Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred, or of central importance to their religious tradition. Many religions and spiritual movements believe that their sacred texts are divinely or supernaturally revealed or inspired.

The Book of Revelation

Book of Revelation

Book of Revelation The Book of Revelation (often called the Revelation to John, Apocalypse of John, the Revelation from Jesus Christ from its opening words, the Apocalypse, The Revelation, or simply Revelation) is the final book of the New Testament, and consequently is also the final book of the Christian Bible. Its title is derived from the first word of the Koine...

Islamic Book Arabic Hadith Book Reading Islam

Islamic Holy Books

Islamic Holy Books Islamic Holy Books are the texts which Muslims believe were authored by God through various prophets throughout humanity’s history. All these books, in Muslim belief, promulgated the code and laws that God ordained for those people. Muslims believe the Quran to be the final revelation of God to mankind, and a...

Parts of the Nihsvasatattvasamhita manuscript from Nepal, reproduced in 1912 from a palm-leaf original, linking Shaiva Agama to esoteric Tantra.

Agama in Hinduism

Agama in Hinduism The Agamas (आगम, āgama) are a collection of scriptures of several Hindu devotional schools. The term literally means tradition or “that which has come down”, and the Agama texts describe cosmology, epistemology, philosophical doctrines, precepts on meditation and practices, four kinds of yoga, mantras, temple construction, deity worship...

The Chandogya Upanishad verses 1.1.1-1.1.9 (Sanskrit, Devanagari script)

Smriti

Smriti Smriti (स्मृति, Smṛti), literally “that which is remembered” are a body of Hindu texts usually attributed to an author, traditionally written down, in contrast to Śrutis (the Vedic literature) considered authorless, that were transmitted verbally across the generations and fixed. Smriti is a derivative secondary work and is considered less authoritative than Sruti in Hinduism, except...

A Panchatantra manuscript page

Panchatantra

Panchatantra The Panchatantra (Pañcatantra, पञ्चतन्त्र, “Five Treatises”) is an ancient Indian collection of interrelated animal fables in Sanskrit verse and prose, arranged within a frame story. The surviving work is dated to roughly 200 BCE, based on older oral tradition. The text’s author is unknown, but has been attributed to Vishnusharma in some recensions and Vasubhaga in others, both...

Rigveda manuscript page, Mandala 1, Hymn 1 (Sukta 1), lines 1.1.1 to 1.1.9 (Sanskrit, Devanagari script)

Shruti

Shruti Shruti or Shruthi (श्रुति, Śruti) in Sanskrit means “that which is heard” and refers to the body of most authoritative, ancient religious texts comprising the central canon of Hinduism. It includes the four Vedas including its four types of embedded texts—the Samhitas, the early Upanishads, the Brahmanas and the Aranyakas. Śrutis have been variously described as a revelation through anubhava (direct...

Devi sukta, which highlights the goddess tradition of Hinduism is found in Rigveda hymns 10.125. It is cited in Devi Mahatmya and is recited every year during the Durga Puja festival.

Rigveda

Rigveda The Rigveda (ऋग्वेद ṛgveda, from ṛc “praise” and veda “knowledge”) is an ancient Indian collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns. It is one of the four sacred canonical texts (śruti) of Hinduism known as the Vedas. The text is layered consisting of the Samhita, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads. The Rigveda Samhita is the core text, and is a collection of 10 books (maṇḍalas) with 1,028 hymns (sūktas) in about 10,600...

A tantric form of the Hindu Goddess Kali.

Tantras in Hinduism

Tantras in Hinduism Tantras (“Looms” or “Weavings“) refers to numerous and varied scriptures pertaining to any of several esoteric traditions rooted in Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. The religious culture of the Tantras is essentially Hindu, and Buddhist Tantric material can be shown to have been derived from Hindu sources. And although Hindu and Buddhist...

Rama and the Vanara chiefs

Indian Literature

Indian Literature Indian literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent until 1947 and in the Republic of India thereafter. The Republic of India has 22 officially recognized languages. The earliest works of Indian literature were orally transmitted. Sanskrit literature begins with the oral literature of the Rig Veda a collection of literature dating to the...

A page from Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and Bhasya commentary (c. 2nd to 4th century CE), which placed the practice of asanas as one of the eight limbs of classical yoga

Salistamba Sutra

Salistamba Sutra The Salistamba Sutra or Śālistamba Sūtra (rice stalk or rice sapling sūtra) is an early Buddhist text that shows a few unique features which indicate a turn to the early Mahayana. It thus has been considered as one of the first Mahayana sutras. According to N. Ross Reat,...

Burmese-Pali Palm-leaf manuscript.

Early Buddhist Texts

Early Buddhist Texts Early Buddhist texts (EBTs), Early Buddhist literature or Early Buddhist discourses refers to the parallel texts shared by the Early Buddhist schools. The most widely studied EBT material are the first four Pali Nikayas, as well as the corresponding Chinese Āgamas. However, some scholars have also pointed out that some Vinaya material, like the Patimokkhas of the different Buddhist schools,...

Antique Palm Leaf MANUSCRIPT Sutra Pali Canon Ramayana Story

Āgama in Buddhism

Āgama in Buddhism In Buddhism, an āgama (आगम Sanskrit and Pāli for “sacred work” or “scripture”) is a collection of Early Buddhist Texts. The five āgamas together comprise the Suttapiṭaka of the early Buddhist schools, which had different recensions of each āgama. In the Pali Canon of the Theravada, the term nikāya is used. The word āgama does not occur in this collection. Meaning In Buddhism, the term āgama is used...

Zen Scriptures

Zen Scriptures

Zen Scriptures Though Zen is said to be based on a “special transmission outside scriptures” which “did not stand upon words”, the Zen-tradition has a rich doctrinal and textual background. It has been influenced by sutras such as the Lankavatara Sutra, the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra, and the Lotus Sutra. Subsequently, the Zen tradition produced...

Depiction of the First Council at Rajgir, a painting at the Nava Jetavana, Shravasti.

Abhidharma

Abhidharma Abhidharma (Sanskrit) or Abhidhamma (Pali) are ancient (3rd century BCE and later) Buddhist texts which contain detailed scholastic presentations of doctrinal material appearing in the Buddhist sutras. It also refers to the scholastic method itself as well as the field of knowledge that this method is said to study. Bhikkhu Bodhi calls it “an abstract...

Chinese text of the Heart Sūtra by Yuan dynasty artist and calligrapher Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322 CE)

Lankavatara Sutra

Lankavatara Sutra The Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra (लंकावतारसूत्र, ལང་ཀར་བཤེགས་པའི་མདོ་) is a prominent Mahayana Buddhist sūtra. This sūtra recounts a teaching primarily between Gautama Buddha and a bodhisattva named Mahāmati, “Great Wisdom”. The sūtra is set in Laṅkā, the island fortress capital of Rāvaṇa, the king of the rākṣasa demons. The title of this text roughly translates as “Scripture of the...

The Wisdom of the Buddha Series

Nikaya

Nikaya Nikaya or Nikāya is a Pāli word meaning “volume”. It is often used like the Sanskrit word āgama to mean “collection”, “assemblage”, “class” or “group” in both Pāḷi and Sanskrit. It is most commonly used in reference to the Pali Buddhist texts of the Tripitaka namely the Sutta Piṭaka, the Vinaya Pitaka and the Abhidhamma Pitaka. It is...

Burmese Pali manuscript

Pali Literature

Pali Literature Pali literature is concerned mainly with Theravada Buddhism, of which Pali is the traditional language. The earliest and most important Pali literature constitutes the Pāli Canon, the scriptures of Theravada school. History Sri Lanka became the headquarters of Theravada for centuries, and most Pali literature in this period was written there,...

Kalpasutra

Jain Agam Literature

Jain Agam Literature Background Lord Mahavir‘s preaching was orally complied by his disciples into many texts. This knowledge was orally transferred from acharyas (gurus) to the disciples over the course of about one thousand years. In olden times, monks strictly followed the five great vows of Jainism. Even religious scriptures...

Jain Scriptures

Jain Scriptures

Jain Scriptures Jain scriptures are called Agamas. They are believed to have been verbally transmitted by the oral tradition from one generation to the next, much like the ancient Buddhist and Hindu texts. The Jain tradition believes that their religion is eternal, and the teachings of their first Tirthankara Rishabhanatha were their scriptures...

An early 19th-century Dasam Granth manuscript frontispiece (British Library MS Or.6298)

Dasam Granth

Dasam Granth The Dasam Granth (ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ, lit. “the Book of the Tenth Guru”), also called the Dasven Pādśāh kā Graṅth, (ਦਸਮ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ), is a holy book in Sikhism with compositions attributed to Guru Gobind Singh. It is a controversial religious text considered to be the second scripture by some Sikhs, and of disputed authority by other Sikhs. The standard edition...

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