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Question for Sikhs

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As I understand it, Sikhism is a works based salvation.  In order to 'transcend': stop re-incarnating, one has to try to be a good person and repeat God's name.

With this in mind, how much good works and repeating God's name (meditation) does one have to do?

It doesn't make sense to me that God would give people a list of instructions on what to do, but not actually define how much of it has to be done.

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Hi and welcome to the forum

You ask a good question that probably many Sikhs also Wonder about. If salvation was based on a mathematical formula (you do X amount of good deeds and then you get liberation) then Sikhi would turn into a merchandise religion. You sit and calculate in order to have a surplus of good deeds and once you got it, you'll just stop and turn into an arsehole again. This approach means that you would end up in a situation of empty rituals where you would 'exploit' the bad condition of the less fortunate in order to help yourself gain succes in the afterlife. In essence "Thank God there are all these poor people, so they can help me attain liberation". Thats not how Sikhi Works. The instructions have been given to repeat the name of God, to do good deeds constantly without fail. Why so ? Because it benefits humanity and your own soul.  Not because it lands you liberation per se.

If I only stopped myself from robbing or beating up people because it would land me in 'hell' then what kind of person am i? Thats a ticking timebomb waiting to explode. The urge would constantly lurke within me but i'm only stopping myself for external reasons. Sikhi goes to the core of the issue and makes you Work with yourself to 1) reduce your bad qualities 2) to promote gooodness for the sake of goodness and common Progress of humanity.

So to answer your question: there is no formula. Just keep going - constant Progress and self developement.

ਸੁਰਗ  ਬਾਸੁ  ਨ  ਬਾਛੀਐ  ਡਰੀਐ  ਨ  ਨਰਕਿ  ਨਿਵਾਸੁ  ॥
 Don't wish for a home in heaven, and don't be afraid to live in hell.

 
 ਹੋਨਾ  ਹੈ  ਸੋ  ਹੋਈ  ਹੈ  ਮਨਹਿ  ਨ  ਕੀਜੈ  ਆਸ  ॥੧॥
Whatever will be will be, so don't get your hopes up in your mind. ||1||

 
 ਰਮਈਆ  ਗੁਨ  ਗਾਈਐ  ॥
Sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord,

 
 ਜਾ  ਤੇ  ਪਾਈਐ  ਪਰਮ  ਨਿਧਾਨੁ  ॥੧॥  ਰਹਾਉ  ॥ 
from whom the most excellent treasure is obtained. ||1||Pause|| 

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Thanks amardeep.

This is what I've been able to gather.

Essentially, Sikhism is a philosophy, a way of life.  In that respect, it's no different from humanism.  Indeed, it is similar to all other religions (except my own, which is Christianity), in that it is about various methods of living life.  The difference between humanism (and therefore atheistic approaches), is that Sikhism, Islam and so forth, employ the idea of a 'god', but the result is the same.  It's about a prescription on how to try to live, and as for the afterlife:  maybe it's there maybe it's not, just hope for the best, if you hope at all.

It's not my intention to disrespect Sikhism (or any religion), i'm just reporting on what I can see, and it was my intention to come here to learn.  Would you disagree with my assertion, or would you say it's accurate?

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No there is an afterlife, either through reincarnation or dissolvement of the self (liberation).  

I don’t view sikhi as a religion. I see it as a life philosophy, a way to direct your thoughts, speech and actions towards a higher goal. 

Christianity (from what I’ve read) is a faith based religion   Based on the belief that Christ died for your sins on the cross and that people are now liberated if they believe and accept this sacrifice of Jesus  . Sikhi is action  based. What matters is not whether you believe in the idea of selfless service- this matters is if you practice it

 

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Yes, this is more or less my impressions of Sikhism too.  I think that when people speak about one world government/one world religion, Sikhism will blend in nicely with concepts such as humanism, and indeed, the other religions (except Christianity).

I can expand on your comment on Christianity if you like, no probs, but, I feel you've answered me nicely about Sikhism.

Thanks :) 

 

 

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48 minutes ago, amardeep said:

Yes feel free to expand. I’ve always had a hard time understanding faith based traditions and how this works in a modern society

I'm not aware of any other 'faith based traditions' as you put it.  I would appreciate if you would give me examples of these.

As for Christianity, to answer your 1st question,

To give an analogy, if you have a sheet of linen (choose your dimensions), if there is but one stain on that linen, then, it does not matter how clean the rest of the linen is: the linen is spoiled, and therefore unusable (would you use the spoiled linen in the gurdwara?)

Similarly, if one has stolen, but then, for the next 20 or so years, has not stolen, that person is still a thief, because, they have committed the act of stealing.

So it is with sin, a little leaven unleaveneth the whole lump.

When one accepts that they CAN'T save themselves, and therefore believe on Jesus's sacrifice on the cross to pay for their sins, they then receive His imputed righteousness, added to their own account.  

As for Karma, as it's called, one begins even with the sin of pride, because, to think you can save yourself, that is, you can rely on your own works and righteousness to achieve 'salvation', then one can't get past the basic stumbling block: which is pride.

In terms of Christianity 'working' in a modern society, Christianity has never fitted into society.  Take a look around you at 'modern society'.  It's full of cursing, violence, nudity, sex, murder, wickedness etc.  Christians, are in the world, but not of the world.  

     

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Thanks for the explanation. I wouldn’t say a person who stole something 20 years ago can still be regarded as a thief.  Similarly, someone who left school 20 years ago and has worked ever since can’t be regarded as a pupil. 

So what happens after you accept the sacrifice of Jesus and continue to steal, treat people badly and create chaos on earth etc ? Is the promise of salvation then withdrawn? 

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If you've genuinely accepted yourself as a sinner, that is, you've genuinely believed that Jesus, who is God, paid the price for your sins on the cross, and He bodily rose from the dead, as your only way of salvation, and then, at some stage later, you live a life of unrepentant sin, then you will suffer loss of rewards in Heaven, and will be punished in this life (as the Father chastens his child), but you yourself will be saved.

 

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But what is the correlation between genuinely believing that Jesus was your savour and died on the cross - and living a moral life? And why should a Christian live without sin if he is already saved? For the masses of people wont that just create a situation where they at some point will relapse to sin ?

you mention a deficit of rewards in paradise. What do you get in paradise? And what is the difference between what people get ?

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A Christian attempts to live a life without sin because they have the Holy Spirit living inside them convicting them of their sin.  The flesh may still enjoy the world, but the Spirit doesn't.

If you genuinely accept your guilt as a sinner, then you will KNOW it's wrong.  You don't serve God out of a burden of law, but out of love.

Consider someone being held captive, and they are forced to work.  Now, a liberator comes along, and frees them.  That person, who was a prisoner; a servant, then may very well chose to serve their liberator, out of gratitude and love.  The person is no longer a servant (no choice) but a bondservant (free to chose to serve).

Contrary to what you say, when you love someone, you are more inclined to do things for them, than when you are forced to, in order to meet a certain sort of arbitrary definitions.  Because you are THANKFUL.

It's been my experience, that people will be more humble, when they know it's all down to the Saviour, than when they think they themselves are good people and, eg, helped the old lady on to the bus (and etc).

But, I have (I think) explained that already.

Any other questions?

I would be grateful if you could give me a list of the 'faith based traditions' that you mentioned earlier, ie, plural.

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It's been my experience, that people will be more humble, when they know it's all down to the Saviourthan when they think they themselves are good people and, eg, helped the old lady on to the bus (and etc).

exactly. This is also the position of Sikhi. 

Can you tell more about paradise. 

There are some traditions/interpretations within sikhi and Sufism where people will say “actions and what’s on the outside doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside of the heart that matters”. I have friends like this and often wonder about those interpretations. I’m not saying they’re bad peope, but it’s a fun way of diverting away from the scriptural principles. 

Edited by amardeep

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The position of Sikhism is a works based salvation, and you've said this yourself already, at least as I recall.   To summarize - you do a bunch of stuff - repeat god's name, constantly do good works, and hope for the best. 

---

In terms of Heaven, what's to be known about Heaven?  We'll worship God (which is going to be totally awesome), we will have glorified bodies, changed in sensations and desire, some will have crowns of righteousness, some of life.  Some will shine as bright as the firmament, some will shine as bright as the stars (the soulwinners) for ever. 

Before this, and after the tribulation, we will have the millennium kingdom on earth, where we will reign as kings, after this, the earth will be burned up and the earth will be born again too, and we will have a New Jerusalem.

--

Sufism - it traces itself back to Mohammed, and therein lies the problem.  Muhammad was said to have obtained his 'doctrine' from the angel Gabriel, who was described as having some (600 I think) wings.

However, Biblically, angels look like human males, around the age of 33.  Throughout the Old Testament, there's no such thing as an angel with wings, so, Biblically, it disagrees with itself, regardless of whichever branch it is, (sufi) mysticism etc, but then sufism is all about rituals and so forth also, so I don't think you're right, unless of course as you indicate, it's some fringe of sufism, ie it's people just doing whatever, which is a fringe itself.

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1 hour ago, amardeep said:

It's been my experience, that people will be more humble, when they know it's all down to the Saviourthan when they think they themselves are good people and, eg, helped the old lady on to the bus (and etc).

exactly. This is also the position of Sikhi. 

Can you tell more about paradise. 

There are some traditions/interpretations within sikhi and Sufism where people will say “actions and what’s on the outside doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside of the heart that matters”. I have friends like this and often wonder about those interpretations. I’m not saying they’re bad peope, but it’s a fun way of diverting away from the scriptural principles. 

I'm just going to mention this one more time.  As far as you are concerned (as a Sikh) you are a good person who can save themself.  You don't need a Saviour.  This is what the Guru teaches.

You are either confused about what you believe, or are being mis-leading.

I think we'll leave this conversation before we go round in circles.  Thank you for your time :) 

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Yes that’s the essence of it but there is also the aspect of Gods grace. There are more nuances.  Like I said - it’s not a mathematical formula where you do X amounts of deeds and then you’re granted liberation. Gurprasaad (grace) is also an aspect - a person doing all the good deeds will not automatically get liberation if his intentions were that of a merchant or he got arrogant and kept posting selfies whenever he did a good deed - then Gods grace is not on that person. 

And that’s why I agreed with your quote. 

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19 minutes ago, amardeep said:

Yes that’s the essence of it but there is also the aspect of Gods grace. There are more nuances.  Like I said - it’s not a mathematical formula where you do X amounts of deeds and then you’re granted liberation. Gurprasaad (grace) is also an aspect - a person doing all the good deeds will not automatically get liberation if his intentions were that of a merchant or he got arrogant and kept posting selfies whenever he did a good deed - then Gods grace is not on that person. 

And that’s why I agreed with your quote. 

So you are saying you don't have to do any good works then?  If it's not a mathematical formula then the opposite is true.  You don't have to do anything, you can just live however you want, or the reverse is true, you have to do everything.  The fact is, you have to do good stuff all the time.  The reality is that it's easy for someone to think they are a good person, but good compared to who?  How many people have you walked past needing help?  Do you give every homeless person food, money, a roof over their heads?  Do you constantly think good things and do good things for your work colleagues?  Even those who hate you?

Have you ever over ate?  Have you ever under ate?

Of course, it's completely impossible for a person to be good.

The reason why you say it's not a mathematical formula, is because you're not prepared to admit, that you have to be good all the time.  No one can blank out that much karma.  So you may as well do it all, or do nothing.

Otherwise, as you say, it's just a philosophy to go about life.  And that's all it is.  Philosophies are ten a penny.

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If you want to think in binary terms of black and white then Sikhi doesn’t fit into that and you will have a very hard time grasping what Sikhi is about.  Sikhi often takes a position of the middle path - it combines body and soul, the secular with the spiritual, intention with action, faith with action, politics with devotion etc etc. It’s never “either this or that”  as you say   

 

So no, someone who thinks they’re a good person and boasts about it will not receive any good for his deed. Gurbani compares this to an elephant that has just bathed in a river and then goes rolling in the mud. You just did something good and now you’re defiling yourself with pride. Keeping the pride in check and empowering humility is another aspect of Sikhi. 

This is not about me not wanting to admit anything. Why would I want to hide anything under the carpet ? It’s not a competition (not that I cheat in competitions lol) 

As a Sikh you should strive to do good at all times. Does this mean that the individual Sikh do good 24/7 ? No of course not. But trying to implement a lifestyle of doing good, worship, sharing your food, sharing your wealth, spending time with voluntary work is the ideal lifestyle of a Sikh And what they are to strive for. 

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5 minutes ago, amardeep said:

If you want to think in binary terms of black and white then Sikhi doesn’t fit into that and you will have a very hard time grasping what Sikhi is about.  Sikhi often takes a position of the middle path - it combines body and soul, the secular with the spiritual, intention with action, faith with action, politics with devotion etc etc. It’s never “either this or that”  as you say   

 

So no, someone who thinks they’re a good person and boasts about it will not receive any good for his deed. Gurbani compares this to an elephant that has just bathed in a river and then goes rolling in the mud. You just did something good and now you’re defiling yourself with pride. Keeping the pride in check and empowering humility is another aspect of Sikhi. 

This is not about me not wanting to admit anything. Why would I want to hide anything under the carpet ? It’s not a competition (not that I cheat in competitions lol) 

As a Sikh you should strive to do good at all times. Does this mean that the individual Sikh do good 24/7 ? No of course not. But trying to implement a lifestyle of doing good, worship, sharing your food, sharing your wealth, spending time with voluntary work is the ideal lifestyle of a Sikh And what they are to strive for. 

 

"THE NATURE OF HUMAN BEINGS
Sikhs deny the reality of man's sinful nature. They teach that people are essentially good; the divine spark within them needs only to be fanned into a flame of goodness."

Every Sikh believes they are good.

http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Sikhism_and_Christianity:_A_Comparative_Study#THE_NATURE_OF_HUMAN_BEINGS

 

Contariwise to what you are saying, Sikh's obtain salvation BY their good works

"The Sikh Gurus have taught that our good actions will give us liberation. The SGGSJ says, "Those who receive His Mercy obtain the True One. The Gurmukhs (those who follow the Guru’s Teachings) dwell forever in balanced restraint. By true actions, the True Lord is met, and the Guru's Teachings are found. Then, they are not subject to birth and death; they do not come and go in reincarnation.""

http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Sikhism_and_Christianity:_A_Comparative_Study#The_Key_to_Salvation

 

"GOOD AND EVIL


Despite the stress on the love of God in Sikhism there is a darker side. Sikhs believe that both good and evil come from God. Though some of them think evil spirits exist they have no sense of an evil being who opposes God. Sikhs are never told to resist the devil, as a Christian is, because they do not believe in him. Evil, they believe, is the result of a person making wrong choices."

http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Sikhism_and_Christianity:_A_Comparative_Study#GOOD_AND_EVIL

If evil comes from God then God must honour evil.  Clearly I am correct in saying, all deeds, whether good or bad, are given honour, otherwise God does not honour himself.  According to Sikhism.

So you see, in Sikhism, in order to obtain salvation, you have to cease from doing bad works.  Then, you merge with the 'god consciousness'.  Of course, when you merge with the 'god consciousness', you then go back to what you stopped doing - evil, because, evil comes from the Sikh god.

And this is why you struggle with straight answers, because the Sikh god him/her/itself, is the author of confusion.

It's not about being spiritual, it's about contemplating things which are designed to not make sense.

In Christianity, we see the devil as the author of confusion.  Which is why (of course among many other things), Christians would class Sikhism of the devil, and therefore, Christianity, is not compatible with Sikhism.

But, Sikhism attempts to be compatible with every other faith, hence, it's perfect for one world government/religion/atheistic philosophies too.

 

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Did you even read those passages you copy pasted. The verse begins by saying “Those who receive His Mercy obtain the True One”. This is the aspect of grace. 

Yes people are esentually good in nature. No such thing as original sin.  Whether the individual Sikh believes he is good or not differs, but thinking that you’re good is not a nice trait to have.  It makes you proud, boosts your ego and probably limits you from trying to do further voluntary work (I’m good hence I don’t need to do more) 

stop saying according to Sikhism - it’s only according to your reading of things. 

I haven’t been struggling with anything in the above.  Surely sikhi makes sense but if you’re looking for yes and no answers to all questions then you will have a hard time understanding Sikhi. 

Edited by amardeep

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8 hours ago, amardeep said:

Did you even read those passages you copy pasted. The verse begins by saying “Those who receive His Mercy obtain the True One”. This is the aspect of grace. 

Yes people are esentually good in nature. No such thing as original sin.  Whether the individual Sikh believes he is good or not differs, but thinking that you’re good is not a nice trait to have.  It makes you proud, boosts your ego and probably limits you from trying to do further voluntary work (I’m good hence I don’t need to do more) 

stop saying according to Sikhism - it’s only according to your reading of things. 

I haven’t been struggling with anything in the above.  Surely sikhi makes sense but if you’re looking for yes and no answers to all questions then you will have a hard time understanding Sikhi. 

Everything has a yes or no answer, the only other answer is, I don't know/I'm not sure, which is of course, acceptable, because it's honest.

Only politicians, so called 'intellectuals' say things don't have a yes or no answer.  Does anyone trust a politician or an intellectual?

To try to complicate things to make it that there IS no right or wrong answer is very much the spirit of the age - everything is relative, so anything goes.  This is wrong.

Well let me tell you if you go ahead and kill someone because you're covetous, then that is WRONG.  Only a fool engages in subjectivity, endlessly playing nothing over in their mind, as if a straight forward answer is beneath them.  Don't you see that?  And that's what you're saying Sikhism is - not a straight forward answer, which is itself a lying spirit (deceptive).

You just continue to prove that Sikhism is a false path.

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49 minutes ago, amardeep said:

When did I say there is no right and wrong answer? You jump all over the place,  this is getting weirder and weirder.

 

 

 

Posted by you:

 

Quote

I haven’t been struggling with anything in the above.  Surely sikhi makes sense but if you’re looking for yes and no answers to all questions then you will have a hard time understanding Sikhi.

It's the devils inside you that make you say/think that something makes sense when it doesn't have a yes/no (which is a right/wrong) answer  ...  Without even realizing you're saying it!

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Yeah I was a talking about yes and no questions - not whether there are right and wrongs answers.  These are two different things, stop attributing words to me that I didn say.  What kind Of weird way of debating is that? 

 

The devil inside me? Dude this is too weird for me. I’m out. Maybe someone else wants to continue. 

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46 minutes ago, amardeep said:

Yeah I was a talking about yes and no questions - not whether there are right and wrongs answers.  These are two different things, stop attributing words to me that I didn say.  What kind Of weird way of debating is that? 

 

The devil inside me? Dude this is too weird for me. I’m out. Maybe someone else wants to continue. 

A yes or no answer precludes a right or wrong answer.  

Rather than dropping out by way of trying to claim ad hominem, it would far more honourable to admit you are wrong.  The continuation of the conversation was your choice, so you must have some doubts about your mindset, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago - I could see back then that you were blinded by Satan, hence, I mentioned about  the conversation going round in circles.

Take care.  You know there's nothing to say you can't come round, and accept Christ as your Saviour.  I'll pray for you :)

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