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July 30, 2014  |  About the Berkley Center  |  Directions to the Center  |  Subscribe
 
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Hinduism Hinduism
Hinduism is an Indian religion encompassing diverse ritualistic Vedic traditions stressing the importance of karma and societal norms. The vast field of Hindu scriptures...

Avatar
化身

The term avatar (avatara) literally means “divine descent” and refers to the manifestation of a Hindu deity on earth. It is roughly similar to the Christian concept of incarnation, except an avatar does not become human but simply appears in human form (as well as numerous other forms) during a particular historical event. Avatars generally appear in order to give guidance to humanity or to accomplish great deeds. Vaishnavites, who consider the god Vishnu as the Supreme Being, utilize the doctrine of avatars in their theology more than any other branch of Hinduism. Hence, the sacred texts and myths that discuss avatars of Vishnu are central to their beliefs. Hindus believe that Vishnu has had ten avataras so far and will most likely incarnate again when humanity needs guidance. However, many other gods, such as Shiva and Ganesha, have also had avatars, and the belief in avatars spans across the Hindu tradition. The Bhagavad Gita, in which Krishna appears as avatar of Vishnu, first solidified the idea of avatars in Hinduism, with further elaboration coming in the scriptures known as Puranas.
这个术语“化身”(avatar/avatara)的字面意思是“神的血统”,是指地球上的印度教神祗的表现形式。它大致类似于基督教里“道成肉身”的概念,除了“化身”并不成为人类,而只是以人类的形式(以及许多其他形式)出现在特定的历史事件中。“化身”显现一般是为了对人类或伟大事迹的完成给予指导。以毗湿奴神为尊并崇拜该神的毗湿奴派,他们的神学系统中使用“化身”的概念比印度教的其他任何分支都要多,书写有关毗湿奴神化身的经文成为他们信仰的中心。毗湿奴至今被认为有十个化身,人们普遍认为,当人类需要时他将降临指导。然而,其他许多神,如湿婆和象头神,也曾有化身。有关“化身”的信仰贯穿了整个印度教传统。 “薄伽梵歌”中,奎师那是毗湿奴的化身,这是印度教中“化身”概念的第一次具体化,而这一概念在被称为“往世书”的经文中得到进一步阐述。