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Sacred Words and Deeds
An Exhibit on Religion

Sacred Words and Deeds
Sacred Words and Deeds:  An Exhibit on Religion

Nothing motivates people more than faith.  Religions have brought both comfort and struggle to world populations throughout time.  Faith in religious, and hence, moral concepts have expanded from the reading and studying of The Bible or Qu'ran to include an inter-disciplinary of complex ideologies.  From the inspirational to the mathematical:  these multi-volume Collections assist readers and life students in their quest to understand man's relationship to God or gods, to nature and each other.
Western Culture and Buddhism
Western Culture and Buddhism
The meaning of the word religion means “to tie,” or  “to bind” in Latin. The Latin root is relegere, which means “to read over again;" illuminating the ritualistic nature of religions, such as sermons, commemorations or venerations of a deity.  Learned clergy draw from scriptures, and make places holy through festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance and public service ("Religion," World Heritage Encyclopedia).  The "Sacred Words and Deeds:  A Religious Exhibit" leads readers through discovering that religions differ at the surface level, they share concepts at deeper levels.  According to Achille Loria biography of Karl Marx,   he wrote “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.  It is the opium of the people” (Karl Marx, Achille Loria).  In contrast, Edmund Burke has been quoted saying: “Religion is essentially the art and the theory of remaking the man.  Man is not a finished creation” (The Works of Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke).

 The Way to Freedom by Bstan-Dzin-Rgya-Mtsho and Dalai Lama XIV, explains how Buddhism believes “there is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness” (The Way to Freedom, Dalai Lama).  Buddhism educates novices into the basic concepts of the Buddha - the founder and teacher of this practice), the Dharma (the Buddha’s teachings) and the Sangha (the Buddhist community living with the teachings (“Buddhism,” World Heritage Encyclopedia).  In Radical Buddhism Leonard Price writes that “Western Buddhists should be wary of tendencies to turn Buddhism into an instrument of secular reform, or a philosophical playground, or an esoteric hobby.  Before all else, there is suffering and the path to end suffering...."  The essence of Buddhism is to let go of everything, to cease clinging desperately to transient, woeful, empty phenomena” (Radical Buddhism, Leonard Price, 3).  Practical Buddhism does “not depend on faith alone but uses one’s understanding and experience which have been accumulated through the use of human intelligence…."  In Buddhism we do not have to wait for our next life to experience good results. It is not some kind of escapist asceticism, but a down-to-earth realism” (Practical Buddhism, K. Sri Dhammananda, 5). 
Islam and Christianity
Islam and Christianity
In exploring the major monotheistic religions of the world, we come to Islam.  Khurshid Ahmad wrote Islam Basic Principles and Characteristics, which are said to be simplicity, rationality and practicality.  Islam is a religion without any mythology.  It is free from superstitions and irrational beliefs. The "oneness" of God, the prophethood of Muhammad, and the concept of life after death are the basic articles of its faith.  There is no hierarchy of priests, no farfetched abstractions, no complicated rites and rituals.  Every person may approach the Qur'an directly and translate its dictates into practice ( Islam Basic Principles and Characteristics, Ahmad).  However, H.M. Baagil provides a different perspective of Islam in the Muslim-Christian Dialogue that reveals the unifying language of Islam, but its potential to overlap with Christianity:  "Muslims use one language to worship Allah."  He also states that Jesus, in his Second Coming, will tell others to worship Allah because Jesus shares Islamic values.  He is circumcised, abstains from pork, performs prayers with ablution, and prostrates during his prayers (Muslim-Christian Dialogue, Baagil).   In Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity, the Unity School of Christianity writes that God is not a big man residing in the sky called "heaven;” nor is he a stern, angry judge awaiting an opportunity to punish bad people who have failed to live a perfect life on Earth.  Rather, God is Spirit, or the Creative Energy, which is the cause of all visible things.  He is the invisible life and intelligence, which underlies all physical things (Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity, Unity School of Christianity).

Christianity and Islam is related to Judaism because these religions come from the Hebrew Bible.  The Kabbalah is known as the mystical sect of Judaism.  In the Introduction to the Book of Zohar, the Kabbalah teaches its followers that if they find faults in their bodies, they are actually the faults of the Creator who created them and their nature (Introduction to the Book of Zohar, Rav Michael Laitman).  The Kabbalah sages say that the Creator made the world to bestow to His creatures a great amount of desire to receive that which he has given.  The greater the will to receive, the greater the pleasure, and the lesser the will, the lesser the pleasure from reception.   

In The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose, Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag adds that in Kabbalah religion, God is absolute goodness.  He watches believers in complete benevolence without a shred of evil. His guidance compels them to go through a series of phases, experiencing cause and effect. Whatever precedes and results informs them if they are qualified to accept the desired goodness. This process is how they shall live out their purpose as the “ripe and fine-looking fruit” (The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose, Yehuda Ashlag).

Works Cited
Ahmad, Khurshid. (n.d.)  Islam Basic Principles and Characteristics.  Lahore:  Islamic Publications.

Ashlag, Yehuda.  The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose Trans. C. Ratz. Bnei Baruch, 1996. 

Baagil, H.M.  Muslim-Christian Dialogue.  WAMY:  Studies on Islam, 1984. 

"Buddhism."  World Heritage Encyclopedia.  Web.  2014. 

Burke, Edmund.  The Works of Edmund Burke.  London:  J. Rivingten, 1826. 

Dalai Lama.  The Way to Freedom.  Trans. Nguyen Thuy Phuong.  San Francisco:  Harper San Francisco, 1994. 

Dhammananda, K. Sri, Dr.  Practical Buddhism.  BuddhaNet.  BuddhaNet.Net.  Web.  1987. 

Laitman, Rav Michael.  Introduction to the Book of Zohar.  Bnei Baruch.  Kabbalah.Info.  Web.  1996.

Loria, Achille.  Karl Marx.  London:  George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1920.

Price, Leonard.  Radical Buddhism.  Berkeley:  DharmaNet International, 1995. 

Unity School of Christianty.  Lessons in Truth, A Course of Twelve Lessons in Practical Christianity.  Kansas City:  Unity School of Christianity, 1920. 
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The "Sacred Words and Deeds Exhibit: A Religion Exhibit" shows that despite the different religious lineages throughout the world, there are relationships between them.  There is a shared notion that humanity has the capacity to tap into and live in their divine nature, by learning from various teachers, who are messengers of that divinity.    There is a shared belief that this divinity is not outside oneself, but is actually around us if we can recognize our ability to connect and be animated by it.  

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