JANUARY 5-15 2015
I visited the town of Govind Ghat, India. There, they are Hindu. Hinduism is the major religion of South Asia. It is also one of the oldest religions in the world, so they have many traditions that are very important to them. I stayed there for 10 days and met a Hinduist, Sadhguru. He taught me about the traditions. beliefs, and a sacred temple called the Badrinath Temple. The Badrinath Temple is located in the town of Badrinath in Uttarakhand, India. It is only 25 kilometers from Govind Ghat. Sadhguru has taken that trip many times before and he couldn't describe the trip. It left me speechless. There are no words to describe how beautiful the mountains were.
Pictures from the only 25 kilometer trip
Families out on the streets hanging out
- To greet one another they put palms together and say "Namaste" or "Namaskar"
- Before the start of any good work, social, or religious ceremonies, Hindus worship Lord Ganesha and chant mantra: वक्रतुंड महाकाय सुर्यकोटि समप्रभ निर्विघ्नं कुरु में देव सर्वकार्येषु सर्वदा (Vakratund Mahakay Suryakoti Samaprabhah Nirvighnam Kurumedevah Sarvakaryeshu Sarvadah)
- No footwear in houses, temples, or holy places
- Do not enter temple after consuming alcohol and/or non-vegetarian food
- Apply a dot in between eyebrows, on forehead, during worship
- Do not eat non-vegetarian foods on Monday, Thursdays, Saturdays, Chanturthis, Ekadashis, and many more festivals
JANUARY 20-30 2015
Next I visited The Rupandehi District of Nepal. Here they study the religion of Buddhism. I stayed with Abhaya and went with him on his daily rituals. Buddhism is a religion in eastern and central Asia. They believe that suffering is inherit in life and that one can be liberated from it by mental and moral purification.
Their key beliefs are:
1. Buddha is not a God. He was an ordinary man, who 2,500 years ago saw clearly into the nature of reality.
2. You should not believe anything without thinking. Buddhist test everything they read or hear.
3. Gods and deities are cultural. Some Buddhist schools have many Gods, others have none. It would be wrong to say that Buddhism itself teaches atheism, pantheism, or any other position on Gods and deities.
4. The purpose of life. There is no inherit meaning attached to life. However, as all human beings wish for happiness and not to suffer - the purpose of life may be said to end that suffering.
Sacred Site: Lumbini
Abheya took me to the Lumbini, in Rupandehi District of Nepal to watch him and others meditate. This is the place, according to Buddhist, Queen Mayadevi gave birth to Siddartha Guatama in 563 BCE. After the Buddha's death, Lumbini became a Buddhist holy place.
1. They practice meditation
2. The clothes o Buddhist monks varies widely, between simple saffron robes of Thailand to the elaborate robes and headdresses of Tibetan lamas.
An example of the Buddhist clothing
February 6 - 16 2015
These 10 days I stayed with Aaron Jordan , someone who studies Judaism, in Isreal. Judaism is the monotheistic religion of the Jews.
1. God exists
2. There is only one God
3. God created the universe
4. Jews should worship only one God
Sacred Place: Israel
Israel itself is a sacred place to the Jews. Jerusalem is important because it is the ancient capital of Israel. The Western Wall of the ancient temple remains. This is where the tablets that Moses brought down from Mt. Sinai with the 10 commandments were stored in a golden box created the ark of the covenant. Jews make pilgrimages to this wall. A little later on my trip with Aaron, he took me to this wall and showed me how they worship.
People worshiping at the Western Wall
- Bar Mitzah - A boys 13th birthday...when a boy becomes a man.
- Hanukkah - "dedication" in Hebrew, refers to the joyous 8 day celebration during which Jews commemorate the victory of the Maccabees over the armies of Syria in 165 BCE.
A Menorah (candle representing the 8 days of Hanukkah)
February 22 - March 3 2015
For these past 10 days I stayed with Aabon Abbasi, a Muslim, in Mecca Saudi Arabia. He showed me his Islamic way and rituals. Islam is the religion of the Muslims, a monotheistic faith regarded as revealed through Muhammad as the Prophet of Allah.
1. Belief in God
2. Belief in Angles
3. Belief in God's Revealed Books
4. Belief in the Prophets and Messengers of God
5. Belief in the Day of the Judgement, a day where all of the dead are resurrected
Sacred Sites: Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The Kaaba is a Shrine built by Abraham according to Muslims tradition, around a black stone. The prophet Muhammad specifically designed Mecca as the holy city of Islam and the direction (qibla) in which all Muslims should offer their prayers.
- Pray always and for everything
- Follow divine revelation in the form of the Qur'an and prophet Muhammad's authentic Sunnah
March 9 - 19 2015
Now I am making my way back to the old Jerusalem and spending my last 10 days with my Christian friend Bail Smith. Christianity is the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus.
1. Jesus is the son of God
2. The trinity of the God the father, the son, and the holy spirit
3. Jesus resurrected which showed God's love for humanity
4. Jesus died on the cross for our sins
5. The Bible, New Testament, and Old Testament
Sacred Sites: The Golgotha
The Golgatha, sometimes called Calvary, is a hill outside of ancient Jerusalem's early 1st century walls contains the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of All Nations, plus many others. But many Christian institutions as well Jerusalem is believed to be the site of some of Jesus's teachings, The Last Supper which is believed to have occurred subsequent institution of the Holy Eucharist as well as the entombment; Christians believed he was crucified on a nearby hill.
- Easter - The Sunday of Easter is when Jesus resurrected
- Christmas - Jesus's birthday
I learned a lot on my 50 day trip around the world. Thank you to all my friends that helped me learn about their religion and thank you for showing me around your home towns.