Friday, July 15, 2016

Coral Buddhist Prayer Beads

Buddhist prayer beads or malas are a traditional tool used to count the number of times a mantra is recited, breaths while meditating, counting prostrations, or the repetitions of a Buddha's name. They are similar to other forms of prayer beads used in various world religions and therefore the term "Buddhist rosary" also appears.

Conventional Buddhist tradition counts the beads at 108, signifying the mortal desires of mankind. The number is attributed to the Mokugenji Sutra whereas Shakyamuni Buddha instructed King Virudhaka to make such beads and recite the Three Jewels of Buddhism. In later years, various Buddhist sects would either retain the number of beads, or divide them into consecutive twos, fours, for brevity or informality. A decorative tassel is sometimes attached to the beads, flanked by talismans or amulets depending on one's local tradition. Because prayer beads are often painted in pigment, various traditional schools attribute a consecration ritual by the Sangha to the beads, to "open the eyes" for the purpose of achieving Enlightenment unique to the Karma of each believer.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

Old Print Quran

The Quran, literally meaning "the recitation", is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims believe to be a revelation from God. It is widely regarded as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language.

Muslims believe the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel, gradually over a period of approximately 23 years, beginning on 22 December 609 CE, when Muhammad was 40, and concluding in 632, the year of his death. Muslims regard the Quran as the most important miracle of Muhammad, a proof of his prophet hood, and the culmination of a series of divine messages that started with the messages revealed to Adam and ended with Muhammad. The word "Quran" occurs some 70 times in the text of the Quran, although different names and words are also said to be references to the Quran.

According to the traditional narrative, several companions of Muhammad served as scribes and were responsible for writing down the revelations. Shortly after Muhammad's death, the Quran was compiled by his companions who wrote down and memorized parts of it. These codices had differences that motivated the Caliph Uthman to establish a standard version now known as Uthman's codex, which is generally considered the archetype of the Quran known today. There are, however, variant readings, with mostly minor differences in meaning.

The Quran assumes familiarity with major narratives recounted in the Biblical scriptures. It summarizes some, dwells at length on others and in some cases, presents alternative accounts and interpretations of events. The Quran describes itself as a book of guidance. It sometimes offers detailed accounts of specific historical events, and it often emphasizes the moral significance of an event over its narrative sequence. The Quran is used along with the hadith to interpret sharia law. During prayers, the Quran is recited only in Arabic.

Someone who has memorized the entire Quran is called a hafiz. Some Muslims read Quranic ayah (verse) with elocution, which is often called tajwid. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims typically complete the recitation of the whole Quran during tarawih prayers. In order to extrapolate the meaning of a particular Quranic verse, most Muslims rely on the tafsir.

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