As far as we might know, most of the religions claim that they have been existing ever since the creation of the world, the spiritual traditions come and go as the natural selective progress. The thriving of one spiritual traditions also depended on many elements the most important of which was the regularity of the empire or kingdom. Ancient religions like Manichaeism or Tengrism are no longer with us. Only a few of the most ancient religions and spiritual practices are still around.
Hinduism is the oldest surviving religion according to many scholars. These days, there are up to 900,000 followers of Hinduism, which stands the third in the rank and behind Christianity and Islam. Because there was no specific founder, it is nearly impossible to trace back the origin and the history of this religion.
Because Hinduism embraces many different religious ideas, it is the “family of religions” to compare with one single religion. The followers of Hinduism are henotheistic which mean they worship one single deity but not deny the existence of other gods. That one single deity is Brahman.
One of the key beliefs in Hinduism is the belief in the soul. This belief tells that every creature has a soul. And the goal is to set the soul free from the continuous rebirths. The symbol of this religion is commonly the Swastika.
As the ancient Persian religion, this religion might date back to 4,000 years ago. There are roughly 200,000 followers the majority of whom form in the parts of Iran and India.
Some people believe that set of principles and beliefs of Zoroastrianism form the basis of the Judaism, Christianity, and Islam due to the influence of the Persian Empire. Cyrus the Great who founded the Persian Empire was dedicated follower of Zoroastrianism. The core of this religion consists of one single god, one heaven, one hell, and one day of judgement.
Judaism, among the most ancient religions, is where the followers of it believe their single god communicate with them through the Prophet. He who is god will reward people with good deeds while punishing the bad ones.
The Torah is the series of five books of the Tanakh which is the “Hebrew Bible”. They are somewhat similar to the Old Testament of the Bible but placed in different order. The Torah sets out the rules for the Jews to follow and the followers believe that their savior is yet to come. The six-point star of David is the symbol of Judaism.
The religion of Jainism has a somewhat obscure origin. It is the Indian religion. The main teaching of this religion is the path to purify the soul of the devout followers by making them practice the nonviolence to anything, especially the living creatures.
The origin of the Confucianism can trace back to one leader whose name was Confucius. He was the philosopher, politician, and teacher.
This religion, however, focuses more on the humanistic matter than the spiritual tradition. Confucianism still talks about the relationship between the humanity and the Tian meaning Heaven.
To realize the ideal of “humanity”, one individual has to practice to create a harmonious community which starts from their family. According to the teachings of Confucianism, its followers have to worship five entities which are Tian Di (Heave and Earth), the Qun (the King), the Qin (the ancestors), and the Shi (the maters).
Unlike other religions, Buddhism has a very clear history. The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama whom people later call him Buddha. He is a prince of one kingdom who is about to inherit his throne. But he abandons everything of his treasure and power. Then Siddhartha Gautama set out to find the way to set himself free from this miserable world.
Siddhartha Gautama sees bad things like old age, illnesses, etc. make people miserable. Thereby, he wants to find the way to make them no longer suffer. So the main goal for the followers of Buddhism is to set themselves free and to join the world of Nirvana in their afterlife.
The teachings of Buddha revolves around the good deeds which will grant the followers a closer relationship with Buddha. And one thing notable about this religion is that Buddha never sees himself as the savior of anyone. He doesn’t force anyone to follow him as it all depends on the decisions of people. He just views himself as the teacher and whoever that wants to listen to him listen.
Taoism or Daoism is a Chinese philosophy which is brought to life by Laozi. This religion revolves around the Tao which means “the Way”. The main core of Taoism is the principle of Yin Yang which sees the world with the complementary force: force and non-force, action and non-action, light and dark, etc.
Taoists believe in more than one god. Inside the temples of Taoism, many gods are worshipped. The Taoism wants its followers to promote the harmony in the world, to pursuit the state of spiritual immorality and sel-development.