the answer is yes
(via vegan-dreams)Source: eastlondoner
Ok so to be frank most people in the United States because they are stupid *cough cough* racist *cough cough* have no idea what Sikhism is and often confuse it with Islam because they are, once again, stupid *cough cough* Islamaphobic *cough cough* And it is important to note (as is pointed out in this article here about white terrorism, and how that plays a role in popular US thought) that:
The key factor isn’t that they’re Sikhs; it’s that the apparent homegrown terrorist — a term virtually no one would object to had a murderous Muslim burst into the Sikh temple — was perpetrated by a white guy.
Hold the victims constant and give the perpetrator the last name Mohammed. Does anyone think for a moment that such an attack wouldn’t still be the most discussed story at Fox News and National Review? And at various network news shows and unaffiliated newspapers for that matter?
Instead Wade Michael Page was the gunman.
Satwant Singh Kaleka, 65, managed to find a simple butter knife in the temple and tried to stab the gunman even after being shot twice near the hip or upper leg, his son said Monday.
His nephew Jatinder Mangat said Kaleka was always willing to help out with any job.“He doesn’t care what he’s wearing, what he’s doing, he’ll just be there for you,” Mangat said. “We used to say `It’s OK, we’ll have somebody else do it,’ and he’d say, `No, no, I’ll do it,’ even if it was a dirty job. He’ll do anything.”
Additionally you should probably read this article about how the united states’s insane security culture is racist and frequently strikes out blind against those it does not understand:
In the months following the attacks of 9/11, more than 300 incidences of hate crimes against Sikhs were reported, according to the Sikh Coalition (PDF).
Though their numbers make up the world’s fifth-largest religion, Sikhs are still misunderstood (No, they are not Muslims or Hindus). Below is a round up of notable hate crimes and bias incidents against Sikhs since 9/11.
[bold added for emphasis by me]
And finally you should read this for a brief overview of certain aspects of Sikhism and why Sikh’s wear turbans. And then you should go out and at least the Wikipedia article on Sikhism in its entirety and read all of its sub links. And while your at go read up on what Islam is actually about too. Probably do you some good.
Founded in India in 1469, Sikhism is often confused with Hinduism or Islam, but is part of neither. The religion teaches that there is one God, but many paths to the divine, and abjures proselytism.
Each of the faith’s 10 founding gurus wore turbans, called dastars, but it was the last guru, Guru Gobind Singh, who instructed all male members of the faith to wear them. (The requirement is optional for women.) The reasons ranged from political to theological.
Sikh gurus rebelled against India’s strict caste system, teaching instead that people are essentially equal in God’s eyes. Turbans, typically worn by the upper class, should be worn by the lower classes as well, the gurus taught, to symbolize that equality.
But it is more than a political symbol. Like Orthodox Jews who wear yarmulkes or Catholic nuns who don habits, Sikhs believe the turban is a visible declaration of humility before God and commitment to their faith.
And in case your too lazy go to find said articles on Wikipedia…look I found them for you
Go. Now. Read.
Tom, I love you forever, literally forever and a day. If you somehow see that I’ve posted this latest page of Gunnerkrigg on tumblr and are reading this please know that your work has inspired me as a storyteller and a person.
Thank you, don’t ever stop doing what you do.
all rights to Gunnerkrigg court and Tom Siddell Please check out the story from the very beginning here: http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=1
In an interesting article it is revealed that American Catholics are ok with birth control…
Well I know I’ve been saying for the past few posts that I’d be talking about Daosim this time but it seems that I’ve run into a bit of a quandary. You see in South Korea, which is my current area of focus, Daoism, which is my current religious focus, never really came to party. Or for that matter they never really got the invitation. So now you see my quandary, how I am to talk about my focus religion in an area where it doesn’t have to strong a sway? Well I simply re-framed my question into finding out why Daoism wasn’t in Korea and while I was digging about I came across Muism also known as Korean Shamanism. So I my next hunch was that the popular religion of Korea repelled attempts at the implantation of Daosim into Korea but then I did a bit more research and saw that was flat out wrong.
You see throughout much of its history the nations inhabiting the Korean peninsula have been influenced by their neighbors in China. From tribute to their governing system to Korea’s faithful payment of tribute for several hundred years a great deal of cultural exchange occurred including the importation of Confucianism and, later, Buddhism. But strangely Daoism never arrived on the scene. But, then again, on closer examination it might not be so strange. You see while Daosim did enjoy a brief time as an organized religion that was favored by the Imperial Chinese Court it was, has and always shall be, a much more populist tradition. Which is important for two reasons, the first is that it never became attached to the Court and second there was no easy way for Daoists to spread their beliefs.
To flesh those out a bit because of its structure and doctrine Confucianism was used to help support much of the later Chinese Dynasties bureaucratic system. Meaning that Confucian ideals were exported to countries closely under the sphere of Chinese influence, like Korea.
Additionally Daoism isn’t exactly the kind of religion which is bent on spreading itself to all corners of the globe and when combined with their lack of a position to even attempt to do so on a large scale it didn’t really happen (unless it went through Mahayana Buddhism which was a syncretism of Buddhism and Daosim).
So with that out of the way what about Muism? Well I still don’t know a lot about it yet but i am still investigating. Within Muism there is a group of people know as mudang who serve as the ‘shamans’ (whether or not Muism is shamanism at all is up for debate) and act as intermediaries, interpreters, and vessels for interaction between humans, spirits, gods, and a host of others.
However, there are two very interesting things about the mudang the first they almost all female and second it is not something you choose it choose you. At a certain point in someone’s life they will become horrifically ill, struck down with a divine illness. This illness could go on for some time before the person begins to feel a sort of calling that must be answered or they will be drawn further and further into the sickness. And often times they have to answer the call in potentially the most epic ways.
One guy was bed ridden for days until he got up and
climbed to the top of anearby mountain in the middle of blizzard.
Eventually the mudang is possessed by the first time by the deity that had been calling to them. After this they set out establishing themselves in their communities.
While the idea of a vocation is something I have encountered in my studies I have never run into something like this before. True I have heard that epileptics are more likely to have intense religious experiences and callings akin to these but there is no way that such a condition could be concentrated in Korea to such a degree that an entire popular religion was built to accommodate it. Or else every culture would have more classes of spiritually torn people who either literally have to make peace with a hast other worldly power or potentially die from the illness that comes with this calling and while I know many a person with a religious calling I have never seen them collapse in the street because of the intensity of its nature.
So I guess my next steps are to dive further down this rabbit hole and try and figure out why the mudang are this way? Why is it a mostly female class? Why are the visions so intense in nature? What are the gods like? And can you ever know you are going to be a mudang before it happens?
Till next time
Grayson, James Huntley. Korea: A Religious History. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Walraven, B. C. A. 1983. Korean shamanism. Numen 30, no. 2: 240-264.
Walraven, Boudewijn. 2009. National pantheon, regional deities, personal spirits? mushindo, songsu, and the nature of korean shamanism. Asian Ethnology 68, no. 1: 55-80.
Wong, Eva. The Shambhala Guide to Taoism. Boston: Shambhala, 1997.
(Lyn’s like that except maybe a bit more like this)
(hmmm that’s not it either, maybe if I combined them)
(THERE WE GO!)
Perhaps the one of the most amazing people I have ever met is also the most unassuming. I met Lyn for the first time during the first few days of my Freshman Year long before I became a religion and the insanity that is my current life was even conceivable I signed up for Hinduism and Buddhism on slight interest and a whim. Having no idea that I would be sucked into a new and awesome world I didn’t think existed; where homework was a pleasure, papers a joy, and I eventually gained the proper knowledge, power, and faith to be become a legit activist and nearly get arrest in Washington DC (but that’s another story).
So I walked into this class and the first few days where normal, but then Lyn brought in a meditation chime and asked us if 10 minutes of meditation before class would be okay. After all, she said, you can’t understand Hinduism or Buddhism without at least trying meditation, and my jaw hit the desk. Meditation? In class? Had I fucking died and gone to heaven? I clearly hadn’t but it was pretty soon after that I decided to become a Religion major as well as an Outdoor Ed major and forgot about English.
However I didn’t realize how truly epic Lyn was until she told the class a story about how she broke up a fight as an example of interconnectedness and how you can use the calm clear mindset you gain from close self inspection and meditation in real life. She was at a Dunkin Doughnuts, or some variant of that kind of store, in a crumby part of town and two woman were in line in front of her, they were clearly friends and were having a heated discussion. They got their food and as they walked outside it became an argument. By the time Lyn got outside they were attacking each other and a ring of people was beginning to form around them and no one did anything, due to diffusion of responsibility. It was pretty tame as fights go; but then one of the woman picked up a brick and started to beat the other with it. Still no one did anything.
Lyn pushed her way through the crowd of people, walked up to the woman with the brick, grabbed her on the shoulder, and said, calmly, “Give me the brick.” The woman looked at her with confusion and sheepishly handed the brick over as she realized just what had happened. She attended to her friend, the crowed broke up and Lyn walked away throwing the brick to the side as she got on the train.
And I just sat there trying to hide the fact that my head was doing this:
although I am pretty sure I looked like this:
Lyn had done something that I had only ever heard of happening in the Sources, she had acted completely selflessly and put herself in harms way to save someone she did not know. It was then that i began to realize that I could actually, you know, do something constructive with my faith and that miracles happen every single fucking day, but only if we do them.
And that’s just it, there’s this saying that if you want the Messiah to come treat the person next you like they are the Messiah. Which is the heart of Religious Environmentalism and Activism. This world already is a model of Heaven, or God’s Kingdom, or the Way, or Nirvana, or whatever the fuck you want to call perfection but we have to truly realize it, truly see it, truly believe it, and truly work for it in order for it to be here.
Which is, in my opinion, the supreme value of any kind of Engaged Religion (fancy speak for Religious Activism) through your faith you can do things that are simply impossible otherwise, because you aren’t doing it for yourself, or your friends, family, or people you know, but for the benefit of all beings as they are standing by your side cheering you on.
For example I offer another story, this time about the Buddha:
When the Buddha was inches away from obtaining Enlightenment the Demon Mara appeared and sought to stop him from breaking his hold over the world. He offered him riches, wealth, power, even his own daughters, and anything he could desire but the Buddha turned him down. So Mara was forced to do the only thing Mara knew how to do and tried to frighten the Buddha with his own demise, sending an illusionary army to kill the Buddha, but the Buddha could see through death’s tricks and didn’t move. Mara screamed in frustration and asked on who’s authority the Buddha could defeat him, he smiled and patted the earth; in response the 10,000 things, beings everywhere, the world, and the universe itself cried for salvation from Samsara, from suffering. Mara was foiled and the Buddha slipped into Nirvana for the first time.
He only could do it because he was acting on behalf of everything and he returned with one way out.
The Christians in the room will recognize parts of the story and that is no accident, but comparing Christ and the Buddha is another story for another time.
What the Buddha did, what Jesus did, and what every other savior has done is exactly the same as what Lyn did. Acting for something other than yourself so you can save others and, here’s the kicker, everything can do it.
Me, you, your dog, the tree in your backyard. Everything. A miracle is waiting to happen, and its in you.
As corny as that sounds its true.
Till next time
Peace, Love, Tea
Trailer for the film Renewal, which examines the religious reaction to the Environmental Crisis in the United States and else where.
Its super cool and talks about my favorite story of all time, the Ordained Trees of Taiwan…well one of my favorite stories of all time.
So remember always that there is good work being done out there, there is hope, and you aren’t alone.
Peace, Love, tea