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"Plotinus taught that there is a supreme, totally transcendent 'One', containing no division, multiplicity or distinction and beyond all categories of being and non-being. His One 'cannot be any existing thing', nor is it merely the sum of all things but 'is prior to all existents'. Plotinus identified his One with the concept of Good and the principle of Beauty."

"That which exists is One. Sages call it by various names."
Rig Veda

Five largest religions - Religions - Spiritual or mystical school or sect - Integral and new consciousness movements - Philosophy of religion - Interpretive angle or perspective on God - Concept or name of God - Attribute of God - Spiritual or religious symbol - Spiritual or religious experience - Spiritual or religious practice - Spiritual or religious law - The study of God -

This page presents an ambitious interpretation of an ancient perspective on universal religion, grounded and interconnected through the primary concept of Oneness or ONE.

ONE -- according to this interpretation -- can be known or experienced in many ways, and is that facet or level of reality religious or spiritual people call "God".

This interpretation follows what is commonly called Perennial Philosophy, and builds this thesis though a systematic interpretation of many religious and spiritual traditions that have arisen around the world throughout history. This perennialist interpretation is intended as an integrating and global scientific hypothesis, entirely consistent with science.

We have gathered 1,265 quotations on the theme of ONE.

A creative synthesis

Are we proposing a new religion? Pehaps no, perhaps yes. This interpretation -- "all religions are intepretations of a common underlying oneness, perceived in different ways" -- is an intentional creative synthesis, and not a claim that this interpretation in some sense "exists" within the religions themselves, or is observable in an empirical sense, or is inherent in existing traditions. Expressed in these terms, this question is probably unresolvable because this model depends on consistent interpretation and not on empirical observation. This model is an interpretation of the traditions. We are in effect saying "this is the best way to look at it, and it works."

There are too many empirical (observable) differences in religions, and religions themselves are not static and monolithic objects with strict and absolutely stable categorical definitions. Instead, we simply suggest this approach as a "synthetic human construction", as a posulate, a hypothesis, adapted as a rationalist understanding of religion and religious experience, and that this kind of model, refined and tuned carefully through relationship-building and co-creativity, can emerge as a comprehensive focus for international and universal connection among religions, spirituality and the disciplines of science. This approach might be capable of supporting an ontology-grounded secular ethics for national or global democracy.

Plotinus on One

We follow the Wikipedia interpretation of Plotinus on Oneness. We position this idea within the framework of an "ontology" (a "semantic ontology" -- The "top level" and highest universal form is this framework of the One -- known by many names or none, understood as "beyond words" or as Logos, or understood as "non-dual", as unknowable and undifferentiated "beingness" is parsed into concepts in service to human convenience or necessity.

An interpretive hypothesis

Thus, a central thesis emerges -- a point of agreement, a point of negotiation, a "universal standard" intended to faithfully interpret every tradition without distortion -- creating a shared focal point of universal common ground, where it might be strongly claimed that any true seeker and lover of the good and holy and sacred could meet with any other in service to a "world that works for everyone".

Come from any angle, come from any tradition, come in humble and receptive spirit, be able to listen, and enter a process of universal sacred communion, grounded in a simple universal ethic of relationships held in Oneness. From there, if you wish, you can remain faithful to your own tradition as you understand it, and yet meet with and interact with adherents from anywhere in the world. Adhere to some well-defined and established tradition -- or connect to no existing tradition -- or honor them all through their commonality. This universal point of origin is intended as the common ground of human spirituality and religion.


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"Perennialism is a perspective within the philosophy of religion which views each of the world's religious traditions as sharing a single, universal truth on which foundation all religious knowledge and doctrine has grown. According to this view, each world religion, including but not limited to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Buddhism, is an interpretation of this universal truth adapted to the psychological, intellectual, and social needs of a given culture in a given period of history.

The universal truth which lives at the heart of each religion has been rediscovered in each epoch by saints, sages, prophets, and philosophers. These include not only the 'founders' of the world's great religions but also gifted and inspired mystics, theologians and preachers.

"Perennialists argue that although the sacred scriptures of the world religions are undeniably diverse and often seem to oppose each other, one can discern a common doctrine. Typically this doctrine is posited as mystical insofar as it views the summum bonum of human life as an experiential union with the supreme being."


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This statement reviews the major points of this doctrine, which are intended to create an integrated conceptual framework consistent with science and describing the full range of potential spiritual experience and understanding. This "full range" is illustrated by examples taken from various perspectives, schools and cultures.

1) There is a common oneness in reality, containing all things and all concepts. This oneness is the fundamental concept of all religion.

2) This oneness is highly abstract and throughout history has been perceived by human intuition in varying ways. Generally, we are safe in asserting that all major religions and spiritual traditions involve a perspective on this universal common ONE. This concept can be difficult to precisely conceptualize, and this difficulty is responsble for much of the confusion and ambiguity surrounding religion.

3) This ONE is consistent not only with all major religions throughout history, but is also consistent with science. This idea can be understood through deep inuition, in anthropomorphic or metaphorical ways, or in scientific or mathematical terms that are consistent with holism, "semantic ontology" and the logic of set theory.

4) Particular interpretations of this oneness have arisen throughout history, under the guiding influence of inspired prophets and "enlightened" spiritual people, who have influenced their cultures and established the religions of the world.

5) The high diversity of these forms is understandable, and an expression of the wide differences in local cultures, languages, economic and social pressures and needs. These differences in religious forms arise from a natural diversity of human needs in particular contexts. The common ground among them all is the universal containing form of the absolute one, as known by many names.

6) "Distinctions arise" within the common universal framework, driven by common human needs. Those distinctions are the basis of all human concepts and ideas, which are constructed within the framework of oneness. This can be shown in terms which are consistent with deep intuition and mysticism, and also with science, mathematics, psychology, philosophy, semantics and the ontology of language.


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This thesis is supported here on through a series of categories which we believe provide a detailed illustration and explanation of this core idea. These categories are taken from and supported by articles in Wikipedia.

The five largest religions in the world include billions of people.

Wikipedia states that there are as many as 4,200 identifiable and unique religions in the world. There is no one universally-accepted definition of religion. We list religions found on Wikipedia.

Any school or sect of spirituality or mysticism that has grown from within religion or influenced religion. Esoteric perspectives often illuminate the mystical and oneness aspects of religion, and provide important insight into common ground.

New movements are emerging, combining mystical and traditional perspectives, and often including a scientific perspective.

Philosophy has exerted a guiding intellectual influence on many concepts within traditional religion. As religious ideas get sharper, they become more powerful, more effective, and more authentic.

A catalog of major alternative points of view - perspectives on or interpretations of the universal form of Oneness as it seen or understood in various ways.

Name, concept, interpretation or label of the universal form.

Facet of the Godhead as attributed by some tradition or interpretation.

Image understood to represent properties of the sacred, or ultimate reality or the whole

A religious or spiritual experience is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious or spiritual framework.

Methods of adherence or practices for achieving goals.

Interpretations of the Godhead in the form of constraints, rules, or guidelines.

Scholarly approaches to religion, including scientific or philosophical or psychological ideas, comparative religion, etc.

Five largest religions
The five largest religions in the world include billions of people.

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1. Buddhism
Buddhism or Buddhadharma is a religion and Dharma that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha, commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one"). According to Buddhist tradition, the Buddha lived and taught in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE in ancient Magadha kingdom. He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end their suffering through the elimination of ignorance and craving. Buddhists believe that this is accomplished through the direct understanding and perception o

2. Chinese folk religion
Chinese folk religion (also known as Chinese popular religion) is the religious tradition of the Chinese, in which government officials and common people of China share religious practices and beliefs, including veneration of forces of nature and ancestors, exorcism of harmful forces, and a belief in the rational order of nature which can be influenced by human beings and their rulers. The gods or spirits, called shen, can be nature deities, city deities or tutelary deities of other human groups, national deities, cultural heroes and demigods, ancestors and progenitors, and deities of the kinship. Stories regarding some of these gods are codified into the body of Chinese mythology. By the

3. Christianity
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament. Christianity is the world's largest religion, with over 2.4 billion adherents, known as Christians. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity whose coming as Christ or the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament.

Christian theology is expressed in ecumenical creeds. These professions of faith state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead, in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jes

4. Hinduism
Hinduism is a religion, or a way of life, found most notably in India and Nepal. With approximately one billion followers,Hinduism is the world's third largest religion by population, and the majority religion in India, Nepal and Bali (Indonesia). Hinduism has been called the "oldest religion" in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Santana Dharma, "the eternal law" or the "eternal way" beyond human origins.

Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the Vedic times.

Although Hinduism con

5. Islam
Islam is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur'an, a religious text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (All?h), and, for the vast majority of adherents, by the teachings and normative example (called the sunnah, composed of accounts called hadith) of Muhammad (c. 570–8 June 632 CE). An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim (sometimes spelled "Moslem"). Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and that the purpose of existence is to worship God. Nearly all Muslims consider Muhammad to be the last prophet of God.

Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed many time

Wikipedia states that there are as many as 4,200 identifiable and unique religions in the world. There is no one universally-accepted definition of religion. We list religions found on Wikipedia.

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1. Atenism
Atenism, or the Amarna heresy, refers to the religious changes associated with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under his adopted name, Akhenaten. In the 14th century BC, Atenism was Egypt's state religion for around 20 years, before subsequent rulers returned to the traditional gods and the Pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased from Egyptian records.

2. Baha'i Faith
The Bahá'í Faith (Persian: Bahá'iyyat, Arabic: Bahá'iyya) is a monotheistic religion which emphasizes the spiritual unity of all humankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá'í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, coupled with the unity in diversity, that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. According to the Bahá'í Faith's teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and to love God thro

3. Cao Dai
Caodaism (Vietnamese) is a monotheistic religion officially established in the city of Tây Ninh in southern Vietnam in 1926. The full name of the religion is 'The Great Faith [for the] Third Universal Redemption'.

Cao Dai, literally the "Highest Lord" or "Highest Power", is the utmost deity, originating the universe, worshipped by the Caodaists. Caodaists often use the term 'Venerable High Lord' as the abbreviated name for the creator of the universe, whose full title is "The Highest Power [the] Ancient Immortal [and] Great Bodhisattva". The symbol of the faith is the Left Eye of God, representing the yang (masculine, ordaining, positive and expansive) activity of the male creator,

4. Cheondoism
Cheondoism, spelled Chondoism in North Korean sources (Korean: Cheondogyo; hanja; hangul; literally "Religion of the Heavenly Way"), is a 20th-century Korean religious movement, based on the 19th century Donghak neo-Confucian movement founded by Choe Je-u and codified under Son Byeong-hui. Cheondoism has its origins in the peasant rebellions which arose starting in 1812 during the Joseon dynasty.

Cheondoism is essentially Confucian in origin, but incorporates elements of Korean shamanism. It places emphasis on personal cultivation, this-worldly social welfare, and rejects any notion of an afterlife. A splinter movement is Suwunism.

5. Confucianism
Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of philosophical and "ethical-sociopolitical teachings" sometimes described as a religion. Confucianism developed during the Spring and Autumn Period from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE), who considered himself a retransmitter of Zhou values. Its metaphysical and cosmological elements developed in the Han Dynasty following the replacement of its contemporary, the more Taoistic Huang-Lao, as the official ideology. More privately, Chinese emperors would still make use of the historical Realpolitik of the Chinese, termed Legalism. The disintegration of the Han in the second century CE opened the way for the sot

6. Hoa Hao
Dao Hoa Hao (also Hoahaoism) is a religious tradition, based on Buddhism, founded in 1939 by Hu?nh Phú S? (Popularly called "Buddha Master" in Vietnamese), a native of the Mekong River Delta region of southern Vietnam. Adherents consider S? to be a prophet, and Hòa H?o a continuation of a 19th-century Buddhist ministry known as B?u S?n K? Hng (Sino-Vietnamese). The founders of these traditions are regarded by Hòa H?o followers as living Buddhas—destined to save mankind from suffering and to protect the Vietnamese nation. Hòa H?o claims approximately two million followers throughout Vietnam; in some provinces near its Delta birthplace, as many as 90 percent of the population practice this t

7. Jainism
Jainism, traditionally known as Jain dharma, is an ancient Indian religion that prescribes the path of ahimsa (non-violence) towards all living beings. Jains believe that a human being who has conquered all inner passions comes to possess omniscience; such a person is called a Jina (conqueror). The path practiced and preached by Jinas is Jainism, and the followers of the path are called Jains.

Jain philosophy distinguishes the soul (consciousnesses) from the body (matter). Jains believe that all living beings are really soul, intrinsically perfect and immortal. Souls in transmigration (that is, still undergoing repeated births and deaths) are said to be imprisoned in the body. Ahi?

8. Judaism
Judaism (from Latin: Iudaismus, derived from Greek, originally from Hebrew Yehudah, "Judah"; in Hebrew: Yahadut, the distinctive characteristics of the Judean ethnos) encompasses the religion, philosophy, culture and way of life of the Jewish people. Judaism is an ancient monotheistic religion, with the Torah as its foundational text (part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible), and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship that God established with the Children of Israel.

Judaism includes a wide corpus of texts, practices, t

9. Korean shamanism
Korean shamanism, also known as Muism (Korean: Mugyo "mu [shaman] religion") or Sinism Shingyo "religion of the shin (hanja:) [gods]", is the ethnic religion of Korea and the Koreans. Although used synonymously, the two terms are not identical: Jung Young Lee describes Muism as a form of Sinism - the shamanic tradition within the religion.

Other names for the religion are Shindo ("Way of the Gods"), Shindoism (Shindogyo "religion of the Way of the Gods"), Gosindo ("Way of the Ancestral Gods"), and Pungwoldo ("Way of Brightness"). It has approximately 5-15 million followers.

In contemporary Korean language, the shaman-priest or mu is known as a mudang if female or baksu if

10. Native American / Indigeneous
Native American religions are the spiritual practices of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Traditional Native American ceremonial ways can vary widely, and are based on the differing histories and beliefs of individual tribes, clans and bands. Early European explorers describe individual Native American tribes and even small bands as each having their own religious practices. Theology may be monotheistic, polytheistic, henotheistic, animistic, or some combination thereof. Traditional beliefs are usually passed down in the forms of oral histories, stories, allegories and principles, and rely on face to face teaching in one's family and community.

11. Perennialism / Oneness
Perennialism is a perspective within the philosophy of religion which views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, universal truth on which foundation all religious knowledge and doctrine has grown. According to this view, each world religion, including but not limited to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Sikhism, and Buddhism, is an interpretation of this universal truth adapted to cater for the psychological, intellectual, and social needs of a given culture of a given period of history.

The universal truth which lives at heart of each religion has been rediscovered in each epoch by saints, sages, prophets, and philosophers.

12. Shinto
Shinto, also called kami-no-michi, is an ethnic religion of the people of Japan. It focuses on ritual practices to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present-day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified "Shinto religion", but rather to a collection of native beliefs and mythology. Shinto today is a term that applies to the religion of public shrines devoted to the worship of a multitude of gods (kami), suited to various purposes such as war memorials and harvest festivals, and

13. Sikhism
Sikhism, or Sikhi (Punjabi, from Sikh, meaning a "disciple", or a "learner"), is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of South Asia (subcontinental India) during the 15th century. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for social justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life. Although one of the youngest amongst the major world religions, with over 25 million adherents worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth-larges

14. Taoism
Taoism (also called Daoism) is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (also romanized as Dao). The term Tao means "way", "path", or "principle", and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source of, and the force behind, everything that exists. Although the Tao itself is not seen as an independent divinity, being more comparable to the Buddhist concepts of dharma and karma, taoism is nonetheless a Polytheistic religion that contains a multitude of gods.

Taoism drew its cosmological notions from the tenets of the School of Yin Y

15. Tenrikyo
Tenrikyo, sometimes rendered as Tenriism, is a monotheistic, Shinto-derived new religion originating from the teachings of a 19th-century Japanese woman named Nakayama Miki, known to her followers as Oyasama. Followers of Tenrikyo believe that God, known by several names including Tenri-?-no-Mikoto, expressed the divine will through Nakayama's role as the Shrine of God, and to a lesser extent the roles of the Honseki Izo Iburi and other leaders. Tenrikyo's worldly aim is to teach and promote the Joyous Life, which is cultivated through acts of charity and mindfulness called hinokishin.

The primary operations of Tenrikyo today include 16,833 locally managed churches in Japan, the Jib

16. Universalism
Universalism is a religious, theological, and philosophical concept with universal application or applicability. Universalist doctrines consider all people in their formation. In terms of religion, in a broad sense, universalism claims that religion is a universal human quality. This can be contrasted with non-universalist religions. Religion in this context is defined as "a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs." In some sects of Christianity, unive

17. Wicca
Wicca, also termed Pagan Witchcraft, is a contemporary Pagan new religious movement. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant. Wicca draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th century hermetic motifs for its theological structure and ritual practice.

Wicca has no central authority. Its traditional core beliefs, principles and practices were originally outlined in the 1940s and 1950s by Gardner and Doreen Valiente, both in published books as well as in secret written and oral teachings passed along to their initiates. There are many variations on the core str

18. Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism, or more natively Mazdayasna, is one of the world's oldest, and at one time most powerful religions, "combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism in a manner unique... among the major religions of the world." Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian Prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), he exalted their deity of wisdom, Ahura Mazda, as its Supreme Being. Leading characteristics, such as messianism, heaven and hell, and free will influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam. With possible roots dating back to the second millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism enters recorded history in the 5th-century BCE,

Spiritual or mystical school or sect
Any school or sect of spirituality or mysticism that has grown from within religion or influenced religion. Esoteric perspectives often illuminate the mystical and oneness aspects of religion, and provide important insight into common ground.

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1. Alchemy
Alchemy is a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Egypt and Asia. It aimed to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects. [n 1] Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of "base metals" (e.g., lead) into "noble" ones (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent. The perfection of the human body and soul was thought to permit or result from the alchemical magnum opus and, in the Hellenistic and western tradition, the achievement of gnosis. In Europe, the creation of a philosopher's stone was variously connected with all o

2. Esotericism
Western esotericism, also called esotericism and esoterism, is a scholarly term for a wide range of loosely related unconventional ideas and movements which have developed within Western society. They are largely distinct from both orthodox Judeo-Christian religion and Enlightenment rationalism. A trans-disciplinary field, esotericism has pervaded various forms of Western philosophy, religion, pseudoscience, art, literature, and music, continuing to have an impact on intellectual ideas and popular culture.

The precise definition of Western esotericism has been debated by various academics, with a number of different options proposed. One scholarly model adopts its definition of "esoteri

3. Gnosticism
Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek gnostikos, "having knowledge", from gnosis, knowledge) is a modern term categorizing a collection of ancient religions whose adherents shunned the material world – which they viewed as created by the demiurge – and embraced the spiritual world.

Gnostic ideas influenced many ancient religions that teach that gnosis (variously interpreted as knowledge, enlightenment, salvation, emancipation or 'oneness with God') may be reached by practicing philanthropy to the point of personal poverty, sexual abstinence (as far as possible for hearers, entirely for initiates) and diligently searching for wisdom by helping others. However, practices varied among those w

4. Hermeticism
Hermeticism, also called Hermetism, is a religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus ("Thrice Great"). These writings have greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition and were considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition claims descent from a prisca theologia, a doctrine that affirms the existence of a single, true theology that is present in all religions and that was given by God to man in antiquity.

Many writers, including Lactantius, Cyprian of Carthage, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Giordano Bruno, Camp

5. New Age
The New Age is a term applied to a range of spiritual or religious beliefs and practices that developed in Western nations during the 1970s. Precise scholarly definitions of the movement differ in their emphasis, largely as a result of its highly eclectic structure. Although analytically often considered to be religious, those involved in it typically prefer the designation of "spiritual" and rarely use the term "New Age" themselves. Many scholars of the subject refer to it as the New Age movement, although others contest this term, believing that it gives a false sense of homogeneity to the phenomenon.

As a form of Western esotericism, the New Age movement drew heavily upon a number of

6. Sufism
Sufism or Tasawwuf, is defined as the inner mystical dimension of Islam. Practitioners of Sufism (Tasawwuf), referred to as Sufis, often belong to differenturuq or "orders"—congregations formed around a grand master referred to as a Mawla who maintains a direct chain of teachers back to the Prophet Muhammad.

These orders meet for spiritual sessions (majalis) in meeting places known as zawiyahs, khanqahs, or tekke. Sufis strive for ihsan (perfection of worship) as detailed in a hadith: "Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him; if you can't see Him, surely He sees you." Jalaluddin Rumi stated: "The Sufi is hanging on to Muhammad, like Abu Bakr." Sufis regard Prophet Muhammad as Al

7. Theosophy
Theosophy (from Greek theosophia, which comes from the combination of words theos, God sophia, wisdom; literally "God's wisdom") refers to schools of esoteric philosophy concerning, or seeking direct knowledge of, presumed mysteries of being and nature, particularly concerning the nature of divinity.

Theosophy is considered a part of the broader field of esotericism, referring to hidden knowledge or wisdom that offers the individual enlightenment and salvation. The theosopher seeks to understand the mysteries of the universe and the bonds that unite the universe, humanity, and the divine. The goal of theosophy is to explore the origin of divinity, humanity and the world. From investiga

Integral and new consciousness movements
New movements are emerging, combining mystical and traditional perspectives, and often including a scientific perspective.

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1. Conscious Evolution
Conscious evolution refers to the claim that humanity has acquired the ability to choose what the species Homo sapiens becomes in the future, based on recent advancements in science, medicine, technology, psychology, sociology, and spirituality. Conscious evolution assumes that human beings may be positioned at the crest of the ongoing evolution of the universe. It has loose connections to integral theory, Spiral Dynamics, and noosphere thought. It is also sometimes connected to the theory of the global brain or collective consciousness.

Writers and thinkers on conscious evolution include Ervin Laszlo, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Andrew Cohen. Tobias Tripler made some important contrib

2. Integral Theory (Ken Wilber)
Integral theory is Ken Wilber's attempt to place a wide diversity of theories and thinkers into one single framework. It is portrayed as a "theory of everything" trying "to draw together an already existing number of separate paradigms into an interrelated network of approaches that are mutually enriching." Wilber's Integral Theory has been applied by some in a limited range of domains. The Integral Institute currently publishes the peer-reviewed Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, and SUNY Press has published nine books in the "SUNY series in Integral Theory." Nevertheless, Wilber's ideas have mainly attracted attention in specific subcultures, and have been widely ignored in a

3. Interfaith
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions (i.e., "faiths") and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels. It is distinct from syncretism or alternative religion, in that dialogue often involves promoting understanding between different religions or beliefs to increase acceptance of others, rather than to synthesize new beliefs. Some interfaith dialogues have more recently adopted the name interbelief dialogue, while other proponents have proposed the term interpath dialogue, to avoid implicitly excluding atheists, agnostics, humanists, and others wit

4. New Thought
The New Thought movement is a philosophical movement which developed in the United States in the 19th century, following the teachings of Phineas Quimby. There are numerous smaller groups, most of which are incorporated in the International New Thought Alliance.

The concept of New Thought (sometimes known as "Higher Thought" ) promotes the ideas that Infinite Intelligence, or God, is everywhere, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and "right thinking" has a healing effect. Although New Thought is neither monolithic nor doctrinaire, in general, modern-day adherents of New Thought be

5. Non-dualism
Nondualism, also called non-duality, means "not two" or "one undivided without a second". It is a term and concept used to define various strands of religious and spiritual thought. It is found in a variety of Asian religious traditions and modern western spirituality, but with a variety of meanings and uses. The term may refer to:

Advaya, the nonduality of conventional and ultimate truth in Madhyamaka Buddhism, or nonduality of relative and Absolute reality in Chinese Buddhism. In Buddhist Madhyamaka it means that there is no absolute, transcendent reality beyond our everyday reality, and while things exist, they are ultimately "empty" of any existence on their own. In Chinese

Philosophy of religion
Philosophy has exerted a guiding intellectual influence on many concepts within traditional religion. As religious ideas get sharper, they become more powerful, more effective, and more authentic.

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1. Category (Kant)
In Kant's philosophy, a category is a pure concept of the understanding. A Kantian category is a characteristic of the appearance of any object in general, before it has been experienced. Kant wrote that "They are concepts of an object in general…." Kant also wrote that, "…pure concepts [Categories] of the understanding…apply to objects of intuition in general…." Such a category is not a classificatory division, as the word is commonly used. It is, instead, the condition of the possibility of objects in general, that is, objects as such, any and all objects, not specific objects in particular.

2. Category of being
In ontology, the different kinds or ways of being are called categories of being or simply categories. To investigate the categories of being is to determine the most fundamental and the broadest classes of entities. A distinction between such categories, in making the categories or applying them, is called an ontological distinction.

3. Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology (from Greek ????, deon, "obligation, duty" ) is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules.

It is sometimes described as "duty-" or "obligation-" or "rule-" based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty." Deontological ethics is commonly contrasted to consequentialism, virtue ethics, and pragmatic ethics. In this terminology, action is more important than the consequences.

The term deontological was first used to describe the current, specialised definition by C. D. Broad in his book, Five Types of Ethical Theory, which was published in 1930. Older usage of the ter

4. Ethics
Ethics or moral philosophy is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term ethics derives from the Ancient Greek word ethikos, which is derived from the word ethos (habit, "custom"). The branch of philosophy axiology comprises the sub-branches of ethics and aesthetics, each concerned with values.

As a branch of philosophy, ethics investigates the questions "What is the best way for people to live?" and "What actions are right or wrong in particular circumstances?" In practice, ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality, by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vi

5. Hellenistic philosophy
Hellenistic philosophy is the period of Western philosophy that was developed in the Hellenistic civilization following Aristotle and ending with the beginning of Neoplatonism.

6. Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant (22 April 1724 – 12 February 1804) was a German philosopher who is considered the central figure of modern philosophy. Kant argued that fundamental concepts of the human mind structure human experience, that reason is the source of morality, that aesthetics arises from a faculty of disinterested judgment, that space and time are forms of our sensibility, and that the world as it is "in-itself" is unknowable. Kant took himself to have effected a Copernican revolution in philosophy, akin to Copernicus' reversal of the age-old belief that the sun revolved around the earth. His beliefs continue to have a major influence on contemporary philosophy, especially the fields of metaph

7. Moral obligation
The term moral obligation has a number of meanings in moral philosophy, in religion, and in layman's terms. Generally speaking, when someone says of an act that it is a "moral obligation," they refer to a belief that the act is one prescribed by their set of values.

Moral philosophers differ as to the origin of moral obligation, and whether such obligations are external to the agent (that is, are, in some sense, objective and applicable to all agents) or are internal (that is, are based on the agent's personal desires, upbringing, conscience, and so on).

Obligation being a set code by which a person is to follow. (Obligations) can be found by an individual's peers that set a code tha

8. Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism is a modern term used to designate a tradition of philosophy that arose in the 3rd century AD and persisted until shortly after the closing of the Platonic Academy in Athens in AD 529 by Justinian I. Neoplatonists were heavily influenced by Plato, but also by the Platonic tradition that thrived during the six centuries which separated the first of the Neoplatonists from Plato.

In defining the term "Neoplatonism", it is difficult to reduce the school of thought to a concise set of ideas that all Neoplatonic philosophers shared in common. The work of Neoplatonic philosophy involved describing the derivation of the whole of reality from a single principle, "the One". While the

9. Platonism
Platonism, rendered as a proper noun, is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In narrower usage, platonism, rendered as a common noun (with a lower case 'p', subject to sentence case), refers to the philosophy that affirms the existence of abstract objects, which are asserted to "exist" in a "third realm" distinct both from the sensible external world and from the internal world of consciousness, and is the opposite of nominalism (with a lower case "n"). Lower case "platonists" need not accept any of the doctrines of Plato.

In a narrower sense, the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism. The central concep

10. Pre-Socratic Philosophy
Pre-Socratic philosophy is Greek ancient philosophy before Socrates (and includes schools contemporary to Socrates that were not influenced by him. In Classical antiquity, the Presocratic philosophers were called physiologoi (in English, physical or natural philosophers).

Aristotle called them physikoi ("physicists", after physis, "nature") because they sought natural explanations for phenomena, as opposed to the earlier theologoi (theologians), whose philosophical basis was supernatural.Diogenes Laërtius divides the physiologoi into two groups, Ionian and Italiote, led by Anaximander and Pythagoras, respectively.

Hermann Diels popularized the term pre-socratic in Die Fragmente d

11. Schoepenhauer's critique of Kant's schemata
Schopenhauer's criticism of Kant's schemata is part of Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy which was published in 1819. In the appendix to the first volume of his main work, Arthur Schopenhauer attempted to assign the psychological cause of Kant's doctrines of the categories and their schemata.

Contents From pure intuitions to pure concepts Schopenhauer claimed that Kant had made an important discovery. This was his realization that time and space are known by the human mind (Gemüt) apart from any worldly experience. In fact, they are merely the ways that the mind organizes sensations. Succession is time. Position, shape, and size are space. The pure forms of time a

Interpretive angle or perspective on God
A catalog of major alternative points of view - perspectives on or interpretations of the universal form of Oneness as it seen or understood in various ways.

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1. Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that, the truth values of certain claims – especially metaphysical and religious claims such as whether God, the divine or the supernatural exist – are unknown and perhaps unknowable.

According to the philosopher William L. Rowe: "In the popular sense of the term, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in God, whereas an atheist disbelieves in God." Agnosticism is a doctrine or set of tenets rather than a religion as such.

Thomas Henry Huxley, an English biologist, coined the word "agnostic" in 1869. Earlier thinkers, however, had written works that promoted agnostic points of view, such as Sanjaya Belatthaputta, a 5th-century BCE Ind

2. Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.

In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.

The term "atheism" originated from the Greek (atheos), meaning "without god(s)", used as a pejorative term applied to those thought to reject the gods worshiped by the larger society. With the spread of freethought, skeptical inquiry, and subsequent increase in criticism of religion, application of the term narrowed in scope. Th

3. Deism
Deism, derived from the Latin word "deus" meaning "god", is a theological/philosophical position that combines the rejection of revelation and authority as a source of religious knowledge with the conclusion that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a single creator of the universe. Deism gained prominence among intellectuals during the Age of Enlightenment—especially in Britain, France, Germany and the United States—who, raised as Christians, believed in one God but became disenchanted with organized religion and notions such as the Trinity, Biblical inerrancy and the supernatural interpretation of events such as miracles. Includ

4. Dualism
Dualism (from the Latin word duo meaning "two") denotes the state of two parts. The term dualism was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been more generalized in other usages to indicate a system which contains two essential parts.

Moral dualism is the belief of the great complement or conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work, independent of any interpretation of what might be "moral" and independent of how these may be represented. The moral opposites might, for example, exist in a world view which has o

5. Emanationism
Emanationism is an idea in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems. Emanation, from the Latin emanare meaning "to flow from" or "to pour forth or out of", is the mode by which all things are derived from the First Reality, or Principle.

All things are derived from the first reality or perfect God by steps of degradation to lesser degrees of the first reality or God, and at every step the emanating beings are less pure, less perfect, less divine. Emanationism is a transcendent principle from which everything is derived, and is opposed to both Creationism (wherein the universe is created by a sentient God who is separate from creation) and materialism (wh

6. Henotheism
Henotheism (Greek henas theos "one god") is the belief in and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities. The term was originally coined by Friedrich Schelling (1775–1854), and used by Friedrich Welcker to depict primordial monotheism among ancient Greeks. Max Müller (1823–1900), a German philologist and orientalist, brought the term into wider usage, in his scholarship on the Indian religions. Müller made the term central to his criticism of Western theological and religious exceptionalism (relative to Eastern religions), focusing on a cultural dogma which held "monotheism" to be both fundamentally well defined and inherently superio

7. Monism
Monism is the view that attributes oneness or singleness (Greek:) to a concept (e.g., existence). Substance monism is the philosophical view that a variety of existing things can be explained in terms of a single reality or substance. Another definition states that all existing things go back to a source that is distinct from them (e.g., in Neoplatonism everything is derived from The One). This is often termed priority monism, and is the view that only one thing is ontologically basic or prior to everything else. Another distinction is the difference between substance and existence monism, or stuff monism and thing monism. Substance monism posits that only one kind of stuff (e.g., matt

8. Monotheism
Monotheism has been defined as the belief in the existence of one god or in the oneness of God. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church gives a more restricted definition: "belief in one personal and transcendent God", as opposed to polytheism and pantheism. A distinction may be made between exclusive monotheism, and both inclusive monotheism and pluriform (panentheistic) monotheism which, while recognising many distinct gods, postulate some underlying unity. Monotheism is distinguished from henotheism, a religious system in which the believer worships one god without denying that others may worship different gods with equal validity, and monolatrism, the recognition of the existe

9. Pandeism
Pandeism (or pan-deism) is a theological doctrine which combines aspects of pantheism into deism. It holds that the creator deity became the universe and ceased to exist as a separate and conscious entity. Pandeism is proposed to explain, as it relates to deism, why God would create a universe and then abandon it, and as to pantheism, the origin and purpose of the universe.

The word pandeism is a hybrid blend of the root words pantheism and deism, combining Ancient Greek: pan "all" with Latin: deus which means "god". It was perhaps first coined in the present meaning in 1859 by Moritz Lazarus and Heymann Steinthal.

10. Pantheism
Pantheism is the belief that the Universe (or nature as the totality of everything) is identical with divinity, or that everything composes an all-encompassing, immanent god. Pantheists thus do not believe in a distinct personal or anthropomorphic god. In the West, Pantheism was formalized as a separate theology and philosophy based on the work of the 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza :p.7 (also known as Benedict Spinoza), whose book Ethics was an answer to Descartes' famous dualist theory that the body and spirit are separate. Although the term pantheism was not coined until after his death, Spinoza is regarded as its most celebrated advocate. His work, Ethics was the major so

11. Personal god
A personal god is a deity who can be related to as a person instead of as an impersonal force, such as the Absolute, "the All", or the "Ground of Being".

In the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions, God is described as being a personal creator, speaking in the first person and showing emotion such as anger and pride, and sometimes appearing in anthropomorphic shape. In the Pentateuch, for example, God talks with and instructs his prophets and is conceived as possessing volition, emotions (such as anger, grief and happiness), intention, and other attributes characteristic of a human person. Personal relationships with God may be described in the same ways as human relationships, such

12. Polytheism
Polytheism is the worship of or belief in multiple deities usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator God or transcendental absolute principle (monistic theologies), which manifests immanently in nature (panentheistic and pantheistic theologies). It is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God, in most cases transcendent. Polytheists do not always worship all the g

13. Spiritual but not religious
"Spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) is a popular phrase and initialism used to self-identify a life stance of spirituality that takes issue with organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth. Spirituality places an emphasis upon the well-being of the "mind-body-spirit," so "holistic" activities such as tai chi, reiki, and yoga are common within the SBNR movement. In contrast to religion, spirituality has often been associated with the interior life of the individual.

14. Theism
Theism, in the field of comparative religion, is the belief in the existence of deities. In popular parlance, the term theism often describes the classical conception of god(s) that is found in the monotheistic and polytheistic religions.

The term theism derives from the Greek theos meaning "god". The term theism was first used by Ralph Cudworth (1617–1688). In Cudworth's definition, they are "strictly and properly called Theists, who affirm, that a perfectly conscious understanding being, or mind, existing of itself from eternity, was the cause of all other things".

Atheism is commonly understood as rejection of theism in the broadest sense of theism, i.e. the rejection of belief

Concept or name of God
Name, concept, interpretation or label of the universal form.

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1. Ahura Mazda
Ahura Mazda (also known as Ohrmazd, Ahuramazda, Hourmazd, Hormazd, Harzoo and Hurmuz, Lord or simply as spirit) is the Avestan name for the creator and sole God of Zoroastrianism, the old Iranian religion predating Islam. Ahura Mazda is described as the highest spirit of worship in Zoroastrianism, along with being the first and most frequently invoked spirit in the Yasna. The literal meaning of the word Ahura is "mighty" or "lord" and Mazda is wisdom. Zoroastrianism revolves around three basic tenets – Good Thoughts, Good Words and Good Deeds.

Ahura Mazda first appeared in the Achaemenid period (c. 550 – 330 BCE) under Darius I's Behistun Inscription. Until Artaxerxes II (405–04 to 359

2. Allah
Allah is the Arabic word referring to God in Abrahamic religions. The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al il?h, which means "the God", and has cognates in other Semitic languages, including Elah in Aramaic, l in Canaanite and Elohim in Hebrew.

The word Allah has been used by Arabs of different religions since pre-Islamic times. More specifically, it has been used as a term to refer to God by Arab-Muslims, Arab-Christians and non-Arab Muslims overall. It is now mainly used by Muslims and Arab Christians to refer to God. It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used in this way by Bábists, Bahá'ís, Indonesian and Maltese Christians, and Mizrahi Jews. Similar us

3. Aten
Aten (also Aton, Egyptian jtn) is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of the god Ra. The deified Aten is the focus of the monolatristic, henotheistic, monistic or monotheistic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV, who later took the name Akhenaten (died ca. 1335 BCE) in worship and recognition of Aten. In his poem "Great Hymn to the Aten", Akhenaten praises Aten as the creator, giver of life, and nurturing spirit of the world. Aten does not have a Creation Myth or family, but is mentioned in the Book of the Dead. The worship of Aten was eradicated by Horemheb.

4. Atman (Buddhism)
Although the Buddha argued that no permanent, unchanging "self" can be found, some Buddhist schools, sutras and tantras present the notion of an atman (/tm?n/) or permanent "Self", although mostly referring to an Absolute and not to a personal self.

5. Atman (Hinduism)
Atman is a Sanskrit word that means inner self or soul.

In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Atman is the first principle, the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. In order to attain liberation, a human being must acquire self-knowledge (atma jnana), which is to realize that one's true self (Atman) is identical with the transcendent self Brahman.

The six orthodox schools of Hinduism believe that there is Atman (Soul, Self) in every being, a major point of difference with Buddhism, which does not believe that there is either soul or self.

6. Atman (Jainism)
The Jiva or Atman is a philosophical term used within Jainism to identify the soul. It is one's true self (hence generally translated into English as 'Self') beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence. Jain philosophy is the oldest Indian philosophy that separates body (matter) from the soul (consciousness) completely. As per the Jain cosmology, jiva or soul is the principle of sentience and is one of the tattvas or one of the fundamental substances forming part of the universe. According to The Theosophist, "some religionists hold that Atman (Spirit) and Paramatman (God) are one, while others assert that they are distinct ; but a Jain will say that Atman and P

7. Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the Ultimate Reality in the universe. In major schools of Hindu philosophy it is the material, efficient, formal and final cause of all that exists. It is the pervasive, genderless, infinite, eternal truth and bliss which does not change, yet is the cause of all changes. Brahman as a metaphysical concept is the single binding unity behind the diversity in all that exists in the universe.

Brahman is a Vedic Sanskrit word, and is conceptualized in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen, as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world". Brahman is a key concept found in Vedas, and extensively discussed in th

8. Christ
Christ (Christós, meaning "anointed") is a translation of the Hebrew (Kristos) and the Syriac (M'shiha), the Messiah, and is used as a title for Jesus in the New Testament. Among Christians, "Christ" is treated as synonymous with Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus came to be called "Jesus Christ", meaning "Jesus the Christos" (i.e. Jesus, the anointed; or "Jesus, the Messiah" by his followers) after his death and believed resurrection. Before, Jesus was usually referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth" or "Jesus son of Joseph". In the Pauline epistles, the earliest texts of the New Testament, Paul most often referred to Jesus as "Christ Jesus", or "Christ". Christ was originally a title, yet la

9. Creator deity
A creator deity or creator god (often called the Creator) is a deity or god responsible for the creation of the Earth, world, (cosmos or universe). In monotheism, the single God is often also the creator. A number of monolatristic traditions separate a secondary creator from a primary transcendent being, identified as a primary creator

10. Deity
In religious belief, a deity is either a natural or supernatural being, who is thought of as holy, divine, or sacred. Some religions have one supreme deity, while others have multiple deities. A male deity is a god (though "God" is used in a gender-neutral way in monotheistic religions), while a female deity is a goddess.

C. Scott Littleton's Gods, Goddesses, and Mythology defined a deity as "a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans, but who interacts with humans, positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life". Historically, various cultures have conceptualized a deity differently

11. Demiurge
In the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy, the demiurge is an artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe. The term was subsequently adopted by the Gnostics. Although a fashioner, the demiurge is not necessarily the same as the creator figure in the familiar monotheistic sense, because both the demiurge itself plus the material from which the demiurge fashions the universe are considered either uncreated and eternal, or the product of some other being, depending on the system.

The word "demiurge" is an English word from demiurgus, a Latinized form of the Greek, dimiourgos, literally "creator",

12. El (deity)
El (or 'Il, written aleph-lamed, e.g. Ugaritic, Phoenician, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, cognate to Akkadian: ilu) is a Northwest Semitic word meaning "god" or "deity", or referring (as a proper name) to any one of multiple major Ancient Near East deities. A rarer spelling, "'ila", represents the predicate form in Old Akkadian and in Amorite. The word is derived from the Proto-Semitic archaic biliteral meaning "god".

Specific deities known as El or Il include the supreme god of the Canaanite religion, the supreme god of the Mesopotamian Semites in the pre-Sargonic period, and the god of the Hebrew Bible.

13. El Shaddai
El Shaddai (Hebrew: , IPA: [ela?d?aj]) or just Shaddai is one of the names of the God of Israel. El Shaddai is conventionally translated as God Almighty but while the translation of El as "god" or "lord" in the Ugarit/Canaanite language is straightforward, the literal meaning of Shaddai is the subject of debate.

The name appears 48 times in the Bible, seven times as "El Shaddai" (five times in Genesis, once in Exodus, and once in Ezekiel). It has been conjectured that El Shaddai was therefore the "god of Shaddai".

The first occurrence of the name is in Genesis 17:1, "And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am El Shaddai; walk be

14. Elohim
Elohim (Hebrew) is a grammatically plural noun for "gods" or "Deity" in Biblical Hebrew. In the modern it is often times referred to in the singular despite the -im ending that denotes plural masculine nouns in Hebrew.

It is generally thought that Elohim is a formation from eloah, the latter being an expanded form of the Northwest Semitic noun il (???, ??l ). The related nouns eloah (????) and el (???) are used as proper names or as generics, in which case they are interchangeable with elohim. The notion of divinity underwent radical changes throughout the period of early Israelite identity. The ambiguity of the term elohim is the result of such changes, cast in terms of "vertical t

15. God
In monotheism and henotheism, God is conceived of as the Supreme Being and principal object of faith. The concept of God as described by theologians commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. God is also usually defined as a non-corporeal being without any human biological gender, but the concept of God actively (as opposed to receptively) creating the universe has caused some religions to give "Him" the metaphorical name of "Father". Because God is conceived as being invisible from direct sight and not

16. God (Bahá'í)
The Bahá'í view of God is essentially monotheistic. God is the imperishable, uncreated being who is the source of all existence. He is described as "a personal God, unknowable, inaccessible, the source of all Revelation, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and almighty".

Though transcendent and inaccessible directly, his image is reflected in his creation. The purpose of creation is for the created to have the capacity to know and love its creator. God communicates his will and purpose to humanity through intermediaries, known as Manifestations of God, who are the prophets and messengers that have founded religions from prehistoric times up to the present day.

17. God the Father (Christianity)
God the Father is a title given to God in various religions. In Judaism, God is described as "Father" as he is seen as the absolute one, indivisible and incomparable, transcendent, immanent, and non-corporeal God of creation and history. The God in Judaism is the giver of the shabbath and the torahs—written, oral, mystical—to his chosen people. In Judaism, the use of the "Father" title is generally a metaphor, referring to the role as Life-giver and Law-giver, and is one of many titles by which Jews speak of and to God.

In mainstream trinitarian Christianity, God the Father is regarded as the first person of the Trinity, followed by the second person God the Son (Jesus Christ) a

18. God the Holy Spirit (Christianity)
For the majority of Christian denominations, the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost is the third person (hypostasis) of the Holy Trinity: the Triune God manifested as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; each person itself being God.

Christian theologians identify the Third Person of the Holy Trinity in the Jewish sacred scriptures with the Ruach Hakodesh (Holy Breath), and with many similar names including: the Ruach Elohim (Spirit of God), Ruach YHWH (Spirit of Hashem), Ruach Hakmah (Spirit of Wisdom); And in the new testament it is identified, among others, with the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, the Paraclete and the Holy Spirit. The New Testament details a close relationship betw

19. God the Son (Christianity)
God the Son is the second person of the Trinity in Christian theology. The doctrine of the Trinity identifies Jesus as the metaphysical embodiment of God the Son, united in essence but distinct in person with regard to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (the first and third persons of the Trinity).

In these teachings, God the Son pre-existed before incarnation, is co-eternal with God the Father (and the Holy Spirit), both before Creation and after the End (see Eschatology). Son of God for some draws attention to his humanity, whereas God the Son refers more generally to his divinity, including his pre-incarnate existence.

20. God the Sustainer
God the Sustainer is a theological term referring to the conception of God who sustains and upholds everything in existence. It is used in Christian and Islamic theology. It is held that as the creator deity who gives being and existence to his creatures which he created from nothing, God continues to provide the same being and existence to his creatures which do not have being in themselves. Thus creatures are totally dependent on God and would vanish without his conserving action.

21. Godhead
Godhead (from Middle English godhede, "godhood", and unrelated to the modern word "head"), may refer to:
  1. Deity
  2. Divinity, the quality of being God
  3. Conceptions of God
  4. Godhead in Judaism, the unknowable aspect of God, which lies beyond his actions or emanations
  5. Godhead in Christianity, the substantial essence or nature of the Christian God
  6. Godhead, the concept of God in Mormonism
  7. God in Hinduism
    • Brahman, the divine source of being, through which all emanates
    • Paramatma, the "oversoul" or supreme spirit
    • Three godheads (Ayyavazhi) or Trimurti, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva
    • Svayam Bhagavan or Supreme Personality of Godhead,

22. Great Spirit
The Great Spirit, called Wakan Tanka among the Sioux, and Gitche Manitou in Algonquian, is a conception of universal spiritual force, or supreme being prevalent among some Native American and First Nation cultures. According to Lakota activist Russell Means a better translation of Wakan Tanka is the Great Mystery.

23. Ground of Being
Heraclitus concerned himself with the knowable portion of the Absolute with his Logos. Plotinus, a Neo-Platonic philosopher, saw all forms of existence as emanating from 'The One'. The One of Plotinus is a trans-sentient power or force. The concept of the Absolute was re-introduced into philosophy by Hegel, Schelling, and their followers; it is associated with various forms of philosophical idealism. The Absolute, either under that name, or as the "Ground of Being", or some similar concept, also figures in several of the attempted proofs of the existence of God, particularly the ontological argument and the cosmological argument. In scholastic philosophy the Absolute was regarded as Pure A

24. I AM
The Koine Greek term Ego eimi (literally I am or It is I), is an emphatic form of the copulative verb that is recorded in the Gospels to have been spoken by Jesus on several occasions to refer to himself, in the Gospel of John occurring seven times with specific titles. These usages have been the subject of significant Christological analysis.

25. I Am that I Am
I Am that I Am is the common English translation (JPS among others) of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means "existed" or "was" in Hebrew; ehyeh is the first person singular imperfect form and is usually translated in English Bibles as "I am" or "I will be" (or "I shall be"), for example, at Exodus 3:14. Ehyeh asher ehyeh literally translates as "I Am Who I Am." The ancient Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 lacks a future tense as modern English does, yet a few translations render this name as "I Will Be What I Will Be", given the context of Yahweh promising to be with his people through thei

26. Ishwara
Ishvara (Sanskrit: , vara) is a concept in Hinduism, with a wide range of meanings that depend on the era and the school of Hinduism. In ancient texts of Indian philosophy, Ishvara means supreme soul, Brahman (Highest Reality), ruler, king or husband depending on the context. In medieval era texts, Ishvara means God, Supreme Being, personal god, or special Self depending on the school of Hinduism.

In Shaivism, Ishvara is synonymous with "Shiva", as the "Supreme lord over other Gods" in the pluralistic sense, or as an Ishta-deva in pluralistic thought. In Vaishnavism, it is synonymous with Vishnu. In traditional Bhakti movements, Ishvara is one or more deities of an individual's p

27. Jehovah
Jehovah is a Latinization of the Hebrew, one vocalization of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible.

The consensus among scholars is that the historical vocalization of the Tetragrammaton at the time of the redaction of the Torah (6th century BCE) is most likely Yahweh. The historical vocalization was lost because in Second Temple Judaism, during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton came to be avoided, being substituted with Adonai ("my Lord"). The Hebrew vowel points of Adonai were added to the Tetragrammaton by the Masoretes, and the resulting form was transliterated around the 12th century as Yehowah. The

28. Monad
Monad (from Greek monas, "unit" in turn from monos, "alone"), refers in cosmogony (creation theories) to the first being, divinity, or the totality of all beings. The concept was reportedly conceived by the Pythagoreans and may refer variously to a single source acting alone and/or an indivisible origin. The concept was later adopted by other philosophers, such as Leibniz, who referred to the monad as an elementary particle. It had a geometric counterpart, which was debated and discussed contemporaneously by the same groups of people.

29. Monad (Gnosticism)
The Monad in early Christian gnostic writings is an adaptation of concepts of the Monad in Greek philosophy to Christian gnostic belief systems.

30. Names of God
A number of traditions have lists of many names of God, many of which enumerate the various qualities of a Supreme Being. The English word "God" is used by multiple religions as a noun or name to refer to different deities. Ancient cognate equivalents for the word "God" include proto-Semitic El, biblical Hebrew Elohim (God or/of gods), Arabic 'ilah (a or the god), and biblical Aramaic Elah (God). The personal or proper name for God in many of these languages may either be distinguished from such attributes, or homonymic. For example, in Judaism the tetragrammaton is sometimes related to the ancient Hebrew ehyeh (I will be).

Correlation between various theories and interpretation of the

31. Names of God (Christianity)
In Christian theology the name of God has always had much deeper meaning and significance than being just a label or designator. In Christianity, the name of God is not a human invention, but has divine origin and is based on divine revelation. Respect for the name of God is one of the Ten Commandments, which Christians teachings view not simply an avoidance of the improper use of the name of God, but as a directive to exalt it, through both pious deeds and praise. This is reflected in the first petition in the Lord's Prayer addressed to God the Father: "Hallowed be Thy Name".

Going back to the Church Fathers, the name of God has been seen as a representation of the entire system of

32. Names of God (Hinduism)
In Hindu monotheism, the concept of God varies from one sect to another. Hinduism (by its nature as a regional rather than a doctrinal religious category) is not exclusively monotheistic, and has been described as spanning a wide range of henotheism, monotheism, polytheism, panentheism, pantheism, pandeism, monism, atheism and nontheism etc.

The philosophical system of Advaita or non-dualism as it developed in the Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy, especially as set out in the Upanishads and popularised by Adi Shankara in the 9th century, would become the basis of mainstream Hinduism as it developed in the medieval period. This non-dualism postulates the identity of the Self or Atm

33. Names of God (Islam)
The 99 names of Allah (Beautiful Names of Allah) are the names of God in Islam. They are described in the Quran and Sunnah, among other places. According to hadith there is a special group of 99 names, but no enumeration of them. Thus the exact list is not agreed upon, and the names of God (as adjectives, word constructs, or otherwise) exceed a total of 99 in the Quran and Sunnah. According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas'ud, some of the names of God have also been hidden from mankind.

34. Names of God (Judaism)
The name of God used most often in the Hebrew Bible is the Tetragrammaton YHWH. It is frequently anglicized as Jehovah and Yahweh and written in most English editions of the Bible as "the Lord" owing to the Jewish tradition of reading it as Adonai ("My Lords") out of respect.

Rabbinic Judaism describes seven names which are so holy that, once written, should not be erased: YHWH, El ("God"), Elohim ("Gods"), Eloah ("God"), El Shaddai, and Tzevaot or Sabaoth ("Of Hosts"). Other names are considered mere epithets or titles reflecting different aspects of God, but chumrah sometimes dictates especial care such as the writing of "G-d" instead of "God" in English or saying t-Vav (, lit. "9-6"

35. Om
Om is a sacred sound and a spiritual icon in Indian religions. It is also a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Om is part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era manuscripts, temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The symbol has a spiritual meaning in all Indian dharmas, but the meaning and connotations of Om vary between the diverse schools within and across the various traditions.

In Hinduism, Om is one of the most important spiritual symbols (pratima). It refers to Atman (soul, self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge). Th

36. Shekinah
Shekinah, Shechinah, or Schechinah (Biblical Hebrew), is the English transliteration of a Hebrew noun meaning "dwelling" or "settling" and denotes the dwelling or settling of the divine presence of God and his cosmic glory. This exact term does not occur in the Hebrew Bible, and is first encountered in rabbinic literature.

A similar Arabic word, Sakina (Arabic??), is used in the Quran, where it has a similar meaning.

37. Suchness
Tathata is variously translated as "thusness" or "suchness". It is a central concept in Mahayana Buddhism having a particular significance in Chan Buddhism as well. The synonym dharmat? is also often used.

While alive the Buddha referred to himself as the Tath?gata, which can mean either "One who has thus come" or "One who has thus gone", and interpreted correctly can be read as "One who has arrived at suchness".

Contents Mahayana Buddhism Tathata in the East Asian Mahayana tradition is seen as representing the base reality and can be used to terminate the use of words. A 5th-century Chinese Mahayana scripture entitled "Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana" describes the concep

38. Supreme Being
Supreme Being is a term for God used by theologians and philosophers of many religious faiths, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and deism.

39. Tetragrammaton
The tetragrammaton (from Greek, meaning "[consisting of] four letters", ) is the Hebrew theonym commonly transliterated into Latin letters as YHWH. It is one of the names of God used in the Hebrew Bible. The name may be derived from a verb that means "to be", "to exist", "to cause to become", or "to come to pass".

The books of the Torah and the rest of the Hebrew Bible (with the exception of Esther and Song of Songs) contain the Hebrew word YHVH. Religiously observant Jews and those who follow conservative Jewish traditions do not pronounce YHVH, either aloud or to themselves in silence, nor do they read aloud transliterated forms such as Yahweh or Yahuveh; instead the word is sub

40. The Absolute (Philosophy)
In philosophy, metaphysics, religion, spirituality, and other contexts, the Absolute is a term for the most real being, whatever that is. The Absolute is conceived as being itself or perhaps the being that transcends and comprehends all other beings.

While there is agreement that there must be some fundamental reality, there is disagreement as to what exactly that might be. For example, some theistic philosophers argue that the most real being is a personal God or gods. Some pantheistic philosophers argue that the most real being is an impersonal existence, such as Reality or Awareness. Others (such as perennial philosophers) argue that various similar terms and concepts designate to t

41. The Absolute (Religion)
In religious philosophy, the Absolute is the concept of (a form of) Being which transcends limited, conditional, everyday existence. The manifestation of the Absolute has been described as the Logos, Word, theta or Ratio (Latin for "reason").

Related concepts are the Source, Fountain or Well, the Centre, the Monad or One, the All or Whole, the Origin (Arche) or Principle or Primordial Cause, the Sacred or Holy or Utterly Other (Otto), the Form of the Good (Plato), the Mystery, Nirvana, the Ultimate, the Ground or Urground ("Original Ground").

It is sometimes used as an alternate term for the more commonly used God of the Universe, the Divine or the Supreme Being ("Utmost Being"), esp

42. The All
The All (also called The One, The Absolute, The Great One, The Creator, The Supreme Mind, The Supreme Good, The Father, and The Universal Mother) is the Hermetic, pantheistic, pandeistic or panentheistic view of God, which is that everything that is, or at least that can be experienced, collectively makes up The All. One Hermetic maxim states, "While All is in The All, it is equally true that The All is in All."

The All can also be seen to be androgynous, possessing both masculine and feminine qualities in equal part

43. The One
The One may refer to:

God Monad (symbol) Absolute (philosophy) A concept in Neo-Platonism The All Henosis

44. The One (Neoplatonism)
Neoplatonism is a modern term used to designate a tradition of philosophy that arose in the 3rd century AD and persisted until shortly after the closing of the Platonic Academy in Athens in AD 529 by Justinian I. Neoplatonists were heavily influenced by Plato, but also by the Platonic tradition that thrived during the six centuries which separated the first of the Neoplatonists from Plato.

In defining the term "Neoplatonism", it is difficult to reduce the school of thought to a concise set of ideas that all Neoplatonic philosophers shared in common. The work of Neoplatonic philosophy involved describing the derivation of the whole of reality from a single principle, "the One". While th

45. The Unmoved Mover
The unmoved mover (Ancient Greek: ho ou kinoúmenos kineî, "that which moves without being moved") or prime mover (Latin: primum movens) is a monotheistic concept advanced by Aristotle, a polytheist, as a primary cause or "mover" of all the motion in the universe. As is implicit in the name, the "unmoved mover" moves other things, but is not itself moved by any prior action. In Book 12 (Greek "?") of his Metaphysics, Aristotle describes the unmoved mover as being perfectly beautiful, indivisible, and contemplating only the perfect contemplation: itself contemplating. He equates this concept also with the Active Intellect. This Aristotelian concept had its roots in cosmological speculati

46. The Whole
In religious philosophy, the Absolute is the concept of (a form of) Being which transcends limited, conditional, everyday existence. The manifestation of the Absolute has been described as the Logos, Word, theta or Ratio (Latin for "reason"). Related concepts are the Source, Fountain or Well, the Centre, the Monad or One, the All or Whole, the Origin (Arche) or Principle or Primordial Cause, the Sacred or Holy or Utterly Other (Otto), the Form of the Good (Plato), the Mystery, Nirvana, the Ultimate, the Ground or Urground ("Original Ground").

It is sometimes used as an alternate term for the more commonly used God of the Universe, the Divine or the Supreme Being ("Utmost Being"), espec

47. Ultimate Reality
In eastern philosophy the Absolute is known as Parabrahman. According to I. K. Taimni both the Vedas and the Upanishads contain indirect hints to an Ultimate Reality an unknowable principle. Taimni describes the Parabrahman as unknowable by the human mind and unthinkable but the highest object of realization and the most profound object of philosophical enquiry. Taimni wrote that:

Because the Ultimate Reality which is denoted by the word 'Absolute' or 'Parabrahman' (?) is the very core of our being as well as the cause and basis of the universe of which we are part, we can no more get away from it than our solar system can get away from the sun round which it resolves and from which it

48. Universe
The Universe is all of time and space and its contents. The Universe includes planets, natural satellites, minor planets, stars, galaxies, the contents of intergalactic space, the smallest subatomic particles, and all matter and energy. The observable universe is about 28 billion parsecs (91 billion light-years) in diameter at the present time. The size of the whole Universe is not known and may be either finite or infinite. Observations and the development of physical theories have led to inferences about the composition and evolution of the Universe. Throughout recorded history, cosmologies and cosmogonies, including scientific models, have been proposed to explain observations of

49. Waheguru (Sikhism)
Waheguru (Punjabi) is a term most often in Sikhism to refer to God, the Supreme Being, or the creator of all. It means "Wonderful Teacher" in the Punjabi language, but in this case is used to refer to God (Middle Persian, exclamation of wonder) means "wonderful" and guru (Sanskrit: guru) is a term denoting "teacher". Waheguru is also described by some as an experience of ecstasy which is beyond all descriptions. The most common usage of the word "Waheguru" is in the greeting Sikhs use with each other: Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

Wonderful Lord's Khalsa, Victory is to the Wonderful Lord.

50. Yahweh
Yahweh is the national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah. His origins are mysterious, although they reach back to the early Iron Age and even the Late Bronze: his name may have begun as an epithet of El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon, but the earliest plausible mentions are in Egyptian texts that place him among the nomads of the southern Transjordan. In the oldest biblical literature he is a typical ancient Near Eastern "divine warrior" who leads the heavenly army against Israel's enemies; he later became the main god of the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) and of Judah, and over time the royal court and temple promoted Yahweh as the god of the entire

Attribute of God
Facet of the Godhead as attributed by some tradition or interpretation.

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1. Attributes of God (Christianity)
The attributes of God are specific characteristics of God discussed in Christian theology.

Many Reformed theologians distinguish between the communicable attributes (those that human beings can also have) and the incommunicable attributes (those that belong to God alone). Donald Macleod, however, argues that "All the suggested classifications are artificial and misleading, not least that which has been most favoured by Reformed theologians – the division into communicable and incommunicable attributes."

Many of these attributes only say what God is not – for example, saying he is immutable is saying that he does not change.

The attributes of God may be classified under two main

2. Divine simplicity
In theology, the doctrine of divine simplicity says that God is without parts. The general idea of divine simplicity can be stated in this way: the being of God is identical to the "attributes" of God. In other words, such characteristics as omnipresence, goodness, truth, eternity, etc. are identical to God's being, not qualities that make up that being, nor abstract entities inhering in God as in a substance. Varieties of the doctrine may be found in Jewish, Christian, and Muslim philosophical theologians, especially during the height of scholasticism, though the doctrine's origins may be traced back to ancient Greek thought, finding apotheosis in Plotinus' Enneads as the Simplex.

3. Love of God
Love of God can mean either love for God or love by God. Love for God (philotheia) is associated with the concepts of piety, worship, and devotions towards God. Love by God for human beings (philanthropia) is lauded in Lamentations 3:22: "The steadfast love of God endures all the day"; Psalm 52:8: "I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever"; Romans 8:39: "Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God"; 2 Corinthians 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all"; 1 John 4:9: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his on

4. Omnibenevolence
Omnibenevolence (from Latin omni- meaning "all", and benevolent, meaning "good") is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "unlimited or infinite benevolence". Some philosophers have argued that it is impossible, or at least improbable, for a deity to exhibit such property alongside omniscience and omnipotence as a result of the problem of evil. However, some philosophers, such as Alvin Plantinga, argue the plausibility of co-existence. The word is primarily used as a technical term within academic literature on the philosophy of religion, mainly in context of the problem of evil and theodical responses to such. Although even in said contexts the phrases "perfect goodness" or "moral

5. Omnipotence
Omnipotence is the quality of having unlimited power. Monotheistic religions generally attribute omnipotence to only the deity of their faith. In the monotheistic philosophies of Abrahamic religions, omnipotence is often listed as one of a deity's characteristics among many, including omniscience, omnipresence, and omnibenevolence. The presence of all these properties in a single entity has given rise to considerable theological debate, prominently including the problem of theodicy, the question of why such a deity would permit the manifestation of evil.

6. Omnipresence
Omnipresence or ubiquity is the property of being present everywhere. This property is most commonly used in a religious context as an attribute of a deity or supreme being. The omnipresence of a supreme being is conceived differently by different religious systems. In monotheistic beliefs like Christianity, Judaism, and Islam the divine and the universe are separate, but the divine is present everywhere. In pantheistic beliefs the divine and the universe are identical. In panentheistic beliefs the divine interpenetrates the universe, but extends beyond it in time and space.

7. Omniscience
Omniscience, mainly in religion, is the capacity to know everything that there is to know. In particular, Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism) and the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) believe that there is a divine being who is omniscient. An omniscient point-of-view, in writing, is to know everything that can be known about a character, including past history, thoughts, feelings, etc. In Latin, omnis means "all" and sciens means "knowing".

Spiritual or religious symbol
Image understood to represent properties of the sacred, or ultimate reality or the whole

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1. Ankh
The ankh (egyptian), also known as breath of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (Latin meaning "cross with a handle"), was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "life", a triliteral sign for the consonants Ayin-Nun-Het.

It represents the concept of life, which is the general meaning of the symbol. The Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest. The ankh appears in hand or in proximity of almost every deity in the Egyptian pantheon (including Pharaohs). Thus it is fairly and widely understood as a symbol of early religious pluralism: all sects believed in a common story of eternal life, and

2. Ashoka Chakra
The Ashoka Chakra is a depiction of the dharmachakra; represented with 24 spokes. It is so called because it appears on a number of edicts of Ashoka, most prominent among which is the Lion Capital of Ashoka. The most visible use of the Ashoka Chakra today is at the centre of the Flag of India (adopted on 22 July 1947), where it is rendered in a navy-blue colour on a white background, replacing the symbol of charkha (spinning wheel) of the pre-independence versions of the flag.

3. Bindu
Bindu is a Sanskrit word meaning "point" or "dot". A bindi is a small, ornamental, devotional dot applied to the forehead in Hinduism.

4. Christian cross
The Christian Cross (†), seen as a representation of the instrument of the crucifixion of Jesus, is the best-known symbol of Christianity. The other symbol for Christianity is an ichthys. It is related to the crucifix (a cross that includes a usually three-dimensional representation of Jesus' body) and to the more general family of cross symbols. The basic forms of the cross are the Latin cross (?) and the Greek cross (?), with numerous variants used in heraldry and in various confessional contexts.

5. Mandala
A mandala (Sanskrit: lit, circle) is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Indian religions, representing the universe. In common use, "mandala" has become a generic term for any diagram, chart or geometric pattern that represents the cosmos metaphysically or symbolically; a microcosm of the universe.

The basic form of most mandalas is a square with four gates containing a circle with a center point. Each gate is in the general shape of a T. Mandalas often exhibit radial balance.

The term appears in the Rigveda as the name of the sections of the work, but is also used in other religions and philosophies, particularly Buddhism.

In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed

6. Om
Om is a sacred sound and a spiritual icon in Indian religions. It is also a mantra in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Om is part of the iconography found in ancient and medieval era manuscripts, temples, monasteries and spiritual retreats in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The symbol has a spiritual meaning in all Indian dharmas, but the meaning and connotations of Om vary between the diverse schools within and across the various traditions.

In Hinduism, Om is one of the most important spiritual symbols (pratima). It refers to Atman (soul, self within) and Brahman (ultimate reality, entirety of the universe, truth, divine, supreme spirit, cosmic principles, knowledge). Th

7. Ouroboros
The ouroboros or uroboros (from the Greek tail-devouring snake) is an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail.

The ouroboros often symbolizes self-reflexivity or cyclicality,especially in the sense of something constantly re-creating itself, the eternal return, and other things such as the phoenix which operate in cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. It can also represent the idea of primordial unity related to something existing in or persisting from the beginning with such force or qualities it cannot be extinguished.

While first emerging in Ancient Egypt and India,the ouroboros has been important in religious and mythological symbolism, but has als

8. Wheel of dharma
The dharmachakra (IAST: dharmacakra; Pali dhammacakka; "Wheel of the Dharma"), is one of the Ashtamangala of Indian religions such as Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism. It has represented the Buddhist dharma, Gautama Buddha's teaching of the path to Nirvana, since the time of early Buddhism. It is also connected to the Noble Eightfold Path.

Spiritual or religious experience
A religious or spiritual experience is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious or spiritual framework.

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1. Ego death
Ego death is a "complete loss of subjective self-identity." The term is being used in various intertwined contexts, with related meanings.

In Jungian psychology the synonymous term psychic death is used, which refers to a fundamental transformation of the psyche.

In the death and rebirth mythology ego death is a phase of self-surrender and transition, as described by Joseph Campbell in his research on the mythology of the Hero's Journey. It is a recurrent theme in world mythology and is also used as a metaphor in some strands of contemporary western thinking.

In (descriptions of) psychedelic experiences, the term is used synonymously with ego-loss, to refer to (tempora

2. Enlightenment
Enlightenment refers to the "full comprehension of a situation". It is commonly used to denote the Age of Enlightenment, but is also used in Western cultures in a religious context. It translates several Buddhist terms and concepts, most notably bodhi, kensho and satori. Related terms from Asian religions are moksha (liberation) in Hinduism, Kevala Jnana in Jainism ushta in Zoroastrianism

In Christianity, the word "enlightenment" is rarely used, except to refer to the Age of Enlightenment and its influence on Christianity. Roughly equivalent terms in Christianity may be illumination, kenosis, metanoia, revelation, salvation and conversion.

Perennialists and Universalists view enli

3. Mystical experience
Since the 19th century, mystical experience has evolved as a distinctive concept. It is closely related to "mysticism" but lays sole emphasis on the experiential aspect, be it spontaneous or induced by human behavior, whereas mysticism encompasses a broad range of practices aiming at a transformation of the person, not just inducing mystical experiences.

Perennialists regard various mystical traditions as pointing to one universal transcendental reality, for which those experiences offer the proof. The perennial position is "largely dismissed by scholars" but "has lost none of its popularity". Instead, a constructionist approach became dominant during the 1970s, which states that myst

4. Mysticism
Mysticism is "a constellation of distinctive practices, discourses, texts, institutions, traditions, and experiences aimed at human transformation, variously defined in different traditions."

The term "mysticism" has Ancient Greek origins with various historically determined meanings. Derived from the Greek word , meaning "to conceal", mysticism referred to the biblical liturgical, spiritual, and contemplative dimensions of early and medieval Christianity. During the early modern period, the definition of mysticism grew to include a broad range of beliefs and ideologies related to "extraordinary experiences and states of mind".

In modern times, "mysticism" has acquired a limite

5. Religious experience
A religious experience (sometimes known as a spiritual experience, sacred experience, or mystical experience) is a subjective experience which is interpreted within a religious framework. The concept originated in the 19th century, as a defense against the growing rationalism of Western society. William James popularised the concept.

Many religious and mystical traditions see religious experiences (particularly that knowledge which comes with them) as revelations caused by divine agency rather than ordinary natural processes. They are considered real encounters with God or gods, or real contact with higher-order realities of which humans are not ordinarily aware.

Skeptics may hol

6. Satori
Satori is a Japanese Buddhist term for awakening, "comprehension; understanding". It is derived from the Japanese verb satoru.

In the Zen Buddhist tradition, satori refers to the experience of kensho, "seeing into one's true nature". Ken means "seeing," "sho" means "nature" or "essence."

Satori and kensho are commonly translated as enlightenment, a word that is also used to translate bodhi, prajna and buddhahood.

Spiritual or religious practice
Methods of adherence or practices for achieving goals.

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1. Asceticism
Asceticism (from the Greek: áskesis, "exercise" or "training") is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Ascetics may withdraw from the world for their practices or continue to be part of their society, but typically adopt a frugal lifestyle, characterised by the renunciation of material possessions and physical pleasures, and time spent fasting while concentrating on the practice of religion or reflection upon spiritual matters.

Asceticism has been historically observed in many religious traditions, including Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The practitioners of these religions eschewed wor

2. Celibacy
Celibacy (from Latin, cælibatus") is the state of voluntarily being unmarried, sexually abstinent, or both, usually for religious reasons. It is often in association with the role of a religious official or devotee. In its narrow sense, the term celibacy is applied only to those for whom the unmarried state is the result of a sacred vow, act of renunciation, or religious conviction. In a wider sense, it is commonly understood to only mean abstinence from sexual activity.

Celibacy has existed in one form or another throughout history, in virtually all the major religions of the world, and views on it have varied. Ancient Judaism was strongly opposed to celibacy. Similarly, the R

3. Centering prayer
Centering prayer is a popular method of contemplative prayer or Christian meditation, placing a strong emphasis on interior silence. Most authors trace its roots to the contemplative prayer of the Desert Fathers of early Christian monasticism, to the Lectio Divina tradition of Benedictine monasticism, and to works like The Cloud of Unknowing and the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The modern "Centering Prayer" movement in Christianity can be traced to several books published by three Trappist monks of St. Joseph's Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts in the 1970s: Fr. William Meninger, Fr. M. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating.

4. Chant
A chant (from French chanter ) is the rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, often primarily on one or two main pitches called reciting tones. Chants may range from a simple melody involving a limited set of notes to highly complex musical structures, often including a great deal of repetition of musical subphrases, such as Great Responsories and Offertories of Gregorian chant. Chant may be considered speech, music, or a heightened or stylized form of speech. In the later Middle Ages some religious chant evolved into song (forming one of the roots of later Western music).

5. Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing; or the observance of an obligation from loyalty; or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement; or a belief not based on proof; or it may refer to a particular system of religious belief, such as in which faith is confidence based on some degree of warrant. The term 'faith' has numerous connotations and is used in different ways, often depending on context.

6. Fasting
Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast (dry fasting) is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a period of 24 hours, or a number of days. Water fasting allows drinking water but nothing else. Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances. A fast may also be intermittent in nature. Fasting practices may preclude intercourse and other activities as well as food.

In a physiological context, fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, or to the metabolic state achieved after complete

7. Kavanah
Kavanah or kavana (also pronounced kavona by some Ashkenazi Jews) , plural kavanot or kavanos, (Intention or "direction of the heart ") is the mindset often described as necessary for Jewish rituals (mitzvot).

Once the subject of great debate among medieval commentators, traditional Jewish sources now accept that fulfilling mitzvot without at least minimal kavanah is insufficient.

Different Jewish authorities see various levels of kavanah required for various rituals, and especially for prayer. Some prayerbooks (siddurim) list kavanot for particular prayers. Some particular kavanot are associated with particular holidays, for example Sukkot, Pesach, Shavuot, and others. Kavanah

8. Love of God
Love of God can mean either love for God or love by God. Love for God (philotheia) is associated with the concepts of piety, worship, and devotions towards God. Love by God for human beings (philanthropia) is lauded in Lamentations 3:22: "The steadfast love of God endures all the day"; Psalm 52:8: "I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever"; Romans 8:39: "Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God"; 2 Corinthians 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all"; 1 John 4:9: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his on

9. Meditation
Meditation is a practice where an individual trains the mind or induces a mode of consciousness, either to realize some benefit or for the mind to simply acknowledge its content without becoming identified with that content, or as an end in itself.

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices that includes techniques designed to promote relaxation, build internal energy or life force (qi, ki, prana, etc.) and develop compassion, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. A particularly ambitious form of meditation aims at effortlessly sustained single-pointed concentration meant to enable its practitioner to enjoy an indestructible sense of well-being while engaging i

10. Prayer
Prayer (from the Latin precari "to ask earnestly, beg, entreat") is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words, song or complete silence. When language is used, prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creedal statement, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petitionary prayer, prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and praise. Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lof

Spiritual or religious law
Interpretations of the Godhead in the form of constraints, rules, or guidelines.

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1. Ethical code
Ethical codes are adopted by organizations to assist members in understanding the difference between 'right' and 'wrong' and in applying that understanding to their decisions. An ethical code generally implies documents at three levels: codes of business ethics, codes of conduct for employees, and codes of professional practice.

2. Niyama (Buddhism, Hinduism)
Niyama (Sanskrit: ) literally means positive duties or observances. In Indian traditions, particularly Yoga, niyamas are recommended activities and habits for healthy living, spiritual enlightenment and liberated state of existence. It has multiple meanings depending on context in Hinduism. In Buddhism, the term extends to the determinations of nature, as in the Buddhist niyama dhammas. In P?li the spelling niy?ma is often used.

3. Religious law
Religious law refers to ethical and moral codes taught by religious traditions. Examples include Christian canon law, Islamic sharia, Jewish halakha, and Hindu law.

The two most prominent systems, canon law and sharia, differ from other religious laws in that canon law is the codification of Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox law as in civil law, while sharia derives many of its laws from juristic precedent and reasoning by analogy (as in a common law tradition).

4. Responsa
Responsa (Latin: plural of responsum, "answers") comprise a body of written decisions and rulings given by legal scholars in response to questions addressed to them. In the modern era, the term is used to describe decisions and rulings made by scholars in historic religious law.

5. Ten Precepts
The Five Precepts constitute the basic code of ethics undertaken by "lay followers" of Buddhism. The precepts in all the traditions are essentially identical and are commitments to abstain from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication.

Undertaking the five precepts is part of both lay Buddhist initiation and regular lay Buddhist devotional practices. They are not formulated as imperatives, but as training rules that lay people undertake voluntarily to facilitate practice.

Additionally, in the Theravada schools of Buddhism, the bhikkhuni lineage died out, and women renunciates practicing Theravadin Buddhism have developed unofficial options for thei

6. Ten Precepts (Taoism)
The Ten Precepts of Taoism were outlined in a short text that appears in Dunhuang manuscripts. The precepts are the classical rules of medieval Taoism as applied to practitioners attaining the rank of Disciple of Pure Faith. They first appeared in the Scripture on Setting the Will on Wisdom .

The study of God
Scholarly approaches to religion, including scientific or philosophical or psychological ideas, comparative religion, etc.

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1. Comparative mythology
Comparative mythology is the comparison of myths from different cultures in an attempt to identify shared themes and characteristics. Comparative mythology has served a variety of academic purposes. For example, scholars have used the relationships between different myths to trace the development of religions and cultures, to propose common origins for myths from different cultures, and to support various psychological theories.

2. Comparative religion
Comparative religion is the branch of the study of religions concerned with the systematic comparison of the doctrines and practices of the world's religions. In general the comparative study of religion yields a deeper understanding of the fundamental philosophical concerns of religion such as ethics, metaphysics, and the nature and form of salvation. Studying such material is meant to give one a richer and more sophisticated understanding of human beliefs and practices regarding the sacred, numinous, spiritual and divine.

In the field of comparative religion, a common geographical classification of the main world religions includes Middle Eastern religions (including Zoroastrism a

3. Existence of God
Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others for thousands of years. In philosophical terms, such arguments involve primarily the disciplines of epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) and ontology (study of the nature of being, existence, or reality) and also the theory of value, since concepts of perfection are connected to notions of God. A wide variety of arguments exist which can be categorized as metaphysical, logical, empirical, or subjective. The existence of God is subject to lively debate in the philosophy of religion, popular culture, and philosophy

The Western tradition of philosophical discus

4. Hermaneutics
Hermeneutics is the philosophy and methodology of text interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.

Hermeneutics was initially applied to the interpretation, or exegesis, of scripture. It emerged as an ontological methodology for understanding human nature through the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher (Romantic hermeneutics), Wilhelm Dilthey, Martin Heidegger (hermeneutic phenomenology), Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Northrop Frye, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida (radical hermeneutics) and Fredric Jameson. Modern hermeneutics includes both verbal and nonverbal communication as well as semiotics, presuppositions, a

5. List of religions and spiritual traditions
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, beliefs, and world views that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes to moral values. While religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion, used in religious studies courses, was proposed by Clifford Geertz, who simply called it a "cultural system."

A critique of Geertz's model by Talal Asad categorized religion as "an anthropological category." Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions, and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to explain the origin of life or the universe. They tend to derive morality, ethics, religious laws, or a preferred lifestyle from their

6. Major religious groups
The world's principal religions and spiritual traditions may be classified into a small number of major groups, although this is by no means a uniform practice. This theory began in the 18th century with the goal of recognizing the relative levels of civility in societies.

In world cultures, there have traditionally been many different groupings of religious belief. In Indian culture, different religious philosophies were traditionally respected as academic differences in pursuit of the same truth. In Islam, the Quran mentions three different categories: Muslims, the People of the Book, and idol worshipers. Initially, Christians had a simple dichotomy of world beliefs: Christian civ

7. Religion
Religion is a cultural system of behaviors and practices, world views, sacred texts, holy places, ethics, and societal organisation that relate humanity to what an anthropologist has called "an order of existence". Different religions may or may not contain various elements, ranging from the "divine", "sacred things", "faith", a "supernatural being or supernatural beings" or "...some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life." Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of God or deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer,

8. Religious symbol
A religious symbol is an iconic representation intended to represent a specific religion, or a specific concept within a given religion.

The Christian cross has traditionally been a symbol representing Christianity or Christendom as a whole. In the course of cultural relativism as it developed in the western world in the late 20th century, there have been efforts to design comparable "symbols" representing all of the world's religions.

Thus, the United States military chaplain symbols were limited to Christian and Jewish symbolism before the 1990s. In 1990, they were expanded by a wheel of dharma supposed to represent Buddhism, and in 1992 by a crescent moon supposed to represent Isl

9. Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward nonreligious values and secular institutions. The secularization thesis refers to the belief that as societies progress, particularly through modernization and rationalization, religion loses its authority in all aspects of social life and governance. The term secularization is also used in the context of the lifting of the monastic restrictions from a member of the clergy.

Secularization refers to the historical process in which religion loses social and cultural significance. As a result of secularization the role of religion in modern societies becomes restricte

10. Spiritual practice
A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of inducing spiritual experiences and cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the world's great religions is that of walking a path. Therefore, a spiritual practice moves a person along a path towards a goal. The goal is variously referred to as salvation, liberation or union (with God). A person who walks such a path is sometimes referred to as a wayfarer or a pilgrim.

11. The Perennial Philosophy
The Perennial Philosophy is a comparative study of mysticism by British novelist Aldous Huxley. Its title derives from the theological tradition of the philosophia perennis.

The Perennial Philosophy was first published in 1945 immediately after the Second World War (and the defeat of National Socialism) by Harper & Brothers in the United States (1946 by Chatto & Windus in the United Kingdom). The jacket text of the British first edition explains: The Perennial Philosophy is an attempt to present this Highest Common Factor of all theologies by assembling passages from the writings of those saints and prophets who have approached a direct spiritual knowledge of the Divine,...

The b

12. Theories of religion
Sociological and anthropological theories about religion (or theories of religion) generally attempt to explain the origin and function of religion. These theories define what they present as universal characteristics of religious belief and practice.