Gautama Buddha statue and 500 arhats at the courtyard of Shanyuan Temple (善緣寺), Fushun, Liaoning province, China.

Arhat

Arhat In Buddhism, an arhat (or arahant) is one who has gained insight into the true nature of existence and has achieved nirvana. Mahayana Buddhist traditions have used the term for people far advanced along the path of Enlightenment, but who may not have reached full Buddhahood. The understanding of the concept has changed over...

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...

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Suffering

Suffering Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is the basic element that makes up the negative valence of affective phenomena. The opposite of suffering is pleasure or happiness. Suffering is often...

Image of Rishabhanatha at Kundalpur pilgrimage site in Madhya Pradesh, India

Rishabhanatha

Rishabhanatha Rishabhanatha (also Ṛṣabhadeva, Rishabhadeva, or Ṛṣabha) is the first Tīrthaṅkara of Jainism. He was the first of twenty-four teachers in the present half-cycle of time in Jain cosmology, and called a “ford maker” because his teachings helped one across the sea of interminable rebirths and deaths. Jain legends depict him as having lived millions of years ago....

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Diwali in Jainism

Diwali in Jainism Diwali has a very special significance in Jainism. It marks the anniversary of Nirvana (final release) or liberation of Mahavira‘s soul, the twenty fourth and last Jain Tirthankara of present cosmic age. It is celebrated at the same time as the Hindu festival of Diwali. Diwali marks the end of the year for the Jains and...

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Soteriology

Soteriology Soteriology (σωτηρία sōtēria “salvation” from σωτήρ sōtēr “savior, preserver” and λόγος logos “study” or “word”) is the study of religious doctrines of salvation. Salvation theory occupies a place of special significance in many religions. In the academic field of religious studies, soteriology is understood by scholars as representing a key theme in a number of different religions...

Buddha teaching Four Noble Truths

Four Noble Truths

Four Noble Truths In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths (catvāri āryasatyāni; cattāri ariyasaccāni) are “the truths of the Noble Ones,” the truths or realities which are understood by the “worthy ones” who have attained nirvana. The truths are: dukkha, “incapable of satisfying,” painful; samudaya, the “arising” of dukkha together with tanha (“thirst,” desire, craving); nirodha, “cessation” of dukkha by “confinement” of tanha; and marga, the path...

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Buddhism

Buddhism Buddhism is the world’s fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading...

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Rebirth in Buddhism

Rebirth in Buddhism Rebirth in Buddhism refers to its teaching that the actions of a person lead to a new existence after death, in endless cycles called saṃsāra. This cycle is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful. The cycle stops only if liberation is achieved by insight and the extinguishing of desire. Rebirth is one of the foundational doctrines of...

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Enlightenment in Buddhism

Enlightenment in Buddhism Enlightenment in Buddhism (called bodhi in Indian Buddhism, or satori in Zen Buddhism) is when a Buddhist finds the truth about life and stops being reborn because they have reached Nirvana. Once you get to Nirvana you are not born again into samsara (which is suffering). The English term enlightenment is the western...

Aniconic carving representing the final nirvana of a Buddha at Sanchi.

Nirvana in Buddhism

Nirvana in Buddhism Nirvana in Buddhism (निर्वाण, nirvāṇa, nibbana, nibbāna) is the earliest and most common term used to describe the goal of the Buddhist path. The literal meaning is “blowing out” or “quenching.” It is the ultimate spiritual goal in Buddhism and marks the soteriological release from rebirths in samsāra. Nirvana is...

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Nirvana

What is Nirvana? Nirvana or nirvāṇa (निर्वाण nirvāṇa; निब्बान nibbāna; णिव्वाण ṇivvāṇa, literally “blown out”, as in an oil lamp) is commonly associated with Jainism and Buddhism, and represents its ultimate state of soteriological release, the liberation from repeated rebirth in saṃsāra. In Indian religions, nirvana is synonymous with moksha and mukti. All Indian religions...

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What is Buddhism?

What is Buddhism? Buddhism is the world’s fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries B.C.E.,...

Krishna; Arjuna Krishna, avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu, mounted on a horse pulling Arjuna, the human hero of the epic poem Mahabharata; 17th-century illustration. Photos.com/Jupiterimages

Indian Philosophy

Indian Philosophy Indian philosophy refers to ancient philosophical traditions of the Indian subcontinent. The principal schools are classified as either orthodox or heterodox – āstika or nāstika – depending on one of three alternate criteria: whether it believes the Vedas as a valid source of knowledge; whether the school believes...

Spiritual Enlightenment

Spiritual Enlightenment

Enlightenment (Spiritual) Enlightenment is the “full comprehension of a situation”. The term is commonly used to denote the Age of Enlightenment,[note 1] but is also used in Western cultures in a religious context. It translates several Buddhist terms and concepts, most notably bodhi,[note 2] kensho and satori. Related terms from Asian religions are moksha (liberation) in Hinduism, Kevala Jnana in Jainism, and ushta in Zoroastrianism. In Christianity,...

Heaven or Paradise

Heaven

Heaven Heaven, or the heavens, is a common religious, cosmological, or transcendent place where beings such as gods, angels, spirits, saints, or venerated ancestors are said to originate, be enthroned, or live. According to the beliefs of some religions, heavenly beings can descend to earth or incarnate, and earthly beings can ascend to heaven in the afterlife, or in...

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