|As a service to you, my visitors, I'm providing definitions of
some terms used in these pages, for the sake of clarity. Religious terms will
be taken from the Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Many of the entries in the
Oxford dictionary provide a reading list of books devoted to that term). Also, the
1999 edition of Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions.
This note will appear after definitions from the (M-W EWR). Links are
provided to this page whenever a defined term is used in the text. There's a note
to this effect on the index page. Wherever you see an asterisk immediately before a
term, it means that the term is also included in this list of words. There are
many terms here that do not appear in my journals, which are provided for
comparative reasons. Sacred texts refered to here are collected on their own
This collection of terms and people includes personages throughout history
and the world in my lifetime that have influenced or impacted me. I would not
be what I have become in my fifty-some years were it not for the beliefs and
practices of those varied and sundry people I have met. I hope you find this service
informative and useful. The buttons below take you to that letter in the listings.
- (from Sanskrit, 'fire' cf. Latin, ignis). The god of fire in
Hinduism, of great importance especially in the Vedic period. As sacrifice
is the center of the Vedic religion, Agni is at the center of sacrifice.
As messenger of the gods, Agni is the mediator between humankind and the
heavenly realm. All offerings must pass through the scared fire to reach their
divine destinations...Ever youthful, he bestows life and immortality.
- (from the Sanskrit, ' not harming'). Avoiding injury to
any sentient creature through act or thought, a principle of basic importance
for Indian religions, especially for Jains and Buddhists. Consult the
O.D.W.R. for the full entry.
- from Arabic, perhaps Greek, via Syriac al-kimiya). The
endeavor (minimally) to find the key to the transformation of chemical substances,
especially of base metals into precious ones; and beyond that, to find
'the elixir of immortality'. The word and practice of 'alchemy' thus underlie
modern chemistry. In its earlier forms it pervades all religions, though moving
increasingly to interior and spiritual transformations.
(Since I'm employing the word in this latter sense in my album title -
ALCHEMY OF HOPE - soon I will devote a page of its own to the entire entry in the
Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Go here for the entire O.D.W.R. entry.
- Arabic for GOD: if from earlier Semitic languages (e.g.
Aramaic, alaha) perhaps the God (Arabic, al='the').
Before the birth of *Muhammad, ALLah was known as a supreme, but not the sole,
God. Muhammad became aware, early in his life, of conflict between religions and
of contest, therefore, between 'gods'. From his experience in the cave of Mount
Hira'...Muhammad saw that if God is God, it is God that God must be: there cannot
be division of God into separate or competing beings.
- (from Arabic,`the guided one'). In *Sunni
Islam, one who receives guidance from God. The term may apply to figures in the
past, or to those who revive Islam, but more often it refers to a future, *eschatological
figure, who will come to herald in the end of all things. This may be
'Isa/*Jesus, who will restore the observance of Islam after a period of
decline, when the *Ka'ba
will have disappeared and copies of the *Qur'an will become blank paper.
- (Spanish, also known from Latin, as
for reform, based on personal holiness and enlightenment, in 16th/17th
Century Spain. At least three different groups have been identified, attracting
both educated and uneducated adherents. Because of their supposed
connection with Lutheranism, they were fiercely persecuted by the Inquisition; yet
prominent figures (e.g., Ignatius Loyola, *John of the
Cross, *Teresa, of Avila) were
all accused of illuminism, illustrating how close were the goals of holiness for
these diverse figures.
- (Sanskrit, 'not-death'). The nectar of immortality as in
*Amrit; but in Hinduism (especially Vedas) it is *soma.
- (Sanskrit). A chief disciple and first cousin of the
- *anatman, or Anatta.
- (Sanskrit, `not-self'). Fundamental perception in buddhism that
since there is no subsistent reality to be found in or underlying appearances,
there cannot be a subsistent self or soul in the human appearance--in contrast to
Hinduism, where the understanding of *atman
and *jiva is equally fundamental to
its understanding of the human predicament and how to escape it. If all is subject
to dukkha (transience and the grief that arises from trying to find the
non-transient within it), then human appearance is no exception. The human is
constituted by five aggregates (skandha) which flow together and give rise
to the impression of identity and persistence through time. thus even if there is
`no soul', there is at least that which has the nature of having that nature.
There were major disputes about the best candidates for constituting this impression,
but agreement in general was reached that there is no soul which...sits inside the
human body, like the driver of a bus, and gets out at the end of the journey. There
is only the aggregation of components, which is caused by the previous moment, and
causes the next. Thus while there is momentarily one person who is rightly
identified as the Dalai Lama, there is no one person who the Dalai Lama always is.
In *Mahayana Buddhism, this term was
extended to apply to all appearance which arises from *Sunyata and is therefore devoid of
substance, empty of self.
- (from Greek, apsis). The rounded end of a church, especially in
Greek Oorthodoxy: it is derived from the Constaninian basilicas which
incorporated the pagan apsis where judges and legal advisors sat.
- A center (usually Hindu), for religious study and meditation.
- (Sanskrit). For hindus and Sikhs, the real or true Self, which
underlies and is present in human appearance. In the Vedas, that sense had not
been developed. In the *Rig Veda, it means breath, or the whole
body, as opposed to parts of it. It may even be simply a reflexive pronoun (cf.
*nafs in Arabic).
- (Hebrew, kapparah). In Judaism: Reconciliation with God.
According to Jewish belief, human sin damages the relationship with God and only
the process of atonement can restore it. According to biblical teaching, sacrifice
was the outer form of atonement (Leviticus 5), provided human beings also purified
themselves spiritually (e.g. Isaiah I. 11-17). In Christianity: In
Christian theology, atonement is the reconciliation ('at-one-ment') of men and
women to God through the death of Christ. The word was introduced by W. Tyndale in
1526, to translate reconciliatio'. The need for such reconciliation is
already apparent in the Old Testament: in the system of sacrifices which removed
ritual and moral uncleanness; in the prophecies of a 'new covenant' (Jeremiah 31.
31); and in the servant songs which speak of the servant being "wounded for our
transgressions' (Isaiah 53. 5). Please see the full entry in the O.D.W.R.
- (from Sanskrit, 'descent'). The earthly manifestations
(or 'incarnations') of a Hindu diety. While it is popularly but wrongly
believed that the concept is first expressed in the famous verse of
Bhagavad-gita, 'I [Krishna] come into being age after age...' (iv. 8) it
was indeed the figure of *Krishna,
and his relationship with the diety
*Vishnu, which triggered off
the subsequent developments.
- (from Arabic "sign of God'). Title of high ranking Shi'ite
Muslim authorities, especially in Iran. It is a recent (20th Cent.) title for
exceptional jurists (mujtahid whose authority rest on that of the
infallible *IMAM-though in 1979, the Ayatollah Khomeini adopted the title of IMAM
for himself. Since he did nor claim to be the Hidden Imam, this was a new
development in hierarchical practice and theory.* An Ayatollah's decisions
(*fatwa) have authority only for those who examine and
agree with them-in theory; in practice, Ayatollahs gain personal followings, among
whom their decisions are accepted as binding. the extension of these personal
followings to even wider communities is again a recent innovation.* (*MY
- Ba'al Shem
- ( from Hebrew, 'master of the divine name') Title given in
hasidic and *kabbalistic literature to those who
possess secret knowledge of God's name. See Baal Shem Tov below.
- *BA'AL SHEM TOV, or Israel ben
- Revived Hasidism in E. Europe.
- *Beatitudes, The
- Promises of blessing, and specifically the sequence of eight or nine
sentences beginning `Blessed are the poor in Spirit' in Jesus' *Sermon on the Mount
(Matthew 5. 3-11). The version in Luke's `Sermon on the Plain' is shorter with
more marked contrast of present and future. For the entire set
of BLESSINGS go here.
- (From Matthew 12:24-7): Lord of the Flies (From Merriam-Webster's
Encyclopedia of world Religions)
- (Same Source as Beelzebub): Lord of Dung...does it surprise anyone
that THE "Duke" of Demons became associated with flies
and..."Poo-poo"? - My favorite depiction of the relationship is
Renfield in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's DRACULA - Jesse
- (Sanskrit, either from bhaj, `to share, be loyal', or
bhañj, 'to separate'). Devotion in love and adoration, especially
to one's chosen manifestation of the divine; but it may be guru-bhakti (surrender
to a guru) or or vaidhi-bhakti (willing acceptance of a guru's instructions).
- (Sanskrit, `seed. potency'). In both Hinduism and Buddhism,
the latent power underlying every manifest appearance. In particular, bija is
the power concentrated in a symbolic sound, which a *guru has learnt in experience, and which he
passes on to a pupil in a bija *mantra
(seed syllable). An aspect of the absolute reality is thus concentrated in the
- *Black Stone
- (Arabic, 'al-hajar al-aswad'). A stone said to be of meteoric
origin, variously thought to be of lava or basalt, and reddish black in color,
some 12 inches in diameter, embedded in the eastern corner of the
*Ka'ba in Mecca. As the
Ka'ba is the focus of Muslim devotion, being the 'house of *Allah', so
is the Black Stone the holiest object, and during the hajj (pilgrimage) the
pilgrims try to kiss or touch it as they walk seven times around the Ka'ba.
- (Sanskrit, Pali, 'awakened'). In Hinduism, perfect knowlwdge,
personified as Bodha, a son of Buddhi (intellect). In Buddhism, it is the
experience of enlightenment, which unlike *nirvana, can be given an approximate
description, it is the attainment of perfect clarity of mind in which things are seen
as they really are - as in the experience of Gautama under the tree (hence called
Bodhi tree) through which he became the Buddha.
- (Chinese, P'u-t'i-ta-mo, or Tamo; Japanese Bodaidaruma, or
Daruma) The 28th successor in line from Sakyamuni Buddha, and the first Chinese patriarch of Ch'an/Zen. Please
see the entire entry in the Dictionary.
- (Sanskrit; Pali, bodhisatta, 'Enlightenment being';
Japanese, Bosatsu; Korean, Posal; Tibetan, Byang.chub
sems.dpa, "Hero of the Thought of enlightenment'). In Theravada Buddism, a
title exclusively identifying historical *Buddhas (i.e., *Sakymuni) in their
previous lives, before their Buddhahood was attained; and in *Mahayana Buddhism to describe any being
who, out of compassion, has taken the *boddhisattva vow to become a Buddha
for the sake of all sentient beings. Please see the entire entry in the
O.D.W.R. (bodhisattva has entered the English lexicon through the genius of
numerous poets and song writers - most notably the duet Steely
- *Book of Life
- (Hebrew, Sefer ha-Hayyim). A book in Heaven in
which Jews believe the names of the righteous are inscribed.
- In Hinduism, a post-Vedic deity. Brahma is the god of creation
and first in the Hindu triad of Brahma, *Vishnu, and *Shiva He is represented as red in color,
with four heads and four arms, holding, respectively, a goblet, a bow, a sceptre, and
- (French, 'doing odd jobs'). A characteristic (according to C.
Levi-Strauss) of the early human mind, in contrast to modern scientific thinking.
But bricolage is entirely rational (i.e. not pre-rational) in its own way. He
introduced the term in The Savage Mind. A bricoleur is one
who improvises and and uses any means or materials which happen to be lying around
in order to tackle a task: 'The bricoleur is adept at executing a
great number of diverse tasks; but unlike the engineer, he does not subordinate
each of them to the availability of raw materials and tools, conceptualized and
procured specifically for this project; his instrumental universe is closed, and
the rule of his game is to make do with the means at hand.' In the making of
myth, bricolage is the use of whatever happens to be 'lying around,' so that myth
is both rational and improvisatory.
- ( in Pali, Sanskrit; Chinese, fo; Japanese, butsu;
Korean, pul). 1. An enlightened person, literally, 'one who has
awakened' to the truth. Traditional Buddhism teaches there are two sorts.
*Sammasambuddha and *pratyekabuddha; and that *Gotama is one
in a series of the former kind. *Mahayana
Buddhism extends the notion of a buddha into a universal principle: all beings
possess a 'buddha-nature' and are therefore prospective buddhas.
2. Title applied to Gotama, the historical founder of Buddhism and to other
samyakbuddhas by virtue of their being buddhas par excellence (as in 1. above).
When occuring by itself, the expression 'the Buddha' is generally used to mean
Gotama, though he is referred to by adherents of the *Theravada tradition as simply 'Buddha.'
The *Pali canon suggests that, in his
lifetime, Gotama (after his enlightenment) was not referred to so much as Buddha
as *Tathagata, his own preferred form
of self-reference. See the remainder of the entry in the O.D.W.R. for more
details on the life of Gotama.
- (Sanskrit, `buddha-nature'). In Mahayana Buddhism, the real and
undifferentiated nature of all appearance. Since this nature constitutes all
beings, they all have equal opportunity to realize this fact and to attain
enlightenment-no matter what their present form or level of appearance. This is in
contrast to *Theravada. Within Mahayana, it is
disputed whether inanimate appearances also possess the buddha-nature in this way. In
Zen buddhism, the equivalent (Japanese) term is *bussho or,
hossho, and the awakening to the truth of that nature and one's
identity with it is *Mujodo-no-taigen. Since all arises from
*sunyata, bussho is necessarily not other
than that; which means , in turn, that the buddha-nature must be beyond description
- *Burning bush
- The plant from which occured God's revelation to *Moses in Exodus 3.
1-4, 17. the bush is described as 'burning, yet it was not consumed'. Several
plants, such as the wild jujube, acacia, or the bramble, have been identified as
the bush. A bush growing in St. Catherine's monastery on the (traditional) site on
Mount Sinai is identified by the monks as drived from the original burning bush.
During the Middle Ages, the burning bush became a Christian symbol for
*Mary as e.g. in Chaucer, Prologue to the Prioress' Tale.
- Japanese for Buddhata (see above), the buddha-nature in Zen Buddhism. There is
only buddha-nature constituting all appearance, thus one's self self cannot be
differentiated from it. The aim of Zen is to cultivate awareness and realization
of this truth.
- (Sanskrit, `wheel'). A center of psychic energy in the body
conceived of as a *lotus,
especially in *Tantrism. Six main chakras connected by the
sushumna *nadi (in Buddhism called avadhuti) came to be
recognized in Hinduism, the muladhara (`root support') at the base
of the spine, the svadhistana (`own place') in the genital region,
the manipura (`jewel city') at the navel, the anahata
(`unstruck') at the heart, the visuddha (`pure') at the throat, and
the ajna (`command') between the eyebrows. Just above here are two
minor chakras: the *manas and soma. Above the top of the head is the
thousand-petalled lotus (shasrara padma; or usnisa kamala for
Buddhists), the abode of bliss, which is not classified as an ordinary Chakra...The
texts are ambiguous as to whether the chakras are situated along the spinal column
or at the nervous plexuses of the physical body...it is unclear whether they are
meant to be actually existent or whether they are heuristic devices of Tantric
*Yoga used in visualization.
- *Chao-chou Ts'ung-shen or Joshu Jushin
- (778-897). Leading Ch'an/Zen master in China, successor, (hassu) of
Nan-chuan P'u-yuan (Japanese, Nansen Fugan). He had a profound experience of
enlightenment when he was 18, which simply indicated to him that there was a way
worth pursuing further (i.e. is not an end, but a step on a path). After
forty years training with Nanchuan, he wandered in China seeking other
Ch'an masters. At the age of 80, he settled in Chao-chou, gathering
pupils around him. He instructed gently and quietly, but in very sharp
and short ways. (The "WU" koan was his.)
- The primordial condition from which (or onto which) order is imposed,
according to many religions, so that the cosmos can appear. This is often a matter
of creation, but it can equally be a matter of evolution. Chaos may remain behind,
or below, the appearance of order, so that it, or its agents, constantly threaten
- (Chinese, `air, breath, strength'). The vital energy (in
Chinese religion, medicine, and philosophy) which pervades and enables all things.
Begining from the elementary observation that the secret of a long life is to keep on
breathing, it underlies the central Chinese, especially Taoist, concern with
breathing exercises in relation to prolonging life and attaining immortality. See
the full entry in the O.D.W.R.
- (Chinese, `semen'). One of the three life forces in Taoism, the
others being *ch'i (breath) and *shen (conscious
mind). Ching is both semen and menstrual flow, not so much in their literal
manifestation, as in the power inherent in them. Loss of ching is debilitating, and
many Taoist practices encourage control (especially for men), as well as increase of it.
- *Cloud Of Unknowing, The
- English mystical treatise of the 14th century. The author, whose anonymity has
remained inviolate, stands in the line of *Dionysian influence as mediated
by the victorines, especially Thomas Gallus whose Latin version of Dionysius'
Mystical Theology he rendered into English. The author teaches that God
cannot be known by human reason and that in *contemplation (see immediately
below) the soul is conscious of a 'cloud of unknowing' between itself and God which
can only be penetrated by a 'sharp dart of love'. The author recommends the repition
of short phrases or single words to foster this loving attention to god, and is
sharply critical of any reliance on sensible feelings in *prayer, perhaps
having *Rolle in mind. The teaching
on the entry in the cloud of unknowing has marked parallels with *John of the Cross's teaching about the onset of the *dark night of the soul.
- In modern Western use, mental *prayer that is non-discursive and thus
distinct from *meditation. At this stage, prayer usually begins to less the
fruit of human effort and more the result of direct divine *grace, a distinction suggested by the traditional contrast
between 'acquired' and 'infused' contemplation. The more traditional
*patristic usage see contemplation (Greek, theoria) as the
highest, and natural activity of the mind (nous) when freed from the
disturbing influence of the passions and the desires: it is a state of direct
communication with God in which the mind transcends discursive activity and knows by
presence or union-'a peering into heaven with the ghostly eye'. (my emphasis -
- from the Sanskrit - dhar for 'hold', 'uphold'. There are
involved entries for its meaning amongst Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists - I refer
you to the Dictionary of World Religions, rather than quote the entry in its
- (Hebrew, `cleaving'). Communion with God, derived from the
Hebrew, davak, being devoted to God. The Talmud asks the
question, how can man cleave to God as he is commanded (Deuteronomy 4. 24)? The
response is given, by helping scholars (B.KET. 111b) or by emulating God's
attributes (B.SOTAH 14a). The concept is much used in *kabbalistic literature, where devekut is
perceived as the highest step on the spiritual ladder by which the mystic embraces
the lower *sefirot
(emanations) in his search for communion with the divine. It is generally accepted
that devekut in this world will be fleeting and incomplete, since it is only after
death that true devekut can be achieved. It is a concept and an attainment of
great importance in *Hasidism.
- *Dew, Prayer for
- (Hebrew, `tefillat tal'). Supplication for moisture forming part
of the Jewish *Amidah during the dry season. The bible frequently cites the
bestowal of dew as a mark of god's providence. According to tradition, the 'heavenly
stores of dew' are opened at the beginning of *Passover, so that a symbolism
was developed relating the restoration of life to the land with the restoration of
Israel. Among Sephardi, these supplications are known as tikkun tal.
- (Arabic, `remembrance'). Basically, a Quranic word, commanding
`remembrance of God', an act of devotion during and after the *salat (prayer)...the *Sufis consider dhikr a spiritual food, and
it is one of their main practices. It is said that `the heart of a man is like a
tree which breathes and lives through Divine Love, while the nourishment for the
roots is given by the dhikr of Allah'...Each Sufi order has a dhikr of its own,
constructed by its founder; the litanies and incantations are derived from the
Quran and taught by the murshid (Sufi guide) to the initiate. It is
the murshid who selects the dhikr fit for the spiritual stage of
the seeker...A dhikr done without the guide's permission is practically useless.
Dhikr-i-jali is loud recitation, and dhikr-i-khafi is performed with
either a low voice or silently: the value and power of the dhikr is dependent upon
right concentration and intention which brings into play body, speech, and
mind. Only when the adept becomes identified with the dhikr (i.e. unity of the
object and the subject), is the heart illuminated by the divine light. It should
be noted that the dhikr does not bring union with God: it is a device to purify
the heart so that it may become a fit receptacle of the divine attributes.
- (from Sanskrit, 'meditation', 'absorption'). In Indian
religions, a term denoting both the practice of meditation and a higher state of
consciousness (generally involving *enstasy), though the term takes on more
precise meanings in different traditions. See *jhana.
Consult the O.D.W.R. for the full entry.
- *Diamond Sutra
- A short Buddhist text from the corpus of the *'Perfection of Wisdom'
(prajñaparamitra) literature which compresses the essential
teachings into a few short stanzas. Composed around 300 CE, it was translated
into Tibetan and Chinese and has remained immensely popular as a summary of the
doctrine of 'emptiness' (*sunyata) or
'voidness' which lies at the heart of the Perfection of Wisdom writings. The full
title of the text is 'The Diamond-Cutter Perfection of Wisdom Sutra'
(Vajracchedika-prajñaparamitra-sutra), and, as its name suggests, it is
thought to have the power to cut through ignorance like a diamond for those who study
and reflect upon its profound meaning.
- A radical expression of the mid-17th century Leveller movement, whose
adherents described themselves as `True Levellers'. Inspired by the leadership of
Gerard Winstanley and William Everard, the Diggers formed communal settlements,
dug and sowed common land in several English counties (1649-50), vigorously
maintaining that the earth was a common treasury. Winstanley held
millenarian views, and his pamphlets (advocating social and economic
equality, universal suffrage, and education for all) served as the movement's main
propaganda during its short life.
- (Sanskrit). Initiation; in Indian religions, the means of access
into a religious tradition, religious or social condition. Diksha is given by the
preceptor or *guru. and often involve the giving of a new
name to the initiate which symbolizes the end of one condition and birth or entrance
into a new.
In Hinduism, in the *Vedas,
diksha was a necessary prerequisite for the *Soma sacrifice undergone by the sacrificer
(yajamana) and his wife, involving asceticism (See Tapas in the
O.D. of W.R.), and fasting. Indeed, diksha is personified as Soma's wife
(Rig Veda 25. 26)...There are different kinds and various stages of diksha
particularly in *Tantrism where the utmost secrecy is maintained. In
Saivism the `collective' (samaya) and `particular' (viseya)
initiations give access to the cult of *Shiva. After this the initiate is called a
samayin and has permission to perform certain rites and use certain texts
and mantras...In contrast to the Vedic tradition, Tantrism allows the initiation
of women and sudras (members of the fourth, or `menial'. caste). (See
the full entry in the O.D. of W.R. for details of the different stages of
initiation - Jesse)
- (Hebrew, `the Infinite'). Kabbalistic designation
of God in his transcendence. The term first apperaed in the 13th century in the
circle of *Isaac the Blind. It was used to distinguish between
God-in-himself and his *sefirot
(emanations) by which humanity can know him. Initially, the term described the
unlimited (i.e. infinite) range of God's thought. It was then applied to the Being
of God as `that which is not conceivable by thought'. In a loose sense, it might
be said to be anticipated in the Deus absconditus (`hidden God') theme of
Isaiah: `Truly , you are a God who hides yourself.' Yet in fact the kabbalistic
understanding went much further, regarding Ein-Sof as so utterly hidden from human
comprehension that it is not even mentioned in the Bible.
- (from Arabic, al-iksir). Substances believed, especially in
China, to confer immortality or simply longevity and magical powers, and as such
the object of much herbal lore, myth, and *alchemy.
In China, the elixir is based on preparations to unite *yin and yang and synchronize the microcosm and
macrocosm. Ingestion was thought to afford eternal bodily regeneration or the
internal germination of an 'immortal embryo' to be released at death.
In India, the nearest eqivalents are soma
and *Amr(i)ta. When the quest for elixirs was transmitted via Islam to the West,
the accompanying anthropologies could not be reconciled with belief-systems which
placed emphasis (particularly in Christianity) on life after death as a
consequence of the act and grace of God. It therefore became a minor part of
- (Greek, eschatos, 'last'). That which is concerned with the last
things, the final destiny both of individuals and of humanity in general, and of
the cosmos. The word was first used in the 19th century, in discussing the Bible,
(I would venture the opinion as the millenial hysteria commented upon in WB
Yeats poem The Second Coming, grew - Jesse), but it refers to a concern in those
religions which have a sequential (from a beginning to an end) understanding of
time, and by application to religions which envisage an end to this particular cosmic
- (Arabic, 'alone'). One who, in Islam, is filled with the
realization of truth and illumination on his own-i.e. without belonging to a
community or *Sufi order. It is even
possible that such a person might not belong to a religion derived from revelation at
all, receiving the gift directly from God.
- (Arabic). In Islamic law, a legal opinion, given on request to an
individual or to a magistrate or other public official, concerning a point of law
wherein doubt arises, or where there is not an absolutely clear ruling in
existence...A fatwa may be contested , but only on the basis of existing
precedent or law; it cannot, therefore, be regarded as an 'infallible
pronouncement', but it commands assent where it can be seen to be well grounded.
- *Fu, also Fan.
- (Chinese, `return'). The movement of the Tao in Tao-te
ching (16), whereby all things return to their source. In meditation, this
'returning to the root' is the means to enlightenment: 'Returning to the source of
stillness, which is the way of nature.' In I Ching (The Book of
Changes), fu is the transformation of one into another, so that the completion
of the yin means the full return of the yang. Hence, the
hexagram fu is one unbroken yang line below five broken yin lines.
- (Hebrew, `God is my warrior'). An archangel.
- *Gehenna, or Gehinnom
- (Hebrew, Valley of Hinnom). A valley south of
*Jerusalem, used as a waste tip. In the days of the Hebrew monarch, a cult which
involved the burning of children was practiced at Gehinnom (was it Moloch
worship? - Jesse). The cult was roundly condemned by the biblical
*prophets (see Jeremiah, 7. 31), and metaphorically the name came to mean a
place 'where the fires smolder unceasingly and the worm never ends its activity',
i.e. a place where the wicked are abandoned with none to remember them, and where
they are tormented after death. Gehenna is the Greek form of the name.
- (Hebrew, gimatriyya, from Greek, geomatria). Use or study
of hidden meanings through numbers, especially the numerical equivalence of
letters. Full Entry here
- 1. In Christian theology, the expression of God's love in his free
unmerited favor or assistance. According to the New Testament (most Paul),
it is conferred through faith (Romans 4. 16); is displayed in particular divine
acts, especially in the death of Christ (Romans 3. 21-5; Hebrews 2. 9); and is an
endowment of ministers (1 Corinthians 15. 10) and others (1 Corinthians 16. 23).
The manner of its conferral has...been a subject of discussion since the 4th
century and is now a characteristic matter of difference between Roman Catholics
In Catholic theology, grace is characterized as a supernatural power, lost by
human beings at the Fall, which elevates and sanctifies human nature so
that it is capable of enjoying communion with God...the distinction is made
between prevenient grace, anticipating any move on a person's part towards God,
and subsequent grace (`actual grace' for particular needs) in which god
co-operates with a person after his conversion. Protestant theology
rejects this view of grace along with the related concepts of *merit and sacraments. Instead it
is seen primarily as God's action in his unmerited forgiveness and justification
`Grace' then becomes a category for describing free and uncoerced actions in other
religions, especially of *Krishna
in the Bhagavad-Gita. See *prasada. As a concept, grace is of great
importance for Sikhs, in Guru
*Nanak's hymns and in all
subsequent Sikh theology. Analogous to the benedictory glance of a human guru,
this sense of god's loving favor is conveyed by the words prasad, kirpa,
nadar, bakhsis, bhana, daia, mihar, and taras. This concept
of grace is not a denial of *Karma, but
God's initiative can override the result of bad actions. (See the full entry in
the O.D of W.R.)
2.Short prayers of invocation and thanksgiving, before and after meals.
they are natural and characteristic in Judaism. The Rabbis taught that it was
wrong to `enjoy of this world without a prior Benediction...Grace after
meals consists of four blessings-praising God for providing food, for the good
land, a request for mercy on the Jewish people and thanks for God's goodness,
coupled with various petitions.
- from the Sanskrit for 'heavy'. In this sense, venerable.
one dispels darkness. A leader, initially, of worldly skills or knowledge,
hence a parent or school teacher; but more often a teacher of religious knowledge
or conveyor of spiritual insight. and liberation (*moksha) in Indian religions especially
Hinduism and Sikhism. A SAT GURU is liberated
(*jivanmukti) and takes
responsibility for his disciples, ensuring the eventual liberation, in one of
several lifetimes, through purifying the accumulated *karma. He is the bestower of *grace (anugraha, *prasada), which can be very immediate in
Shaktipata (descent of power), or more gradual in meditation
*Dhyana. During initiation, (diksha), given
by the guru, the disciple (sishya) receives a *mantra, which is energized by the guru
without whom it would not be efficacious.