1. Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world!
After Christianity, Islamism and Hinduism, Buddhism has over 360 million followers! The largest populations of Buddhist populations are in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.
2. Buddha isn’t actually a god.
Although he’s in many statues, Buddha himself explicitly denied he was a god. Instead, he’s a role model for study and learning for other practitioners of Buddhism.
3. There is not “one” way to practice Buddhism.
Even though it is listed as one religion, there is no official Buddhism. Everyone practices in a different way. Some involve a higher power, others not. The Dalai Lama is only the leader of the Tibetan Buddhists, and considered a leader of the Gelug School.
4. There is also more than one Buddha.
There are many different perceptions of Buddha, and many different corresponding statues to go along with them. There is the “fat” Buddha from Chinese folktales, also called the Laughing Buddha. There is also another depiction of Buddha in Thailand, India and Korea, and he is quite skinny.
5. If you’re curious about Buddhism, start with being mindful.
Buddhism focuses on the art of being aware in each moment. This is achieved through meditation, breathing practice, and thinking about the “four noble truths”
dukkha - That all forms of being, human and otherwise, are afflicted with suffering.(the truth of suffering)
samudaya - That the cause of this suffering is craving. (the truth of the cause of suffering)
nirhodha - That this suffering has a lasting end is the complete letting go of attachment.(the truth of the end of suffering)
magga - That this Enlightenment is achieved through the Eightfold Path. (the truth of the path that frees us from suffering)
DID YOU KNOW THAT . . .
1. Muslim ≠ Arab?
Only 20% of Muslims are Arabs! The supermajority (or 60 percent or so) come from the Asia-Pacific region. – Pew Research
2. Not only is Jesus is mentioned five times more in the Quran than Mohammed is, but Jesus is also the most mentioned person in the Quran? - Wikipedia
3. Wearing a veil is not required in Islam?
Instead, it is more of a custom, depending on where you live. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is required; however, there are actually more Muslim countries that outright ban the wearing of the veils than there are that require them. – The New Encyclopedia of Islam
4. “Science and math as we know it wouldn't even exist without Islam?"
"The Islamic Golden Age caused a revolution in virtually every field of human thought, during which they invented algebra -- and advanced everything from geography and exploration to the arts, architecture, philosophy, urban development, medicine and health” – Cracked.
5. The Founding Fathers of the United States and Islam go way back?
For example, Thomas Jefferson, owned a copy of the Quran, with which he taught himself Arabic. He also hosted the first White House Iftar during Ramadan (Journey into America). Not only that, but Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah of Morocco was the first world figure to recognize the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain in 1777 (Cracked).
NOW YOU KNOW!
1. Did you know that Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world?
The origins of Hinduism date back to 2300 – 1500 BCE – that’s up to over 4,000 years ago! (CNN)
2. The word "Hindu" derives from the name of the River Indus, which flows through northern India. (Thought Co).
3. Unlike many religions, Hinduism does not have a founder.
It grew out of cultural and religious changes in India. (CNN)
4. Hinduism is the 3rd largest religion in the world, after Christianity and Islam. (CNN).
5. Hinduism teaches reincarnation - the belief that all living organisms continue eternally in cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. This is where the term you’ve all heard – Karma- comes into play. Hindus believe that existence of this cycle is governed by Karma.
6. So what exactly is Karma?
Karma is the belief that all of life is governed by a system of cause and effect, action and reaction, in which one's deeds have corresponding effects on the future. Once the weight of all bad karma is removed, the karmic wheel of reincarnation ceases to turn, and the soul (Atman) is released and the seeker is reunited with Brahman, or the supreme existence or absolute reality – thereby achieving the goal of Moksha - the release of the Atman from the cycle of rebirth. (Religion Facts).
7. Contrary to popular belief, Hindus actually only believe in one God – Brahman.
Brahman is the eternal origin who is the cause and foundation of all existence. The other gods of the Hindu faith represent different forms of Brahman. The 3 most important Hindu gods (forms of Brahman) are: Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver), Shiva (Destroyer) (BBC).
8. Hindus can worship both male and female gods.
However, they also believe that the ultimate divine energy exists beyond these descriptions and categories – that the divine soul is present and active in all living things. Therefore, all living creatures are important to Hindus, especially cows.
9. A common misconception is that Hindus worship cows. They don’t.
“We respect, honor and adore the cow. By honoring this gentle animal, who gives more than she takes, we honor all creatures.” Hindus consider cows to be sacred, for they provide humans with life sustaining milk. To the Hindu, the cow symbolizes all other creatures. The cow is a symbol of the Earth, the nourisher, the ever-giving, undemanding provider. (NHSF).
10. Following up with #8 and # 9, most forms of Hinduism include the practice of vegetarianism.
The primary reason is the practice of ahimsa (nonviolence), which forbids violent actions against animals. (UUA).
11. Hindus do not usually proselytize (attempt to convert others to their religion). (CliffNotes).
12. Like Judaism, the Hindu place of communal worship is called a Temple.
13. In Hinduism, the dead are cremated.
It is believed that this will help their soul to escape quickly from the body. (BBC).
14. Like in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, pilgrimages are an important aspect of Hinduism. (Brittanica).
Popular pilgrimage sites are often located in spots of great natural beauty thought to be pleasing to deities as well as humans. Many are located within India.
15. It is no secret that yoga came out of India. However, did you know that the word Yoga first appears in the Vedas (sacred Hindu Script)?
In Hinduism, there are four paths or yogas that a Hindu can take to achieve Moksha. They are the paths of: Knowledge (Jnana-Yoga), Meditation (Dhyana-yoga), Devotion (Bhakti-yoga), and Good Works (Karma-yoga). (Sivananda Yoga).
NOW YOU KNOW!
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Human rights are a set of rights that are justifiably something everyone is entitled to. A right is the ability to be entitled to be treated in a just and moral way, along with legal entitlement to be protected physically and emotionally from outside forces. It is something that people need and also should have direct access to - as it supports life.
The United Nations published the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and created a guideline for what fundamental human rights were for the first time in history. These rights have been translated into 500 global languages.
Although this Declaration is universally recognized, it is not globally upheld. Below is the Declaration of Human Rights, as taken directly from the United Nations. In bold we have commented and given an explanation of what each article means. We have also included examples of how either human rights are not being carried out or how the Declaration has beneficially impacted the global community. There remains a long process ahead until what has been written on paper and enacted, is carried out universally amongst all nations and peoples. With more education and consequently, more people doing the right thing, we continue to progress.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.
Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
While this is the general idea it is a true rarity to find a nation where there is cohesive peace and “the spirit of brotherhood.” According to the Insider Monkey, there are 11 top countries when it comes to upholding Human Rights including: Slovenia, New Zealand, Iceland, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Belgium, Canada, San Marino and Norway as the number one.
Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
The Declaration is enforced in several key ways. The first is the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which monitors how states abide by and fulfill their individual duties under the Declaration. Further, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner, the Human Rights Council, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child are all entities that have been established to enforce the document and to carry out its mission.
Article 3. Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
What is life, liberty and security of person? Claiming Human Rights explains that life is something that is inherent, that it cannot be taken by someone, and only in response to the highest criminal act can someone receive the death penalty.
Article 4. No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Slavery and servitude still exists - despite it being illegal in every country in the world. Slavery may no longer look like it once was. In today’s world, slavery exists as forced labour, child slavery, marital and sex slavery and more. Today, due to population growth as well as extreme corruption and crime, there are more slaves in the world today than ever before. According to the Global Slavery Index there were an estimated 45.8 million people throughout 167 countries bound to some form of modern slavery in 2016.
Article 5. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
These past couple years there have been an extreme rise in conflicts - from the refugee crises to terrorism, from gun shootings to continuous internal conflict in unstable states. According to Foreign Policy, as of 2017 the top conflicts concerning human rights are: Syria and Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Lake Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ukraine, and Mexico. In each of these cases there are people who are raped, civilians who are hurt and then killed, and parties tortured. Check out this insightful article below to better understand the happenings of 2017 and just how dire the situations are.
Article 6. Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
First and foremost, people are seen as people and ones with emotions, needs and desires. Across the world, there are people who are advocating on behalf of their fellow citizens in order to create a better world. Some of the best human rights advocates and advocates for change are Human Rights Watch, International Amnesty and Refugees International, among many more. To donate to any of these or to another NGO that is fighting to make a difference, follow this link: https://www.fundsforngos.org/featured-articles/worlds-top-ten-human-rights-organisations/
This was just a brief introduction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To see the additional 24 articles, visit: