Glossary of Religion: V
Learn the definitions of religious terms and concepts with our extensive Glossary of Religion. Choose a letter above or explore the random terms below.
- Form of Hinduism that emerged from the cult of Vasudeva-Krishna. It is founded on the worship of the god Vishnu and of his incarnations, principally Rama and Krishna. The religion features an emphasis on devotional worship (bhakti) in which the ultimate goal of the devotee is to transcend the cycle of birth and death, with the help of divine grace, in order to join Vishnu in spiritual communion.
- (Sanskrit; Tibetan rdo-rje, "diamond" or "thunderbolt). Double-headed ritual instrument in Tibetan Buddhism used along with a ritual bell. The vajra is held in the right hand and represents skillful means, compassion, samsara, and the masculine principle.
- Religious movement and doctrine that flourished from the 6th to the 11th century, embodying both the Yogacara discipline that emphasizes the ultimacy of the mind and the Madhyamika philosophy that emphasizes the rejection of any relativistic principle. This form of Buddhism also marks the transition from Mahayana speculative, abstract thought to the practical application of Buddhist ideas to everyday life.
- Valentine's Day
- An annual celebration of romantic love on February 14, mostly in the West. Although associated with a Catholic saint, modern Valentine's Day is a non-religious holiday.
- varada mudra
- Buddhist hand gesture representing "boon-granting."
- ("color"). Four categories of Hindu society dating from the time of the Vedas: Brahmans, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras. The varnas are ordered according to occupation, whereas castes (jati) are based on social status into which one is born, but the two systems are historically related.
- Veneration of Saints
- no in Protestantism; yes in other branches
- The birthday of the Buddha and the most important festival in Buddhism, celebrated in May.
- Garments worn by priests or other ecclesiastics during divine service as appropriate to the rite and indicative of their hierarchical rank.
- Appointed or elected assemblies or boards of parishioners who originally met in the vestry of the parish church for the purpose of deliberating or legislating upon the affairs of the parish or upon certain temporal matters connected with the church. Often used particularly for such boards in the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the American Episcopalian Church. For similar boards in Catholic Churches in French-speaking regions of Canada, use "fabriques.".
- Vicar of Christ
- Title for the Pope since the 8th century, which replaced the older title "Vicar of St. Peter." It expresses the Pope's claim to be the appointed representative of Christ on earth, based in part on Jesus' command to Peter to "feed my sheep" in John 21:15.
- victory banner
- Buddhist symbol of the victory of wisdom over ignorance.
- (Sanskrit, Pali) The Buddha's teachings about monastic rules, ethics and karma.
- Virgin Birth
- The belief that Jesus Christ had no human father, but was miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is based on Matthew 1 and Luke 1 in the New Testament and is implied in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds.
- ("pervader"). Major deity and member of Hindu trinity with Brahma and Shiva. Seen as the preserver of the universe and embodiment of goodness and mercy. To Vaisnavites, Vishnu is the supreme deity (Isvara) who becomes incarnate in times of crisis and declining dharma. Vishnu is usually depicted standing, holding weapons, or reclining on a serpent.
- Religion originating in West Africa, combining theological and magical beliefs and practices with ritual and iconographic elements from Roman Catholicism, practiced in West Africa, Haiti and other areas in the Caribbean, and some cities and regions of North and South America, primarily by populations of African origin.