Introducing World Religions:
The eBook

Introducing World Religions Online:
Comprehensive Glossary of Terms

Term Definition


Principle in Japanese art indicating a subjective feeling of loneliness, tearfulness, or nostalgia.


Sikh term used to express God's ineffable nature -- that which is beyond description.


Name of a conservative Islamic movement begun in the 1700s to clear un-Islamic elements from Muslim life in Arabia; today identified with Islamic fundamentalism.


Sioux term for the Great Mystery that pervades and energizes the cosmos.

Wang Bi

(226-249) Chinese thinker in the Dark Learning movement who wrote a commentary on the Dao de jing, Book of Changes, and Analects; he identified four levels of meaning in the Book of Changes, namely words, images, meaning, and precepts.

Wang Yang-ming

(1472-1529) Chinese philosopher, often considered the fourth great Confucian thinker, who developed the School of Mind as an alternative to the School of Principle; he concluded that to know the world one must look within the mind rather than at external objects.

Way of Great Peace

An early Daoist group founded by three "healer" brothers who rallied peasants to join a guerrilla band known as the Yellow Turbans; members of this taiping dao expected an era of Great Peace following their attempts to bring down the Han ruler in 184 CE; remnants of the group were absorbed into the Celestial Masters sect.

Way of the Five Pecks of Rice

The first organized Daoist church in Chinese history; called the wudoumi dao because of the annual fee people paid for the benefits of healing that came to members of the group; the founder Zhang Daoling had a vision of Lao-zi, and became the first Celestial Master.

Wesley, John

(1703-1791) Christian reformer who wrote Rules for the Methodist faith, and recast core documents of the Anglican Church; he did not break with the Anglican Church, but his followers started the Methodist denomination.

Wounded Knee Creek

Place of massacre of Sioux People in South Dakota, USA on December 29, 1890.


Actionless action; in Chinese thought (especially Daoist) the paradox of doing nothing, and leaving nothing undone.

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