Spiritual Acceptance by Sarah attrah

"The Ellora Caves demonstrate respect and acceptance of other religions" So rather than pushing older religions out and destroying their monuments as the dominant religions of that time did, the people of the Ellora Caves lived in peace. The three main religions that make up the Ellora caves society is Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

Beautiful art and architecture shows the blend of nature and religious spirituality.

The location of Ellora is not far from Aurangabad, in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The Ellora caves are a home to 34 monasteries and temples. These monumental structures were dug into the wall of a high basalt cliff. The first 12 caves have to do with the Buddhist religion, the next 17 caves are Hindu religion caves, and the last 5 caves are from the Jain religion.

Buddhism: originated from India and spread to other countries. It is the practice of reaching enlightenment through moral precepts, loving-kindness, and compassion. So in other words being a Buddhist means being kind and accepting of others.

An enlightened being sees the nature of reality in absolute clarity, just as it is, and lives fully and naturally in accordance with that vision. This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who attains it.

Cave 2 is impressive. It is a large oblong chamber supported by 12 square pillars that are lined with sculptures of seated Buddhas. The doorway into the sanctuary is flanked by a muscular Padmapani, holding a lotus, and a bejewelled Maitreya, the Future Buddha. Both are accompanied by their consorts. Inside the shrine is a stately seated Buddha on a lion throne.

Hinduism: Is a Vedic religion, originating from the Aryan people who enter northwestern India from Persia. Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. This is probably why hindu worshipers don't discriminate and pose judgement towards other religions.

Many Hindus are devoted followers of Shiva or Vishnu, whom they regard as the only true God, while others look inward to the divine Self (atman). Hindu religious life might take the form of devotion to God or gods, the duties of family life, or concentrated meditation.

Hindu cave 16 is a magnificent temple carved from the solid rock, patterned closely on the freestanding temples of the time. It represents Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva, and is called the Kailasa Temple.

This is the closest we will get to the Ellora caves and the Kailasa temple. The video explains the importance of cave 16 of the Hindu religion which was dedicated to the god Shiva. It is very remarkable temple because it is cut from one rock only.

Jainism: originated from India, and its followers are taught ways to achieve liberation and ways to live a life with a sense of harmlessness and renunciation. The goal of life, in Jainism, is to reach liberation by a life of purification, discipline, and nonviolence as taught by the Tirthankaras.

The sacred lotus on the ceiling of the 32rd cave. Used as an example of divine beauty and purity. Its unfolding petals suggest the expansion of the soul and spirituality growth.

These three religions emphasize on a life filled with peace and love. This is why their followers are living in harmony so easily. They do not let hate disturb their peaceful lifestyle. What makes these caves important example of tolerance and acceptance is because we have never seen people of different religions live in peace and harmony. It is challenging to reach this level of harmony and peace without resorting to wars, ethnocentrism, and destruction.

Unlike past examples in history, the dominant religion takes down the temples and sculptures of other religions/groups, replacing them with their own. the Ellora Caves demonstrate respect and acceptance of other religions. The people felt no need for the followers of one religion to convert the sacred space of another into their own. They simply moved on to find an empty spot, and built their own sanctuaries.

Therefore, the Ellora Caves do not only bear witness to three great religions, but they also illustrate the importance of the spirit of tolerance, characteristic of ancient India, which permitted these three religions to establish their sanctuaries and their communities in a single place.

Every one of these caves tells an impressive story even when the people that made them are long gone. Their stories will live on. The caves are a heritage we should preserve and keep even if we do not follow Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism religions.

Bibliography

Ancientorigins. "The Magnificent Ellora Caves of India." Ancient Origins. N.p., 24 Apr. 2014. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. <http://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/magnificent-ellora-caves-india-001605>.

"The Ellora Caves." Elloracaves. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Dec. 2016. <http://elloracaves.org/about.php>.

"Ellora Caves, India." Sacred-destinations. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2016. <http://www.sacred-destinations.com/india/ellora-caves>.

"Hinduism." Religionfacts. N.p., 17 Mar. 2004. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. <http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism>.

"Religionfacts." Jainism. N.p., 17 Mar. 2015. Web. 17 Dec. 2016.

<http://www.religionfacts.com/jainism>.

"Spiritual Ajanta Ellora Caves -One Of India's Greatest Treasures." Spiritual-healing-artwork-4u. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. <http://www.spiritual-healing-artwork-4u.com/spiritual-ajanta-ellora-caves.html>.

UNESCO Centre. "Ellora Caves." Whc.unesco. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. <http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/243>.

"What Is Buddhism?" Thebuddhistcentre. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. <https://thebuddhistcentre.com/buddhism>.

Credits:

Created with images by shri_ram_r - "Ellora-Caves-36" • Boston Public Library - "Beautiful temple cut out of the solid rock, Ellora, India" • travelling slacker - "Ellora Cave 16 (13)" • Purblind - "Ellora #5" • leonyaakov - "Ellora Caves, May 2012" • Arian Zwegers - "Ellora, cave 11" • Took - "buddhism buddhist cave" • David S. Lowry - "DSC06509" • leonyaakov - "Ellora Caves, May 2012" • Arian Zwegers - "Ellora, cave 29, Ravana shaking Mount Kailasa" • Illustrated in Blue - "Ellora Caves" • shri_ram_r - "Ellora-Caves-12" • David S. Lowry - "DSC06466" • dalbera - "Le temple de Kailasha (Ellora, Inde)" • Took - "buddhism buddhist cave" • travelling slacker - "Ellora (15)" • travelling slacker - "Ellora Cave 16 (10)"

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