Ancient Wisdom

Books or links in bold were used as references in articles.  *Starred books or links are personal favorites and highly recommended.  References are being updated regularly as I accumulate new knowledge and wisdom.  New books or links in the last 3 months are marked accordingly.  I welcome all suggestions for new references.

 

 

*Buddhism    buddhism

One of the world’s major religions, its basic core revolves around enlightenment.  Achieved through wisdom, peace and kindness.  Buddhism does not require a God but instead is teaching how to control thoughts, primarily through meditation.  Reincarnation (coming back to Earth over and over) and rebirth (achieving nirvana in a higher state of conscious being) are at its core.  Originating in India over 2,500 years ago through the teachings of *Gautama Buddha, it is becoming more and more popular around the world.  

 

Links:

A Basic Buddhism Guide

About Buddhism

The Religion of Buddhism

 

Books:

The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Multiple Authors)

 

 

 

Christianity (Traditional)    Christianity

The world’s largest religion, Christianity focuses on salvation.  Based on the teachings of *Jesus Christ, it requires a belief in God and of Jesus, the son of God, whose death, resurrection and ascension are essential to being saved from your sins.  Originating 2000 years ago from Judaism, it is popular throughout the world.  Although there is little reference to reincarnation in modern-day Christianity, it was part of the belief systems of the early church.  Modern Christianity teaches a final judgment and a belief in heaven and hell.

 

Links:

Christianity Website

The Religion of Christianity

Basic Christian Beliefs

 

Books:

The Bible (Multiple Authors)

 

 

 

*Christianity (Gnostic)    Gnosticism

Also based on the teachings of *Jesus Christ, but in a way that does not require beliefs, but an intellectual seeking of God.  Early Gnostics pre-date traditional Christian beliefs.  It revolves around a knowing and a deep understanding of how reality works.  Much of its knowledge and wisdom is derived from ‘lost’ texts that were not included in the modern-day Bible such as the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ and the ‘Nag Hammadi’ texts.  It is considered an ‘alternate’ way of viewing traditional beliefs that go inside instead of seeking outside for salvation.

 

Links:

Gnostic Christians

The Gnostic Perspective on Personal Ascension

Gnosticism: Ancient & Modern

Nag Hammadi Library

Dead Sea Scrolls Collection

Sethian Creation

 

Books:

The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls (Giza Vermes)

The Gnostic Gospels (Elaine Pagels)

 

 

 

Hinduism    Hinduism

The world’s oldest religion, there is no known origin of this wisdom and some say it goes back as much as 10,000 years.  Practiced primarily in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, it is viewed more as a way of life rather than a belief system because its traditions are so diverse and vast.  There is a belief in God, but one that manifests in multiple ways.  Also central is the concept of karma and reincarnation, where similar to Buddhism, the goal is to seek enlightenment, primarily through a guru.  There are many sacred texts, most notably the ‘Mahabharata’ (which contains the Bhagavad Gita), the ‘Ramayana’ and the ‘Vedas’ (which contains the ‘Upanishads’ or ‘Vedanta’).

 

Links:

Hinduism Website

Hinduism for Beginners

Hinduism, Not Simply a Monotheistic Religion

The Vedas

The Vedanta Philosophy

 

Books:

Mahabharata (William Buck)

Bhagavad Gita (Stephen Mitchell)

Bhagavad Gita Demystified (Paramahamsa Nithyananda)

Ramayana (C. Rajagopalachari)

Upanishads (Anonymous)

 

 

 

Islam    Islam

One of the largest religions in the world, Muslims believe in a singular God.  Their faith has been revealed through prophets many times throughout history, most notably through Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.  Muhammad is considered the last and most important prophet, in which the religion is based around.  The purpose of existence according to their faith is to worship God, who created everything.  There are many ways to worship, which are revealed in their sacred text, the ‘Quran’.  Laws are built around these texts, which lay out how to live in many aspects of life, which include the five pillars.  Similar to Christianity, there is a final judgment and a belief in heaven and hell.

 

Links:

A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam

The Religion of Islam

Quran Explorer

 

Books:

The Quran (Multiple Authors)

 

 

 

Judaism    judaism

Another of the world’s largest religions practiced mostly in Israel but also in North America.  Their calendar goes back as far as 5,000 years, but most date the beginning at around 4,000 years ago during the time of their forefather Abraham.  Jewish people believe in God, who’s laws were revealed to Moses and other prophets and captured in the sacred texts of the ‘Tanakh’ (in which the ‘Torah’ is found).  Similar to Islam, there are laws and traditions which must be followed.  In fact, the practice of the religion isn’t just a part of life, it is life.  

 

Links:

Judaism 101

Judaism Origins

 

Books:

The Tanakh (Torah) (Multiple Authors)

 

 

 

*Paganism    Paganism

Difficult to define, this is more of a ritualistic or spiritual practice that originates in pre-modern Europe.  There is not necessarily a belief in God, or if there is, it is a polytheistic God that represents many forms.  Paganism focuses on nature and living things.  It has a diverse belief system which does not fall under any of the traditional religions.  Contemporary beliefs fall under such categories as Wiccan, Neo-Druidism, Shamanism, Pantheism and New Age Spirituality.  It is an individualistic spiritual practice that is not tied down by orthodox dogmas or traditions, which makes it attractive for many people.

 

Links:

Pagan Origins

Introduction to Paganism

Paganism Religion

Some Basic Pagan Beliefs

 

Books:

Paganism Books (Multiple Authors)

Paganism Books (Multiple Authors)

 

 

 

*Taoism   Taoism 

An ancient religion dating back 2,500 years, Taoism originates from China.  The principle behind this religion is The Tao or the way.  The Tao is not God by any traditional sense.  The Tao is the undefinable universe that can not be perceived, only observed.  It is a guidance and a way of being.  Based on the teachings of *Lao Tzu from the book ‘The Tao Te Ching’, it describes how to just be and not necessarily how to do.  In other words action through non-action.  The Yin and Yang represent the good in the bad and the bad in the good, which is the natural flow of the universe.  Letting it be is the way of the Tao.

 

Links:

Taoism Origins

Taoism Religion

What Do Taoists Believe?

Center of Traditional Taoist Studies

 

Books:

*The Tao Te Ching (Steven Mitchell)

The Complete I Ching (Alfred Huang)

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: