I’m in a Mormonism and World Religions class right now, and so far we’ve studied Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Each religion has interesting doctrines and philosophies, each has important values to teach and ideas to consider, and each has been enlightening to learn about. (hahaha that was a pun. Enlightening, get it?)
At first I found it fairly easy to judge them, because I’m very confident in my own beliefs (yes, I do have a very firm testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of JESUS CHRIST),
and could easily spot the doctrinal differences and maybe compare them in the wrong ways. But that only lasted like a week. The way my class is structured invites us to discuss the doctrines of the different religions, and then put a Latter-Day Saint light on them to further our understanding. Interestingly enough, the early history of Jainism started in a way very similar to our’s, not unlike Joseph Smith’s First Vision.
I’ve especially enjoyed learning about Buddhism, because the Buddhist teachings just really resonate with me. One thing that the original/ Supreme Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama, said after he first became enlightened, was, “I am neither an angel or a saint. I am awake.” Interesting, eh? The goal of the well-known Buddhist meditation exercises, which I’ve been doing on the beach early in the morning for my class, is to become awake. I love that! I love the idea of coming to your most natural and self-controlled state (this means literally only thinking about your breathing. Nothing else. This is harder than you might think.) and seeking knowledge in order to gain enlightenment. It feels so good.
HOWEVER. Although I’m intrigued by this and all the other religions I’ve studied so far, they all have something missing. It occurred to me just a few days ago. They don’t have a living prophet who continues to give them revelation and guidance! They also, of course don’t have the same scriptures we do, that just happen to contain the fulness of the living gospel. The Hindu scriptures that I’ve studied so far are actually very interesting. But I’m just observing the huge difference that came to me.
In the end, if I didn’t have a testimony, I would love to practice Buddhism. But I do have a testimony! And that’s that. I can still meditate, and work on ahimsa, and, more than anything else, develop understanding and compassion that will help me understand others, so I can share my gospel with them, and they can share their’s with me. I think we’d both benefit immensely.