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Caveat Lector, let the reader beware,

( In this instance, of some peoples beliefs).

Australian Aborigine     Buddhist     Christian     Hindu     Jainist     Judaism     Muslim     Native North American     Rastafarian     Sikh     Spiritualist     Sufi     Voodoo     Wicca     Zoroastrianism

Just some of the diverse groups of worship and beliefs in this wide world of ours I have so far found, and I have not collected them all or expanded them all.

God Bless Us; Some task I have set myself.

We are all following different pathways to the summit, why not live in harmony with each other?

LET THERE BE PEACE ON EARTH

                                            

WE ALL HAVE THE SAME HUMAN HEART WITHIN US THAT COULD BEAT AS ONE

    YES ALL BEATING TOGETHER WITHIN THE ONENESS OF GOD          

 

Agnostic, Asatru, Atheism,  Australian Aborigine, Baha'ism,  Buddhism, Candomble, Cao Daism, Chaldean, Christian, Confucianism Deism,  Egyptian, Hindu, Jainist,  Judaism, Myan, Mysticism, Muslim, Native North American, Native South American, New Age,  Noahidism,  Pagan,  Pantheism, Rastafarian, Santeria,  Scientology,  Shamanism,  Shintoism,  Sikhism,  Spiritualism, Sufi, Taoism Totemism, Umbanda, Unitarianism,  Universalism,  Universal Life Church, Voodoo, Wicca, Yoruba, Zoroastrianism

               ALL IT NEEDS IS RESPECT  FOR EACH OTHER             

                  

 

 African beliefs

The World of the Yoruba Ritual and Performance in Yorubaland  Yoruba is the second largest language group in Africa, consisting of over 20 million people. The term Yoruba encompasses about twenty-five separate groups, each one culturally different from the next. Islam, Christianity, and the traditional Yoruba pantheon, the orisa, are all embraced in Yorubaland. The bond shared by all Yoruba peoples is the centrality of ritual to special occasions, as well as to everyday life. Yoruba ritual is most remarkable in its transmutative quality. Not only can it alter itself to fit any circumstances, but it is rich with complex improvisation, to the point where distinguishing performers from spectators becomes an impossible task. The Yoruba mentality, like that of the Mande people, can be traced backwards to their creation myths or cosmogony. This cosmogony is, in a sense, the basis for their rituals, social structure as well as their political activity. For instance, their notion of circularity and continuation is clearly represented in funerary and birth celebrations as the concept of the "otherworld" is often alluded to.  

The God-King, Sango

In Yoruba myth, Sango once ruled as the fourth Alafin of Oyo. After his extraordinary life and controversial death, his friends revered him as a god. His cult has enjoyed the royal patronage of the Alafin of Oyo, who is regarded as his descendant. Sango's cult played an important role in securing the people's loyalty to the Alafin in the days of the Oyo Empire.

Sango's devotees regard him as the embodiment of great creative potential, unfortunately one that was tragically and unpredictably tempted to exceed its own limits and thereby destroyed what it had created. This dedication to the power over life and death and to creativity is reflected in Sango's shrines, such as the one found at the compound of Baale Koso in Oyo, which overflow with carvings, ceramics, and other artwork. A well-carved mortar, ritual container, figure, or dance staff is believed to be able to better focus the worshippers attention on the important attributes of the god and to better lure the spirit to the shrine. Small images of twins (ere Ibeji) are also often stored in the shrine, as legend states that Sango was himself a twin.

 In 1910, Leo Frobenius took this photo of an interior of a Sango shrine in Ibadan. It impressed him greatly, and he wrote that "a lofty, long and very deep recess made a gap in the row of fantastically carved and brightly painted columns. These were sculptured with horsemen, men climbing trees, monkeys, women, gods and all sorts of mythological carved work. The dark chamber behind revealed a gorgeous red ceiling, pedestals with stone axes on them, wooden figures, cowrie-shell hangings..."

Carvings of horsemen, with archers and foot-soldiers at their sides, are depicted on many objects including houseposts, doors, and festival masks, such as this Epa mask. The Oyo Empires three centuries of military dominance depended heavily upon the victories of its cavalry. Large war horses, costing up to 120,000 cowries each, had to be imported from the northern savanna regions. This left a great impression on the forest peoples, where horses were expensive and could not survive for long.

Sango worshipers may be called to follow him in many ways. Most are taught by their parents and family, others consult a diviner. Sometimes men and women are suddenly possessed or called to Sango in a dream. Many of the devotees are female, and even male priests dress as females. Most carvings and wooden figures associated with Sango also depict females.

 Sango's symbol, the twin-stone ax, or oshe Sango, is believed to be energized with protective powers. It is used as a badge of membership in the cult. Sango is a god who possesses his devotees by entering their heads. When a priestess has been seized by the spirit of the god, she will dance with the wand in her left hand. A twin-stone ax rises out of the top of the wand's carved head, symbolizing this dramatic change and representing priest and deity simultaneously. As she moves, a chorus of women call out the praises of Sango, and an orchestra of drummers beat out sharp, erratic, staccato rhythms on their Bata drums. Suddenly, the priestess will wave her wand fiercely, threatening the audience, mimicing with her movements lightning lashing from storm clouds and then quietly receding.

The Neolithic stone axes, or thunderstones of Sango, are held aloft in a caryatid wooden bowl (arugbe Sango). In some areas, an inverted mortar serves as a pedestal (odo Sango), like the one depicted here of a Sango priestess and a dog. The sound of yams being pounded in a mortar resembles the pounding of thunder in the heavens. By inverting the mortar, the priestess hopes to mute Sango's destructive power. The sides of the ritual mortar are carved with Sango-associated emblems and figures, such as in this example, a priestess holding a gourd rattle (shere) used to call the deity, and a dog, symbol of faithfulness and speed in the forest.

 A kneeling women holding her breasts in respect, as in this housepost depicting a kneeling Sango priestess, or offering a fowl in thanks, or holding a bowl filled with kola nuts is a popular subject in Yoruba art. Figures in this pose are known as olumeye, meaning "one who knows honor." They are found on the altars of many Yoruba deities. The model for the pose is that of a kneeling young bride, with her hair dressed in a traditional crested style called agogo. Her strands of waist beads signify virginity. As a decorative support at the entrance to a Sango shrine, the female may be depicted as a priestess wearing beaded dance panels (yata Sango).

 The term Yoruba describes a number of semi-independent peoples loosely linked by geography, language, history, and religion. The Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria (see blue area of map) and neighboring Benin and Togo number over 15 million people. Most live within the borders of the tropical forest belt, but the remnants of the powerful Oyo kingdom include groups that live at the fringes of the northern savanna grasslands. Archaeological evidence suggests that the ancestors of the Yoruba may have lived in this same general area of Africa since prehistoric times. In the mid-18th century, the slave trade to the Americas dramatically affected all of West Africa. Slaves of Yoruba descent were resettled in Cuba and Brazil, where elements of Yoruba culture and language can still be found.

Traditional Yoruba city-states were sub-divided into over 25 complex, centralized kingdoms. Of these, Ile-Ife is universally recognized as the most senior and most ritually important Yoruba city. The founding of Ife is believed to date to about 850 AD. The rival Oyo kingdom just to the northwest of Ife, was founded about 1350 AD. The Oni of Ife and the Alafin of Oyo are still the most highly respected Yoruba kings in Nigeria. Other major kingdoms were Ijesha and Ekiti to the northeast; the Shabe, Ketu, Egbado, Ijebu, and Awori in the southwest; and the Ondo, Owo, and Itsekiri in the southeast.

For centuries, the Yoruba have lived in large, densely populated cities where they are able to practice the specialized trades that provide goods and services for the society as a whole. Most will commute to the countryside for part of the year to raise staples such as yams and cassava on family farms. Each city-state will maintain its own interpretation of history, religious traditions, and unique art style, yet all will acknowledge the ritual sovereignty of Ife, honor the pantheon of Yoruba gods, and will seek solutions to the problems of everyday life from Yoruba, The Gods

Traditional Yoruba religion is centered around a pantheon of deities called orisha. When a child is born, a diviner, or babalawo, will be consulted to determine which orisha the child should follow. As adults, the Yoruba often honour several of these deities. According to oral tradition, the high god, Olorun (Olodumare), asked Orishala to descend from the sky to create the first Earth at Ile-Ife. Orishala was delayed and his younger brother, Oduduwa, accomplished the task. Shortly afterwards, sixteen other orisha came down from heaven to create human beings and live on Earth with him. The descendants of each of these deities are said to have spread Yoruba culture and religious principles throughout the rest of Yorubaland.

Respecting the ritual primacy of the holy city of Ife legitimizes both a royal hierarchy and the basic pantheon of Yoruba gods, estimated variously at 201, 401, 601, or more. Some divinities are primordial, having existed when Oduduwa was creating the Earth, and others are heroes or heroines who left an important impression on the people. Divinities may also be natural phenomena, such as mountains, hills, and rivers that have influenced the peoples' history and lives. Of the hundreds of gods worshipped by the Yoruba, the most popular (some of whom are discussed or otherwise represented in the sections that follow) are Sango (god of thunder and lightning), Ifa ( also known as Orunmila, god of divination), Eshu (the messenger and trickster god), Ogun (god of iron and of war),

The Kings

Yoruba kings who can claim direct descent from the god Oduduwa (perhaps over 700 today!) are addressed as Oba. They alone are permitted to wear the Yoruba sacred regalia, the conical bead crown and beaded slippers, and to carry a beaded fly whisk. Beadwork is a royal prerogative, associated as closely with kingship as special woven textile patterns (Kente) are for the Asante kings of central Ghana. The wealthiest Yoruba kings retain families of bead specialists to embroider their royal garments. By extension, elements of this royal form of dress are used by priests and devotees of the thunder god, Sango, and the agricultural god, Oko, both of whom are linked to kingship by Yoruba origin myths.

  Typical beadwork motifs include the interlace and the zig-zag patterns, a frontal face with ethnic marks under the eyes, and a tiny bird. The interlace pattern is a symbol of leadership, of eternal or unending royal authority. It is sometimes represented as two snakes biting or eating each other, signifying that one persons demise is anothers beginning. The zig-zag pattern of triangles provides visual tension and movement reinforced by alternating colors and, on some objects, a delightful asymmetrical placement. The shapes are similar to those on the back of the Gabon viper, a beautiful but very poisonous African snake that the god of iron, Ogun, may "carry without fear." The abstracted face which is freely embroidered into many royal garments may refer to Oduduwa, ancestor of all Yoruba kings, to Eshu, messenger of the gods, or to the inventor of beads himself. This particular bird motif represents okin, a tiny whitish bird with a long white tail that distinguishes it as the king of birds. Birds, such as the one found atop the Opa orere staff, are also associated with divination, medicine, and witchcraft. The herbalist and diviner, like the king, must be able to incorporate the apparently contradictory powers of destruction, healing, and harmony in order to control and manipulate them.

Ifa is the oracle of divination who mediates between the gods and men. The gods are believed to communicate their motives through the process of divination. The priest is able to suggest actions that will avert misfortune. Through Ifa divination an individual, or whole town, can obtain solutions to difficult problems and restore good relations between themselves and the gods.

 Eshu-Elegba is the messenger of the gods. He is the youngest, most agile, and quick witted. He causes trouble for those who neglect the other gods. It is Eshu who delivers the sacrifices that have been prescribed by the Ifa diviner to Olorun, the distant high god. Eshu and Ifa are therefore intimates in the business of manipulating the destinies of men. Eshu is the only deity acutally portrayed in Yoruba art. It is Eshu's face that is represented on many Ifa divination boards and occasionally on objects used by all the other cults. In character with his contradictory nature, Eshu dance staffs (ogo Elegba) are frequently held head downward.

Eshu's long, phallic hairstyle is regarded as the sign of his bond of friendship with Ifa, the god of divination. In one story, Ifa pretended he was dead in order to test the devotion of those around him. He was disappointed by everyone except Eshu. Even though the trickster god was in the process of shaving his head, he was so overcome by grief with the news that he rushed to Ifa's bedside with his hair half shaved. Ifa recognized his friend's faithfulness and asked Eshu to continue to let his hair grow in this half-shaved style forever.

Eshu figures are usually decorated with beads and cowries, but the god may also be symbolized by a simple chunk of uncarved stone. The Meyer Collection figurative stone sculpture depicted here may be an exceptionally rare shrine piece. It depicts Eshu seated on a stool. Carved in a terse, compact style, only half of its length is discolored, suggesting that it had once been buried in the ground.

The Ifa corpus is made up of several hundred figures, orodu, each associated with a large body of independent verses known as ese Ifa. The god, Ifa, is called to attention by the diviner (babalawo) with a conical tapper, sometimes made of ivory (iroke-Ifa). A cup (agere-Ifa) carved with a scene from one of these verses serves as a home for the sacred palm nuts. By throwing sixteen of these nuts (ikin) on a powdered divination board (opon Ifa) and studying the marks left in the sawdust, the diviner is able to determine which of the several hundred odu should be recited. He then begins to call out a series of verses from this chapter, until the client recognizes one as significant. After several throws a meaningful text will begin to coalesce. For example, the babalawo may piece together the following cluster of verses for a man whom he has divined will be honoured:

Nobody despises fire
And wraps it up in a cloth.
Nobody despises the snake
And ties it round his waist as a belt.
Nobody despises the king
And hits him on the head.
Today people must honour me.
(Beier: 1959:57)

The Ifa divination accessories are stored in a large bowl (opon igere) with the board itself sitting under it. To entice the spirit forces they represent, bowls and boards are frequently emblazoned with the face of Eshu, the trickster god, or they can be more elaborately carved with a series of panels often representing other major deities and spirit forces. The subjects of the relief panels are not narratively linked. They are essentially recognizable emblems that summarize overlapping concepts that continually reverberate throughout Yoruba culture the hunter, the supplicant, the bird, the warrior, the snake, the chameleon, the act of procreation. The number of relief panels will vary according to the importance of the commission. The four-sided projection at the top of some bowls recalls the form of the royal crown worn by kings descended from Oduduwa. In fact, royal beaded crowns are themselves revered as shrines to the head.

The head is an important concept in Yoruba art and ritual. The verandah pole depicting an Ifa priest with his head half shaven recalls the story of the special bond of friendship between Eshu and Ifa. It also signifies that the priest is officiating at an initiation ceremony. The Yoruba customarily shave the head on ritual occasions, because the Spirits are believed to enter and leave a person through his head. Every human being has been given a head, or destiny, prior to birth that can only be foreseen and arbitrated through divination. However, each person also has the ability to tap the power of this inner head (ori inu) to achieve their full potential in life. One's character and personality are said to emanate from this inner head. Its physical manifestation is a small conical shrine of the head (ibori) that is kept in a larger, crown-like container, or house of the head (ile-ori). Both are non-figurative, made of leather, and strung with cowries. The more successful an individual is in life, the more cowries he will be able to embroider on his container. The house of the head of a king is, therefore, always very large and elaborate. At death, the whole sculpture will be dismantled and dispersed.

The verandah pole in the Meyer Collection depicts an Ifa priest carrying a divining staff (opa osun, orere), in his right hand and a prestige cane in his left. His special half-shaved hairstyle indicates that he is officiating over an initiation and may be a reference to the story of the origin of the friendship between Ifa and Eshu. A priest brings out this special iron staff at large, community-oriented functions. The staff symbolizes the diviner's power over death and other destructive forces, for it is believed that if a cock is sacrificed to the staff, death will be tricked into taking the crying sound of the fowl in place of the human being. The head, wings, and feet of the cock are tied to the shaft as spiritual nourishment for the power of the staff. A lone metal bird perches at the top. It is welded to a flat disc which rests on the inverted bottom part of hollow, metallic cones or bells. Other sets of bells decorate the length of the staff. This bird is a symbolic link between the earth and sky. The sixteen birds that surround another staff, that of the Osanyin, the god of herbal medicine, represent various aggressive and malevolent spiritual forces with which man must cope. But the lone bird of the Ifa staff is believed to represent a much higher power--the swift and decisive soul of divination, which protects both the diviner and his clients as they seek to probe the hidden wishes and motives of the gods.

Shaping: The Blacksmith

Forged-iron figurative sculpture is not common in Africa, but Yoruba blacksmiths pound, weld, and cast several types of very elegant standards, such as those carried by Ifa cult priests, those planted in the ground at the shrines of Osanyin herbalists, and those pounded from hoes into a sword-like staff for the deity of agriculture, Oko. These are the same artisans who produce the everyday tools of the leatherworkers, woodcarvers, and farmers. Some of these men also know how to do ornamental and ritual brass casting using the lost-wax process. Most of this casting work is done on commission for the Ogboni (or Osugbo) society. This is a secret society comprised of elders dedicated to maintaining law and order in a community. The society worships the Earth and values the incorruptible quality of brass. It is famous for its twin ritual brasses (edan) joined from the head by a metal chain. Some of the stylistic abstraction of cast-metal art can be attributed to differences in media and technique. Some may be due to the abstract character of the Ogboni society's subject of veneration - Earth itself. Regional variation in style may also be involved. Until late in the last century, the Ogboni cult was a southern forest phenomenon, while wood carving has long been practiced throughout Nigeria. Yet both woodcarvers and brasscasters depict the figure in basically the same manner: frontal, expressionless, and with great attention to meaningful detail, especially around the head.

 Occasionally, the caster will create items for other cults. The covered brass bowl with four figures in the Meyer Collection may be either an Ogboni-related medicine bowl or a container for an Ifa diviners sacred palm nuts. At least one important divination verse compares Ifa to brass, stating "White ants never devour brass, worms do not eat lead. I (Ifa) am humble, hence I have become a god." Secular or cult prestige staffs were sometimes commissioned by chiefs or important dignitaries. As public staffs of office or chief's messenger staffs, they incorporate symbols of leadership and are sometimes heavily ornamented with figures. The worship of the god of iron, Ogun, also requires certain brass-cast objects. Anyone who uses iron in any form should honor the god of iron. Of course, most occupations and institutions use iron, so the symbol of Ogun is widely mingled with images of most other deities. Even the woodcarver will carefully maintain a shrine to Ogun and make offerings there before felling a tree or beginning a new work. Like the Opa Osanyin herbalist, whose metal staff with birds is shown above, the blacksmiths use staffs (iwana Ogun) and swords with open-work and incised patterns (ada Ogun) to define status in their trade, to advertise a mastery of their craft, and to ornament shrines to Ogun. The senior blacksmith's staff is in the form of an iron poker with a figurative cast-brass handle. At the top of the poker sits a titled Ogun devotee, dressed militantly, holding weapons, and wearing the insignia of his office - an openwork headdress, bandoleers of medicines, charms, and beads.

Cutting: The Woodcarver

Both brasscaster and woodcarver demonstrate a mastery over very different media and techniques. They each follow a prescribed series of steps that they have learned after years of apprenticeship. Both must select their materials carefully from a wide choice of woods and alloys according to the function and scale of the project at hand. Houseposts and drums are carved from heavy wood, while certain masks and utensils will be carved from light, soft woods. The woodcarver prefers to work with a green, moist wood. He will first carry out a private divination ritual to determine the spiritual qualities of the wood, adjust for its idiosyncracies with an offering, then cut down the tree and select the section he needs. Like the blacksmith (whose ceremonial sword dedicated to the god of iron is depicted here), he will make a blood sacrifice to the god of iron to ensure concentration and protection from injury.  Woodcarvers use the adze, the knife, the chisel, and the axe. Of these, the adze shape is most important, for it will be used to remove most of the wood; the knife is useful for final details--details such as are in evidence in the larger (42K) version of this bowl. The work should flow naturally and efficiently from one stage to the next. In woodcarving, the first stage, ona lile, involves quickly roughing out the major volumes with the adze. In less than one fifth of the time it takes to finish the entire piece, an experienced carver will be able to remove almost half of the weight of the original block of wood. The second stage, aletunle, takes somewhat longer, but only about 10 percent of the weight of the block is removed. At the end of these first two stages, the final shape of the sculpture has been irrevocably fixed. The third stage, didon, takes nearly as long as the second stage, but only about three percent of the weight of the original block is removed. After an appropriate decoration is decided upon, the final stage, fifin, can begin. This stage is the most tedious, and less than one percent of the weight of the original block is actually removed. To save time, the smoothing down and cutting in of fine details may be turned over to an apprentice. It is interesting to note that when the carving is at last complete, the weight of the wood has changed dramatically, but its physical dimensions have altered very little - a tribute to the skill and planning of the experienced artist.

Any work of art owes its existence to the people and culture from which it has emerged. It has a functional and historical relationship with that culture. Although the art forms in wood and metal created by the Yoruba are used to adorn and declare social status, many help establish the presence of a spirit. A well-made artwork can call forth both divine and human spirits. Special ceremonies and symbols facilitate this conceptual and formal transformation. Classic motifs become recognizable when we have learned more about the fundamental principles of traditional Yoruba and Akan religion. Differences in style are more evident when we have a better understanding of media and technique. Ultimately, by expanding our knowledge of the African people, we learn to better appreciate their art.

The World of the Mande
History, Art and Ritual In the Mande Culture

The term Mande refers to a large family of languages spoken by a great number of West African ethnic groups and to the geographic areas that these groups occupy. Thus, the Mande diaspora is hardly a rigidly defined or static region. Its center lies between Bamako and Kouroussa, but it has spread out far into the neighboring areas, covering land in Burkina Faso, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. The rich array of ethnic groups includes the savanna groups: the Bambara, Malink, Wasuluka, Dyula, Somono, Bozo, Kagoro, Khasonke, Marka, and Soninke, and the forest groups: the Kuranko, Kono, Vai, Susu, and Yalunka.
The Mande people are renowned for the wide variation in their religious, linguistic, and social practices. Such differences occur not only between groups and regions, but also among them. However, these variations seem somewhat superficial when compared to the epistemological approaches the Mande people share. (taken from McNaughton, pp. xix-xxi.)
The Mande Social system is a complex framework in which the boundaries between birthright and heirarchy are not clearly defined. Mande society consists of two main groups: the Horonw and the Nyamakalaw. The Horonw, people of earth and agriculture, are the aristocracy, the warriors and the commoners. The Nyamakalw, on the other hand, are an endogamous group that can be considered to posess and control the spiritual energy of nature called nyama. These two groups often look upon each other with considerable disfavor and abhorence. Despite the discomfort and disrespect between the Horonw and Nyamakalaw the two groups play off each other in a sembiotic manner. For instance, the Horonw need the Nyamakalaw to carve ritual masks and headdress while the Nyamakalaw depend on the Horonw for sustenance and economic consumption. Historicaly, the Horonw are the kings and rulers of Mande and comprise the majority of the population who live at the center of the villiage. The Nyamakalaw live in the bush on the outskirts of the town beyond the fields. This duality of the mundane and the magical, the calm and the wild, the cold and the hot, is directly a result of the Mande cosmogony or creation myth. From these myths one can understand why the Nyamakalaw and the Horonw are so separate in their attitudes and why these groups evolved into the state we see them in today.
Noting the vast differences between the Nyamakalaw and the Horonw, one might wonder how the form of the social structure became as divided as we see it today. Mande cosmogony can explain the historical and mythical origins of the two groups but to further investigate these groups it is essential to discuss whether the Mande social society operates on a class or a caste system.

  Agnostic 

Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen.

  Asatru 

http://www.irminsul.org/arc/014jd.html

 

Ásatrú is a polytheistic religion and the gods and/or goddesses that one chooses to worship or dedicate to among the Elder gods is a matter of individual choice and conscience.

 

 

 

 

 

 Australian Aborigine

 

Dreamtime

 

 

 

  Bahai 

Bahai Sacred Writings

primary and secondary full-text sources

 Buddhist

 Buddhism is not about teaching and learning, it is all about experiencing

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Mahayana Buddhism

Zen Buddhism

Buddhism on the Web

Buddhism is very well represented on the Internet.

Below are some links which should enable you to find most of what is available.

www.dharmanet.org

www.buddhanet.net

some eBooks on here

www.stupas.org

 

The four noble truths lectures by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at the Barbican

Part one     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXmdKWVirUA

Part two     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoMJ2B3v1iU

Part three      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3t0uMdPT6g

Buddhist Studies

buddha statue

Buddhism is one of the world's most well-known religions spanning the globe. There are three major schools: Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana. Each school has its own belief system and suggestions for practice, with each school being divided even further into subsets. This comprehensive guide provides links to information about each sect, along with Buddhism's historical background.

History - Mahayana - Theravada - Vajrayana




History

  • A History of Buddhism: The Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies published this detailed history of Buddhism. Some beautiful images of Buddhist art break up the text.
  • Buddhism: The Imported Religion: Though with a specialized focus on the history of Buddhism in China, this site also offers an in-depth history of Buddhism in general. The writer covers karma and reincarnation, the three jewels, and the term "Buddha."
  • Life of Buddha: This site, dedicated to publishing information on the life of Buddha, offers information on his life and provides links to relevant books and online resources. Read the story of Siddhartha Gautama by starting at this page.
  • Life of the Buddha: The Buddhist Society provides a general description of the life of the Buddha. His life is categorized by the beginning, the four sights, renunciation, enlightenment, and more.
  • The History of Buddhism: This is an essay written by Dr. C. George Boeree of Shippensburg University about the history of Buddhism. It is subdivided into different sects and countries, making it easily readable.

 

Mahayana

  • Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition: This is the FPMT organization's website, which was founded by Lama Thubten Yeshe in the 1970s. Especially useful is the online learning center, which allows access to a variety of printed material regarding this tradition.
  • Mahayana Buddhism (a.k.a. Northern Tradition): This site explains the basics of Mahayana Buddhism and its history. The comparison chart with Theravada Buddhism is helpful for those interested in the differences of the two.
  • Mahayana Buddhism: Washington State University maintains this brief history of Mahayana Buddhism. The essay focuses on comparing and contrasting Mahayana with Theravada Buddhism.
  • Tendai: Tendai is a subset of Mahayana Buddhism. This site hosts several articles educating people on its principles, its founder, and its history.
  • Zen Buddhism: The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents the history of Zen Buddhism from the perspective of art. After you've read the summary, you can browse the museum's collection related to Zen Buddhism.

 

Theravada

  • Access to Insight: This site provides information about specific beliefs of the Theravada Buddhists. Viewers enjoy access to a massive online library of Theravada literature as well. 
  • The Art of Living: Vipassana Meditation: Originally presented in Switzerland by S.N. Goenka, this speech illustrates the purpose of practicing Vipassana meditation. It's meant to be digestible, so it's easy to read while still being thorough. 
  • Theravada Buddhist Society of America: Theravada Buddhists living in the United States will find this site to be a great resource. Event and retreat news and links to selected publications are provided. 
  • Vipassana Research Institute: Ever wondered about the scientifically proven benefits of meditation? This site offers information about a variety of studies conducted and about Vipassana courses worldwide. 
  • What is Theravada Buddhism?: The Buddhist Society of Queensland takes an interesting look at Theravada Buddhism and includes its historical aspects and implications. It is published on the Urban Dharma website. 

 

Vajrayana (Tibetan)

  • A View on Buddhism: Presented from a Tibetan Buddhist point of view, this site offers a breakdown of several aspects of their specific philosophy. Also discussed are meditation guidelines and how to deal with negative emotions.
  • Emaho Foundation: The home page of the Emaho Foundation offers a broad description of Vajrayana Buddhism's basic teachings. You can also watch videos on talks given by different monks.
  • Shambhala: Shambhala is a community for practitioners of and for those interested in Tibetan Buddhism. You will find information about meditation, a description of beliefs, and information about global events and centers.
  • Some Facts about Vajrayana Buddhism: This is a pointed essay written by Acharya Mahayogi Sridhar Rana Rinpoche dissecting the widely held beliefs of this Buddhist school. It explores its existence in Nepal in particular.
  • Tibet Buddhist Resource Center: For those of you interested in dissecting hard-to-find pieces of Tibetan Buddhist literature, this is a great resource. Aside from ancient texts, you can also stay up to date with their blog.


Source: http://www.guidetoonlineschools.com/library/buddhist-studies#ixzz1GhD6OQWw

 

 

Candomble

Brazil :- Umbanda

 

http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/macu.html

 Cao Dai

Vietnam

If ever you manage to get to Vietnam and into Saigon go to the country province of Tay Ninh. It is fairly near the north-west of Saigon, and is bordered nearly all round by Cambodia It serves something like Vatican city as it is the headquarters of localised native religion, Cao Daism.
The Cao Dai Great Temple there in the Tay Ninh province is a very imposing building. The temple was built between 1933 and 1955

The temple the largest of its kind in Vietnam, most of the worshipers live locally to this structure. It has a large structure of a Divine Eye at the entrance, above the altars and the Divine Eye is all around on the wall of the temple. The Divine Eye is the most sacred symbol of the religion as Ngo Minh Chieu saw it in vision while in trance.
Cao Daism came about when a very educated mystic/holy man Ngo Minh Chieu started putting his knowledge together and incorporated all the local religions of that time just after the start of the 1900’s. It is said he had mystic spiritual revelations from the higher Spirit level.
The religion, if looked at properly is Ngo Minh Chieu’s attempt to make an all embracing religion for the followers of Buddhism, Christianity, Confusianism, Islam and the regions’ version of Spiritualism, the local Vietnamese Spiritism, last but not least Taoism; He tried to get all their follows to come together as one religious unit.

He had taken what he thought was all the good bits and pieces from each belief and put them all together in one philosophy and started his own belief system and so a new religion was born. He took the name of “a high tower or palace” because it went up to the heavens and a palace is a place is fit for God, then he used the same name for the religion as a whole. So the name intertwines in the language as “high tower, palace and God”.
The practice seems to be similar to those seen in Thailand, being mainly Buddhist [priest celibacy, vegetarianism with a mixture of Spirits, séances], a lot of Spiritualists in this country would go along with this philosophy. The followers also believe in one God.
As in the most Buddhism there are three steps of development in a humans life
The first period is the revelation of Gods truth, the second period is a stage where the great mystics like the Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, Mohammed, and Moses reached before the progressed to the third where they joined with the God Force and they were as One.
The followers of Cao Daism believe they have missed out the first step and the second step because they have a link with the Spirit World and that of God.

 Christian

(Congregationalist,  Greek Orthodox,  Methodist,  Mormon,  Protestant,  Roman Catholic, etc. and other sects)

 Rastafarian

http://web.syr.edu/~affellem/

Rastafarian  links of interest

Rastafari History

http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/migrations/rasta/rasta.html

An Unfriendly Christian Perspective
A copy of a Watchman Fellowship "cult" report.
 

 

 Hindu

 

 

 

 

http://www.sanatansociety.org/index.htm

 Jain

Jain Dharma, is an independent religion, one of the oldest religions in the world. It is a dharmic religion and philosophy originating in Ancient India. The Jains follow the teachings of the 24 Jinas (conquerors) who are also known as Tirthankaras. The 24th Tirthankara, Lord Mahavira lived in ca. 6th century BCE.

Jains are a small but influential religious minority with at least 4.2 million practitioners in modern India and more in growing immigrant communities in the United States, Western Europe, Africa, the Far East and elsewhere, Jains continue to sustain the ancient Shraman or ascetic tradition.

Jains are not a part of the Vedic Religion (aka Hinduism) and have never been a part of it. Jainism is an independent and ancient religion of India and not an offshoot of the Vedic Religion (aka Hinduism).

Ancient India had two philosophical streams of thought: The Sramanic Religions, represented by Jainism and Buddhism; and the Vedic Religion (aka Hinduism). Both streams have existed side by side for many thousands of years, influencing each other and in turn being influenced by each other.

A great Hindu scholar, Lokmanya Tilak went on record to credit Jainism with influencing Hinduism and thus leading to the cessation of animal sacrifice in Vedic rituals. The venerable Bal Gangadhar Tilak has described Jainism as the originator of Ahimsa.

This is what he wrote in a letter printed in Bombay Samachar. Mumbai:10 Dec, 1904. In ancient times, innumerable animals were butchered in sacrifices. Evidence in support of this is found in various poetic compositions such as the Meghaduta. But the credit for the disappearance of this terrible massacre from the brahminical religion goes to Jainism., Bal Gangadhar Tilak

Jains have significantly influenced the religious, ethical, political and economic spheres in India for over two millennia. Jainism stresses on spiritual independence and equality of all life with particular emphasis on non-violence. Self-control , (vratae), is vital for attaining omniscience (kevala jnana) and eventually moksha, or realization of the soul s true nature.

Jains have an ancient tradition of scholarship. Not surprisingly, Jains are the most literate religious community in India, and the Jain libraries are India's oldest.


History

Kalinga (Modern Orissa) was home to many Jains in the past. Rishabha, the first Tirthankar, was revered and worshipped in the ancient city Pithunda which was destroyed by Mahapadma Nanda when he conquered Kalinga and brought the idol of Rishabhnath to his capital in Magadh. Rishabhnath is revered as Kalinga Ji. Ashoka s invasion and his Buddhist policy also subjugated Jains greatly in Kalinga. However Emperor Kharvela in the 1st century BC conquered Magadha and brought back Rishabhnath s idol and installed it in Udaygiri near his capital Shishupalgarh. The Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves near Bhubaneswar are the only stone monuments dedicated to Jainism surviving in Orissa. Much of the earlier buildings were in wood which were destroyed.

Decipherment of Brahmi by James Prinsep in 1788 enabled the reading of ancient inscriptions in India, which established the antiquity of Jainism. Discovery of Jain manuscripts, a process that continues today, has added significantly to retracing the history of Jainism. Jain archaeological findings are often from Maurya, Sunga, Kushan, Gupta, Kalachuries, Rashtrakut, Chalukya, Chandel and Rajput and later periods. Several western and Indian scholars have contributed to the reconstruction of Jain history. They include western historians like Bühler, Jacobi, and Indian scholars like Iravatham Mahadevan, who has worked on Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.


Thank you wikipedia

 

 Judaism

                                                                                          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Muslim

 

 

Islamlib
A wide collection of literature from Islam, Bahai, Theosophy, yoga and a lot more besides.

 

 

 North American Indian

Indian Dancer                  Running Bison Graphic     Running Bison Graphic    Running Bison Graphic             Indian Dancer

 

This is how every religious site should be, see their link below

Religious Tolerance Web Site

This web site is rather different:
This website is
unlike almost all other religious sites:
It promotes religious freedom, and diversity as positive cultural values.


We do not promote our own religious beliefs. We can't because we are a multi-faith group. We try to explain the full diversity of religious belief in North America, from Asatru, to Zoroastrianism, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Wicca, other religious groups, and spiritual/ethical groups.
We try to describe all viewpoints on controversial religious topics objectively and fairly. We cover a broad range of topics, from whether women should have access to abortion to whether homosexuals and bisexuals should be given equal rights, including same-sex marriage, and dozens of other
hot topics.

http://www.religioustolerance.org/index.htm

 

 Santeria

 

 

 

 Sikh

 

 

  Spiritist 

by Allen Kardec (html format)

 

Spiritist e-books, mostly in French

 

 

 

 

 Spiritualist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Sufi

 

 

 

 Voodoo 

Haiti :- Vodou, Vodun,

 

  Vodun FAQ Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance www.religioustolerance.org/voodoo.htm

Vodou Information Pages Lots of Information! www.arcana.com/shannon/spirit/voodoo.html

Vodoun Culture The Vodou Pantheon, Songs, Dances www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/5319 /tableofcontents.htm

Vodun Information Pages Introduction, Rites and Roles www.arcana.com/voodoo/

Le Peristyle Haitian Sanctuary A Blend of Culture, News and Views philly.infi.net/~loa

African Religion Syncretism A Comparison of Vodou and Santeria www.ncf.carleton.ca/freenet/rootdir/menus/sigs /religion/pagan/faqs/voodoo

Books on Vodou With Brief Reviews www.cd.chalmers.se/~henrick/Orisa/VaudunBooks.html

Haitian Vodou A brief comparison with Orisha www.cd.chalmers.se/~henrick/Orisa/vaudunpage.html

The Ancestors In Haitian Vodou www.sheps.com/ancestors/mamboracine.html

Vodou Information in Depth Plus a wide range of links members.aol.com/racine125/index.html   http://www.mamiwata.com/index.html

 

 

Umbanda

 Wicca

http://www.wicca.org.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Yoruba

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Zoroastrianism

http://tenets.zoroastrianism.com/

 

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