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RF's Dharmic Glossary

Discussion in 'Dharmic Religions DIR' started by LuisDantas, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    The purpose of this thread is twofold.

    First, acquire information about the demand for Dharma teaching terminology deemed useful yet perhaps not always readily understood. Then, creating and keeping a growing glossary of representative understandings of the meaning of those terms.

    I seek a certain balance, where reasonable effort is put on being both faithful and clear, comprehensive yet respectful of the diversity of interpretations and faiths.

    Whenever convenient, diverging interpretations shall be represented and duly sourced and cross-referenced so that any given reader should be capable of seeing both his intended meaning (or a reasonable approximation of same) and any significant yet clashing meanings represented in no unclear terms. While there is no helping with the diversity of interpretations, I think it is a worthy goal to honestly state them. I sincerely feel that attaining a clear understanding of what the conflicts on understanding of terms are is a significant conquest in and of itself. For instance, it may not be readily apparent for the casual reader that "Nastika" is not supposed to be a slight, but rather a technical term. No Dharma transmission benefits from such lack of understanding, and often enough it may be easily solved.

    I invite those who have an interest in Dharma to state the words they would like to see included here. There is no need for references or even clear meanings, although those are of course welcome.

    I will keep my own personal glossary as a text file in forum code format and link to it from here. If need be, I will also keep one or more larger text files with more general glossaries (perhaps roughly separated by school of thought) so that everyone will have, if nothing else, a ready reference to clearly explain what they mean.

    While the clash of interpretations is perhaps unavoidable, the lack of actual understanding, at least, does not deserve to be passively accepted. We Dharmi all deserve the chance to effectively express ourselves and understand each other, even and perhaps all the more when it turns out that we have to disagree.

    Hoping for your cooperation,
    LuisDantas as a seeker in Dharma.
     
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  2. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    For the time being, I am posting whatever I have ready at Index of /dharma_glossary

    The most current files are currently those of April the 30th, 2014:

    Feel free to read it from there. Tell me (by PM, perhaps) if you have any trouble in understanding the text or how it should be used.
     
    #2 LuisDantas, Apr 29, 2014
    Last edited: May 1, 2014
  3. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Another placeholder post for hypothetical future explanations, etc.
     
  4. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Yet another placeholder post for hypothetical future explanations, etc.
     
  5. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    The start of this idea came from this post where I attempted to represent the various views of the meaning of Sanatana Dharma.

    I'm thinking of working now (in no particular order) on Astika, Nastika, Vedas, Dharma (this one will certainly be interesting yet challenging), Buddha Dharma, Arya Dharma, Hindu Dharma, Sanatana Sikh, Jain Dharma, Taoism, Tao, Sikhism, Deva, Devi.

    Feel free to suggest words that deserve a clear statement of both meaning and/or controversial meanings and interpretations.

    If you want to offer a meaning or source of interpretation, feel free to do so as well, as long as the forum rules are respected. While I do not offer any assurances of inclusion, I will make an honest effort, and I intend to keep the presented meanings here in the thread barring major reasons not to.

    It goes without saying that anyone willing to keep their own diverging takes on the glossary idea may simply go ahead and do so. I will help with coding if asked.
     
  6. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    agnitra: the protector of the fire; the keeper of the fire; he that holds the fire; Vedic Shrautin; yajna-dharma
     
  7. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Any remarks on usual contexts for its use, Poeticus?
     
  8. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    What is 'agnihotra'? In my childhood, I heard of a person who would keep with all the rules of being an 'agnihotri'. They said it was very difficult. My grandfather performed 'havan' every morning. It took him an hour or less.
     
    #8 Aupmanyav, Apr 29, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  9. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    Yes, most certainly:​

    agnitra -

    The agnitra is a common theme in the Vedas.
    'Tis a compound term: it literally means: the
    keeper of the fire
    . What fire? One may ask...

    The fire that is present in the yajna:​

    [​IMG]
     
    #9 Poeticus, Apr 29, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
  10. Poeticus

    Poeticus | abhyAvartin |

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    I wrote agni+tra, not agni+hotra ! :D :p

    (ps - As you know, the latter is a sacrifice to the God, Agni.
    The former, however, is a Vedic injunction of identification.)​
     
    #10 Poeticus, Apr 29, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
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  11. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Okay, so this is today's version.

    Agnitra - the protector of the fire; the keeper of the fire; he that holds the fire; Vedic Shrautin; yajna-dharma

    The agnitra is a common theme in the Vedas. It is a compound term that literally means the keeper of the fire, where the fire is understood to be that present in the yajna.

    Illustration (Warning: big picture, established to be online as of 2014-04-29).

    Arya Dharma

    A traditional name for Hinduism. Often seen with a degree of caution because it may bring unfortunate associations with the "Aryan Race" ideal as espoused by Nazi philosophy.

    Aryan Invasion Theory

    The Aryan Invasion Theory is a hugely controversial idea that many current Hindus feel to be both discredited and inconvenient, even dangerous. It deals with the supposed ethical and cultural origins of Indian people and, at least to a degree, of Hinduism.

    Astika

    In simple terms, Astika Dharma is a Hinduism proper, a Dharma that attempts to follow the teachings of the Vedas. Those include Samkhya, Mimamsa and Vedanta.

    Atheism

    A controversial subject within Hinduism, not so much in Jainism and Buddhism.

    A popular view is that it is not possible to take the Vedas at all seriously, or to attain Sat-Chit-Ananda, without at least a modicum of faith on the existence of the Deva as literal supernatural beings.

    Another, irreconciliable one is that the Devas are largely symbolic and/or inspirational and literal belief in their existence has never been needed for Hindu religious practice.

    The general trend is clearly towards being at least unconfortable with (and often very critical of) Atheism, though.

    Avatar

    Buddha Dharma - see Buddhism.

    Buddhism

    Buddhism is a Dharmic religion originated loosely around year 600 BC. It is usually considered Nastika Dharma by Hindus. A minority yet sometimes emphatic view insists that it is in some ways an extension of Hinduism. Syncretism with Hinduism is not unheard of, although often challenged. It is often understood that the Vajrayana schools of Tibetan Buddhism have been significantly influenced by Hinduism.

    Cārvāka, also known as Charvaka and as Lokāyata, is a historically Indian system of beliefs that is generally considered to be extinct and atheistic, materialistic and skeptical in nature.

    While it has on occasion been considered part of Hinduism, that is definitely a minority opinion, and possibly a complete classification error.

    Daoism - see Taoism

    Deva, plural "Devas", feminine "Devi"

    Hinduism

    Jain Dharma - see Jainism.

    Jainism

    Jainism is a Dharmic religion originated loosely around year 600 BC. It is usually considered Nastika Dharma by Hindus. It is known to strongly emphasize the concept of Ahimsa (non-violence) that it shares with Hinduism.

    Nastika

    In simple terms, Nastika Dharma is a religious doctrine that has inherited concepts and cultural influence from Hinduism and may (or may not) be largely compatible and in harmony with Hinduism, yet claims no duty to follow the teachings of the Vedas.

    It is generally agreed that Charvaka, Jainism and Buddhism are Nastika schools - at least according to Hinduism. Some or all of those movements might prefer to be regarded as religions of their own.

    Sanatana Dharma, also known as Sanatan Sikh

    1. As generally understood, Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Dharma, loosely translated as Eternal Doctrine) is a traditional name for Hinduism. See also Vaidika Dharma (a name that references the Vedas) and Arya Dharma (which references the Arya people).

      Perceived advantages of that interpretation include its undeniable demographic success and lessened potential for unintentional confusion and misundestandings.

      Perceived disadvantages include a lack of expression of desire to reach out for doctrines, practices and teachings that are not generally understood as Hindu. In some contexts that may be undesirable. It has been noted that this is basically the flip side of the perceived advantages above.

    2. An alternate interpretation of the expression, often used in contexts where it is desired to express approval and/or admiration for the efforts of religious groups, teachers or authors, is that any valid and constructive religious action may be considered in harmony with the deepest goals of Hinduism and should therefore be praised as part of Sanatana Dharma. It amounts to a deliberate blurring of the boundaries between Hindu teachings and non-Hindu teachings, as a display of respect and/or appreciation.

      Perceived advantages of this interpretation are the expression of trust and good will, which are understood to encourage mutual respect and understanding, which are of course universally desired.

      Perceived disadvantages of this interpretation are the potential for confusion, often unintended and even well-meaning but nevertheless undesirable. Anedoctal evidence exists of at least one instance where it led to a misunderstanding, with a Catholic ending up believing that Catholicism is seen by Hindus as an universal religion while also being fundamentally distinct from Hinduism. That episode is generally understood as being a benign yet regrettable stance of undue extrapolation.

      It should also be noted that deciding to label people as Sanatana Dharmi (practicioners of Sanata Dharma) without their approval, agreement, consent or sometimes even without their knowledge is generally understood as an unwise, adharmic action since it so easily leads to ill feelings for no good reason. It has also been stated that it is, by definition, invasive.

    3. Another alternate interpretation says that some or all religions generally understood to have a Dharmic approach (most often Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, sometimes Taoism or even Confucionism; opinions may vary) are to be considered as part of Sanata Dharma as well. Historical links, well-documented or speculative, are often mentioned as part of the justification for this interpretation.

      Perceived advantages of this interpretation are mainly of a syncretic bent. It is favored by those who have a high regard for reaching out for other Dharmas.

      Perceived disadvantages include the potential for creating conflict due to perceived or real misunderstandings. It must be noted that efforts at communicating with other Dharmas are not without dangers of their own. Under some circunstances, attempting to present a common legacy or origin may easily be seen as disrespectful and/or invasive.

    Sanatan Sikhi

    A movement of a minority of Sikhs who view Sikhism as part of Sanatan Dharma as opposed as a separate Dharma of its own.

    Sat-Chit-Ananda

    Also known as Satcitananda and other variant spellings. While Sat (loosely translatable as "truth", "absolute" or "unchangeable"), Chit ("true/pure consciousness") and Ananda ("beauty", "happiness" or "pleasure") are all individual words, this composite is a traditional name for the superlative experience of Brahman, and a very important concept of Hinduism.

    Sikhism

    Sikhism is a 15th century religion that is both revealed, emphatically monotheistic and Dharmic.

    Tao

    Taoism, also known as Daoism

    A traditional religion of Chinese origin, arguably Dharmic in nature. Unlike most Dharmic faiths, Taoism has no clear historical relationship to Hindu beliefs and may not always be considered Dharmic.

    Vaidika Dharma

    Literally the Dharma from (or of) the Vedas. An alternative name for Hinduism.

    Vedas

    The main (or at least the most ancient) scriptures of Hinduism. Not necessarily the most read or the most influential, though; notably, the well-regarded Bhagavad Gita and its parent text, the Mahabharata, are not Vedas, at least in the traditional sense.

    Yana

    In Buddhism, the Yanas are the three main branches of teachings. Traditionally expressed as Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Some controversy exists about the propriety of naming Theravada (the only remaining non-Mahayana school) as Hinayana, which is often seen as a pejorative word. Vajrayana or Esoteric Buddhism is sometimes considered a subset of Mahayana.


    As stated in post #2, this version is currently stored at http://dantas.com/dharma_glossary

    as

    http://dantas.com/dharma_glossary/20140429/dharma_glossary.htm

    and

    http://dantas.com/dharma_glossary/20140429/dharma_glossary.txt
     
    #11 LuisDantas, Apr 29, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2014
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  12. Breathe

    Breathe Hostis humani generis

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    I'd consider adding a mention of panentheism to Sikhism, as "monotheism" as is understood by a classical, Abrahamic theist doesn't really fit that well.

    Also, the definitions of kirtans and bhajans.

    Seva, too: Selfless service; undertaken by a person that is "doing good for the sake of goodness". Within Sikhism, it's divided into material, mental, and physical service.
    Langar: A "free kitchen"
    Vand Chhako: Similar to a kind of "tithing" to the community
    Kirat karo: Earning a living through productive means (in Sikhism, not being a beggar, monk, etc).
     
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  13. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Wow. Those are beautiful concepts. We could use more people doing that.
     
  14. Treks

    Treks Tearing at the soil to find the ground

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    Great stuff so far!

    Just one comment as I'm actually at work...

    Sanatana Dharma, also known as Sanatan Sikh

    Can we have discussion about the 'also known as Sanatan Sikh' part please? It might be best to remove it to avoid confusion, and expand on 'Sanatan Sikh' and 'Sikhism' and maybe even the term 'Sikh' in other parts of the glossary.

    Happy to discuss.

    Many thanks.
     
  15. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    That was actually a typo, which I already corrected. I meant to say Sanatan Dharma (without the trailing "-a" in the first word).

    Today's version is still subject to expansion, but I have already worked on it. Breathe's hints made it a lot more informative about Sikhism, in fact - and myself considerably more interested in it.

    If you want to check it, just use the link in the second post of this thread.
     
  16. Breathe

    Breathe Hostis humani generis

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    We really could.

    Thanks. :angel2: Sikhism is often overlooked, but it is a really cool faith.

    Here's a few more:

    Five Thieves: Also known as the five evils. Five negative personal issues that are considered to rob a person of their better, spiritual nature. A Sikh is expected to subdue these thieves, to ascend them. They are lust (kaam), anger (krodh), greed (lobh), attachment (to material things, etc; moh), ahankar (egotism, pride).

    Five Virtues: These are to fight the five thieves, become a better person, and to reach enlightenment. These are truth (sat), compassion (daya), contentment (santokh), humility (nimrata), and love (pyaar).

    Sat: truth; being truthful, fair, and righteous.
    Santokh: contentment; not being jealous, being content and not being jealous or envious of others or their possessions
    Data: compassion; trying to help others, metta, overlooking people's imperfections and mistakes
    Nimrata: humility; not boasting, not making a big scene, not over-estimating yourself or acting cool
    Pyaar: love; love of God, and love of humankind. Love is one of the biggest parts of Sikhism.

    Chardhi Kala: Also spelled as chardi kala: optimism; the ideal of keeping high spirits, being positive even in times of difficulty, stress, pain and suffering. A Sikh is to be like the lotus flower: even in filthy water, it remains unsullied (by bad things), pure and beautiful
     
  17. Treks

    Treks Tearing at the soil to find the ground

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    Some comments:

    Edit: Kirtan (also Kirtana, Sankirtan)

    A form of religious chanting for purposes of Bhakti practice. Typical but by no means exclusive of the Sikh Faith where is takes the form devotional singing of shabads most often from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and forms the bulk of Sikh religious services.

    Edit: Naam Japo

    One of the Three Pillars of Sikhism. A form of meditation and chanting aimed to reinforce the connection with God. The word or phrases commonly repeated are "Waheguru", "Satnam Sri Waheguru Ji", or the Manglacharan / Mool Mantar.

    New: Manglacharan / Mool Mantar (Sikh)

    The first 13 words written in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Manglacharan - from "Ik Onkar" to "Prasad") or the first 13 + the next 12 (the Mool Mantar - from "Ik Onkar" to "hosi bhi sach"). Considered to be a key foundational statement in Sikhi.
     
  18. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Thanks to both of you.

    I have now to face the pleasant decision to break the forum code file into a few smaller ones, so that the file size isn't unnacceptable to the forum.

    The second post of this thread is still correct and has been updated to reflect the current situation.
     
    #18 LuisDantas, Apr 30, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2014
  19. Treks

    Treks Tearing at the soil to find the ground

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    Luis, can you please clarify the intent of the glossary. Is it meant to clarify and explain the definitions of words that are common to dharma and those which have caused angst so there is a mutual understanding of the terms amongst RF users? An example might be Kal Yug where in some traditions it is understood as a literal, physical age of the world, and others it is a metaphor for a frame of mind. Or is the glossary of dharmic words in general, in which case it will become a really big doc and I may not be able to restrain myself :p
     
  20. LuisDantas

    LuisDantas Aura of atheification
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    Yes!




    I mean, let's go through it step by step.

    To the extent that I know it, I suppose I can. It has already surprised me. It was not supposed to make me appreciate Sikhism to the extent that it did. What is a man to do? :D


    That is certainly one of its main goals. Along with several other forum members, I feel that there have been more heated feelings and lack of understanding recently in the Dharma forums than we have to accept.

    Some disagreement is bound to happen and even persist. But lack of actual knowledge of the terms and their various meanings has been perceived to aggravate it needlessly. It just seemed logical to try and attempt to diminish that problem.

    The glossary seemed a good approach; it is bound to be informative, it can be made in such a way as to avoid hard feelings and painful confrontations, and it can be easily customized by those who feel the need. And it can make us all "winners" without needing a "loser", which is always a good thing.


    Given the opportunity and clear enough statements, my intent is to simply describe the various understandings in a clear, representative yet succint way. I may well take sides in certain entries, but I will try to make that clear and to state the views I disagree with as well.


    I guess we all have gone through worse hardships for more questionable reasons. :)

    If need be, I will just keep breaking the text into smaller documents as needed. There is no impediment to simply taking a full, detailed text from you and presenting it as your view if you want to, either. I can even attempt to help in formatting it if necessary.
     
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