Searching for Truth in a Used Bookstore
Whether you're on a spiritual quest or just want to expand your knowledge about religious practices around the world, you can find a treasure trove of information in a used bookstore.
The best thing about a used bookstore is the hidden treasures within. You're not going to get a packaged primer on a specific religion or spiritual practice that you would get from a visit to a religious institution (well, you may get that too, but it's not because it's being offered by a proselytizing practitioner of the faith).
It's the luck of the draw in a used bookstore, and since you're in the market for spiritual enlightenment, maybe divine guidance.
Here are a few examples of both religious and spiritual practices of the world's major religions that you might find in books at a used bookstore.
There is an abundance of books that you will find about the practices and theology of both Roman Catholicism and the various denominations of protestant Christians, such as the Seventh-Day Adventists, who promote vegetarianism, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or hte Mormons, who have widely different beliefs and customs than other denominations.
However, there are also books about Christian mysticism and the desire of it's practitioners to experience God in the present life instead of after death. A famous example is St. Francis of Assisi, who preached to birds and sought not only to follow the teachings of Jesus but also to live the same life of freedom and service.
Although many people see Buddhism as a monolithic religion with worship of the Buddha as its central core, practitioners don't worship the Buddha in the sense of viewing him as a god but do attempt to follow his example in order to gain enlightenment while here on Earth.
Buddhism follows the same path as other major religions in seeking enlightenment through adherence to a moral code. Buddhists believe that finding eternity in the present moment leads one to find enlightenment through the same practices as the Buddha and remove the illusion of life and death, the permanence of physical objects, and the illusion of a permanent individual self that separates us from other living things.
Hinduism also has both its theological and mystical practitioners, who vary from the worship of various gods to the intellectual concept of a divine being that is the force behind all living things.
A main tenet of Hinduism is the concept of reincarnation, where each person is repeatedly reborn until they reach a state of heaven. There is no permanent punishment or concept of eternity in hell. All will reach the highest abode, and the desire is to reach this state in as few lifetimes as possible either through worship or spiritual enlightenment.
Hindu mystics are fairly well known in the West because of the popularity of yoga, but there are many other types of practices of mysticism within the realms of Hinduism.
Though widely misunderstood by the West, Islam is a religion of peace and brotherhood under Allah, who is believed by adherents to be intimately involved in the world. Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah and the author of the Koran, Islam's holy book, is revered as the last prophet after Abraham, Moses, and Jesus but is not worshiped. Only Allah is worthy of worship in Islam.
Islam seeks to offer specific laws that dictate how to follow the precepts of the Koran so believers will be able to correlate their spiritual beliefs with their daily lives. Ideally, government laws adhere to Islamic law so that believers will not be forced to choose between secular law and their beliefs.
However, Islam has traditionally been among the most tolerant of religions to those of different religious beliefs that reside within Islamic countries. Muhammad himself allowed Christians and Jews to live and practice their beliefs in peace in Muslim lands.
Though Islam is a religion of clearly defined laws, it also has its mystics. Sufi Muslims, while they follow the law of the Koran, aren't concerned with the afterlife and promise of heaven. They desire to experience Allah's divine love in their present life though spiritual practices.
Used book stores are a treasure trove of information and interesting books about spiritual practices and religion. The best thing about them is that you never know what you will find that may change your life, or at least the way you look at the world. Visit sites like pioneerbook.com to find used bookstores near you.