Apologies for my short absence, just got ever so slightly pulled away.
Luke, i have answered your question on Indira Gandhi in the following thread:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 31&start=0
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"It sounds like it's primarily single-pointed meditation that you do, using breath or mantra. Is this right? Also, do you have an individual guru?"
It is a combination really. Single pointed meditation is used where we focus on the breath initially and move onto Mantra's, but we also listen to the teachings that are sung to a deeply moving melodies and let it penetrate us so that we become immersed in it and then have good will towards all living beings.
Infact, at the closing of a prayer, Sikhs will say:
"Nanak Naam Chardikala, teraa bhanaa Sarbaht dah Phahla"
Which translates to:
"Let the Naam which came through came Nanak keep everyone in an ever ascending spirit, and through the will of the Lord let everyone be blessed."
Not just Sikhs exclusively.
From a Buddhist perspective I believe that this would most possibly be Metta Meditation and perhaps chanting?
"As an ordinary westerner, when I see all these white people wearing white turbans in the first picture, I feel like bursting out laughing because of the silliness of it all."
The colors worn by Western Sikhs are a reflection of their tradition. From a cultural perspective, White is normally worn by Sikhs who Teach the Dharma. It is similar to the Monks who will drape themselves in a simple garment to keep the body warm and lessen their attachment to the world so that they can focus solely at the task inhand (My understanding ofcourse).
Personally i think they look rather dignified,respectable and honorable as they have dedicated their lives to a higher calling, but then that is just my perception ofcourse.
...read a story in Sikhism to demonstrate compassion of a Sikh who had mortally wounded a man in battle, but he had not yet died, and the sun was high and it was hot. The Sikh grabbed a shield and shaded the man so he was comfortable as he could be before he died.
That is a very nice story and not far from other examples of virtue.
Another event that happened during the age of warfare was the act of Bhai Kanhaiya.
During the Wars between Sikhs and the Moguls. Guru Gobind Singh would assign specific tasks to certain soldiers, but he singled out Bhai Kanhaiya, a person who had become a Sikh at the hands of The 9th Guru and was immersed in the teachings and specifically assigned him the task of providing water to everyone.
During the war, Bhai Kanhaiya not only gave water to Sikhs, but the Moguls too. When the Sikhs saw this they could not believe it and told The Guru. The Guru summoned Bhai Kanhaiya and asked why he gave water to both Sikh and the Mogals. Bhai Kanhaiya simply responded that he did not see any difference between them and saw the same divinity in everyone. The Guru responded that he was glad that he had understood the real meaning of his task and then instructed him to tend to the wounded also.
Personally that story had a huge impact on me, especially when one does begin to read into the history.
"...marijuana mixture thing that Sikhs have? From what I had heard, the use of it has been dismissed, except for a small group that uses it and stays high constantly with a sort of "combat could happen at any time" justification. Any thoughts or explanation surrounding that?"
They are a small group who are constantly high, but they have gone contrary to The teachings, The Guru the people who were beside Him at the time.
The Guru Granth Sahib teaches:
"O mortal, why are you going into the forest of corruption?
You have been misled into eating the toxic drug."
Sri Guru Granth Sahib P 1252
As well as:
"Even if wine is made from the water of the Ganges, O Saints, do not drink it."
Sri Guru Granth Sahib P 1293
"Thanks so much for coming to this community, sharing of yourself with us, and also being open to our beliefs and comments as well."
I would like to say that is my pleasure and would like to thank everyone for giving me the opportunity to discuss so openly.
In my eyes, this the hall mark of people who are truly on a Spiritual Path.
A Sikh studying the Teachings of The Buddha.