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The visited religious site was Laxminarayan Mandir Temple in Sacramento, California. One of the outstanding aspects of the temple was its architectural design. The temple depicted various geometric shapes. It also had a congregation hall and an ambulatory. There were many followers of this religion in the region. This experience gave me the opportunity to acquire new ideas about Hinduism. One of the priests indicated that the religion empowered its followers to attain nirvana. After interacting with the priest, he indicated that believers should “strive to achieve dharma since the soul is immortal” (Nicholson, 2010, p. 28).
I learned that the religion supports specific beliefs as immortality and reincarnation. The major traditions associated with Hinduism include vaishnavism, smartism, and shaivism. These rituals are used to honor specific Hindu gods. The Sanskrit contains the major Hindu scriptures. I also interviewed the priest in order to understand the religion’s scriptures. The scriptures outlined by the interviewee included Smriti and Shruti. The major holidays described by the priest included Diwali, Navratri, and Dussera. He said that Dussera was the 10th day of Navratri (Nicholson, 2010).
The first thing to do was to visit the San Francisco Zen Center. The temple is located in San Francisco Bay Area. The experience equipped me with new ideas about Buddhism. I observed that geometrical aspects and decorations characterized the temple. Many people associated with the religion are Asian Americans. According to the chief priest, the religion focused on the four noble truths (Hagan, 2013). These truths focus on the existence of human pain and suffering. The attainment of nirvana is the end of suffering. Human beings, according to the respondent, have rights to effort, mindfulness, action, and speech. According to some of the believers, the major rituals associated with Buddhism include meditation and chanting. The experience revealed that Buddhists should pay homage or respect to Buddha through meditation. The major holidays outlined during the visit included Vesak and Observance Day. Vesak refers to the birthday of Buddha (Hagan, 2013). I interacted with several worshippers who informed me about the religion’s major spiritual books. The identified books included the Pali Canon and the Mahayana Sutras.
In order to understand the issues associated with Jainism, I decided to visit the Jain Center of Southern California in Buena Park. The visit gave me the opportunity to explore the attributes of Jainism. The center was characterized by admirable architectural designs. The walls (exterior and interior) portrayed the outstanding attributes of Asian architecture. This means that art is something taken seriously by adherents of this religion. The activity indicated that the religion had a small number of followers. The people were from different Asian nations. The priest of the temple told me that the major religious text was called the Agamas. He indicated that the worshippers memorize the sutras (Dundas, 2003). The unique goals of people are known as Tirthankaras. After interacting with different followers, they observed that they were engaged in fasting and meditation. The believers were ready to fast during various traditions. The believers informed me about the major holidays associated with the religion such as Paryushana, Mahavira Jayanti, and Kartak Purnima.
In order to understand the religious attributes of Confucianism, I interviewed a strong Confucian believer living in Sacramento area. The respondent offered a number of facts about this religion. According to the believer, art and architecture were powerful attributes of the religion. He also argued that the religion shared similar beliefs with Taoism (Rainey, 2010). The people who practiced this religion were mostly from China. The interviewee pointed out to that death was a transformation to yin. The ultimate goal of life, according to the priest, is to attain immortality. The only way is that of Tao. The interviewee indicated that the main religious books included the works of Confucius. The outlined works included the Book of Changes, the Spring and Autumn Annals, and the Book of Rites (Rainey, 2010). According to the respondent, the major holidays include the Ching Ming Festival, Chinese New Year, and Confucius’ Birthday.
The Egyptian Museum in Rosicrucian
A proper understanding of the ancient Egyptian beliefs can help people understand the diversity of religions across the globe. In order to gain this knowledge, I decided to visit The Egyptian Museum in Rosicrucian. Most of the artifacts in the museum were “from Egypt’s early Islamic era” (Budge, 2011, p. 22). The curator described some of the Ancient Egyptian beliefs. He also indicated that many ancient Egyptians worshipped several deities. These gods controlled many phenomena such as rains, floods, diseases, and epidemics. The curator indicated that people were required to present offerings to the gods. Rituals were also common in order to please the deities (The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium, 2016).
After visiting the museum, I observed that the beliefs of the Egyptians changed throughout history. The respondent indicated that many Egyptians believed that the human soul lived after death in a form called ‘ka’ (Budge, 2011). During the visit, I understood how these ancient believers constructed expensive tombs for the dead. This fact explains why the pharaohs were buried in extravagant tombs.
Budge, E. (2011). Egyptian religion: Egyptian ideas of the future life. New York, NY: Cosimo Classics.
Dundas, P. (2003). The Jains. New York, NY: Rutledge.
Hagan, S. (2013). Buddhism plain and simple. New York, NY: Tuttle Publishing.
Nicholson, A. (2010). Unifying Hinduism: philosophy and identity in Indian intellectual history. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Rainey, L. (2010). Confucius and Confucianism: the essentials. New York, NY: Wiley.
The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum & Planetarium. (2016). Web.