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Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature and a study of inherited ancestral traditions, knowledge and wisdom related to understanding human life. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.

In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief--typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.

The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.

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Kotokuin Kamakura Daibutsu Amida Great Buddha Outdoor Statue Kanagawa prefecture Japan.
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of the Buddha, Siddh?rtha Gautama, who lived between approximately 563 and 483 BCE. Originating in India, Buddhism gradually spread throughout Asia to Central Asia, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Southeast Asia, as well as the East Asian countries of China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan.

The aim of buddhist practices is to become free of suffering, or dukkha. Some schools emphasize awakening the practitioner to the realization of anatta (egolessness, the absence of a permanent or substantial self) and achieve enlightenment and Nirvana. Other Buddhist scriptures (the "Tathagatagarbha" sutras) encourage the practitioner to cleanse him/herself of the mental and moral defilements of the "worldly self" and thereby penetrate through to a perception of the indwelling "Buddha-Principle" ("Buddha-nature"), also termed the "True Self" (see "Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra"), and thus become transformed into a Buddha. Some other schools appeal to bodhisattvas for a favourable rebirth. Some others do none of these things. Most, if not all, Buddhist schools also teach followers to perform good and wholesome actions, to avoid bad and harmful actions. There can be very large differences between different Buddhist schools of thought.

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A commonly used version of the Taijitu
Credit: Gregory Maxwell

The Taijitu (Chinese: ; pinyin: Taìjí tú; Wade-Giles: T'ai4 chi2 t'u2; literally: "diagram of the supreme ultimate"), often incorrectly called a yin-yang, is a well known symbol deriving from Chinese culture which represents the principle of yin and yang from Taoist and Neo-Confucian philosophy. The term Taijitu itself refers to any of several schematic diagrams representing these principles.

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Confucius (Chinese: , transliterated Kong Fuzi or K'ung-fu-tzu, lit. "Master Kong," but most frequently referred to as Kongzi , traditionally September 28, 551 - 479 BC) was a famous Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced East Asian life and thought.

His philosophy emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Daoism during the Han Dynasty. Confucius' thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism. It was introduced to Europe by the Jesuit Matteo Ricci, who was the first to Latinise the name as "Confucius".

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January 20:

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Atom of Atheism
Thank God I'm an atheist.

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Illuminated Guru Granth folio with nisan (Mool Mantar) of Guru Gobind Singh. Collection of Takht Sri Harimandir Sahib, Patna.
The Guru Granth Sahib (Punjabi: ? , gur? grantha s?hiba) - Granth is Punjabi for book; Sahib is Hindi meaning master, from Arabic, meaning companion, friend, owner, or master - is the holy scripture of the Sikh and Ravidasi faiths.

In the Sikh view it is considered to be more than just a holy book. The Sikhs treat this Granth (holy book) as a living Guru. The holy text spans 1430 pages and contains the actual words spoken by the Sikh Gurus and various other Saints from other religions including Hinduism, Islam, the Kabirpanthi religion and the Ravidasi religion.

The Adi Granth is often used to refer to the Guru Granth Sahib. The Adi Granth only forms the portion of the Granth which Guru Arjan compiled in 1604. This term is often used interchangeably so it is important to note the context within which it is used. The Granth was made a guru by the last of the living Sikh Masters, Guru Gobind Singh in 1708.

The holy text comprises over 5000 Shabhads or hymns which are poetically constructed; and set to classical form of music rendition Ragas; can be set to predetermined musical Talas (rhythmic beats) and have a definite message for the whole of humanity.

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