A couple of years ago, there was an attack on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The man that perpetuated the attack, killing five people there, had ties to a white supremacist group. This particular attack was also deemed as racially motivated because, when the gunman attacked, the temple was full of worshipers.
There have also been instances of Sikhs being mistaken for Muslims and slurs thrown at them because of this mistake, primarily due to the long beards, and the turbans that Sikhs have.
The reason I began writing this particular segment is to promote tolerance and education for the different religions that are out in the world. That’s why, today, I am mentioning this information. Plus, it is also a few days past the two year anniversary of the Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting that occurred in Wisconsin. The violence that is often perpetrated against those who are different and those who follow the tenants of their religion, along with the intolerance displayed, must be addressed. Education is key to promote tolerance, as well.
Sikhism- What Is It?
Basically, Sikhism is the religious practices and beliefs of the Sikh people.
“Sikh” means one who seeks after truth. For instance, the first word in their religious texts is “Sat” which translates to “truth.”
The idea of Sikhism is the idea of truthful living.
It is a progressive religion, one that is well ahead of its time, when founded 500 years ago.
Sikhs preach a devotion to and a remembrance of God at all times, equality among all the people of the world, and denounces superstitions, and blind rituals.
Sikhs have these basic beliefs:
- One God
- God is without form or gender
- All people have direct access to God
- Before God, all are equal
- Empty superstitions and religious rituals have no value
- the 10 Gurus of their history
- Guru Granth (the sacred scripture of Sikhism)
- the teachings of both the 10 Guru and the Guru Granth
- Baptism as outlined by Guru Gobind Singh
- To live a good life, you live as part of the community. You do this by living honestly and caring for others.
The Sikh also combine action with words, believe in a cycle of life, death, and rebirth, and their relationship with God is centered around a need to understand and know God, eventually becoming one with God.
To become one with God, a person has to focus on God rather than themselves.
Customs of the Sikh.
The Five Ks.
Created by Guru Gobind Singh and dated from the creation of the Khalsa Panth, the 5 Ks are some of the customs of the initiated Sikh.
The Five Ks were designed by Guru Gobind Singh so that those Khalsa (initiated Sikhs) would know each other.
The Five Ks are:
- Kesh (uncut hair)
- Kara (a steel bracelet)
- Kanga (a wooden comb)
- Kaccha – also spelt, Kachh, Kachera (cotton underwear)
- Kirpan (steel sword)
Rites And Customs.
There are some important traditions and rites in Sikhism. They are:
- Baptism- Amrit
- Marriage- Anand Karaj
- Naming of Children
This concludes this week’s segment of Exploring Religions. Be on the look out next week for Exploring Religions: Hinduism.