Last week's Ottawa Citizen "Ask the Religion Experts" question was, "With Kindness Week coming soon, what is your sense about how kind we are?
WSO's Balpreet Singh's answer from a Sikh perspective is below. For the replies from the other Experts, please click here.
Kindness can have no limit and there is never enough of it.
Kindness allows us to see and feel beyond just ourselves. It compels us to treat others in the way we ourselves would want to be treated and results in a net increase in our collective happiness.
In the Sikh faith, compassion and kindness are considered the foundations of faith. We cannot be truly religious if we are not compassionate to all those around us. As we become closer to God, we begin to see that God is within all, and it is our responsibility to stand with and assist all those in need.
Sharing what one has with others is an essential principal of the Sikh faith and is practised through seva or selfless service. This has been institutionalized in the Sikh faith with the mandatory practice of dasvandh or giving a tenth of one’s income back to the community and also through the langar or the free community kitchen that is operated in every Gurdwara and is open to all people to share a meal at any time of the day.
Many in the Sikh community have indeed asked themselves the question, “are we kind enough?” and have taken steps to do more. Because many people may not feel comfortable coming to the Gurdwara for a free meal, initiatives have been taken to hold langars at soup kitchens and going directly to those in need. There is also the Seva Food Bank in Mississauga, Ont., which is open to persons of all backgrounds.
In truth though, we can never be kind enough. It doesn’t take much effort to find poverty, inequality and suffering close around us. It is our duty to make a difference; even more so as people of faith.