Religious Traditions Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, and Bahá’í

Jainism

Jainism is an ethnic, autonomous religion.

Origin

Jainism originated from India during 6th century B.C.E.

Core Beliefs

Jainism has many beliefs to its existence. The main goal of Jains is to achieve liberation of the soul. They believe that this is possible by getting rid of all the karma from the soul. Some of their beliefs include that notion that both animals and plants have living souls, not just humans, and they are all considered equal. Jains also believe in reincarnation, but want to attain ultimate liberation, which means they won't be in the cycle of reincarnation anymore- instead their souls will be in an immortal state.

Diffusion

Jainism mainly spread through hierarchical and contagious diffusion. Hierarchical diffusion was spread through the monks while contagious diffusion occurred through social media.

Symbols/Traits

Ahimsa

This is the non-violence principle- it translates to "be without harm, not only to oneself and others, but it all forms of life. This goes back to the belief every life is equal, human or not. However, it goes deeper than just a belief- instead, it's a way of living. Jainism teaches that in order to attain liberation, one needs to help protect others. Mahavira believed in this, and made sure to spread his teachings.

Mahavira

He is given credit for Jainism and its current state. While he may not be the official founder, he did influence the modern form heavily.

Agamas

These are the Jain texts, which are teaching from Mahavira. However, many of these were lost or forgotten due to different circumstances. For example, there was a famine which wiped out many monks.

Fasting

Jains believe that fasting is both for the mind and body. It can be done as either a form of atonement or as a way of purification. It is done as a way to remind the person of Mahavira and his focus. While fasting is done for the body by not eating, in terms of the mind, they should "also stop wanting to eat." There are different types of fasting, with complete, partial, and other specific types.

Pilgrimage

On a Jain pilgrimage, one decides practice the way of life of a monk. It is also common to go to temples and places of significance in the Jain history.

Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism is an ethnic, hierarchical religion.

Origin

This religion originated in Ancient Persia.

Core Beliefs

This is a monotheistic religion. Their god is Ahura Mazda. It is believed that he created the world. There is an enemy for Ahura Mazda, and he is Angra Mainyu. The purpose of his character is to show that one day good with beat evil, and at time the world will be perfect again.

Many Zoroastrians pray multiple times a day. They believe in sin, but also getting rid of them, as well as a Judgement Day. The afterlife is a believed idea, as well as in the "basic goodness of humanity."

Diffusion

Zoroastrianism has mainly spread through contagious diffusion in the past, but now it mainly uses relocation diffusion.

Symbols/Traits

Temple

Fire is highly regarded in this religion. Practitioners is the center of worship- they even have fire temples. In these temples, there is a fire constantly burning. These fires

White

White is the color of purity. They use it for belts, shirts, and sheets for the death.

Burial

Zoroastrians don't cremate or bury the dead- they use "towers of silence." These are used to leave the bodies so prey can come and eat the bodies. However, whenever this is against laws, Zoroastrians choose to cremate. This helps to create a distinct cultural landscape because its vast land usage.

Avesta

This is the book of Holy Scripture. There are two versions of this- the old and the younger. They contain hymns, as well as myths.

SIKHISM

Sikhism is a universalizing, autonomous religion.

Origin

Sikhism originated in the Punjab area of South Asia, which now falls into the present-day countries of India and Pakistan. At that time, the main religions of that area were Hinduism and Islam.

Guru Nanak (1496-1538) was the founder of Sikhism. He lived in a village near the city of Lahore (in present-day Pakistan). God was revealed to Guru Nanak as The One Supreme Being who rules the universe by divine will.

Diffusion Pattern

Guru Nanak traveled widely through South Asia preaching his new faith and his new followers became known as Sikhs.

After the death of Guru Nanak, nine other Gurus succeeded him: Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Guru Hargobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Har Krishan, Guru Teg Bahadur, and Guru Gobind Singh.

Spatial Distribution

The Sikh population is comprised of about 27 million followers. Approximately 80% live in India with 76% of Sikhs living in Punjab. Outside India, Sikhs are nearly everywhere. Sikhs have emigrated to countries all over the world - especially to English-speaking and East Asian nations. In doing so they have retained, their distinctive cultural and religious identity.

Core Beliefs and Philosophies

The ultimate goal of Sikhism is to build a loving relationship with God. Sikhs believe in a single, formless God that has many names.

The Mool Mantar is the first hymn composed by Guru Nanak (founder of Sikhism) and is recited numerous times a day by many Sikhs. The Mool Mantar is the description of the many attributes of God: There is only one God; His Name is Truth; He is the Creator; He is without fear; He is without hate; He is beyond time; He is beyond birth and death; He is self-existent.

The Sikhs perspective on reincarnation is that they believe in Samsara. Samsara is the repetitive cycle of birth, life, and death and the Sikh philosophy is similar to Hinduism in this regard.

Sikhs disvalue the caste system and actually have rejected the caste system of the Hindu religion. They believe that everyone has equal status in the eyes of God. This is a very important principle that is instilled all Sikh beliefs, behaviors, and rituals.

Sikhism teaches the equality of all people. Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are all equal in the eyes of God. Within Sikhism, men and women are valued as equals.

Sikhism emphasizes daily devotion to the remembrance of God. One should remember and be aware of God at all times.

Sikhism teaches religious freedom. All people have the right to follow their own path to God without condemnation from others.

Sikhism emphasizes a moral and ethical life. A ideal Sikh should represent moral responsibility and righteousness.

Sikhism rejects all forms of rituals such as idol worship, pilgrimages, fasting, and superstitions.

Sikhism teaches service to others. The primary task in life should be to help the poor, needy, and oppressed. Sikhs are known for openly speaking out against injustice and standing up for the defenseless.

Sikhs are supposed to be saints, scholars, and soldiers.

The word Sikh means disciple or student. Sikhs are the students of God who follow the writings and teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus.

Practices

Sikhs pray multiple times a day and are prohibited from worshipping idols, images, or icons.

Stricter Sikhs often follow clothing practices known as The Five K’s: : 1. Kesa (long hair, which is never cut). Kesa is sometimes used to refer to the turban that is used to cover the hair. 2. Kangah (comb) 3. Kacha (short pants) 4. Kara (metal bracelet) 5. Kirpan (a ceremonial dagger)

Sikhs cannot drink alcoholic beverages or use any type of drugs. The Sikh Code of Conduct states, "A Sikh must not take hemp, opium, liquor, tobacco, or any intoxicant."

Distinguishing Physical Symbols or Traits

Golden Temple: The Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, India. It is the most important gudwara because it houses Sikhism’s holiest book: the Guru Granth Sahib. The Golden Temple helps to create a unique cultural landscape.

The Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of devotional hymns and poetry which proclaims God and stresses the meditation of the True Guru (God). The Guru Granth Sahib lays down moral and ethical rules for development of the soul, spiritual salvation, and unity with God. The Guru Granth Sahib helps to establish a distinctive cultural landscape.

Bahá’í

Bahá’í is a universalizing, autonomous religion.

Origin

The Bahá’í faith is the newest of the world's independent religions. Baha’u’llah (1817-1892) is the founder of the Bahá'í religion and is regarded as the most recent in the line of Messengers of God that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

Diffusion Pattern

It first appeared in Persia, then spread to neighbouring Muslim lands in the Ottoman and Russian Empires and to northern India. Though some early followers were of Jewish, Christian, or Zoroastrian background, the vast majority had been followers of Islam.

Spatial Distribution

There are more than 5 million Bahá’ís in the world. The Bahá’í Faith is established in nearly every country and in many territories and overseas departments of countries. Most nations and some territories have a National Spiritual Assembly. In India, there are over a million Bahá’ís, making it the country with the highest Bahá’í population. The Bahá’í House of Worship in New Delhi is the most visited Bahá’í site in the world. In 2007, the House of Worship in New Delhi had 4.6 million visitors. In Iran, where the Bahá’í Faith originated, there are approximately 300,000 Bahá’ís, constituting the largest non-Muslim religious minority in that country.

Core Beliefs

Bahá'ís believe that there is only one God who is the source of all creation.

God is transcendent and all-knowing. He has sent, and will continue to send, prophets to humanity, through which they reveal the "Word of God." The prophets of God up to this time have been: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Zoroaster, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, and Baha'u'llah.

Bahá'í beliefs support gender and race equality, world government, freedom of expression and assembly, world peace, religious tolerance, and religious cooperation.

Every person possesses an immortal soul. Unlike everything else, the soul is not able to decompose. At death, the soul is freed to travel through the spirit world.

The Bahá'í's believe in an essential unity of the great religions of the world. Bahá'í's view all religions as having sprung from the same spiritual source.

Distinguishing Physical Symbols or traits

The House of Worship is required to be in a nonagon. There are currently seven Bahá’í Houses of Worship – in Australia, Germany, India, Panama, Samoa, Uganda, and the United States. The eighth temple will be in Chile. These temples help to create a unique cultural landscape.

In Haifa, Israel, there exists the global governing body (Universal House of Justice). Its functions were determined by Baha'u'llah and it's an all-male body.

Bahá'í scripture includes the writings of the Bab and Baha'u'llah, along with the writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha. Among the more acknowledged writings of Baha'u'llah are, The Most Holy Book, The Book of Certitude, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words and The Seven Valleys. Bahá'í scripture includes many other books.

Citations

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Initiative, United Religions. "URI Kids :: World Religions." URI Kids :: World Religions. United Religions Initiative, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. <http://www.uri.org/kids/other_zoro.htm>.

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"Sikhism: Its Beliefs, Practices, Symbol, & Names." SIKHISM: Beliefs, Paractices, Symbol, Names. Religious Tolerance, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

"Mahavira." Religions. BBC, n.d. Web.<http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/jainism/history/mahavira.shtml>.

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"Sikh Population Around The World." Oxford Sikhs, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. <http://www.oxfordsikhs.com/SikhAwareness/Sikh-Population-Around-The-World_159.aspx>.

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"Harmandir Sahib." Harmandir Sahib - New World Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016.

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