Audio Glossary: D

Dalai Lama
The spiritual head of the Tibetan people, considered to be the incarnation of a Tibetan deity. When each Dalai Lama dies, his soul passes into the body of a child, who is recognised by the appearance of certain signs. The current Dalai Lama, His Holiness Tenzin Gyatsho, was installed in 1940. (Tibetan 'Vajrayana' Buddhsim is a development of Mahayana Buddhism) and the Dalai Lama is therefore held in great respect by many Buddhists, and also non-Buddhists who see him as a great spiritual leader)
Biblical figure, a prophet after whom a book in the Bible is named, famous for surviving a night in a den of lions.
Dasam Granth
Sikh scriptures made up of the hymns of Guru Gobind Singh.
Dasahra (Dussehra)
A ten day Hindu festival falling in September/October and associated with both Lord Rama and Durga.
Biblical figure, the second king of the Israelite people, whose reign is regarded as a golden age in Jewish history. David is also traditionally seen as the author of most of the Psalms.
Inviting people to Islam either through preaching or through the example of a good life.
Compassion, a very important concept within Sikhism.
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Days of Awe
The first 10 days of the Jewish year, beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur.
In some Christian denominations a ceremony to welcome a new baby into the community and to pray for his/her spiritual and physical well-being.
Deer Park Sermon
The first message the Buddha gave following his enlightenment, also known as 'setting in motion the wheel of the law' and 'foundation of the kingdom of righteousness'. The sermon occurred at the Deer Park near Benares.
'Deg, Teg, Feteh'
'Victory to charity and the holy sword of God,' a phrase from the Sikh Ardas.
Dharma / dhamma
In Buddhism is commonly used to describe both the teachings of the Buddha and the true nature of existence, the way things really are, since this is what Buddhists believe the teachings really contain. Theravadin Buddhists will use the word 'dhamma / dharma" as a synonym for Buddhism
Dimensions of Religion
Professor Ninian Smart maintained that there are dimensions common to religions, of which he identified seven: the doctrinal, the ethical, the ritual, the social, the narrative (or mythical), the experiential and the material.
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Diwali / Deepwali
An Indian festival of lights celebrated at the onset of winter by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.
diya (Diva)
an oil lamp used at Diwali celebrations.
Voluntary prayers said by Muslims, which can be spontaneous and extempore, or composed. These prayers are additional to the salah, or obligatory prayers, performed five times a day.
Can be variously translated by words such as 'unsatisfactoriness' or 'suffering'. The first of the four noble truths of Buddhism is that all life (existence) is dukkha - even good an pleasurable things, on account of the fact that they never last
Literally 'she who is difficult of approach'; the mother-goddess of Hindu tradition. In some aspects she is fierce and terrible, the slayer of demons, whom she kills with her scimitar. Another manifestation of this goddess is Kali.
Durga Puha
Alternative name for Hindu festival of Dasahra.