Spirituality terms -Glossary
Ahimsa: A religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life. Ahimsa is Sanskrit for avoidance of himsa, or injury.
Ahimsa is the core of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Its first mention in Indian philosophy is found in the Hindu scriptures called the Upanishads, the oldest dating about 800 BC.
Anomalous phenomenon: An observed phenomenon for which there is no suitable explanation in the context of a specific body of scientific knowledge (e.g. astronomy or biology).
Asceticism: Denotes a life which is characterised by refraining from worldly pleasures (austerity). Those who practice ascetic lifestyles often perceive their practices as virtuous and pursue them to achieve greater spirituality.
Blessing: Originally meant “sprinkling with blood” during the pagan sacrifices. A blessing, (also used to refer to bestowing of such) is the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one’s hopes.
Chant: The rhythmic speaking or singing of words or sounds, either on a single pitch or with a simple melody involving a limited set of notes and often including a great deal of repetition or statis.
Consciousness: A quality of the mind generally regarded to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, self-awareness, sentience, sapience, and the ability to perceive the relationship between oneself and one’s environment
Contemplation: A type of prayer or meditation in the Christian, especially Catholic, tradition. It is an attempt to experience God directly. It is connected to Christiam mysticism, and authors such as Teresa of Avila, Margery Kempe, Augustine Baker and Thomas Merton have written about it extensively.
Cosmogony: [Gr. Kosmogonia from Kosmos the world and root of gignesthai to be born] The coming into existence, the creation and origination of the universe. It is also the study of these aspects. So a cosmogony describes how the Universe came to be.
Deity: (or a god) A postulated preternatural being, usually, but not always, of significant power, worshipped, thought holy, divine, or sacred, held in high regard, or respected by human beings.
Dhammapada: A Buddhist religious scripture, containing 423 verses in 26 categories. According to tradition, these are answers to questions put to the Buddha on various occasions, most of which deal with ethics.
Enlightenment: As a concept is related to the Buddhist Bodhi but is a cornerstone of religious and spiritual understanding in practically all religions. It literally means being illuminated by acquiring new wisdom or understanding.
Epigenesis: The philosophical/theological/esoteric idea that since the mind was given to the human being, it is this original creative impulse, epigenesis, which has been the cause of all of mankind’s development.
Eschatology: A part of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or the ultimate fate of human kind, commonly phrased as the end of the world.
Fasting: The act of willingly abstaining from all food and in some cases drink, for a period of time.
Hymn: A song specifically written as a song of praise, adoration or prayer, typically addressed to a god.