Among the study of comparative religions the three major branches of religions are Abrahamic, Indian and Taoic. Abrahamic religions are three i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Indian religions are those which originate from Indian subcontinent. They include Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism. A Taoic religion is a religion, or religious philosophy, that focuses on the East Asian concept of Tao (“The Way”). This forms a large group of religions including Taoism, Confucianism, Jeung San Do, Shinto, I-Kuan Tao, Chondogyo, Chen Tao and Cao Dai. There are different terms ascribed to spirituality or spiritual experience among individual religions. Let’s have a look at some of these terms.
The term Kaballah used in Judaism
Islam is based on five pillars or fundamentals including Shahadat, fasting, Zakat, hajj and salat. All of these practices carry spiritual basis. The sufi tradition in Islam deals with spiritualism mysticism in particular. In this tradition the spiritual leader or “pir” develops a spiritual bond with the followers and delivers the spiritualism discipline to the followers.
The term Bhavna in Buddhism means producing or developing a sense of “calling into existence”. The word bhavana normally appears in conjunction with another word forming a compound phrase such as citta-bhavana (the development or cultivation of the heart/mind) or metta-bhavana (the development/cultivation of lovingkindness). When used on its own bhavana signifies ‘spiritual cultivation’ generally.
The term Sadhna used in Hinduism is aimed at reaching moksha or enlightenment. Sadhana literally “a means of accomplishing something”, is an ego-transcending spiritual practice. Sādhanā is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. Abhyāsa is repeated practice performed with observation and reflection. Kriyā, or action, also implies perfect execution with study and investigation. Therefore, sādhanā, abhyāsa, and kriyā all mean one and the same thing. A sādhaka, or practitioner, is one who skillfully applies…mind and intelligence in practice towards a spiritual goal.
Sikhism considers spiritual life and secular life to be intertwined: “In the Sikh Weltanschauung…the temporal world is part of the Infinite Reality and partakes of its characteristics.
According to Guru Nanak, the goal is to attain the “attendant balance of separation-fusion, self-other, action-inaction, attachment-detachment, in the course of daily life”,the polar opposite to a self-centered existence. Nanak talks further about the one God or Akal (timelessness) that permeates all life). and which must be seen with ‘the inward eye’, or the ‘heart’, of a human being. In Sikhism there is no dogma, priests, monastics or yogis.
Reference: Various Wikipedia pages on related subjects