What religion are you?

“I

Have

Learned

So much from God

That I can no longer

Call

Myself

A Christian, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew”

Khwaja Sahams ud-Din Hafiz-i Shirazi

Many people ask me this question, “What religion are you?”

I believe all religions have a common moral code and the founders of these religions had the same philosophies in mind. Many of the world religion founders also traveled, taking ideas from mystics in distant lands. Although there are variations in the creation stories and theories as to what happens after life, the essence of all religions is the same.

I appreciate the Buddhist idea of compassion and recognize it also in all other religions. Treating others with respect and compassion is above all other moral practices. In Christianity, Jesus “says love thy brother”.

In Islam among the 99 names of Allah are, Rahman and Rahim, compassionate and merciful. How do we react when we see others suffering, this is the core of religious practice worldwide. Compassion is not pity. If we pity others we see ourselves as above the other.

I’m not me, you’re not you, and you’re not me;

And yet I’m me, you’re you, and you are me.

Beauty of Khotan, I am this because of you:

Confused if I am you, or you are me.

#1976, from Rumi’s Kolliyaat-e Shams-e Tabrizi
Edited by Badiozzaman Forouzanfar (Tehran, Amir Kabir, 1988).

In the Persian religion Zoroastrianism truth is more important than anything else.  Man is equipped through mental consciousness to discern truth from falsehood, and has the free will to choose between right and wrong.  The very first prayer a Zoroastrian child learns is devoted to truth.  A free translation of that prayer – called Ashem Vohu – is: “Truth is the greatest virtue.  It is happiness.  Happy is who is truthful for the sake of truth”.

In most of the world religions these three concepts are present.

  • Think good thoughts.
  • Speak good words.
  • Do good deeds.

I believe in the history of the world, and especially now, society tends to focus on the differences in the details of the religions. People tend to place a religion label upon themselves but forget to practice the principles of that religion. The population seems to want to segregate its self from the other believing its doctrine is true and the other’s false. This has been the motivation for many wars, perhaps all wars in history.

However, no religion promotes killing. Though all religions have been guilty of it sometime in history. Many fundamentals of religion have been adjusted to benefit those in power. The true root and meaning of the philosophy is in the moral code.

Buddhism is a religion and also a technique for living. How to calm the mind and free one’s self from the endless cycle of Samsara, the endless wheel of life and death.

Although Asian religions may seem very different from Abrahamic religions the core principles are strikingly similar. The ideas of heaven and hell are also present in Buddhism. One is punished for ill deeds in the afterlife, and the moral performance in the human frame determines the manifestation in the following life.

Modern science has proved that energy cannot be destroyed. It evolves, it transforms, I believe this is evidence that our soul transforms and will mutate in one way or another. Into a angel, a demon, into another level of the wheel of samsara, or another form of atomic matter we cannot be certain. However, a continuum of thought exists that our actions and deeds in this life will determine our outcome after our body expires.

An excess of light blinds the human eye; an excess of noise ruins the ear; an excess of condiments deadens the taste. The effect of too much horse racing and hunting is bad, and the lure of hidden treasure tempts one to do evil.

Therefore the wise man attends to the inner significance of things and does not concern himself with outward appearances. Therefore he ignores matter and seeks the spirit.

五色令人目盲五音令人耳聾五味令人口爽馳騁畋獵令人心發狂

難得之貨令人行妨是以聖人為腹不為目故去彼取此

Daodejing Chapter 12, Repression of the Desires

These ideas of moderation and modesty exist also in the gospel of Christianity, in Judaism and in the Holy Quran.

In Bahia religion it is stated that all religions worship the same god. I agree with this explanation. I believe the world would be a better place if we could accept this fundamental.

I believe that tolerance and compassion are the highest of moral practices. These two ideas could be religion of themselves. Tolerance to the ideas and practices of others. Acceptance of others. And compassion, a genuine caring for the well being of others.

This is my religion.

Whichever way we pray, if these principles are practiced we are holy. We can recite Sanskrit mantras, repeat Chinese jingwen, count the prayer beads saying the 99 names of Allah, or the rosary beads saying Hail Mary.

In essence it is all similar. We are reminding ourselves that we are below a power much greater than ourselves. Though we are also a part of this same power, created from it and eventually returning to it. We are merely having a very short human experience, this manifestation is a test.

“My religion is my heart”, This is my usual answer.

I love all religions. I love most people who practice truly the doctrines of the religions. Though the heart needs no book.

Many native religions did not have written moral codes but embedded in their myths and legends were examples of morality. The same ethics existed in their ancient cultures as in Asian, Indian, and Abrahamic religions.

Inshallah, Hallelujah, Om Mani Padme Hum, Om nama shivaya, Om a hung, hommage to the ancestral spirits,

Paz y Amor

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