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Thread: Hello from Saudi Arabia

  1. #1

    Hello from Saudi Arabia

    I'm a 22 years old Saudi Arabian (I have been an exmuslim since 2012) I was an agnostic atheist for the majority of my time after leaving Islam until around last year I started reading up about Buddhism and practiced Vipassana and I was fascinated to say the least of the capacity of my mind to be altered so radically.
    I spent my whole life like a robot not being able to witness myself while I'm thinking, lost in thought, and always gripping on things that I can't control.
    I would've never thought I could experience such a different set of mind.

    I'm now extremely interested to learn about (and perhaps practice) the religion that gave birth to Buddha but I know very little as of yet

    Thanks for the platform I'm glad to join and learn new things from the members of this forum

  2. #2
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    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Namaste Vep,

    What is your name ? You have said so little about yourself in your post that it is difficult to connect with you while interacting. Welcome to the forums ! People here would like to see you open up and share your thoughts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  3. #3

    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste Vep,

    What is your name ? You have said so little about yourself in your post that it is difficult to connect with you while interacting. Welcome to the forums ! People here would like to see you open up and share your thoughts. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    OM
    Namaste

    thank you I can't disclose too much information about me as there are apostasy laws in my country, I'd go by the pseudonym Mo

    I want to learn Hinduism if you could suggest a book for a beginner like me it would be greatly appreciated


  4. #4

    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    If there are book suggestions for a beginner feel free to help me

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    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Welcome.
    Glad to see you here.

    Pranam
    Aasato ma sat gamay
    tamaso ma jotirgamay
    mrityorma amrutamgamay
    (Bring me from asat to sat, bring me from darkness (ignorance) to light (knowledge), bring me from death to immortality)
    Om Namah Shivay
    Om Vishnave Namah

  6. #6

    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Quote Originally Posted by vep2 View Post
    I'm a 22 years old Saudi Arabian (I have been an exmuslim since 2012) I was an agnostic atheist for the majority of my time after leaving Islam until around last year I started reading up about Buddhism and practiced Vipassana and I was fascinated to say the least of the capacity of my mind to be altered so radically.
    Namaste and hi vep2,

    I am glad that you have practiced Vipassana. Theory of vipassana is that every thought or emotion has a corresponding sensation in the body, and by observing these sensations with awareness the sensations, along with thoughts and emotions too get dissolved easily , resulting in superior self-control easily. It is our wayward thoughts and emotions that results in unintelligent and foolish action which results in regret later on . Vipassana, which is but applied Buddhist psychology, can help to put a check to this.

    As per S.N.Goenka, the man who started the Vipassana movement under the direction of his teacher ( Sayagyi U Ba Khin in Burma ) anyone of any religion or denomination can practice Vipassana . Vipassana will make a Hindu a better Hindu, a Christian a better Christian and a Muslim a better Muslim and an atheist a better atheist.

    Vipassana is applied Buddhist psychology, and like Neuro-Linguistic Programming, it is a very good aid in developing the character and quality of mind, and getting rid of unwanted habits and vices.

    Wish you all the best in your intellectual and spiritual journey,

    Pranam

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    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Namaste MO,

    Quote Originally Posted by vep2 View Post
    I want to learn Hinduism if you could suggest a book for a beginner like me it would be greatly appreciated
    I am not aware of any such book (may be some other members are able to guide you) but I would like to give a glimpse of what is there in store for you when you try to understand Hinduism. Hinduism is so vast that you must decide what your area of interest is so that you don't get lost in scriptures.

    The term Hinduism is actually a misnomer. Why ? It is not an 'ism' that we can expect by this term. It consists of almost everything in spirituality that we can think of. Just see below the diversity we have here :

    a) There are Hindus who believe in Duality i.e. God and Creation are different.
    b) There are Hindus who believe in Non-duality i.e. Creator and the Creation are non-different from each other.
    c) There are Hindus who don't believe in God i.e. NAstikAs and still they are Hindu e.g Buddhism, Jainism, CharvAks and Ajivika.
    d) There are Hindus who are pure vegetarian and there are Hindus who eat meat. In fact, there are Hindus who even offer meat to God (e.g. Animal sacrifice). However, slowly, Hindus, by and large have abandoned the practice of Animal Scarifice.
    e) Within the schools of Duality (Seeing God different from Creation), there are various schools :
    i) Vaishnavism : Those who consider Lord Vishnu as the Supreme
    ii) Shaivism : Those who consider Lord Shiva as the Supreme
    iii) ShAktism : Those who consider Mother Goddess (Durga or Kaali etc.) as the Supreme

    f) Within schools of Non-duality, there are various schools :
    1) Shankara's schools of Non-duality : These practitioners believe in supremacy of VedAnta. Their main practices are : Detachment from worldly affairs and meditating to attain the Ultimate (the Highest Truth). These Yogis may have chosen deities (Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu or Mother Goddess) to help them during their spiritual journey. However, any chosen form of God helps only up to a point. The final destination is non-duality.
    2) Kashmir Shaivism : They are non-dualist and followers of Shri Abhinavagupta. Their chosen deity is Lord Shiva. Detachment from the world and meditational practices are same as in Shankara's schools.
    3) Others : Kabir-panthis (the followers of Saint Kabir), Sikhs etc.
    f) Hindus believe in divinity of everything. That is why you may find some Hindus worshiping many gods /devas. This includes even rivers, mountains, trees, planets, heavenly bodies, animals.

    Hinduism have hundreds of religious scriptures. These are divided into different categories : Shruti, Smriti, PurANs, ItihAsa, Agamas etc. Shruti is considered eternal highest knowledge which exists in all times. It is believed that the message / teachings contained in these scriptures are revealed to anyone who attains purity/tranquility of mind, the highest state. Shruti is also known as the Vedas which are by and large considered the highest authority in scriptures in Hinduism. Vedas are four in number : Rig Veda, SAm Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. Each Veda consists of four parts in general : SamhitA, Brahmana, AraNyaka and Upanishads. SamhitA and Brahmana are parts of Vedas which are concerned with various rites and rituals for pleasing gods for getting worldly boons and a place in heaven. Aranyakas and Upanishads are parts of Vedas which comprise of the highest Truth revealed to the Hindus. All schools within Hinduism agree that no scripture in Hindu Dharma can be interpreted in a manner which would violate Shruti (Vedas).

    Contd in next post ....

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Namaste MO,

    Instrument to ascertain the truth :

    For ascertaining if anything is Truth or otherwise, Hindus rely on 6 different PramANs i.e. proofs or means of knowledge. These are :

    a) Sabda PramANs : This is what we get from scriptures and the among all scriptures, Vedas are the highest authority.
    b) AnumANa PramANa : Inference from known truths
    c) Pratyaksha PramANa: Direct perception of the Truth.
    d) UpmANs PramANa: Comparison and analogy
    e) Arthapatti : postulations, derivation from circumstances
    f) Anupalabdhi : Due to non-perception of anything (this is a negative proof)

    Different schools depend upon one or all the six pramANs for ascertaining truth. Perception is the only PramANa which finds place for valid instrument for ascertaining Truth by all schools of Hinduism.

    The various schools of Hinduism

    1) Orthodox Six schools of Hindu Philosophy :
    Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mīmāṃsā and Vedanta

    2) Four heterodox schools of Hindu Philosophy :
    Jain, Buddhist, Ajivika and Cārvāka.

    The Today's Hinduism has derived heavily from the six Orthodox Schools of Hindu Philosophy. Though Orthodox Schools are also known as Astika schools (those who believe in God), it is to be noted that not all scholars of Orthodox schools accepted existence of God.

    Methodology to settle disputes within different schools :

    Hindus have a tradition of settling disputes in spiritual matters through ShAstrArthas i.e. spiritual debates based on six pramANas. One of the most important event in the history of Hinduism was Shastrarthas by Adi Shankaracharya (8th century) with leaders of various schools of Hinduism. Adi Shankaracharya established the supremacy of Advaita VedAnta (Non-duality as per VedAnta) over other schools within Hindu Dharma at that time. Shankaracharya engaged leaders of different schools of thoughts in Hinduism and convinced them by arguments and established the supremacy of Advaita Vedanta. He went to all the celebrated seats of learning. In ShAstrarthas he defeated Bhatta Bhaskara and condemned his Bhashya (commentary) on the Vedanta Sutras. He then met Dandi and Mayura and taught them his philosophy. He then defeated in argument Harsha, author of Khandana Khanda Kadya, Abhinavagupta, Murari Misra, Udayanacharya, Dharmagupta, Kumarila Bhatta and Prabhakara. Shankara also defeated Mandan Mishra of Karma MimAmsa ( or Purva MimAsa i.e. followers of first two parts of Vedas i.e SamhitA and Brahmana).

    Today's Hinduism


    a) Most of the Hindus today are SmArtas (worship 5 main deities i.e. Vishnu,Shiva, Surya (Sun), Ganesha and Devi (Mother Goddess). Some SmArtha Hindus in South India also worship Kartikeya or Murguna as the sixth deity The term comes from Smriti (i.e. recorded or as remembered knowledge in scriptures e.g. VedAnga, PurAnas, ItihAsas etc. ). Smritis are considered less authoritative than the Shruti (i.e. Vedas) but these are easier to understand by common people. SmArtas consider Brahman as the Supreme and the Ultimate Reality. Brahman is Nirguna (which cannot be perceived by mind) in essence but the same Brahman acts as Saguna Brahman or God with MAyA (the power of Brahman which causes this creation) in action. For SmArtas worshiping chosen deity(ies) is prliminary steps before one gets eligible for knowledge of Brahman / AtmAn.

    b) Notwithstanding the above, we have Shaivas, Vaishnavas, ShAktas also in Hindu Dharma as stated in my post above.
    So, Hinduism in totality is not easy to understand. It will take years of study and patience to understand all schools within Hinduism. So, what can be suggestion for you as a beginner ? In my opinion, Advaita VedAnta can answer all your questions at your stage as you are in search of Truth. Why ? Because the knowledge of Advaita VedAnta can be directly experienced in the tranquility of mind by anyone. You don't need any scripture or Guru to rely upon even though they are the biggest help. In any belief system, if one has to believe what has been said by anyone and don't question on the validity of the same the biggest question remains : What if that is false ? What if scriptures are not saying the Truth ? What if the Teacher is biased and not telling the Truth ? The test of pudding is in eating it. Advaita VedAnta tells you the theoretical part of the Truth and then also teaches you how to realise that Truth yourself independently.

    Advaita VedAnta and Buddhism :

    Advaita VedAnta and MahAyAn Buddhism have a lot in common except the concept of God. Buddhjism accepts no God but believes in Buddha (as spiritual master) and Buddhahood (the highest state). Advaita VedAnta accepts God and Guru (Spiritual Master who has realised the Truth). The highest state in Advaita VedAnta is Turiya which is akin to Buddhahood of MahAyAn Buddhism.

    Authoritative Scriptures of Advaita VedAnta :

    The authoritative scriptures of Advaita VedAnta are :
    a) Bhagwad Gita b) Brahmasutras c) Upanishads (also called VedAnta). Together these are known as Prathan Trayi.
    If you are interested in Advaita VedAnta,

    On this forum you can visit these links :

    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...Aham+Brahmasmi
    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...Aham+Brahmasmi
    http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthr...Aham+Brahmasmi

    you can also visit these web-pages :

    http://www.dlshq.org/download/vedbegin.pdf
    http://www.stillnessspeaks.com/siteh...z/advaita1.pdf
    http://www.vedantaadvaita.org/

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  9. #9
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    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Namaste,

    There are a lot of misconceptions in the minds of people who come to Hinduism from other faiths. I would like to answer them as they come in mind :

    a) Hindus worship many Gods. How can there be more than one God ?

    Answer : Hindus don't believe in many Gods. That is fallacious. Yes, they worship God in many forms and with different names as suits devotees. Rig Veda says : Akam sad vipra bahudha vadanti ==> Truth is One but seekers describe Him in different ways.

    b) Some Hindus consider Vishnu to be supreme, some Shiva to be supreme and yet some Mother Goddess as supreme. Doesn't that show that Hindus are confused over who the supreme is ?

    Answer : It is difficult to understand how Hindus see their chosen form of God by people who want to understand Hinduism within days. See, Hindus believe that God is One alone and He "becomes" whatever he is worshiped as (Mudagala Upanishad). And it is quite logical ? How ? Actually, God alone is the Reality in the universe and all forms and names are but creations of Creative power of God i.e. MAyA. Everything is God but we see various forms and names due to influence of MAyA. It is like having water, Ice and water-vapour ===> all being the same essence Water but with different names and forms due their own degrees of restlessness. So, is the state of this universe. The essence is God in everything and all beings. Therefore, if I can know the essence of anything, I can know God. It doesn't matter what "thing" I choose. It is like trying to know Protons,Electrons and Neutrons which make anything in this universe. You break anything and finally you will reach the same sub-atomic particles. It hardly matters if you take a piece of stone or Gold or water to start with. So, it is upto you to choose a name and form that suits you most and then devote yourself fully to that form and name of God and you will attain the same Reality irrespective of what you choose.

    c) Hindus worship images made of stones / earth / wood. How can you worship something that has been made by you yourself. How can a created thing be so powerful that it acquires the status of God ? Is it not a serious flaw in Hinduism ?

    Answer : As I have told you above, there is nothing in this universe which is not-God in reality. Moreover, when you worship an image made of anything, the image is just a vehicle to reach God. This image-worship is actually a great invention in spirituality. The real worship of God starts when you focus on God and discard all worldly thoughts. It is not easy. You may try to focus on a single thought of God without keeping any image of His in mind. It is really difficult because mind needs some anchor to get tethered to otherwise, its normal tendency is to wander about randomly. Therefore a form and a name helps. Once you attain enough spiritual heights, you may let go the form and name and focus on Infinite undescribable Brahman. There is a complete procedure outlined in Vishnu Purana on how to go from form to formlessness in focussing the mind firmly on God.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Hello from Saudi Arabia

    Namaste vep2,

    Welcome to the forum.

    Since you are are a beginner, I think it is unfair to load you with all the intricacies of Hinduism and confuse you so much that you feel sorry for having asked for help.

    So, to keep things simple,

    1. Read up the Basics of Hinduism at
    https://www.himalayanacademy.com/rea...s/nine-beliefs

    2. Do a search on the internet for the most revered Hindu book, Bhagwad Gita. Below is a suggested translation of the Bhagwad Gita,
    http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/Gita/verse-01-01.html

    As introductory remarks about Bhagwad Gita, Arjuna, a warrior prince hesitates to fight a war against his own family members who support injustice in the society. However, Lord Krishna, acting as the charioteer for Arjuna, gives Arjuna the philosophy of life and convinces him to fight for justice. To a beginner, it can be jarring that God Himself is asking His devotee to fight in the battlefield instead of being non-violent; but the fight is in the cause of justice. So, to shy away from violence when confronted with irreligious behavior is wrong.

    After you have read and digested some of the thoughts in the above two books, please come back back for more.

    Please be very cautious and do not give out any personal details about yourself to anyone over the internet. Authorities have a way of finding out who you are, and in the case of Saudi Govt. giving you some harsh punishment for what you are doing.

    Pranam.

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