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Information on World Religions

Symbols of Religious Communities

At the Kay Spiritual Life Center, we regularly receive requests for basic information on religions represented at AU. To help you understand the diversity of faith traditions in residence at Kay and to serve as a starting point for research, our chaplains have provided brief summaries of their religious beliefs. Follow the links below to explore these faiths.


The Baha'i Faith is a world religion, the youngest of the world's independent religions. Baha'ís are drawn from more than 2,100 ethnic and tribal backgrounds, representing an extraordinary diversity of humanity. Founded in the mid-1800's in Persia, the basis tenets of the Baha'i religion revolve around the principle of unity-of God, religion, and humankind. The Founder, Bahá'u'lláh (1817-1892) is regarded by Bahá'is as the most recent in a line of Messengers of God that include Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ, Buddha, Zoroaster and Muhammad.

In the words of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'i religion from 1921-1957:

The Baha'i religion recognizes the unity of God and of His Prophets, upholds the principle of an unfettered search after truth, condemns all forms of superstition and prejudice, teaches that the fundamental purpose of religion is to promote concord and harmony, that it must go hand in hand with science, and that it constitutes the sole and ultimate basis for a peaceful, an ordered and progressive society. It inculcates the principle of equal opportunity, rights and privileges for both sexes, advocates compulsory education, abolishes extremes of poverty and wealth, recommends the adoption of an auxiliary international language, and provides the necessary agencies for the establishment and safeguarding of a permanent and universal peace.

From Bahá'i Shrine and Gardens Mount Carmel, Haifa
Edited and compiled by Haifa Tourist Board and MOD Publishing House, May 2001.

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The Baptist faith traces its origins to the 16th century in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition of the European continent and the English Puritan movement. Both sought to recover the spirituality of the gospel community of faith, in contrast with the institutionalism and secularism of the church of the time. The history of the Baptists begins with two religious refugees, John Smyth and Thomas Helwys, Anglicans of Puritan sentiment who left the Church of England in 1606 and found asylum in Holland. In agreement with the Anabaptist tradition of adult baptism, Smyth proclaimed the importance of a believer's baptism as a public testimony to the experience of repentance and faith. Early Baptists therefore regarded the church as a gathered community of redeemed people, rejected the Constantinian identification of Church and State, and accepted into their congregation membership only believers who had been baptized upon their profession of faith.

In early 1609, John Smyth's group held its first baptismal service in an Amsterdam bake house, making 2009 the 400th anniversary of the first Baptist church. In 1612, Helwys sailed home to England and planted the first Baptist church on English soil. Shortly after, he published A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity, the first document written in English that called for complete religious freedom, asserting that the King of England had no power to control religious beliefs or practices.

The story of Baptists in America begins with Roger Williams in the 1630s. A lawyer-turned-clergyman, Williams fled the Old World for the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1631, where he became increasingly critical of the merger of church and state.

Today, in the US, the most recognized Baptist is Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister and a leader of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

These are a summary of the principles that characterize the Baptist faith:

  • The Bible as the norm of faith: The Bible, not church hierarchy or tradition, is the sole norm for faith and practice.
  • Baptism of believers: Baptism is usually given by immersion to those who have given their profession of faith in Christ as their savior.
  • Autonomy of the local church: The local church is autonomous, self-generating and self-governing, gathered by Christ and sustained by the Holy Spirit. The assembly of the local church, composed of baptized believers, elects its ministries and decides in full authority over all the aspects of the community life.
  • Freedom of conscience and Separation of Church and State: Each person, regardless of his/her religious beliefs, must have complete spiritual freedom. Church and State should not interfere in their mutual sphere of competence. John Leland, a Baptist pioneer imprisoned for preaching without a license, influenced the introduction of the First Amendment.

Source: Robert G. Torbet. (1993, 3rd edition), A History of the Baptists. The Judon Press: Valley Forge.

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For more than 2,500 years the spiritual tradition known as Buddhism has been the primary inspiration behind Eastern civilization and the source of its greatest cultural achievements. Buddhism, originated in Northern India in the 6th century B.C., spread peacefully over a large part of Asia and profoundly influenced the lives of its people. Yet Buddhism is not limited to the East alone. For it speaks directly to the most crucial human concerns and does so with a clear power of truth that today is capturing the attention of more and more people in the West.

The founder of Buddhism is neither a deity nor a prophet, but a man who has awakened from ignorance to perfect enlightenment. His name, Buddha, is in fact, a title meaning the Enlightened One. The Buddha’s teaching, known to its followers as the Dhamma, is based on his own clear comprehension of reality, free from appeals to divine authority and demands for unquestioning faith. Open to reason and critical inquiry, the Dhamma calls out for personal verification.

The teaching begins with the observation that human life as ordinarily lived is beset by a sense of dissatisfaction , pain or suffering. This suffering, the Buddha explains, is rooted in our self-centred greed. Liberation from suffering of unsatisfactoriness, discontentment and agitation is the goal of the teaching and requires a fundamental transformation in the way we lead our lives as well as in our understanding of ourselves and the world. The means of transformation is the Noble Eightfold Path, called the Middle Way, because it avoids all extremes in thought and conduct. Recognizing the lack of fulfillment in life as ordinarily approached by a clouded mind and heart is in fact the first step in the transformation because it impels us to look more deeply for meaning, purpose, and peace.

Buddhism combines as one integral path: a profound philosophy, an intricate analysis of the mind, lofty ethics and well tested methods of mediation. The fruits of the Buddhist Way show in serene understanding, in kindness and compassion towards others, and in equanimity amidst the vicissitudes of life. Free from dogma, emphasizing personal responsibility as the key to right conduct and direct experience as the key to truth, Buddhism has an important role to play in the world. 

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The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, the churches around the world that trace their roots to the Church of England. The member churches have no direct authority over one another, and The Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England, is respected as the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, but does not have direct authority over any church outside of England.

While Episcopalians can worship in many different ways, the church is a liturgical church, in which worshipers follow a formal structure or traditional order of worship. The Book of Common Prayer, first written in the sixteenth century, while having undergone many revisions, is the basis for most Episcopal services. Even with a diversity of worship styles, the Holy Eucharist, or Communion service, always has the same components and order.

The Episcopal Church strives to live by the message of Christ, in which there are no outcasts and all are welcome. Walking a middle way between Roman Catholicism and Protestant traditions, we are a sacramental and worship-oriented church that promotes thoughtful debate about what God is calling us to do and be, as followers of Christ.

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From the BBC: "Hinduism at a Glance":

Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide.

In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, or at least elements within it stretch back many thousands of years. Yet Hinduism resists easy definition partly because of the vast array of practices and beliefs found within it. It is also closely associated conceptually and historically with the other Indian religions Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Throughout its extensive history, there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as 'a way of life' or 'a family of religions' rather than a single religion.

Defining Hinduism

The term 'Hindu' was derived from the river or river complex of the northwest, the Sindhu. Sindhu is a Sanskrit word used by the inhabitants of the region, the Aryans in the second millennium BCE. Later migrants and invaders, the Persians in the sixth century BCE, the Greeks from the 4th century BCE, and the Muslims from the 8th century CE, used the name of this river in their own languages for the land and its people.

The term 'Hindu' itself probably does not go back before the 15th and 16th centuries when it was used by people to differentiate themselves from followers of other traditions, especially the Muslims (Yavannas), in Kashmir and Bengal. At that time the term may have simply indicated groups united by certain cultural practices such as cremation of the dead and styles of cuisine. The 'ism' was added to 'Hindu' only in the 19th century in the context of British colonialism and missionary activity.

The origins of the term 'hindu' are thus cultural, political and geographical. Now the term is widely accepted although any definition is subject to much debate. In some ways it is true to say that Hinduism is a religion of recent origin yet its roots and formation go back thousands of years.

Some claim that one is 'born a Hindu', but there are now many Hindus of non-Indian descent. Others claim that its core feature is belief in an impersonal Supreme, but important strands have long described and worshipped a personal God. Outsiders often criticise Hindus as being polytheistic, but many adherents claim to be monotheists.

Some Hindus define orthodoxy as compliance with the teachings of the Vedic texts (the four Vedas and their supplements). However, still others identify their tradition with 'Sanatana Dharma', the eternal order of conduct that transcends any specific body of sacred literature. Scholars sometimes draw attention to the caste system as a defining feature, but many Hindus view such practices as merely a social phenomenon or an aberration of their original teachings. Nor can we define Hinduism according to belief in concepts such as karma and samsara (reincarnation) because Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists (in a qualified form) accept this teaching too.

Although it is not easy to define Hinduism, we can say that it is rooted in India, most Hindus revere a body of texts as sacred scripture known as the Veda, and most Hindus draw on a common system of values known as dharma.

  • Hinduism originated around the Indus Valley near the River Indus in modern day Pakistan.
  • About 80% of the Indian population regard themselves as Hindu.
  • Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him.
  • Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by Karma.
  • Hindus believe that the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived.
  • The main Hindu texts are the Vedas and their supplements (books based on the Vedas). Veda is a Sanskrit word meaning 'knowledge'. These scriptures do not mention the word 'Hindu' but many scriptures discuss dharma, which can be rendered as 'code of conduct', 'law', or 'duty'
  • Hindus celebrate many holy days, but the Festival of Lights, Diwali is the best known.
  • The 2001 census recorded 559,000 Hindus in Britain, around 1% of the population.

From The BeliefNet Guide to Islam:

The religion we know as Islam began in Arabia in the sixth century when a man named Muhammad began to experience a series of "revelations," or communications from the Divine. Over a period of twenty-three years he would receive periodic guidance from this Divine Source, often in response to the particular needs of his growing community, in language of great depth and beauty. This revelation is called the Qur'an and it is the foremost inspiration, reference point, and final authority of the religion of Islam.

Muslim practice is defined by the Five Pillars of Islam:

  • Shahadah - The Confession of Faith: "There is no god but God; Muhammad is God's prophet."
  • Salah - Prayer five times a day (first light, noon, mid-day, sunset, after dark)
  • Zakat - Contributing 2.5% of your wealth to charity
  • Ramadan - fasting from first light to sunset during the month of Ramadan
  • Hajj - making a pilgrimage at least once in one's life to Mecca

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Judaism is an ancient religion based on the Hebrew Bible and expounded in other sacred texts, such as the Talmud and Midrash. It is monotheistic and views the Jewish people as living in an eternal covenant with God, being charged with the obligation to fulfill the commandments enjoined in the Torah. For the most part, Jews worship in Hebrew and celebrate the Sabbath on Saturday. Jews view themselves and their religion as directly descended from the ancient religion of Israel, based in the Temple in Jerusalem. Since the destruction of the Temple by the Romans in 70 CE, Jews now congregate in synagogues which serve not only as houses of prayer, but also as schools and community centers. There are about 14 million Jews world-wide and they are divided into several denominations and sub-ethic groups.

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The United Methodist Church is the descendant of a religious movement begun in the early eighteenth century by an English clergyman named John Wesley and his brother Charles. Wesley sought to reinvigorate the church of his day with renewed energy and a commitment to social action. The Wesleyan movement that began as a result emphasized a personal relationship with God, and a growth in both personal and social holiness for the believer. That is, the Methodists sought to grow not only in their worship, devotion and personal piety, but to live out an active social piety, engaging in acts of service and working for justice.

One of the hallmarks of Methodism is an understanding of God's grace that is present everywhere, to everyone, at every time, that invites, reconciles, and empowers the believer. As a result, since its beginnings as a religious movement, Methodism has remained open to all people and sought to help all people develop a personal relationship with God and to live out that relationship in service to the world.

After its introduction to America in the 1760's, under the leadership of the first Methodist bishop Francis Asbury, Methodism grew rapidly in the late eighteenth century. Throughout the nineteenth century, Methodism expanded rapidly across the United States due to its practice of using "circuit riders"--itinerant preachers who traveled on horseback who were able to serve churches across the frontier. The early Methodists worked to end the slave trade, sought prison reform, and worked to help the working classes and the poor. Methodists were also involved in abolition, suffrage efforts, child labor laws, and many other social movements. The church was also committed to education, and founded colleges and universities throughout the country. American University was founded as a national Methodist university in the nation's capital to train leaders for public service, embodying the Methodist ideal of faith into action--values it continues to share today. The United Methodist Church today is the second largest protestant denomination in the United States and remains committed to creating communities in which God's love can be known and shared with the world.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized by the Prophet Joseph Smith as the result of a visitation of God and Jesus Christ who, in answer to his prayer, instructed the young Joseph that he would be an instrument in His hands in restoring His church to the earth. We believe in God the Eternal Father and in his Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.

We have a strong belief in the spiritual and temporal education of all of Gods children. We are represented on campus by the LDS student association and the J. Ruben Clark Law Society. 

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Presbyterians are distinctive in two major ways: they adhere to a pattern of religious thought known as Reformed theology and a form of government that stresses the active, representational leadership of both ministers and church members.

Some of the principles articulated by 16th century theological John Calvin remain at the core of Presbyterian beliefs. Among these are the sovereignty of God, the authority of the scripture, justification by grace through faith and the priesthood of all believers. What they mean is that God is the supreme authority throughout the universe. Our knowledge of God and God's purpose for humanity comes from the Bible, particularly what is revealed in the New Testament through the life of Jesus Christ. Our salvation (justification) through Jesus is God's generous gift to us and not the result of our own accomplishments. It is everyone's job - ministers and lay people alike - to share this Good News with the whole world. That is also why the Presbyterian church is governed at all levels by a combination of clergy and laity, men and women alike. 

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The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, practice a religion of experience, a contemporary, simple, and radical faith. Quakers are also called Friends.

QUAKERS BELIEVE

  • Every person is known by God and can know God in a direct relationship.
  • The Quaker faith has deep Christian roots. Many Quakers consider themselves Christians, and some do not. Many Quakers find meaning and value in the teachings of many faiths.
  • Quakers strive to live lives that are guided by a direct encounter with the Divine, more than by teachings about the Divine. Quaker terms for the Holy include God, the Seed, the Light Within, and the Inward Teacher, among others.
  • Testimonies are ways that Quakers have found to express our experience of the Divine in our lives. Some of the best recognized testimonies include simplicity, integrity, equality, community, and peace.

QUAKER WORSHIP

Quakers gather in the silence and wait expectantly to come into the presence of the Divine and to be guided by the still, small voice by which God speaks to us from within. During the silence anyone-child, woman, or man-may feel moved to offer a simple spoken message (vocal ministry) that is inspired by this holy encounter. Following the message, the silence resumes. A period of worship may include several messages or none.

QUAKERS INCLUDE

There are Quakers of all ages, religious backgrounds, races and ethnicities, education, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and classes. You can find Quakers on all of the world's continents. Approximately one-third live in the United States and Canada.

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From the Teaching of Christ by Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl:

[...] The Catholic Church is a community responding to the loving self-revelation of God by faith in God's word, through celebration of our sharing in God's life in the sacraments, in living out Christ's way in our daily activities and finally, through personal prayer with God. In knowing God we are invited into communion with God. This is the heart of Christian revelation. St. Paul describes this divine transformation in the letter to the Galatians, "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. [...] Since we are now adopted children of God, we can rejoice in the very life of God. We can celebrate the new life won for us by Christ in his death and Resurrection. We do this in the spiritual action of the Church called Liturgy. Hence we encounter Christ with us in a way that actually transforms us, making us one with the Lord. What makes the sacraments so unique is their power to intersect with God's life-giving grace in a manner that makes that grace of God available to us. [...] Next to the cross itself, the most ubiquitous symbol of Catholic devotion is probably the rosary. Usually in the shorter five-decade form, "the beads" are the basis for the private prayer life of countless millions of people throughout the Church in every land. One of the reasons for the popularity of the rosary is the opportunity it provides us to meditate on the events, or "mysteries," in the life of our Lord.

[...] The Catholic faith has always looked forward with confident hope to the final coming of Christ in glory. The early Christians' "marana tha," Aramaic for "our Lord come," (1 Corinthians 16:22, Revelation 22:20) was an expression of their eager desire to witness the final triumph of Christ's saving work. The Lord was present to his people in many ways, but they awaited the definitive coming that would crown the effort to build his kingdom, end all sorrow and pain, and bring his people to the fulfillment of all their hopes and dreams. [...] Jesus himself promised that he will come in glory as Lord and judge (Matthew 16:27; 26:64). At his Ascension, when he ceased to be visibly present to his disciples, the promise was renewed: "This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven" (Acts of the Apostles 1:11). Expectation of his coming shines through the New Testament and in the creed. The Church ever professes its faith in his promise: "he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead."

The AU Catholic Chaplaincy celebrates Mass regularly at the Kay Spiritual Life Center, offers social activities for students and spiritual guidance to all.

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The term Sikh is derived from sishya, which means disciple. It refers to a community numbering more than 19 million in India according to the 2001 Census, whose religion and way of life flow from the teachings of Nanak and nine successor Gurus (see Glossary). The Punjab is the homeland of the Sikhs, because the religion originated there, because almost all its adherents before 1947 lived in undivided Punjab, and because Sikhs form a majority in the present state of Punjab in the Indian Union. Sikhs are also found in all parts of India and are prominent in the worldwide Indian Diaspora, especially in Britain, Canada, and the United States, where they have struggled with some success to have their religious symbols- including beard and turban- recognized as compatible with membership in state services.

The first Sikh Guru, Nanak, was both mystic and householder, in the traditions of Hindu Sant as well as Islamic Sufi. Nanak was a key figure of the Bhakti movement. His faith in the One, formless, creator God, his rejection of formal ritual and caste hierarchy, his equation of Hindu and Muslim, and his establishment of a community of believers using the same body of devotional hymns molded the Sikh faith at foundation. As successor, Nanak chose not his son but a disciple, Angad (born 1504, Guru 1539-1552), who consolidated the community and commenced compiling the hymns used by it. His successor, Amar Das (born 1479, Guru 1552-1574), organized the community under 22 manji  (bedstead) or local leaders, appointed some women as preachers, and institutionalized the egalitarian tradition of langar, or meal, from the Guru’s kitchen, shared by all without distinction of rank. Ram Das (born in 1534, Guru 1574-1581) founded the city of Amritsar on land gifted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and continued to institute social reforms alleviating the status of women. He composed the wedding hymn used by Sikhs even today, enjoined monogamy, encouraged remarriage of widows, and explicitly forbade the practices of sati and veiling of women. His son became the fifth Guru Arjun (born 1563, Guru 1581-1606), who attracted large numbers of Jat peasants and landowners to the faith. He collected regular taxes from the faithful to build water reservoirs, as well as the famous Harmandir or Golden Temple at Amritsar with its distinctive architecture embodying openness to all four castes, and produced through Bhai Gurdas the authoritative collection of devotional texts used or composed by the first five Gurus. This massive compilation, known as the Adi Granth, was installed in the Harmandir in 1604 and named the perennial Guru of the Sikhs by the tenth and last human Guru, Gobind Singh.

The imprisonment, torture, and execution of Guru Arjun as a political dissident on the orders of Emperor Jehangir gave a new complexion to the Sikhs who had prospered peaceably within the Mughal Empire. The community acquired a coherent identity under the joined spiritual and temporal authority of the Guru symbolized in the two swords miri and piri worn by the sixth Guru, Hargobind (born 1595, Guru 1606-1644). He used a kettledrum, provided a flag for his troops, and engaged in military skirmishes during succession politics of the Mughal dynasty. In the process he lost all his sons except the youngest in battle. He also established sanctuaries for travelers and restored leprosariums. Hargobind was succeeded by his grandson Har Rai (born 1630, Guru 1644-1661), whose young son became the short-lived eight Guru Har Krishan (born 1656, Guru 1661-1664).

By this time the community and the Guruship itself became subject to internal rivalries and harassment from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb spreading Islam. The ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur (born 1621, Guru 1664-1675), was the surviving son of Hargobind who had lived as a contemplative in Patna before his installation but subsequently traveled far and frequently to rally the faithful. He opposed the Islamization drive of Aurangzeb and protected the brahmans of Kashmir from forced conversion. He was arrested and beheaded by order of the emperor and became a martyr to the faith. His young son Gobind Singh led a growing community to whom he gave a distinctive identity symbolized in the five Ks of outward appearance and named the Khalsa or pure.

The Sikhs suffered religious persecution and many martyrdoms during the first half of the 18th century, and the Punjab as a whole witnessed much political and military turbulence as Mughal control weakened in that as other provinces. Roving bands of Sikhs preserved their religious identity and gained ascendancy under a loose organization of twelve misls assembling twice a year at Amritsar. By the end of the century Ranjit Singh had unified the misls and established an empire in the northwest of the subcontinent that lasted until the British annexation of the Punjab in 1849.

The latter half of the 19th century saw some reversion to Hindu customs and ritual among Sikhs as well as some reform movements additionally stimulated by Christian missionary activity and the assertive thrust of the Arya Samaj. The British categorized Sikhs as a “martial race,” and recruited large numbers to the army. Sikh cultivators moved into the newly irrigated lands of central Punjab and prospered. Sikhs led by the Akali Dal in the early 20th century struggled to regain control of their Gurdwaras and reassert their distinctive identity. The Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925 placed all Gurdwaras of the Punjab under a central management committee known a s the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC), which continues to exercise considerable financial and political power today and seeks jurisdiction over Gurdwaras outside the Punjab as well. Because of their relatively small numbers and lack of political strength, Sikhs fared badly in the British-Indian transfer of power negotiations of the mid-1940s. Their demand for a separate homeland was ignored, the line of Partition ran through the Punjab districts inhabited by them, and they suffered a heavy toll of life and property in 1947. Nevertheless, Sikh refugees rehabilitated themselves in various parts of India quite rapidly and made sterling contributions to the Green Revolution and Punjab prosperity. Some Sikh families migrated abroad, as they have done earlier.

A variety of circumstances having less to do with religion than with rivalries between political parties, disputes on water sharing and economic policies, strained center-state relations, and external interference produced a phenomenon known as the Khalistan movement demanding a separate Sikh state. The notion of secession did not enjoy support among Sikhs resident in India, and the demand came to be associated with non-resident Sikhs, terrorism supported by Pakistan, illegal trade in drugs and arms, and a prolonged crisis in state authority and inter-communal relations. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ordered army operation Blue Star on June 6, 1984, against Sikh militants led by Bhindranwale who had fortified themselves in the Golden Temple. This action exacerbated alienation among Sikhs and led directly to Mrs. Gandhi’s assassination on October 31. After a decade of turbulence, normalcy appeared to have been restored in the Punjab by the 1993 and has not been disrupted since.

 

Used with permission, courtesy of Surjit Mansingh

The Soka Gakkai International is based on the teachings and philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism, which places the highest emphasis on the sanctity of life. Members seek, through their practice of Buddhism, to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstance and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family and community.

Our philosophy is rooted in the concept of "human revolution," a process of inner transformation through Buddhist practice. It is a process that leads us to develop our character and to act not only for our personal fulfillment but also for the betterment of society.

We believe that happiness is being able to experience profound joy that comes from never being defeated by any problem in life. In fact, we use life’s challenges as catalysts to deepen and expand our inner lives. True happiness results from our efforts to manifest our highest potential — wisdom, compassion, courage and vitality.

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Unitarian Universalism is a caring, open-minded religion that encourages you to seek your own spiritual path. Our Faith draws on many religious traditions, welcoming people with different beliefs. We are united by shared values, not by creed or dogma. Our congregations are places where people gather to nurture their spirits and put their faith into action by helping to make our communities-and the world-a better place. Unitarian Universalists include people who identify as Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, Humanists, and others. As there is no official Unitarian Universalist creed, UUs are free to search for truth on many paths.

There are seven principles which Unitarian Universalist congregations affirm and promote:

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

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