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22 Οκτ 2019

THE FOUNDERS OF THE RELIGIONS

Translated from the original by Costas Balomenos




Τ
he religions, not only the oldest but also the newer, we separate them in polytheistic and monotheistic, i.e. to those who accept the existence of many gods and to those who accept the existence one God. Apart from the above distinction, the religions are divided - regardless if they are polytheistic or monotheistic - in those who they owe their existence to a founder and in those that there were traditionally without having been founded by someone. We will deal with religions that have a founder...



    The founders of religions are:
1. Buddha
2. Zoroaster
3. Jesus Christ
4. Confucius
5. Lao
Tse
6. Mencius
7. Muhammad
8. Nanak


Buddha



Before mentioning to the biography of Buddha, it is beneficial to make two clarifications necessary because most people are confused about them. First, that Buddha did not had that name (Buddha), as most believe, nor that the name Buddha means God. Besides, Buddha never argued that is a God or even a son of God.
The Siddhartha or Sincharta Gautama - this was the real name of Buddha was a son of a rich ruler of Sountontana that ruled over the Sakya, a small province in the north of India, which today is bisected by the border with Nepal.
For the year of birth there is not unanimous, because the different Buddhist schools do not agree absolutely when their Master lived. So it's hard to identify if he was born in the 7th century, or in 6th century, or in 5th century BC. The Theravada prevailing in South Asia puts his life of between 623 and 543 BC The Mahayana Buddhists supporting various viewpoints. For many years prevailed the theory that he lived between 563 and 483 B.C. But they all agree that he lived 80 years.
According to some Buddhist stories appearing speculations that was preceded one immaculate conception of Siddhartha from Maya his mother, in which the Holy Spirit - in responding to the customs of the country - took the form of a white elephant. His mother died before he could bring him to the world and thus they entrusted in Machapratzapati, in her sister, who was the second wife of his father.
He spent his childhood and early youth into luxury and opulence. At 16 years married a beautiful and gentle new, the Giasontara or Bantakakana, who was his cousin. The couple acquired a son, Rachoula 13 years after his marriage.
According to tradition, he saw successively four pageants”: an old man paid up, a heavy sick, a dead body and a peaceful ascetic. Then realizing the futility of life and the possible outlet for this - in the face of an ascetic - he abandoned everything he had, such as comfortable life, woman and child and in the age of 29 years went as apprentice at Alara Calama, a religious teacher and ascetic, who was teaching methods of self-immersion and self-consciousness. But disappointed by his complicated theories and he abandoned him, becoming a student at Ountaka Ramapoutta, another ascetic. But gasped the same disappointment and there and after he left him and engaged in a relentless pursuit of the body believing that in this way he will find the redemption. Finally, he dedicated himself to a prolonged deep meditation under a sycamore tree, now known as theBodhi Tree”. After 49 days of intensive introspection, a night of full moon May had reached to an internal flare, realizing suddenly that the problem in humans is the "tahna", i.e. the desire from which man must be relieved, to enter into the eternal blessedness the "nirvana". Thus became the Siddhartha Gautama, the “Buddha” = "Enlightened," the one who discovered the truth, hereafter he put purpose in life to convey to people. Immediately he did and the first students in the face of the first five ascetics who approached him, who by accepting the teachings of Buddha were admitted as “Bikou”= monks. Soon the number increased to 60, to which it entrusts - as himself he did - to tour in towns and villages preaching his theory. Quickly across the entire western region of the river Ganges were founded the first men's Buddhist monasteries and much later, after several hesitations, gives his consent to get up and the first female monastic orders, in which accede his stepmother and his wife.
Many kings and rulers of India, perhaps because of his noble birth were made dedicated followers, like many ordinary people from all walks of life. Forty-five years lasted his teaching and at the age 80 years, whilst was heading in the city Vassali he fell seriously ill, but managed to recover and continue his course. Away team with his accompaniment in the estate of his loyal follower Tsounta, he lunched a heavy meal, pork with mushrooms, that destined to be the cause of his death, when was directed in the region of Kousinara. There goes out - according to tradition - a night with a full moon of May in 483 BC, saying the last didactic words: The wear is associated with all composite things. Strive for your salvation with great zeal” and he passes longer in the absolute nothing, “nirvana”.
His followers and the local inhabitants burned his relics and yielded values ​​to him for seven days. His ashes were shared in the eight states of the region where he lived and taught, and later were placed in special mausoleums known as “stupas”, which then have become places of worship and pilgrimage of the faithful.


Zoroaster



He is the founder of the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism. As is the case other founders of religions, the biographical information is covered by veil of myth mainly for two reasons. First, that very few and disjointed biographical information have been rescued until today and secondly the myths about his life confused with reality. First, we do not know exactly when he lived. The older researchers place him in the period of the 7th or 6th century BC, while the younger ones choose the time between 1400 and 1000 BC. We see that is a time difference, which reaches the 700-800 years. His name, which is the Hellenized form of the ancient Persian “Zarathustra”, meaning “he with the light brown camels” or more likely “he who directs the camels”. Member of the sub-race Spitama, was probably born in the province of Bactria, an area which is currently located on the border between Afghanistan and Turkestan. Belonged to the Indo-Iranian wave that arrived in Persia in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, who was then a transitory period for the native population of the wider region, since abandoned the nomadic life for the sake of the rural life. He calls himself "Zaoutar", meaning "priest" who has the ability to fall into a trance to communicate with the divine and the spirits. According to tradition, he married three times, and of these marriages had three sons and three daughters.
When he reached the age of 30 years received the call to prophetic work through a vision. This vision puzzled him and when they followed and others, was confirmed that he was the chosen one, who ought to convey to people the religious revelation for the uniqueness of the God of Good, who called Ahura Masda. To achieve this, had to confront the religious establishment until then, which it did, resulting to cause warm devotion to his face but also violent reaction. Deplored some bloody sacrifices and rituals of traditional Parcism, i.e. the traditional religion of the Persians, while on the contrary he insisted on the purity of the soul. But he kept the respect to the fire, which it considered that expresses the brilliance of Ahura Masda, but also because it also has laxative significance. The teaching of Zoroaster was not to find resonance and response directly from the Persians, but nevertheless he was not disappointed.  Had to go through ten long years to find his first follower, who also was a relative person, i.e. his cousin. Because of the reaction, which he met was forced to leave his tribe and eventually resorted to the court of King Vistaspa, who became his follower. With the support of Vistaspa, Zoroastrianism was declared the official religion of Persia. The disciples of Zoroaster is known by different names such as, “poor”, “friends”, “knowledgeable”, “comrades in the oath”, which identify and their character.
All sources agree that Zoroaster died at age 77 years. According to some subsequent information, he was killed by a priest of the old religion in front of an altar in a raid against the capital of Vistaspa.



Jesus Christ



He is the founder of the religion of Christianity. It is the only religion whose the founder argued to be God, who became incarnate to save the people from evil and death. The name Jesus means Savior” and Christ is “one who is anointed”. The arrest from his mother became supernaturally without the participation of a man, but with the energy of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Most High.
He was born in Bethlehem in an insignificant town of Judea when Octavian Augustus was emperor of Rome between 7-4 BC. On the eighth day from his birth, became circumcised according to Jewish customs and when he was forty days his mother took him to church, where there a righteous man Simeon prophesied that it would be “controversial pointfor people. He was forced to leave for a period of time with his mother Mary and his adoptive father Joseph in Egypt because King Herod of Judea wanted to exterminate him, fearing that would take his throne, and returned after his death in 4 P.C. At age 12 he visited with his parents in the Temple of Jerusalem, where he stunned the wise men of his time, with the knowledge they had. By the age of 30 years stayed with his parents in the city of Nazareth, practicing the profession of carpenter. At this age, after he was baptized by John the Baptist (Prodromos) - so named because he was talking about his coming - started his teaching and public action, choosing as his assistant a narrow circle of 12 disciples and a wider circle of 70 disciples. Among them there were women and girls, which is unheard of for the rabbis (teachers) of the Jewish religion. The new message that was brought was love to all, even to the enemies of everyone. His message did not like to the status quo of his time, so after deceitfully arrested after treason of Judas - one of the 12 disciples - and they condemned him to death by crucifixion. The decision was executed in Easter of the year 33 AD, the biggest celebration of the Jews. After his burial, he was resurrected and made many appearances to his disciples, in who after his ascension into heaven sent to spread the message around the world. Promised to come again to earth, without setting a specific date, this time gloriously and not humbly as the first time to dispense justice, rewarding the good and punishing the bad guys.


Confucius



He is the founder of the eponymous Chinese religion Confucianism. It is he who has said the famous phrase “when the finger pointing to the moon, the idiot looks at the finger”, phrase meaning our involvement in life with unnecessary and non-essential things. Of course to be perfectly accurate, Confucius there has been no just the founder of religion, but he formed the existing traditional religion of China until then. The canonical name of this great thinker was Conk Cius and he lived from 551 to 479 BC. His title, Conk Foutsi i.e. the teacher of Conk, was latinized from Christian missionaries into Confucius. His father was called Su - Liang - Ho descended from noble family and had a reputation brave and serious man. Unfortunately, lost him at age three, thus forced to develop different skills to escape from poverty. Married at age 19 and his wife belonged to the family Tzien Kua from the State of Sung. She gave him a son, Lee and a daughter. In twenty-three years old he lost his mother and he retired three years to grieve. He lived in a time of change, in which the increasing independence of feudal states and the rapid spread of empire downgraded the old class of race which was and religiously established. The whole of this class was the tradition of the old Zhou Dynasty 11th BC century, which was maintained in the hometown of Confucius until his days. The Chinese tradition - glorifying later his face - he calls Confucius as a great teacher, which applies to the extent that he attached great value on education and regimen. Initially tried to capture conceptually the unclassified social and political relations of his time, rejecting the characterizations of the era of Zhou, which are in the last analysis used in social data and replaced in relation to ethical standards. The "teaching" is dated back to Loungiou = discussions”, an anthology of his traditions, which was collected by his students or under others by his grandchildren. Important texts are the book of historical sources of Confucius and especially the book of chants. So the religion and the customs, though - according to him - did not play a major role, was considered necessary in the formulation and conservation of state order and hence the welfare of the people. There is a complete absence of metaphysical theories in the thought of Confucius. He accepts the old Chinese belief which is based on ancestor worship and the rural cult. Considers that the present should be compared with the old days of the "golden century" and the prince be trying to emulate the legendary rulers of the past who had received the heavenly mandate. Is said that was so dear to the people and fair, so that when he was in charge of a province to Lou, there was not the slightest misconduct by its inhabitants. Unfortunately was attacked by the wealthy of the area, so - disgusted by this fact - withdrew from the public affairs.
In 482 BC lost his son Lee and the following year his favorite disciple Yen Hui, which cost him much. He died in 479 in obscurity at the age of 73. Many disciples mourned him for three years.
In today's folk religion of China Confucius still plays an important role. In Taiwan dealt like a saint and every year on 28 October, they celebrate his birthday. But in his temple, Confucius is not honored as a god but as a forefather.
In classical temples in which is honored the spirit of the ancestors, there are not statues of him but tables of soul as guardians of the ancestral spirit of the teacher and the most important disciples.


Lao Tse



Famous Chinese philosopher is the founder of the Chinese religion of Taoism. The biographical details of his life are full of mythological elements and therefore be quite cloudy the time of his action. It is most likely that he was born in 604 BC He was curator of the royal library, located in the capital Loch which were lying not far from today's Loch - Yandong of the province Ho - Nan. The first name was Erch which means ear and his surname was Li which means plum. Stayed however known in history under the name of Lao - Tse meaning "old man - teacher" or “old man philosopherbut literally rendered as “senile child, because according to tradition pregnant in the belly of his mother for 81 years and when he finally born his hair was white and he had face old man. By researchers of ancient Chinese history is considered certain that he met several times with the other big Chinese physiognomy, the famous Confucius who, however, considered being much earlier than him. One of these meetings took place in 571 BC, but it is anything but friendly it was, but the wisdom of Lao - Tse made vivid impression in Confucius. As for the date of his death, historically nothing is absolutely certain. The Chinese historian Schi - ma - Chien reports that Lao - Tse was lived for a long time in the capital. Seeing the forfeiture of Cheu dynasty, wanted to leave the capital and make a marching in the NW China. But in the corresponding NW city ​​gate, was recognized by the guard of this, who was named Yin - Xi, who urged him to write the book “Tao - Tech King i.e. the book about the divinity and the virtue. And indeed Lao - Tse wrote this book, which is the principle of the religion of Taoism. This historian mentions then that Lao - Tse, after he wrote this book, it delivered to the guard of the city and he departed to an unknown address and it was not learned then neither where nor when he died. Tradition says that he lived as a hermit until old age to the one hundred and fifty to two hundred years. The format of Lao - Tse has never ceased to be respected in all strata of Chinese society. For the people became saint and was deified. An inscription dating from 165 AD describes him as a result of the primordial chaos”, “co-eternal with the luminous bodies”, i.e. the sun, the moon and the stars. The primitive simplicity is his ideal. The proposed attitude about life is summarized in the famous phrase Wo Wai”, i.e. “do nothing” or “do everything, doing nothing”.


Mencius



Meng - Che or Mencius as he is known in the West was another great Chinese wise, for whom many they consider to be the same level as Confucius. Previously, the researchers considered that lived from 372 to 289 BC, but now argue that he lived from 390 to 305 BC. His contribution to the growth and prevalence of the teaching of Confucius was huge, thereby affected and the culture of China and the whole of East Asia. By analogy, it is considered as an "Apostle Paul" of Confucianism. His name is Latin transcription of Meng - Che or Mong - Ngi or Mang - Ngie and it means the teacher Meng.
He was born from old noble family in the state Chu, in an area that is now part of the province Santoungk. His life has similar proportions to that of Confucius. At age three was orphaned from his father, so his mother took over his upbringing, which in Chinese tradition being the symbol of excellent mother.
A disciple of Confucius who was his grandson, Ju Ssu initiated him to the teachings of Confucianism, which it had embraced with such enthusiasm and passion to become the most famous teacher of his teaching. For a short time he served as an dignitary in the state of Chi, but the bulk of his life was spent traveling to different regions of the vast China as in Tang, Liang, Lu, in which he benefited not only of hospitality but also large prices, he and his accompaniment, since the various rulers hired him as their mentor. This period of Mencius, he was famous as the period of “warring kingdoms”. But what you happened to Confucius happened to him. Because was giving great importance to good, which was not necessarily useful and because was stressed the value of the common people, displeased the Chinese rulers, since this attitude of the Mencius did not like, resulting in to abandon them and come back full frustration in his hometown, where dedicated himself until his death in the teaching of the multitude of his disciples and recording of philosophical and political ideas.
The basis of his teaching was the boundless optimism that harbored for human nature, despite the frustrations that had experienced by her, who sometimes touching the limits of utopia. Elevated the simple people by saying that the ruler to govern needs the silent consent, and the agricultural reforms that proposed were moving in socialist levels. It is particularly popular in Chinese people, because the cultivation of moral equality which advocated, gave him his lost dignity.


Muhammad



He is the founder of the religion of Islamism or of Islam. Born in 570 AD the Mecca of Arabia. His father died shortly before being born. So he orphaned by her father at a young age and he entered to the service of the wealthy widow named Chantitza, which he eventually married although he was much older than her. At age 40, as referred to in Koran - the holy book of Muslims - appeared in front of him the angel Gabriel, announcing him that the God (Allah) chose him as his last prophet. Muhammad was preaching that Allah is not the leading among the gods, but it is the only God and the worship of other gods is a sin.
The polytheistic environment of his hometown Mecca and especially the rich class that has encountered with hostility the preaching of Muhammad and even attempted to exterminate him, because he preached the social responsibility, praising the mercy of Allah and the prospect of Paradise's joy. The powerful and wealthy feared that the spread of his views would have had a negative impact on trade and businesses of their, mainly because the pilgrims of the sacred stone Kaava - a black meteorite - can be to not returned. So, in 622 AD Muhammad and his followers resorted to Medina. This is called “Hegira” (in arabic Hijrah) and regarded by Muslims as the starting point of chronology namely in year 1a.Μ.
In Medina, his preaching he found great response and the city organized based on the new religion. Anticipating that it could - due to the spread of his teaching - to collide with the Arab tribes organized his followers into a military army. He showed a special leadership talent and he developed diplomatic flexibility and persuasion in the Union of the Arab tribes. The political activities of Mohammed in the Arab united match often led to doubts concerning to the fact of revelation and became the cause be attributed of his rivals the title of “false prophet”, which is evident in the Koran.
Muhammad himself, though he was considered himself as the last prophet, however he believed that as a man was not the standard of human infallibility. In the course of the formation of the tradition of Islam he changed to an infallibility absolutely perfect man. His teaching has profound effects from Judaism and Christianity, which was however seen by monks of the sect of Nestorianism. This is who gave the order to Muslims turn to Mecca during prayer and honor Ramadan as a month of forty days fasting. In 630 AD he attacked to Mecca and occupied it, thus consolidating his dominance. In 632 AD died and was succeeded by his close associate Abu - Baakr, who took the title of caliph (successor).


Nanak



He is the founder of the religion of Sikhism or Sikhs. Seeing the differences and the hatred that existed between Hindus and Muslims of India, which often had led them to heinous crimes, he wanted to combine on both religions, taking elements from the one from the other and believing that this will solve the problem and bring the religious peace.
Born in 1469 AD in Talvanti of Punjab in Northern India, about 65km southwest of Lahore. He belonged to an important social class (caste), that of the warrior xatrigyas” which was aristocratic caste. In his first steps were a Hindu and the area in which he lived were often the theatre of violence and fanaticism of Muslims and Hindus. These experiences led him to seek a combination and an excess over of these religious groups. The secret Indian tradition brought on him stronger effect than the Muslim.
Without renouncing the world, work and family, after he had wife and two sons, was sunk for years to intense contemplation. At age 30 lived a spiritual experience that supposedly was found in the courtyard of God, from which he received directly his religious messages. For this, he began touring in various regions of India, which was the major centers of Hindu and Muslim and teach his experiences them. Various stories with questionable historical accuracy, which were released after his death and later they collected in anthologies known as “Tzanam sakkis”, report that he traveled to distant countries such as Baghdad, Mecca, Ceylon (now Sri - Lanka), and even that reached in the east to China and west to Rome.
In 1521 AD with few staunch followers settled in Kartarpur, a village of central Punjab, where he founded the first community of “Sikka” (students). He had already been identified as “guru” (teacher). He taught that only one God exists, but it is not possible to do a human being. He accepts, like Hinduism, the cycle of incarnations for humans and the law of “karma”, i.e. that the form of each new birth established by the acts of the previous existence.
In his community were welcome everyone, regardless of gender and caste to which they belonged. Some of them stayed permanently with him, but some others were visited him frequently, to take his blessing and advice. Before died, he had appointed Lechna, as his successor, naming it Angkant”, i.e. part of my body”.


REFERENCES
Anastasios Giannoulatos: Traces of searching the transcendental.
Dimitris A.
Triantafyllou: Further help in Religious of second grade Lyceum
Hans - Christian Huf: Hell, Paradise and Nirvana - Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad
Encyclopedia Eleftheroudaki
Encyclopedia Larousse Papyrus
Encyclopedia of Religions
Religious Ethical Encyclopedia




Writer Christos Pal

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