सुवर्णप्रभासोत्तमसूत्रेन्द्रराज: ; IAST: suvarṇaprabhāsottamasūtrendrarājaḥ) (Chinese: 金光明經; pinyin: jīn guāng míng jīng; Korean: 금광명경; Japanese: Konkōmyō Kyō), (Tibetan: གསེར་འོད་དམ་པ་མདོ་སྡེའི་དབང་པོའི་རྒྱལ་པོའི་མདོ། Wiley: gser 'od dam pa mdo sde'i dbang po'i rgyal po'i mdo) is a Buddhist text of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. The title can be་translated as the Sutra of Golden Light, the Golden Light Sutra or the Sutra of the Sublime Golden Light. In Tibetan, the full title is The Sovereign King of Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light. The sutra was originally written in India in Sanskrit and was translated several times into Chinese by Dharmakṣema and others, and later translated into Tibetan and other languages. The sutra is an extremely important Mahayana sutra, and one of the most popular Mahayana sutras of all time. It has been translated into Khotanese, Old Turkic, Tangut, Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu, Korean, and Japanese. The name of the sutra derives from the chapter called 'The Confession of the Golden Drum', where the bodhisattva Ruchiraketu dreams of a great drum that radiates a sublime golden light, symbolizing the Dharma, or
    7.80
    5 votes
    17
    Books of Chronicles

    Books of Chronicles

    The Books of Chronicles (Hebrew Dibh're Hayyamim, דברי הימים, Greek Paralipomenon, Παραλειπομένων) are part of the Hebrew Bible. In the Masoretic Text, it appears as a single work, either the first or last book of the Ketuvim (the latter arrangement also making it the final book of the Jewish Bible). Chronicles largely parallels the Davidic narratives in the Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings. In all Christian canons of the Old Testament (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant), it is divided into two parts, 1 & 2 Chronicles—immediately following 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings—as a summary of them with minor details sometimes added. The division of Chronicles and its place in the Christian canons are based upon the division of books in the ancient Greek Septuagint. In Hebrew the book is called Divrei Hayyamim (i.e. "the matters [of] the days"), based on the phrases sefer divrei ha-yamim le-malkhei Yehudah and "sefer divrei ha-yamim le-malkhei Israel" ("book of the days of the kings of Judah" and "book of the days of the kings of Israel"), both of which appear repeatedly in the Books of Kings. Chronicles was formerly presumed to represent the source-material whence Samuel and Kings
    6.67
    6 votes
    18

    Arba'ah Turim

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    Arba'ah Turim (Hebrew: אַרְבַּעָה טוּרִים‎), often called simply the Tur, is an important Halakhic code, composed by Yaakov ben Asher (Cologne, 1270 - Toledo c.1340, also referred to as "Ba'al ha-Turim", "Author of the Tur"). The four-part structure of the Tur and its division into chapters (simanim) were adopted by the later code Shulchan Aruch. The title of the work in Hebrew means "four rows", in allusion to the jewels on the High Priest's breastplate. Each of the four divisions of the work is a "Tur", so a particular passage may be cited as "Tur Orach Chayim, siman 22", meaning "Orach Chayim division, chapter 22". This was later misunderstood as meaning "Tur, Orach Chayim, chapter 22" (to distinguish it from the corresponding passage in the Shulchan Aruch), so that "Tur" came to be used as the title of the whole work. The Arba'ah Turim, as the name implies, consists of four divisions ("Turim"); these are further organised by topic and section (siman, pl. simanim). In the Arba'ah Turim, Rabbi Jacob traces the practical Jewish law from the Torah text and the dicta of the Talmud through the Rishonim. He used the code of Rabbi Isaac Alfasi as his starting point; these views are
    7.60
    5 votes
    19

    Tantrasara

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Tantrasara is a work attributed to Abhinavagupta, the most famous historical proponent of the Trika or Kashmir Shaivism philosophy of Hinduism. It is said to a condensed version of the Tantraloka , Abhinavagupta's Magnum opus.
    7.60
    5 votes
    20

    Sunnah

    • Religious Text Of: Islam
    The word Sunnah (سنة [ˈsunna], plural سنن sunan [ˈsunan], Arabic) is driven from the root (سن [sa-n-na] Arabic) meaning smooth and easy flow [of water] or direct flow path. The word literally means a clear and well trodden path. In the discussion of the sources of religion, Sunnah denotes the practice of Prophet Muhammad that he taught and practically instituted as a teacher of the sharī‘ah and the best exemplar. According to Muslim belief, this practice is to be adhered to in fulfilling the divine injunctions, carrying out religious rites and moulding life in accord with the will of God. To institute these practices was, the Qur’ān states, a part of the Prophet’s responsibility as a Messenger of God The sunnah of Muhammad includes his specific words, habits, practices, and silent approvals: it is significant because it addresses ways of life dealing with friends, family and government. Recording sunnah was an Arabian tradition and, once people converted to Islam, they brought this custom to their religion. The sunnah is consulted after referring to the Qur'an, if the issue is not addressed there. The term "Sunni" denotes those who claim to practice these usages, as part of the
    7.40
    5 votes
    21

    Book of Joel

    The Book of Joel is part of the Hebrew Bible. Joel is part of a group of twelve prophetic books known as the Minor Prophets or simply as The Twelve; the distinction 'minor' indicates the short length of the text in relation to the larger prophetic texts known as the "Major Prophets". After a superscription ascribing the prophecy to Joel (son of Pethuel), the book may be broken down into the following sections: As there are no explicit references in the book to datable persons or events, scholars have assigned a wide range of dates to the book. The main positions are: Evidence produced for these positions are allusions in the book to the wider world, similarities with other prophets, and linguistic details. Other commentators, such as John Calvin, attach no great importance to the precise dating. The preservation of the book of Joel indicates that it was accorded special status by its contemporaries as “the word of the Lord” (1:1). Its history as part of the Jewish and Christian canons followed that of the entire scroll of the Minor Prophets. The Masoretic text places Joel between Hosea and Amos (the order inherited by the Tanakh and Old Testament), while the Septuagint order is
    7.20
    5 votes
    22
    Pastoral epistles

    Pastoral epistles

    The three pastoral epistles are books of the canonical New Testament: the First Epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy) the Second Epistle to Timothy (2 Timothy), and the Epistle to Titus. They are presented as letters from Paul of Tarsus to Timothy and to Titus. They are generally discussed as a group (sometimes with the addition of the Epistle to Philemon) and are given the title pastoral because they are addressed to individuals with pastoral oversight of churches and discuss issues of Christian living, doctrine and leadership. The epistle (letter) consists mainly of counsels to Timothy regarding the forms of worship and organization of the church, and the responsibilities resting on its several members, including episkopoi (translated as "bishops") and diakonoi ("deacons"); and secondly of exhortation to faithfulness in maintaining the truth amid surrounding errors (iv.iff), presented as a prophecy of erring teachers to come. The epistle's "irregular character, abrupt connections and loose transitions" (EB 1911) have led critics to discern later interpolations, such as the epistle-concluding 6:20–21, read as a reference to Marcion of Sinope, and lines that appear to be marginal glosses
    7.20
    5 votes
    23
    Platform Sutra

    Platform Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Zen
    The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (Chinese: 六祖壇經, fully: 南宗頓教最上大乘摩訶般若波羅蜜經六祖惠能大師於韶州大梵寺施法壇經), is a Buddhist scripture that was composed in China during the 8th to 13th century. The text centers around teachings and stories ascribed to the sixth Chan patriarch Huineng. It contains the well-known story of the contest for the succession of Hongren, and discourses and dialogues attributed to Huineng. The text attributes its recollection to Fa-hai, but was probably written within the so-called Oxhead School, which existed along with the East Mountain School and Shenhui's Southern School. The text attempts to reconcile the so-called Northern School with its alleged gradual enlightenment teachings, and the so-called Southern School with its alleged sudden enlightenment teachings. In effect, the text incorporates the "rhetorical purity" which originated with Shenhui's attack on Shenxiu, while effectively "writing him out of the story". The key topics of the discourse are the direct perception of one's true nature, and the unity in essence of śīla, dhyāna and prajñā. The Platform Sutra underwent various redactions. Though its recollection has been attributed to Fa-hai, a student of
    7.20
    5 votes
    24
    Epistle to the Hebrews

    Epistle to the Hebrews

    The Epistle to the Hebrews is one of the books in the New Testament. Its author is not known. The primary purpose of the Letter to the Hebrews is to exhort Christians to persevere in the face of persecution. The central thought of the entire Epistle is the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his role as mediator between God and humanity. The epistle opens with an exaltation of Jesus as "the radiance of God's glory, the express image of his being, and upholding all things by his powerful word." The epistle presents Jesus with the titles "pioneer" or "forerunner," "Son" and "Son of God," "priest" and "high priest." It has been described as an "intricate" New Testament book. The epistle casts Jesus as both exalted Son and high priest, a unique dual Christology. Scholars argue over where Hebrews fits in the 1st century world. Despite numerous publications on this epistle, scholarly discussion has failed to yield a definitive consensus on most issues. One author says conclusions on most questions, including the one concerning authorship, should be avoided. New Testament and Second Temple Judaism scholar Eric Mason argues that the conceptual background of the priestly Christology of the
    8.25
    4 votes
    25
    Qur'an

    Qur'an

    • Religious Text Of: Islam
    The Quran (English pronunciation: /kɔrˈɑːn/ kor-AHN ; Arabic: القرآن‎ al-qurʾān, IPA: [qurˈʔaːn], literally meaning "the recitation"), also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Al-Coran, Coran, Kuran, and Al-Qur'an, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله‎, Allah). It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language. The Quran is composed of verses (Ayat) that make up 114 chapters (suras) of unequal length which are classified either as Meccan (المكية) or Medinan (المدينية) depending upon the place and time of their claimed revelation. Muslims believe the Quran to be verbally revealed through angel Jibrīl (Gabriel) from God to Muhammad gradually over a period of approximately 23 years beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632 CE, the year of his death. Shortly after Muhammad's death the Quran was compiled into a single book by order of the first Caliph Abu Bakr and at the suggestion of his future successor Umar. Hafsa, Muhammad's widow and Caliph Umar's daughter, was entrusted with that Quranic text after the second Caliph Umar died. When the third Caliph Uthman
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    The Record of Zeniff

    In the Book of Mormon, chapters 9 through 22 of the Book of Mosiah are identified as The Record of Zeniff. These chapters contain the story of a group of Nephites, led by Zeniff, who leave the land of Zarahemla and return to their former land, known as the land of Nephi, which was then occupied by the Lamanites, their traditional enemies. Although the attempt to establish themselves among the Lamanites is successful for a short time, the people of Zeniff are ultimately enslaved and forced to pay tribute to the Lamanite king. They are later rescued by an expedition from Zarahemla sent to discover their fate. The Record of Zeniff records the reigns of Zeniff, his son Noah and grandson Limhi. The timespan is approximately 75 years. According to the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi and his family left Jerusalem and travelled "in the wilderness" for a number of years before building a boat and sailing to "the promised land". The name of the land in which they first settled is not given (though perhaps it was called the land of Lehi). Following Lehi's death, his older sons, Laman and Lemuel, rebelled against their younger brother Nephi, who had been appointed by their father as their
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    Gospel of John

    Gospel of John

    The Gospel According to John (Greek τὸ κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγέλιον), commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus. It begins with the witness and affirmation by John the Baptist and concludes with the death, burial, Resurrection, and post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus. This account is fourth of the canonical gospels, after the synoptics Matthew, Mark and Luke. Chapter 21 states it derives from the testimony of the 'disciple whom Jesus loved.' Along with Peter, the unnamed disciple is especially close to Jesus, and early-church tradition identified him as John the Apostle, one of Jesus' Twelve Apostles. The gospel is closely related in style and content to the three surviving Epistles of John such that commentators treat the four books together, yet, according to most modern scholars, John was not the author of any of these books. Recent Christian Scripture scholarship more and more has placed John within a first-century Jewish context. Raymond E. Brown did pioneering work to trace the development of the tradition from which the gospel arose. The
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    Third Nephi

    Third Nephi

    Third Nephi is one of fifteen books that make up the Book of Mormon. It contains an account of the visit of Jesus Christ to the inhabitants of ancient America. The Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples in Jerusalem, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd." Christ declared to those whom he visited in ancient America that they were in fact these "other sheep" of whom he spoke. The account of this visit is recorded beginning in chapter 11 of 3 Nephi. Before Christ visited these people there was a giant storm, a tremendous earthquake, and darkness. There were cities burned, cities sunk into the sea, mountains brought down and valleys brought up. There was sharp lightning, wind, and thunderings. Many people died. After the great storm came darkness and the voices of mourning for the dead. The darkness lasted for approximately three days, during which time a voice was "heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying: Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except that they shall repent; for the devil
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    Words of Mormon

    Words of Mormon

    The Words of Mormon is one of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. It consists of a single chapter of eighteen verses. According to the text, it is a comment inserted by the prophet Mormon while compiling the records which became the Book of Mormon. Textually, Words of Mormon serves to link the Small Plates of Nephi, which precede it, with the rest of the Book of Mormon.
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    Tablet of the Holy Mariner

    Lawh-i-Malláhu'l-Quds or the Tablet of the Holy Mariner is a tablet written by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, in Baghdad in 1863. The tablet's main theme is the covenant between man and God, and man being unfaithful to it. The tablet is written in two parts; one which is in Arabic, and the other in Persian; currently only the Arabic part has been translated into English. The Persian tablet is for the most part similar in content to the Arabic tablet. The tablet is written in allegorical terms and its main theme is the covenant and man being unfaithful to it. In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh refers to himself as the "Holy Mariner," uses an "ark" to symbolize the Covenant of God, and symbolized the believers in the covenant as the "dwellers" in the "ark;" he writes that those people who are in the ark are safe and will acquire salvation. In the tablet, Bahá'u'lláh also alludes to his perceived station as He whom God shall make manifest, a messianic figure predicted by the Báb, and the fate of Subh-i-Azal, Bahá'u'lláh's half-brother who wanted to cause a split in the Babi community. The tablet was written on March 27, 1863; after the tablet was written, Bahá'u'lláh's amanuensis
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    Aranyaka

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Aranyakas (Sanskrit āraṇyaka आरण्यक) are part of the Hindu śruti, the four Vedas; they were composed in late Vedic Sanskrit typical of the Brahmanas and early Upanishads; indeed, they frequently form part of either the Brahmanas or the Upanishads. "Aranyaka" (āraṇyaka) means "belonging to the wilderness" (araṇya), that is, as Taittiriya Ar. 2 says, "from where one cannot see the roofs of the settlement". The term is translated as "Forest Books" or "Wilderness Books" in English. They contain Brahmana-style discussion of ritual regarded as especially dangerous, such as the Mahavrata and Pravargya, and therefore had to be learned in the wilderness. They have also served as receptacles of later additions to the Vedic corpus. They appear to be closer in content to the Brahmanas than the esoteric Upanishads. The Aranyakas discuss sacrifices, in the style of the Brahmanas, and thus are primarily concerned with the proper performance of ritual (orthopraxy). The Aranyakas were restricted to a particular class of rituals that nevertheless were frequently included in the Vedic curriculum. The Aranyakas are associated with, and named for, individual Vedic shakhas. The Atharvaveda has no
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    Das Bhagavad Gita

    Das Bhagavad Gita

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Bhagavad Gita (pronounced: [ˈbʱəɡəʋəd̪ ɡiːˈt̪aː] ( listen)), also referred to as Gita, is a 700–verse Dharmic scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata. This scripture contains a conversation between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide Krishna on a variety of philosophical issues. Faced with a fratricidal war, a despondent Arjuna turns to his charioteer Krishna for counsel on the battlefield. Krishna, through the course of the Gita, imparts to Arjuna wisdom, the path to devotion, and the doctrine of selfless action. The Gita upholds the essence and the philosophical tradition of the Upanishads. However, unlike the rigorous monism of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita also integrates dualism and theism. Numerous commentaries have been written on the Bhagavad Gita with widely differing views on the essentials, beginning with Adi Sankara's commentary on the Gita in the eighth century CE. Commentators see the setting of the Gita in a battlefield as an allegory for the ethical and moral struggles of the human life. The Bhagavad Gita's call for selfless action inspired many leaders of the Indian independence movement including Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, who
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    Talmud

    Talmud

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד talmūd "instruction, learning", from a root lmd "teach, study") is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism, considered second to the Torah. It is also traditionally referred to as Shas (ש״ס), a Hebrew abbreviation of shisha sedarim, the "six orders" of the Oral Law of Judaism. The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה, c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law, and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), an elucidation of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Hebrew Bible. The terms Talmud and Gemara are often used interchangeably. The whole Talmud consists of 63 tractates, and in standard print is over 6,200 pages long. It is written in Tannaitic Hebrew and Aramaic. The Talmud contains the opinions of thousands of rabbis on a variety of subjects, including law, ethics, philosophy, customs, history, theology, lore and many other topics. The Talmud is the basis for all codes of rabbinic law and is much quoted in other rabbinic literature. Originally, Jewish scholarship was oral. Rabbis expounded and debated the law (the written law expressed in the Hebrew Bible) and
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    Rehras

    Rehras

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    The rehras sahib is the evening prayer of the Sikhs. It is recited at the end of a working day. Its purpose is to add energy to one's being and living environments. It is intended to help with physical weakness and feelings of hopelessness, unsuccessfulness or worthlessness. Rehiras Sahib: Five different Gurus contributed to the evening prayer Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Amar Das Ji, Guru Ram Das Ji, Guru Arjan Dev ji and Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Each one enlightens another aspect of God.The Bayntee Chaopaee is Guru Gobind Singh Ji's personal prayer for protection and is said to liberate the soul. It is related to the element of water. This evening Bani is recited by many Sikhs after a hard days work. When feeling tired, Sikhs, upon returning to home, have a wash and change into their indoor clothing and then together with the rest of their family recite this Bani. The recitation of Rehras Sahib adds energy to your body and mind. It allows you to conclude the day and thank the Almighty for the completion of another successful day. The verse speaks of the greatness of Waheguru and the ways in which ones actions will assist in attaining spiritual elevation. This Bani assists the person when
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    Jaap Sahib

    Jaap Sahib

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    Jaap Sahib is the morning prayer of the Sikhs. The Prayer or Bani was composed by the tenth Sikh Master, Guru Gobind Singh. This Bani is one of 5 Banis that a Sikh must recite everyday and is recited by the Panj Pyare while preparing Amrit on the occasion of Amrit Sanchar (initiation), a ceremony held to admit initiates into the Khalsa Brotherhood. The Jaap Sahib is chronogically the first Bani (holy hymn of Guru ) in the Dasam Granth, which is said to have been compiled by Bhai Mani Singh around the year 1734.(Cole, Singh 1995, p. 55). The Jaap Sahib is reminiscent of Japji Sahib, and is chronogically recited at second, in the daily morning prayer of a Sikh. Jaap Sahib is made up of 199 verses and is the first Bani of the Dasam Granth (p. 1-10). The Jaap Sahib begins with "Sri Mukhwakh Patshahi Dasvee," "By the holy mouth of the Tenth King." This appears to be a specific saying to authenticate the writings of Guru Gobind Singh himself. Macauliffe says, "The Hindus have a work enitled Vishnu Sahasar Nam, 'Vishnu's Thousand Names.' The Jaapji was composed to supply the Sikhs with a similar number of epithets of the Creator." Jap is a Sanskrit word which means "to utter in a low
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    Tosefta

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Tosefta (Aramaic: תוספתא. Additions, Supplements) is a compilation of the Jewish oral law from the period of the Mishnah. In many ways, the Tosefta acts as a supplement to the Mishnah (tosefta means "supplement or addition"). The Mishnah (Hebrew: משנה) is the basic compilation of the Oral law of Judaism; it was compiled around 220 CE. The Tosefta closely corresponds to the Mishnah, with the same divisions for sedarim ("orders") and masekhot ("tractates"). It is mainly written in Mishnaic Hebrew, with some Aramaic. At times the text of the Tosefta agrees nearly verbatim with the Mishnah. At others there are significant differences. The Tosefta often attributes laws that are anonymous in the Mishnah to named Tannaim. It also augments the Mishnah with additional glosses and discussions. It offers additional aggadic and midrashic material, and it sometimes contradicts the Mishnah in the ruling of Halakha (Jewish religious law), or in attributing in whose name a law was stated. According to rabbinic tradition, the Tosefta was redacted by Rabbis Ḥiya and Oshaiah (a student of Ḥiya). Whereas the Mishna was considered authoritative, the Tosefta was supplementary. The Talmud often
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    Vedas

    Vedas

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Vedas (Sanskrit वेदाः véda, "knowledge") are a large body of texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The Vedas are apauruṣeya ("not of human agency"). They are supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti ("what is heard"), distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called smṛti ("what is remembered"). The Vedic texts or śruti are organized around four canonical collections of metrical material known as Saṃhitās, of which the first three are related to the performance of yajna (sacrifice) in historical Vedic religion: The individual verses contained in these compilations are known as mantras. Some selected Vedic mantras are still recited at prayers, religious functions and other auspicious occasions in contemporary Hinduism. The various Indian philosophies and sects have taken differing positions on the Vedas. Schools of Indian philosophy which cite the Vedas as their scriptural authority are classified as "orthodox" (āstika). Other traditions, notably Buddhism and Jainism, which did not regard the Vedas as authorities
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    Adi Granth

    Adi Granth

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    Adi Granth (or Aad Granth, literally "the FIRST/Beginning scripture" - as in the Mool Mantar; "Aad Sach, Jug Aad Sach", True in the Beginning, True for All time) is the early compilation of the Sikh Scriptures by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru, in 1604. This Granth ("collection of bani") is the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh added further holy Shabads to this Granth during the period 1704 to 1706. Then in 1708, before his death, Guru Gobind Singh affirmed the Adi Granth as the perpetual Guru of the Sikhs and the Granth then became known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The original copy of the scripture, called Adi Granth, compiled and authenticated by Guru Arjan Dev still exists today and is kept at Kartarpur which is a town about 15 km. north west of the city of Jalandhar, Punjab, India. It contains the hymns of both Hindu and Muslim saints. One of the classic simplifications of Sikh history pertains to the preparation of the sacred scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib. The event is generally described in the briefest terms. The Holy Volume was compiled by Guru Arjan (AD 1563-1606) and the first copy was calligraphed by Bhai Gurdas at his
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    Book of Obadiah

    The canonical Book of Obadiah is an oracle concerning the divine judgment of Edom and the restoration of Israel. The text consists of a single chapter, divided into 21 verses, making it the shortest book in the Hebrew Bible. In Judaism and Christianity, its authorship is attributed to a prophet who lived in the Assyrian Period, Obadiah, whose name means “servant or worshipper of Yahweh”. In Christianity, the book of Obadiah is classified as a minor prophet of the Old Testament, due to its short length. In Judaism, Obadiah is considered a “later prophet” and this Masoretic Text is chronologically placed in the Tanakh under the section Nevi'im in the last category called The Twelve Prophets. The book of Obadiah is based on a prophetic vision concerning the fall of Edom, a mountain dwelling nation whose Founding Father was Esau. Obadiah describes an encounter with God who addresses Edom’s arrogance and charges them for their violent actions against their brother nation, the House of Jacob. The vision then embraces the fall of Jerusalem to the hands of foreign invaders and God’s anger against Edom for taking advantage of the Jews of Judah during their plight, thus sealing their
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    Book of Haggai

    The Book of Haggai is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and has its place as the antepenultimate of the Minor Prophets or the "Book of the Twelve." It is a short book, consisting of only two chapters. The historical setting dates around 520 BCE before the Temple has been rebuilt. 520 BCE falls between the start of the Persian empire in 539 BCE and 520 BCE a period that saw major kings such as Zerubbabel helped lead the Jews in their return to the land. The Book of Haggai is named after its presumed author, the prophet Haggai. There is no biographical information given about the prophet in the Book of Haggai, so we know no personal information about him. Haggai's name is derived from the Hebrew verbal root hgg, which means "to make a pilgrimage." W. Sibley Towner suggests that Haggai's name might come "from his single-minded effort to bring about the reconstruction of that destination of ancient Judean pilgrims, the Temple in Jerusalem." The Book of Haggai was written in 520 BCE some 18 years after Cyrus had conquered Babylon and issued a decree in 538 BCE allowing the captive Jews to return to Judea. Cyrus saw the restoration of the temple as necessary for the restoration of
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    Lalita sahasranama

    Lalita Sahasranama (IAST: lalitāsahasranāma) is a text from Brahmanda Purana. It is a sacred text to the Hindu worshippers of the Goddess Lalita Devi, i.e. the Divine Mother, in the form of her power, Shakti. Lalita is the Goddess of bliss, an epithet for Shiva's wife Goddess Parvati. Etymologically, "Lalita" means "She Who Plays". In the root form (vyutpatti), the word "Lalita" means "spontaneous" from which the meaning "easy" is derived and from there-forth the word implicitly extends to "play". It is supposedly one of the most complete stotras which can be recited for complete salvation. The names are organised as in a hymn, i.e. in the way of stotras. It is a dialogue between Hayagriva, an (avatar) of Mahavishnu and the great sage Agastya. The temple at Thirumeyachur,near Kumbakonam is said to be the place where sage Agastya was initiated into this sahasranama. Another alternative version is that the Upanishad Bramham Mutt at kanchipuram is the place where this initiation happened. Lalitha Sahasranama was composed by 8 vaag devis (vaag devathas) upon the command of Devi Sri Lalitha. The 8 vaag devis are - Vasini, Kameshwari, Aruna, Vimala, Jayinee, Modhinee, Sarveshwari,
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    1 Maccabees

    The First book of Maccabees is a book written in Hebrew by a Jewish author after the restoration of an independent Jewish kingdom, about the latter part of the 2nd century BC. The original Hebrew is lost and the most important surviving version is the Greek translation contained in the Septuagint. The book is held as canonical scripture by some Christian churches (including Catholic, Orthodox and Coptic churches), but not by most Protestant groups. Such Protestants consider it to be an apocryphal book (see also Deuterocanon). In modern-day Judaism, the book is often of great historical interest, but has no official religious status. The setting of the book is about a century after the conquest of Judea by the Greeks under Alexander the Great, after Alexander's empire has been divided so that Judea was part of the Greek Seleucid Empire. It tells how the Greek ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes attempted to suppress the practice of basic Jewish religious law, resulting in a Jewish revolt against Seleucid rule. The book covers the whole of the revolt, from 175 to 134 BC, highlighting how the salvation of the Jewish people in this crisis came through Mattathias' family, particularly his
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    Dnyaneshwari

    The Dnyaneshwari (or Jñaneshwari) (Marathi ज्ञानेश्वरी) is the commentary on Bhagavad Gita written by Marathi saint and poet Dnyaneshwar during the 13th century at age 16. This commentary has been praised not only for its scholarly, but also for its aesthetic value. The original name of the work is Bhavarth Deepika, roughly translated as "The light showing the internal meaning" (of the Bhagvad Geeta). But it is popularly called as Dnyaneshwari, based on its creator's name . The Dnyaneshwari provides the philosophical basis for the Bhagawata Dharma, a Bhakti sect which had a lasting effect on the history of Maharashtra. It became one of the sacred books (i.e. the Prasthanatrai of Bhagawata Dharma) along with Ekanathi Bhagawata and Tukaram Gaathaa. It is one of the foundations of the Marathi language and literature, and continues to be widely read in Maharashtra. The Pasayadan or the nine ending verses of the Dnyaaneshwari are also popular with the masses. According to Vaisnava belief, the Bhagavad Gita is the ultimate statement of spiritual knowledge since it was professed by Lord Krishna who was an Avatar of Vishnu. Dnyaneshwari is considered to be more than a commentary on the
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    Epistle to the Ephesians

    Epistle to the Ephesians

    The Epistle to the Ephesians, often shortened to Ephesians, is the tenth book of the New Testament. Its authorship has traditionally been credited to Paul, but it is considered by some scholars to be Deutero-pauline, that is, written in Paul's name by a later author strongly influenced by Paul's thought. Bible scholar Raymond E. Brown asserts that about 80% of critical scholarship judges that Paul did not write Ephesians, while Perrin and Duling say that of six authoritative scholarly references, "four of the six decide for pseudonymity, and the other two (PCB and JBC) recognize the difficulties in maintaining Pauline authorship. Indeed, the difficulties are insurmountable." The main theme of Ephesians is “the Church, the Body of Christ.” As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. — Ephesians 4:1-3 The Church is to maintain the unity in practice which Christ has brought about positionally. According to New Testament scholar Daniel Wallace, the theme may be stated
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    Guru Gita

    The Guru Gita (Song of the Guru) is a Hindu scripture authored by the sage, Vyasa, it is also used as chanting. The 352-verses text is a part of the larger Skanda Purana. It describes a conversation between the Hindu God, Lord Shiva and his wife, the Hindu Goddess Parvati, in which she asks him to teach her about the Guru. Shiva answers her by describing the Guru principle, the proper ways of worshiping the Guru and the methods and benefits of repeating the Guru Gita.
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    The Book of the SubGenius

    • Religious Text Of: Church of the SubGenius
    The Book of the SubGenius: Being the Divine Wisdom, Guidance, and Prophecy of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, High Epopt of the Church of the SubGenius, Here Inscribed for the Salvation of Future Generations and in the Hope that Slack May Someday Reign on this Earth (ISBN 0-671-63810-6) is seen as the "bible" of the Church of the SubGenius. It was compiled from the Church's ongoing zine publication The Stark Fist of Removal. It is usually placed in the humor section of most bookstores, though zealous SubGenius followers are authorized to move it into the religion section instead. The book has been republished numerous times, by at least two separate publishers. The original edition was published in 1983 by McGraw-Hill, while the re-release of the book (with the current cover illustration) in 1987 was by Simon & Schuster's imprint Fireside Books (ISBN 0-671-63810-6, "1st Fireside edition"). See also Revelation X : The 'Bob' Apocryphon : Hidden Teachings and Deuterocanonical Texts of J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, ISBN 0-671-77006-3
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    Book of Malachi

    Book of Malachi

    Malachi (or Malachias, Hebrew: מַלְאָכִי‎, Malʾaḫi, Mál'akhî) is a book of the Hebrew Bible, the last of the twelve minor prophets (canonically) and the final book of the Neviim. In the Christian ordering, the grouping of the Prophetic Books is the last section of the Old Testament, making Malachi the last book before the New Testament. The book is commonly attributed to a prophet by the name of Malachi. Although the appellation Malachi has frequently been understood as a proper name, its Hebrew meaning is simply "My [i.e., God's] messenger" (or 'His messenger' in the Septuagint) and may not be the author's name at all. The sobriquet occurs in the superscription at 1:1 and in 3:1, although it is highly unlikely that the word refers to the same character in both of these references. Thus, there is substantial debate regarding the identity of the book's author. One of the Targums identifies Ezra (or Esdras) as the author of Malachi. St. Jerome suggests this may be because Ezra is seen as an intermediary between the prophets and the 'great synagogue'. There is, however, no historical evidence yet to support this claim. Some scholars note affinities between Zechariah 9-14 and the book
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    Tirumurai

    Tirumurai

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Thirumurai(Tamil:திரு முறை, meaning holy division) is a twelve volume compendium of songs or hymns in the praise of Shiva in the Tamil language from 6th century to 11th century by various poets in South India. Nambi Andar Nambi compiled the first seven volumes by Appar, Campantar and Cuntarar as Tevaram during the 12th century. During the course of time, a strong necessity was felt by scholars to compile Saiva literature to accommodate other works. Tiruvacakam and Tirukovayar by Manickavasagar is included as eighth, nine parts are compiled as ninth Tirumurai out of which most are unknown, tenth as Tirumandiram by Tirumular the famous Siddhar. Eleventh is compiled by Karaikal Ammaiyar, Cheraman Perumal and others. The contemparary Chola king was impressed by the work of Nampi and included Nampi's work in the eleventh Tirumurai. Sekkizhar's Periya Puranam, composed a century later, contains the life depiction of all the 63 nayanmars. The response for the work was tremendous among Saiva scholars and Kulothunga Chola I that it was included as the 12th Tirumurai. Tirumurai along with Vedas and Saiva agamas from the basis of Saiva Siddantha philosophy in Tamil Nadu. The Pallava period in
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    Book of Tobit

    Book of Tobit

    The Book of Tobit (Book of Tobias in the Vulgate; from the Greek: τωβιθ, and Hebrew: טובי Tobi "my good", also called the Book of Tobias from the Hebrew טוביה Tobiah "Yahweh is my good") is a book of scripture that is part of the Catholic and Orthodox biblical canon, pronounced canonical by the Council of Carthage of 397 and confirmed for Roman Catholics by the Council of Trent (1546). It is listed as a book of the "Apocrypha" in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. Tobit is regarded by Protestants as apocryphal because it has never been included within the Tanakh and considered canonical by ancient Judaism. However, it is found in the Greek Hebrew Bible (the Septuagint), and Aramaic and Hebrew fragments of the book are in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in Cave IV at Qumran in 1952. These fragments are in agreement with the Greek text, which exists in three different recensions. This book tells the story of a righteous Israelite of the Tribe of Naphtali named Tobit living in Nineveh after the deportation of the northern tribes of Israel to Assyria in 721 BC under Sargon II. (The first two and a half chapters are written in the first person.)
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    Vimalakirti Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Buddhism
    The Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra (Sanskrit: विमलकीर्ति निर्देश सूत्र), or Vimalakīrti Sūtra, is a Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtra. The sutra teaches, among other subjects, the meaning of nonduality. It contains a report of a teaching addressed to both arhats and bodhisattvas by the layman Vimalakīrti ("Undefiled Reputation"), who expounds the doctrine of śūnyatā, or emptiness, to them. This culminates with the wordless teaching of silence. The sutra has been influential in East Asian Buddhism for its "brash humor" and flexibility. It has also been influential in Mahāyāna for its inclusiveness and respect of non-clergy, as well as stating the equal role of Buddhist women, who are considered to have as much spiritual potential as ordained male monks. According to Burton Watson, the Vimalakīrti Sūtra probably originated in India in approximately 100 CE. Its central figure is Vimalakīrti, who is presented as the ideal Mahayana lay bodhisattva. The first translation of the Vimalakīrti Sūtra into Chinese was made in 188 CE, but was lost over time. This translation was made by the Kuṣāṇa monk Lokakṣema, who came to China from the kingdom of Gandhāra. The sūtra was translated six more times at later
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    Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

    • Religious Text Of: Bahá'í Faith
    The Epistle to the Son of the Wolf is the last major work of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, before his death in 1892. It is a letter written to a Muslim cleric, a violent opponent of the Bahá'ís who, along with his father (called by Bahá'u'lláh "the wolf"), also a Muslim cleric, had put to death a number of Bahá'ís. In this work Bahá'u'lláh quotes extensively from his own previously revealed scriptures. This makes a large portion of the work a summary of excerpts on critical concepts expressed in previous works in a condensed form. Two brothers Muhammad-Husayn Nahrí and Muhammad-Hasan Nahrí came from an aristocratic and established mercantile family in Isfahan. The Imám-Jum'ih of the city owed the brothers money and – when the two asked for a payment – he devised a plan to rid his debt. After confronting Shaykh Muhammad-Baqir, another influential Muslim cleric of Isfahan; and Sultán-Mas'úd Mírzá, the son of Násiri'd-Dín Sháh of this issue, the three devised a plan to imprison the brothers on account of their Bahá’í religion. The two brothers were subsequently arrested, paraded around Isfahan with crowds jeering abuse, and publicly executed in a humiliating
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    Epistle to the Galatians

    Epistle to the Galatians

    The Epistle to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul of Tarsus to a number of Early Christian communities in the Roman province of Galatia in central Anatolia. Paul is principally concerned with the controversy surrounding Gentile Christians and the Mosaic Law in Early Christianity. No original of the letter is known to survive. The earliest reasonably complete version available to scholars today, named P, dates to approximately the year 200 AD, approximately 150 years after the original was presumably drafted. This fragmented papyrus, parts of which are missing, almost certainly contains errors introduced in the process of being copied from earlier manuscripts. However, through careful research relating to paper construction, handwriting development, and the established principles of textual criticism, scholars can be rather certain about where these errors and changes appeared and what the original text probably said. Scholars generally date the original composition to c. 50-60 AD. Biblical scholars agree that Galatians is a true example of Paul's writing. The main arguments in favor of the authenticity of
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    Four Valleys

    The Four Valleys (Persian: چهار وادی‎ Chahár Vádí) is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Seven Valleys (Persian: هفت وادی‎ Haft-Vádí) was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. The two books are distinctly different and have no direct relation. The Four Valleys was written around 1857 in Baghdad, in response to questions of Shaykh 'Abdu'r-Rahman-i-Talabani, the "honored and indisputable leader" of the Qádiríyyih Order of Sufism. He never identified as a Bahá'í, but was known to his followers as having high respect and admiration for Bahá'u'lláh. In the book, Bahá'u'lláh describes the qualities and grades of four types of mystical wayfarers: "Those who progress in mystic wayfaring are of four kinds." The four are, roughly: This last is considered the highest or truest form of mystic union. There is some difficulty in translating a text written in a poetic style, with references to concepts of Sufism that may be foreign in the West. Some names are left in their original Arabic form. For example, Maqsúd ("the Intended One") in this book is used in
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    Vachanamrut

    Vachanamrut

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Vachanamrut of Bhagwan Swaminarayan is the most sacred and foundational scripture of the Swaminarayan Sampradaya. It contains the profound wisdom of the Vedas, Upanishads, Brahmasutras, Bhagvad Gita, Bhagvat Purana, Dharma shastras like Yagnavalkya Smruti, Vidurniti, and epics like the Ramayan and Mahabharat (Vachanamrut Gadhadha II-28). Bhagwan Swaminarayan says in Gadhadha II-28, "What is this discourse which I have delivered before you like? Well, I have delivered it having heard and having extracted the essence from the Vedas, the shastras, the Purans and all other words on this earth pertaining to liberation." The Vachanamrut is the essence of ancient Indian wisdom as told by Bhagwan Swaminarayan and compiled by his five contemporary scholarly-sadhus who were known for their asceticism and scholarship in Sanskrit, besides their devotion to him. In fact every statement of the Master is packed with and based on His in-depth religious knowledge, spiritual insights and practical experience. It contains practical and philosophical answers to the sincere enquiries of all types of aspirants regarding life in this world and the life hereafter. The Vachanamrut is not only a sacred
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    Rabbinic literature

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term Sifrut Hazal (ספרות חז"ל; "Literature [of our] sages [of] blessed memory," where Hazal normally refers only to the sages of the Talmudic era). This more specific sense of "Rabbinic literature"—referring to the Talmudim, Midrash (Hebrew: מדרש‎);, and related writings, but hardly ever to later texts—is how the term is generally intended when used in contemporary academic writing. On the other hand, the terms meforshim and parshanim (commentaries/commentators) almost always refer to later, post-Talmudic writers of Rabbinic glosses on Biblical and Talmudic texts. This article discusses rabbinic literature in both senses. It begins with the classic rabbinic literature of the Talmudic era (Sifrut Hazal), and then adds a broad survey of rabbinic writing from later periods. The Mishnah and the Tosefta (compiled from materials pre-dating the year 200) are the earliest extant works of rabbinic
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    Tanakh

    Tanakh

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Tanakh (Hebrew: תַּנַ"ךְ‎, pronounced [taˈnaχ] or [təˈnax]; also Tenakh, Tenak, Tanach) is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah ("Teaching", also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im ("Prophets") and Ketuvim ("Writings")—hence TaNaKh. The name "Miqra" (מקרא), meaning "that which is read", is an alternative Hebrew term for the Tanakh. The books of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) were relayed with an accompanying oral tradition passed on by each generation, called the Oral Torah. According to the Talmud, much of the contents of the Tanakh were compiled by the "Men of the Great Assembly" by 450 BCE, and have since remained unchanged. Modern scholars believe that the process of canonization of the Tanakh became finalized between 200 BCE and 200 CE. The Hebrew text was originally an abjad: consonants written with some applied vowel letters ("matres lectionis"). During the early Middle Ages scholars known as the Masoretes created a single formalized system of vocalization. This
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    Book of Jacob

    Book of Jacob

    The Book of Jacob is the third book of the Book of Mormon. Its full title is The Book of Jacob: The Brother of Nephi. According to the text, it was written by the ancient prophet Jacob. The purpose of the book, in his own words, is to persuade all men to "come unto Christ" (Jacob 1:7). While this book contains some history of the Nephites, including the death of Nephi, it is mainly a record of Jacob's preachings to his people. Chapter 5 contains The Parable of the Olive Tree, a lengthy allegory of the scattering and gathering of Israel, comparing the Israelites and gentiles to tame and wild olive trees, respectively.
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    Book of Moroni

    Book of Moroni

    The Book of Moroni is the last of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. According to the text it was written by the prophet Moroni sometime between AD 400 and 421. Chapter 1 is a short introduction. Chapters 2-6 contain some direction as to how the church was organized. The ordinances of baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and the sacrament are detailed. Also, some general instruction on the laws in the church are given. Chapter 7 is a sermon that Mormon gave to the Nephites. This sermon focuses on the essence of good and evil. Mormon finishes by talking about miracles, faith, hope, and charity. Chapters 8 and 9 contain two letters to Moroni from his father, Mormon. The first talks about the beginnings of apostasy among the Nephites, focusing particularly on the practice of infant baptism. The second details the awful state of the Nephites and foreshadows their destruction. Chapter 10 contains Moroni's Promise and some advice for people in the present day. He writes about spiritual gifts, faith, hope and charity. Moroni declares that his words are the words of one "speaking out of the dust" which alludes to a prophecy of Isaiah (see Isaiah 29:4). Moroni 10 contains some of
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    Book of Proverbs

    The Book of Proverbs (in Hebrew: מִשְלֵי Mish'ley), commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible. The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" ("Proverbs of Solomon"). When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint (LXX) the title became "paroimai paroimiae" ("Proverbs"). In the Latin Vulgate the title was "proverbia", from which the English title of Proverbs is derived. The authorship of Proverbs has long been a matter of dispute. Solomon’s name appears in Proverbs 1:1, "The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, King of Israel." There are also references within Proverbs to Agur (30:1) and Lemuel (31:1) as authors distinct from Solomon. These names are missing in the Greek translation of the Septuagint. Medieval scholars used in the Vulgate the Hebrew rendering of these two verses, and in their eyes the words "Agur" and "Lemuel" were but symbolic names of Solomon. Solomon is often mentioned as someone who has extensive wisdom in the Bible as well as in extra-biblical literature. In 1 Kings 4:32, 3000 proverbs and over 1000 songs are said to have come from Solomon and it is also said
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    Book of Ruth

    Book of Ruth

    The Book of Ruth (Hebrew: מגילת רות‎; Sephardic, Israeli Hebrew: [məɡiˈlat rut]; Ashkenazi Hebrew: [məˈɡɪləs rus]; Biblical Hebrew: Megilath Ruth "the Scroll of Ruth") is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible, Tanakh, or Old Testament. In the Jewish canon the Book of Ruth is included in the third division, or the Writings (Ketuvim). In the Christian canon the Book of Ruth is placed between Judges and 1 Samuel. It is a rather short book, in both Jewish and Christian scripture, consisting of only four chapters. The full title in Hebrew is named after a young woman of Moab, the great-grandmother of David and, according to the Christian tradition, an ancestress of Jesus: מגילת רות, Megillat Ruth, or "the scroll of Ruth", which places the book as one of the Five Megillot. Goswell argues that while Naomi is the central character of the book, Ruth is the main character, and so the book "can be considered aptly named." The only other Biblical book bearing the name of a woman is the Book of Esther. The Book of Judith is not a part of the Jewish or most Protestant Bibles, who exclude the Book of Judith as apocryphal), though it is a part of the Catholic Bible. During the time of the Judges
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    Pearl of Great Price

    Pearl of Great Price

    • Religious Text Of: Mormonism
    The Pearl of Great Price is part of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church; see also Mormonism) and some other Latter Day Saint denominations. The first paragraph of the Introductory Note in the LDS edition of the Pearl of Great Price reads: The Pearl of Great Price contains five sections: The original contents of the book were slightly different, reproducing material found in the Doctrine and Covenants and a poem entitled "Oh Say What is Truth?" (which is now found in the LDS Church hymnal). In 1878 some material from the Book of Moses was added. The Pearl of Great Price was canonized in 1880. In 1902 the material reproduced in the Doctrine and Covenants was removed. Two other documents, now found as Doctrine and Covenants 137 and 138, were added to the Pearl of Great Price in 1976 and moved to their current location in 1979. The Pearl of Great Price was first compiled by Franklin D. Richards in Liverpool, England. Some items duplicated text that was already available in the Doctrine and Covenants. It contained the following entries (the placement of the text in today's LDS Church publications is noted in parenthesis):
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    Book of Isaiah

    Book of Isaiah

    The Book of Isaiah (Hebrew: ספר ישעיה‎) is the first of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, preceding Ezekiel, Jeremiah and the Book of the Twelve. (The order of the subsequent books differs somewhat in Christian Old Testament). The first 39 chapters prophesy doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God, while the last 27 prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel and a new creation in God's glorious future kingdom; this section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant, four separate passages referring to the nation of Israel, interpreted by Christians as prefiguring the coming of Jesus Christ. Tradition ascribes authorship of the book to Isaiah son of Amoz, but for over a hundred years scholars have seen it as a compilation of writings from three different periods. The first, termed Proto-Isaiah (chapters 1–39), contains the words of the 8th-century BCE prophet with 7th-century BCE expansions; the second, Deutero-Isaiah (chapters 40–55), is the work of a 6th-century BCE author writing near the end of the Babylonian captivity; and the third, the poetic Trito-Isaiah (chapters 56–66), was composed in Jerusalem shortly after the return
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    Manusmṛti

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Manusmṛti (written also as Manusmriti or Manusmruti) (Sanskrit: मनुस्मृति), also known as Mānava-Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit: मानवधर्मशास्त्र), is one metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of ancient Vedic Sanatana Dharma, presently called Hinduism. Generally known in English as the Laws of Manu, or Dharmic discourse to vedic Rishis, on 'how to lead the life' or 'way of living' by various classes of society. The text presents itself as a discourse given by the sage Manu, to a congregation of seers, or rishis, who beseeched him, after the great floods, in the vedic state of 'Brahmavarta', in India, some 10,000 years ago, to tell them on, how to face such calamities in future by organising themselves and lead an organised life with the "guidelines for all the social classes". Vetern sages Manu and Bhrigu gave them a discourse in some 2685 shaloks, compilation of which is called 'Manusmriti'. Manu became the standard point of reference for all future Dharmaśāstras that followed it. Manusmriti was first translated into English in 1794 by Sir William Jones, an linguist, English Orientalist and judge of the British Supreme Court of Judicature in Calcutta. who had great respect
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    Book of Jarom

    Book of Jarom

    The Book of Jarom is one of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. According to the text it was written by Jarom, a descendant of the prophet Nephi. The book consists of a single chapter. According to the chapter heading, the book covers the time period between ca 420 BC and 361 BC and describes the efforts of the Nephite prophets to "keep them [the Nephites] in the way of truth". It also describes the prosperity of the Nephites- they grew in number, worked in gold and silver, built buildings and machinery, engaged in various metalworks, agriculture equipment as well as weaponry. It also records conflict with the Lamanites: "wars, and contentions, and dissensions, for the space of much of the time" (Jarom 1:13). The record, or a book written on sheets of gold, is passed down from one generation to another. Nephi, the writer of First and Second Nephi, forged the plates to keep a record of the history of his people, to write down prophecies and spiritual teachings, and make a record of Jesus Christ. Nephi passed them to his brother Jacob (Jacob 1:1-4) Jacob passed them to his son Enos (Jacob 7:27) Enos passed them to his son Jarom (Jarom 1:1) See Omni for more generations
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    Book of Judith

    Book of Judith

    The Book of Judith is a deuterocanonical book, included in the Septuagint and the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christian Old Testament of the Bible, but excluded by Jews and Protestants. The book contains numerous historical anachronisms, which is why many scholars now accept it as non-historical; it has been considered a parable or perhaps the first historical novel. The name Judith (Hebrew: יְהוּדִית, Modern Yehudit Tiberian Yəhûḏîṯ ; "Praised" or "Jewess") is the feminine form of Judah. The Book of Judith has a tragic setting that appealed to Jewish patriots and it warned of the urgency of adhering to Mosaic law, generally speaking, but what accounted for its enduring appeal was the drama of its narrative. The story revolves around Judith, a daring and beautiful widow, who is upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign conquerors. She goes with her loyal maid to the camp of the enemy general, Holofernes, with whom she slowly ingratiates herself, promising him information on the Israelites. Gaining his trust, she is allowed access to his tent one night as he lies in a drunken stupor. She decapitates him, then takes his head back to
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    Deuterocanonical books

    Deuterocanonical books

    Deuterocanonical books is a term used since the sixteenth century in the Catholic Church and Eastern Christianity to describe certain books and passages of the Christian Old Testament that are not part of the Hebrew Bible. The term is used in contrast to the protocanonical books, which are contained in the Hebrew Bible. This distinction had previously contributed to debate in the early Church about whether they should be read in the churches and thus be classified as canonical texts. The term is used as a matter of convenience by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and other Churches to refer to books of their Old Testament which are not part of the Masoretic Text. The Deuterocanonical books are considered canonical by Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, but are considered non-canonical by most Protestants. The word deuterocanonical comes from the Greek meaning 'belonging to the second canon'. The original usage of the term distinguished these scriptures both from those considered non-canonical and from those considered protocanonical. However, some editions of the Bible include text from both deuterocanonical and non-canonical scriptures in a single section designated "Apocrypha".
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    Epistle to the Philippians

    Epistle to the Philippians

    The Epistle of Paul to the Philippians, usually referred to simply as Philippians, is the eleventh book in the New Testament. Paul visited Philippi for the first time on his second missionary journey (49-51 AD). It was the first congregation in Europe. Biblical scholars are in general agreement that it was written by St. Paul to the church of Philippi, an early center of Christianity in Greece around 62 A.D. Other scholars argue for an earlier date, c. 50-60 A.D. The historical background of Philippians is traditionally gathered from two main primary New Testament sources: (1) informative internal data from the letter itself and (2) related information garnered from the rest of the New Testament Canon. In the latter's case, this would specifically include the Acts of the Apostles, and other related Pauline Epistles. Other primary information is derived from external historical sources related to the chronological connections between Paul's association with Philippi, its political and economical setting, and its social and religio-philosophical context as well. According to the document itself, the Philippians had sent Epaphroditus, their envoy ("messenger [apostolon] and minister
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    Gherand Samhita

    Gheranda Samhita (Sanskrit gheraṇḍasaṁhitā घेरंडसंहिता ) meaning “Gheranda's collection” is one of the three classic texts of hatha yoga (the other two being the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Shiva Samhita). It is a late 17th century text and is considered to be the most encyclopedic of the three classic texts on hatha yoga. Gheranda Samhita is a manual of yoga taught by Gheranda to Chanda Kapali. Unlike other hatha yoga texts, the Gheranda Samhita speaks of a sevenfold yoga: The text itself follows this division in seven chapters, and has a focus upon the ṣaṭkarmas (shatkarma), thus this text is sometimes said to describe ghatastha yoga. For instance, the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali describes an eightfold path (yama and niyama instead of shatkarma and mudra, and addition of dharana). The closing stanzas on samadhi teach different methods than those described by Patanjali.
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    Second Epistle to Timothy

    Second Epistle to Timothy

    The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy, usually referred to simply as Second Timothy and often written 2 Timothy, is one of the three Pastoral Epistles traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, and is part of the New Testament. It is addressed to Timothy. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia affirms Paul's authorship and documents the fact that a vast majority of the early church fathers attest to Paul's authorship of all the pastoral epistles. Most conservative biblical scholars agree. However, many liberal biblical scholars argue that 2 Timothy was not written by Paul but by an anonymous follower, after Paul's death in the First Century. The language and ideas of this epistle are notably different from the other two Pastoral letters yet similar to the later Pauline letters, especially the ones he wrote in captivity. This has led some scholars to conclude that the author of 2 Timothy is a different person from 1 Timothy and Titus. Raymond E. Brown proposed that this letter was written by a follower of Paul who had knowledge of Paul's last days. Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, however, would go further than Brown. He noted that a number of pseudepigraphic letters attributed to the
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    Surya namaskara chapter

    The Sūrya-namaskāra chapter is the first chapter in the Taittirīya Āranyaka of Krishna Yajur Veda. It is so-called because it has been used, for probably several centuries, almost by every South Indian Hindu Brahmin household for worship of the Sun in an elaborate ritual. The Sun being a visible symbol of the infinite Power, Glory and Majesty of the Unseen Almighty, the worship of the Sun-God is considered very important by Hinduism. The 132 paragraphs (which are grouped into ‘anuvakas’ or sections) of this chapter is a compendium on the Sun as was ‘seen’ by the Seers. It has been the tradition to recite this chapter and make a complete prostration to the Sun in the eastern direction at the end of the recitation of each paragraph. The benefits of the physical exercise that one derives from this ritual are only incidental; the real benefit is considered to be esoteric in terms of a spiritual evolution. (It must also be said here that the practice of this kind of worship using the recitation of this chapter is questioned by a section of ritualists under the contention that the chapter is not all mantras, but also contains a number of injunctions). It is not the physical Sun that is
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    Book of Revelation

    Book of Revelation

    The Book of Revelation, often simply known as Revelation or by a number of variants expanding upon its authorship or subject matter, is the final book of the New Testament and occupies a central part in Christian eschatology. Written in Koine Greek, its title is derived from the first word of the text, apokalypsis, meaning "unveiling" or "revelation". The author of the work identifies himself in the text as "John" and says that he was on Patmos, an island in the Aegean, when he "heard a great voice" instructing him to write the book. This John is traditionally supposed to be John the Apostle, although recent scholarship has suggested other possibilities including a putative figure given the name John of Patmos. Most modern scholars believe it was written around 95 AD, with some believing it dates from around 70 AD. The book spans three literary genres: epistolary, apocalyptic, and prophetic. It begins with an epistolary address to the reader followed by an apocalyptic description of a complex series of events derived from prophetic visions which the author claims to have seen. These include the appearance of a number of figures and images which have become important in Christian
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    First Epistle to the Corinthians

    The first epistle of Paul the apostle to the Corinthians, often referred to as First Corinthians (and written as 1 Corinthians), is the seventh book of the New Testament of the Bible. Paul and "Sosthenes our brother" wrote this epistle to "the church of God which is at Corinth", in Greece. This epistle contains some of the best-known phrases in the New Testament, including (depending on the translation) "all things to all men" (9:22), "without love, I am nothing" (13:2), "through a glass, darkly" (13:12), and "when I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child" (13:11). There is near consensus among historians and Christian theologians that Paul is the author of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, typically classifying its authorship as "undisputed" (see Authorship of the Pauline Epistles). The letter is quoted or mentioned by the earliest of sources, and is included in every ancient canon, including that of Marcion. However, two passages may have been inserted at a later stage. The first passage is 1 Cor 11:2–16 dealing with praying and prophesying with head covering. The second passage is 1 Cor 14:34–35 which has been hotly debated. Part of the
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    Susanna

    Susanna

    Susanna or Shoshana (Hebrew: שׁוֹשַׁנָּה, Modern Šošana Tiberian Šôšannâ: "lily") included in the Book of Daniel (as chapter 13) by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. It is one of the additions to Daniel, considered apocryphal by Protestants. It is listed in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England among the books which are included in the Bible but not for the formation of doctrine. It is not included in the Jewish Tanakh and is not mentioned in early Jewish literature. As the story goes, a fair Hebrew wife named Susanna was falsely accused by lecherous voyeurs. As she bathes in her garden, having sent her attendants away, two lustful elders secretly observe the lovely Susanna. When she makes her way back to her house, they accost her, threatening to claim that she was meeting a young man in the garden unless she agrees to have sex with them. She refuses to be blackmailed and is arrested and about to be put to death for promiscuity when a young man named Daniel interrupts the proceedings, shouting that the elders should be questioned to prevent the death of an innocent. After being separated, the two men are questioned about details
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    Book of Amos

    The Book of Amos is a prophetic book of the Hebrew Bible, one of the Twelve Minor Prophets. Amos, an older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, was active c. 750 BC during the reign of Jeroboam II, making the Book of Amos the first biblical prophetic book written. Amos lived in the kingdom of Judah but preached in the northern kingdom of Israel. His major themes of social justice, God's omnipotence, and divine judgment became staples of prophecy. Amos was a prophet during the reign of Jeroboam ben Joash (Jeroboam II), ruler of Israel from 793 BC to 753 BC, and the reign of Uzziah, King of Judah, at a time when both kingdoms (Israel in the North and Judah in the South) were peaking in prosperity. He was a contemporary of the prophet Hosea, but likely preceded him. Many of the earlier accounts of prophets found in the Tanakh are found within the context of other accounts of Israel's history. Amos, however, is the first prophet whose name also serves as the title of the corresponding biblical book in which his story is found. Amos also made it a point that before his calling he was a simple husbandman and that he was not a "professional" prophet of the prophetic guild. Most scholars
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    Huahujing

    The Huahujing (Chinese: 化胡經/化胡经; pinyin: Huàhújīng; Wade–Giles: Hua Hu Ching; literally "Classic on Converting the Barbarians") is a Taoist book. Although traditionally attributed to Laozi, some scholars believe it is a forgery because there are no historical references to the text until the early 4th century CE. According to Louis Komjathy (2004:48), the Taoist Wang Fu (王浮) originally compiled the Huahujing circa 300 CE, and the extant version probably dates from the 6th century Northern Celestial Masters. The text is honorifically known as the Taishang lingbao Laozi huahu miaojing (太上靈寶老子化胡妙經, "The Supreme Numinous Treasure's Sublime Classic on Laozi's Conversion of the Barbarians"). A copy of the Huahujing was discovered in the Mogao Caves near Dunhuang, and Liu Yi (1997) believes the original text dates from around the late 4th or early 5th century. Emperors of China occasionally organized debates between Buddhists and Taoists, and granted political favor to the winners. The Taoists developed the Huahujing to support one of their favorite arguments against the Buddhists, writes Holmes Welch (1957:152), their claim that "Lao Tzu had gone to India after his westward departure
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    Pali Canon

    Pali Canon

    • Religious Text Of: Buddhism
    The Pāli Canon also known as the Tipitaka is the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition, as preserved in the Pāli language. It is the most complete extant early Buddhist canon. It was composed in North India, and preserved orally until it was committed to writing during the Fourth Buddhist Council in Sri Lanka in 29 BCE, approximately four hundred and fifty four years after the death of Shākyamuni. First printing of the whole Chinese Buddhist Canon was done by imperial order in China in CE 868. The Pāli Canon falls into three general categories, called pitaka (from Pali piṭaka, meaning "basket"). Because of this, the canon is traditionally known as the Tipiṭaka (Sanskrit: Tripiṭaka; "three baskets"). The three pitakas are as follows: The Vinaya Pitaka and the Sutta Pitaka are remarkably similar to the works of other early Buddhist schools. The Abhidhamma Pitaka however is a strictly Theravada collection, and has little in common with the Abhidhamma works recognized by other Buddhist schools. The Canon is traditionally described by the Theravada as the Word of the Buddha (Buddhavacana), though this is obviously not intended in a literal sense, since it
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    Book of Joshua

    Book of Joshua

    The Book of Joshua (Hebrew: Sefer Y'hoshua ספר יהושע‎) is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land. Joshua forms part of the biblical history of the emergence of Israel which begins with the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, continues with their conquest of Canaan under their leader Joshua (the subject matter of the book of Joshua), and culminates in Judges with the settlement of the tribes in the land. The book is structured in two roughly equal parts, the story of the campaigns of the Israelites in central, southern and northern Canaan and the destruction of their enemies, followed by the division of the conquered land among the twelve tribes; the two parts are framed by set-piece speeches by God and Joshua commanding the conquest and at the end warning of the need for faithful obedience of the Law (torah) revealed to Moses. Almost all scholars agree that the book of Joshua holds little historical value for early Israel and most likely reflects a much later period. Rather than
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    Diamond Sutra

    Diamond Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Soto Zen
    The Diamond Sūtra is a Mahāyāna sūtra from the Prajñāpāramitā, or "Perfection of Wisdom" genre, and emphasizes the practice of non-abiding and non-attachment. A copy of the Chinese version of Diamond Sūtra, found among the Dunhuang manuscripts in the early 20th century and dated back to May 11, 868, is, in the words of the British Library, "the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book." The full Sanskrit title of this text is the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. The earliest known Sanskrit title for the sūtra is the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, which may be translated roughly as the "Vajra Cutter Perfection of Wisdom Sūtra." In English, shortened forms such as Diamond Sūtra and Vajra Sūtra are common. The Diamond Sūtra has also been highly regarded in a number of Asian countries where Mahāyāna Buddhism has been traditionally practiced. Translations of this title into the languages of some of these countries include: The full history of the text remains unknown, but Japanese scholars generally consider the Diamond Sūtra to be from a very early date in the development of Prajñāpāramitā literature. Some western scholars also believe that the Aṣṭasāhasrikā
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    Huainanzi

    The Huáinánzǐ (Chinese: 淮南子; Wade–Giles: Huai-nan Tzu; literally "The Masters/Philosophers of Huainan") is a 2nd century BCE Chinese philosophical classic from the Han dynasty that blends Daoist, Confucianist, and Legalist concepts, including theories such as Yin-Yang and the Five Phases. It was written under the patronage of Liu An, Prince of Huainan, a legendarily prodigious author. The text, also known as the Huainan honglie 淮南鸿烈 ("The Great Brilliance of Huainan"), is a collection of essays presented as resulting from literary and philosophical debates between Liu and guests at his court, in particular the scholars known as the Eight Immortals of Huainan. The Huainanzi was the first Chinese classic text to use the Pythagorean comma, and to precisely analyze 12-tone tuning in Chinese music (McClain and Ming 1979:213, 206), although the latter was preceded by bronze inscriptions on the (433 BCE) bells of the Marquis Yi of Zeng (Temple 1986:199). The date of composition for the Huainanzi is more certain than for most early Chinese texts. Both the Book of Han and Records of the Grand Historian record that when Liu An paid a state visit to his nephew the Emperor Wu of Han in 139
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    I Ching

    I Ching

    • Religious Text Of: Taoism
    The I Ching (Wade-Giles) or "Yì Jīng" (pinyin), also known as the Classic of Changes, Book of Changes and Zhouyi, is one of the oldest of the Chinese classic texts. The book contains a divination system comparable to Western geomancy or the West African Ifá system; in Western cultures and modern East Asia, it is still widely used for this purpose. Traditionally, the I Ching and its hexagrams were thought to pre-date recorded history, and based on traditional Chinese accounts, its origins trace back to the 3rd to the 2nd millennium BC. Modern scholarship suggests that the earliest layer of the text may date from the end of the 2nd millennium BC, but place doubts on the mythological aspects in the traditional accounts. Some consider the I Ching' as the oldest extant book of divination, dating from 1,000 BC and before. The oldest manuscript that has been found, albeit incomplete, dates back to the Warring States Period (around 475–221 BC). During the Warring States Period, the text was re-interpreted as a system of cosmology and philosophy that subsequently became intrinsic to Chinese culture. It centered on the ideas of the dynamic balance of opposites, the evolution of events as a
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    Summons of the Lord of Hosts

    The Summons of the Lord of Hosts is a collection of the tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, that were written to the kings and rulers of the world during his exile in Adrianople and in the early years of his exile to the fortress town of `Akká in 1868. Bahá'u'lláh claimed to be the Promised One of all religions and all ages and summoned the leaders of East and West to recognize him as the promised one. The Summons of the Lord of Hosts is the printing of five distinct tablets of this material. The Súriy-i-Haykal (Arabic: سورة الهيكل‎) or Tablet of the Temple, is a composite work which consists of a tablet followed by five messages addressed to Pope Pius IX, Napoleon III, Czar Alexander II, Queen Victoria, and Naser al-Din Shah Qajar. The messages were written while Bahá'u'lláh was in Edirne (Adrianople) and shortly after its completion, Bahá'u'lláh instructed the Surih and the tablets to the kings be written in the form of a pentacle, symbolizing the human temple and added to it the conclusion: "Thus have We built the Temple with the hands of power and might, could ye but know it. This is the Temple promised unto you in the Book. Draw ye nigh unto it. This is that
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    Tanya

    Tanya

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Tanya (תניא) is an early work of Hasidic philosophy, by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad Hasidism, first published in 1797. Its formal title is Likkutei Amarim (ליקוטי אמרים, Hebrew, "collection of statements"), but is more commonly known by its opening word, Tanya, which means "it was taught in a beraita". It comprises five sections that define Hasidic mystical psychology and theology as a handbook for daily spiritual life in Jewish observance. The Tanya is the main work of the Chabad approach to Hasidic mysticism, as it defines its general interpretation and method. The subsequent extensive library of the Chabad school, authored by successive leaders, builds upon the approach of the Tanya. Chabad differed from "Mainstream Hasidism" in its search for philosophical investigation and intellectual analysis of Hasidic Torah exegesis. This emphasised the mind as the route to internalising Hasidic mystical dveikus (emotional fervour), in contrast to general Hasidism's creative enthusiasm in faith. As a consequence, Chabad Hasidic writings are typically characterised by their systematic intellectual structure, while other classic texts of general Hasidic mysticism
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    Dasbodh

    Dāsbodh (Devanagari: दासबोध), loosely meaning advise to the disciple, is a classical 17th Century Hindu Advaita Vedanta spiritual text. It was orally narrated by saint Samarth Ramdas, spiritual advisor of the famous King Shivaji, to his disciple Kalyan Swami. The narration is believed to have taken place in a cave called Shivatharghal in the Raigad district of Maharashtra in India. The Dasbodh provides readers with spiritual guidance on matters such as devotion and acquiring knowledge. Dasbodh is a classic spiritual text that until recently has been largely unavailable in the West. The text was written in the 17th Century{1654} by the great Saint, Shri Samartha Ramdas in the Marathi language. Marathi is the native language of Maharashtra State in India. The book was originally written in a poetic style and is presented in the format of a conversation between a Guru and disciple. Many questions are answered and many doubts are cleared. In Dasbodh, Samartha Ramdas presents the essence of many Vedic texts. Dasbodh is truly a manual for life in the highest sense. Dasbodh has been popular for many years in India and has only recently begun to receive recognition in the West. Dasbodh is
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    Shem Mishmuel

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    Shem Mishmuel (Hebrew: שם משמואל‎) is the name of a nine-volume collection of homiletical teachings on the Torah and Jewish holidays delivered by Rabbi Shmuel Bornsztain, the second Sochatchover Rebbe, between the years 1910-1926. A major work in Hasidic thought, it synthesizes the Hasidism of Pshischa and Kotzk in the style of Sochatchov, and is frequently cited in Torah shiurim (lectures) and articles to this day. Bornsztain became known as the Shem Mishmuel after the title of this work, which was published posthumously. The title comes from the Mishnah on Shabbat 12:3, which describes the prohibition against writing on Shabbat. The Mishnah teaches that if a Jew wishes to write a whole name like Shimon (שמעון) or Shmuel (שמואל), but writes only the first two letters of these names, shin (ש) and mem (מ), he still transgresses the prohibition—for shin and mem spell a shorter name, shem (שם) (which literally means "name"). Bornsztain's choice of the Mishnaic expression shem miShimon o miShmuel (Shem from Shimon or from Shmuel) for his title reflects the classical rabbinic play on words combining a rabbinic teaching with the author's own name. The first eight volumes of Shem Mishmuel
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    First Epistle of Peter

    First Epistle of Peter

    The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament. The author claims to be Saint Peter the apostle, and the epistle was traditionally held to have been written during his time as bishop of Rome or Bishop of Antioch, though neither title is used in the epistle. The letter is addressed to various churches in Asia Minor suffering religious persecution. The authorship of 1 Peter has traditionally been attributed to the Apostle Peter because it bears his name and identifies him as its author (1:1). Although the text identifies Peter as its author the language, dating, style, and structure of this letter has led many scholars to conclude that this letter is pseudonymous. Many scholars are convinced that Peter was not the author of this letter because the author had to have a formal education in rhetoric/philosophy and an advanced knowledge of the Greek language. Graham Stanton rejects Petrine authorship because 1 Peter was most likely written during the reign of Domitian in AD 81, which is when he believes widespread Christian persecution began, which is long after the death of Peter. Many scholars also doubt
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    Book of Common Prayer

    Book of Common Prayer

    • Religious Text Of: Anglicanism
    The Book of Common Prayer is the short title of a number of related prayer books used in the Anglican Communion, as well as by the Continuing Anglican, "Anglican realignment" and other Anglican churches. The original book, published in 1549 (Church of England 1957), in the reign of Edward VI, was a product of the English Reformation following the break with Rome. Prayer books, unlike books of prayers, contain the words of structured (or liturgical) services of worship. The work of 1549 was the first prayer book to include the complete forms of service for daily and Sunday worship in English. It contained Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, the Litany, and Holy Communion and also the occasional services in full: the orders for Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, 'prayers to be said with the sick' and a Funeral service. It also set out in full the "propers" (that is the parts of the service which varied week by week or, at times, daily throughout the Church's Year): the Collect and the Epistle and Gospel readings for the Sunday Communion Service. Old Testament and New Testament readings for daily prayer were specified in tabular format as were the Psalms; and canticles, mostly biblical,
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    Tablet of Ahmad

    Lawh-i-Ahmad or Tablet of Ahmad is a tablet written by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith in Adrianople in 1865. In a letter written on his behalf, Shoghi Effendi has stated that it has been 'invested by Bahá'u'lláh with a special potency and significance'.
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    Shikshapatri

    Shikshapatri

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Shikshapatri (Gujarati: શિક્ષાપત્રી, Devanagari: शिक्षापत्री) is a religious text consisting of two hundred and twelve verses, written in Sanskrit by Swaminarayan. The Shikshapatri is a key scripture to all followers of the Swaminarayan faith and is considered the basis of the faith. The Shikshapatri was written in Vadtal on February 11, 1826. It is a dharma text, providing detailed instructions on how to live. The Gazeteer of the Bombay Presidency summarised the teachings of the Shiskshapatri as: The book of precepts strictly prohibits the destruction of animal life; promiscuous intercourse with the other sex; use of animal food and intoxicant liquors and drugs on any occasion, suicide, theft and robbery; false accusation against a fellow man; blasphemy; company of atheists and heretics, and other practices which might counteract the effect of the founder's teaching. On February 26, 1830 a historic meeting took place between Swaminarayan and Sir John Malcolm, the then Governor of Bombay. At this meeting, Swaminarayan presented a copy of the Shikshapatri to Sir John Malcolm. This copy is now housed at the Bodleian Library of the University of Oxford. Swaminarayan instructed
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    89

    Apocrypha Discordia

    • Religious Text Of: Discordianism
    Apocrypha Discordia is a collection of various works on Discordianism, compiled by Rev. DrJon Swabey from various non-copyrighted (or Kopyleft) sources, including fragments from both on line and printed sources. It includes illuminations from the Melbourne small press zine artist Pope Phil Wlodarczyk III. The concept for the book came as Steve Jackson Games was preparing its 1994 edition of Principia Discordia. According to that edition's introduction, someone on the net (Russel Dalenberg on the usenet group rec.games.board) suggested they publish an Apocrypha Discordia if they got enough material in the true Discordian spirit. Several people sent submissions, but the company never published the book. Probably the first appearance of writings that claimed to be part of Apocrypha Discordia, or sometimes the non-existent Apocrypha Discordia, were posted online in 1995 by Reverend Loveshade. Some of the material from that Apocrypha eventually became part of Ek-sen-trik-kuh Discordia: The Tales of Shamlicht. One of these stories, "Five Blind Men and an Elephant," was also included in Swabey's collection when it was published in 2001. Although some Discordian cabal consider the
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    90

    Book of Hosea

    The Book of Hosea is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It stands first in order among what are known as the twelve Minor Prophets. Hosea (הושֵעַ) prophesied during a dark and melancholic era of Israel's history, the period of the Northern Kingdom's decline and fall in the 8th century BC. The apostasy of the people was rampant, having turned away from God in order to serve the calves of Jeroboam II and Baal, a Canaanite god. During Hosea's lifetime, the kings of the Northern Kingdom, their aristocratic supporters, and the priests had led the people away from the Law of God, as given in the Pentateuch. Forsaking the worship of God, they worshiped other gods, especially Baal, the Canaanite fertility god. Other sins followed, including homicide, perjury, theft, and sexual sin. Hosea declares that unless they repent of these sins, God will allow their nation to be destroyed, and the people will be taken into captivity by Assyria, the greatest nation of the time. The prophecy of Hosea centers around God's unending love towards a sinful Israel. In this text, God's agony is expressed over the betrayal of Israel. Stephen Cook asserts that the prophetic efforts of this book can be summed
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    Book of Mosiah

    Book of Mosiah

    The Book of Mosiah ( /moʊˈsaɪ.ə/ or  /moʊˈzaɪ.ə/) is one of the books which make up the Book of Mormon. The title refers to Mosiah II, a king of the Nephites at Zarahemla. The book covers the time period between ca 130 BC and 91 BC, except for when the book has a flashback into the Record of Zeniff, which starts at ca 200 BC, according to footnotes. The original authorship of the book is unknown, but it is stated that it was abridged by Mormon. The Book of Mosiah opens with the Nephites (the descendants of Nephite people and the people of Zarahemla who merged and are now called the Nephites) living in peace under the rule of righteous King Benjamin in the land of Zarahemla. King Benjamin, who is getting old, decides to bestow the throne on his son Mosiah. He gathers all the people together and speaks to them from a high tower. His discourse in chapters 2 through 9 is considered by many Book of Mormon readers to be a significant piece of the Book of Mormon. He speaks of his principles of leadership, he emphasizes that he has worked himself as to not burden his people with taxes, and that the laws he has enacted are based on the laws of God. He states that serving one another is
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    New Testament

    New Testament

    • Religious Text Of: Protestantism
    The New Testament (Koine Greek: Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Hē Kainḕ Diathḗkē) is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first division being the Old Testament. Unlike the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, about which Christians hold different views, the contents of the New Testament deal explicitly with 1st century Christianity, although both the Old and New Testament are regarded, together, as sacred scripture. The New Testament has therefore (in whole or in part) frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world, and both reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology. Phrases as well as extended readings directly from the New Testament are also incorporated (along with readings from the Old Testament) into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced not only religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom, but also left an indelible mark on its literature, art, and music. The New Testament is an anthology, a collection of Christian works written in the common Greek language of the first century, at different times by various writers, and canonically named for the early Jewish disciples of Jesus of
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    93
    2 Maccabees

    2 Maccabees

    2 Maccabees is a deuterocanonical book of the Bible which focuses on the Jews' revolt against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and concludes with the defeat of the Syrian general Nicanor in 161 BC by Judas Maccabeus, the hero of the work. Unlike 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees was written in Koine Greek, probably in Alexandria, Egypt, c 124 BC. It presents a revised version of the historical events recounted in the first seven chapters of 1 Maccabees, adding material from the Pharisaic tradition, including prayer for the dead and a resurrection on Judgment Day. Catholics and Orthodox consider the work to be canonical and part of the Bible. Protestants and Jews reject most of the doctrinal innovations present in the work. Some Protestants include 2 Maccabees as part of the Biblical Apocrypha, useful for reading in the church. Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England defines it as useful but not the basis of doctrine and not necessary for salvation. The author of 2 Maccabees is not identified, but he claims to be abridging a 5-volume work by Jason of Cyrene. This longer work is not preserved, and it is uncertain how much of the present text of 2 Maccabees is simply copied from
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    Amitabha Sutra

    Amitabha Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Mahayana
    The Amitābha Sūtra (traditional Chinese: 阿彌陀經; pinyin: Āmítuó Jīng; Japanese: 阿弥陀経; Vietnamese: A di đà kinh) is a popular colloquial name for the Shorter Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra. The Amitābha Sūtra is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text, and it is one of the primary sūtras recited and upheld in the Pure Land Buddhist schools. The Amitābha Sūtra was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Tripiṭaka Master Kumārajīva in 402 CE, but may have existed in India as early as year 100 CE, composed in a Prakrit language. The bulk of the Amitābha Sūtra, considerably shorter than other Pure Land sūtras, consists of a discourse which the Buddha gave at Jeta Grove in Śrāvastī to his disciple Śāriputra. The talk concerned the wondrous adornments that await the righteous in the western pure land of Sukhāvatī (Chinese: 西方極樂國), as well as the beings that reside there, including the buddha Amitābha. The text also describes what one must do to be reborn there. In Pure Land and Chán Buddhism, the sūtra is often recited as part of the evening service (Chinese: 晚課; pinyin: wǎn kè), and is also recited as practice for practitioners. The Jōdoshū and Jōdo Shinshū schools also recite this sūtra when necessary. It is
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    95

    Daozang

    • Religious Text Of: Taoism
    Daozang (Chinese: 道藏; pinyin: Dàozàng; Wade-Giles: Tao Tsang), meaning "Treasury of Dao" or "Daoist Canon", consists of around 1400 texts that were collected circa C.E. 400 (after the Dao De Jing and Zhuang Zi which are the core Daoist texts). They were collected by Daoist monks of the period in an attempt to bring together all of the teachings of Daoism, including all the commentaries and expositions of the various masters from the original teachings found in the Dao De Jing and Zhuangzi. It was split into Three Grottoes, which mirrors the Buddhist Tripitaka (three baskets) division. These three divisions were based on the main focus of Daoism in Southern China during the time it was made, namely; meditation, ritual, and exorcism. These Three Grottoes were used as levels for the initiation of Daoist masters, from lowest (exorcism) to highest (meditation). As well as the Three Grottoes there were Four Supplements that were added to the Canon circa C.E. 500. These were mainly taken from older core Daoist texts (e.g. [Dao De Jing]) apart from one which was taken from an already established and separate philosophy known as Tianshi Dao (Way of the Heavenly Masters). Although the above
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    96

    Doctrine and Covenants

    • Religious Text Of: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    The Doctrine and Covenants (sometimes abbreviated and cited as D&C or D. and C.) is a part of the open scriptural canon of several denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement. Originally published in 1835 as Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God, editions of the book continue to be printed mainly by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church)). The book originally contained two parts: a sequence of lectures setting forth basic church doctrine, followed by a compilation of important revelations, or "covenants" of the church: thus the name Doctrine and Covenants. The "doctrine" portion of the book, however, has been removed by both the LDS Church and the Community of Christ. The remaining portion of the book contains many revelations on numerous topics, most of which were dictated by the movement's founder Joseph Smith, Jr., supplemented by materials periodically added by each denomination. Controversy has existed between the two largest denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement
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    Dwadashaakshar

    The Dwadashaakshara Mantra (Sanskrit, literally twelve-akshara mantra) is one of the most famous and common short prayers for worshipping Vasudeva (Krishna, Vishnu or Hari). The short form is: The full form is: This Mantra is found in the Vishnu Purana, within the story of Dhruva. Dhruva asks the seven great saints (Sapta Rishis) about the appropriate means to worship Vasudeva. The saints tell him of this great Mantra, and they also tell that this mantra was first used by Dhruva's grandfather, Svayambhuva Manu to worship Vasudeva. By satisfying Vasudeva with this mantra, Dhruva's Grandfather, Svayambhuva attained his heart's desire -the position of a Manu. Vasudeva granted Dhruva the fixed position that is above the Sun (Surya), Moon (Chandra), and all other planets and stars: Mangal, Budha, Brahsapati, Shukra, Shani, etc... even the Sapta Rishis and all Vimaanchari Gods. Vasudeva also granted Dhruva, the life-time of a Kalpa (1000 fourfold Yugas), or 4,320 million years, life greater than that of all Gods (devas - some of whom live up to a Manavantar or Manvantara (Life of a Manu) or 306,720,000 and some live 1 fourfold yuga or 4,320,000 years. In addition to that Vasudeva, also
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    Mahayana sutras

    Mahayana sutras

    • Religious Text Of: Buddhism
    Mahāyāna sutras are a broad genre of Buddhist scriptures that are accepted as canonical by the various traditions of Mahāyāna Buddhism. These are largely preserved in the Chinese Buddhist canon, the Tibetan Buddhist canon, and in extant Sanskrit manuscripts. Some six hundred Mahāyāna sutras have survived in Sanskrit or in Chinese and Tibetan translations. The origins of Mahāyāna are still not completely understood. The earliest views of Mahāyāna Buddhism in the West assumed that it existed as a separate school in competition with the so-called "Hīnayāna" schools. Due to the veneration of buddhas and bodhisattvas, Mahāyāna was often interpreted as a more devotional, lay-inspired form of Buddhism, with supposed origins in stūpa veneration, or by making parallels with the history of the European Protestant Reformation. These views have been largely dismissed in modern times in light of a much broader range of early texts that are now available. These earliest Mahāyāna texts often depict strict adherence to the path of a bodhisattva, and engagement in the ascetic ideal of a monastic life in the wilderness, akin to the ideas expressed in the Rhinoceros Sūtra. The old views of Mahāyāna
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    Swamini Vato

    Swamini Vato

    The Swamini Vato is a set of quotations and sayings written by Gunatitanand Swami. It is a scripture in the Swaminarayan denomination of the Hindu religion. It was documented in the mid 19th century, while Gunatitanand Swami was respectively known as the Mahant of Junagadh Mandir for 40 years. Gunatitanand Swami was born in Bhadra, Gujarat, India, on October 17, 1785 (on the occasion of Sharad Poonam). Originally named Mulji Sharma, as a child, he was engaged in the devotion of god at an early age. He was initiated as Gunatitanand Swami by Swaminarayan as a paramhansa of the Swaminarayan Sampraday. Through his book, Swamini Vato, Gunatitanand Swami gave advice for every aspect of life and beyond. His talks ranged from the glory of God, and how to gain spiritual knowledge, to even how to attain peace and happiness and is believed to have encompassed the value of human life itself. When Gunatitanand Swami gave lectures, devotees took notes on his talks. The notes were later studied by Achintyanand Brahmachari, after being asked by Gunatitanand Swami to continue giving discourses on these topics. At this point, the Swamini Vato was officially dubbed a scripture. The Original set of
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    100

    The Gateless Gate

    • Religious Text Of: Rinzai school
    The Gateless Gate (無門關, Mandarin. Wúménguān, Japanese. 無門関, Mumonkan) is a collection of 48 Chan (Zen) koans compiled in the early 13th century by the Chinese Zen master Wumen Hui-k'ai (無門慧開)(1183–1260) (Japanese: Mumon Ekai). Wumen's preface indicates that the volume was published in 1228. Each koan is accompanied by a commentary and verse by Wumen. A classic edition includes a 49th case composed by Anwan (pen name for Cheng Ch'ing-Chih) in 1246. Wu-liang Tsung-shou also supplemented the volume with a verse of four stanzas composed in 1230 about the three checkpoints of Zen master Huanglong. These three checkpoints of Huanglong should not be confused with Doushuai's Three Checkpoints found in Case 47. Along with the Blue Cliff Record and the oral tradition of Hakuin Ekaku, The Gateless Gate is a central work much used in Rinzai School practice. Five of the koans in the work concern the sayings and doings of Zhaozhou; four concern Ummon. The common theme of the koans of the Wumen Guan and of Wumen's comments is the inquiry and introspection of dualistic conceptualization. Each koan epitomizes one or more of the polarities of consciousness that act like an obstacle or wall to the
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    101
    Zohar

    Zohar

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Zohar (Hebrew: זֹהַר‎‎, lit Splendor or Radiance) is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on Mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains a discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and "true self" to "The Light of God," and the relationship between the "universal energy" and man. Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah. The Zohar is mostly written in what has been described as an exalted, eccentric style of Aramaic, which was the day-to-day language of Israel in the Second Temple period (539 BCE – 70 CE), was the original language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and is the main language of the Talmud. The Zohar first appeared in Spain in the 13th century, and was published by a Jewish writer named Moses de Leon. De Leon
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    102

    Book of Jasher

    The Book of Jasher, or Pseudo-Jasher, is an 18th-century literary forgery by Jacob Ilive. It purports to be an English translation by Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus of a lost Book of Jasher. It is sometimes called Pseudo-Jasher to distinguish it from the Sefer haYashar (midrash) (Naples, 1552) which incorporates genuine Jewish legend. Published in November, 1751, the title page of the book says: "translated into English by Flaccus Albinus Alcuinus, of Britain, Abbot of Canterbury, who went on a pilgrimage into the Holy Land and Persia, where he discovered this volume in the city of Gazna." The book claims to be written by Jasher, son of Caleb, one of Moses' lieutenants, who later judged Israel at Shiloh. Jasher covers Biblical history from the creation down to Jasher's own day and was represented as being the Lost Book of Jasher mentioned in the Bible. In Alcuinus' supposed translation, the Law is not given to Moses on Mount Sinai by God, but near to the mountain by Moses' father-in-law Jethro as the basis for civil government. The Creation occurs in the first chapter by natural process out of the ether and God only appears in Eden after the plants and animals at the human stage of
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    103
    2 Esdras

    2 Esdras

    2 Esdras (also called 4 Esdras or Latin Esdras) is the name of an apocalyptic book in many English versions of the Bible (see "Naming conventions" below). Its authorship is ascribed to Ezra. It is reckoned among the apocrypha by Catholics, Protestants, and most Eastern Orthodox. Although Second Esdras exists in its complete form only in Latin, it was originally written in Hebrew. Nonetheless, 2 Esdras has not been preserved in modern Jewish tradition, typical for works dating from the period of the Second Temple. As with 1 Esdras, there is some confusion about the numbering of this book. Some early Latin manuscripts call it 3 Esdras, while Jerome and the medieval Latin manuscripts denoted it 4 Esdras, which to this day is the name used for it in modern critical editions, which are typically in Latin, the language of its most complete exemplars. Once Jerome's 1 and 2 Esdras were denoted Ezra and Nehemiah in more recent times, the designation 2 Esdras became common in English Bibles. It appears in the Appendix to the Old Testament in the Slavonic Bible, where it is called 3 Esdras, and the Georgian Orthodox Bible numbers it 3 Ezra. This text is sometimes also known as Apocalypse of
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    Book of Enos

    Book of Enos

    The Book of Enos is the fourth book of the Book of Mormon. According to the text it was written by Enos, a Nephite prophet. The short book consists of a single chapter and relates Enos' conversion after praying all day and all night, and his subsequent dialogue with the Lord. It also discusses the redemption of the Nephites and their enemies, the Lamanites.
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    Nevi'im

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    Nevi'im (Hebrew: נְבִיאִים Nəḇî'îm‎, "Prophets") is the second main division of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh), between the Torah (instruction) and Ketuvim (writings). It contains two sub-groups, the Former Prophets (Nevi'im Rishonim נביאים ראשונים, the narrative books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Nevi'im Aharonim נביאים אחרונים, the books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel and the Twelve Minor Prophets). Many of the writings of the Latter Prophets are thought by scholars to be older than the narratives of the Former Prophets which precede them in the canon, and were profoundly influential on the direction and development of Hebrew religion. The Latter Prophets have also had a wide influence on literature and on political and social activism in cultures outside of Judaism. In Judaism, Samuel and Kings are each counted as one book. In addition, twelve relatively short prophetic books are counted as one in a single collection called Trei Asar or "The Twelve Minor Prophets". The Jewish tradition thus counts a total of eight books in Nevi'im out of a total of 24 books in the entire Tanakh. In the Jewish liturgy, selections from the books of Nevi'im known as
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    Old Testament

    Old Testament

    • Religious Text Of: Protestantism
    The Old Testament is a Christian term for a collection of religious writings of ancient Israel that form the major and first section of Christian Bibles, in contrast to the Christian New Testament which deals explicitly with the 1st century Christianity. The Hebrew Canon approved by Rabbinic Judaism included only certain Hebrew/Aramaic books but not all. Some of these scriptures vary markedly between differing Christian denominations; Protestants accept only the Hebrew Bible's canon but divide it into 39 books, while Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, Coptic and Ethiopian churches recognise a considerably larger collection. The books can be broadly divided into the Pentateuch, which tells how God selected Israel to be his chosen people; the history books telling the history of the Israelites from their conquest of Canaan to their defeat and exile in Babylon; the poetic and "wisdom" books dealing, in various forms, with questions of good and evil in the world; and the books of the biblical prophets, warning of the consequences of turning away from God. For the Israelites who were its original authors and readers these books told of their own unique relationship with God and their
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    107
    Plates of Nephi

    Plates of Nephi

    According to the Book of Mormon, the plates of Nephi, consisting of the large plates of Nephi and the small plates of Nephi, are a portion of the collection of inscribed metal plates which make up the record of the Nephites. This record was later abridged by Mormon and inscribed onto gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon after he discovered them on a hill near the town of Palmyra, New York. Palaeographic study of the plates is not possible; according to Joseph Smith the plates were returned to an angel named Moroni, and are no longer in human possession. According to the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi: "I make an abridgment of the record of my father, upon plates which I have made with mine own hands; wherefore, after I have abridged the record of my father then will I make an account of mine own life." Nephi's father, Lehi, was also a prophet who, after prophesying of the destruction of Jerusalem, left with members of his extended family around 600 BC and was eventually directed to the New World. Nephi was commanded to make two sets of plates: A small set of plates "for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my
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    Seven Valleys

    The Seven Valleys (Persian: هفت وادی‎ Haft-Vádí) is a book written in Persian by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The Four Valleys (Persian: چهار وادی‎ Chahár Vádí) was also written by Bahá'u'lláh, and the two books are usually published together under the title The Seven Valleys and the Four Valleys. The two books are distinctly different and have no direct relation. The Seven Valleys was written around 1860 in Baghdad after Bahá'u'lláh had returned from the Sulaymaniyah region in Kurdistan. The work was written in response to questions posed by Shaykh Muhyi'd-Din, a judge, who was a follower of the Qádiríyyih Order of Sufism. About the time of writing to Bahá'u'lláh, he quit his job, and spent the rest of his life wandering around Iraqi Kurdistan. This work has been called by Shoghi Effendi his "greatest mystical composition", and in the West was one of the earliest available books of Bahá'u'lláh, first translated directly to French in 1905, and English in 1906. The style of The Seven Valleys is highly poetic, though not composed in verse. Nearly every line of the text contains rhymes, and plays on words, which can be lost in translation. As the recipient was of Sufi
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    Srimala Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Buddhism
    The Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra (Sanskrit; traditional Chinese: 勝鬘師子吼一乘大方便方廣經; pinyin: shèngmán shīzihǒu yīchéng dàfāngbiàn fāngguǎng jīng; Japanese: 勝鬘経 Shōman-kyō) is one of the main early Mahāyāna Buddhist texts that teaches the doctrines of Tathāgatagarbha and the One Vehicle (Skt. ekayāna), through the words of the Indian queen Śrīmālā. After its composition, this text became the primary scriptural advocate in India for the universal potentiality of Buddhahood. Brian Edward Brown, a specialist in Tathāgatagarbha doctrines, writes that it has been determined that the composition of the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra occurred during the Īkṣvāku Dynasty in the 3rd century CE, as a product of the Mahāsāṃghikas of the Āndhra region (i.e. the Caitika schools). Wayman has outlined eleven points of complete agreement between the Mahāsāṃghikas and the Śrīmālā, along with four major arguments for this association. Sree Padma and Anthony Barber also associate the earlier development of the Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra with the Mahāsāṃghikas, and conclude that the Mahāsāṃghikas of the Āndhra region were responsible for the inception of the Tathāgatagarbha doctrine. The Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra
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    Chinese Buddhist canon

    Chinese Buddhist canon

    • Religious Text Of: Buddhism
    The Chinese Buddhist Canon (大藏經 Dàzàngjīng) (Japanese: 大蔵経 Daizōkyō; Korean: 대장경 Daejanggyeong; Vietnamese: Đạitạngkinh) refers to the total body of Buddhist literature deemed canonical in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese Buddhism. The traditional term for this canon is Dàzàngjīng (大藏經), which means the "Great Treasury of Sūtras." The Chinese Buddhist canon includes Āgama, Vinaya and Abhidharma texts from Early Buddhist schools, as well as the Mahāyāna sūtras and scriptures from Esoteric Buddhism. There are many versions of the canon in East Asia in different places and time. An early version is the Fangshan Stone Sutras (房山石經) from the 7th century. The earlier Lung Tripitaka (龍藏) and Jiaxing Tripitaka (嘉興藏) and new tripitakas are still completed in printed form. The complete woodblocks are the Tripiṭaka Koreana and the Chenlong Tripitaka. The Tripiṭaka Koreana or Palman Daejanggyeong was carved between 1236 and 1251, during Korea's Goryeo Dynasty, onto 81,340 wooden printing blocks with no known errors in the 52,382,960 characters. It is stored at the Haeinsa temple, South Korea. One of the most used version is Taishō Shinshū Daizōkyō (Taishō Tripiṭaka, 大正新脩大藏經). Named
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    111

    Chitas

    ChiTaS (Hebrew: חת"ת‎) is a Hebrew acronym for Chumash (the five books of Moses), Tehillim (Psalms), and Tanya (a seminal work of Hasidic philosophy by Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the Alter Rebbe). These are considered basic Jewish texts according to the Chabad tradition, and so there is a custom to study these works according to a yearly cycle, which is known colloquially as "doing ChiTaS." The divisions of the Chumash and the Psalms are many centuries old, but the Tanya was divided into daily study portions by Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson often encouraged Jews to follow this cycle, emphasizing that these study portions are applicable to every single Jew. These three texts have been bound together in one volume, which is available from the Kehot Publication Society. The volume also includes other elements of daily use, such as the Siddur (prayer book).ola .
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    Halakha

    Halakha

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    Halakha (Hebrew: הֲלָכָה‎‎) (Sephardic Hebrew pronunciation) (ha-la-chAH)—also transliterated Halocho (Ashkenazic Hebrew pronunciation) (ha-LUH-chuh), or Halacha—is the collective body of religious laws for Jews, including biblical law (the 613 mitzvot) and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions. Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish religious tradition does not distinguish clearly between religious, national, racial, or ethnic identities. Halakha guides not only religious practices and beliefs, but numerous aspects of day-to-day life. Halakha is often translated as "Jewish Law", although a more literal translation might be "the path" or "the way of walking". The word derives from the Shoresh that means to go or to walk. Historically in the diaspora, Halakha served many Jewish communities as an enforceable avenue of civil and religious law. Since the Age of Enlightenment, emancipation, and haskalah in the modern era, Jewish citizens are bound to Halakha only by their voluntary consent. Under contemporary Israeli law, however, certain areas of Israeli family and personal status law
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    Mishneh Torah

    Mishneh Torah

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Mishneh Torah (Hebrew: מִשְׁנֶה תּוֹרָה‎, "Repetition of the Torah") subtitled Sefer Yad HaHazaka (ספר יד החזקה "Book of the Strong Hand,") is a code of Jewish religious law (Halakha) authored by Maimonides (Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known as RaMBaM or "Rambam"), one of history's foremost rabbis. The Mishneh Torah was compiled between 1170 and 1180 (4930-4940), while Maimonides was living in Egypt, and is regarded as Maimonides' magnum opus. Accordingly, later sources simply refer to the work as "Maimon", "Maimonides" or "RaMBaM", although Maimonides composed other works. Mishneh Torah consists of fourteen books, subdivided into sections, chapters, and paragraphs. It is the only Medieval-era work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws that are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in existence, and remains an important work in Judaism. Its title is an appellation originally used for the Biblical book of Deuteronomy, and its subtitle, "Book of the Strong Hand," derives from its subdivision into fourteen books: the numerical value fourteen, when represented as the Hebrew letters Yod (10) Dalet (4), forms the word yad ("hand"). Maimonides intended to
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    Nag Hammadi library

    Nag Hammadi library

    • Religious Text Of: Gnosticism
    The Nag Hammadi library is a collection of early Christian Gnostic texts discovered near the Upper Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. Twelve leather-bound papyrus codices buried in a sealed jar were found by a local peasant named Mohammed Ali Samman. The writings in these codices comprised fifty-two mostly Gnostic treatises, but they also include three works belonging to the Corpus Hermeticum and a partial translation/alteration of Plato's Republic. In his "Introduction" to The Nag Hammadi Library in English, James Robinson suggests that these codices may have belonged to a nearby Pachomian monastery, and were buried after Bishop Athanasius condemned the use of non-canonical books in his Festal Letter of 367 AD. The contents of the codices were written in the Coptic language, though the works were probably all translations from Greek. The best-known of these works is probably the Gospel of Thomas, of which the Nag Hammadi codices contain the only complete text. After the discovery it was recognized that fragments of these sayings attributed to Jesus appeared in manuscripts discovered at Oxyrhynchus in 1898 (P. Oxy. 1), and matching quotations were recognized in other early
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    Some Answered Questions

    • Religious Text Of: Bahá'í Faith
    Some Answered Questions was first published in 1908. It contains questions asked to `Abdu'l-Bahá, son of the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, by Laura Clifford Barney, during several of her visits to Haifa between 1904 and 1906, and `Abdu'l-Bahá's answers to these questions. Prominent among the topics are detailed explanations of Christian subjects, including interpretations of chapters 11 and 12 of the Book of Revelation, chapter 11 of the Book of Isaiah, the story of Genesis, and many other subjects. Topics covered include God, Prophets of God, Christian subjects, evolution, the soul, immortality, fate, free will, healing, the non-existence of evil, and reincarnation.
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    Tattvartha Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Jainism
    Tattvartha Sutra (also known as Tattvarth-adhigama-sutra or Moksh-Shastra) is a Jain text written by Acharya Umaswati. It was an attempt to bring together the different elements of the Jain path, epistemological, metaphysical, cosmological, ethical and practical, otherwise unorganized around the scriptures in an unsystematic format. It is the first Jain text in sutra or aphoristic form, and bring almost entire Jain doctrinal system in 350 sutras spread over 10 chapters. The term Tattvartha is composed of the Sanskrit words tattva "things, realities" and artha "true nature". Umaswami is accepted by all the sects of Jains and is said to have lived around the 2nd century. The Tattvartha Sutra is regarded as the most authoritative book on Jainism, and the only text authoritative in both the Svetambara and Digambara sects, and its position comparable with that of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali in Hinduism. It has the largest number of bhashyas or commentaries in different Indian languages from the fifth century onward. The earliest extant Digambara commentary on the text is Sarvathasiddhi, by the sixth century CE grammarian, Devanandi, commonly known as Pujyapada. It along with Akalanka's
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    Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra

    The Baudhayana Shrauta Sutra (BSS) is a Late Vedic text dealing with the solemn rituals of the Taittiriya school of the Black Yajurveda that was composed in eastern Uttar Pradesh during the late Brahmana period. It was first published in 1904-23 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal, as edited by Willem Caland and translated by C.G. Kashikar, in part in his "Srautakosa", and as a whole later on. Baudhayana, the traditional author of the Sutra, originally belonged to the Kanva school of the White Yajurveda. W. Caland has adduced materials that indicate Baudhayana's shift from this tradition to that of the Taittiriya school. This agrees with the geographical position of the text between the eastern (Bihar) territory of the White Yajurveda and the western ones the Taittiriyas (Uttar Pradesh). However, Baudhayana is quoted many times in the text as speaking; the work thus is clearly the work of his students and his school, the Baudhayanas. The text is important as it is one of the earliest Srautasutras, next to that of the Vadhula sub-school of the Taittiriyas, which was situated a little further west than the Baudhayanas. Both belong to the late Brahmana period and share late Vedic
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    Book of Alma

    Book of Alma

    • Religious Text Of: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    The Book of Alma ( /ˈæl.mə/) is one of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. The full title is The Book of Alma: The Son of Alma. The title refers to Alma the Younger, a prophet and "chief judge" of the Nephites. The Book of Alma is the longest of all the books of the Book of Mormon, consisting of 63 chapters. The book records the first 39 years of what the Nephites termed "the reign of the judges", a period in which the Nephite nation adopted a constitutional theocratic government in which the judicial and executive branches of the government were combined. The history of the book is outlined as follows: The first four chapters, describe the rebellions of followers of Nehor and Amlici. Contrary to the dominant lay ministry that existed in the Nephite culture, Nehor established a church in which priests were given a separate social status and were paid for their ministry. After killing a religious leader during a theological argument, Nehor was tried and executed for his crimes. The followers of Amlici resented the dominant political and religious parties and sought to reestablish the monarchy that the reign of the judges replaced. Alma, the chief judge and governor as well as
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    Book of Ezra

    The Book of Ezra is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Originally combined with the Book of Nehemiah in a single book of Ezra-Nehemiah, the two became separated in the early centuries of the Christian era. Its subject is the Return to Zion following the close of the Babylonian captivity, and it is divided into two parts, the first telling the story of the first return of exiles in the first year of Cyrus the Great (538 BC) and the completion and dedication of the new Temple in Jerusalem in the sixth year of Darius (515 BC), the second telling of the subsequent mission of Ezra to Jerusalem and his struggle to purify the Jews from the sin of marriage with non-Jews. Together with the Book of Nehemiah, it represents the final chapter in the historical narrative of the Hebrew Bible. Ezra is written to fit a schematic pattern in which the God of Israel inspires a king of Persia to commission a leader from the Jewish community to carry out a mission; three successive leaders carry out three such missions, the first rebuilding the Temple, the second purifying the Jewish community, and the third sealing of the holy city itself behind a wall. (This last mission, that of Nehemiah, is not part of the
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    Book of Judges

    Book of Judges

    The Book of Judges (Hebrew: Sefer Shoftim ספר שופטים) is the seventh book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired leaders whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as champions for the Israelites from oppression by foreign rulers, and models of wise and faithful behaviour required of them by their god Yahweh following the exodus from Egypt and conquest of Canaan. The events of Judges are set "between c. 1380 [B.C.E.] and the rise of Saul, c. 1050." The stories follow a consistent pattern: the people are unfaithful to Yahweh and he therefore delivers them into the hands of their enemies; the people repent and entreat Yahweh for mercy, which he sends in the form of a leader or champion (a "judge"); the judge delivers the Israelites from oppression and they prosper, but soon they fall again into unfaithfulness and the cycle is repeated. Judges forms part of Deuteronomistic history, a theologically-oriented history of Israel from the entry into Canaan to the destruction of the Temple. The details of this history's composition are still widely debated, but most scholars
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    Book of Mormon

    Book of Mormon

    • Religious Text Of: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    The Book of Mormon is the name of a book, or division, in the larger Book of Mormon. This "inner" book has nine chapters. According to the text, the first seven chapters were written by the prophet Mormon and the last two by his son Moroni. These men were given a sacred charge to observe the destruction of their people for their wickedness and failure to repent; and to record their observations on metal plates which would be hidden until the Lord would reveal them to the world at a future time. The book thus explains the alleged provenance of the Book of Mormon as an ancient record, mostly of the Nephites, compiled by Mormon and Moroni on Golden Plates.
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    Brahma Samhita

    The Brahma Samhita is a Sanskrit Pancaratra text, composed of verses of prayer spoken by Brahma glorifying the supreme Lord Sri Krishna or Govinda at the beginning of creation. It is revered within Gaudiya Vaishnavism, whose founder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534), re-discovered a part of the work, the 62 verses of Chapter 5, at the Adikeshav Temple in Thiruvattur, Kerala, Southern India in the 16th Century which had previously been lost for a few centuries. Mitsunori Matsubara in his Pancaratra Samhitas and Early Vaisnava Theology dates the text at ca 1300 AD. The text contains a highly esoteric description, with the Kama-Gayatri, of Krishna in His abode Goloka. In 1971 George Harrison produced a modern recording of these prayers along with the Hare Krishna devotees of the Radha Krsna Temple in London entitled 'Govindam', taking its title from the main chorus line of the prayer "govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami" meaning "I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord". This prayer was sung by a disciple of Srila Prabhupāda-Yamuna mataji. The recovered fragment of the Śrī Brahma-samhitā commences at the fifth chapter. verse 1 states: Which translates to: The text was first translated
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    Dasam Granth

    Dasam Granth

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    Dasam Granth (Punjabi: ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ; or Dasven Patshah/Padshah Da Granth (Punjabi: ਦਸਵੇਂ ਪਾਤਸ਼ਾਹ ਦਾ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ, "Book of the Tenth Master"), often called Sri Dasam Granth Sahib with respect) is a scripture of Sikhism, containing much of the texts attributed to tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Dasam Granth is separate granth and should not be confused with the Guru Granth Sahib. W. H. McLeod has noted that while the Guru Granth Sahib has a religious focus on "liberation through meditation", the Dasam Granth's focus has "little to do with religious belief". Some compositions of the Dasam Granth like Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Savaye, and Benti Chaupai are part of daily prayers Nitnem of the Sikhs. These compositions are also part of Sikh baptism (Khanda di Pahul). It is written in the Braj Bhasha language with the Gurmukhi script. There are three major views on the authorship of the Dasam Granth: In his religious court at Anandpur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh had employed 52 poets, who translated several classical texts into Braj Bhasha. Most of the writing compiled at Anandpur Sahib was lost while the Guru's camp was crossing the Sirsa river before the Battle of Chamkaur. There were copiers
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    Gospel of Luke

    Gospel of Luke

    The Gospel According to Luke (Greek: Τὸ κατὰ Λουκᾶν εὐαγγέλιον, to kata Loukan euangelion), commonly shortened to the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, is the third and longest of the four canonical Gospels. This synoptic gospel is an account of the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. It details his story from the events of his birth to his Ascension. The author is traditionally identified as Luke the Evangelist, The Apostle Paul referred to Luke as the beloved physician. Certain popular stories, such as the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan, are found only in this gospel. This account also has a special emphasis on prayer, the activity of the Holy Spirit, women, and joyfulness. Luke presented Jesus as the Son of God, but turned his attention especially to the humanity of Jesus, featuring his compassion for the weak, the suffering and the outcast. According to the preface the purpose of Luke is to write a historical account, while bringing out the theological significance of the history. The evangelist divides history into three stages: the first ends with John the Baptist, the second consists of Jesus' earthly ministry, and the third is the life of the church after Jesus'
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    Gospel of Matthew

    Gospel of Matthew

    The Gospel According to Matthew (Greek: κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον, kata Matthaion euangelion, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ματθαῖον, to euangelion kata Matthaion) (Gospel of Matthew or simply Matthew) is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Matthew probably originated in a Jewish-Christian community in Roman Syria towards the end of the first century A.D. The anonymous author drew three main sources, including the Gospel of Mark, the sayings collection known as the Q source, and material unique to his own community. The narrative tells how Israel's Messiah, having been rejected by Israel (i.e., God's chosen people), withdrew into the circle of his disciples, passed judgment on those who had rejected him (so that "Israel" becomes the non-believing "Jews"), and finally sent the disciples instead to the gentiles The Gospel of Matthew does not name its author. The tradition that this was the disciple Matthew begins with the early Christian bishop Papias of Hierapolis (about 100–140 AD), who, in a passage with several ambiguous phrases, wrote:
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    Hindu scripture

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Hindu literature can be divided into two categories: Shruti–that which is revealed and Smriti–that which is remembered. The Vedas constituting the former category are considered sacred scripture. Later texts like the various shastras and the itihaasas form Smruti. Holding an ambiguous position between the Upanishads of the Vedas and the epics, the Bhagavad Gita is considered to be revered scripture by most Hindus today. All Shruti scriptures are composed in Sanskrit. Much of the morphology inherent in the learning of Sanskrit is inextricably linked to study of the Vedas and other early texts. The Vedas form the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism. According to the Rigveda, the Vedic Mantras were composed by various seers who had 'seen' (dṛś) them in deep concentration (dhī). However, to post-Vedic tradition, the Vedas are apauruṣeya "not human compositions", being supposed to have been directly revealed, and thus are called śruti ("what is heard"). A number of Vedic mantras are recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other auspicious occasions. The philosophies and religious sects that developed in the Indian subcontinent have
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    Kalpasutra

    Kalpasutra

    • Religious Text Of: Jainism
    The Kalpa Sūtra (Sanskrit: कल्पसूत्र) is a Jain text containing the biographies of the Jain Tirthankaras, most notably Parshvanath and Mahavira, including the latter's Nirvana. Bhadrabahu I is considered the author of the text and it is traditionally said to have been composed about one hundred and fifty years after Nirvāṇa of Mahavira (traditionally 599 – 527 BCE). Within the six sections of the Jain literary corpus belonging to the Svetambara school, it is classed as one of the Cheda Sūtras. It contains detailed life histories and, from the mid-15th century, was frequently illustrated with miniature painting. The oldest surviving copies are written on paper, a medium introduced into western India in the 14th century. The book is read and illustrated in an eight day long festival of Paryushan by Jain monks for general people. Only Monks can read this scriptures as in olden days ordinary people could not get their copy of kalpasutra as printing was not discovered.
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    Long Healing Prayer

    Lawh-i-Anta'l-Kafi or the Long Healing Prayer is a prayer written in Arabic by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith, in the 'Akká period. The authorized English translation was done in 1980 by Habib Taherzadeh and a Committee at the Bahá'í World Centre. The main part of the prayer consists of numerous rhythmic invocations of God, each ending with the phrase "Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One." The prayer ends with a supplication for healing and protection, and includes the phrase "protect the bearer of this blessed Tablet, and whoso reciteth it, and whoso cometh upon it, and whoso passeth around the house wherein it is. Heal Thou, then, by it every sick, diseased and poor one", which gives this prayer its talismanic nature. Bahá'u'lláh wrote several other healing prayers, including a prayer for women, one for infants, and a well-known short prayer starting with the phrase "Thy Name is my healing", which is part of Bahá'u'lláh's Lawh-i-Tibb (Tablet to a Physician).
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    Old English Bible translations

    • Religious Text Of: The Bible and history
    A number of Old English Bible translations (pre-1066) were prepared in medieval England, rendering parts of the Bible into the Old English language. Many of these translations were in fact glosses, prepared and circulated in connection with the Latin Bible — the Vulgate — that was standard in Western Christianity at the time, for the purpose of assisting clerics whose grasp of Latin was imperfect. Old English literature is remarkable for containing a number of incomplete Bible translations that were not glosses and that were meant to be circulated independently. In 1066, the Norman Conquest of England marked the beginning of the end of the Old English language and initiated profound changes in its vocabulary. The project of translating the Bible into Old English gradually ended after that process began. A period of change from Old English to Middle English began (though evidence is very scanty), and eventually there were attempts to provide Bible translations in that language.
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    Purusha sukta

    Purusha sukta

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Purusha sukta (puruṣasūkta, पुरुष सूक्तम्) is hymn 10.90 of the Rigveda, dedicated to the Purusha, the "Cosmic Being". According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, the seer of this verse is Rishi Narayana and this sukta can evoke God-experience in the seeker. One version of the suktam has 16 verses, 15 in the anuṣṭubh meter, and the final one in the triṣṭubh meter. Another version of the suktam consists of 24 verses with the first 18 mantras designated as the Purva-narayana and the later portion termed as the Uttara-narayana probably in honour of Rishi Narayana. The Purusha sukta gives a description of the spiritual unity of the universe. It presents the nature of Purusha or the cosmic being as both immanent in the manifested world and yet transcendent to it. From this being, the sukta holds, the original creative will (later identified with Brahma, Hiranyagarbha or Prajapati) proceeds which causes the projection the universe in space and time. The Purusha sukta, in the seventh verse, hints at the organic connectedness of the various classes of in the society. The Purusha is defined in verses 2 to 5 of the sukta. He is described as a being who pervades everything conscious and unconscious
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    Ramayana

    Ramayana

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Ramayana (Sanskrit: रामायण, Rāmāyaṇa, IPA: [rɑːˈmɑːjəɳə] ) is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon (smṛti), considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king.The name Ramayana is a tatpurusha compound of Rāma and ayana ("going, advancing"), translating to "Rama's Journey". The Ramayana consists of 24,000 verses in seven books (kāṇḍas) and 500 cantos (sargas), and tells the story of Rama (an avatar of the Hindu preserver-God Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by the king of Lanka, Ravana. Thematically, the Ramayana explores human values and the concept of dharma. Verses in the Ramayana are written in a 32-syllable meter called anustubh. The Ramayana was an important influence on later Sanskrit poetry and Indian life and culture. Like the Mahābhārata, the Ramayana is not just a story: it presents the teachings of ancient Hindu sages(Vedas) in narrative allegory, interspersing
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    Upanishad

    Upanishad

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Upanishads (Sanskrit: उपनिषद्, IAST: Upaniṣad, IPA: [upəniʂəd]) are a collection of philosophical texts which form the theoretical basis for the Hindu religion. They are also known as Vedanta, the end of the Veda. In the purest sense, they are not Sruti (revealed truths) but rather commentaries which explain the essence of the veda (revealed knowledge). The Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and in the Aranyakas. All Upanishads have been passed down in oral tradition. More than 200 are known, of which the first dozen or so, the oldest and most important, are variously referred to as the principal, main (mukhya) or old Upanishads. With the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi), the mukhya Upanishads provide a foundation for several later schools of Indian philosophy (vedanta), among them, two influential monistic schools of Hinduism. Historians believe the chief Upanishads were composed over a wide period ranging from the Pre-Buddhist period to the early centuries BCE though minor Upanishads were still being composed in the medieval and early modern period. However, there has been considerable debate among
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    Yogavashista

    The Yogavashita, also referred to as the Vashita Geeta contains the spiritual teachings that Sri Rama received from his guru Sage Vashista when he was only a teenager. It is a religious text that is used to help newcomers understand the Hindu philosophy. The book consists of around thirty thousand slokas as well as numerous short stories and anecdotes used to help simplify the content.
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    Book of Ether

    Book of Ether

    The Book of Ether is one of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. The Book of Ether tells of an ancient people (the Jaredites), descendants of Jared and his companions who were led by God to the Americas shortly after the confusion of tongues and the destruction of the Tower of Babel. The title refers to Ether, a Jaredite prophet who lived at the end of the time period covered by the book. The time frame for the events in the book have been estimated as starting anywhere from 2600 B.C. to 2100 B.C. and extending to some time beyond 600 B.C., giving a date range of at least 1500 years, but possible as long as 2500 years. The book begins with the journey of Jared and his people from the tumultuous wickedness of the Tower of Babel to "the promised land." The brother of Jared is described as "a large and mighty man … highly favored of the Lord", and seems to have been the spiritual leader of the group. Through his faith, he is given a prophetic vision of the history of the world, and inscribes prophetic writings that are to be "sealed up" until the Lord sees fit that they be revealed. The brother of Jared is directed by the Lord to build unpowered submarines, termed barges, to
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    Book of Homilies

    Book of Homilies

    • Religious Text Of: Anglicanism
    The Books of Homilies (1547, 1562, and 1571) are two books of thirty-three sermons developing the reformed doctrines of the Church of England in greater depth and detail than in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. The title of the collection is Certain Sermons or Homilies Appointed to Be Read in Churches. During the reign of Edward VI and later during the reign of Elizabeth I, Thomas Cranmer and other English reformers saw the need for local congregations to be taught Christian theology and practice. Before the English Reformation, the liturgy was conducted entirely in Latin, to which the common people listened passively except twice a year during Communion, when only the consecrated bread was administered. Since parsons, vicars and curates often lacked the education and experience needed to write sermons and were often unfamiliar with Reformed doctrine, scholars and bishops wrote out a collection of sermons for them, which were appointed to be read each Sunday and holy day. The reading of the homilies in church is still mandated under Article XXXV of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Many of the sermons are straightforward exhortations to read scripture daily and lead a life of prayer
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    Epistle of James

    Epistle of James

    The Epistle of James (Ancient Greek: Ἰάκωβος Iakōbos), usually referred to simply as James, is a Letter in the New Testament. The author identifies himself as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", with "the earliest extant manuscripts of James usually dated to mid-to-late third century." The epistle has been traditionally attributed to James the Just since AD 253. There are four views concerning the Epistle of James, that: The epistle may not be a true piece of correspondence between specific parties, but rather an example of wisdom literature formulated as a letter for circulation. The work is considered New Testament wisdom literature because, "like Proverbs and Sirach, it consists largely of moral exhortations and precepts of a traditional and eclectic nature." Similarly, the Catholic Encyclopedia says, "the subjects treated of in the Epistle are many and various; moreover, St. James not infrequently, whilst elucidating a certain point, passes abruptly to another, and presently resumes once more his former argument." The writer calls himself simply “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus had two apostles named James, but it is unlikely
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    First Epistle of John

    First Epistle of John

    The First Epistle of John, often referred to as First John and written 1 John, is a book of the New Testament. This fourth catholic or "general" epistle is attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two Epistles of John. This Epistle was likely written in Ephesus between the years 95–110. The work was written to counter docetism, the heresy that Jesus did not come "in the flesh," but only as a spirit. It also defined how Christians are to discern true teachers: by their ethics, their proclamation of Jesus in the flesh, and by their love. The Epistle is traditionally held to have been composed by John the Evangelist, at Ephesus, when the writer was in advanced age. The epistle's content, language and conceptual style are very similar to the Gospel of John, 2 John, and 3 John, indicating that they were written by the same author. Indeed, at the end of the 19th century scholar Ernest DeWitt Burton wrote that there could be "no reasonable doubt" that 1 John and the gospel were written by the same author, and Amos Wilder has said that, "Early Christian tradition and the great majority of modern scholars have agreed on
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    Harivamsa

    Harivamsa

    The Harivamsha (also Harivamsa; Sanskrit Harivaṃśa हरिवंश "the lineage of Hari (Vishnu)") is an important work of Sanskrit literature, containing 16,374 verses, mostly in Anuṣtubh metre. The text is also known as Harivaṃśa Puraṇa. This text is believed as a khila (appendix or supplement) to the Mahabharata and is traditionally ascribed to Krishna Dvaipayana Veda Vyasa. The most celebrated commentary of the Mahabharata by Nīlakaṇṭha, the Bhārata Bhāva Dīpa covered the Harivaṃśa too. According to a tradition mentioned in the Mahabharata (Adi Parva, II. 69,233), the Harivaṃśa is divided into two parvas, Harivaṃśa parva and Bhaviṣyat parva. But the available text consists of three sections (called parvas) – Harivaṃśa parva, Viṣṇu parva and Bhaviṣya parva . The first book describes the creation of the cosmos and the legendary history of the kings of the Solar and Lunar dynasties leading up to the birth of Krishna. The next book recounts the history of Krishna down to the events prior to the Mahabharata. The last section provides a list of future kings and a description of Kaliyuga. Thus the book provides a sort of universal history of the Hindus. While the Harivaṃśa has been regarded as
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    Kitáb-i-Íqán

    • Religious Text Of: Bahá'í Faith
    The Kitáb-i-Íqán (Arabic: كتاب الإيقان‎ Persian: كتاب ايقان‎ "The Book of Certitude") is one of many books held sacred by followers of the Bahá'í Faith; it is their primary theological work. One Bahá'í scholar states that it can be regarded as the "most influential Quran commentary in Persian outside the Muslim world," because of its international audience. It is sometimes referred to as the Book of Iqan or simply The Iqan. The work was composed partly in Persian and partly in Arabic by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, in 1861, when he was living as an exile in Baghdad, then in a province of the Ottoman Empire. While Bahá'u'lláh had claimed to have received revelation some ten years earlier in the Síyáh-Chál (lit. black-pit), a dungeon in Tehran, he had not yet openly declared his mission. References to his own station therefore appear only in veiled form. Christopher Buck, author of a major study of the Íqán, has referred to this theme of the book as its "messianic secret," paralleling the same theme in the Gospel of Mark. The Íqán constitutes the major theological work of Bahá'u'lláh, and hence of the Bahá'í Faith. It is sometimes referred to as the completion of the
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    Acts of the Apostles

    Acts of the Apostles

    The Acts of the Apostles (Ancient Greek: Πράξεις τῶν Ἀποστόλων, Práxeis tōn Apostólōn; Latin: Acta Apostolorum), usually referred to simply as Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; Acts outlines the history of the Apostolic Age. The author is traditionally identified as Luke the Evangelist; see Authorship of Luke–Acts for details. While the precise identity of the author is debated, the consensus is that this work was composed by a (Koine) Greek speaking Gentile writing for an audience of Gentile Christians. The Early Church Fathers wrote that Luke was a physician in Antioch and an adherent of the Apostle Paul. It is said to be that the author of the Gospel of Luke is the same as the author of the Acts of the Apostles. Tradition holds that the text was written by Luke the companion of Paul (named in Colossians 4:14) and this traditional view of Lukan authorship is “widely held as the view which most satisfactorily explains all the data.” The list of scholars maintaining authorship by Luke the physician is lengthy, and represents scholars from a wide range of theological opinion. However, there is no consensus, and according to Raymond E. Brown, the current opinion
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    Chaupai

    Chaupai

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    Benti Chaupai (also referred to as Chaupai Sahib) is a hymn by Guru Gobind Singh. Benti Chaupai consists of three parts: Kabiyo Bach Benti Chaupai, Arril and Chaupai, and Savaiye and Dohra. Kabiyo Bach Benti Chaupai is normally referred to as Chaupai in short. This prayer is part of the Dasam Granth. This hymn supposedly offers one protection and security and many Sikhs recite this Bani to gain spiritual safety and defence from external and internal enemies, worries and afflictions. The Gurmukhi gives one self-confidence and an upbeat feeling. This Bani gives one the feeling of reliability and dependability on the Lord. KABIOVACH BAINTI CHAUPAI PATSHAI 10TH - PRAYER COMPOSED BY SRI GURU GOBIND SINGH JI ਅੜਿੱਲ ॥ ARRIL ਸੁਨੈ ਗੁੰਗ ਜੋ ਯਾਹਿ ਸੁ ਰਸਨਾ ਪਾਵਈ ॥ ਸੁਨੈ ਮੂੜ੍ਹ ਚਿਤ ਲਾਇ ਚਤੁਰਤਾ ਆਵਈ ॥ The dumb, who will listen to it, will be blessed with the tongue to speak; the fool, who will listen to it attentively, will get wisdom; ਦੂਖ ਦਰਦ ਭੌ ਨਿਕਟ ਨ ਤਿਨ ਨਰ ਕੇ ਰਹੈ ॥ ਹੋ ਜੋ ਯਾਕੀ ਏਕ ਬਾਰ ਚੌਪਈ ਕੋ ਕਹੈ ॥੪੦੪॥ That person will be absolved of suffering, pain or fear, who will even once recite this Chaupai-prayer.404. ਚੌਪਈ ॥ CHAUPAI ਸੰਬਤ ਸੱਤ੍ਰਹ ਸਹਸ ਭਣਿੱਜੈ ॥ ਅਰਧ ਸਹਸ ਫੁਨਿ ਤੀਨਿ ਕਹਿੱਜੈ ॥ It was Bikrami Samvat
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    Huangdi Yinfujing

    Huangdi Yinfujing

    The Huangdi Yinfujing (Chinese: 黃帝陰符經; pinyin: Huángdì Yǐnfújīng; Wade–Giles: Huang-ti Yin-fu Ching; literally "Yellow Emperor's Hidden Talisman Classic"), or Yinfujing, is a circa 8th century CE Daoist scripture associated with Chinese astrology and Neidan-style Internal alchemy. In addition, Huangdi Yinfujing is also the name of a Chinese Fengshui text on military strategy. There are two received versions of the Daoist Huangdi Yinfujing, a shorter text of 332 Chinese characters in one section and a longer one of 445 in three sections. Both versions of this classic explain cosmological correspondences, the Dao of Heaven, Yin and Yang, the Wu Xing, and biospiritual techniques. In the description of Alexander Wylie (1867:216), "This short Treatise, which is not entirely free from the obscurity of Tâoist mysticism, professes to reconcile the decrees of Heaven with the current of mundane affairs." In the explanation of the modern Daoists Zhang Jiyu and Li Yuanguo, The Huangdi yinfu jing (The Yellow Emperor's Scripture on "Unconscious Unification") reflects this later stage of Daoist thought and attempts to "expose heaven's mysteries and reveal divinity's workings." It became one of
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    Kitáb-i-Aqdas

    • Religious Text Of: Bahá'í Faith
    The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is a central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion. The work was written in Arabic under the Arabic title al-Kitābu l-Aqdas (Arabic: الكتاب الأقدس‎), but it is commonly referred to by its Persian title, Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Persian: كتاب اقدس‎), which was given to the work by Bahá'u'lláh himself. It is sometimes also referred to as The Aqdas, "the Most Holy Book", "the Book of Laws" and occasionally the Book of Aqdas. The word Aqdas has a significance in many languages as the superlative form of a word with its primary letters Q-D-Š. It is usually stated that the book was completed around 1873, although there is evidence to suggest that at least some of the work was written earlier. Bahá'u'lláh had manuscript copies sent to Bahá'ís in Iran some years after the revelation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and in 1890–91 (1308 AH, 47 BE) he arranged for the publication of the original Arabic text of the book in Bombay, India. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas is referred to as "the Mother-Book" of the Bahá'í teachings, and the "Charter of the future world civilization". It is not, however, only a 'book of laws': much of the content deals with other matters,
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    Ramacharitamanas

    Ramacharitamanas

    Shri Ramcharitmanas (Devanāgarī: श्रीरामचरितमानस, IAST: Śrīrāmacaritamānasa), also spelt Shri Ramcharitamanasa, is an epic poem in Awadhi, composed by the 16th-century Indian poet, Goswami Tulsidas (c.1532–1623). Ramcharitmanas literally means the "lake of the deeds of Rama." Tulsidas compared the seven Kāndas (literally 'books', cognate with cantos) of the epic to seven steps leading into the holy waters of a Himalayan lake (Mānasa, as in Lake Mansarovar) which "which purifies the body and the soul at once." The core of the work is a poetic retelling of the events of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana, centered on the narrative of Rama, the crown prince of Ayodhya. The poem is also called Tulsikrit Ramayan (literally, The Ramayan composed by Tulsi or, loosely, The Ramayan of Tulsidas). Tulsidas (sometimes simply referred to as Tulsi) began writing the scripture in Vikram Samvat 1631 (1574 CE) in Avadhpuri, Ayodhya. The exact date is stated within the poem as being the ninth day of the month of Chaitra, which is the birthday of Ram, Ram Navami. A large portion of the poem was composed at Varanasi, where the poet spent most of his later life. Today, it is considered one of the greatest
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    Second Epistle to the Corinthians

    Second Epistle to the Corinthians

    The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, often referred to as Second Corinthians (and written as 2 Corinthians), is the eighth book of the New Testament of the Bible. Paul the Apostle and "Timothy our brother" wrote this epistle to "the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia". While there is little doubt among scholars that Paul is the author, there is discussion over whether the Epistle was originally one letter or composed from two or more of Paul's letters. Although the New Testament only contains two letters to the Corinthians, the evidence from the letters themselves is that he wrote at least four: The abrupt change of tone from being previously harmonious to bitterly reproachful in 2 Corinthians 10-13 has led many to speculate that chapters 10-13 form part of the "letter of tears" which were in some way tagged on to Paul's main letter. Those who disagree with this assessment usually say that the "letter of tears" is no longer extant. Some scholars also find fragments of the "warning letter", or of other letters, in chapters 1-9, for instance that part of the "warning letter" is preserved in 2 Cor 6:14-7:1, but these hypotheses are less
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    Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment

    The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment or Complete Enlightenment (traditional Chinese: 圓覺經; simplified Chinese: 圆觉经; pinyin: Yuánjué jīng; Japanese: 円覚経 Engaku-kyo; Vietnamese: kinh Viên Giác) is a Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtra highly esteemed by both the Huayan and Zen schools. Divided into twelve chapters as a series of discussions on meditation practice, this text deals with issues such as the meaning and origin of ignorance, sudden and gradual enlightenment, original Buddhahood, etc. these themes were also elucidated in the Awakening of Faith. It was intended to resolve questions regarding doctrine and meditation for the earliest practitioners of the Chan school. The most important commentary is the 9th-century Great Exegesis on the Sutra of Complete Enlightenment (圓覺經大疏鈔 Dajuejing Dashuchao) by Zongmi. Its full Chinese title: Dà fāngguăng yuánjué xiūduōluó liǎoyì jīng (大方廣圓覺修多羅了義經 literally ‘the Great Vaipulya (Corrective & Expansive) Sutra on the Perfect Enlightenment and (the Sutra) Joyful Cultivation of the Thorough Understanding’ ). Its reconstructed title in Sanskrit is Mahāvaipulya pūrṇabuddha-sūtra prasannārtha-sūtra. The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment is arranged in twelve
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    Tantras

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Tantras ("Looms" or "Weavings") refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions rooted in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Although Buddhist and Hindu Tantra have many similarities from the outside, they do have some clear distinctions. The rest of this article deals with Hindu Tantra. Buddhist Tantra is described in the article on Vajrayana. The word Tantra is made up by the joining (sandhi in Sanskrit) of two Sanskrit words tanoti (expansion) & trayati (liberation) which means liberation of energy and expansion of consciousness from its gross form. It is a method to expand the mind & liberate the dormant potential energy, and its principles form the basis of all YOGIC practices. Hence, the Hindu Tantra scriptures refer to techniques for achieving a result. The Hindu Tantras total ninety-two scriptures, where sixty four are purely Abheda (literally "without differentiation", or monistic), known as the Bhairava Tantras or Kashmir Śaivite Tantras, eighteen are Bhedābheda (literally "with differentiation and without differentiation" or monistic cum dualistic), known as the Rudra Tantras), and ten are completely Bheda (literally "differentiated"
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    The Book of Job

    The Book of Job

    The Book of Job ( /ˈdʒoʊb/; Hebrew: אִיוֹב‎ ʾ iyobh), commonly referred to simply as Job, is one of the books of the Hebrew Bible. It relates the story of Job, his trials at the hands of Satan, his discussions with friends on the origins and nature of his suffering, his challenge to God, and finally a response from God. The book is a didactic poem set in a prose frame. The over-riding and oft-asked question asked in the book of Job is, "Why do the righteous suffer?" The book of Job has been included in lists of the greatest books in world literature. The book of Job tells the story of an extremely righteous man named Job, who was very prosperous and had seven sons and three daughters. Constantly fearing that his sons may have sinned and "cursed God in their hearts", he habitually offered burnt offerings as a pardon for their sins. The "sons of God" and Satan (literally "the Adversary") present themselves to God, and God asks Satan his opinion on Job. Satan answers that Job is pious only because God has put a "wall around" him and "blessed" his favourite servant with prosperity, but if God were to stretch out his hand and strike everything that Job had, then he would surely curse
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    Xishen Jing

    Xishen Jing

    The Xishengjing (Chinese: 西昇經; pinyin: Xīshēngjīng; Wade-Giles: Hsi Sheng Ching; literally "Scripture of Western Ascension") is a late 5th century CE Daoist text with provenance at the Louguan 樓觀 "Tiered Abbey" of the The Northern Celestial Masters. According to Daoist tradition, Louguan (the eastern terminus of the ancient Silk Road, west of the capital Chang'an) was near where the legendary Laozi 老子 transmitted the Daodejing to the Guardian of the Pass Yin Xi 尹喜. The Xishengjing allegedly records the Daoist principles that Laozi taught Yin Xi before he departed west to India. The Daozang "Daoist Canon" contains two Song Dynasty editions (CT 726 and 666), the Xishengjing jizhu 西昇經集注 "Collected Commentaries to the Scripture of Western Ascension" by Chen Jingyuan 陳景元 (d. 1094 CE, see Huashu), and the Xishengjing by Emperor Huizong 徽宗 (r. 1100-1125 CE). The original date of the Xishengjing is uncertain, and is estimated at "late 5th century" (Kohn 2007:1114) or "6th century" (Komjathy 2004:52). The Xishengjing is also known under two variant titles. Laojun xishengjing 老君西昇經 "Lord Lao's Scripture of Western Ascension" includes the supposed author's honorific name. Xishengji 西升記
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    Zhuangzi

    Zhuangzi

    • Religious Text Of: Taoism
    Zhuangzi (simplified Chinese: 庄子; traditional Chinese: 莊子; pinyin: Zhuāng Zǐ; Wade–Giles: Chuang Tzŭ) was an influential Chinese philosopher who lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period, a period corresponding to the philosophical summit of Chinese thought — the Hundred Schools of Thought, and is credited with writing—in part or in whole—a work known by his name, the Zhuangzi. His name Zhuangzi (English "Master Zhuang", with Zi being an honorific) is sometimes spelled Zhuang Tze, Zhuang Zhou, Chuang Tsu, Chuang Tzu, Chouang-Dsi, Chuang Tse, or Chuangtze. The only account of the life of Zhuangzi is a brief sketch in chapter 63 of Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, where he is described as a minor official from the town of Meng (in modern Anhui) in the state of Song, living in the time of King Hui of Liang and King Xuan of Qi (late 4th century BCE). Sima Qian writes: The validity of his existence has been questioned by some, including himself (See below) and Russell Kirkland, who writes: According to modern understandings of Chinese tradition, the text known as the Chuang-tzu was the production of a 'Taoist' thinker of ancient China named Chuang
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    Book of Lamentations

    Book of Lamentations

    The Book of Lamentations (Hebrew: אֵיכָה‎‎, Eikhah, ʾēkhā(h)) is a poetic book of the Hebrew Bible composed by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah. It mourns the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple in the 6th century BC. In Judaism it is traditionally recited on the fast day of Tisha B'Av ("Ninth of Av") the saddest day on the Jewish calendar mourning the destruction of both the First and the Second Temples in Jerusalem. In Christianity it is traditionally read during Tenebrae of the Holy Triduum. It is called in the Hebrew canon 'Eikhah, meaning "How," being the formula for the commencement of a song of wailing. It is the first word of the book (see 2 Sam. 1:19-27). The Septuagint adopted the name rendered "Lamentations" (or "Threnoi Hieremiou", abbreviated "Thren." in some Latin commentaries, from the Greek threnoi = Hebrew qinoth) now in common use, to denote the character of the book, in which the prophet mourns over the desolations brought on Jerusalem and the Holy Land by the Chaldeans. In the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) it is placed among the Ketuvim, the Writings. According to Jewish and Christian traditions, authorship is assigned to the Prophet Jeremiah, who was
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    152
    Additions to Daniel

    Additions to Daniel

    The Additions to Daniel comprise three chapters not found in the Hebrew/Aramaic text of Daniel. The text of these chapters is found in the Koine Greek Septuagint, the earliest Old Greek translation. They are accepted as canonical and translated as such in Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Bibles. They are listed in Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England. However, most Protestant Bibles exclude these passages as Biblical apocrypha, retaining only the text available today in the Hebrew/Aramaic manuscripts. The additions are:
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    153
    Book of Daniel

    Book of Daniel

    The Book of Daniel (דָּנִיֵּאל / Dānī’ēl) is a book in the Ketuvim (Writings) section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). It is grouped with the prophets in the Septuagint and Theodotion's Greek versions and in most Christian Bibles. Although many evangelical commentators still defend the traditional sixth century date for the book's composition, the scholarly consensus is that it is a product of Maccabean times. The common view is that the court tales represent a stratum of older, traditional stories, while the visions and final redaction of the work date to the second century BCE. The visions describe the national crisis that occurred under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Seleucid king who attempted to introduce Hellenistic religious practices, including the worship of idols, into the temple and the Jewish religion more generally, sparking outrage from Biblical authors. The book is made up of six court tales and four apocalyptic visions set in the time of the Babylonian captivity. The tales of chapters one to six contain colorful accounts of the hero and his three companions in the courts of Babylonian and Medo-Persian kings. They survive death threats, mortal trials, and court intrigue to
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    154

    Book of Wisdom

    The Book of Wisdom, often referred to simply as Wisdom or the Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, is one of the deuterocanonical books of the Bible. It is one of the seven Sapiential or wisdom books of the Septuagint Old Testament, which includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon (Song of Songs), and Sirach. According to St. Melito in the 2nd century AD, it was considered canonical by Jews and Christians, and a Hebrew translation of the Wisdom of Solomon is mentioned by Naḥmanides in the preface to his commentary on the Pentateuch. The Book of Wisdom should not be confused with the Wisdom of Sirach, a work from the 2nd century BC, originally written in Hebrew. The book is believed to have been written in Greek language, but in a style patterned on that of Hebrew verse. Although the author's name is nowhere given in the text, the writer was traditionally believed to be King Solomon because of references such as that found in IX:7-8, "Thou hast chosen me to be a king of thy people, and a judge of thy sons and daughters: Thou hast commanded me to build a temple upon thy holy mount..." The formulation here is similar to that of Ecclesiastes I:12, "I, Koheleth, was king in
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    155
    First Epistle to the Thessalonians

    First Epistle to the Thessalonians

    The First Epistle to the Thessalonians, usually referred to simply as First Thessalonians and often written 1 Thessalonians, is a book from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The first letter to the Thessalonians was likely the first of Paul's letters, probably written by the end of AD 52, making it, so far as is now known, the first written book in the New Testament. Most New Testament scholars believe Paul of Tarsus wrote this letter from Corinth, although information appended to this work in many early manuscripts (e.g., Codices Alexandrinus, Mosquensis, and Angelicus) state that Paul wrote it in Athens after Timothy had returned from Macedonia with news of the state of the church in Thessalonica (Acts 18:1-5; 1 Thes. 3:6). For the most part, the letter is personal in nature, with only the final two chapters spent addressing issues of doctrine, almost as an aside. Paul's main purpose in writing is to encourage and reassure the Christians there. Paul urges them to go on working quietly while waiting in hope for the return of Christ. The vast majority of New Testament scholars hold 1 Thessalonians to be authentic, although a number of scholars in the mid-19th century
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    156

    Foundations of World Unity

    Foundations of World Unity is a collection of talks and writings of `Abdu'l-Bahá, dated prior to his death in November 1921, and first published in 1945. The introduction to the 1945 edition is dated 1927. It includes mainly selected talks from Promulgation of Universal Peace, and a few passages from Bahá'í Scriptures, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Some Answered Questions.
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    157

    Narad Bhakti Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Narada Bhakti Sutra (IAST: Nārada Bhakti Sūtra) is a well known sutra venerated within the traditions of Hinduism, purportedly spoken by the famous sage, Narada. The text details the process of devotion (Bhakti), or Bhakti yoga and is thus of particular importance to many of the Bhakti movements within Hinduism. It has received particular attention among the Vaishnava traditions. Sanskrit scriptures often appear in variant editions which may show differences in organization and verse numbering. For example in the translation by Swami Prabhavananda there are eighty-four verses arranged in nine chapters, whereas in the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust translation by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his disciple Satsvarupa dasa the eighty-four verses are organised into five chapters. As organized by Swami Prabhavananda, the text covers the following subjects: In the translation by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada the chapters break at similar points, but with the first four chapters arranged into double the amount of verses: Within the text Narada explains the perfectional stage of pure devotion; the process to achieve this state; gives quotations from other Vedic personalities on
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    158

    Shri Rudram Chamakam

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Sri Rudram (Sanskrit श्री रुद्रम्), to which the Chamakam (चमकम्) is added by scriptural tradition, is a Hindu stotra, hymn dedicated to Rudra (an epithet of Shiva), taken from the Yajurveda (TS 4.5, 4.7). Shri Rudram is also known as Sri Rudraprasna, Śatarudrīya, and Rudradhyaya. The text is important in Saivism where Shiva is viewed as the Supreme God. The hymn is an early example of enumerating the names of a deity, a tradition developed extensively in the sahasranama literature of Hinduism. By the first few centuries CE, the recitation of the Śatarudrīya is claimed, in the Jābala Upanishad, to lead to immortality. The hymn is referred to in the Shiva Purana. The text is also famous for its mention of the Shaivite Panchakshara ("five-syllable") mantra (Sanskrit: Namaḥ Śivāya), which appears in the text of the Śatarudrīya in the eighth anuvaka. The text also contains the mantra Aum Namo Bhagavathe Rudraya.Through the chanting of Sri Rudram, Lord Siva's various attributes and aspects are invoked and worshipped. Chanting the Rudram is considered to be of great benefit. The Rudram chanting can be done with or without the accompaniment of a Vedic yagna ritual. When accompanied with
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    159
    Siddur

    Siddur

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    A siddur (Hebrew: סדור‎; plural סדורים siddurim) is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. This article discusses how some of these prayers evolved, and how the siddur, as it is known today has developed. A separate article, Jewish prayer, discusses the prayers that appear in the siddur, and when they are said. The earliest parts of Jewish prayer book are the Shema Yisrael ("Hear O Israel") (Deuteronomy 6:4 et seq), and the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26), which are in the Torah. A set of eighteen (currently nineteen) blessings called the Shemoneh Esreh or the Amidah (Hebrew, "standing [prayer]"), is traditionally ascribed to the Great Assembly in the time of Ezra, at the end of the Biblical period. The name Shemoneh Esreh, literally "eighteen", is an historical anachronism, since it now contains nineteen blessings. It was only near the end of the Second Temple period that the eighteen prayers of the weekday Amidah became standardized. Even at that time their precise wording and order was not yet fixed, and varied from locale to locale. Many modern scholars believe that parts of the Amidah came from the Hebrew apocryphal work Ben Sira. According to the
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    160
    The Secret of the Golden Flower

    The Secret of the Golden Flower

    The Secret of the Golden Flower ("Tai Yi Jin Hua Zong Zhi" 《太乙金華宗旨》), a Chinese Taoist book about meditation, was translated by Richard Wilhelm (also translator, in the 1920s, of the Chinese philosophical classic the I Ching). Wilhelm, a friend of Carl Jung, was German, and his translations from Chinese to German were later translated to English by Cary F. Baynes. According to Wilhelm, Lü Dongbin was the main originator of the material presented in the book (a section below, Reception from Chinese Taoists, suggests that the material is from Quanzhen School founder Wang Chongyang, a student of Lü Dongbin.) More recently (1991), the same work has been translated by Thomas Cleary, a scholar of Eastern studies. There are significant differences between the Wilhelm and Cleary translations. Wilhelm was introduced to the work by his Chinese teacher, while Cleary arrived at his own translation and interpretation. Some translations are given with the word mystery for the word secret in the treatise's title. Classic works of Chinese philosophy preserve a spectrum of pre-modern science, from a time when philosophy and science were less distinct than they appear to be now. The foundations of
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    161

    Tibetan Buddhist canon

    • Religious Text Of: Buddhism
    The Tibetan Buddhist canon is a loosely defined list of sacred texts recognized by various sects of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to sutrayana texts from Early Buddhist (mostly Sarvastivada) and Mahayana sources, the Tibetan canon includes tantric texts. The Tibetan Canon underwent a final compilation in the 14th century by Buton Rinchen Drub (1290–1364). The Tibetans did not have a formally arranged Mahayana canon and so devised their own scheme which divided texts into two broad categories: The Kangyur is divided into sections on Vinaya, Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, Avatamsaka, Ratnakuta and other sutras (75% Mahayana, 25% Nikaya / Agama or Hinayana), and tantras. When exactly the term Kangyur was first used is not known. Collections of canonical Buddhist texts already existed in the time of Trisong Detsen, the sixth king of Tibet. The exact number of texts in the Kangyur is not fixed. Each editor takes responsibility for removing texts he considers spurious or adding new translations. Currently there are about 12 available Kangyurs. These include the Derge, Lhasa, Narthang, Cone, Peking, Urga, Phudrak and Stog Palace versions, each named after the physical location of its
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    162
    Avatamsaka Sutra

    Avatamsaka Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Zen
    The Avataṃsaka Sūtra (Sanskrit: महावैपुल्यबुद्धावतंसकसूत्र Mahāvaipulya Buddhāvataṃsaka Sūtra) is one of the most influential Mahayana sutras of East Asian Buddhism. The title is rendered in English as Flower Garland Sutra, Flower Adornment Sutra, or Flower Ornament Scripture. The Avataṃsaka Sūtra describes a cosmos of infinite realms upon realms, mutually containing one another. The vision expressed in this work was the foundation for the creation of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism, which was characterized by a philosophy of interpenetration. Huayan is known as Kegon in Japan. This work has been used in a variety of countries. Some major traditional titles include the following: According to a Dunhuang manuscript, this text was also known as the Bodhisattvapiṭaka Buddhāvataṃsaka Sūtra. The Avataṃsaka Sūtra was written in stages, beginning from at least 500 years after the death of the Buddha. It is "a very long text composed of a number of originally independent scriptures of diverse provenance, all of which were combined, probably in Central Asia, in the late third or the fourth century CE." Two full Chinese translations of the Avataṃsaka Sūtra were made. Fragmentary
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    163

    Brahma Sutras

    The Brahma sūtras (Sanskrit: ब्रह्म सूत्र), also known as the Vedānta Sūtras (वेदान्त सूत्र), are one of the three canonical texts of the Vedānta school of Hindu philosophy. A thorough study of Vedānta requires a close examination of these three texts, known in Sanskrit as the Prasthanatrayi, or the three starting points. The Brahma sutras constitute the Nyāya prasthāna (न्याय प्रस्थान), or "Logic-based starting point", of the above triplet (Sanskrit न्याय, Nyāya: logic, order). Thus they are also referred to as the Yukti prasthāna, since Yukti (युक्ति) also means reasoning or logic. While the Upanishads (Śruti prasthāna, the starting point of revelation) and the Bhagavad-Gītā (Smriti prasthāna, the starting point of remembered tradition) are the basic source texts of Vedānta, it is in the Brahma sūtras that the teachings of Vedānta are set forth in a systematic and logical order. The task of reconciling the different Vedic texts, indicating their mutual relations, is assigned to a scripture called the Mimāṃsā (मीमांसा) which means investigation or inquiry. In the orthodox Hindu tradition, Mimāṃsā is divided into two systems, the Purva-Mimāṃsā by Jaimini which is concerned with the
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    164

    Mishnah Berurah

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Mishnah Berurah (Hebrew: משנה ברורה‎ "Clarified Teaching") is a work of halakha (Jewish law) by Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (Poland, 1838–1933), also colloquially known by the name of another of his books, Chofetz Chaim "Desirer of Life." His Mishnah Berurah is a commentary on Orach Chayim, the first section of the Shulchan Aruch which deals with laws of prayer, synagogue, Shabbat and holidays, summarizing the opinions of the Acharonim (post-Medieval rabbinic authorities) on that work. The title Mishnah Berurah is a reference to the portion in Deuteronomy where Israel is commanded to inscribe God's commandments in large clear writing on a mountainside. The Mishnah Berurah is traditionally printed in 6 volumes alongside selected other commentaries. The work provides simple and contemporary explanatory remarks and citations to daily aspects of halakha. It is widely used as a reference and has mostly supplanted the Chayei Adam and the Aruch HaShulchan as the primary authority on Jewish daily living among Ashkenazi Jews, particularly those closely associated with haredi yeshivas. The Mishnah Berurah is accompanied by additional in-depth glosses called Be'ur Halakha, a reference
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    165
    Narayaniyam

    Narayaniyam

    Narayaniyam is a medieval Sanskrit text, comprising a summary study in poetic form of the Bhagavata Purana. It was composed by Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri, (1560-1666 A.D.) one of the celebrated Sanskrit poets in Kerala. Even though the Narayaneeyam was completed as early as 1586 A.D., it appeared in print only after more than 250 years. The Bhagavata Purana is a major Hindu scripture consisting of about 18,000 verses, mainly devoted to the worship of Krishna. The nArAyanIyam (pronounced naaraayaneeyam) condenses the Bhagavata Purana into 1036 verses, divided into one hundred dasakam, or cantos. The work occupies a very high place in Sanskrit literature, both because of the intense devotional fervour of the verses, and because of their extraordinary literary merit. The nArAyanIyam is one of the most popular religious texts in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and devout Hindus often recite it together in festivals and groups. Naaraayaneeyam is the story of Lord Narayana. It is a work consisting of 1036 slokas or verses, divided into 100 dasakams or chapters, each dasakam consisting of approximately 10 slokas. It is a condensed version of Bhagavata Purana, which consists of 18,000 slokas
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    166

    Navakar Mantra

    • Religious Text Of: Jainism
    The Ṇamōkāra mantra (Sanskrit: णमोकार मंत्र, Tamil: ஐவர் வணக்கம்), also variously referred to as the Navakār Mantra or the Namaskār Mantra or the Pancha Parameshti Namaskār, is the most important mantra used in Jainism. While reciting this mantra, the devotee bows with respect to humans who have cleared their gathi karmas (arihants), fully liberated souls (siddhas), spiritual leaders (acharyas), teachers (upajjhayas) and monks. In this prayer there is no mention of any names, including that of the Tirthankaras. Jains do not ask for any favors or material benefits from the Tirthankaras or from sadhus and sadhvis. This mantra simply serves as a gesture of deep respect towards beings they believe are more spiritually advanced and to remind followers of the Jain religion of their ultimate goal of nirvana or moksa. Digambaras and Sthanakvasis regard the first five lines as the main mantra, the following two lines are explanatory. A 162 BCE inscription, the Hathigumpha inscription mentions the Namokar Mantra and Jain monarch Kharvela. A text corresponding to the first two lines of the Ṇamōkāra Mantra is present in the Orissan Hathigumpha inscription. Jain Prakrit:
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    The Five Scrolls

    The Five Scrolls

    The Five Scrolls or The Five Megillot (Hebrew: חמש מגילות‎, Hamesh Megillot or Chomeish Megillôs) are parts of the Ketuvim ("Writings"), the third major section of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). The Five Scrolls are the Song of Songs, the Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and the Book of Esther. These five relatively short biblical books are grouped together in Jewish tradition. An early testimony that these five scrolls were grouped together is in the Midrash Rabba. This midrash was compiled on the Pentateuch and on the Five Scrolls. All five of these megillot ("scrolls") are traditionally read publicly in the synagogue over the course of the year in many Jewish communities. In common printed editions of the Tanakh they appear in the order that they are read in the synagogue on holidays (beginning with Passover). The Song of Songs (Hebrew: Shir ha-Shirim; שיר השירים) is read publicly in some communities, especially by Ashkenazim, on the Sabbath of Passover. In most Eastern Jewish communities it is read publicly each week at the onset of the Shabbat (Sabbath). There is also a widespread custom to read it at the end of the Passover Seder. Italian Jews read it at the
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    168
    Second Epistle to the Thessalonians

    Second Epistle to the Thessalonians

    The Second Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians, often referred to as Second Thessalonians and written 2 Thessalonians, is a book from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is traditionally attributed to Paul, because it begins, "Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ;" (2 Thess. 1:1) and ends, "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write" (2 Thess. 3:17). The dating of the book is believed by many scholars to be written between 52-54 AD, shortly after the First Epistle to the Thessalonians was written. The authenticity of this epistle is still in widespread dispute. As Ernest Best explains the problem, Of the books in the New Testament suspected of pseudepigraphy, 2 Thessalonians has the most evidence to support its authenticity. While Paul's authorship of Second Thessalonians has been questioned more often than his authorship of 1 Thess., there is more evidence from early Christian writers for his authorship of Second Thessalonians than for First Thessalonians. The epistle was included in Marcion's canon and the Muratorian fragment; it was mentioned by
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    169
    The Song of Solomon

    The Song of Solomon

    The Song of Songs of Solomon, commonly referred to as Song of Songs (Hebrew: שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים Šîr haŠîrîm, LXX Greek: ᾎσμα ᾎσμάτων Aisma Aismatōn, Vulgate Latin: Cantĭcum Canticōrum), or Song of Solomon, is a book of the Old Testament—one of the megillot (scrolls)—found in the last section of the Tanakh, known as the Ketuvim (or "Writings"). It is also known in English as Canticle of Canticles or simply Canticles. The protagonists of Song of Songs are a woman (identified in one verse as "the Shulamite") and a man, and the poem suggests movement from courtship to consummation. For instance, the man proclaims: "As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." The woman answers: "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." Additionally, the Song includes a chorus, the "daughters of Jerusalem." In spite of the lack of explicitly religious content, Song of Songs has often been interpreted as a parable of the relationship of God and Israel, or for Christians, Christ and the Church or Christ and the human soul, as husband and wife. It is one of the
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    Book of Esther

    Book of Esther

    The Book of Esther is a book in the Ketuvim ("writings"), the third section of the Jewish Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) and is part of the Christian Old Testament. It tells the story of a Jewish girl named Esther who became queen of Persia and thwarted a plan to commit genocide against her people. Also called the Megillah, the book is the basis and an integral part of the Jewish celebration of Purim. Its full text is read aloud twice during the celebration, in the evening and again the following morning. The biblical Book of Esther is set in the third year of Ahasuerus, a king of Persia. The name Ahasuerus is equivalent to Xerxes, both deriving from the Persian Khshayārsha, thus Ahasuerus is usually identified as Xerxes I (486-465 BCE), though Ahasuerus is identified as Artaxerxes in the later Greek version of Esther (as well as by Josephus, the Jewish commentary Esther Rabbah, the Ethiopic translation and the Christian theologian Bar-Hebraeus who identified him more precisely as Artaxerxes II ). Ahasuerus, ruler of a massive Persian empire, holds a lavish party, initially for his court and dignitaries and afterwards for all inhabitants of the capital city Shushan. Ahasuerus orders the
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    Book of Helaman

    Book of Helaman

    The Book of Helaman is one of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. The book continues the history of the Nephites and the Lamanites "according to the records of Helaman, who was the son of Helaman, and also according to the records of his sons, even down to the coming of Christ" (The Book of Helaman, preface). According to footnotes, the book covers the time period between ca 52 BC and 1 BC.
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    Book of Nahum

    The book of Nahum is the seventh book of the 12 minor prophets of the Hebrew Bible. It is attributed to the prophet Nahum, and was probably written in Jerusalem in the 7th century BC. Nahum prophesied, according to some, in the beginning of the reign of Ahaz (740s BC). Others, however, think that his prophecies are to be referred to the latter half of the reign of Hezekiah (700s BC). Probably the book was written in Jerusalem, where he witnessed the invasion of Sennacherib and the destruction of his host (2 Kings 19:35). And still others support the idea that the "book of vision" was written shortly before the fall of Nineveh at the hands of the Medes and Babylonians (612 BCE). This theory is evidenced by the fact that the oracles must be dated after the Assyrian destruction of Thebes in 663 BCE as this event is mentioned in Nahum 3:8. Little is known about Nahum’s personal history. His name means "comforter," and he was from the town of Alqosh, (Nahum 1:1) which scholars have attempted to identify with several cities, including the modern `Alqush of Assyria and Capharnaum of northern Galilee. He was a very nationalistic Hebrew, and lived amongst the Elkoshites in peace. One
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    173

    Haripath

    The Haripath is a collection of 28 abhangas (poems) composed by the thirteenth-century Marathi saint, Dnyaneshwar. It is recited by Varkaris daily.
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    174
    Kuzari

    Kuzari

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Kitab al Khazari, commonly called the Kuzari, is one of the most famous works of the medieval Spanish Jewish philosopher and poet Rabbi Yehuda Halevi, completed around 1140. Its title is an Arabic phrase meaning Book of the Khazars, while the subtitle "The book of refutation and proof on behalf of the most despised religion" shows its purpose and context in medieval Jewish apologetics. Divided into five essays ("ma'amarim," Articles), it takes the form of an imagined dialogue between the rabbi and a pagan, in this book the pagan was the then mythologized by Jews pagan king of the Khazars who was invited to instruct him in the tenets of the Jewish religion. It is an early dialectical book, the same tool is later used by Galileo Galilei (an apologetic for the Copernican system). Originally written in Arabic, the book was translated by numerous scholars (including Judah ibn Tibbon) into Hebrew and other languages. Though the book is not considered an historical account of the Khazar's conversion to Judaism, British scholar D. M. Dunlop postulated that R' Yehuda Halevi had access to Khazar documents upon which he loosely based his work, however in this case the pagan is just a
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    175

    Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva

    The Sūtra of The Great Vows of Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva (simplified Chinese: 地藏菩萨本愿经; traditional Chinese: 地藏菩薩本願經; pinyin: Dìzàng Púsà Běnyuàn Jīng) is one of the more popular Buddhist sutras in Chinese Mahāyāna Buddhism. The sutra tells basically of how Kṣitigarbha became a bodhisattva by making great vows to rescue other sentient beings, and a description of how he followed filial piety in his past lifetimes. There are a total of thirteen chapters, which are divided into three sections. The sutras was first translated from the Sanskrit into Chinese in the 7th century. Tang Dynasty by the Tripiṭaka master Śikṣānanda, a Buddhist monk from Khotan who also provided a newer translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra. The teaching is presented in the form of a dialogue between the Buddha and Kṣitigarbha, and takes place in Trāyastriṃśa Heaven, located on the top of the Sumeru mountain, in front of a vast multitude of Buddhas, bodhisattvas, devas and ghosts. Immediately prior to his departure from this world, the Buddha manifested in the Trāyastriṃśa heavens so that he might repay the kindness of his mother, Queen Māyā, who dwelt there, by speaking the Dharma on her behalf. After the death of
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    Vishnu sahasranama

    Vishnu sahasranama

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Vishnusahasranama (Sanskrit Viṣṇusahasranāma, a tatpurusha compound translating literally to "the thousand names of Vishnu") is a list of 1,000 names (sahasranama) of Vishnu, one of the main forms of God in Hinduism and the personal supreme God for Vaishnavas (followers of Vishnu). It is also one of the most sacred and commonly chanted stotras in Hinduism. The Vishnusahasranama as found in the Shanti Parva of the Mahabharata is the most popular version of the 1,000 names of Vishnu. Another version exists in the Padma Purana and Matsya Purana. Each name eulogizes one of His countless great attributes. The Vishnusahasranāma has been the subject of numerous commentaries. Adi Shankaracharya wrote a definitive commentary on the sahasranāma in the 8th century, which is the oldest and has been particularly influential for many schools of Hinduism even today. Parasara Bhattar, a follower of Ramanujacharya wrote a commentary in the 12th century, detailing the names of Vishnu from a Vishishtadvaita perspective. Madhvacharya also wrote a commentary on Vishnusahasranama, disclosing that each name in the sahasranama has a minimum of 100 meaning. Upon being challenged by the audience during
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    177

    Agama

    • Religious Text Of: Jainism
    In Buddhism, an āgama (Sanskrit and Pali for "sacred work" or "scripture") is a collection of Early Buddhist scriptures, of which there are five, which together comprise the various recensions of the Sūtra Piṭaka of the early Buddhist schools. The various schools had different recensions of each āgama, and the five āgamas parallel the first five collections (nikāyas) of the Sutta Piṭaka of the Theravada school's Pali Canon. Āgamas of various schools, primarily the Sarvāstivāda, are preserved in their entirety in Chinese translation, and portions also survive in Sanskrit and in Tibetan translation. In Buddhism, the term āgama is used to refer to a collection of discourses (Sanskrit: sutra; Pali: sutta) of the early Buddhist schools, which were preserved primarily in Chinese translation, with substantial material also surviving in Sanskrit and lesser but still significant amounts surviving in Gāndhārī and in Tibetan translation. These sutras correspond to the first four Nikayas (and parts of the fifth) of the Sutta-Pitaka of the Pali Canon, which are also occasionally called agamas. In this sense, āgama is a synonym for one of the meanings of nikaya. Many of the agama sutras belong
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    178

    Al-Muwatta

    The Muwaṭṭaʾ (Arabic: الموطأ‎) is the first written collection of hadith comprising the subjects of Muslim law, compiled and edited by the Imam, Malik ibn Anas. Malik's best-known work, Al-Muwatta was the first legal work to incorporate and join hadith and fiqh together. The work was received with wide praise. Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi said: "The Muwatta’ is the first foundation and the core, while al-Bukhari’s book is the second foundation in this respect. Upon these two all the rest have built, such as Muslim and al-Tirmidhi." It is considered to be from the earliest extant collections of hadith that form the basis of Islamic jurisprudence alongside the Qur'an. Nonetheless, is not merely a collection of hadith; many of the legal precepts it contains are based not on hadith at all. The book covers rituals, rites, customs, traditions, norms and laws of the time of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It is reported that Imam Malik selected only about 1% of authentic Ahadith for inclusion into the Muwatta, from the corpus of 100,000 narrations available to him. Thus, the book has been compiled with great diligence and meticulousness. Due to increase in juristic differences, the Caliph of the
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    179

    Book of Enoch

    The Book of Enoch (also 1 Enoch) is an ancient Jewish religious work, traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews, apart from Beta Israel. It is regarded as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Eritrean Orthodox Church, but no other Christian group. The older sections (mainly in the Book of the Watchers) are estimated to date from about 300 BC, and the latest part (Book of Parables) probably was composed at the end of the 1st century BC. It is wholly extant only in the Ge'ez language, with Aramaic fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls and a few Greek and Latin fragments. For this and other reasons, the traditional Ethiopian view is that the original language of the work was Ge'ez, whereas non-Ethiopian scholars tend to assert that it was first written in either Aramaic or Hebrew; E. Isaac suggests that the Book of Enoch, like the Book of Daniel, was composed partially in Aramaic and partially in Hebrew. A short section of 1 Enoch (1 En 1:9) is quoted in the New Testament (Letter of Jude 1:14–15), and is there attributed to "Enoch the Seventh from Adam" (1 En 60:8). It is argued that all the writers of
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    180
    Book of Mormon

    Book of Mormon

    • Religious Text Of: Mormonism
    The Book of Mormon is a sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement, which adherents believe contains writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent from approximately 2200 BC to AD 421. It was first published in March 1830 by Joseph Smith as The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi. According to Smith's account, and also according to the book's narrative, the Book of Mormon was originally written in otherwise unknown characters referred to as "reformed Egyptian" engraved on golden plates. Smith claimed that the last prophet to contribute to the book, a man named Moroni, buried it in a hill in present-day New York and then returned to earth in 1827 as an angel, revealing the location of the book to Smith and instructing him to translate and disseminate it as evidence of the restoration of Christ's true church in the latter days. The Book of Mormon has a number of original and distinctive doctrinal discussions on subjects such as the fall of Adam and Eve, the nature of the Atonement, eschatology, redemption from physical and spiritual death, and the organization of the latter-day church. The pivotal
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    181
    Guru Granth Sahib

    Guru Granth Sahib

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    The Guru Granth Sahib (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ [ɡʊɾu ɡɾəntʰ sɑhɪb]), or Adi Granth, is the religious text of Sikhism. It is a voluminous text of 1430 Angs, compiled and composed during the period of Sikh gurus, from 1469 to 1708. It is a collection of hymns (shabda) or baani describing the qualities of God and why one should meditate on God's name. Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), the tenth guru, affirmed the sacred text Adi Granth as his successor, elevating it to Guru Granth Sahib. The text remains the holy scripture of the Sikhs, regarded as the teachings of the Ten Gurus. The role of Adi Granth, as a source or guide of prayer, is pivotal in worship in Sikhism. The Adi Granth was first compiled by the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev (1563–1606), from hymns of the first five Sikh gurus and other great saints, or bhagats, including those of the Hindu and Muslim faith. After the demise of the tenth Sikh guru many copies were prepared for distribution by Baba Deep Singh. It is written in the Gurmukhī script, in melange of various dialects – including Lehndi Punjabi, Braj Bhasha, Khariboli, Sanskrit and Persian – often coalesced under the generic title of Sant Bhasha. During the
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    182

    Hadith

    • Religious Text Of: Sunni Islam
    A ḥadīth (Arabic: حديث‎,  /ˈhædɪθ/ or /hɑːˈdiːθ/) (plural: hadith, hadiths, or aḥādīth) is a saying or an act or tacit approval or disapproval ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Hadith are regarded by traditional Islamic schools of jurisprudence as important tools for understanding the Quran and in matters of jurisprudence. Hadith were evaluated and gathered into large collections during the 8th and 9th centuries. These works are referred to in matters of Islamic law and history to this day. The two largest denominations of Islam, Shiʻa and Sunni, have different sets of hadith collections. In Arabic the word ḥadīth (Arabic: حديث‎ ḥadīṯ  IPA: [ħaˈdiːθ]) means 'a piece of information conveyed either in a small quantity or large'. The Arabic plural is أحاديث ʾaḥādīṯ/aḥādīth (IPA: [ʔaħaːˈdiːθ]). Hadith also refers to the speech of a person. As taḥdīṯ/taḥdīth is the infinitive, or verbal noun, of the original verb form; hadith is, therefore, not the infinitive; rather it is a noun. In Islamic terminology, the term hadith refers to reports of statements or actions of Muhammad, or of his tacit approval or criticism of something said or done in his
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    183

    Shulchan Aruch

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Shulchan Aruch (Hebrew: שׁוּלחָן עָרוּך‎, literally: "Set Table") also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Ottoman Eyalet of Damascus, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later. Together with its commentaries, it is the most widely accepted compilation of Jewish law ever written. The halachic rulings in the Shulchan Aruch generally follow Sephardic law and customs whereas Ashkenazi Jews will generally follow the halachic rulings of Moses Isserles whose glosses to the Shulchan Aruch note where the Sephardic and Ashkenazic customs differ. These glosses are widely referred to as the mappah (literally: the "tablecloth") to the Shulchan Aruch's "Set Table". Almost all published editions of the Shulchan Aruch include this gloss, and the term "Shulchan Aruch" has come to denote both Karo's work as well as Isserlis', with Karo usually referred to as "the mechaber" ("author") and Isserles as "the Rema". The Shulchan Aruch (and its forerunner, the Beit Yosef) follow the same structure as Arba'ah Turim by Rabbi Jacob ben Asher. These books were written from the standpoint of Sephardi Minhag, other
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    184

    The God Delusion

    • Religious Text Of: Anti-theist
    The God Delusion is a 2006 bestselling non-fiction book by English biologist Richard Dawkins, professorial fellow of New College, Oxford, and inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion, which he defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence. He is sympathetic to Robert Pirsig's statement in Lila that "when one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion". As of January 2010, the English version of The God Delusion had sold over 2 million copies. It was ranked No.2 on the Amazon.com bestsellers' list in November 2006. In early December 2006, it reached No.4 in the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list after nine weeks on the list. It remained on the list for 51 weeks until 30 September 2007. The German version, entitled Der Gotteswahn, had sold over 260,000 copies as of 28 January 2010 (2010 -01-28). The book has attracted widespread
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    185

    The Satanic Bible

    • Religious Text Of: Satanism
    The Satanic Bible is a collection of essays, observations, and rituals published by Anton LaVey in 1969. It contains the core principles of the religion of LaVeyan Satanism, and is considered the foundation of its philosophy and dogma. It has been described as the most important document to influence contemporary LaVeyan Satanism. Though The Satanic Bible is not considered to be sacred scripture in the way the Christian Bible is to Christianity, LaVeyan Satanists regard it as an authoritative text; it has been referred to as "quasi-scripture." It extols the virtues of exploring one's own nature and instincts. Believers have been described as "atheistic Satanists" because they believe that God is not an external entity, but rather something that each person creates as a projection of his or her own personality—a benevolent and stabilizing force in his or her life. There have been thirty printings of The Satanic Bible, through which it has sold over a million copies. The Satanic Bible is composed of four books: The Book of Satan, The Book of Lucifer, The Book of Belial, and The Book of Leviathan. The Book of Satan challenges the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule, and promotes
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    186

    Hindu Agamas

    Agamas are non-Vedic texts attributed to Dravidian sources as against the 'Aryan' Vedic literature. The origins of these Agamas are traceable to the days of the Indus Valley around 3000 BCE. Most of the early 'Self Realization' concepts and Yogic texts are also Agama in origin from which Tantra has branched off. Strictly speaking, Indian religious and philosophical literature can be divided into two main streams, Agama and Vedic. The first has its roots in the early civilizations of the Indus Valley period (spread all over the sub-continent - not just Harappa and Mohenjadaro) and the second has its roots in the post Aryan period starting from about 2000-1500 BCE. From the Agama traditions, Samkhya, Yoga and the Siddhanta philosophies evolved. Jain and Buddhist Agamas also reiterated the same philosophical ideas much later (500 BCE). From the Agama traditions also evolved parallely, the bhakti traditions involving idol worship, Linga, temple rituals, puja, goddesses like Shakti and the legends of Shiva and Parvati. Almost all idol worship (Puja) and Temple rituals follow the Agama Vidhis (rules). The Puranas are also influenced largely by the Agama devotional traditions. The Agamas
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    Infinite Life Sutra

    Infinite Life Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Zen
    The Infinite Life Sūtra, or Longer Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra (Sanskrit: सुखावतीव्यूहः sukhāvatīvyūhaḥ; traditional Chinese: 無量壽經; simplified Chinese: 无量寿经; pinyin: Wúliángshòu Jīng; Japanese: 無量寿経; Korean: 무량수경; Vietnamese: Vô lượng thọ kinh) is a Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtra, and the primary text of Pure Land Buddhism. It is the longest of the three major texts of Pure Land Buddhism. Alternate Sanskrit titles of this text include Amitābhavyūha Sūtra, Amitāyuḥ Sūtra, and Aparimitāyuḥ Sūtra. Some scholars believe that the Infinite Life Sūtra was compiled in the age of the Kuṣāṇa Dynasty, in the first and second centuries CE, by an order of Mahīśāsaka bhikṣus, which flourished in the Gandhāra region. It is likely that the longer Sukhāvatīvyūha owed greatly to the Lokottaravāda sect as well for its compilation, and in this sūtra there are many elements in common with the Mahāvastu. The earliest of these translations show traces of having been translated from the Gāndhārī language, a prakrit used in the Northwest. It is also known that manuscripts in the Kharoṣṭhī script existed in China during this period. Traditionally the Infinite Life Sūtra is believed to have been translated twelve times
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    Lakshmi Stuti By Indra

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    Lakshmi Stuti is a prayer for Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. The prayer is found in ancient scriptures from Sanatana Dharma. According to the Vishnu Purana, Durvasa Muni (Lord Shiva's incarnation) gave Indra a flower necklace. Indra put it on his elephant, who threw it down. Angry, Durvasa cursed Indra that he would lose his kingdom. Soon enough, the world became Sri-less, and Indra and Gods lost. They all came to Brahma, who also accompanied them to the Ksheer sagar. There, they all prayed to Vishnu. Vishnu appeared and advised them to do Sagar Manthan with the help of demons. Sagar Manthan was performed with the help of Sri Vishnu himself. Vishnu empowered the Gods and Demons, as well as the great Snake Vasuki, and also held the great mountain used to churn the ocean. From Sagar Manthan came many great wonders. Lakshmi appeared, and after being worshiped by the ocean personified, and all the sacred rivers and Gods, took place in the heart of Lord Vishnu (Vaksha Sthal - chest). Then Amrit appeared, and Lord Keshav tricked the demons and Gods drank Amrit. Gods then defeated Demons. Thereafter, Indra worshiped Lakshmi with this stuti. Thereafter, Lakshmi
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    Japji Sahib

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    'Japji' is a universal song of God composed by Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of the Sikh faith. Japji Sahib consists of the Mool Mantra as the beginning followed by 38 hymns and a final Salok at the end of this composition. The Japji appears at the very beginning of the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Book of the Sikhs. It is regarded as the most important Bani or 'set of verses' by the Sikhs and is recited every morning by all practising this faith. The word ‘Jap’ means to ‘recite’ or ‘to ‘chant’. ‘Ji’ is a word that is used to show respect as is the word ‘Sahib’. 'Ji' can also be used to refer to one's own soul. This Bani was composed by the founder of the faith, Sri Guru Nanak Dev, who was the first of ten Sikh Gurus. The Ten Gurus of Sikhism were responsible for the creation of this faith which took place over period 1469 to 1708 – a period of about 239 years. At the point when the last of these Gurus departed this Earth, the Guruship was passed to the Sikh Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib. The Sikh treat the Guru Granth Sahib as a living Guru and the respect shown for the Shabad or ‘Message of the Gurus’ is unique in the faith. Attention : The English translation of Guru Granth
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    190

    Blue Cliff Record

    • Religious Text Of: Rinzai school
    The Blue Cliff Record (Chinese: 《碧巖錄》 Bìyán Lù; Japanese: Hekiganroku (碧巌録); Korean: Byeokamrok, 벽암록(碧巖錄); Vietnamese: Bích nham lục (碧巖錄)) is a collection of Chán Buddhist koans originally compiled in China during the Song dynasty in 1125 (宋宣和七年) and then expanded into its present form by the Chán master Yuanwu Keqin (圜悟克勤 1063 – 1135). The book includes Yuanwu's annotations and commentary on Xuedou Zhongxian's (雪竇重顯 980 – 1052) collection 100 Verses on Old Cases 《頌古百則》 — a compilation of 100 koans. Xuedou selected 82 of these from the Jingde Chuandeng Lu 《景德傳燈錄》 (Jingde era Record of the Transmission of the Lamp), with the remainder selected from the Yunmen Guanglu 《雲門廣録》 (Extensive Record of Yunmen Wenyan (864 – 949). Yuanwu's successor, Dahui Zonggao (大慧宗杲 1089 – 1163). wrote many letters to lay students teaching the practice of concentrating on koans during meditation. But Dahui did not explain and analyze koans. Oral tradition holds that Dahui noticed students engaged in too much intellectual discourse on koans, and then burned the wooden blocks used to print the Bìyán Lù. Another key legend regards Dogen Zenji (道元禅師; 1200 – 1253), who brought the Soto Zen sect to Japan:
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    191

    Chaitanya Bhagavata

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Chaitanya Bhagavata (Bengali: চৈতন্য ভাগবত) is a hagiography of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (b.1486), the famous Vaishnava saint, written by Vrindavana Dasa Thakura (1507-1589 CE). It was the first full-length work regarding Chaitanya Mahaprabhu written in Bengali language and documents his early life and role as the founder of the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. The text details Chaitanya's theological position as a combined Avatar of both Radha and Krishna within the belief of his close associates and followers. The writing of Chaitanya Bhagavata was commissioned by Nityananda, who was the guru of Vrindavana Dasa Thakura and close friend of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Initially, the Chaitanya Bhagavata was named Chaitanya Mangala. Krishnadasa Kaviraja also mentioned this work by this name. According to the Premavilasa of Narottama Dasa, when it was discovered that the poet Lochana Dasa had also wrote a work with this title, the leading members of the Vaishnava community in Vrindavan met and decided that Vrindavana Dasa's book would be known as the Chaitanya Bhagavata with Lochana Dasa’s book remaining as the Chaitanya Mangala. The Chaitanya Bhagavata is divided into three parts: the
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    192

    Pirkei Avot

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    Pirkei Avot (Hebrew: פרקי אבות‎), also pronounced Pirkei Avoth, or Pirkei Avos, which translates to English as Chapters of the Fathers is a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period. Because of its contents, it is also called Ethics of the Fathers. The teachings of Pirkei Avot appear in the Mishnaic tractate of Avot, the second-to-last tractate in the order of Nezikin in the Talmud. Pirkei Avot is unique in that it is the only tractate of the Talmud dealing solely with ethical and moral principles; there is little or no halacha found in Pirkei Avot. In the Talmudic sense, the word avot, meaning "fathers", refers to fundamentals, or principal categories. Thus, the principal categories of creative work forbidden on Shabbat are called avot melacha, and the principal categories of ritual impurity are referred to as avot tum'ah. Perakim, or in the conjunctive form pirkei, means "chapters". Thus Pirkei Avot means "Chapters of Fundamental Principles". The recognition of ethical maxims as 'Fundamental Principles' may derive from the high regard in which the Torah and Talmud hold such wisdom. "Love your neighbor as yourself," states the Bible
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    193
    Puranas

    Puranas

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Puranas (Sanskrit: पुराण purāṇa, "of ancient times") are a genre of important Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages, and demigods, and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography. Puranas usually give prominence to a particular deity, employing an abundance of religious and philosophical concepts. They are usually written in the form of stories related by one person to another. The Puranas are available in vernacular translations and are disseminated by Brahmin scholars, who read from them and tell their stories, usually in Katha sessions (in which a traveling Brahmin settles for a few weeks in a temple and narrates parts of a Purana, usually with a Bhakti perspective). Vyasa, the narrator of the Mahabharata, is traditionally considered the compiler of the Puranas. However, the earliest written versions date from the time of the Gupta Empire (third-fifth century CE) and much material may be dated, through historical references and other means, to this period and the succeeding centuries. The texts were probably written all over
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    194

    Purva Mimamsa Sutras

    The Mimamsa Sutra (Sanskrit: मीमांसा सूत्र, Mīmāṁsā Sūtra) or the Purva Mimamsa Sutras (ca. 300-200 BCE), written by Rishi Jaimini is one of the most important ancient Hindu philosophical texts. It forms the basis of Mimamsa, the earliest of the six orthodox schools (darshanas) of Indian philosophy. According to tradition, sage Jaimini was one of the disciples of sage Veda Vyasa, the author of Mahabharata. The work is divided in to twelve adhyayas (chapters), which are further divided in to sixty padas (sections). The text provides rules for the interpretation of the Vedas and also provides philosophical justifications for the observance of Vedic rituals, by offering meaning and significance of Vedic rituals to attain Moksha. Over the centuries many commentaries were written on this text, most important being the Śabara Bhāṣya written by Śābara, the only extant commentary on all the 12 chapters of the Mimamsa Sutras of Jaimini. The major commentaries written on the text as well as the Śabara Bhāṣya were by Kumarila Bhatta and Prabhakara Mishra. Jaimini, in his Mimamsa Sutra, presents material work and its results as the whole of reality (vipanam rtam). He and later proponents of
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    195
    Second Epistle of Peter

    Second Epistle of Peter

    The Second Epistle of Peter, often referred to as Second Peter and written 2 Peter or in Roman numerals II Peter (especially in older references), is a book of the New Testament of the Bible, ascribed by some scholars to Saint Peter, though currently, many NT scholars regard it as pseudepigraphical. It is the first New Testament book to treat other New Testament writings as scripture, 2 Peter was one of the last letters included in the New Testament canon; it quotes from and adapts Jude extensively, identifies Jesus with God, and addresses a threatening heresy which had arisen because the end and Second Coming had not occurred. According to the Epistle itself, it was composed by the Apostle Peter, an eyewitness to Jesus' ministry. It criticizes "false teachers" who distort the authentic, apostolic tradition, and predicts judgment for them. 2 Peter explains that God has delayed the Second Coming so that more people will have the chance to reject evil and find salvation. It calls on Christians to wait patiently for the parousia and to study scripture. The date of composition has proven to be very difficult to determine. Commentaries and reference books have placed 2 Peter in almost
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    196

    Shiva Samhita

    Shiva Samhita śivasaṁhitā (also Siva Samhitā) is a Sanskrit text on yoga, written by an unknown author. The text is addressed by the Hindu god Shiva to his consort Parvati ("Shiva Samhita" means "Shiva's Compendium"). It is one of three major surviving classical treatises on hatha yoga, the other two being Gheranda Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradipika. The Shiva Samhita is considered the most comprehensive and the most democratic treatise on hatha yoga. Many believe that Shiva Samhita was written in 17th or 18th century, but in a 2007 translation, James Mallinson dates the text before 1500CE, as it has been cited by many works believed to have been composed in 17th century. Based on the clues given in the text, Mallinson also believes that the Shiva Samhita was composed in or around Varanasi. Mallinson says Shiva Samhita exposes a yoga teaching, yet also calls itself a tantra; he also describes it as an eclectic collection of yoga lore. Shiva Samhita talks about the complex physiology, names 84 different asanas (only four of which are described in detail), describes five specific types of prana, and provides techniques to regulate them. It also deals with abstract yogic philosophy,
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    197
    Shurangama Sutra

    Shurangama Sutra

    The Śūraṅgama Sūtra (Chinese: léngyán jīng, Chinese: 楞嚴經) is a Mahāyāna Buddhist sūtra, and has been especially influential in the Chán school of Chinese Buddhism. The original Sanskrit version of Shurangama Sutra have not been found yet. Nobody really know what is its Sanskrit name. The complete title preserved in Chinese version, is Chinese: 大佛頂如來密因修證了義諸菩薩萬行首楞嚴經, and may be translated as And in old Chinese version, a small footnote give us its another name which is Chinese: 中印度那爛陀大道場經, 於灌頂部錄出別行. In Chinese Buddhism, it could be shorted as Chinese: 首楞嚴經 or Chinese: 楞嚴經. That name is similar with Shurangama Samadhi Sutra (traditional Chinese: 首楞嚴三昧經) in Chinese, so Joseph Edkins translated it to surangama-samadhi-sutra in English version. Then Charles Luk translated it to Shurangama Sutra. Śūraṅgama roughly means "indestructible." The word is composed of Śūraṅ (great, absolutely), with Gama (durable, solid). East Asian title include: It is also known in Chinese by shorter versions of the title such as dà fódǐng shǒuléngyán jīng (大佛頂首楞嚴經) or simply and more commonly léngyán jīng (楞嚴經). Shurangama Sutra did not record at official catalogue. The first one who gave an account of the
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    198

    The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

    • Religious Text Of: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
    The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a satirical book written by Bobby Henderson that embodies the main beliefs of the parody religion the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarianism. The Flying Spaghetti Monster was created by Bobby Henderson in an open letter to the Kansas State Board of Education in which he parodied the concept of intelligent design. After Henderson posted the letter on his website, it became an internet phenomenon and was featured in many large newspapers, which caught the attention of book publishers. Released in March 2006 by Villard Books, The Gospel elaborates on Pastafarian beliefs established in the open letter. The Gospel includes a creation myth, set of commandments, and guide to evangelizing, and discusses history and lifestyle from a Pastafarian perspective. Henderson uses satire to show flaws with creationism and prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster, lampooning the intelligent design movement in the process. The book, which has sold more than 100,000 copies, was generally well received. In 2005, Bobby Henderson, then a 24-year-old Oregon State University physics graduate, parodied the concept of intelligent design by professing
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    199

    Ullambana Sutra

    The Ullambana Sutra (佛說報恩奉盆經) is a Mahayana sutra which consists in a brief discourse given by the Gautama Buddha principally to the monk Maudgalyāyana (Mokuren in Japanese) on the practice of filial piety. In the Ullambana Sutra, the Buddha instructs his disciple Mahāmaudgalyāyana on how to obtain liberation for his mother, who had been reborn into a lower realm, by making food offerings to the sangha on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. This practice is the basis of the Obon ceremony in honor of one's ancestors, which is still observed widely in Japan. The sutra was probably written several hundred years after the Buddha's death.
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    Book of Ezekiel

    Book of Ezekiel

    The Book of Ezekiel is the third of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah and preceding the Book of the Twelve. (The order is somewhat different in the Christian Old Testament). It derives its name from, and records the visions of, the 6th century BC priest and prophet Ezekiel. According to the book, the prophet, exiled in Babylon, experienced a series of seven visions during the 22 years from 593 to 571 BC, a period which spans the final destruction of Jerusalem in 586. The visions, and the book, are structured around three themes: (1) judgment on Israel (chapters 1-24); (2) judgment on the nations (chapters 25-32); and future blessings for Israel (chapters 33-48). The book opens with a vision of Yahweh, God of Israel; moves on to anticipate the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, explains this as Yahweh's punishment, and closes with the promise of a new beginning and a new Temple. Some of the highlights include: The Book of Ezekiel describes itself as the words of the Ezekiel ben-Buzi, a priest living in exile in the city of Babylon between 593 and 571. Most scholars today accept the basic authenticity of the book, but see in it
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    Book of Omni

    Book of Omni

    The Book of Omni is one of the books that make up the Book of Mormon. The book contains only one chapter although it covers more than two centuries of Nephite history (from ca 323 BC to 130 BC, according to footnotes). (This first portion is found previous to the Book of Omni.) Nephi, who wrote First and Second Nephi forged the record, a book written on sheets, or plates of gold. Nephi passed them to his brother Jacob, Jacob passed them to his son Enos, Enos passed them to his son Jarom, Jarom passes them to his son Omni. In the Book of Omni, we find that: Omni passes them to his son Amaron, (Omni 1:3) Amaron passes them to his brother Chemish, (Omni 1:8) Chemish passes them to his son Abinadom, (Omni 1:10) Abinadom passes them to his son Amaleki (Omni 1:12). The moral and general civilizational decline of the Nephites is reflected in the fact that with the exception of Abinadom who writes slightly more than his father Chemish, each successive author from Nephi to Abinadom writes less than his predecessor. The final author of the Book of Omni and the Small Plates of Nephi, Amaleki, breaks this general rule. Much like Mormon (who may have taken Amaleki as his model), this last
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    Ecclesiastes

    Ecclesiastes

    The Book of Ecclesiastes ( /ɨˌkliːziˈæstiːz/; Greek: Ἐκκλησιαστής), originally called Qoheleth (Hebrew: קֹהֶלֶת‎‎, literally, "Preacher") in Hebrew, is a book of the Tanakh's Ketuvim and the Old Testament. The literal sense of the Greek translation, "Member of the Assembly," approaches "Preacher," using the root ekklesia for "assembly," or "church," to maintain similarity with Qoheleth. In English, the book is commonly referred to simply as Ecclesiastes (abbreviated "Ecc."). The main speaker in the book, identified by the name or title Qoheleth (usually translated as "teacher" or "preacher"), introduces himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem." Authorship of the book is usually attributed to King Solomon. The work consists of personal or autobiographic matter, at times expressed in aphorisms and maxims illuminated in terse paragraphs with reflections on the meaning of life and the best way of life. The work emphatically proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently "vain", "futile", "empty", "meaningless", "temporary", "transitory", "fleeting," or "mere breath," depending on translation, as the lives of both wise and foolish men end in death. While Qoheleth clearly endorses
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    Epistle of Jeremy

    The Letter of Jeremiah, also known as the Epistle of Jeremy, is a deuterocanonical book of the Old Testament; this letter purports to have been written by Jeremiah to the Jews who were about to be carried away as captives to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar. It is included in Catholic Bibles as the final chapter of the Book of Baruch. It is also included in Orthodox Bibles as a standalone book. The title of this work is misleading, for it is neither a letter nor was it written by the prophet Jeremiah. According to the text of letter, the author is the prophet Jeremiah. The biblical book of Jeremiah already contains the words of a letter (Jer 29:1-23) sent by Jeremiah "from Jerusalem" to the "captives" in Babylon. The Letter of Jeremiah portrays itself as a similar piece of correspondence. As E. H. Gifford puts it, "The fact that Jeremiah had written one such letter to the captives seems to have suggested the idea of dignifying by his name another letter not written in reality till many ages after his death." Most scholars agree that the author was not Jeremiah. The chief arguments put forward are literary quality, as well as the religious depth and sensitivity. J. T. Marshall adds that
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    Gems of Divine Mysteries

    Javáhiru’l-Asrár (Arabic: جواهر الاسرار‎) or Gems of Divine Mysteries, is a book by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. The treatise was written in reply to a question from Siyyid Yúsuf-i-Sidihí Isfahání who had asked the question of how the promised Mahdi could have been "transformed" (meaning: the return of the Promised One in a different human guise) into the Báb. The work was revealed on the same day as the question had been received. Bahá'u'lláh himself states that he took "the opportunity provided by" the question "to elaborate on a number of subjects". The Introduction of the published English translation lists some of these topics, some of which are: "rejection of the Prophets of the past," "danger of a literal reading of scripture," "the meaning of the signs and portents of the Bible concerning the advent of the new Manifestation," "the continuity of divine revelation," "intimations of Bahá'u'lláh's approaching declaration," and the significance or meanings of terms such as "Day of Judgement" and "the Resurrection." The Tablet (as Bahá'u'lláh's works are often called) was written during his time in Baghdad (1853-1863) in Arabic, and was only recently translated
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    Tav-Prasad Savaiye

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    Tav-Prasad Savaiye is a short hymn of 10 stanzas. It is a part of Guru Gobind Singh ji's classic composition 'Akal Ustat' which means 'The praise of God'. In the last line of the 9th stanza, Gobind Singh has declared that 'only those who love sincerely and honestly, realise God'. This Bani appears in the Dasam Granth on pages 13 to 15. Shri Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa Sri Wahe Guru Ji ki Fateh
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    Ten Stages Sutra

    The Ten Stages Sutra (Sanskrit: Daśabhūmika Sūtra; simplified Chinese: 十地经; traditional Chinese: 十地經; pinyin: shí dì jīng) also known as the Daśabhūmika Sūtra, is an early, influential Mahayana Buddhist scripture. The sutra also appears as the 26th chapter of the Avataṃsaka Sūtra. In the Daśabhūmika Sūtra, the Buddha describes ten stages of development that a bodhisattva must progress through in order to accomplish full Enlightenment and Buddhahood, as well as the subject of Buddha-nature and the awakening of the aspiration for Enlightenment. A commentary on the Daśabhūmika Sūtra, the Dasabhūmikabhāsya, was written by Vasubandhu in Sanskrit and translated into Chinese by Bodhiruci and others during the 6th century CE. The Madhyamakāvatāra is a commentary on the meaning of Nagarjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā and the Daśabhūmikasūtra-śāstra. A Daśabhūmikā school in China is said to have existed in China at one time, which centered on this sutra, but was later absorbed by the Huayan school, as the Huayan school's principal sutra, the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, already contains the Daśabhūmika Sūtra. The Daśabhūmika Sūtra can also be found in modified form in the thirty-ninth chapter as part of
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    Torah

    Torah

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Torah (/ˈtɔːrə/; Hebrew: תּוֹרָה‎‎, "Instruction", "Teaching") is the Jewish name for the first five books of the Jewish Bible. In Hebrew the five books are named by the first phrase in the text: Bereshit ("In [the] beginning", Genesis), Shemot ("Names", Exodus), Vayikra ("He called", Leviticus), Bamidbar ("In the desert", Numbers) and Devarim ("Words", Deuteronomy). In rabbinic literature the word Torah denotes both these five books, Torah Shebichtav (תורה שבכתב, "Torah that is written"), and an Oral Torah, Torah Shebe'al Peh (תורה שבעל פה, "Torah that is spoken"). The Oral Torah consists of the traditional interpretations and amplifications handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation and now embodied in the Talmud (תַּלְמוּד) and Midrash (מדרש‎). The words of the Torah are written on a scroll by a sofer on parchment in Hebrew. A Torah portion must be read publicly at least once every three days, in the halachically prescribed tune, in the presence of a congregation, which is the basis for Jewish communal life. According to religious tradition, all of the laws found in the Torah, both written and oral, were given by God to Moses, some of them at Mount Sinai and
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    Isha Upanishad

    Isha Upanishad

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Isha Upanishad (Devanagari: ईशावास्य उपनिषद्,īśa upaniṣad, otherwise Ishopanishad īśopaniṣad or īśāvāsya upaniṣad) is one of the shortest of the Upanishads, consisting of 17 or 18 verses in total; like other core texts of the vedanta, it is considered revealed scripture (Śruti) by diverse traditions within Hinduism. The name of the text derives from the incipit, īśā, "by the Lord (Isha)". The Upanishad constitutes the final chapter (adhyāya) of the Shukla Yajurveda, but is historically one of the latest of the principal (mukhya) Upanishads, dating approximately to Mauryan times. The short text covers a wide spectrum of philosophy, religion, ritualism and metaphysics. The Isha Upanishad is significant amongst the Upanishads for its description of the nature of the supreme being (Ish). It presents a monist or non-dual perspective of the universe, in that it describes this being as "unembodied, omniscient, beyond reproach, without veins, pure and uncontaminated" (verse 8), one who "moves and does not move', who is 'far away, but very near as well'" and who "although fixed in His abode is swifter than the mind" (verses 4 & 5). The text then asserts the oneness of the supreme self;
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    Book of Baruch

    The Book of Baruch, occasionally referred to as 1 Baruch, is called a deuterocanonical book of the Bible. Although not in the Hebrew Bible, it is found in the Septuagint and in the Vulgate Bible, and also in Theodotion's version. It is grouped with the prophetical books which also include Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, and the twelve minor prophets. It is named after Baruch ben Neriah, Jeremiah's scribe. Some scholars propose that it was written during or shortly after the period of the Maccabees. In the Vulgate, the King James Bible Apocrypha, and many other versions, the Letter of Jeremiah is appended to the end of the Book of Baruch as a sixth chapter; in the Septuagint and Orthodox Bibles chapter 6 is usually counted as a separate book, called the Letter or Epistle of Jeremiah. Quotations from New Revised Standard Version and New International Version In the Catholic Church, Bar 3:9-38 is used in the liturgy of Holy Saturday during Passiontide in the traditional lectionary of scriptural readings at Mass. A similar selection occurs during the revised liturgy for the Easter Vigil. Bar 1:14 - 2:5; 3:1-8 is a liturgical reading within the revised Roman Catholic
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    Book of Nehemiah

    • Religious Text Of: Catholicism
    The Book of Nehemiah is a book of the Hebrew Bible. Told largely in the form of a first-person memoir, it concerns the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem by Nehemiah, a Jew who is a high official at the Persian court, and the dedication of the city and its people to God's laws (Torah). The events take place in the second half of the 5th century BC, and together with the Book of Ezra, it represents the final chapter in the historical narrative of the Hebrew Bible The original core of the book, the first-person memoir, may have been combined with the core of the Book of Ezra around 400 BC. Further editing probably continued into the Hellenistic era, but this view is debated. The book tells how Nehemiah, at the court of the king in Susa, is informed that Jerusalem is without walls and resolves to restore them. The king appoints him as governor of Judah and he travels to Jerusalem. There he rebuilds the walls, despite the opposition of Israel's enemies, and reforms the community in conformity with the law of Moses. After 12 years in Jerusalem, he returns to Susa but subsequently revisits Jerusalem. He finds that the Israelites have been backsliding and taking non-Jewish wives, and he
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    Lalitavistara Sutra

    The Lalitavistara Sutra (English: Extensive Sport Sutra) is a Mahayana Buddhist Vaipulya sutra that describes the sports (lila) of Gautama Buddha. It is a compilation of various works by no single author and includes some material from the Sarvastivada school. The scholar P. L. Vaidya dates the finished Sanskrit text to the 3rd century. The Lalitavistara Sutra was known to the Mantranaya stonemasons of Borobodur, refer: The birth of Buddha (Lalitavistara). 'Mantranaya' is not a corruption or misspelling of 'mantrayana' even though it is largely synonymous. Mantranaya is the term for the esoteric tradition on mantra, a particular lineage of Vajrayana, in Indonesia. The clearly Sanskrit sounding 'Mantranaya' is evident in Old Javanese tantric literature, particularly as documented in the oldest esoteric Buddhist tantric text in Old Javanese, the Sang Kyang Kamahayanan Mantranaya refer Kazuko Ishii (1992). The Lalitavistara Sutra is nothing less than the auto-biography of Buddha. It includes a description of his enlightenment. It is published by Dharma Publishing in Berkeley under the title "Voice of the Buddha: The Beauty of Compassion," as a 2 vol. set. In the Lalitavistara the
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    Gospel of Mark

    Gospel of Mark

    • Religious Text Of: Christianity
    The Gospel According to Mark (Greek: κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον, to euangelion kata Markon), commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second gospel in the Bible. However, most contemporary scholars now regard it as the earliest of the canonical gospels (c 70). The Gospel of Mark narrates the Ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and resurrection. It focuses particularly on the last week of his life (chapters 11–16) in Jerusalem. Its swift narrative portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, healer and miracle worker. An important theme of Mark is the Messianic Secret. Jesus silences the demoniacs he heals, tries unsuccessfully to keep his messianic identity secret, and conceals his message with parables. Meanwhile, the disciples fail to understand both the implication of the miracles of Jesus and the meaning of the things he predicts about his arrest, death and resurrection. According to tradition and
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    Heart Sutra

    Heart Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Zen
    The Heart Sūtra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदय Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya) is a famous sūtra in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its Sanskrit name Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya literally means "The Heart of the Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom". The Heart Sūtra is often cited as the best-known and most popular Buddhism scripture of all. The Heart Sūtra, belonging to the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā) category of Mahāyāna Buddhism literature along with the Diamond Sūtra, is perhaps the most prominent representative of the genre. The Heart Sūtra is made up of 14 shlokas in Sanskrit, with each shloka containing 32 syllables. In the standard Chinese translation by Xuanzang, it has 260 Chinese characters. In English it is composed of sixteen sentences. This makes it the shortest text in the Perfection of Wisdom genre, which contains scriptures in lengths up to 100,000 shlokas. According to Buddhist scholar and author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his commentary to the Heart Sūtra: The Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sūtra) is much shorter than the other Perfection of Wisdom sūtras but it contains explicitly or implicitly the entire meaning of the longer Sutras. This sutra is classified by Edward Conze as
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    Mul Mantra

    Mul Mantra

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    The Mul Mantar (Punjabi: ਮੂਲ ਮੰਤਰ, Mūl Maṃtar, pronounced Mool Mantar) is the first composition in the Sikh holy book, the Adi Granth. It is a series of affirmations and is the basis of Sikh theology. The Mul Mantar is the first composition of Guru Nanak and the origin of the Adi Granth. The Adi Granth begins with the Mul Mantar and it occurs more than one hundred times throughout the text. The Mul Mantar is the most widely known part of Sikh scripture but it has posed a challenge to translators. ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ AKAAL MOORT, AJUNI, SAI BHANG, GUR PRASAD Mul means root, it has a similar etymological origin to the Punjabi language word Muli which means white radish. A Mantar or Mantra is "an empowering formula for repetition". The Mul Mantar is thus the root statement of Sikhism. The Mul Mantar consists of nouns and adjectives but no verbs or pronouns. In addition, the nouns in the Mul Mantar do not have exact counterparts in European languages and the Gurmukhi script does not distinguish between upper and lower case letters. Thus, it poses a challenge to translators. The first affirmation, for example, Ik Onkar has been
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    Xinxin Ming

    • Religious Text Of: Zen
    Xinxin Ming (alt. spellings: Xin Xin Ming or Xinxinming) (信心銘) (Wade-Giles: Hsin Hsin Ming; Japanese: Shinjinmei or Shinjin no Mei), Faith in mind, is a poem attributed to the Third Chinese Chan (Zen) Patriarch Jianzhi Sengcan 僧璨 (d. 606) (Wade-Giles: Chien-chih Seng-ts'an; Japanese: Kanchi Sosan), is one of the earliest Chinese Chan expressions of the Buddhist mind training practice. "Xinxin" has commonly been interpreted as "faith" or "trust." For example, one translation is "Faith in Mind" (See The Poetry of Enlightenment: Poems by Ancient Ch'an Masters, Ch'an Master Sheng-Yen). While this interpretation may appear to some to be a departure from the traditional view of seeking refuge in the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha), it is actually a deliberate declaration and poetic polemic of the Chan (Zen) school written as a response to the increasingly popular movement of faith in Amitaba Buddha known as Pure Land Buddhism. From the Chan/Zen point of view, Buddha and Mind are one (即心即佛) (see the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (六祖壇經)), as expressed in Mazu's famous dictum "Mind is Buddha". Thus, faith in outward Buddhas is contrary to the goal of Buddhism, which is the
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    Lotus Sutra

    Lotus Sutra

    • Religious Text Of: Zen
    The Lotus Sūtra (Sanskrit: Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra) is one of the most popular and influential Mahāyāna sūtras, and the basis on which the Tiantai and Nichiren schools of Buddhism were established. The earliest known Sanskrit title for the sūtra is the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra, which translates to "the Lotus Flower Formula (or Rule) of Good Dharma." In English, the shortened form Lotus Sūtra is common. The Lotus Sūtra has also been highly regarded in a number of Asian countries where Mahāyāna Buddhism has been traditionally practiced. Translations of this title into the languages of some of these countries include: The oldest parts of the text (Chapters 1-9 and 17) were probably written down between 100 BC and 100 AD: most of the text had appeared by 200 AD. The Lotus Sutra presents itself as a discourse delivered by the Buddha toward the end of his life. The tradition in Mahayana states that the sutra was written down at the time of the Buddha and stored for five hundred years in a realm of nāgas. After this they were reintroduced into the human realm at the time of the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir. The sutra's teachings purport to be of a higher order than those
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    Bible

    Bible

    • Religious Text Of: Protestantism
    The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία ta biblia "the books") is a canonical collection of sacred texts in Judaism or Christianity. Different religious groups include different books within their canons, in different orders, and sometimes divide or combine books, or incorporate additional material into canonical books. Christian Bibles range from the sixty-six books of the Protestant canon to the eighty-one books of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church canon. The Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh, contains twenty-four books divided into three parts; the five books of the Torah ("teaching" or "law"), the Nevi'im ("prophets"), and the Ketuvim ("writings"). The first part of Christian Bibles is the Old Testament, which contains, at minimum, the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible divided into thirty-nine books and ordered differently than the Hebrew Bible. The Catholic Church and Eastern Christian churches also hold certain deuterocanonical books and passages to be part of the Old Testament canon. The second part is the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books; the four Canonical gospels, Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one Epistles or letters and the Book of Revelation. By the second century BCE
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    Book of Jeremiah

    The Book of Jeremiah (Hebrew: ספר יִרְמְיָהוּ‎) is the second of the Latter Prophets in the Hebrew Bible, following the book of Isaiah and preceding Ezekiel and the Book of the Twelve. (The order is somewhat different in the Christian Old Testament). It derives its name from, and records the visions of, Jeremiah, who lived in Jerusalem in the late 7th and early 6th centuries BC during the time of king Josiah and the fall of the Kingdom of Judah to the Babylonians, and who subsequently went into exile in Egypt. The book is written in a complex and poetic Hebrew (apart from verse 10:11, curiously written in Biblical Aramaic). Parts of the Book of Jeremiah have also been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in cave 4 in Qumran. These texts, in Hebrew, correspond both to the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint Text. This discovery has shed much light on the differences between the two versions; while it was previously maintained that the Greek Septuagint (the version used by the earliest Christians) was only a poor translation, professor Emanuel Tov, senior editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls' publication, wrote that the Masoretic edition either represents a substantial rewriting of the original
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    Brahmana

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Brāhmaṇas (Devanagari: ब्राह्मणम्) are part of the Hindu śruti literature. They are commentaries on the four Vedas, detailing the proper performance of rituals. Each Vedic shakha (school) had its own Brahmana, and it is not known how many of these texts existed during the Mahajanapadas period. A total of 19 Brahmanas are extant at least in their entirety: two associated with the Rigveda, six with the Yajurveda, ten with the Samaveda and one with the Atharvaveda. Additionally, there are a handful of fragmentarily preserved texts. They vary greatly in length; the edition of the Shatapatha Brahmana fills five volumes of the Sacred Books of the East, while the Vamsa Brahmana can be printed on a single page. The Brahmanas are glosses on the mythology, philosophy and rituals of the Vedas. Whereas the Rig Veda expressed uncertainty and was not dogmatic, the Brahmanas express confidence in the infallible power of the mantras. The Brahmanas hold the view that, if expressed correctly, the texts will not fail. They were composed during a period of urbanisation and considerable social change.During the first millennium bce the people who composed the Veda gradually abandoned their nomadic
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    Epistle to Philemon

    Epistle to Philemon

    Paul's Epistle (or Letter) to Philemon, usually referred to simply as Philemon, is a prison letter to Philemon from Paul of Tarsus. Philemon was a leader in the Colossian church. This letter, which is one of the books of the New Testament, deals with forgiveness. Philemon was a wealthy Christian (possibly a bishop) of the house church that met in his home in Colosse. This letter is now generally regarded as one of the undisputed works of Paul. It is the shortest of Paul's extant letters, consisting of only 335 words in the original Greek text and 25 verses in modern English translations. Paul, who is in prison (probably in either Rome or Ephesus), writes to a fellow Christian named Philemon and two of his associates: a woman named Apphia, sometimes assumed to be his wife, and a fellow worker named Archippus, who is assumed by some to have been Philemon's son and who also appears to have had special standing in the small church that met in Philemon's house (see Colossians 4:17). If the letter to the Colossians is authentically Pauline, then Philemon must live in Colossae. As a slave-owner he would have been wealthy by the standards of the early church and this explains why his house
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    Fire Tablet

    'Lawh-i-Qad-Ihtaraqa'l-Mukhlisun,' better known as the Fire Tablet, is a tablet written in Arabic by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith in 'Akká in 1871. Bahá'u'lláh wrote the tablet in response to questions by a Bahá'í believer from Iran. The authorized English translation was done in 1980 by Habib Taherzadeh and a Committee at the Bahá'í World Centre. The tablet is written in rhyming verse, has the form of a conversation between Bahá'u'lláh and God, and reflects the sufferings of Bahá'u'lláh. Bahá'ís often recite this tablet in times of difficulty.
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    Kalika Purana

    • Religious Text Of: Hinduism
    The Kalika Purana (Sanskrit: कालिका पुराण, Kālikā Purāṇa) (ca. 10th century) is a Hindu religious text, considered as one of the 18 Upapuranas. The extant text contains 98 chapters with over 9000 stanzas and is the only work of the series dedicated to the worship of the goddess Kali her manifold forms such as Girija, Devi, Bhadrakali, and Mahamaya. This text describes in details about the rivers and mountains at Kamarupa tirtha and mentions about the temple of the goddess Kamakshya or Kamakshi. It glorifies the goddess Kamakshya, and details the ritual procedures required for worshipping her. The work belongs, therefore, to the goddess-oriented Shakta branch of Hinduism. Most probably it was composed in Kamarupa (modern Assam). It is an important work which has been quoted as an authority by the comparatively late Nibandha (digests of the smritis) writers from all over India, especially regarding Shakti worship. This Upapurana contains gratuitous material which refers to events and conditions of the remote past. It is also one of the rare Hindu texts that actually mentions the word "Hindu". The earliest printed edition of this text was published by the Venkateshvara Press, Bombay
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    Lankavatara Sutra

    Lankavatara Sutra

    The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (Sanskrit: लंकावतारसूत्र Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra; traditional Chinese: 楞伽經; pinyin: léngqié jīng) is a sutra of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The sūtra recounts a teaching primarily between the Buddha and a bodhisattva named Mahāmati ("Great Wisdom"). The sūtra is set in Laṅkā, the island fortress capital of Rāvaṇa, the king of rākṣasas. The title of this text roughly translates as, "Scripture of the Descent into Laṅkā." The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra figured prominently in the development of Chinese, Tibetan and Japanese Buddhism. It is notably an important sūtra in Chinese Chán and its Japanese version, Zen. The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra draws upon the concepts and doctrines of Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha. The most important doctrine issuing from the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra is that of the primacy of consciousness (Skt. vijñāna) and the teaching of consciousness as the only reality. The sūtra asserts that all the objects of the world, and the names and forms of experience, are merely manifestations of the mind. The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra describes the various tiers of consciousness in the individual, culminating in the "storehouse consciousness" (Skt. Ālayavijñāna), which is the base of the
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    Longchen Nyingthig

    • Religious Text Of: Buddhism
    Longchen Nyingthig (Tibetan: ཀློང་ཆེན་སྙིང་ཐིག་, Wylie: klong chen snying thig) is a systematic explanation of Dzogchen within the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Like the world famous Bardo Thodol, the Longchen Nyingthig is a seminal example of the terma tradition. The Longchen Nyingthig is generally classified as a Vajrayana or tantric Buddhist esoteric teaching and has an extensive meditational, trance and ritual practice, oral tradition and tantric literature associated with it. Thondup & Talbott (1996: xiii) state Longchen Nyingthig (the heart-essence of infinite expanse, or the ultimate truth of the universal openness) is a cycle of mystical teachings that represent the innermost meditation of Dzogpa Chenpo [Dzogchen], revealed by the great scholar and adept Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798). Jigme Lingpa discovered them as a "mind ter" (or "mind treasure"), teachings that were discovered from the enlightened nature of the mind. The Longchen Nyingtig may be translated as 'seminal heart of Longchenpa', a reference to the central figure of Jigme Lingpa's 'pure visions' (Wylie: dag-snang) in which the texts were revealed. 'Nyingthig' (which connotes 'seminal essence' or 'heart
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    Principia Discordia

    • Religious Text Of: Discordianism
    The Principia Discordia is a Discordian religious text written by Greg Hill (Malaclypse the Younger) and Kerry Wendell Thornley (Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst). It was originally published under the title "Principia Discordia or How The West Was Lost" in a limited edition of 5 copies in 1965. The name, meaning "The Principles of Strife", deviates from correct Latin which would read Principia Discordiæ. The Principia describes the Discordian Society and its Goddess Eris, as well as the basics of the POEE denomination of Discordianism. It features typewritten and handwritten text intermixed with clip art, stamps, and seals appropriated from other sources, possibly in violation of copyright laws. While the Principia is full of literal contradictions and unusual humor, it contains several passages which propose that there is serious intent behind the work, for example a message scrawled on page 00075: "If you think the PRINCIPIA is just a ha-ha, then go read it again." The Principia is quoted extensively in and shares many themes with the science fiction book The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. While Wilson was not directly involved in writing the Principia,
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    Rigveda

    Rigveda

    The Rigveda (Sanskrit: ऋग्वेद ṛgveda, a compound of ṛc "praise, verse" and veda "knowledge") is an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is counted among the four canonical sacred texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas. Some of its verses are still recited as Hindu prayers, at religious functions and other occasions, putting these among the world's oldest religious texts in continued use. The Rigveda contains several mythological and poetical accounts of the origin of the world, hymns praising the gods, and ancient prayers for life, prosperity, etc. It is one of the oldest extant texts in any Indo-European language. Philological and linguistic evidence indicate that the Rigveda was composed in the north-western region of the Indian subcontinent, roughly between 1700–1100 BC (the early Vedic period). The surviving form of the Rigveda is based on an early Iron Age (c. 10th c. BC) collection that established the core 'family books' (mandalas 2–7, ordered by author, deity and meter ) and a later redaction, co-eval with the redaction of the other Vedas, dating several centuries after the hymns were composed. This redaction also included some additions
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    Second Epistle of John

    Second Epistle of John

    The Second Epistle of John, often referred to as Second John and often written 2 John, is a book of the New Testament attributed to John the Evangelist, traditionally thought to be the author of the Gospel of John and the other two epistles of John. The language of this epistle is remarkably similar to 3 John. It is therefore suggested by a few that a single author composed both of these letters. The traditional view contends that all the letters are by the hand of John the apostle, and the linguistic structure, special vocabulary, and polemical issues all lend toward this theory. Also significant is the clear warning against paying heed to those who say that Jesus was not a flesh-and-blood figure: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” This establishes that, from the time the epistle was first written, there were those who had docetic Christologies, believing that the human person of Jesus was actually pure spirit. Alternatively, the letter's acknowledgment and rejection of gnostic theology may reveal a later date of authorship than orthodox Christianity claims. This can not be assured by a simple study of the
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    The Scientology Handbook

    • Religious Text Of: Scientology
    This is an incomplete bibliography of Scientology and Scientology-related books produced within the Church of Scientology and its related organizations, containing all of the Basic books and some other later works either compiled from other works by or written directly by L. Ron Hubbard. All entries are by L. Ron Hubbard or "Based on the Works of L. Ron Hubbard" books unless otherwise noted. The following are known as the Basic books -- these were written within the first years of Dianetic and Scientology development and are not compiled, but rather authored in their entirety by L. Ron Hubbard. These books are not part of the Basics and are either written directly by or compiled from other works by L. Ron Hubbard. Books published after Hubbard's death in 1986:
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    Mahayana-sutra-alamkara-karika

    Mahāyāna-sūtrālamkāra-kārikā ("The Adornment of Mahāyāna Sūtras") is a major work of Buddhist philosophy attributed to Maitreya-nātha as dictated to Asanga. The text, written in verse, presents the Mahāyāna path from the Yogācāra perspective. It comprises twenty-two chapters with a total of 800 verses and shows considerable similarity in arrangement and content to the Bodhisattva-bhūmi-śāstra, although the interesting first chapter proving the validity and authenticity of Mahāyāna is unique to this work. Associated with it is a prose commentary (bhāsya) by Vasubandhu and several sub-comentaries by Sthiramati and others; the portions by Maitreya-nātha and Vasubandhu both survive in Sanskrit as well as Tibetan, Chinese, and Mongolian translations. The Mahayanasutralamkara has been translated into English by Lobsang Jamspal, Robert Thurman and the American Institute of Buddhist Studies translation committee.
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    Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra

    The Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra is an influential and doctrinally striking Mahayana Buddhist scripture which treats of the existence of the "Tathagatagarbha" (Buddha-Matrix, Buddha-Embryo, Buddha-Essence, lit. "the womb of the thus-come-one") within all sentient creatures. The Buddha reveals how inside each person's being there exists a great Buddhic "treasure that is eternal and unchanging". This is no less than the indwelling Buddha himself. Sree Padma and Anthony Barber associate the development of the Tathagātagarbha Sūtra with the Mahāsāṃghika sect of Buddhism, and conclude that the Mahāsāṃghikas of the Āndhra region (i.e. the Caitika schools) were responsible for the inception of the Tathāgatagarbha doctrines. The Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra is considered "the earliest expression of this [the tathāgatagarbha doctrine) and the term tathāgatagarbha itself seems to have been coined in this very sutra." The text is no longer extant in its language of origin, but is preserved in two Tibetan translations and one Chinese translation. In regard to the Tathāgatagarbha Sūtra and the term tathagatagarbha A. W. Barber writes: .....as Alex Wayman, Michael Zimmermann, and I have noted, the original
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    Epistle to the Colossians

    Epistle to the Colossians

    The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, usually referred to simply as Colossians, is the 12th book of the New Testament. It was written, according to the text, by Paul the Apostle to the Church in Colossae, a small Phrygian city near Laodicea and approximately 100 miles from Ephesus in Asia Minor. Scholars have increasingly questioned Paul's authorship and attributed the letter to an early follower instead. The authenticity of the letter, however, has been defended with equal strength. During the first generation after Jesus, Paul's epistles to various churches helped establish early Christian theology. According to Metzger it was written in the 50s while Paul was in prison, Colossians is similar to Ephesians, also written at this time. Increasingly, critical scholars ascribe the epistle to an early follower writing as Paul. The epistle's description of Christ as pre-eminent over creation marks it, for some scholars, as representing an advanced christology not present during Paul's lifetime. Defenders of Pauline authorship cite the work's similarities to Philemon, which is broadly accepted as authentic. The letter may have been written by Paul at Rome during his first imprisonment.
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    Epistle to the Romans

    Epistle to the Romans

    The Epistle to the Romans, often shortened to Romans, is the sixth book in the New Testament. Biblical scholars agree that it was composed by the Apostle Paul to explain that salvation is offered through the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is by far the longest of the Pauline epistles, and is considered his "most important theological legacy". According to Jesuit scholar Joseph Fitzmyer, the book, "overwhelms the reader by the density and sublimity of the topic with which it deals, the gospel of the justification and salvation of Jew and Greek alike by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, revealing the uprightness and love of God the father." N. T. Wright notes that Romans is According to traditional scholarly consensus, Paul authored the Epistle to the Romans. Only few scholars have argued against Paul's authorship. The letter was most probably written while Paul was in Roman Corinth, and probably while he was staying in the house of Gaius and transcribed by Tertius his amanuensis. There are a number of reasons Corinth is most plausible. Paul was about to travel to Jerusalem on writing the letter, which matches Acts where it is reported that Paul stayed for three months in
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    Gospel of Thomas

    Gospel of Thomas

    • Religious Text Of: Gnosticism
    The Gospel According to Thomas, commonly shortened to the Gospel of Thomas, is a well preserved early Christian, non-canonical sayings-gospel which many scholars believe provides insight into the Christian Oral Tradition. It was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. The Gospel of Thomas was found among a collection of fifty-two writings that included, in addition to an excerpt from Plato's Republic, gospels claiming to have been written by Jesus's disciple Philip. Scholars have speculated that the works were buried in response to a letter from Bishop Athanasius who for the first time declared a strict canon of Christian scripture. The Coptic language text, the second of seven contained in what modern-day scholars have designated as Codex II, is composed of 114 sayings attributed to Jesus. Almost half of these sayings resemble those found in the Canonical Gospels, while it is speculated that the other sayings were added from Gnostic tradition. Its place of origin may have been Syria, where Thomasine traditions were strong. The introduction states: "These are the hidden words that the living Jesus spoke and
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    Humash

    Humash

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    The Hebrew term Chumash (also Ḥumash) (Hebrew: חומש‎, pronounced [χuˈmaʃ] or pronounced [ħuˈmaʃ] or Yiddish: pronounced [ˈχʊməʃ]) is a term for Torah in printed form as opposed to the Torah scroll. The word comes from the Hebrew word for five, ḥamesh (חמש). A more formal term is Ḥamishah Ḥumshei Torah, "five fifths of Torah". It is a Hebrew name for the Five Books of Moses, also known by the Latinised Greek term Pentateuch in common printed editions. The word "ḥumash" may be a misreading of ḥomesh, meaning "one-fifth", alluding to any one of the five books: as the Hebrew חומש has no vowel signs, it could be read either way. It could also be regarded as a back-formed singular of ḥumashim/ḥumshei (which is in fact the plural of ḥomesh). In early scribal practice there was a distinction between a Sefer Torah, containing the entire Pentateuch on a parchment scroll, and a copy of one of the five books on its own, which was generally bound in codex form, like a modern book, and had a lesser degree of sanctity. The term ḥomesh strictly applies to one of these. Thus, ḥomesh B'reshit strictly means "the Genesis fifth", but was misread as ḥumash, B'reshit and interpreted as meaning "The
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    Sritattvanidhi

    Sritattvanidhi

    The Sritattvanidhi (Śrītattvanidhi) ("The Illustrious Treasure of Realities") is an iconographic treatise written in the 19th century in Karnataka by the then Maharaja of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar III (b. 1794 - d. 1868). The Maharaja was a great patron of art and learning and was himself a scholar and writer. There are around 50 works ascribed to him. The first page of the Sritattvanidhi attributes authorship of the work to the Maharaja himself: Martin-Dubost's review of the history of this work says that the Maharaja funded an effort to put together in one work all available information concerning the iconography and iconometry of divine figures in South India. He asked that a vast treatise be written, which he then had illustrated by miniaturists from his palace. This infrence by this unknown one book wonder is an insult to the Maharaja and there is nothing available in contemporary History to even remotely allude to such an infrence. This is a problem faced by all Rulers. It is unfortunate curse on many such Raja Yogindra's. The resulting illuminated manuscript, which he entitled the Sritattvanidhi, brings together several forms of Shiva, Vishnu, Skanda, Ganesha, different
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    Triodion

    The Triodion (Greek: Τριῴδιον, Triōdion; Slavonic: Постнаѧ Трїωдь, Postnaya Triod; Romanian: Triodul, Albanian: Triod/Triodi), also called the Lenten Triodion (Τριῴδιον κατανυκτικόν, Triodion katanyktikon), is the liturgical book used by the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine rite during Great Lent, the three preparatory weeks leading up to it, and during Holy Week. Many canons in the Triodion contain only three odes or canticles, hence the name Triodion, meaning The Book of the Three Odes. The period which the book covers extends from the Sunday of the Publican and Pharisee (the tenth week before Pascha (Easter): twenty-two days before the beginning of Great Lent), and concludes with Holy Saturday (the day after Good Friday). During this period, the services of the Divine Liturgy and the Canonical hours undergo profound changes. The Triodion contains propers (seasonal material) for: In the edition of the Lenten Triodion used by the Old Believers and those who follow the Ruthenian recension, the contents of the Triodion end with the service of Lazarus Saturday and do not contain the services of Holy Week, which are to be found in the Pentecostarion. Since
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    Book of Zechariah

    Book of Zechariah

    The Book of Zechariah, attributed to the prophet Zechariah, is included in the Twelve Minor Prophets in the Hebrew Bible and is the penultimate book of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. Zechariah’s ministry took place during the reign of Darius the Great (Zechariah 1:1), and was contemporary with Haggai in a post-exilic world after the fall of Jerusalem in 586/7 BCE. Ezekiel and Jeremiah wrote prior to the fall of Jerusalem, while continuing to prophesy in the earlier exile period. Scholars believe Ezekiel, with his blending of ceremony and vision, heavily influenced the visionary works of Zechariah 1-8. Zechariah is specific about dating his writing (520-518 BCE). During the Exile many Jews were taken to Babylon, where the prophets told them to make their homes (Jeremiah 29), suggesting they would spend a long period of time there. Eventually freedom did come to many Israelites, when Cyrus the Great overtook the Babylonians in 539 BCE. In 538 BCE, the famous Edict of Cyrus was released, and the first return took place under Sheshbazzar. After the death of Cyrus in 530 BCE, Darius consolidated power and took office in 522 BCE. His system divided the different colonies of
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    First Book of Nephi

    First Book of Nephi

    The First Book of Nephi ( /ˈniːfaɪ/) is the first book of the Book of Mormon. Its full title is The First Book of Nephi: His Reign and Ministry. The book is usually referred to as First Nephi and abbreviated as "1 Ne.". It is a first-person narrative, beginning around 600 BC, of a prophet named Nephi. The Second Book of Nephi is a continuation of this narrative. The book begins in Jerusalem at the time of King Zedekiah, where Nephi's father, Lehi, has a vision, wherein he sees God the Father, Christ, and the twelve apostles. Lehi is also made aware of the imminent Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem. Hence as a result of this experience, Lehi begins to preach repentance to his people. As with the other prophets living at that time, such as Jeremiah, they reject his teachings and attempt to kill him by stoning him. In a dream, God commands Lehi to leave Jerusalem with his family (which include his wife, Sariah, and his four sons Laman, Lemuel, Sam, and Nephi). Yet almost immediately upon their exile, Lehi is commanded by God to send his sons back to Jerusalem to retrieve the brass plates, a record similar to the Old Testament which was owned by Laban, a powerful leader in Jerusalem.
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    Fourth Nephi

    Fourth Nephi

    Fourth Nephi is one of the books of the Book of Mormon. Its full title is Fourth Nephi: The Book of Nephi, Who Is the Son of Nephi, One of the Disciples of Jesus Christ. The "Fourth Nephi" part of the title was added by Orson Pratt, in 1879. Fourth Nephi is one of the shorter books in the Book of Mormon, containing only a single chapter, but it covers almost three centuries of the history of the Nephites and the Lamanites (ca AD 35 to 321). The book describes the period of time immediately following the visit of Jesus Christ to the Book of Mormon peoples, in which time the Nephites and the Lamanites are all converted to the Church of Christ. They lived in peace for almost two hundred years, and, according to the record, "surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God" (4 Ne. 1:16). During this time the distinction between the Lamanites and Nephites disappears: "neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God" (4 Ne. 1:17). However, about AD 200 small contentions arise and the people begin to be divided, ultimately leading to a "great
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    Hidden Words

    Kalimát-i-Maknúnih (کلمات مکنونه) or The Hidden Words is a book written in Baghdad around 1857 by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith. This work is written partly in Arabic and partly in Persian. The Hidden Words is written in the form of a collection of short utterances, 71 in Arabic and 82 in Persian, in which Bahá'u'lláh claims to have taken the basic essence of certain spiritual truths and written them in brief form. Bahá'ís are advised by `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of Bahá'u'lláh to read them every day and every night and to implement its latent wisdom into their daily lives. He also said that The Hidden Words is "a treasury of divine mysteries" and that when one ponders its contents, "the doors of the mysteries will open." There is a Shi'a Muslim tradition called "Mushaf of Fatimah", which speaks of Fatimah upon the passing of her father, Muhammad. There are several versions of this tradition, but common to all are that the angel Gabriel appeared to her and consoled her by telling her things that she wrote in a book. According to one tradition they were prophesies. The book, if ever physical, did not survive, and was seen to be something that the Mahdi would reveal in the
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    Holy Quran

    • Religious Text Of: Sunni Islam
    "The Holy Quran" is the name of a well known Shi'a twelver tafsir, translated by Sayed Mir Ahmed Ali with a comprehensive Introduction and extensive commentary by Ayatullah Mirza Mahdi PuyaYazdi. The work is one of the tafsirs offered at al-Islam.org Several Editions are out. The first edition was printed in Pakistan. One edition is printed in Iran. Another is printed by Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an of New York. Fifth US Edition came out in 2005 This translation and commentary should NOT be confused with the entirely separate translation of the Quran by the novelist Ahmad Ali.
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    Perfection of Wisdom

    Perfection of Wisdom

    • Religious Text Of: Zen
    Prajñāpāramitā (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिता) in Buddhism, means "the Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom." The word Prajñāpāramitā combines the Sanskrit words prajñā ("wisdom") with pāramitā ("perfection"). Prajñāpāramitā is a central concept in Mahāyāna Buddhism and its practice and understanding are taken to be indispensable elements of the Bodhisattva Path. The practice of Prajñāpāramitā is elucidated and described in the genre of the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras, which vary widely in length and exhaustiveness. The Prajñāpāramitā Sutras suggest that all things, including oneself, appear as thoughtforms (conceptual constructs). The earliest Mahayana Sutras were of the Prajñāpāramitā type. Western scholars have traditionally considered the earliest sūtra in the Prajñāpāramitā class to be the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra or "Perfection of Wisdom in 8,000 Lines", which was probably put in writing in the 1st century BCE. This chronology is based on the views of Edward Conze, who largely considered dates of translation into other languages. The first translation of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā into Chinese occurred in the 2nd century CE. This text also has a corresponding version in
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    Richa

    Richa (Rucha) refers to a shloka (couplet) or mantra, usually two to four sentences long, found in the Hindu religious scriptures, the Vedas. The etymological origin of Richa is the Sanskrit word, ric, which means to praise. Richa, is therefore, one ric after the other. Other meanings of ric are splendour, worship, a hymn. Richa can also refer to a verbal composition of celestial sounds called "Shrutis". The Gayatri Mantra is a Richa as well. In Marathi or in Kannada, it is pronounced as Rhucha. In Hindi, it is pronounced as Richa but spelt as ऋचा. In Sanskrit (ऋचा) the pronunciation varies based on the geography and native language of the speakers. Hindi speaking populace would pronounce the Sanskrit word as "Richa" as opposed to Marathi or Kannada speaking populace. Both the 'Ru' and 'Ri' pronunciations are correct and are regional variants. In Maharashtra and Karnataka, the letter ऋ is pronounced 'Ru', whereas it is pronounced 'Ri' by speakers of Hindi. The Hindi script is identical to the Sanskrit script. Richa is a popular given-name among Hindu females. Notable people named Richa:
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    Sefer Yetzirah

    Sefer Yetzirah

    • Religious Text Of: Judaism
    Sefer Yetzirah (Hebrew, Sēpher Yəṣîrâh "Book of Formation," or "Book of Creation," ספר יצירה) is the title of the earliest extant book on Jewish esotericism, although some early commentators treated it as a treatise on mathematical and linguistic theory as opposed to Kabbalah. "Yetzirah" is more literally translated as "Formation"; the word "Briah" is used for "Creation". A cryptic story in the Babylonian Talmud states that "On the eve of every Shabbat, Judah HaNasi's pupils, Rab Hanina and Rab Hoshaiah, who devoted themselves especially to cosmogony, used to create a delicious calf by means of the Sefer Yetzirah, and ate it on the Sabbath." Mystics assert that Abraham used the same method to create the calf prepared for the three angels who foretold Sarah's pregnancy in the Biblical account at Genesis 18:7. All the miraculous creations attributed to other rabbis of the Talmudic era are ascribed by rabbinic commentators to the use of the same book. Sefer Yetzirah's appendix (vi. 15) declares that the Biblical patriarch Abraham was the recipient of the divine revelation of mystic lore; so that the rabbis of the classical rabbinic era, and philosophers as Saadia, Donnolo, and Judah
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    Sukhmani

    • Religious Text Of: Sikhism
    Sukhmani Sahib is the name given to the set of hymns divided into 24 sections which appear in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Scriptures on page 262. Each section, which is called an Ashtpadi(asht means 8), consists of 8 hymns per Ashtpadi. The word Sukhmani literally means Peace in your mind. This set of Hymns or Bani is very popular among the Sikhs, who frequently recite it in their places of worship called Gurdwaras and at home. The full recital takes about 90 minutes and is normally undertaken by everyone in the congregation. According to Sikh doctorine, this Bani is believed to bring peace to one's mind and compoundly peace to the world. This set of 192 hymns were compiled by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji. Below are a few translated quotes from this Bani: Ashtpadi 1: A very good connected site is given below. Sukhmani Sahib
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    Tablet of the Branch

    The Súrih-i-Ghusn or Tablet of the Branch a tablet written by Bahá'u'lláh, founder of the Bahá'í Faith in Adrianople. It clearly confirms a clearly high station for "the Branch of Holiness" (`Abdu'l-Bahá).
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    Tao Te Ching

    • Religious Text Of: Taoism
    The Tao Te Ching, Daodejing, or Dao De Jing (道德經: 道 dào "way"; 德 dé "virtue"; 經 jīng "classic" or "book") also simply referred to as the Laozi, is a Chinese classic text. According to tradition, it was written around the 6th century BC by the sage Laozi (or Lao Tzu, "Old Master"), a record-keeper at the Zhou Dynasty court, by whose name the text is known in China. The text's true authorship and date of composition or compilation are still debated, although the oldest excavated text dates back to the late 4th century BC. The text is fundamental to both philosophical and religious Taoism (Daojia, Chinese: 道家, Pinyin: Dàojiā; Daojiao, Chinese: 道教, Pinyin: Dàojiào) and strongly influenced other schools, such as Legalism, Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism, which when first introduced into China was largely interpreted through the use of Daoist words and concepts. Many Chinese artists, including poets, painters, calligraphers, and even gardeners have used the Daodejing as a source of inspiration. Its influence has also spread widely outside East Asia, and is amongst the most translated works in world literature. The Wade–Giles romanization "Tao Te Ching" dates back to early English
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    The Book of the Law

    • Religious Text Of: Thelema
    Liber AL vel Legis is the central sacred text of Thelema, written by Aleister Crowley, who claimed it was dictated to him by a discarnate entity named "Aiwass". The full title of the book is Liber AL vel Legis, sub figura CCXX, as delivered by XCIII=418 to DCLXVI, and it is commonly referred to as The Book of the Law. Through the reception of this book, Crowley proclaimed the arrival of a new stage in the spiritual evolution of humanity, to be known as the 'Æon of Horus'. The primary precept of this new aeon is the charge to "Do what thou wilt". The book contains three chapters, each of which was written down in one hour, beginning at noon, on 8 April 9 April, and 10 April in Cairo, Egypt, in the year 1904. Crowley says that the author was an entity named Aiwass, whom he later referred to as his personal Holy Guardian Angel (analogous to but not identical with "Higher Self"). Biographer Lawrence Sutin quotes private diaries that fit this story, and writes that "if ever Crowley uttered the truth of his relation to the Book," his public account accurately describes what he remembered on this point. Occultist and former student of Crowley, Israel Regardie argued that Aiwass was an
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    The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children

    The Prayer of Azariah and the Song of the Three Holy Children is a lengthy passage that appears after Daniel 3:23 in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles, as well as in the ancient Greek Septuagint translation. Article VI of the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England has it listed as non-canonical (but still, with the other Apocryphal texts, "the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners"). The passage is omitted from some Protestant Bibles as an apocryphal addition. The passage includes the penitential prayer of Azariah (Abednego in Babylonian; see Daniel 1:6-7) while the three youths were in the fiery furnace; a brief account of a figure who met them in the furnace and was unburned (an angel, or interpreted by Christians as a prefigurement or theophany of Jesus Christ, in the same vein as Melchisedek); and the hymn of praise they sang (with the refrain, "Praise and exalt Him above all forever...", repeated many times, each naming a feature of the world) when they realized they were delivered. The "Song of the Three Holy Youths" is part of the hymn called a canon sung during the Matins and other services in Orthodoxy. It can be found in the
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    Xiang'er

    The Xiang’er (Simplified Chinese: 想尔, Traditional Chinese: 想爾) is a commentary to the Dao De Jing that is best known for being one of the earliest surviving texts from the Way of the Celestial Master variant of Daoism. The meaning of the title Xiang’er is debated, but can be translated as meaning ‘thinking of you.’ The Xiang’er was most likely written in between 190 and 220 CE, a time when the Celestial Masters controlled a theocratic state in Sichuan. Early sources indicate that the text was written by Zhang Lu, the third Celestial Master and grandson to Zhang Daoling. The text available to us today was discovered in the Buddhist caves at Dunhuang in the early 20th century and was part of the trove that traveled to London along with Aurel Stein. However, the Xiang’er that survives only comments upon half of the Daode Jing. Presumably there was also a second part of the Xiang’er, but it has now been lost. The Xiang’er text found at Dunhuang likely dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. The Xiang’er reveals a great deal about early Celestial Master thought and practice. In particular, the text offers advice to individuals and to society as a whole. In terms of individual advice, the
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