Kashrut (kosher) “clean” Jewish dietary laws
Tanak old testament
Tefillin leather boxes worn around arm and on foreheads during prayer
Tallit prayer shawl
Shofar Ram’s horn blown on Rosh Hashanah
Shema “First word of this prayer”; Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. (Deut. 6:4) Ahimsa Nonviolence; is the belief that all things are interconnected
Samadhi (goal) state of complete inner peace resulting from meditation
Sadhu wandering holy people; Hindu ascetic; renunciant
Japam Chanting the name of a god or goddess We also discuss several other topics like What is taking moderate amounts of a substance in a way that doesn’t interfere with the functioning?
Vedas mean “sacred knowledge,” and is an ancient library full of magical texts and hymns. This library is believed to hold the cosmic sounds of the universe; it is a Hierophany.
Prana/pranayama breath of “life force”/practice of breathing control undertaken to still the mind Upanishads means “nearsitting,” because the students who sat nearest to the Gurus, spiritual teachers, learned the most. They are the last books of the Vedic library and chart out the nature of reality and what to do about it. They are thought to originally be the teachings of Gurus.
Avatar hierophany; manifestation of a deity; a god taking physical form
Guru spiritual teacher We also discuss several other topics like How do the planets form?
Mantra words or phrases chanted out of devotion or to change one’s state of mind Avalokiteshvara “hearer of the cries of the world”; India/Tibet a celestial Bodhisattva Sangha community of monks and nuns; monasticism
Shakyamuni sage of the Shakya tribe; another title for the Siddhartha Gautama whose father was of the Shakya tribe
We also discuss several other topics like Why is it important to understand others feelings and emotions?
Bhikku/Bhikkuni ordained male/female member of Buddhist monastic community Mandala circular pattern used as an aid in Buddhist and Hindu meditation We also discuss several other topics like What does it mean to manipulate something?
Skandhas “A heap”; the aggregates
Dharma means “Law” or “Duty”; It is the deeds a being needs to preform pertaining to what they have been born as; or the teachings of the Buddha
Dalai Lama “Great Ocean Teacher”; leader of the Tibetan Buddhists; he is the reincarnation of Avalokiteshvara
Bodhisattva “Buddhatobe”; a figure/person who is on the verge of attaining nirvana, yet foregoes it to compassionately help others attain this goal
Parinirvana complete extinction; no longer reborn
Fitra “good constitution”; original framework or natures of humans as created by God; humans are innately good but are also granted free will We also discuss several other topics like Where did this event take place, this person lives, or this concept first emerges?
Ihram twopiece white garment worn during the Hajj to symbolize equality OR state of ritual sanctity during the hajj We also discuss several other topics like What is the meaning of risk pooling in economics?
Ka’aba “cube”, granite structure encased I kiswah, black shroud covering the structure new one is made every year; site of ancient meteorite; housed 360 idols in preIslamic Arabia which Muhammad clears them out in 630; believed to be the sight of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve built the first one but it was destroyed in the flood; Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt it as a shrine to Allah; in Mecca Umma word wide community of Muslims
Hijra In 622 Muhammad and his followers fled Mecca to the city of Yathrib, which will eventually be renamed Medina al Nabi which means “The City of the Prophet”
Sura chapter of the Qur’an; there are 114
Caliph “successor” religious and political leader of the worldwide community of Muslims; last one was in 1924
Shirk (idolatry) association of something with god that is not god; set attention on “false ultimate’s” and away from the ultimate which is Allah
General Religion Concepts:
Religion comes from the Latin word “religare” which means to tie or bind together Homo religiosus a term used to say that humans have always made a distinction between 2 fundamental states: profane and sacred; humans are innately religious or seeking a higher power Emic looking from the “inside”; the point of view of a practitioner or someone who is a part of the specific religion or other cultural aspect; these people are usually concerned with the “truth”; I like to remember this by thinking of the word immersed which sounds a little like emic and if you are part of the religion you are immersed in it
Etic looking from the “outside”; the point of view of someone who is not deeply involved in the religion or other cultural aspect; viewing crosscultural application; these people are concerned with understanding the “others” and learning; remember etic has a ‘t’ in it like the word outside
Profane the human sphere, secular life; the part of the fundamental world where someone is searching for meaning; examples: just regular human people and the world we live in
Sacred beyond the human sphere. This is the higher power, creator, supernatural realm; this is the part of the fundamental world that provides meaning to someone; examples: Gods, goddesses, creators, higher powers, things like that
Hierophany the appearance between the sacred in the profane; when the sacred and profane meet; examples: The Qur’an
Myth technical term for stories about the sacred; not about being true or false; examples: the revelation on Mt. Hira, when Gabriel appeared to Muhammad
Ritual performative action designed to open communication with the sacred; rights of passages or the transitions in a person’s life; examples: salat or prayer 5 times a day
Symbol visual representation for religion; examples: crescent moon, ka’aba
Doctrine official, institutionally approved interpretation(s) of hierophanies; boundaries setting groups apart; this can control the interpretation of an Hierophany; example: The Shahada
Atheism denial of the existence of the sacred
Agnosticism knowledge that the existence of the sacred is impossible to prove
Hindu Sanskrit for “Land Beyond the Indus River,”
Other religions of India Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Islam What are the Vedas mean “sacred knowledge,” and is an ancient library full of magical texts and hymns. This library is believed to hold the cosmic sounds of the universe; it is a Hierophany. When were the Vedas composed 17001000 BCE
What kind of information do the Vedas contain This library is believed to hold the cosmic sounds of the universe
What are the Upanishads means “nearsitting,” because the students who sat nearest to the Gurus, spiritual teachers, learned the most. They are the last books of the Vedic library and chart out the nature of reality and what to do about it. They are thought to originally be the teachings of Gurus. What does the word “Upanishads” mean Nearsitting
When were the Upanishads composed 800200 BCE
Samsara cycle of life, death, and rebirth
Karma “Action”; engine for samsara; good and bad karma are good and bad actions; but it is impossible to know what actions determine your reincarnation for the next life
Dharma “Duty” “Law”; preform duties pertaining to the station of life (caste)
Maya the illusion of samsara
Brahman the ultimate reality of the universe
Moksha When one realizes that not only are they themselves the Brahman but so is everyone and every other living thing in the world. It is the liberation or release of the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. How do these terms fit together Reincarnation is the rebirth of a soul into something new in the next life. Hindus use the word samsara when talking about reincarnation. Samsara means “to wander”. It is the cycle
of birth, death, and rebirth. Everything is a part of samsara, even the universe. This is seen as an ultimately negative process. Hindus see it as being trapped in an infinite cycle. The soul is called the Atman. It is in every living being therefore anyone can be reincarnated as anything with a soul. The soul is what is transferred through reincarnations. Samsara is ultimately an illusion which is known as Maya. The only thing that is truly real is the Brahman. The Brahman is the ultimate reality of the universe. The atman is the Brahman; samsara is the Brahman. Therefore, you, me, and everyone and everything that is living is the Brahman. All beings are the Brahman in disguise. This is called lila, which is cosmic play. The Brahman has essentially spun out and taken on many guises in order to play hide and seek with itself. The only way to escape samsara is moksha. Moksha is when one realizes that not only are they themselves the Brahman but so is everyone and every other living thing in the world. It is the liberation or release of the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
What does the word “yoga” mean to yoke; union to be achieved is that between the atman and Brahman How are the disciplines of yoga connected to the atman and the Brahman the yogas are meant to connect the atman and the Brahman
Practitioners of yoga yogi/yogini
Bhakti “devotion” yoga. Through loving and worshiping the gods one can realize their true nature. o In this yoga people japam, which is chanting the name of the god or goddess one is
worshiping. People also preform pujas, which are offerings made to gods or goddesses. For pujas and other purposes for dividing up the Hindu religion, there are 3 main
divisions of Hinduism:
∙ Vishnu preserver god
∙ Shiva creator and destroyer of all
∙ Shakti feminine cosmic energy
o Kali goddess of feminine fury; embodiment of estrogen; she is
bloodthirsty and is often depicted wearing a garland of heads or
penises around her neck
o Sarasvati goddess of music and learning
o Lakshmi goddess of good fortune, mother goddess; wife of Vishnu
Karma “action” yoga. This yoga is performed through acts of compassion, mercy and kindness towards others one can unite with the Brahman.
o Ahimsa, nonviolence, is an important ideal in this yoga.
o This is the do gooders yoga. It’s all about helping others through selfless actions. Jnana “knowledge” yoga. One obtains a union with the Brahman through acquisition of hidden spiritual knowledge. The goal of this yoga is for one attain purity of mind. This purity of mind is found through meditation.
Raja “royal” yoga. This yoga is all about using different techniques to obtain the union between the atman and Brahman.
o Prana is the breath of “life force”. This is the breath you use during Pranayama which is the
practice of breathing control undertaken to still the mind.
o Special body positions are also used in this kind of yoga. Like the yoga poses we Americans
think of when we think yoga.
o Meditation is another technique used. This is used to still the mind or reach a higher level of thinking or consciousness. The goal of meditation in this yoga is Samadhi, which is complete
inner peace resulting from meditation.
o Mantras are words or phrases chanted out of devotion or to change one’s state of mind
What does the word “Buddha” mean Awakened or enlightened one
Historical founder Siddhartha Gautama
When did he live 563483 BCE
Where did he live Southern Nepal
What is his birth religion Hinduism
What did his father do for a living he was a king (kshatriya caste)
Describe the first 29 years of his life Luxurious. He got everything when he wanted when he wanted. He over indulged.
The Four Sights An old person, a sick person, a corpse, and an ascetic meditating under a tree Fundamental problem Siddhartha found He wanted to know why people suffer. Where was the Buddha enlightened Under a bo tree in Bod Gaya
Under what conditions was the Buddha enlightened During meditation
Where was the Buddha’s first sermon Deer Park
How did the Buddha die Food Poisoning
How old was he 80
Four Nobel Truths
1. If we live, we suffer.
∙ Dukkha suffering
∙ We are often in a state of unease/dissatisfaction because we do not get what we want or we
lose what we want.
2. Suffering arises from attachment or desire for things that are impermanent
∙ Tanha thirst
∙ Anatman (anatta) no self/ no soul; most subtle form of ignorance; acceptance of the
permanence of self; everything is impermanent including the self
∙ The Five Aggregates:
1. Physical matter
5. Volition (acts of will)
∙ Desire, attachments, craving (tanha) is what holds the aggregates together. Desire is what is reborn during reincarnation. If the desire in a person is not extinguished during one’s life, that
desire remains and moves to a new life.
∙ Tanha= dukkha
∙ Sukkha happiness
3. Nirodha cease attachment= cease suffering
∙ Nirvana/parinirvana “to blow out” (desire, ignorance, life itself) to escape the wheel of
∙ Avoid extremes
∙ Give up desire to stop suffering
4. Follow the EightFold Path
∙ Marga middle way; avoid extremes of indulgence and mortification
Nirvana “to blow out” (desire, ignorance, life itself) to escape the wheel of samsara Anatman no soul
The Skandhas (a heap) aka Aggregates:
1. Physical matter
5. Volition (acts of will)
How can there be rebirth if there is no self/soul the desire that holds the skandhas together is what moves between lives
1. Right Understanding: I recognize the impermanence of life, the mechanisms of desire,
and the cause of suffering.
2. Right Intention: My though and motives are pure, not tainted by emotions and self desires.
3. Right Speech: I speak honestly and kindly, in positive ways, avoid lies, exaggeration,
4. Right Action: My actions do not hurt any other being that can feel hurt, including
animals; I avoid stealing and sexual conduct that bring hurt; 5 Moral Precepts
5. Right Work: My livelihood does no harm.
6. Right Effort: with moderation, I consistently strive to improve.
7. Right Meditation: I use the disciplines of meditation to focus awareness to contemplate
the nature of reality more deeply.
8. Right Contemplation: I cultivate states of inner stillness and peace (samadhi)
Why can Buddhism be considered nontheistic This is because there is no appeal to any gods. Everything is of one’s own effort. Buddhists do not reject the gods they just don’t believe that they have any control over human life.
Why is Buddhism referred to as the “Middle Way” Because the goal is to not over indulge but also to not deprive oneself in a way that cause suffering. One must find the middle ground in everything in order to reduce suffering.
What are some requirements for living in a sangha One must follow many precepts to live in a Sangha such as: not eating after noon, not sleeping on soft beds, begging for food, not being able to handle any sort of money, and more.
Islam “Submission to God”
Allah “The God”
Ka’aba “cube”, granite structure encased I kiswah, black shroud covering the structure new one is made every year; site of ancient meteorite; housed 360 idols in preIslamic Arabia; believed to be the sight of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve built the first one but it was destroyed in the flood; Abraham and Ishmael rebuilt it as a shrine to Allah; in Mecca
Where does Islam originate Arabian Peninsula, Mecca
What is the nature of the sacred There is one God and no trinity
How are Islamic understandings of the sacred similar to those found in Judaism they both reject the trinity
Story of Abraham
o Abraham + Sarah = Isaac (Judaism/Christianity)
o Abraham + Hagar = Ishmael (progenitor of Islam)
o Sarah was unable to have a child so she let Abraham lay with Hagar in hopes for a child. Hagar had a child named Ishmael. Later, Sarah became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. Hagar and Ishmael were cast out into the desert, where Mecca eventually will be. Abraham did still take care of them. Eventually, Abraham and Ishmael will rebuild the ka’aba in the name of God.
o The seal of the prophets
o 570632 CE
o Descendent of Abraham and Ishmael
o Born in Mecca
o Father was Abdullah who died before Muhammad was born; Mother was Amina who died when
Muhammad was six; Abu Talib was the kindly uncle who took in Muhammad was orphaned o Grew up to be a business man, with a wife, and kids
o 610 when Muhammad was 40, he was meditating on Mt. Hira when he was visited by the Angel Gabriel; Gabriel told Muhammad to read or recite three times, Muhammad was confused but after the thirdtime words fell from his mouth as he recited the words of God; this first revelation is known as
o The entire Qur’an is not revealed to him all at once but over the next 22 years of his life o 622 the Hijra; Muhammad and his followers fled Mecca to Medina; year 1 of Islamic calendar making
this year 1438 AH (remember they are also on a lunar calendar)
o 622630 war between Mecca and Yathrib (Medina)
o 630 he clears the ka’aba of idols after winning the war against Mecca
o Dies in 632 as an old man
Other prophets Jesus, David, Moses, John the Baptist, Jacob, Noah
What does the acceptance of these prophets tell us about the relationship of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism They are culturally connected
Sunni comes from the word Sunna which means tradition
o Believe that the leader of Islam should be chosen by the community consensus o 80% of Islamic world
o Saudi Arabia, Egypt
Shiite “Party of Ali”
o Believe that the leader of Islam should be a blood relative of Muhammad
o Ali, Muhammad’s cousin and wife to his daughter Fatima, should have been the next leader after
o Imam Shiite historical leader
Caliph “successor” religious and political leader of the worldwide community of Muslims; last one was in 1924
o Holy book of Islam
o Means “recitation”
o Has no human authors, but human did write down the words
o Is the main hierophany of Islam
o Thought of as the last message from God
o Cannot be translated; once the words have been translated they are no longer are considered the Qur’an o The language of classical Arabic itself is sacred, meaning one does not have to know what the words
mean and just by hearing or speaking them is sacred.
o Revealed to Muhammad
o Composed of 114 Suras, which are the chapters of the book
o They are organized by length
o There are stories but it isn’t and ongoing narrative although it is reflective of what is happening in
Muhammad’s life at the time of different Suras.
o Central message is known as the shahada which states: “There is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger (prophet) of God”
Organized and Segmented Organized from longest to shortest; segmented into 114 suras Fundamental concept it is exemplar it is a hierophany
o Shahada fundamental state of belief; not believing in this is shirk
o Salat “worship”; prayer 5 times a day (dawn, noon, midday, sunset, after sunset) 1. Individuals must be in a state of purity; wadu ritual washing of the body
2. Must face Mecca
3. Must prostrate
o Sawn fasting during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset;
1. one abstains form food, water, sensual pleasures
2. in the evening one may eat and drink
3. those who are sick, elderly, pregnant, and those who are traveling are exempt
o Zakat almsgiving to support the umma; example of Fitra
1. 2.5% of one’s money earned in a year
o Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca
1. All Muslims are expected to take a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once over the course
of their lives
2. No sex, anger towards others, impatience during
3. Ihram twopiece white garment worn during the Hajj to symbolize equality OR state
of ritual sanctity during the hajj
4. Hajji/Hajja honorific title bestowed upon a person who completes the Hajj
How are they related to fitra and shirk the five pillars are used to keep people from committing shirk as well as help people keep their good constitution which is fitra. Shirk is idolatry, so by following the shahada and only worshiping the one God, Allah, one is less likely to commit shirk. Following the 5 pillars one is dedicated to Allah which shows their good constitution.
What is the nature of the sacred in Judaism (monotheism compared to Christianity) There is one God and no Trinity
God of Judaism Yahweh
What does Yahweh mean “I am”
When is God’s name revealed to Moses when he finds the burning bush
2 ways to be accounted as a Jewish be born of a Jewish mother or conversion
Reason Jerusalem is important to Jews and Muslims
5 books of the Torah Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Kashrut “Clean”; Jewish dietary laws
∙ Only animals with fully split hooves, that chew their cud are permitted as food ∙ Predatory birds, most insects, and fish without scales or fins (shrimp) are prohibited ∙ Meat and milk may not be cooked together or eaten at the same meal
Pareve foods foods that contain neither meat nor dairy, and therefore are considered neutral (eggs, vegetables, fish)
How many Commandments comprise Jewish law 613
Major Jewish Holidays Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukah, Passover,
What year is it currently according to the Jewish calendar 5777
What rite of passage is featured in the film Praying with Lior Bar Mitzvah
What event is thought to be the start of the Jewish calendar Rosh Hashanah which commemorates God’s creation of the world
What is Rosh Hashanah holiday commemorating God’s creation of the world; in September; thought to be when Adam and Eve were created; apples and honey are special foods eaten so that you have a sweet new year