Glossary of Religion: T

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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.

t'ai chi (taiji)
(Chinese, "Great Polarity.") Yin and yang.
t'ai chi chu'uan
(Chinese, "Great Polarity Boxing.") Martial art aimed at harnessing the strength of chi.
T'u-ti
Chinese place-god
tafsir
Branch of Islamic learning devoted to Qur'anic exegesis (interpretation).
talbiya
Ritual formula recited repeatedly during the Hajj. They are the words attributed to Ibrahim (Abraham) when he summoned all people to the pilgrimage to Mecca.
tallit
(also spelled talit; Yiddish tallis; plural talitot) A prayer shawl worn by Jews during weekday morning services, on the Sabbath, and on holidays.
Talmud
(Hebrew "teaching"). The Oral Torah: a collection of rabbinical writings that interpret, explain and apply the Torah scriptures. Consists of the Mishnah and the Gemara.
Tanakh
(acronym for Torah, Nevi'im and Ketuvim). The Jewish Bible.
Tao
(Chinese, "way"). Unchanging principle behind the universe; unproduced producer of all that is. The Tao-te Ching describes it as "something formlessly fashioned, that existed before Heaven and Earth."
Tao-chaio (Daojiao)
Religious Taoism. Emphasizes religious rituals aimed at attaining immortality.
Tao-chia (Daojia)
Philosophical Taoism. Emphasizes the philosophical writings of Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu, and other Taoist philsophers.
tao-shih
Scholars and ritual functionaries of religious Taoism.
Tao-te Ching (Daodejing)
(Chinese, "Book of the Way and its Power.") Foundational text of Taoism. Attributed to Lao-tzu and probably composed in the 4th century BCE, it teaches about the Tao.
Tao-te t'ien-tsun
Ruler of Taoist heaven of highest purity; San-ch'ing.
Tao-tsang
Taoist canon of authoritative texts.
Tao-yin
Exercise for guiding the breath to different parts of the body.
Taoism
Religion and philosophical tradition originating in China, generally emphasizing individual freedom and spontaneity, laissez-faire government and social primitivism, techniques of self-transformation, mystical experience, and individual and government ethical responsibility. It is founded on the texts of the Tao-te Ching, Chuang-tzu, and Lieh-tzu. Later, the tradition diverged, resulting in strictly philosophical Taoism on the one hand, and religious Taoism on the other.
tapas
("heat"). Self-discipline. One of the five niyamas.
taqiya
concealing one's faith under threat of persecution
Tara
Buddhist savior-goddess especially popular in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia
taryag mitzvot
(Hebrew, "613 commandments"). The 613 commandments given in the Torah and enumerated by Maimonides.
te
(Chinese, "power" or "virtue"). Means through which the Tao becomes manifest and actualized.
tea ceremony
(Japanese chado). Zen ritual to overcome ordinary consciousness.
technology
Generally refers to the application of science, particularly to commercial or industrial objectives. The term is sometimes used in an anthropological context to refer in a general sense to a civilization's knowledge regarding the making of implements, the collecting of goods, and the practicing of manual arts and skills.
Temple Garment
Special underwear worn by Mormons who have taken part in the endowment ceremony in a Mormon temple.
Ten Commandments
Ten religious and moral laws that God gave the Israelites through Moses, as recorded in the book of Exodus.
Tendai
A Japanese school of Buddhism named after Tien Tai mountain in China and the Tien Tai school of Chinese Buddhism that arose there. In 805 Tendai was introduced in Japan by Saicho at his Enryakuji temple on Mount Hiei near Kyoto. Saicho's teachings were based on the 'Lotus Sutra' and centered around his belief that all forms of life can equally attain Buddhahood. Tendai includes aspects of Shingon and Shinto.
terayfa
(Hebrew, "torn"; also spelled treyf or treif). Food that is not kosher and may not be eaten.
teshuvah
(Hebrew, "turning"). Repentance; self-evaluation.
Thargelia
Spring festival of Apollo.
thaumaturgus
(Greek, "wonder-working"). Title given to saints who have worked many miracles.
The Fall
The disobedience of Adam and Eve described in Genesis 3 that resulted in ill effects for the remainder of humanity.
The Nineteen Day Fast
Annual Bahá'í fast from sunrise to sunset during the month of Alá, which ends with the Bahá'í New Year festival.
Theotokos
(Greek, "God-bearer"). Title of the Virgin Mary in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, used from the time of Origen (early 3rd century) onwards as an affirmation of Christ's divinity.
Theravada
The form of Buddhism practiced in the South Asian countries of Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Laos. Its doctrine, relatively unchanged since the 3rd century BCE, is based on the 'tipitaka' or Pali Canon and consists of a conservative interpretation of the Buddha's teachings. Theravada's main distinction from later Mahayana is its rejection of bodhisattvas. While the ultimate goal of Theravada is to become a 'perfected saint' or 'arhat,' lay believers cannot attain true enlightenment.
Thirty-Five Buddhas of Confession
Shakyamuni, Vajragarbhapramardin, Ratnarchis, Nageshvararaja, Viresena, Viranandin, Ratnagni, Ratnachandraprabha, Amoghadarshin, Ratnachandra, Vimala, Shuradatta, Brahman, Brahmadatta, Varuna, Varunadeva, Bharadrashri, Chandashri, Anantaujas, Prabhasashri Ashokashri, Narayana, Kusumashri Brahmajyotirvikriditabhijna, Padmamajyotirvikriditabhijna, Dhanashri, Smritishri, Suparikirtitanamashri, Indraketudhvajaraja, Suvikrantashri, Yuddhajaya, Vikrantagamishri, Samantavabhasavyuhashri, Ratnapadmavikramin, Shailendraraja
Three Jewels
A Buddhist statement of faith in which the believer takes refuge in the Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dharma.
thurible
Container in which incense is burned.
Tibetan Book of the Dead
A text that describes in detail the stages of death from the Tibetan point of view.
Tibetan Buddhism
A distinctive form of Buddhism that draws heavily on Mahayana Buddhism, which was introduced to Tibet in the seventh century. Tibetan Buddhism incorporates a great deal of the esoteric tradition of tantra of Vajrayana Buddhism as well as features of ancient Bon shamanism. The monastic disciplines of early Theravada Buddhism are also an important part of Tibetan Buddhism. The religion is, in fact, often considered the most intellectual branch of Buddhism.
Tikkun olan
The healing of the world; world peace; social justice.
tithing
Paying or exacting as payment a tenth part of income, crops, or other material resources.
Torah
(Hebrew, "Law"). The first five books of the Jewish Bible. Also known as the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch.
Transfiguration
Event described in Mark 9:2-8, Matthew 17:1-8, and Luke 9:28-36, in which Peter, James and John saw Jesus transformed into a glowing heavenly figure and talking with Elijah and Moses.
transubstantiation
Miraculous change by which according to Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern dogma the eucharistic elements at their consecration become the body and blood of Christ while keeping only the appearances of bread and wine.
treasure vase
Buddhist symbol of spiritual and material wealth, abundance, and good fortune.
treasury of merit
Doctrine in which certain saints performed more good works than was necessary to save them, and that this surplus can be applied to other believers in order to shorten purgatory. This was the logical basis for the sale of indulgences in the Middle Ages.
treyf
(Hebrew, "torn"). Food that is not kosher; prohibited. Also spelled "terayfa" or "treif."
Trimurti
A triad of the three main Hindu gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Some scholars consider the Trimurti as a way to reconcile different monotheistic approaches with one another and with the concept of ultimate reality (Brahman) since the Trimurti manifests the cosmic functions of the Supreme Being. Brahma represents the equilibrium between the opposing forces of preservation and destruction, represented by Vishnu and Shiva respectively.
Trinity
The Christian conception of the one God as three persons: the God the Father, the Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Tripitaka
(Sanskrit; Pali Tipitaka, "three baskets"). The collection of Buddha's teachings, in three sections: sutra, vinaya, and Abhidharma. They are the oldest collection of Buddhist teachings, written around the 3rd century BCE.
triratna
Symbol representing the Triple Gem or Three Jewels of Buddhism
triumphant cross
Cross with an orb, representing Christ's reign over the world.
tzu-jan
Spontaneity; unconditioned and totally itself. Characteristic of the Tao.
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Article Info

Title Glossary of Religion: T
Published
Last UpdatedFebruary 13, 2021
URL religionfacts.com/glossary/t
Short URLrlft.co/3494
MLA Citation “Glossary of Religion: T.” ReligionFacts.com. 13 Feb. 2021. Web. Accessed 3 Aug. 2021. <religionfacts.com/glossary/t>