Glossary of Religion: R

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Learn the definitions of religious terms and concepts with our extensive Glossary of Religion. Choose a letter above or explore the random terms below.

rabbi
(Hebrew, "teacher"). Jewish spiritual leader.
rainbow body
The penultimate transitional state of meditation in which matter begins to be transformed into pure light. It is said to be the highest state attainable in the realm of samsara before the "clear light" of Nirvana.
Ramadan
Religious season in Islam, the ninth month of the Islamic year, marking the time during which the Qu'ran was revealed to the Prophet. Muslims are enjoined to fast from dawn to dusk during this month and the observance of the Ramadan fast is one of the five 'pillars,' or basic duties, of Islam.
Ramayana
Very popular Hindu epic, composed around 700 CE by Valmiki. It is as long as the Christian Bible and tells the story of the virtuous hero Rama who rescues his beloved Sita from the evil king.
Rambam
(acrostic for Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) Maimonides.
ranto
(Japanese, "egg-shaped tower"). Tower on the tomb of a Zen monk.
Ratnakuta
(Sanskrit, "jewel" + "mountain"). Collection of Mahayana scriptures. Only four works survive in the original Sanskrit, but there were probably once 49 short sections.
Ratnasambhava
(Sanskrit, "jewel-born one"). One of the five Dhyani Buddhas.
Real Presence
In Catholic and some Protestant churches, the physical and spiritual presence of the body and blood of Christ in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.
reasoning
Informal gathering of Rastas featuring ganja smoking and discussion.
rectors
In Anglicanism, the elected pastor of a financially self-supported congregation. If there are several clergy in the congregation, the rector has primary responsibility for directing worship.
Reform Judaism
The religious movement that began in the early 19th century in Germany, championing views on modernization and adaptation through the abandonment of traditional Jewish beliefs and laws deemed antiquated and inappropriate in the social and political conditions of the modern world. This branch of Judaism challenged the absolute nature of ritual laws and customs established in the Torah and Talmud by advocating reform and liberalism.
Reformation
Period of the religious revolution that took place in the Christian church of central and northwestern Europe in the 16th century, having as its object the reform of the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, and which became the basis for Protestantism.
relics
Objects, such as parts of the body and articles of clothing or of personal use, that belonged to or were associated with a saint, martyr, or other holy person, preserved and held in veneration.
religion
Study of religious beliefs and traditions in human life and culture from the perspective of the humanistic disciplines.
ren
(Chinese) humaneness or benevolence; central principle of Confucianism
Responsa
a vast collection (thousands of volumes) of answers to specific questions on Jewish law
Rig Veda
The oldest known literary work in India, a collection of hymns to the Vedic gods dating from c. 1500 BCE.
ringstone
One of the main symbols of the Bahá'í Faith, it is named for its common use on Bahá'í rings. It consists of two stars (representing the "twin manifestations" of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh) interspersed with a stylized Bahá’ (Persian for "Glory").
Rinzai
One of the two main branches of Zen. It originated in the Lin Chi school of Ch'an in China and was later introduced to Japan by Eisai in 1191. Rinzai stresses spontaneous enlightenment and advocates unusual ways of achieving it, such as shouts, slaps, and the use of koans. Rinzai downplays veneration of Buddha images and reading of scripture (sutras).
Roman religion
The wide variety of religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year, celebrated on 1 Tishri (in September or October). According to Jewish tradition, this is considered the day on which all humans are judged and it ushers in a 10-day period of self-examination and penitence. During the service for this holiday a shofar is blown as a call for spiritual renewal and repentance.
roshi
(Japanese). Zen spiritual teacher.
rujia
"Confucian teaching." Confucianism as a philosophy or school of thought.
rujiao
"Confucian religion." Refers to Confucianism as a religion or religious group.
Russian Orthodox
Use with reference to either the self-governing national church of Russia or one of its branches outside Russia.
Russian Orthodox cross
Cross with three bars, the lowest bar low and slanted.
ruxue
"Confucian learning." Confucianism as a philosophy or school of thought.
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Article Info

Title Glossary of Religion: R
Published
Last UpdatedFebruary 13, 2021
URL religionfacts.com/glossary/r
Short URLrlft.co/3494
MLA Citation “Glossary of Religion: R.” ReligionFacts.com. 13 Feb. 2021. Web. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021. <religionfacts.com/glossary/r>