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Dharmic, Abrahamic, Taoic Religions

Dharmic religions are a family of religions that have originated from the Indian subcontinent. They encompass Hinduism and three other religions that have spawned from it—namely Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.[1][2] Dharmic religions are one of the three major schools of religion in the world, the others being Abrahamic religions and Taoic religions. The theology and philosophy of Dharmic Religions center on the concept of Dharma, a Sanskrit term for “fixed decree, law, duty”, especially in a spiritual sense of “natural law, reality”. It is mostly influential across the Indian subcontinent, East Asia and South East Asia with influence felt throughout the world. These Dharmic religions are very closely interrelated.

In the study of comparative religion, the category of Abrahamic religions consists of the three great monotheistic religions–Judaism, Christianity, and Islam–which claim Abraham (Hebrew “Avraham” אַבְרָהָם ; Arabic “Ibrahim” ابراهيم ) as a part of their sacred history. Other, smaller religions, such as the Baha’i faith, that fit this description are sometimes included, but more often omitted. Zoroastrianism is not included, because it is an Indo-Aryan faith with no known Semitic roots.

In the study of comparative religion, a Taoic religion is a religion, or religious philosophy, that focuses on the East Asian concept of Tao (“The Way”; pinyin Dao, Korean/Japanese Do, Vietnamese Đạo). This forms a large group of religions including Taoism, Confucianism, Jeung San Do, Shinto, Yiguandao, Chondogyo, Chen Tao and Caodaism. Taoic religion as a world religion group is comparable to Abrahamic religion and dharmic religion.[1] Taoic faiths claim at least 400 million members worldwide.[2]

Ancient Chinese philosophies defined Tao and advocated cultivating De in that Tao.[3] There are ancient schools that have merged into traditions under different names or are no longer active, such as Mohism and many others of the Hundred Schools of Thought, while some such as Taoism persist to the modern day. Taoic religion is usually polytheistic, but henotheistic, monotheistic, pantheistic, panentheistic and agnostic varieties exist, particularly outside of Asia. Taoic religion has Western adherents, though their interpretation often significantly differs from traditional East Asian thought and culture.



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