Jedi kinights overview:
The Jedi are an ancient monastic peacekeeping organization in the fictional Star Wars universe. They are connected with the Force. They specifically use the "light side" of the force (The Force or true way) and reject the "dark side" of the Force, as well as the Dark Side's adherents, the Sith as a heresy.
While various sources and ideas have been brought forth as the initial inspiration for the idea of a fictional "Jedi" order, the most apparent are the current and past chivalric orders that exist in Europe (to europeans that is).It is speculated they were named after the jidai-geki genre of Japanese films about samurai.
One of the enduring influences the Star Wars saga has had is the idea of the fictional-Jedi values being interpreted in a modern philosophical path or religion. Over half a million people throughout the world declared themselves as Jedi on their census forms, which was considered to be a practical joke and may not reflect the real number of Jedi in the countries concerned.
The Jedi hold a religious reverence to The Force, approached through meditation, civic service and learning.However, soon after its formation, several Jedi left the order to follow the path of the Dark Side, the first of many schisms.
The Jedi Order was ruled by a board of 12 members called the Jedi Council, located on the planet of Coruscant before being destroyed by Emperor Palpatine. The council represented a gathering of great minds which acted as a governing body for the order as well as a martial advisory board for the Old Republic Senate.
 Expanded Universe
Within the Expanded Universe of Star Wars media, the primary Jedi Council on Coruscant is the most dominant of a number of Jedi governing bodies. At one point approximately 4,000 years prior to the movies, there was also a Jedi council on Dantooine. After the events in Episode 6, Luke Skywalker eventually reestablishes the Jedi Order and creates something called the Masters' Council.
Members of the order progress through four to six tiers of rank, at times referred to as levels.
- Jedi Youngling/Initiate : A Jedi Youngling is a Jedi learning to control the force and how to wield a lightsaber. The title of Jedi Youngling is the first part of a Jedi training. Younglings were seen training with Jedi Grand Master Yoda in a scene from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
- Jedi Padawan/Apprentice: A Youngling that successfully completes their respective level of training undergoes Padawan apprentice training under the tutelage of a Jedi Knight or Jedi Master. As a rite of passage and the final test before the trials to knighthood, Padawans must build their own lightsabers. In the Old Republic, male Human Padawans usually wore braids in their hair that were removed upon attaining knighthood.
- Jedi Knight: Disciplined, experienced Jedi may become full-fledged Jedi Knights once they have completed "the trials" that test candidates' skills, knowledge, and dedication. The three tests are usually known as The Trial of Skill, The Trial of Spirit, and the Trial of Knowledge. In Return Of The Jedi, Master Yoda gives his apprentice Luke Skywalker the trial of confronting Darth Vader for a second time so he might become a full-fledged Knight. Occasionally, performing an extraordinary (usually heroic) act can earn a Padawan learner Jedi Knight status, such as when Obi-Wan Kenobi defeats the Sith Lord Darth Maul. Or in the case of Anakin Skywalker who defeats Sith Apprentice Asajj Ventress.
- Jedi Master: A Jedi Knight may become a Jedi Master after successfully training a Padawan learner to Knight status. Though this is the most common manner, it is not always the case. If the council sees that a Jedi Knight has become more powerful and has gained more knowledge and discipline in the Force, then they can be nominated by one or more council members to take the trials again.
- Jedi Council Member: When a Jedi Council Member vacates its seat, the council looks for an exemplary Jedi Master to fill the empty position. Presiding Council Members elect prospective candidates when openings become available. According to the Dorling Kindersley guide to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, some members were permanent members (like Yoda and Mace Windu), while the rest served limited terms, after which they stepped down and another member would be elected to the Jedi Council. With the exceptions of Anakin Skywalker and Ki-Adi Mundi, who was the only Knight on the Council for a short period of time before becoming a Jedi Master, all council members require the status of Jedi Master prior to entering the council.
- Jedi Grand Master: Formally "Grand Master of the Jedi Order," only the highest-ranking Jedi Masters take the title. The title of Grand Master/Supreme Master is merely a theoretical title given by Jedi Masters to a certain Master who has been most wise among other masters in the council, as with Master Yoda. The Jedi Grand Master does not enjoy any greater privilege than any council members because the council members also have a vote in any issues presented by the council. The Grand Master was apparently the "first among equals" of the Jedi High Council, or the later Masters' Council. It may also be implied that the Grand Master of the Jedi Order has a strong connection to Jedi of which have pledged themselves to the Order (Yoda sensing the deaths of Jedi across the galaxy as Order 66 is being executed in Revenge of the Sith). Yoda and Luke Skywalker (in the expanded universe) are Grand Masters
Jedi-ism religion-path. 'one of many schisms...'