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Yogācāra

(229 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] Yogācāra, literally “practice of Yoga”; a philosophical school of Mahāyāna Buddhism, also called Vijñānavāda, “Conciousness (Only) School” (Sanskrit vijñaptimātratā), Chinese Weishi, Japanese Yuishiki, “Only Consciousness.” Yogācāra teaches a kind of idealism or solipsism: the empirical world is only the ideation of a (stream of) consciousness of the “storehouse consciousness” (Sanskrit ālayavijñāna). Some elements of the fully developed Yogācāra school can already be seen in certain early Mahāyāna-sūtras such as the Laṅkāvatārasūtra and the Saṃdhinirm…

Maitreya

(347 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] In Buddhism, Maitreya (“he who has [active] love [ maitrī]”; Chinese Mile or Cishi, the “compassionate lord,” Japanese Miroku, Korean Mireuk, Tibetan Byams Pa) designates the Buddha (II) expected in the future, the bringer of salvation, who dwells in the Tuṣita heaven as a Bodhisattva and who awaits the time of his descent to earth ( jambudvīpa). While Maitreya especially, though not exclusively, appears as a salvation figure of Mahāyāna Buddhism, his growing significance as an object of veneration must probably be traced to northweste…

Prajñā

(332 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] The term prajñā (Sanskrit, “wisdom”; Pāli paññā) appeared early in the history of Buddhism; it is one of the five salvific forces or faculties ( indriya), along with śraddhā, “faith, conviction,” vīrya, “(meditative) energy,” smṛti, “mindfulness,” and samādhi, “concentration.” The Pāli canon already distinguished between purely mundane ethical conduct and the path transcending the world, leading to enlightenment through prajñā ( Majjhima Nikāya 3, 72). After the development of śīla, “morality,” and samādhi, “meditative concentration,” prajñā stands as o…

Mahāyāna

(961 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] (Sanskrit) literally means “great vehicle” (equivalents in other languages are dasheng in Chinese, daijō in Japanese, taesuˇng in Korean, theg-pa chen-po ¶ in Tibetan). The “great vehicle” is, alongside the Hīnayāna, the “small vehicle” or the Śrāvakayāna, the “vehicle of those who listen,” the second major school within Buddhism, which represents contemporary Buddhism in East Asia (People's Republic of China, Korea, Japan), Central Asia (Mongolia, Tibet) and, in part, Southeast Asia (Vietnam). Mahāyān…

Xuanzang (Hsüan Tsang)

(168 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] (600[?] – 664) was a Chinese Buddhist monk, a pilgrim to India, and a translator. In 646, he authored the Xijouji, the “Report on the Western Regions (i.e. Central Asia and India)” at the request of Emperor Taizong, this being an important and comprehensive source for the history and situation of Buddhism (I, 2, 3, 4) in India and Central Asia. Xuanzang mostly translated works of the Yogācāra and of Abhidharma literature. Wu Cheng’en (c. 1500–1582) wrote the novel Xijouji , The Journey to the West, around the person of Xuanzang; its fictitious episodes concerning …

Tower of Silence

(250 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] ( dakhma; Avestan daxma), probably orginally “grave” (Indo-European * dhṃbh, “bury”). In the Avesta, the word denotes the Zoroastrian (Zarathustra) burial practice of exposing corpses so that the birds can “cleanse” them of skin and flesh, which are considered unclean; the bones are then buried. Architecturally, the later towers of silence were circular stone structures, often standing on exposed hilltops; on these platforms the corpses of male and female adults and of children, after bein…

Pagoda

(193 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] The Portuguese word “pagoda” was probably borrowed from Singhalese dāgēba by way of a syllabic metathesis (corresponding to Sanskrit dhātugarbha, “seed of the relic,” relic chamber; cf. Sanskrit stūpa , Pāli thūpa) and applied to the Buddhist places of worship in East and Southeast Asia (as in the case of Sanskrit matrin, “minister”: mandarin). The East Asian languages, on the other hand, do not employ “pagoda” but terms that correspond to stūpa, as for instance Chinese ta. From the perspective of art history, the pagoda developed from the basic tumulus…

Stūpa

(457 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max
[German Version] (Pāli thūpa, Chinese ta, Japanese , Tibetan mchod-rten), a Buddhist ritual structure (Buddhism: I, 6) whose architectural form diversified as Buddhism spread through Central, East, and Southeast Asia (see also Pagoda). In the earliest period of Buddhism, the stūpa functioned as a round funerary mound (see fig.) in which the ashes or relics of outstanding figures were buried. But there also appear to have been commemorative structures similar in form ( caitya) but dedicated to deities or ancestors, for example of a noble clan. The locus classicus for the establish…

Compassion

(1,239 words)

Author(s): Deeg, Max | Huxel, Kirsten | Mürmel, Heinz
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Buddhism I. Religious Studies The term compassion bears Christian connotations: compassion (cf. Lat. compassio; Gk συμπάϑεια/ sympátheia) refers to the capacity or ability to share concretely in the suffering of others, to sympathize and to draw consequences for one's own behavior. In this regard, the religions answer the question of the appropriate object for compassion – for example all people, only people of a certain group, …

Dietary Laws

(4,404 words)

Author(s): Borgeaud, Philippe | Willi-Plein, Ina | Ebner, Martin | Puza, Richard | Reichman, Ronen | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Christianity – V. Judaism – VI. Islam – VII. Buddhism – VIII. Indian Religions I. Religious Studies A human society's dietary laws and prohibitions give us an excellent insight into its symbolic and ritual practices. The choice of nourishment (preferences and prohibitions) is closely tied to the overall image that a culture develops of itself, with whic…

Mission

(13,709 words)

Author(s): Sundermeier, Theo | Frankemölle, Hubert | Feldtkeller, Andreas | Collet, Giancarlo | George, Martin | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Christianity – III. Judaism – IV. Buddhism – V. Islam I. Religious Studies 1. Overview. Mission is not a fundamentally universal phenomenon in the history of religions; neither is every form in which religion is passed on eo ipso mission. “Primary,” tribal religions are not missionary religions. Their domain is coterminous with their society and its way of life; they are handed down from one generation to the next in the course of natural life. The question of truth does not arise. An indivi…

Pilgrimage/Places of Pilgrimage

(9,650 words)

Author(s): Winter, Fritz | Raspe, Lucia | Jehle, Irmengard | Hartinger, Walter | Schmid, Josef Johannes | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies A pilgrimage is a journey by an individual or group, religiously motivated, usually over a substantial distance and (esp. in earlier periods) demanding great effort. A Western pilgrim today can hardly imagine the dangers to which a peregrinus was exposed. This Latin term, the etymon of the English word pilgrim, denoted a foreigner or in some cases an exile. A person who undertook a pilgrimage was thus someone who had to leave his or her familiar environment. The element of foreignness and movement also induced…