The Tale of Hōgen
The Tale of Hōgen is a Japanese war chronicle or military tale which relates the events and prominent figures of the Hōgen Rebellion. This literary and historical classic is believed to have been completed in the Kamakura period ca. 1320. Its author or authors remain unknown; the events which are recounted in the Hōgen story become a prelude to the story which unfolds in Tale of Heiji. As in the Heiji story, multi-level and inter-related rivalries lead to war. 1st level rivalry—a conflict amongst emperors: Cloistered Emperor Emperor Toba, 1103-1156 Cloistered Emperor Emperor Sutoku, 1119-1164 Reigning Emperor Go-Shirakawa, 1127-1192 2nd level rivalry—a conflict amongst kuge aristocrats, between sons of Fujiwara no Tadazane, 1078-1162 Fujiwara no Tadamichi, 1097-1164 Fujiwara no Yorinaga, 1120-1156 3rd level rivalry—a conflict amongst warrior clans, amongst sons of Minamoto no Tameyoshi, 1096-1156 Tameyoshi's older sons support Go-Shirakawa Tameyoshi and his younger sons support Sutoku. As in the Heiji story, the narrative structure is divided in three segments: Part 1 introduces the characters and their rivalries.
Part 2 relates course of the conflicts. Part 3 explains the tragic consequences; the Japanese have developed a number of complementary strategies for capturing and disseminating the essential elements of their accepted national history – chronicles of sovereigns and events, biographies of eminent persons and personalities, the military tale or gunki monogatari. This last form evolved from an interest in recording the activities of military conflicts in the late 12th century; the major battles, the small skirmishes and the individual contests—and the military figures who animate these accounts—have all been passed from generation to generation in the narrative formats of the Hōgen monogatari, the Heiji monagatari, the Heike monogatari. In each of these familiar monogatari, the central figures are popularly well known, the major events are understood, the stakes as they were understood at the time are conventionally accepted as elements in the foundation of Japanese culture; the accuracy of each of these historical records has become a compelling subject for further study.
Hōgen Rebellion, 1156 Heiji Rebellion, 1159-1160 Tale of Heiji or Heiji monogatari Genpei War, 1180-1185 Tale of Heike or Heike monogatari Brown, Delmer M. and Ichirō Ishida, eds.. Gukanshō: The Future and the Past. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03460-0.
Amitābha known as Amida or Amitāyus, is a celestial buddha according to the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetising red fire element, the aggregate of discernment, pure perception and the deep awareness of emptiness of phenomena. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merit resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. Amitābha means "Infinite Light", Amitāyus means "Infinite Life" so Amitābha is called "The Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Life". According to the Larger Sūtra of Immeasurable Life, Amitābha was, in ancient times and in another system of worlds, a monk named Dharmakāra. In some versions of the sūtra, Dharmakāra is described as a former king who, having come into contact with Buddhist teachings through the buddha Lokeśvararāja, renounced his throne, he resolved to become a buddha and so to come into possession of a buddhakṣetra possessed of many perfections.
These resolutions were expressed in his forty-eight vows, which set out the type of buddha-field Dharmakāra aspired to create, the conditions under which beings might be born into that world, what kind of beings they would be when reborn there. In the versions of the sutra known in China, Vietnam and Japan, Dharmakāra's eighteenth vow was that any being in any universe desiring to be reborn into Amitābha's pure land and calling upon his name as few as ten times will be guaranteed rebirth there, his nineteenth vow promises that he, together with his bodhisattvas and other blessed Buddhists, will appear before those who, at the moment of death, call upon him. This openness and acceptance of all kinds of people has made belief in pure lands one of the major influences in Mahāyāna Buddhism. Pure Land Buddhism seems to have first become popular in Gandhara, from where it spread to Central Asia and China; the sutra goes on to explain that Amitābha, after accumulating great merit over countless lives achieved buddhahood and is still residing in his land of Sukhāvatī, whose many virtues and joys are described.
The basic doctrines concerning Amitābha and his vows are found in three canonical Mahāyāna texts: Infinite Life Sutra Amitayurdhyana Sutra Amitābha SutraThrough his efforts, Amitābha created a pure land called Sukhāvatī. Sukhāvatī is situated beyond the bounds of our own world. By the power of his vows, Amitābha has made it possible for all who call upon him to be reborn into this land, there to undergo instruction by him in the dharma and become bodhisattvas and buddhas in their turn. From there, these same bodhisattvas and buddhas return to our world to help yet more people. Amitābha is the buddha of comprehensive love, he works for the enlightenment of all beings. His most important enlightenment technique is the visualization of the surrounding world as a paradise; those who see his world as a paradise awaken his enlightenment energy. The world can be seen as a paradise by a corresponding positive thought or by sending light to all beings. After the Amitābha doctrine, one can come to paradise, if they visualize at their death Amitābha in the heaven over their head, think his name as a mantra and leave the body as a soul through the crown chakra.
Amitābha is known in Tibet and other regions where Tibetan Buddhism is practiced. In the Highest Yogatantra of Tibetan Buddhism, Amitābha is considered one of the Five Dhyāni Buddhas, associated with the western direction and the skandha of saṃjñā, the aggregate of distinguishing and the deep awareness of individualities, his consort is Pāṇḍaravāsinī. His two main disciples are the bodhisattvas Vajrapani and Avalokiteśvara, the former to his left and the latter to his right. In Tibetan Buddhism, there exist a number of famous prayers for taking rebirth in Sukhāvatī. One of these was written by Je Tsongkhapa on the request of Manjushri; the Panchen Lamas and Shamarpas are considered to be emanations of Amitābha. He is invoked in Tibet either as Amitābha – in the phowa practices or as Amitāyus – in practices relating to longevity and preventing an untimely death. In Shingon Buddhism, Amitābha is seen as one of the thirteen Buddhas to whom practitioners can pay homage. Shingon, like Tibetan Buddhism uses special devotional mantras for Amitābha, though the mantras used differ.
Amitābha is one of the Buddhas featured in the Womb Realm Mandala used in Shingon practices, sits to the west, where the Pure Land of Amitābha is said to dwell. Amitābha is the center of a number of mantras in Vajrayana practices; the Sanskrit form of the mantra of Amitābha is ॐ अमिताभ ह्रीः, pronounced in its Tibetan version as Om ami dewa hri. His mantra in Shingon Buddhism is On amirita teizei kara un （Japanese: オン・アミリタ・テイゼイ・カラ・ウン）, which represents the underlying Indic for
The Tale of the Heike
The Tale of the Heike is an epic account compiled prior to 1330 of the struggle between the Taira clan and Minamoto clan for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century in the Genpei War. Heike refers to the Taira, hei being an alternate reading of the first kanji. Note that in the title of the Genpei War, "hei" is in this combination read as "pei" and the "gen" is the first kanji used in the Minamoto clan's name; the Tale of Heike is likened to a Japanese Iliad. It has been translated into English at least five times, the first by Arthur Lindsay Sadler in 1918–1921. A complete translation in nearly 800 pages by Hiroshi Kitagawa & Bruce T. Tsuchida was published in 1975. Translated by Helen McCullough in 1988. An abridged translation by Burton Watson was published in 2006. In 2012, Royall Tyler completed his translation, which seeks to be mindful of the performance style for which the work was intended, it was famously retold in Japanese prose by historical novelist Eiji Yoshikawa, published in Asahi Weekly in 1950 with the title New Tale of the Heike.
The Tale of the Heike's origin cannot be reduced to a single creator. Like most epics, it is the result of the conglomeration of differing versions passed down through an oral tradition by biwa-playing bards known as biwa hōshi; the monk Yoshida Kenkō offers a theory as to the authorship of the text, in his famous work Tsurezuregusa, which he wrote in 1330. According to Kenkō, "The former governor of Shinano, wrote Heike monogatari and showed it to a blind man called Shōbutsu to chant it", he confirms the biwa connection of that blind man, who "was natural from the eastern tract", and, sent from Yukinaga to "recollect some information about samurai, about their bows, their horses and their war strategy. Yukinaga wrote it after that". One of the key points in this theory is that the book was written in a difficult combination of Chinese and Japanese, which in those days was only mastered by educated monks, such as Yukinaga. However, in the end, as the tale is the result of a long oral tradition, there is no single true author.
Moreover, as it is true that there are frequent steps back, that the style is not the same throughout the composition, this cannot mean anything but that it is a collective work. The story of the Heike was compiled from a collection of oral stories recited by traveling monks who chanted to the accompaniment of the biwa, an instrument reminiscent of the lute; the most read version of the Heike monogatari was compiled by a blind monk named Kakuichi in 1371. The Heike is considered one of the great classics of medieval Japanese literature; the central theme of the story is the Buddhist law of impermanence in the form of the fleeting nature of fortune, an analog of sic transit gloria mundi. The theme of impermanence is captured in the famous opening passage: 祇園精舎の鐘の聲、諸行無常の響き有り。 沙羅雙樹の花の色、盛者必衰の理を顯す。 驕れる者も久しからず、唯春の夜の夢の如し。 猛き者も遂には滅びぬ、偏に風の前の塵に同じ。 Gionshōja no kane no koe, Shogyōmujō no hibiki ari. Sarasōju no hana no iro, Jōshahissui. Ogoreru mono mo hisashikarazu, tada haru no yo no yume no gotoshi. Takeki mono mo tsui ni wa horobin, hitoeni kaze no mae no chiri ni onaji.
The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night. -- Chapter 1.1, Helen Craig McCullough's translation The 4-character expression "the prosperous must decline" is a phrase from the Humane King Sutra, in full "The prosperous decline, the full empty". The second concept evident in the Tale of the Heike is karma; the concept of karma says that every action has consequences that become apparent in life. Thus, karma helps to deal with the problem of both natural evil. Evil acts in life will bring about an inevitable suffering in life; this can be seen with the treatment of Kiyomori in The Tale of the Heike, cruel throughout his life, falls into a painful illness that kills him. The fall of the powerful Taira – the samurai clan who defeated the imperial-backed Minamoto in 1161–symbolizes the theme of impermanence in the Heike; the Taira warrior family sowed the seeds of their own destruction with acts of arrogance and pride that led to their defeat in 1185 at the hands of the revitalized Minamoto.
The story is designed to be told in a series of nightly installments. It is a samurai epic focusing on warrior culture – an ideology that laid the groundwork for bushido; the Heike includes a number of love stories, which harkens back to earlier Heian literature. The story is divided into three sections; the central figure of the first section is Taira no Kiyomori, described as arrogant, ruthless and so consumed by the fires of hatred that in death his feverish body does not cool when immersed in water. The main figure of the second section is the Minamoto general Minamoto no Yoshinaka. After he dies the main figure of the third section is the great samurai, Minamoto no Yoshitsune, a military genius, falsely accused of treachery by his politically astute elder brother Minamoto no Yoritomo; the Tale of the Heike has provided material for many artistic works ranging from N
A hero or heroine is a real person or a main fictional character of a literary work who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, bravery or strength. On the other hand are post-classical and modern heroes, who perform great deeds or selfless acts for the common good instead of the classical goal of wealth and fame; the antonym of a hero is a villain. The concept of the hero can be found in classical literature, it is the main or revered character in heroic epic poetry celebrated through ancient legends of a people striving for military conquest and living by a continually flawed personal honor code. The definition of a hero has changed throughout time. Merriam Webster dictionary defines a hero as "a person, admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities." Examples of heroes range from mythological figures, such as Gilgamesh and Iphigenia, to historical figures, such as Joan of Arc, Giuseppe Garibaldi or Sophie Scholl, modern heroes like Alvin York, Audie Murphy and Chuck Yeager, fictional superheroes, including Superman and Wonder Woman.
The word hero comes from the Greek ἥρως, "hero" one such as Heracles with divine ancestry or given divine honors. Before the decipherment of Linear B the original form of the word was assumed to be *ἥρωϝ-, hērōw-, but the Mycenaean compound ti-ri-se-ro-e demonstrates the absence of -w-. According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the Proto-Indo-European root is *ser meaning "to protect". According to Eric Partridge in Origins, the Greek word Hērōs "is akin to" the Latin seruāre, meaning to safeguard. Partridge concludes, "The basic sense of both Hera and hero would therefore be'protector'." R. S. P. Beekes rejects an Indo-European derivation and asserts that the word has a Pre-Greek origin. A classical hero is considered to be a "warrior who lives and dies in the pursuit of honor" and asserts their greatness by "the brilliancy and efficiency with which they kill"; each classical hero's life focuses on fighting, which occurs during an epic quest. Classical heroes are semi-divine and extraordinarily gifted, like Achilles, evolving into heroic characters through their perilous circumstances.
While these heroes are resourceful and skilled, they are foolhardy, court disaster, risk their followers' lives for trivial matters, behave arrogantly in a childlike manner. During classical times, people regarded heroes with the highest esteem and utmost importance, explaining their prominence within epic literature; the appearance of these mortal figures marks a revolution of audiences and writers turning away from immortal gods to mortal mankind, whose heroic moments of glory survive in the memory of their descendants, extending their legacy. Hector was a Trojan prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War, known through Homer's The Iliad. Hector acted as leader of the Trojans and their allies in the defense of Troy, "killing 31,000 Greek fighters," offers Hyginus. Hector was known not only for his courage but for his noble and courtly nature. Indeed, Homer places Hector as peace-loving, thoughtful as well as bold, a good son and father, without darker motives. However, his familial values conflict with his heroic aspirations in The Iliad, as he cannot be both the protector of Troy and a father to his child.
Hector is betrayed by the gods when Athena appears disguised as his ally Deiphobus and convinces him to take on Achilles, leading to his death at the hands of a superior warrior. Achilles was a Greek Hero, considered the most formidable military fighter in the entire Trojan War and the central character of The Iliad, he was the child of Peleus, making him a demi-god. He wielded superhuman strength on the battlefield and was blessed with a close relationship to the Gods. Achilles famously refuses to fight after his dishonoring at the hands of Agamemnon, only returns to the war due to unadulterated rage after Hector kills his close friend Patroclus. Achilles was known for uncontrollable rage that defined many of his bloodthirsty actions, such as defiling Hector's corpse by dragging it around the city of Troy. Achilles plays a tragic role in The Iliad brought about by constant de-humanization throughout the epic, having his menis overpower his philos. Heroes in myth had close but conflicted relationships with the gods.
Thus Heracles's name means "the glory of Hera" though he was tormented all his life by Hera, the Queen of the Gods. The most striking example is the Athenian king Erechtheus, whom Poseidon killed for choosing Athena over him as the city's patron god; when the Athenians worshiped Erechtheus on the Acropolis, they invoked him as Poseidon Erechtheus. Fate, or destiny, plays a massive role in the stories of classical heroes; the classical hero's heroic significance stems from battlefield conquests, an inherently dangerous action. The gods in Greek Mythology, when interacting with the heroes foreshadow the hero's eventual death on the battlefield. Countless heroes and gods go to great lengths to alter their pre-destined fate, but with no success, as no immortal can change their prescribed outcomes by the three Fates; the most prominent example of this is found in Oedipus Rex. After learning that his son, will end up killing him, the King of Thebes, takes huge steps to assure his son's death by removing him from the kingdom.
But, Oedipus slays his father without an afterthought when he unknowingly encounters him in a dispute on the road many years
Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions and spiritual practices based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana. Most Buddhist traditions share the goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth, either by the attainment of Nirvana or through the path of Buddhahood. Buddhist schools vary in their interpretation of the path to liberation, the relative importance and canonicity assigned to the various Buddhist texts, their specific teachings and practices. Observed practices include taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, observance of moral precepts, monasticism and the cultivation of the Paramitas.
Theravada Buddhism has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia such as Myanmar and Thailand. Mahayana, which includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism and Tiantai, is found throughout East Asia. Vajrayana, a body of teachings attributed to Indian adepts, may be viewed as a separate branch or as an aspect of Mahayana Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism, which preserves the Vajrayana teachings of eighth-century India, is practiced in the countries of the Himalayan region and Kalmykia. Buddhism is an Indian religion attributed to the teachings of the Buddha born Siddhārtha Gautama, known as the Tathāgata and Sakyamuni. Early texts have his personal name as "Gautama" or "Gotama" without any mention of "Siddhārtha," which appears to have been a kind of honorific title when it does appear; the details of Buddha's life are mentioned in many Early Buddhist Texts but are inconsistent, his social background and life details are difficult to prove, the precise dates uncertain. The evidence of the early texts suggests that he was born as Siddhārtha Gautama in Lumbini and grew up in Kapilavasthu, a town in the plains region of the modern Nepal-India border, that he spent his life in what is now modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Some hagiographic legends state that his father was a king named Suddhodana, his mother was Queen Maya, he was born in Lumbini gardens. However, scholars such as Richard Gombrich consider this a dubious claim because a combination of evidence suggests he was born in the Shakyas community – one that gave him the title Shakyamuni, the Shakya community was governed by a small oligarchy or republic-like council where there were no ranks but where seniority mattered instead; some of the stories about Buddha, his life, his teachings, claims about the society he grew up in may have been invented and interpolated at a time into the Buddhist texts. According to the Buddhist sutras, Gautama was moved by the innate suffering of humanity and its endless repetition due to rebirth, he set out on a quest to end this repeated suffering. Early Buddhist canonical texts and early biographies of Gautama state that Gautama first studied under Vedic teachers, namely Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta, learning meditation and ancient philosophies the concept of "nothingness, emptiness" from the former, "what is neither seen nor unseen" from the latter.
Finding these teachings to be insufficient to attain his goal, he turned to the practice of asceticism. This too fell short of attaining his goal, he turned to the practice of dhyana, which he had discovered in his youth, he famously sat in meditation under a Ficus religiosa tree now called the Bodhi Tree in the town of Bodh Gaya in the Gangetic plains region of South Asia. He gained insight into the workings of karma and his former lives, attained enlightenment, certainty about the Middle Way as the right path of spiritual practice to end suffering from rebirths in Saṃsāra; as a enlightened Buddha, he attracted followers and founded a Sangha. Now, as the Buddha, he spent the rest of his life teaching the Dharma he had discovered, died at the age of 80 in Kushinagar, India. Buddha's teachings were propagated by his followers, which in the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE became over 18 Buddhist sub-schools of thought, each with its own basket of texts containing different interpretations and authentic teachings of the Buddha.
The Four Truths express the basic orientation of Buddhism: we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This keeps us caught in saṃsāra, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, but there is a way to liberation from this endless cycle to the state of nirvana, namely following the Noble Eightfold Path. The truth of dukkha is the basic insight that life in this mundane world, with its clinging and craving to impermanent states and things is dukkha, unsatisfactory. Dukkha can be translated as "incapable of satisfying," "the unsatisfactory nature and the general insecurity of all conditioned phenomena". Dukkha is most translated as "suffering," but this is inaccurate, since it refers not to episodic suffering, but to the intrinsically unsat
National Diet Library
The National Diet Library is the national library of Japan and among the largest libraries in the world. It was established in 1948 for the purpose of assisting members of the National Diet of Japan in researching matters of public policy; the library is similar in scope to the United States Library of Congress. The National Diet Library consists of two main facilities in Tōkyō and Kyōtō, several other branch libraries throughout Japan; the National Diet Library is the successor of three separate libraries: the library of the House of Peers, the library of the House of Representatives, both of which were established at the creation of Japan's Imperial Diet in 1890. The Diet's power in prewar Japan was limited, its need for information was "correspondingly small"; the original Diet libraries "never developed either the collections or the services which might have made them vital adjuncts of genuinely responsible legislative activity". Until Japan's defeat, the executive had controlled all political documents, depriving the people and the Diet of access to vital information.
The U. S. occupation forces under General Douglas MacArthur deemed reform of the Diet library system to be an important part of the democratization of Japan after its defeat in World War II. In 1946, each house of the Diet formed its own National Diet Library Standing Committee. Hani Gorō, a Marxist historian, imprisoned during the war for thought crimes and had been elected to the House of Councillors after the war, spearheaded the reform efforts. Hani envisioned the new body as "both a'citadel of popular sovereignty'", the means of realizing a "peaceful revolution"; the Occupation officers responsible for overseeing library reforms reported that, although the Occupation was a catalyst for change, local initiative pre-existed the Occupation, the successful reforms were due to dedicated Japanese like Hani. The National Diet Library opened in June 1948 in the present-day State Guest-House with an initial collection of 100,000 volumes; the first Librarian of the Diet Library was the politician Tokujirō Kanamori.
The philosopher Masakazu Nakai served as the first Vice Librarian. In 1949, the NDL became the only national library in Japan. At this time the collection gained an additional million volumes housed in the former National Library in Ueno. In 1961, the NDL opened at its present location in Nagatachō, adjacent to the National Diet. In 1986, the NDL's Annex was completed to accommodate a combined total of 12 million books and periodicals; the Kansai-kan, which opened in October 2002 in the Kansai Science City, has a collection of 6 million items. In May 2002, the NDL opened a new branch, the International Library of Children's Literature, in the former building of the Imperial Library in Ueno; this branch contains some 400,000 items of children's literature from around the world. Though the NDL's original mandate was to be a research library for the National Diet, the general public is the largest consumer of the library's services. In the fiscal year ending March 2004, for example, the library reported more than 250,000 reference inquiries.
As Japan's national library, the NDL collects copies of all publications published in Japan. Moreover, because the NDL serves as a research library for Diet members, their staffs, the general public, it maintains an extensive collection of materials published in foreign languages on a wide range of topics; the NDL has eight major specialized collections: Modern Political and Constitutional History. The Modern Political and Constitutional History Collection comprises some 300,000 items related to Japan's political and legal modernization in the 19th century, including the original document archives of important Japanese statesmen from the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century like Itō Hirobumi, Iwakura Tomomi, Sanjō Sanetomi, Mutsu Munemitsu, Terauchi Masatake, other influential figures from the Meiji and Taishō periods; the NDL has an extensive microform collection of some 30 million pages of documents relating to the Occupation of Japan after World War II. This collection include the documents prepared by General Headquarters and the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers, the Far Eastern Commission, the United States Strategic Bombing Survey Team.
The Laws and Preliminary Records Collection consists of some 170,000 Japanese and 200,000 foreign-language documents concerning proceedings of the National Diet and the legislatures of some 70 foreign countries, the official gazettes, judicial opinions, international treaties pertaining to some 150 foreign countries. The NDL maintains a collection of some 530,000 books and booklets and 2 million microform titles relating to the sciences; these materials include, among other things, foreign doctoral dissertations in the sciences, the proceedings and reports of academic societies, catalogues of technical standards, etc. The NDL has a collection of 440,000 maps of Japan and other countries, including the topographica
The soul, in many religious and mythological traditions, is the incorporeal essence of a living being. Soul or psyche are the mental abilities of a living being: reason, feeling, memory, thinking, etc. Depending on the philosophical system, a soul can either be immortal. In Judeo-Christianity, only human beings have immortal souls. For example, the Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal. Other religions hold that all living things from the smallest bacterium to the largest of mammals are the souls themselves and have their physical representative in the world; the actual self is the soul, while the body is only a mechanism to experience the karma of that life. Thus if we see a tiger there is a self-conscious identity residing in it, a physical representative in the world; some teach that non-biological entities possess souls. This belief is called animism. Greek philosophers, such as Socrates and Aristotle, understood that the soul must have a logical faculty, the exercise of, the most divine of human actions.
At his defense trial, Socrates summarized his teaching as nothing other than an exhortation for his fellow Athenians to excel in matters of the psyche since all bodily goods are dependent on such excellence. The current consensus of modern science is that there is no evidence to support the existence of the soul when traditionally defined as the spiritual breath of the body. In metaphysics, the concept of "Soul" may be equated with that of "Mind" in order to refer to the consciousness and intellect of the individual; the Modern English word "soul", derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, was first attested in the 8th century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50. It is cognate with other German and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla, Old Norse sála and Lithuanian siela. Deeper etymology of the Germanic word is unclear; the original concept behind the Germanic root is thought to mean “coming from or belonging to the sea ”, because of the Germanic and pre-Celtic belief in souls emerging from and returning to sacred lakes, Old Saxon sêola compared to Old Saxon sêo.
The Koine Greek Septuagint uses ψυχή to translate Hebrew נפש, meaning "life, vital breath", refers to a mortal, physical life, but in English it is variously translated as "soul, life, person, mind, living being, emotion, passion". Vulgate – Creavitque Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem. Authorized King James Version – "And God created great whales, every living creature that moveth."The Koine Greek word ψυχή, "life, consciousness", is derived from a verb meaning "to cool, to blow", hence refers to the breath, as opposed to σῶμα, meaning "body". Psychē occurs juxtaposed to σῶμα, as seen in Matthew 10:28: Greek – καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. Vulgate – et nolite timere eos qui occidunt corpus animam autem non possunt occidere sed potius eum timete qui potest et animam et corpus perdere in gehennam. Authorized King James Version – "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him, able to destroy both soul and body in hell."Paul the Apostle used ψυχή and πνεῦμα to distinguish between the Jewish notions of נפש and רוח ruah.
In the ancient Egyptian religion, an individual was believed to be made up of various elements, some physical and some spiritual. Similar ideas are found in ancient Babylonian religion. Kuttamuwa, an 8th-century BCE royal official from Sam'al, ordered an inscribed stele erected upon his death; the inscription requested that his mourners commemorate his life and his afterlife with feasts "for my soul, in this stele". It is one of the earliest references to a soul as a separate entity from the body; the 800-pound basalt stele is 2 ft wide. It was uncovered in the third season of excavations by the Neubauer Expedition of the Oriental Institute in Chicago, Illinois; the Bahá'í Faith affirms that "the soul is a sign of God, a heavenly gem whose reality the most learned of men hath failed to grasp, whose mystery no mind, however acute, can hope to unravel". Bahá'u'lláh stated that the soul not only continues to live after the physical death of the human body, but is, in fact, immortal. Heaven can be seen as the soul's state of nearness to God.
Each state follows as a natural consequence of individual efforts, or the lack thereof, to develop spiritually. Bahá'u'lláh taught that individuals have no existence prior to their life here on earth and the soul's evolution is always towards God and away from the material world. Buddhism teaches that all things are in a constant