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Soteriology is the study of the nature and means of spiritual salvation or liberation.

The Encyclopedia of Religion states:

The term soteriology means "doctrine of salvation" or, more concretely, the "way of salvation," and derives from the Greek sōtēria, which in turn is built on sōtēr, or "savior." The term is usually used to refer to the salvation of individuals, but it can also relate to the salvation of a group. The implication of the idea is that human beings are in some kind of unfortunate condition and may achieve an ultimately good state either by their own efforts or through the intervention of some divine power. Very commonly, there is belief in a savior God, that is, a God whose special concern is with the welfare of the human race. Examples of this idea are, in the ancient world, Isis, Mithra, and Christ; ...and Kṛṣṇa and Rāma in the Hindu tradition.
The conception of salvation relates most clearly to the idea of some ultimate value or being, nirvāṇa, God, brahman, and so on. It may be thought of as an identity with such an ultimate state or being, or more frequently as a kind of communion with a personal Lord in a heavenly place, that is, "the place of God." Various means may be used to gain liberation or final communion.[1]

Within Buddhism

The soteriology of Buddhism is that, through following the Buddhist path, one can complete overcome unwholesome mental states (kleshas), and thus break free of the bonds of cyclic existence (saṃsāra) and attain liberation (nirvana).

Karl Brunnholzl states:

Thus, the fundamental reason that the precise identification of these two kinds of clinging to an identity – personal and phenomenal – is considered so important is again soteriological. Through first uncovering our clinging and then working on it, we become able to finally let go of this sole cause for all our afflictions and suffering.[2]


σωτηρία sōtēria "salvation" from:


  1. "Soteriology." Encyclopedia of Religion. (January 24, 2022).
  2. Karl Brunnholzl, The Center of the Sunlet Sky, Madhyamaka in the Kagyu Tradition, page 131
  3. "soteriology"

External links

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