Other Paths

Peace, one and all…

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I am fascinated by the religious traditions of the world.  Learning about other faiths is both interesting and important.  In this section you will find links to academic, educational and faith-based resources on other religions.

Quite naturally, this is a work in progress and so will take time to grow, insha Allah. If you have any interesting links, please feel free to submit them in the comments section below.

Please note, the links contained on this page are to external sites and have been gathered here for the purpose of education. These links have been placed here so that myself and others may learn about other faiths. Inclusion of a link does not indicate that I agree with all that site says. This may also mean that the sites listed here may not all represent ‘orthodox’ viewpoints. I mean no disrespect to anyone by doing this. My purpose is strictly educational, so that I and others may learn.

Finally, it is essential to note that I will remove any site from this list that is found to promote hatred, racism, sexism or violence in any form.

Spirituality

Other Forms of Islam

Baha’i (and related)

Buddhism

Christianity

Gnosticism & Esoterica

Hinduism

Judaism

Paganism

Quakers

Rastafarianism

Sikhism

Spirituality

Tao Te Ching

Theosophy

Unitarianism

Zoroastrianism

24 thoughts on “Other Paths”

  1. This is a great site, Abdur Rahman, full of many treasures. It gives me great joy that you have dedicated this page to resources to help people learn about different faiths. I have no doubt that truthful and trustful dialogue is essential to bring us all closer together and to understand that God (however that Transcendent Being is designated in different languages and different faiths) is the source of all good in the world.

  2. Peace Barney,

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. All that is right comes from Allah. Only the mistakes are mine (though I certainly appreciate the feedback).

    Welcome to my virtual home. Make yourself comfortable. I look forward to sharing with you, insha Allah.

    Abdur Rahman

  3. Peace Abdur Rahman

    Firstly, apologies for my remark regarding fundamentalist intolerance. I certainly have no wish to offend you or anyone else and in hindsight it was a rather thoughtless comment to make.

    I was wondering which Pure Land text you studied. At our temple in London (www.threewheels.org) our teacher Rev. Sato has been giving a series of lectures on the Tannisho, the Shoshinge (which we chant at most services) and is currently talking on the Ofumi, the Letters of Rennyo Shonin.

    I’ve attended the Buddhist Society for many years, attending the Theravada and later, Zen meditation classes before I came to Jodo Shinshu. I still find the Theravadan teachings of the late Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho (Thai Forest tradition – http://www.amaravati.org ) very helpful and practical, as well as the Zen teachings. The Zen Group connected with the Buddhist Society is in the Rinzai tradition. They study koans but primarily concentrate on awareness of one’s actions and emotions in daily life, e.g. watching what exactly happens within us when some unwanted event occurs or someone upsets us – helpful for stopping the process of just being dragged around on a roller coaster of emotions all the time which is pretty exhausting.

    Some other websites you might like to check out are:

    http://www.beliefnet.com
    http://www.buddhistchannel.tv (a news channel)
    http://www.sacred-texts.com

    (By the way, I hope you don’t mind me mentioning that the Buddhist Society link on your site is actually to the Baha’i site and should be http://www.thebuddhistsociety.org).

    Being a teacher of religion, you must know quite a lot about Buddhism already, and I suspect that I didn’t need to give you that basic outline of the Four Noble Truths the other day! However, if there are any other points I might be able to help you on please let me know.

    Salaams, Hazel

  4. Peace Hazel,

    There’s no need to apologise. I credited your words with best of intentions. My only thought was that there are many who pass by who may not believe as generously as you do.

    To be honest, I can’t remember the name of the text we looked at. It referred to Amitabha and offered a description of the Pure Land. Insha Allah, I’ll see if I can dig it out for you.

    I really don’t know that much about Buddhism, beyond a superficial knowledge of the Four Noble Truths – so your explanation was indeed most welcome. I’m very much interested in Zen too, though I know even less about it.

    Thank you for the links. Oops!!! You’re right!!! I haven’t edited this page for a while and so didn’t spot the blooper!! I’ll fix it shortly insha Allah. :(

    I found Buddha net to be very useful, as they have lots of free materials to download (I love free)!

    I will certainly add the Buddhist links, I think I’ve already got the others. Thank you for sending them to me.

    God bless you, now and always …

    Abdur Rahman

  5. Peace Abdur Rahman

    This is just a PS to my last message as a friend of mine, who has just completed an MA in Buddhism, has suggested another site which you may find interesting:

    http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/study/islam/general/islamic_buddhist_dialog.html?query=sufi

    Love your poetry, by the way. On the whole, I’ve found poetry to be a medium that crosses all religious boundaries, no matter what faith it has been inspired by.

    Hope you and your family are well and have been enjoying the summer, despite the wet weather.

    Best wishes
    Hazel

  6. Peace Hazel,

    Thank you for the link. I will certainly check it out. You’re right about poetry. It certainly does seem to be able to bridge (apparent) religious divides. I have certainly found that myself.

    Also, though I know it’s not poetry, I found reading the Dhammapada very interesting and helpful. The short points it contains are rather poetic (and certainly meaningful).

    Thank you for your kind thoughts regarding my own efforts. All that is beautiful comes from God. Only the mistakes are mine.

    Al hamdu lillah, we’ve been enjoying the summer. August has been much drier here than July (which was a complete wash-out)!

    Sigh! :( It’s almost September and time for the new year to begin! :)

    Do you have a blog of your own?

    Abdur Rahman

  7. Peace Hazel,

    The link you sent has some very interesting material. Thank you again.

    Abdur Rahman

  8. Salaams Abdur Rahman

    Glad you liked the link – I’ll let my friend know.

    I’ve been hastily catching up on your blog after my return from a wonderful week’s silent retreat deep in the Devonshire countryside (silent, that is, apart from the sheep, owls and some very noisy rooks!). We were doing Theravadan Vipassana (Insight) meditation which, if done for a long enough period, gradually brings our mind to a state of relaxed quietude wherein we become aware of our True Nature. The weather was hot and sunny so I was able to sit in the extensive garden and connect with nature. It always comes as rather a shock though when one returns to town, particularly the bustle and noise of London.

    Your comments yesterday regarding the connection you felt with others in the mosque reminded me of the bond we feel with each other at our temple, with the mutual understanding that we are all in the same boat – far from perfect, even though we try our best, and in the long run the only thing we can do is take refuge in the Ultimate.

    I hope Ramadan is going well for you. Will you be back at university before it finishes? How do you manage to fit in your daily prayers while at work? On an interesting programme the other night about four Moslem women living in Britain, one (a lawyer) said she did all the praying that she was unable to do during the day later in the evening. I wondered whether that was a common and acceptable practice.

    No I don’t have my own blog but I spend a lot of time reading other people’s. The list is growing steadily and I only wish I had time to read them more thoroughly, and all the links!

    Peace to you and your family.

    Hazel

  9. Peace Hazel,

    I’m glad to hear that you’re well, and that you enjoyed your recent retreat. Finding time to explore the inner mysteries of life is a rare and precious thing.

    What form does this meditational practice take? I’d be interested in learning more.

    We are indeed all in the same boat. I respect any person trying to move beyond themselves, and religious differences are no barrier to that in my humble opinion.

    Al hamdu lillah, Ramadan is going well. It’s hard work, of course, but it is enjoyable. As I said in a recent post, it’s a time of interruption, where God forces us to re-think our lives.

    I saw the programme you refer to myself. Regarding prayer, well there are two things here, I suppose – ideal and reality. The ideal position is that prayers are done as soon as their time comes. Each prayer has a certain slot (usually of a few hours), so they can be arranged around a working life. However, when a prayer is missed, it is generally held that it should be made up as soon as possible.

    Peace to you and yours :)

    Abdur Rahman

  10. Peace Abdur Rahman

    You’d think that someone with no children and only a part-time job would have more time to spend on the internet but somehow it never seems to work out that way!

    Anyway, you asked about Vipassana meditation. It’s an exercise in self-observation involving bare attention focussed, in turn, on the breathing, other bodily sensations, emotions, and what is happening around us as experienced through our senses. We follow the 5 Precepts throughout (to refrain from killing, taking what is not given, sex, unkind speech, alcohol and drugs) and end with a loving-kindness meditation. It’s actually described more fully on the following site:
    http://www.enabling.org/ia/vipassana/Archive/A/Amaravati/introInsightMeditation.html

    I like this meditation because it can be carried on during one’s daily routine, although it’s not so easy at the office or when socialising.

    (There is also an intensive Burmese version called Satipatthana which calls for one’s actions to be slowed right down so that every aspect of every action can be carefully noted. For this type it’s necessary to spend at least 10 days in a retreat centre or monastery.)

    This is completely different, by the way, to the meditation done by the Pure Land tradition at the temple I attend. If we so wish, we can undertake a 10 day almost solitary retreat (at present only available at their head temple in Japan) called a Chomon. It is an in-depth contemplation, with study of various sutras and the assistance of two advisors, on how indebted we are to our parents, teachers, friends – even enemies as we can learn wisdom through the way we deal with them. We become aware of the interconnectedness of all beings and that it is impossible to manage anything by self-power alone. If one then admits this and entrusts oneself wholeheartedly to Other Power, known to us as Amida Buddha, there is a kind of enlightenment experience and one feels oneself embraced by Amida, never to be abandoned. One then chants the Nembutsu in gratitude.

    I don’t know how widespread this meditation is among Japanese Pure Land traditions. From what I’ve learnt of the Chinese tradition, their meditation seems to involve the use of visualisation and mantras, and can also include deities such as Kwan Yin.

    I hope I’ve described all this fairly clearly but if there is anything else you would like to know, I’ll try to help you.

    With Gassho (palms together)

    Hazel

  11. Peace Hazel,

    I’ve read through your post briefly, though I’ve not had time to really read it yet. Thank you for your full response. I’d like to ask a couple of questions later on, if I may.

    Peace to you and yours…

    Abdur Rahman

  12. Salam,
    What is the Upanishad’s link?

  13. Salaams Fauzan

    The Upanishads are important Hindu texts. There are many of them and wallah, I’m not expert

    Abdur Rahman

  14. It is very good job you did. I find muslims usually dont have enough knowledge about other faiths. Esp those who are born muslims and are not converted.
    A very knowledgeable man used to advice me to learn about others. So i will not be ignorant about them when there is a discussion.

    Once He said: “I was a born muslim. I got kafir to everything to rediscover my way. So i researched in all religions to find the right way and finally i reached Islam again. It is duty of all humans. “

  15. Salaams Shahrzad,

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. My intention here is simply to learn about other faiths. To be honest, the more I learn the more connections I see.

    Your friend must have been a very wise man. Allah bless you and him always

    Abdur Rahman

  16. Thank you for visiting Berkshire.

    Are you prepared to put Humanism on your list of faiths?

    See our strapline.

    If you are, I will approve your comment – or a better one.

    David.

  17. Peace David,

    To be honest, I hadn’t really thought about Humanism as a faith before – though I have no problem adding it to my list. The aim of my list is simply so that I and others may learn – it’s neither final, nor complete (and does not aim to be so).

    I wasn’t sure I’d actually made a comment. I found a link to your discussion of Hazel Blears’ comments via google and wanted to link to it. As I said in my relevant post, I haven’t yet had a chance to think through this issue.

    At any rate, welcome to my online home. Thank you for stopping by.

    Abdur Rahman

  18. S.Srinivas Rau said:

    A fine compendium!I would add websites on Sri Ramakrishna and Ramanamaharshi to the section of Hinduism.

  19. Peace S Srinivas Rau,

    Welcome to my online home. God bless you always

    To be honest, I’d be grateful to find more useful material to add here, as I know little about Hinduism. A site explaining the key terms would be most helpful indeed.

    Do you have links to the sites you recommend?

    Abdur Rahman

  20. S.Srinivas Rau said:

    “Sriramakrishna and his disciples” by Christopher Isherwood is a biography which includes a description of his practice of Islam.”The Gospel of Sriramakrishna” is widely admired.The websites http://www.sriramakrishna.org,www.sriramakrishnamath.org,www.ramakrishna.org are among the first few in a web search!
    I am no expert!I am sure you will find branches of the Ramakrishna mission in Wales.I am honoured to be thus consulted!

  21. Peace S.Srinivas Rau,

    Thank you for the suggestions. I will look out for them. I will also look through the website you suggest.

    Allah! I am no expert either! Just struggling along the path. A man can never have too many fellow companions on the path.

    Abdur Rahman

  22. S.Srinivas Rau said:

    Salam AbdurRahman!
    Going through http://www.sri-ramana-maharshi.blogspot.com I came across the story of the Swede Sr Ramana Giri.One of his messages after realisation : “the only truth that becomes false upon utterance is Aham Brahmasmi or Sivoham ” .This is the Vedanta equivalent of Ana’l Haq.
    Srinivas Rau

  23. Abdur, I am blessed to have come across your space here. I am a pilgrim, a spiritual being in the midst of a human experience. I am almost 60 and I live on Vancouver Island just off of Canada’s west coast. For years I called myself a Christian, but after many years of reading, study and wrestling with God I would say I am in the most profound sense a struggling stumbling disciple of Jesus. I am captivated by the profound redemptive mystery and imagination in the gospels. It is a faith that bears little resemblance to much of the Christianity we see today. I believe we can learn from all religions, a shared wisdom…we all drink from a eternal and infinite well. In a global village filled with such beauty and diversity, could the many paths through out the village mysteriously be leading, and originating from the same place. Anyway, Abdur many blessings to you on your journey…and I give thanks that our paths have crossed. I hope I will learn more from you. Much love and peace…Ron Cole

    http://thewearypilgrim.typepad.com/the_weary_pilgrim/

  24. Peace Ron,

    Welcome to my online home! It is lovely to meet you. I too found my own path by wandering out towards the periphery. I can relate deeply to your words. There is, as the Rastas say, One Love…..open to all, without limit. I am also grateful that our paths have crossed. I look forward to talking with you more fully.

    May God bless you always.

    Ask olsun (may there be love)

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