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3rd installment of faiths

This is the third and most likely final (cause I have other shit to talk about) installment of my top 10 religions I got on that quiz. And just because I can, I’m mixing it up a bit. I’m going to post what #9 and #10 are about.

This will be per Beliefnet.com, not me.

#9 was Sikhism

• Belief in Deity
God Almighty is impersonal, formless ultimate reality and He is the Creator, personal savior, inner teacher, omniscient, omnipotent, and incorporeal.

• Incarnations
God reveals and manifests Himself through all in the universe, but no finite form can be worshipped as God, who is infinite. God chose to embody the Divine Light in the Guru Nanak and in nine gurus successively, and finally to the scriptures themselves, but none are to be worshipped as God(s).

• Origin of Universe and Life
God existed in deep meditation of the void for countless ages until deciding to create the universe and life. Only God knows how and when the universe and life and the first karma were created.

• After Death
One’s soul is continually reborn until liberated by the Grace of God, at which time the soul merges with God (Guru).

• Why Evil?
No original sin, no Satan. We are currently in the age of sin when evil is likely to flourish. Humans are inherently prone to succumb to temptations. God created all and gave people free will. Evil is permitted as a test of the character of humanity and the faithfulness of evil’s victims. Godless evildoers are to be avoided.

• Salvation
Salvation is enlightenment, granted by God’s grace only, resulting in liberation from cycles of rebirth and the soul’s merger with God (the Supreme Soul or Guru) after death. Frequent prayer, mediation, and song in praise of God, adult baptism into the Khalsa brotherhood, good works (alms and free food kitchen), morality, and obeying God’s laws (divine words conveyed through 10 human Gurus) demonstrate devotion and purify the soul of impurities accumulated over many prior lifetimes and of the human vices of lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride (or ego).

• Undeserved Suffering
Rebirth occurs, but one is not destined to suffer under the law of karma. Suffering is not inflicted directly by God but is permitted by God as a test of courage and faith. Suffering is appreciated for the good that it often brings out in humanity, e.g. compassion. The faithful are most vulnerable to suffering at the hand of evildoers who challenge their faith. Suffering is seen as the remedy and pleasure the disease.

• Contemporary Issues
Abortion is a sin. Homosexuality is not addressed in scripture, but one source indicated that it is considered as part of one’s karma, and subjects the person to psychic imbalance between female and male energies, which could lead to self-destructive behaviors. Gender equality is a stated position and is emphasized in practice. Remarriage of widows is permitted.

#10 was Mahayana Buddhism

Mahayana Buddhism includes diverse beliefs, various sects, schools, and trends. The main Mahayana sects include Pure Land, Zen, and Vajrayana (or Tantric) Buddhism. We focus here on some of the traditional elements of Mahayana Buddhism.

• Belief in Deity
Mahayana Buddhism (like Theravada Buddhism) posits no Creator or ruler God. However, deity belief is present in the Mahayana doctrine of The Three Bodies (forms) of Buddha: (1) Body of Essence–the indescribable, impersonal Absolute Reality, or Ultimate Truth that is Nirvana (Infinite Bliss); (2) Body of Bliss or Enjoyment–Buddha as divine, deity, formless, celestial spirit with saving power of grace, omnipotence, omniscience; and (3) Body of Transformation or Emanation–an illusion or emanation in human form provided by the divine Buddha to guide humans to Enlightenment. Any person can potentially achieve Buddhahood, transcending personality and becoming one with the impersonal Ultimate Reality, which is Infinite Bliss (Nirvana). There are countless Buddhas presiding over countless universes. Bodhisattvas–humans and celestial spirits who sacrifice their imminent liberation (Buddhahood) to help all others to become liberated–are revered or worshipped as gods or saints by some.

• Incarnations
The historic Buddha, the person Siddhartha Gautama, is considered by many as an emanation or illusion of the highest power (which is also called Buddha). Many believe there have been countless Buddhas on earth.

• Origin of Universe and Life
No Creator God. All matter is illusion or manifestation of the Ultimate Reality. Generally, Mahayana Buddhist beliefs don’t find modern scientific discoveries contradictory to Buddhist thought.

• After Death
There is no transmigration of individual souls, but through the law of karma, one’s wholesome or unwholesome intentions become imprinted in the mind. Negative mental states persist through continual rebirth until one’s intentions become wholesome. Once fully enlightened, one is liberated from rebirths, reaching a state of absolute selflessness resulting in ultimate bliss called Nirvana–the “Deathless State.” One becomes Buddha (or one with Buddha). Some Buddhists, especially modern Western, don’t emphasize or believe in literal rebirth.

• Why Evil?
People have free will to commit wrongs. Evil results as cravings, attachments, and ignorance accumulate through perpetual rebirths, thus perpetuating greed, hatred, and violence.

• Salvation
The goal is enlightenment, leading to Nirvana–liberation from cycles of rebirth and suffering–which is life. All are already endowed with Buddha-nature but need to come to realize fully that only the Ultimate Reality (the great “void” or “emptiness”) is real (or nonconditional) and permanent. The Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path show the way, along with worship of the essential Buddha. One must work to extinguish self: All worldly cravings, desires, and attachments, through loving-kindness, compassion, charity, moral conduct, wisdom, and meditation. Renouncing worldly possessions and goals is not necessary for the laity, if balanced. Buddha taught the middle path, moderation. Human and spirit world Bodhisattvas are sought for help in gaining enlightenment. Pure Land Mahayana Buddhists aim to find a place of eternal Nirvana in a paradisiacal Pure Land, attainable by calling out the name of the Buddha ruler of the Pure Land.

• Undeserved Suffering
Life is suffering. Suffering results from this and past life greed, hatred, and ignorance, which, unless mitigated, returns as suffering (karma). Intense suffering may be viewed as the release of karma, hastening one’s liberation. Suffering is illusion or ignorance of one’s true nature as Buddha.

• Contemporary Issues
Abortion is considered murder, and all violent acts cause horrific karmic consequence. Homosexuality in itself is not specifically condemned by scripture, but opinions vary, especially among various Buddhist cultures–e.g., American Buddhists are generally very accepting, while Asian Buddhists are generally strongly opposed to homosexuality. It is believed that divorce wouldn’t occur if one follows Buddhist precepts, but a couple is not condemned if they separate due to vast personal differences. Gender roles are generally traditional (e.g. women are child caretakers and men are providers), but are growing less rigid as society inflicts more and more contemporary demands (e.g. women working in increasing numbers).

I find these two extremely interesting. I studied Gung Fu (Bruce Lee’s version of Kung Fu) and Chi Gung (Chinese meditation) and each of those two things relied heavily on Buddhism and in some cases, Sikhism.

Interesting. Until next time….that would be FOAD Thursday and do I have a FUCKTON of things to say!

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