Refers to the religious movement that emerged in Persia in the third century, founded by Mani the 'Apostle of Light' as an ecumenical and universal belief system integrating ideas from Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Taoism, Islam, and Judaism. The religious movement is generally considered a type of Gnosticism, a system based on the attainment of salvation through knowledge of spiritual truth. It advocates self-knowledge and inner illumination as a defense against succumbing to the evil world of matter and as a path to salvation. Highly dualistic in philosophy, this movement is characterized by the belief in the antithetical substances of Light and Dark, Spirit and Matter, and Good and Evil. The religious community is divided into the elect, who embrace the rigorous, ascetic lifestyle, and into the hearers, who support the elect through works. Essentials of this religion include sacramental rites, almsgiving, fasting, confession, and the singing of hymns and the recitation of scriptural canon.