RELIGION IN INDIA AND ASIA
Asia is the world’s largest and most populous continent, with millions of different peoples following a wide variety of different religions. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world’s mainstream religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism as well as many other beliefs.
CSI – The first Anglican Church in India
Main article: Christianity in Asia
Christianity is a widespread minority religion in Asia. Only four countries are predominantly Christian, Cyprus which is predominantly Greek Orthodox, the Philippines, which is the 4th largest Roman Catholic nation in the world, and East Timor. South Korea has the largest percentage of Protestant believers in all of Asia, with believers accounting for almost 31% of the population (Christianity accounts for 25% of South Korea’s population, 50% of its religious population). There are small Christian communities in Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. More than 24 million Christians live in India, concentrated especially in the North-Eastern and Southern parts of the country. There are also many Christians in China and Israel.
Main article: Islam in Asia
Islam is the largest religion in asia with about 1.26 billion muslim. Southeast Asia is home of the most populous Muslim countries, with Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh having more than 100 million adherents each. According to U.S. government figures, in 2006 there were 20 million Muslims in China. In the Middle East, the non-Arab countries of Iran and Turkey are the largest Muslim-majority countries. In South Asia, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the countries with the largest Muslim-majority. Maldives and Saudi Arabia from the Middle East are basically 100% Muslim countries.
Mosque in Afghanistan
Main article: Ahmadiyya
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, a minority Muslim sect, originated on the Asian continent in 1889 in Qadian, India. The community had 10 million members as of 1980s. As of 2008, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been established in all Asian countries except for Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Georgia and North Korea. Ahmadis are most persecuted in Asia, particularly in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India.
 East Asian religions
Main article: East Asian religions
East Asian religions, also called Taoic religions, are Confucianism, Shinto, and Taoism. Far Eastern religions is a similar grouping, but includes Chinese folk religion.
Main article: Confucianism
Confucianism was founded in China by the famous philosopher, Kong Fu Zi (more commonly known in English-speaking countries as Confucius). Confucianism is a complex system of moral, social, political, philosophical, and quasi-religious thought that has had tremendous influence on the culture and history of East Asia. Some consider it to be the state religion of East Asian countries because of governmental promotion of Confucian values.
Main article: Shinto
Shinto is almost unique to Japan and the Japanese diaspora. It is a set of practices carried out to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past. Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 7th and 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified “Shinto religion”, but rather to disorganized folklore, history, and mythology. Shinto today is a term that applies to public shrines suited to various purposes such as war memorials, harvest festivals, romance, and historical monuments, as well as various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Nara and Heian Periods.
Main article: Taoism
Taoism, also called Daoism, is a series of political and religious concepts and practices. It was founded by Lao Tse in 4th century BCE.refers to a variety of related philosophical and religious traditions that have influenced Eastern Asia for more than two millennia, and have had a notable influence on the western world particularly since the 19th century. The word , Tao (or Dao, depending on the romanization scheme), roughly translates as, “path” or “way” (of life), although in Chinese folk religion and philosophy it carries more abstract meanings. Taoist propriety and ethics emphasize the Three Jewels of the Tao: compassion, moderation, and humility, while Taoist thought generally focuses on nature, the relationship between humanity and the cosmos , health and longevity, and wu wei (action through inaction), which is thought to produce harmony with the Universe.
Reverence for ancestor spirits and immortals is also common in popular Taoism. Organized Taoism distinguishes its ritual activity from that of the folk religion, which some professional Taoists (Daoshi) view as debased. Chinese alchemy (including Neidan), astrology, cuisine, Zen Buddhism, several Chinese martial arts, Chinese traditional medicine, feng shui, immortality, and many styles of qigong breath training disciplines have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history
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Main article: Indian religion
Indian religions, also called Dharmic religions, are the predominant and oldest religions of Asia. Most of Asia’s population follows Indian religions. Asia is the home for Indian religions; all Indian religions originated in South Asia. These religions all have the concepts of dharma, karma, and reincarnation.
Main article: Hinduism in Southeast Asia
Hinduism is a way of living according to the one’s understanding of principles of Vedas and Upanishads. Veda is revealed knowledge. Just as the knowledge of gravity was revealed to Newton, similarly, in India, many Rishis or Seers were awakened to certain transcendental Eternal Truths. These Rishis realized that their real nature was not concerned with or linked with ‘body or mind’, nor was it dependent on sense perceptions, but was in fact identical with the Universal Consciousness.
Hinduism is the majority religion in India and Nepal, with strong minorities in the Asian nations of Bhutan, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, and Sri Lanka. Before the spread of Buddhism and Islam, Hinduism (and Shaivism in particular) was the most widely practiced religion of Southeast Asia.
Hinduism as we know it can be subdivided into a number of major currents. Of the historical division into six darshanas, only two schools, Vedanta and Yoga survive. The main divisions of Hinduism today are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Smartism and Shaktism. The vast majority of present day Hindus can be categorized under one of these four groups, although there are many other, partly overlapping, allegiances and denominations.
Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion. It predates recorded history, with historians and scholars dating its earliest beginnings from around 6000 to 8000 BCE. It has no single founder; rather, it is a diverse melange of traditions, practices, and lineages., Jainism and Sikhism emerged in India from Hinduism.
Main article: Buddhism in Asia
Buddhism is the second largest religion in Asia and dominant in Bhutan, Burma, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore. It also has strong minorities in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal and Russia.
Buddhism was founded by Siddartha Gautama , also known as Buddha, in India.Buddha is sometimes also referred to as an incarnation of lord vishnu according to the indian mythology.
Main article: Jainism
Jainism is the fourth largest of Indian religions. Jains are mostly found in India. It is based on the teachings of Mahavir Jain.
Main article: Sikhism
Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world. It is a monotheistic religion. Founded by Guru Nanak Dev in the 1500s, the religion professes its roots in the area of Punjab, whose territories form part of India and Pakistan. Sikhism, founded in fifteenth century Punjab on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and ten successive Sikh Gurus (the last one being the sacred text Guru Granth Sahib), is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the counsel of the gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism originated from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from the Sanskrit root śiṣya meaning “disciple” or “learner”, or śikṣa meaning “instruction”. Their sacred book is called.”Guru Granth Sahib”
Main article: Iranian religions
Main article: Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism(Zoroastrianismo) was once the state religion of the Persian Empire, but is now a minority mostly found in India and Iran. It worships a monotheistic god, Ahura Mazda, and was founded by Zoroaster. It is the original Iranic religion, and spawned Manichaeism and Mazdakism.Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra, in Avestan), probably founded some time before the 6th century BC in Iran. The term Zoroastrianism is, in general usage, essentially synonymous with Mazdaism, i.e., the worship of Ahura Mazda, exalted by Zoroaster as the supreme divine authority.
In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil originates from Him. Thus, in Zoroastrianism good and evil have distinct sources, with evil (druj) trying to destroy the creation of Mazda (asha), and good trying to sustain it. Mazda is not immanent in the world, and His creation is represented by the Amesha Spentas and the host of other Yazatas, through whom the works of God are evident to humanity, and through whom worship of Mazda is ultimately directed. The most important texts of the religion are those of the Avesta, of which a significant portion has been lost, and mostly only the liturgies of which have survived. The lost portions are known of only through references and brief quotations in the later works of (primarily) the 9th-11th centuries.
Zoroastrianism is of great antiquity. In some form, it served as the national- or state religion of a significant portion of the Iranian people for many centuries before it was gradually marginalized by Islam from the 7th century onwards. The political power of the pre-Islamic Iranian dynasties lent Zoroastrianism immense prestige in ancient times, and some of its leading doctrines were adopted by other religious systems. It has no major theological divisions (the only significant schism is based on calendar differences), but it is not monolithic. Modern-era influences have a significant impact on individual/local beliefs, practices, values and vocabulary, sometimes complementing tradition and enriching it, but sometimes also displacing tradition entirely.
Main article: Manichaeism
Manichaeism was founded by the prophet, Mani. It was once a strong minority in Iran and a majority in Central Asia.
Shamanism and Animism
Main articles: Shamanism, Animism, Shamanism in Siberia, and Tengriism
Shamanism has historically been practised in northern Asia as far west as northern Europe.