(also Dionysia) Any of several festivals of Dionysus, the wine god. Suppressed by the Roman senate in 186 BC. Bacchic cults included oaths of loyalty, organized funding, property and membership. In Greece, only women were admitted; in Rome, both were admitted and the festivities were held more often.
One of the main symbols of the Bahá'í Faith, it is named for its common use on Bahá'í rings. It consists of two stars (representing the "twin manifestations" of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh) interspersed with a stylized Bahá’ (Persian for "Glory").
(Arabic, "Glory of God"). (1817-92) Title adopted by Mírzá Husayn-'Alí, founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
The rite of admission to membership in Christian churches that involves immersing, sprinkling or anointing with water. Regarded as a sacrament by Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians. Most denominations practice infant baptism; some only baptize adult believers.
In 1966, leading monks from the Theravada and Mahayana traditions met in Sri Lanka with the goal of bridging the differences between the two groups and identifying the essential points of agreement.
The Bismi'llah saying, "in the Name of Allah," that invokes a blessing upon an action or undertaking of a Muslim. The full form is bismillahi (ar-)rahmani (ar-)rahim, "in the Name of Allah the merciful the compassionate."
("Song of the Lord"). A section of the Mahabharata composed around 200 BCE, and one of the most beloved of Hindu texts. It tells the story of the warrior Arjuna who faces members of his own family in battle and is unsure of the right action. Arjuna is instructed by Krishna, who outlines three paths (marga) of life: knowledge, duty, and devotion.
Path of devotion to God (one of the three paths to moksha). See also jnana-marga and bhakti-marga.
Buddhist hand gesture representing calling the earth to witness.
A story told in the Hebrew or Christian Bible.
The priest and spiritual leader of a diocese.
A collection of 100 koans first collected by Hsueh-tou Ch'ung-hsien (980-1052) from previous Ch'an records.
(Sanskrit, Pali, "awakened"). Buddhahood; state of full enlightenment, in which things are seen as they really are.
(Sanskrit, "thought of enlightenment"). An important concept in Mahayana Buddhism. In a personal sense, it signifies the spontaneous resolve to strive for enlightenment. In a cosmic sense, it is reality itself, which makes enlightenment possible. In Tantric Buddhism, it is the fusion of wisdom with compassion in the bliss of perfect enlightenment.
(Japanese, "ordinary man"). In Zen, an expression used for the ordinary person as opposed to one who is enlightened or on the religious path.
("Pertaining to Brahmins"). Portion of the Vedas, written between 1000 and 650 BCE, that explain mantras and provide further ritual instruction.
Post-Vedic personal Creator god of the Hindu trinity (with Vishnu and Shiva). Usually represented as red in color and holding a goblet, a bow, a scepter, and the Vedas. Unlike Vishnu and Shiva, Brahma is seldom worshipped today.
("growth, expansion"). The impersonal Absolute, the unproduced Producer of all that is. In the Vedas, Brahman is the force behind the magical formulas. In the Upanishads it is the supreme, eternal principle behind the origin of the universe and of the gods. In Vedanta philosophy, it is the Self (atman) of all beings and knowledge of Brahman results in liberation (moksha).
Book containing the Divine Office (liturgy) of the Roman Catholic Church.