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Joke (Religious)

(2,892 words)

Author(s): Holzapfel, Kirsten
Word and Concept 1. The word ‘joke,’ like ‘jocund,’ or ‘jocular’ is from the Latin jocus, meaning a game or joke. A synonym for ‘joke,’ namely, ‘witticism,’ as well as words such as ‘witty,’ ‘witness,’ and the word ‘wit’ itself—meaning both attentive intelligence (‘keeping your wits about you’), and cleverness at humor—come from the Old English wit, meaning ‘know,’ as that word survives in the legalese ‘to wit’ (‘i.e.,’), and are akin to ‘wise,’ ‘wizard,’ and other words and expressions in various languages, denoting or connoting knowing. The joke is one of the simple literary for…

Animal II: World Religions

(4,043 words)

Author(s): Holzapfel, Kirsten
Relation of the Animal to the Human Being 1. The relation of the human being to the animal is ambivalent. Animals are both superior to human beings, and inferior; they are endowed with human capacities, yet remain foreign to human nature. Like human beings, and yet unlike them, animals receive a place in belief and ritual, and are part of a world of religious conceptions. Since the development of an asymmetrical relation between animals and persons in the course of history, the commonalities and distinc…

Festivals of Theravada Buddhism

(1,085 words)

Author(s): Holzapfel, Kirsten
Calendar: The festival year is orientated to the solar year and to lunar calendars, with regionally distinct names for the months. Feast days are determined by the phases of the moon, and fall on different dates from year to year, although they are celebrated in the same seasons. a) Regular festival days: • Bi-weekly, at the full moon and new moon, the recitation of the Patimokkha. At a celebration for the confession of sins, the ordained recite the Rule of the Order (not universally practiced). • Full moon, new moon, and days of the first and fourth quarter moons: Uposatha Days. For the laity,…


(981 words)

Author(s): Holzapfel, Kirsten
1. With its extreme climatic conditions, the highland of Tibet is only sparsely populated. Few live here other than cattle-raising nomads. Soil is farmed until an altitude of 4,000 m. The center of gravity of settlement and agricultural geography lies in the Tsangpo Valley. Politically, today, what exists is the ‘Autonomous Region of Tibet,’ established in 1965 in the People's Republic of China. Parts of the region that had stood under the regime in Lhasa were annexed to Chinese provinces after the incursion of Chinese troops. Popular Religion 2. In Tibetan popular religion, the ob…

Buddhism: Time Chart

(4,162 words)

Author(s): Holzapfel, Kirsten
1. Chronology Era 1: Early Doctrinal Development and First Expansion 4th/5th cent. BCE Lifetime of the historical Buddha in the North of India The biographical dates of Siddhartha Gautama, who, after his awakening ( bodhi), is called the Buddha, cannot be determined with certainty. until 1st cent. BCE Early Buddhism in Indian First “Councils:” Oral transmission Tradition reports ‘councils’ (probably local assemblies of monks) for agreement on doctrine and the Order's law, immediately after the Buddha's death in Rajagrha, and 100 years later in Vaishali. 268–232 Rule of Maurya Kin…


(257 words)

Author(s): Holzapfel, Kirsten
The Sanskrit word nirvāṇa (in Pali, nibbāna) denotes the goal of Buddhist practice. The one who realizes the redeeming insight, and therewith nirvana, has been delivered from the conceptualization of an abiding ego, and has overcome greed, hatred, and delusion. For the redeemed person, there is no new karma, and no more reincarnation. The Pali Canon has little to say about nirvana. It is mostly described in negations: it has not come to be, it is imperishable, not born, deathless, neither a coming nor…