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  1. Hello everyone, As the title of the thread suggests, I am currently exploring Sikhi as well as other religious beliefs (including Buddhism and Radha Soami, though I have issues with following a human master). I come from a Christian background, but I would not describe my beliefs as being particularly Christian, as I believe in an all-pervading God who is impersonal, and I believe in systems such as reincarnation and karma. So, I have many questions about Sikhi as I am on my search, and I was hoping that you all might be able to answer some questions for me. None of these questions are meant to challenge your beliefs at all, but merely to express my own doubts and challenges that I face in my search. 1. Buddhism and Sikhism I think are largely similar, but they have a major difference that I find hard to reconcile. Buddhism (at least Theravadan and Zen) teaches that the existence of God can't be answered for sure, and the same can be said for the soul. Instead the Buddha says that we should forget such questions, and instead focus on achieving Nirvana, as these questions impede our spiritual growth. Sikhi (as far as I am aware) states that our ultimate purpose is to merge with God, and reach Sach Khand. The problem is, I can see and understand the reasoning behind both of these positions, and I have a really hard time figuring out what to believe on this issue. How can I resolve this conflict? 2. Scriptures are obviously very important to Sikhs, as the SGGSJ forms the foundation for Sikhi. My question regarding this is, why is reading the Bani repeatedly so important? Is kirtan more beneficial than to practice simran and meditation on the atman inside? I can understand reading it for understanding, and of course reading scriptures at different times in our lives, we will receive different lessons. But is inward meditation not more valuable, provided it is done with a proper spiritual understanding? 3. As I am young and come from the West (I am only 18), I have certain Western values which I find hard to reconcile with both Sikhism and Buddhism, even though I may find the religion very appealing. Specifically, I feel very strongly about gender equality, and that differences between men and women are almost entirely (if not entirely) cultural rather than biological or spiritual in nature. This means that I am a strong advocate of homosexual rights, gay marriage, and transgender rights. I realize that Sikhi has done a lot to stand up for many of these things, but at the same time, I see that homosexuals are not allowed to be married with the Anand Karaj. As a Westerner, this seems to be the same religious dogmatism that I tried to escape when I left Christianity, but maybe I am misunderstanding it. 4. Marriages. As far as I understand, Sikhs do not condone love marriages, and instead practice arranged marriages. What is the harm in a love marriage, or in dating? Again I realize I come from a Western perspective, but I fail to see how these things are harmful to your spirituality. If all of your energy is focused on finding a partner, or on sexual promiscuity, or the like, I can definitely understand it. Also, why can an inter-faith marriage not be done with the Anand Karaj? If a Sikh wants to marry a non-Sikh, isn't that their choice? And if they want to do the marriage the Sikh way, is that not displaying the proper respect to Sikhi? For a long time, I dated a Muslim girl and we planned to be married. Sadly that didn't happen, but I can't imagine missing out on someone who may be the love of my life, because I am limited to only marrying someone of my religion. 5. Again as far as I understand, Guru Nanak Ji shunned religious labels. He stated "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim." So therefore, why have his teachings started a religion? This is something I haven't been able to find much discussion about, and I am quite curious about it. Has Sikhism fallen prey to the same dogmatism that he taught against? 6. The SGGSJ was named as the last Guru for the Sikhs. Does this mean there will never be another Guru? What about when we move out of Kal Yug and into the next age, will there be another succession of Gurus? I'm sorry for the long list of questions. I look forward to hearing your responses. Thank you.
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