Lifes Conceptuals-A Concise Eastern View

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commons: a brief life journey | Community Development Journal | Oxford Academic

Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract A commoner's Bildungsroman , this article narrates the intellectual development of a radically rooted intellectual, through reflections on dominant explanatory frameworks, evoking through that journey, the real-life personal and conceptual implications of the pursuit of understanding the world, and the desire to change it. Issue Section:. Download all figures.

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View Metrics. Email alerts New issue alert. Advance article alerts. Article activity alert. According to the Book of Mormon, the vision was received in a dream by the prophet Lehi , and later in vision by his son Nephi , who wrote about it in the First Book of Nephi. The vision includes a path leading to a tree symbolizing salvation , with an iron rod along the path whereby followers of Jesus may hold to the rod and avoid wandering off the path into pits or waters symbolizing the ways of sin. The vision also includes a large building wherein the wicked look down at the righteous and mock them.

The vision is said to symbolize the spiritual plight of humanity and is a well known and cited story within Mormonism. A Mormon commentator reflected a common Mormon belief that the vision is "one of the richest, most flexible, and far-reaching pieces of symbolic prophecy contained in the standard works [scriptures]. In Eden in the East , Stephen Oppenheimer suggests that a tree-worshipping culture arose in Indonesia and was diffused by the so-called "Younger Dryas" event of c.

Finally the Finno-Ugric strand of this diffusion spread through Russia to Finland where the Norse myth of Yggdrasil took root. In Germanic paganism , trees played and, in the form of reconstructive Heathenry and Germanic Neopaganism , continue to play a prominent role, appearing in various aspects of surviving texts and possibly in the name of gods. The tree of life appears in Norse religion as Yggdrasil , the world tree, a massive tree sometimes considered a yew or ash tree with extensive lore surrounding it.

Perhaps related to Yggdrasil, accounts have survived of Germanic Tribes ' honouring sacred trees within their societies. Examples include Thor's Oak , sacred groves , the Sacred tree at Uppsala , and the wooden Irminsul pillar. It is also alluded to in hadiths and tafsir. Unlike the biblical account , the Quran mentions only one tree in Eden, also called the tree of immortality, which Allah specifically forbade to Adam and Eve. The tree of life in Islamic architecture is a type of biomorphic pattern found in many artistic traditions and is considered to be any vegetal pattern with a clear origin or growth.

The growth is upwards and outwards and culminates in a lantern like flower towards the top of the niche above which is a small roundel. The curvature of the niche accentuates the undulating movement which despite its complexity is symmetrical along its vertical axis. The representations of varying palm leaves hints to spiritual growth attained through prayer while the upwards and side wards movement of the leaves speaks to the different motions of the worshiper while in salah.

According to the Indian Ahmadiyya movement founded in , Quranic reference to the tree is symbolic; eating of the forbidden tree signifies that Adam disobeyed God. Etz Chaim , Hebrew for "tree of life," is a common term used in Judaism. The expression, found in the Book of Proverbs , is figuratively applied to the Torah itself. Etz Chaim is also a common name for yeshivas and synagogues as well as for works of Rabbinic literature.

It is also used to describe each of the wooden poles to which the parchment of a Sefer Torah is attached. The tree of life is mentioned in the Book of Genesis ; it is distinct from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were driven out of the Garden of Eden.

PHILOSOPHY - Baruch Spinoza

Remaining in the garden, however, was the tree of life. To prevent their access to this tree in the future, Cherubim with a flaming sword were placed at the east of the garden. Genesis In the Book of Proverbs, the tree of life is associated with wisdom : "[Wisdom] is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her, and happy [is every one] that retaineth her.

The Book of Enoch , generally considered non-canonical , states that in the time of the great judgment God will give all those whose names are in the Book of Life fruit to eat from the tree of life. Jewish mysticism depicts the tree of life in the form of ten interconnected nodes, as the central symbol of the Kabbalah.


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It comprises the ten Sefirot powers in the divine realm. The panentheistic and anthropomorphic emphasis of this emanationist theology interpreted the Torah, Jewish observance, and the purpose of Creation as the symbolic esoteric drama of unification in the Sefirot , restoring harmony to Creation. From the time of the Renaissance onwards, Jewish Kabbalah became incorporated as an important tradition in non-Jewish Western culture, first through its adoption by Christian Kabbalah , and continuing in Western esotericism occult Hermetic Qabalah.

These adapted the Judaic Kabbalah tree of life syncretically by associating it with other religious traditions, esoteric theologies, and magical practices. The concept of world trees is a prevalent motif in pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cosmologies and iconography. World trees embodied the four cardinal directions , which represented also the fourfold nature of a central world tree, a symbolic axis mundi connecting the planes of the Underworld and the sky with that of the terrestrial world.

Among the Maya, the central world tree was conceived as or represented by a ceiba tree, and is known variously as a wacah chan or yax imix che , depending on the Mayan language.

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Directional world trees are also associated with the four Yearbearers in Mesoamerican calendars , and the directional colors and deities. World trees are frequently depicted with birds in their branches, and their roots extending into earth or water sometimes atop a "water-monster," symbolic of the underworld.


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  • The central world tree has also been interpreted as a representation of the band of the Milky Way. In a myth passed down among the Iroquois , The World on the Turtle's Back , explains the origin of the land in which a tree of life is described. According to the myth, it is found in the heavens, where the first humans lived, until a pregnant woman fell and landed in an endless sea.

    Saved by a giant turtle from drowning, she formed the world on its back by planting bark taken from the tree. The tree of life motif is present in the traditional Ojibway cosmology and traditions. The elders tell Black Elk that they will bring him to meet "Our Father, the two-legged chief" and bring him to the center of a hoop where he sees the tree in full leaf and bloom and the "chief" standing against the tree.

    Coming out of his trance he hopes to see that the earthly tree has bloomed, but it is dead. In Serer religion , the tree of life as a religious concept forms the basis of Serer cosmogony.

    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

    Trees were the first things created on Earth by the supreme being Roog or Koox among the Cangin. In the competing versions of the Serer creation myth, the Somb Prosopis africana and the Saas tree acacia albida are both viewed as trees of life. The World Tree or tree of life is a central symbol in Turkic mythology. This divine tree is guarded by Gandharvas in the garden of Amaravati, city under the control of Indra, King of gods. Popular story goes like this, for a very long time, gods and demi-gods who are believed to be fathered by Kashyapa Prajapati and have different mothers.

    It is gold in colour. It has mesmerizing aura. It can be pleased with chanting and offers. When it is pleased, it grants every wish. This iconic painting later inspired the external facade of the "New Residence Hall" also called the "Tree House" , a colorful story student residence hall at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts. Lewis ' Chronicles of Narnia , the tree of life plays a role, especially in the sixth published book the first in the in-world chronology The Magician's Nephew.

    Throughout the Dragon Quest video game series, the Tree of Life Yggdrasil is a recurrent theme that is often connected to the foundation of the world, and that which connects all of life together in peace and harmony. Dragon Quest 11 specifically features the lore of Yggdrasil and how it came to be, being born from the remains of the Yggdragon, a celestial dragon deity who was killed in an epic battle with a chaotic force called Calasmos. Alex Proyas ' film Knowing ends with the two young protagonists directed towards the tree of life. The Five Pillars of Islam refer to religious duties to God, to personal spiritual growth, to caring for the less fortunate, self-discipline, and sacrifice.

    They provide a structure or framework for a Muslim's life, just as pillars do for buildings. The division between Shia and Sunni dates back to the death of the Prophet Muhammad in This event raised the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with many of the Prophet's companions at the time of his death: that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job. For example, following Prophet Muhammad's death, his close friend and adviser, Abu Bakr , became the first Caliph successor or deputy of the Prophet of the Islamic nation.

    Shia Muslims believe that following the Prophet Muhammad's death, leadership should have passed directly to his cousin and son-in-law, Ali bin Abu Talib. Throughout history, Shia Muslims have not recognized the authority of elected Muslim leaders, choosing instead to follow a line of Imams which they believe have been appointed by the Prophet Muhammad or God Himself.

    The word Shia in Arabic means a group or supportive party of people. Within the Sunni and Shia branches, you can also find a number of sects. For example, in Saudi Arabia, Sunni Wahhabism is a prevalent and puritanical faction.


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    • Similarly, in Shiitism, the Druze are a somewhat eclectic sect residing in Lebanon, Syria, and Israel. Sunni Muslims make up an 85 percent majority of Muslims all over the world.

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