Cultural Pilgrimage: Reflections from our visit to a Buddhist Temple and Hindu Temple #learningisbigger #commentsforkids #denver

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My experience with the Hindu and Buddhist temples was good. All of the people we met showed great hospitality and shared amazing wisdom, and we can learn a lot from what they believe. From Buddhists, we can learn to persevere through the hardships of life. As the Buddha himself allegedly said, “Life is suffering”, and is believed to have risen above suffering and attained nirvana. Even if we may not believe this to be true, we can still learn perseverance, no matter what struggles we may face in our lives.

Now let’s see what Hindus bring to the table. At the Hindu temple, Ananda said that God’s forgiveness is greater than His justice, which goes to show that just as Christians believe that God is merciful, Hindus do too. We can also learn to be more loving and devoted to our God like Hindus do. When they give offerings to God, the point is not that God takes the offering, but rather accepts their love and devotion to Him. We struggle with that a lot, considering the temptations of this world.

The things I mentioned are few of many lessons to be learned from these people, but nonetheless important.   –Jackson

 
Going a second time to the Hindu and Buddhist temple has given me a new perspective. Buddhism is such a unique religion. After going a second time I still don’t fully understand it. One of my favorite concepts of this religion is “to live a simple but fulfilled life.” (Diana) I feel that sometimes my life is to crowded. I can’t live a fulfilled life. Another one of my favorite concepts is the lotus flower. It grows in dirt but comes out beautiful. We are all broken in some way but when we become enlightened we are glued back together. One thing I learned was that we all have differences but instead of looking at the flaws we should honor our differences. Hinduism is a fascinating religion. I learned that Hinduism revolves around hidden service and putting other before your self. “The nature of the sole is to serve.” (Tushta)  We should not serve in a boastful way. We should serve in a hidden way. I learned that when we serve it should be un motivated and we get more out of it if we give rather than take. Overall this was an incredible religious pilgrimage and I am so sad this is my last time.  — Alli

 

I live in a world of glass. It’s a world where reality lays just beyond the bend. It’s a world where sometimes I can feel like I can reach out and grasp God, but then that barrier of glass reality slaps me in the face. I realize how far I really am from grasping God. “No one is perfect.”(Diana Thompson). I may know that deep down in my heart that I am no where close to God, but I still reach out my hand to try and touch him. I realize that my world of glass is as clear as me. It is as blind and lost as me. When ever I get slap in the face with reality, God always lifts me up and tells me try again. Whether it is through yoga, enlightenment, or wishful thinking, he will always lift me back up. Right as I am about to give up and escape my world of glass to enter into hell, I remember. I remember how God is always there. I remember that with the remembrance of God there can never be hell. I remember that God will always lift me up and tell me to try again. So I try. I try with the little speck of energy that I have left to reach God. This time, instead of reaching out to try and grasp him, I close my eyes and fall. I fall right through the glass barriers into Gods waiting arms, and hear him say, “All you had to do was close your eyes and trust me.”  –Mak

 
Looking back on my experience going to the Buddhist and Hindu temple was really cool for me because I got to change my perspective even more on religion. What I could contribute to my life from the Buddhist temple was to be more enlightened with me and others. I also really like what Diana said about karma. If you do something good or bad it will come back to you, but if you spread happiness it will lead and chain reaction to others. (Diana). In the Hindu temple I felt peace and comfort through the song that Tushta and Ananda sang and what we were discussing. My favorite quote from the day was, “Every word is a song and every step is a dance” (Tushta).  What that meant to me was that everything we do is either worshiping God or going against him. Our body can be good and bad depending on our mind and actions. I really enjoyed going to the Buddhist and Hindu temple and stepping out of my comfort zone.  –Charleigh

 
Buddhism:
Look to find peace through different perspectives. “People see things in different ways.”(Diana Thompson). Everyone is not always going to agree on the same thing. God made us to think differently but unique. In the Buddhism religion there are three different kinds of peace, finding peace within, finding peace with our peers and finding peace with nature. Discovering those three different kinds of peace looks different to everyone. In my opinion If you discover the three peace’s that will make God easier to find and to talk to, because you’re not in a rush to find peace. This also reminds me of the Buddhist symbol because Diana said the wheel also represents that everyone has their own path and none of the paths were the same. Looking through different perspectives matter.  –Maddie

 
Hinduism:
We need to be true servants. “True happiness is service.” (Tushta. When we are true servants we are happy. Hidden service is the best kind of service. Another thing that stood out to me was when Anada talked about how if we had a bracelet we can see all the beads, but the thing that is holding it together is the string. God is the string. God works in our life in so many different ways maybe it’s through others or scripture, but God talks to us through something. He can also show Himself through perspectives. I felt like I could feel God in the Hindu temple. It is cool to learn more about these religions and get a new perspective on it.   –Lauren

 
There is lotus flowers in the muck, and a thread that holds together a pearl bracelet. We are constantly under the muck, in the rubble of destruction. We are stuck there with everyone else. Our brains break down, instead of our hearts breaking free, but beauty still lives inside us. We have to unleash the beauty and become the one flower that blooms through brokenness and the lotus that perfectly settles in the midst of muck. When we become this beauty we inspire others to sprout as well. Everything is connected. “Karma is considering what you do because you effect others.” (Dianna, Buddhist teacher). Karma is always happening because our actions are constantly impacting others. We are all pearls on a bracelet, all connected by a thread. “We might not see the thread but the thread is needed. The thread is God.” (Ananda, Hindu teacher). At the temples today I realized that Buddhism doesn’t really have much structure. Buddhism believes everything is connected, but it’s as if the Buddhist people don’t see the thread that holds us together. The tread which is God. There are many great practices in Buddhism like the eight-fold path, which teaches doing right and being aware, yet there was an absence of structure and faith. Dianna seemed open to almost any beliefs, but she didn’t appear to have her own. On the other hand, at the Hindu temple I really could see they believed in a greater being. The Hindu people believe in Krishna, the thread of all. “Every word is a song and every step is a dance.” (Tushta, Hindu Teacher). The Hindu religion was constantly singing, listening, and dancing for God. Devotion and surrender were two words that were brought up. God constantly sculpts us, but we have to allow Him. We must surrender and meditate in devotion. When we serve we are dancing and singing. Service is a huge part of what Tushta taught us. “A person who is in a giving mood feels much more fulfillment.” (Tushta). Especially in the world today we are told fulfillment comes through materialistic items, but when we serve others the fulfillment we feel is much deeper than then our torn skin, we fill the void within us. Overall, these trips today are an eye opening experience and pull me closer to God in an abundance of ways. I feel inspired to be the beauty when there is brokenness and to thank and celebrate the Thread that holds all creation together.  — Megan

 
This experience at the Buddhist temple fed the lotus flower that is starting to bloom within my spirit. We are all stuck in the muck, but we all have the potential to blossom into to be beautiful and pristine like the lotus flower. (Diana Thomson). We must recognize the inner beauty each one of us has before we can go on and place it amongst the universe. One of the ways we can portray this beauty amongst the world is by being aware that our every action has an affect somewhere else. “Everything we do here and now has an affect somewhere else.”(Diana Thomson). Everything is interconnected; therefore what we do impacts the world around us. We have control over what we spit out into the universe whether it be good or bad. We choose to nourish the world with good actions or break it with our selfish and over attached ways.
What we do whether it be good or bad tends to come back to us. We must be cautious of what we place in society because not only will it come back to us, but it will either hurt or encourage others. “Its not what you get back, but rather how it affects others.”(Diana Thomson). Sometimes we will fail at inducing love and joy within others, but even if there are unintended consequences we must prevail.
I appreciated when Diana Thomson was talking about how service is in fact extremely important in our daily lives. I was inspired by the offerings the Buddhists would offer to the Buddha because it showed their humility and the importance to give before you yourself takes. (Diana Thomson). This experience fed my inner lotus flower with the importance of service, inner beauty, our actions, and most importantly that everything is interconnected.
There is a supreme Divine in this world and this Divine is the reservoir of all beauty. This experience opened my eyes once more that Hinduism is a similar reflection to my own view of God. God is like the thread that strings underneath every pearl attached to it. At first you may not see the thread, but it is there and holds everything together. (Ananda). Together both the pearls and the thread create a beautiful piece of art. God holds all of us together sculpting a masterpiece in the end. It takes time to sculpt a masterpiece out of muck, but first we must find the yolk between us and the Lord. We must connect with God. When we connect with the Lord we will understand how truly magnificent the Divine is. We often confine God to a certain race or religion, but God has no limits. God has no limits, he is just God. (Tushta). Humans limit themselves of what we can and can’t do. We accept the idea of serving, yet we never take action because of the borders we set for ourselves. I loved how both Tushta and Ananda were talking about the importance of serving others. Serving others satisfies our hunger for purpose and also is what we are called to do. If a person is giving they feel fulfilled. (Tushta). When we love God and recognize God loves us we will extend that love throughout the universe, feel fulfilled, and help others feel fulfilled as well. I also appreciated the perspective Ananda took on hell. Hell is just the act of forgetting God.(Ananda). When we forget God we are not fulfilled and our hunger for beauty is not quenched. We must always look towards God and see the thread underneath even in hardships because the Divine is the reservoir for all beauty and beauty prevails.  — Macie

 

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Lunch with friends from the Denver Rescue Mission #comments4kids

Team Fink has visited and served at the Denver Rescue Mission over the years. Yesterday, some of the gentlemen from the Denver Rescue Mission visited and served us at Anastasis. It was a pretty incredible day! Student reflections below. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

image1.JPGBefore you see the beauty in the world you have to appreciate the brokenness. You have to find the light in the dark. You can only find the beauty if you persevere through the hardships. Life is hard, but God is good. Beauty is in a smile that lights up the world. Beauty is in a act of kindness that changes a life. Beauty is in a story that changes our definition of hope. The stories that I heard today really opened my blind eyes. The stories made me want to live my life to the fullest and be purposeful with everything I do. Now I have a motive to serve instead of being served. Now I am aware of the world. Now I can look at the world through open and curious eyes.
–Makayla A.

We all have a story that needs to be told, a story that only our journey in life can write. Our souls are hungry for someone to listen and read our story. Today I was blessed with listening to these stories. Each and everyone of them impacted me in some way, and that is a feeling I will never forget. Their story all had a common theme, they all said that God was there even when they hit their hard times. Except they chose to look and not really see. We can try so hard to look for God, but we can miss him because we are distracted by others circumstances. Circumstances that God has put in our life to test us of our faith. That’s what I struggle with. I struggle to find the beauty in the hard times, but I believe that’s when we truly look and see God. It’s the beauty in brokenness that our souls and minds long for. We just have to choose to see the beauty instead of the broken. We all have a story that needs to be told, a story that only our journey in life can write.   — Angelina

Thank you so much, you guys all told me to get right back up when sin happens and you guys all felt beauty in brokenness. I learned so many new lessons that you can only Learn from experience. Experience is walking through the valley of shadow and death and staying strong with God.
-Mitch

I thank Torris, Todd, Bill, Johnathan, Seth, Bill, and Fish for coming to share their testimonies with us. My biggest take away was you can find God in the valley of the shadow of death, you can find God in brokenness. God is always in front of us, but never do we actually open our eyes to see him. Their testimonies kept reminding me of my uncle who was homeless and how he kept pushing God away. I don’t know if he died a Christian, but I still pray that he is watching over my mom and encouraging her and I to be better Christians. I feel like my uncle was trying to talk to me through the guys from Denver Rescue Mission. I felt peace. I felt encouragement to listen to God more and trust him. Thank you for your stories Fish, Seth, Johnathan, Todd, Bill and Torris. Thank you.   –Charleigh

A blessing for you, and a blessing for us. A blessing for you to tell, who you are. Giving our class. Hope. Showing the similarities and differences between just two humans. Each story ends up in the same path, it’s just that there are different paths. You chose there, he chose here, and he went there. We will agree on the same path, some we will not. All in all, we end up in the same path. If you could analyze your story in one word, what would it be? You have effected my story, with choosing some paths, and some different paths.  — Jack

The empowerment of their testimonies was thriving. The men from Denver Rescue Mission, Torres, Seth, Todd, Bill, Fish, and Jonathan, told us their story’s. They talked about their struggles up to the rescue from God and denver rescue mission. It was amazing to hear and learn from them and about them. They talked about how they misused drugs and explained how there is always light in the valley of the shadow of death. They always had God but sometimes they forgot about him. There faith is stronger than ever now because they were broken and their finding the beauty. They are so vulnerable to tell their story’s. I’m inspired to transform my faith to be stronger. I need to learn to be more vulnerable. Over all I want to take more time to think. Thank you to Torres, Seth, Todd, Bill, Fish, and Jonathan. Your stories are all each individually different and amazing.  –Noelle

Thank you all so much for coming to our school. I loved each of your unique stories and how you found God at the end of each dark tunnel. Every one of you has inspired me to be more like Christ and share that with others. Sometimes I struggle to find God in hard times. Your stories have inspired me to look for God in hard times. I appriciate all of you being so vulnerable and sharing your inspiring stories. Life is like a roller coster there are highs and lows but at the end of the ride each of you reunited with God. Thank you all again for coming!  –Alli

Thank you all for being brave and sharing your stories! That really impacted my life in many ways. I learned so much about life just from hearing those stories. I understand that life is like a roller coaster, there will be uphills and downhills, but God is always there to help guide us to the right path. I really liked when someone said “We found Jesus but we just had to open our eyes.” I feel like when we are connected with God our eyes are opened for the first time. I can relate to one of you, but not on a deeper level. I’m adopted from China when I was a baby and I never knew my real parents or family. Thank you all again for sharing your stories it was very inspirational! –Maddie

There is beauty in pain and trials all we have to do is look for it and let it find us. Many of you explained to us that evil will try to deceive you in many ways. Evil may seem lovable, but it is just a trick to stray from Gods path he has planned for us. The valley of shadow and death portrays itself as an escape of the struggle and pain we have in life, but beauty does not lie in this place. Beauty can be found through enduring this shadow of death, but we can not find beauty in this place because God will always be with us. No matter what, God will be with us no matter what path we walk upon. “God always is in your life whether you see him or not.” Each an every one of their story left a stamp on my heart that will be carried with me throughout my whole life. Each one their stories had a common thread which portrayed that God reveals himself even in the brokenness. Even though life throws mountains and rivers for us to cross, we endure them because our souls have a hunger to find beauty. God is the Beauty that we find in the brokenness and we must mold our eyes to accept and see Him even when evil throws a new lense over our eyes. There is beauty in pain and hardships, but if we let God find us and we strive to find Him we will be renewed. –Macie

Everybody has a story. Today Toris, Bill, Tod, Fish, Jonathan and Seth told us their stories. These men encouraged me to have a story and to trust God. Something that stood out to me was all of them came to God in their brokenness. We need to stay on our path with God and not drift off to bad things. We will probably never know what they felt like because we have loving families. We take so much for granted but we don’t relize what we really have.   –Lauren

Hearing one story can inspire thousands and through brokenness there is truly beauty. Fish, Torres, Jonathan, Tod, Seth, and Bill were such amazing people and definitely a huge impact in my life. Jesus works in ways we can never imagine. He has a plan even when we are in the valleys of the shadow of death He is constantly beside us. The vulnerability to share their hardest times was so powerful. We are blinded to see what others gifts are because all we look at is the surface. We choose to view the bad, when really there is so much more good. There was horrible moments these men had to face, yet they found God in the darkness and have been made new, redeemed. I have moments when i’m doubting, I am constantly sinning because I am a sinner, I walk in the valleys of death once in a while, but God always appears in my life. Hearing the stories today showed me the power of our Lord. God is walking with us every moment and when we can’t see His footprints it’s because we are in His arms.    –Megan S

Reflections from a cultural pilgrimage through Denver

Posted by |Tenkely|

Recently the 8th grade students at Anastasis Academy embarked on a cultural journey around Denver.  Below are pictures of the travels and reflections from the students.

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Hindu Temple

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Baha’i center

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Mosque

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Buddhist Temple

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Christian Church

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Jewish Temple

I’m so impressed with the journey of understanding these kids have embarked upon.  Their faith has been stretched, and therefore has grown.  Please take the time to read their responses below.  There is wisdom within, and I’m incredibly proud of all of them.

 

-Mr. Fink

“Beyond”

Look deeper. God works through all areas. Who are we to say what he is and isn’t. We cannot put God in a box. Going from temple to mosque, to church, etc. made me realize God is everywhere. Maybe he isn’t the god the religions worships, but he is still working wonders, weaving himself through other religions. “I am an instrument for Gods will,” said a Hindu Monk. God has the power to do anything. Instead of picking out wrong in other religions, leave the wonder-working to God. In John 13:35 it says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love everyone. Even if the Iman or Reverend say concepts you don’t believe, or the Hindu’s have divas you don’t consider a part of your faith, love the people. As a proud Christian, I am confident in my faith so venturing into other faiths only makes mine stronger.

~Caroline F

“Hidden God”

God is complex beyond measure and can be interpreted in many ways. If you traveled around the world and looked up at the sun, it would be the same sun that can be seen anywhere. The sun can be shown by heat, light and can be seen by reflections everywhere. This is like God. He may be called Allah, Yah, Dios, etc., but it is the same God. Everyone is unique and can see God in a different way through friends, strangers, birds, grass, television, or whatever speaks to them. Pastor Andrew said, “God will burn you, all the way down to grace.” Our class has been learning about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baha’i. Before this, when I saw a Muslim or a Hindu, my mind went straight to the stereotypes and I thought they must be crazy and foreign. As I learn and had the opportunity to have a conversation with these people, I realized they truly aren’t that different from me. Sure I may act out my belief in God differently, but does that make either crazy? Now, my Christianity is much stronger. In Islam, I saw kindness and dedication. Buddhism taught me to find peace in mind to help me connect with God. Hinduism taught me that my soul is more important then material and how I look. In Baha’i, I learned how important equality is between all. One of the most important things I learned was to not listen to the stereotypes, like the Buddhist minister said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved”.

-Riley L

“Disciples of God”

My take away from our religious pilgrimages’ made me think hard. I start to wonder what different religions are like, but in the end of all the wondering, I realized how lucky I am to be a Christian. I’m not saying that the other religions such as Hinduism, Bah’i, Buddhism, etc. are bad religions. What I am saying is that I’m going to stick to what I believe in and I’m proud to be a Christian. Yet in the end, aren’t we all disciples of God? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13: 34- 35) Why is it that we all get so caught up in the title and look at the differences? The Hindu teacher Tushta  said: “Honor the experience and don’t get trapped by the label. ” We all want to be right, but as long as we love one another we all are right.

-Lexi A

“Missions on God”

If others love you, we should love back. The Bible says, ” A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Sadly there is a force in this world called hate which blocks off our love towards certain people. Hatred is our choice though. Now you might be asking,”How can anyone be called a disciple?” My answer is, I don’t know. As long as satan is a power on earth, hate and temptation exist. This means technically no one can possibly be a disciple literally. How about emotionally? In the heart, we are all disciples. In some way or another we all show some form of caring which is a prayer in itself to God screaming, “I care! I can love.” Which I believe in God’s eyes is a form of a disciple. What I took away from our two religious journeys is anyone can follow God, anyone can be a disciple, and everyone is made in God’s image and is his child. A Hindu monk asked that there are many words for sun, but is it the same sun? Yes. Then he asked that if that is true then, is it the same God? Yes. So my question for you is, do you think it is the same god?

-Claire R

“Religion is Not Understanding, It’s the Mystery”

This year we’ve been talking a lot about the religions of the world. Some of these that we have studied so far are Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha’i, and of course, Christianity. We have gone on the most amazing journey in our faith through studying these religions. We had an extremely profound conversation on what we had learned so far earlier today. One of the things that stood out the most to me was, as the Buddhist reverend said, “Religion is a beautiful thing until people get involved.” I completely agree with this because we, as humans, are not perfect, and we tend to corrupt just about everything we do, whether we realize it or not. Amazingly, many of the religious leaders agreed that we all worship the same God. Studying this in a Christian school is controversial to many people, but it has brought me so much closer to God. After all, who are we to try to stuff God in a box. The mystery of God is what keeps you wondering and striving to get closer to him.

-Emma P

“A Greater Understanding”

Over the past couple weeks, we have been learning about other religions to have a greater understanding. We learned about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Bahai. We wanted to see how similar all of these religions were. There is a great Bible verse in John 13:  34-35 says, ” you are my disciples if you love one another.” This is saying that even if we have different beliefs, we can still love one another if we have a greater understanding of these religions. I now know these religions have many similarities as well as differences, but I now have a greater respect for the six religions. At the core these six religions believe in the same things. For example the belief in one God. Just learning that these six religions all have the same belief in one God really helped me come to peace about going and learning in-depth. I now truly have a greater understanding and respect for these 5 new religions.

I am creative.

I am innovative.

I am Anastasis.

<><><>Abbey K. W<><><>

“Love all”

My takeaway from the pilgrimage can be summarized in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This message goes to every religion out there, if you love one another you are showing the love of God. It doesn’t matter if your religion is strict, laid back, or a mixture of both, if you follow this one rule I believe your set by God for the rest or your life. The Bahá’í faith wants to mix Christianity and other religions in with theirs. Now no one is comfortable with the fact that different religions mixing together, but Bahá’í is willing. Going back to loving one another, it doesn’t matter if you mix religions, but if you really want to be a follower, just love someone for who they are, not for how they dress or what they look like. What I really love about the three monotheistic religions is that even though each religion has a different name for God, they all believe that there is only one God. Just like the pastor said, “Gods gospel is everywhere all the time.” Gospel means good news, so God and everyone else can send good news with any actions that you do. If its loving one another, to praying for someone. Anything can be possible with the love of God.

Live💃

Laugh😆

Love❤

-Micah D

“The lessons of religion”

My takeaway from all of the religions we have been studying is that no matter what religion you are in there is still one God. It’s hard to wrap your mind around on all these different religions, but in the end we can find common ground with one another. The other day we went to a Buddhist temple, Hindu temple, and Bahai temple, each religion taught me something new about life and about their religion. I learned from the Buddhist teacher that not all Buddhist sects meditate and that not all Buddhist believe in the same thing. I asked the lady a question on who she thinks Jesus Christ is and right off the bat she said an excellent teacher, a messenger from God, she even said the son of God. I was so intrigued by the way she described who Jesus was cause not all religions can do that. I also learned that satan isn’t an actually person, that “We all have a different satan inside of us and that it’s just our fears causing the temptations” from the Bahai teacher. The Hindu priest said that “No matter how many names that we call the sun, it’s still the same sun”. He was referring to that no matter how many names God has he is still God. Through my learning of all the different religions I have grown closer to God and as they always say it’s better to have more questions than more answers.

Philippians 4:13

Maddie H 🙂