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Portal:Religion

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Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.

In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.

The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.

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Selected article

A torii at Itsukushima Shrine.
Shinto(神道) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. It involves the worship of kami (), gods. Some kami are local and can be regarded as the spiritual being/spirit or genius of a particular place, but others represent major natural objects and processes: for example, Amaterasu, the Sun goddess, or Mount Fuji. Shinto is an animistic belief system. The word "Shinto" was created by combining two kanji: "" (shin), meaning gods or spirits (when read alone, it is pronounced "kami"), and "" (tō), meaning a philosophical way or path (the same character is used for the Chinese word Tao). As such, Shinto is commonly translated as "the Way of the Gods".

After World War II, Shinto lost its status as the state religion of Japan; some Shinto practices and teachings, once given a great deal of prominence during the war, are no longer taught or practiced today, and others exist today as commonplace activities such as omikuji (a form of fortune-telling) and Japanese New Year that few give religious connotations.

Selected picture

Tibetan Bhavacakra in Sera, Lhasa.
Credit: Philipp Roelli

The Bhavacakra (Sanskrit, भवचक्र) or Wheel of becoming (Tibetan srid.pa'i 'khor.lo) is a complex symbolic representation of saṃsāra in the form of a circle (mandala), used primarily in Tibetan Buddhism. Saṃsāra is the continuous cycle of birth, life, and death from which one liberates oneself through enlightenment.

Selected religious figure or deity

Laozi, from Myths and Legends of China (1922) by E.T.C. Werner
Laozi (Chinese: 老子, Pinyin: Lǎozǐ; also transliterated as Lao Tzŭ, Lao Tse, Laotze, and in other ways) was an ancient Chinese philosopher. According to Chinese tradition, Laozi lived in the 6th century BC, however many historians contend that Laozi actually lived in the 4th century BC, which was the period of Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States period. Laozi was credited with writing the seminal Taoist work, the Tao Te Ching (also known simply as the Laozi).

Laozi's work, the Tao Te Ching, is one of the most significant treatises in Chinese philosophy. It is his magnum opus, covering large areas of philosophy from individual spirituality and inter-personal dynamics to political techniques. The Tao Te Ching is said to contain 'hidden' instructions for Taoist adepts (often in the form of metaphors) relating to Taoist meditation and breathing.

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Selected quote

Gutenberg Bible
1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Bible, Psalm 23
More quotes...

Selected scripture

Ayyavazhi
Akilattirattu Ammanai அகிலத்திரட்டு அம்மானை (Tamil: akilam (world) + thirattu (collection) + ammanai (ballad)), also called Thiru Edu (venerable book), is the main religious book of the Southern Indian religion Ayyavazhi, officially considered as an offshoot of Hinduism. The title is often abbreviated to Akilam.

According to the book, Akilam, Hari Gopalan Citar wrote this book on the twenty-seventh day of the Tamil month of Karthikai (November/December) in the year 1841 CE. The author claims that God woke him up during his sleep and commissioned him to take dictation from what he said. Akilathirattu was recorded on palm leaves until 1939, when it was given printed form.

Akilam is in two parts; the first is an account of the ages preceding that of the present age, the Kali Yukam, and the second is an account of the activities of Ayya Vaikundar leading up to his attaining Vaikundam.

Akilathirattu is written as a poem in the Tamil language. The narration alternates between two subgenres called viruttam and natai. Both subgenres employ many poetic devices like alliteration and hyperbatons. It contains more than 15,000 lines making up seventeen section.

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