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Modern spirituality and Sikhism[edit]

Please try to develop some sensitivity to the structure of the article:

  1. The section Spirituality#Development of the meaning of spirituality refers several times to modern spirituality as the developments of the last two centuries. The section Spirituality#Modern spirituality even more specific refers to "Modern spirituality" as the post-war developments, as New Age and secularisation. Putting Sikhism under the header of Spirituality#Modern spirituality is quite out of place; it fits better under Asian traditions. Only modern developments in Sikhism (secularisation? Scepticism?) would fit under the section Spirituality#Modern spirituality.
  2. Regarding the timeframe of modernity: the Early modern period article says:

the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages (c. 1500) through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions (c. 1800) and is variously demarcated by historians as beginning with the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, with the Renaissance or the Age of Discovery and ending with the French Revolution in 1789. From a global standpoint, the most important feature of the early modern period was its globalizing character — it witnessed the exploration and colonization of the Americas and the rise of sustained contacts between previously isolated parts of the globe.

There is no cleare limit. Yet, this description takes Europe as its primary focus, and points to globalisation as one ot its main constituents. For India, "modernisation" starts with the onset of the British Raj, around 1850. So please be careful with the way you characterise and periodise Sikhism, and accustomise yourself with the notion of "modernity".

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:44, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

First lets clear up the defination of Modern objectively before we go on to the structure


Of or relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past.
Sikhism developed in the early modern period (15th century to 18th century) and it is the newest of major religions, the second last being Islam in the 7th century.

A person who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values.
Guru Nanak did exactly this he traveled the Asian subcontinent teaching people to stop their traditional ritualism which had lost its meaning.

I would like to argue on two points, one Sikhism is a modern religion because its was developed in the Early modern period.
Secondly Sikhism is a modern religion because of its modern teachings.
Modern does not necessary mean colonization nor do any of the sections in the modern spirituality reference colonization, the modern period is just the period between the late middle ages (c. 1300–1500) and age of revolution (c. 1775 to 1848) which is exactly when sikhism developed starting with Guru Nanaks birth in the late 15th century to the appointment of Guru Granth Sahib in 1708.
Secondly Sikhism is considered a contemporary religion because of its modern ideas and modern teachings which include a modern scientific outlook on the universe, evolution, and quantum mechanics.

Jujhar.pannu (talk) 19:11, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

We didn't reach concensus yet, did we? See WP:CONCENSUS And please provide sources; Wikipedia is based on reliable sources, not on untraceable quotes. See WP:RS It's not clear what is from a source, let alone if it is reliable, and what is your personal conclusion. Greetings, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:59, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

I posted it originally in Modern so why did you change it without consensus and which sources are you talking about being untraceable? I can provide you 1000 others because I'm arguing wide known undeniable core objective facts, thanks. Jujhar.pannu (talk) 20:05, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

I agree with both sides here:
  1. The term modern is ambiguous here. Perhaps we are speaking of religious vs. non-religious approaches, or even postmodern spirituality. In any case, this needs rephrasing.
  2. Sikhism is more appropriately classified with the other religious orientations, however.
I suggest we change the title of the section to better fit the topic at hand, and then restore the original classification sequence. hgilbert (talk) 21:31, 19 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Hgilbert here. Obviously the term "modern" when dealing with South Asian spiritual issues refers to a different time span than when dealing with Western spiritual issues. The difference in use has to be cleared out for any reader before mixing issues of both cultures in a common section. But this may need a lot of explanations that may diverge from the issue at hand. This is why I find it preferable to explain Sikhism within the content of South Asian religious orientations. If both issues must be treated in the same section, please try to avoid the word modern in the title if possible. Jujhar.pannu, I do not see any disagreement in objective facts, but only in the use of the term "modern", which can be very subjective, as it turns out. Hoverfish Talk 22:31, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

The term Early modern period is not subjective. It is the best place to put it currently as the Sikh Spirituality doesn't fit under the traditional spirituality section nor does it fit under the African spirituality section. The 10 Sikh Gurus developed Sikhism in this period nearly perfectly in this period from the start in the 15th century to the appointment of Guru Granth Sahib in 18th century. So adding this section solves the classification problem. Jujhar.pannu (talk) 00:55, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

"Modern" as used in "Modern spirituality" applies to the period after 1800, as I've pointed out before. So following your own line of reasoning, Sikhism does not fit in this section, since you place it in the "early modern period", between 1500 and 1800.
Apart from that, the "Modern spirituality" section describes developments after 1800, resulting from globalisation and the interplay between western and Asian cultures. I guess Sikhism has also been influenced by western thought, as is Hinduism (or at least neo-Vedanta). Those are the developments that fit here. Did Sikhism take over western thought? Or respond to it with a 'Grand Narrative' like neo-Vedanta?
Regarding "subjective": are you aware that "modernisation" is a major research topic in sociology and history? There is abundant literature on it. It's not a simple matter of demarcation by years, but by developments. To place Sikhism under this heading shows a misunderstanding of the terminology.
I believe right away that Sikhism is kind of "modern", c.q. new, in the Indian context. Yet, as far as I know (that's very little, regarding Sikhism), it's an "amalgam" (I might be phrasing it wrong here) of elements from both Hindu and Islamitic cultures. The time of Islamic rule was not a time of modernisation, e.g. industrialisation etc.
Regarding a change of title: in the section "Development of the meaning of spirituality" th terms have been explained already.
As for placing Sikhism again under the header of "Early modern period":
  • You're out of line here; concencus so far is clear about placing Sikhism under the asian traditions;
  • The subsection on Sikhism contains no clue why Sikhism is to be considered modern;
  • The source for the sentence with "early modern period" was given incorrect, and is untraceable on the web. Please provide some of the "1000 sources" you've got at your hand.
Greetings, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 03:32, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

""Modern" as used in "Modern spirituality" applies to the period after 1800" refers only to the Development of the meaning of spirituality
Based on what your wrote it shows that you know very little about Sikhism or Punjab or Punjabi. Sufism borrows elements from Islam, Greek, Hebrew, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhists. Sufis eventually came to Punjab and they were the first to speak Punjabi. This Punjabi language is what was common in the area where Guru Nanak grew up in.
Your going back to previous problems. How about "Religions in the early modern period" instead of just "early modern period" ?
The section on the "Development of the meaning of spirituality" contains a clear periodisation, in which "modern spirituality" is spirituality after 1800, when the British colonialisation resulted in a growing awareness of and interets in by westerners of Asian religions.
I saw in the edit-summary that you didn't place a point. Doing so made the comment clearer. Your proposal "Religions in the early modern period" makes sense an sich, but would better suite in an article on religion. Still, the relevant question would be: how has Sikhism responded to the modern period? Here are some suggestions for literature on Sikhism and modernity:
Greetings, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 03:59, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Fair enough that makes sense, 'Religions in the early modern' period does not fit. I would leave the early modern period reference there in the first section, ie removing the citation needed, as if something happens in 1493 for example it automatically happens in the 15th century and if something happens from the 15th century to the 18th century you can say it took up the early modern period.. my logic. What other names have you for that period? If early modern truly does not fit, im 90% sure it does though but rather.. Should we write '15th century to 18th century' instead of 'early modern period' in the first line where it says citation needed?, Thanks Jujhar.pannu (talk) 04:21, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

See Template:Periodisation of Indian History. Basically two kinds of periodisation seem to be applied to Indian history; it depends on the periodisation whether Sikhism is placed in the "Islamic period" or the "Early modern period". But given the quote (from Sikhism) " "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim" (in Punjabi, "nā kōi hindū nā kōi musalmān")", "Islamic period" seems to fit better. So I'd say, keepe the link to early modern period - but also the source-tag, and provide sources! See it as a challenge: what sources can you find?
Same for Sikhism in the modern period (after 1800): how has it responded to the western world? Hinduism, or neo-Vedanta, is so massively influential: where is the Sikh-story?
Greetings, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:28, 20 June 2013 (UTC) Jujhar.pannu (talk) 18:09, 1 August 2013 (UTC)


"Let's take it to the Talk Page"...

  • Sikh religion c.q. Sikh Dharma - how about "Sikh religion, also called Sikh Dharma"? Eventually a note could be added claryfying the significance of the word "dharma" instead of "religion", including links to relevant articles at Wikipedia;
  • Waheguru: mention this in a note; no need to remove it;
  • Lead: no need for this re-insertion.
Jujhar.pannu, you already have a remarkable track-record; I think that the "burden of evidence" is at your side. Please use the Talk Page, and first propose the changes you want to make. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:16, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
This sentence was removed from the lead:

Guru Nanak traveled across continents to tell people the message of one God that dwells within every one of God's creatures[55] and constitutes the eternal Truth.[56] Guru Nanak stressed that God must be seen with 'the inward eye', or the 'heart', of a human being.[57]

Also Waheguru is unnecessary being added to a sentence in the body:

  • Waheguru has nothing to do with the reference which clearly says remember god 24 hours of the day.

The reason I see that this sentence was removed was because SH does not seem to agree with the concept of Ram, (Rameshiya) one who pervades everything, but rather insists that God only dwells in humans, which is totally against whats written in the Guru Granth Sahib, the primary source of Sikh teachings and spirituality.

My only purposed change is this: 1. Include somewhere that Sikhs believe in one god who dwells within every creature, (rather than God being in Heaven or some separate force) Jujhar.pannu (talk) 05:57, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

There are many many direct references in the Guru Granth Sahib that support that God dwells in every being and there are no direct references in the Guru Granth Sahib that say only God dwells in humans. Jujhar.pannu (talk) 06:07, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Please do not presume to know what I am thinking or what I do or do not agree with. The Sikh view on on this is very clear. It see's human life as being the most precious. It states that Akal permeates through all but is ONLY conciously realised in the human form. This is exactly the same idea the George Lucas used in describing "The Force", in his Star Wars films (although he will deny it).

Siree Raag, Fifth Mehl, Second House: The herdsman comes to the pasture lands-what good are his ostentatious displays here? When your allotted time is up, you must go. Take care of your real hearth and home. O mind, sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord, and serve the True Guru with love. Why do you take pride in trivial matters? Pause Like an overnight guest, you shall arise and depart in the morning. Why are you so attached to your household? It is all like flowers in the garden. Why do you say, "Mine, mine?" Look to God, who has given it to you. It is certain that you must arise and depart, and leave behind your hundreds of thousands and millions. Through 8.4 million incarnations you have wandered, to obtain this rare and precious human life. O Nanak, remember the Naam, the Name of the Lord; the day of departure is drawing near!

Page 50 Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji

It even describes plants (in a metaphor for those who are good being treated badly) as feeling pain.Page 143 of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji :

First Mehl: Look, and see how the sugar-cane is cut down. After cutting away its branches, its feet are bound together into bundles, and then, it is placed between the wooden rollers and crushed. What punishment is inflicted upon it! Its juice is extracted and placed in the cauldron; as it is heated, it groans and cries out. And then, the crushed cane is collected and burnt in the fire below. Nanak: come, people, and see how the sweet sugar-cane is treated!

Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji

The reference "Philpott, Chris (2011). Green Spirituality: One Answer to Global Environmental Problems and World Poverty. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781467005289" is dubious to say the least and normally I would normally would WP:AGF, but in this instance given your track record in regards to WP:Competence I must insist on you posting the actual quote from the book here. Thanks SH 07:22, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Another point to note. I have done a "google reference search", the method Jujhar.pannu uses to find references, and these were the results. This method is not recommended by Wikipedian to be used incidently and is why I question Jujhar.pannu's WP:Competence. Anyone can be a google scholar, but it's reading, digesting and understanding information that is they key to making meaningful contributions to wikipedia. Thanks SH 07:44, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Anyone can edit on wikipedia they do not need to be a scholar as long as they follow rules they have the right to edit. If there are that many factual references supporting what I am saying why do you still remove it? Jujhar.pannu (talk) 16:51, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Read WP:Competence. That means that people have to have a basic level of understanding before they can edit. I've simply introduced better references and improved the flow of what was a bit of a "joke" section on Sikh Spirituality. If you feel you can improve on that, by all means continue, but I have tried to capture what was very clumslely intimated before in a logical and coherent manner. Thanks SH 16:56, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
It makes no sense to write an article of Sikh spirituality and not include meditation or the remembrance of God which is the focal point of the Guru Granth Sahib's teachings. Just because the human life is capable of having union with god (*which is not mentioned in this article but should be*), doesn't mean that God's light is not within the other creatures of the earth. Please read the WP:Competence to see that I do not violate any of those points... I am presenting factual, reliable, in a unbiased view. In the technical sense, I also have many years in programming and coding so I know how to use Wikipedia. Please stop removing referenced content it will lead to a block. Jujhar.pannu (talk) 17:06, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Point 1 - Wikipedia is not a computer programme. It's an encyclopedia.
Point 2 - You are using references, but whether they are WP:Reliable and being used in the correct context is debateable. That's why I raised the WP:Competence issue. I personally thing you are good at finding references but not good at using them in context. You're a classic "google reference" searcher.
Point 3 - On the question of God's light, it's mentioned that Akal Purakh permeates through all existence. Creatures is too much a narrow term and does not include plant's or rocks. All these are subject to Hukam. Also, the concept of the Gurmukh is clearly mentioned and the means of achieving this.The so called God willed.
Point 4 - Maybe your understanding of English, Grammar and advanced philisophical concepts is not that good, but part of Piri and Bhakti is Spiritual meditation. The other side is Temporal. Although the means of achieving this have been given an overview, the general principles are very clear in the article.
If you're having trouble understanding the quotations or philisophical and spiritual concepts in Sikhism, I am happy to help. Thanks SH 18:27, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I'm in no position to judge about the finesses of sikhism, but I can judge a little bit the edit-behaviour of fellow-editors. The comment "Please stop removing referenced content it will lead to a block" is not exactly convincing. Referenced content also has to have a useful place in an article; and disruptive editing is not 'following the rules'. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:19, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps we should then say something like Sikhs believe in one God who dwells within God's creation? (Akal Purkak) Jujhar.pannu (talk) 18:34, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
That statement would be misleading, because that is not Sikh belief. Ok let me make this very simple. The word Akal literall mean timeless or time without end. Now time permeates everything. None of us can avoid it. Animals are subject to it, Rocks are subject to it, Plants are subject to it and finally humans are subject to it.....BUT there is only one species on this planet capable of the realisation that it is time that ages people, time is the constant of the Universe etc etc. That in a nutshell is the concept of Akal the Timeless and it's relationship with life. That is why when we say we say we see God in Sikhism we say we see it in terms of the human form, the so called God realised, or Gurmukh. The self willed or Manmukhs may as well be like the animal, rock or plant!!They think Akal will never touch them or even that it exists. Like the Manmukh the plant, rock and animal will never realise that it is time that is aging them. When we say God dwell's in all creation, that is a Vashnavite belief, and that is why they worship animals. Thanks SH 18:53, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Sorry I meant Karta Purkh not Akal Purkh. It still makes no sense to write an article of Sikh spirituality and not include meditation or the remembrance of God which is the focal point of the Guru Granth Sahib's teachings. Jujhar.pannu (talk) 19:37, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I go back to the point about "birha" and the Gurmukh. Anyone wishing to know how to achieve the state of a Gurmukh will read about birha, as well as the methods used. We don't need to go into the actual techniques but rather the general principles like the sections on the other religions. On Kartha Purakh , I don't quite understand what you mean. Karta Purakh is something that is "self existent", i.e. there was nothing else that created it. Thanks SH 07:58, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Kartapurk means God is within his creation.
The article needs to be atleast 50% about God, the remembering of God, how a human can merge with God, all that spirtual stuff, eh? Jujhar.pannu (talk) 17:45, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Karta Purakh - we've covered that in the line "Guru Nanak talks further about the concept of one God or Akal that permeate's throughout all life". The second point you've made is covered under Gurmukh. I thought I explained this above? Are you having trouble with some of the complex words? 100% of the article is about God. Thanks SH 17:57, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
Hey, You did a good job removing the non spiritual stuff and I think it does match more with the others sections now but still maybe we can add something about dasam dwaar too and also how the ego interferes with spirits union with God.
Since we discussed the Karta Purak part is there still a need for it to be dubious from the "Guru Nanak talks further about the concept of one God or Akal that permeate's throughout all life." line, Thanks
Look we could easily make this article over long and talk about the 5 thieves and 5 virtues etc etc, but I deliberately left that out, not to overcomplicate the entire article. Otherwise there is no flow. The centrality of the article should concerntrate on ideas around Spirituality, relationship with Temporality. I think that is captured. Thanks SH 18:40, 1 August 2013 (UTC)
You must include all this stuff you need to prioritize, Sikhs are saints first then soldiers. There also needs to be a mention of Guru Granth Sahib. You can omit or shorten the other stuff but someone must describe these concepts. Maybe you can write it in a way that it just briefly introduces them and then if the reader is interested they can click it? Jujhar.pannu (talk) 18:27, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I really don't mean to be offensive, but I really do think you have a problem with understanding English and Grammar at a more advanced level. Those concepts you mentioned ARE there. Read it.Do not put the article in a chronological order because it is not a historical one. It talks about spiritual concepts. The order is:
  1. Spiritual Concepts in Sikhism - Spirituality and living in the Temporal World.
  2. Spiritual Concepts developed - Miri Piri
  3. Spiritual Concepts and defined - the Sikh Soldier.
  4. Spirituality - How to achieve it - Gurmukh states of bliss - birha
  5. Other concepts.

That is the flow. What you are doing is jumbling it into a bit os a mess. Thanks SH 11:26, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

Alcoholics Anonymous[edit]

Hi Fellow editors, I was readin a paper on the "Oxford Group" who were the forerunner to Alcoholics Anonymous. Apparaentlty they developed a Spiritual Programme based on Eastern Spirituality, that AA have now adopted. Is it worth putting in a section under that? Thanks SH 08:10, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Possible Definition of Spirituality[edit]

Spirituality is an explanation (usually based on unfounded postulate and emotion) of the truth of consciousness. An example of this is bob views his fridge as god, this is because his fridge provides food and drinks when even he's in need. In this example the idea of the fridge (a finite space with an eventual point of failure) providing his needs indefinitely is spirituality. Spirituality can be found in religion, science, theology, fiction, non-fiction, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:20, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Spirituality and Hinduism[edit]

The article has issues of balance and undue emphasis. Of particular concern is Spirituality and Hinduism. The current article focuses on the tantric school, which is a minority school. Check the cited sources to verify. For example, Gavin Flood (1996) mentions Sadhana as the name for spiritual practice on page 160, but Flood also mentions that tantric school is a recent phenomena with origins in 6th to 8th century AD on page 158.

It is widely accepted that contemporary Hinduism is a philosophy that is several millennia old, as evidenced by the Vedas, Upanishads, Epics, Gita and other scriptures. All of these predate the Tantric school (see Gavin Flood again, pages 12 through 152; or any major review/encyclopedia on Hinduism). It is also widely accepted that yoga predates tantric school, as is the fact that tantric school has made important contributions to yoga.

The Hinduism section needs a rewrite. The tantric school needs to be mentioned, but the emphasis needs to reflect spirituality in majority schools of contemporary Hinduism - what spirituality means to them, their three paths to spirituality, and a balanced presentation of the majority view along with a mention of minority tantric school. This can be done in a section that is similar in size to spirituality in other religions.

I am willing to edit it, add reliable sources to any content I contribute. However, if someone is already planning to do so, or has objections to the above comments, please let me know. It will save me unnecessary effort. Kind regards, Mark.muesse (talk) 20:37, 5 November 2013 (UTC)

Hi Mark.muesse. I'd say, go ahead! Just a few remarks:
  • It's not clear to me what you mean with "The current article focuses on the tantric school". Where is it mentioend in the Hindu-section?
  • "It is widely accepted that contemporary Hinduism is a philosophy that is several millennia old, as evidenced by the Vedas, Upanishads, Epics, Gita and other scriptures" - this is widely accepted by Hindus, but not by scholars. "Hinduism" is not the same as the Historical Vedic religion. What we call "Hinduism" took it's shape after the rise of Jainism and Buddhism. The present-day popular understanding of "Hinduism" is dominated by Neo-Vedanta, which is influenced by western Orientalism, the Unitarian Church and the Transcendentalists.
This being said: succes! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:26, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Dear Joshua, Please see page 160 of Gavin Flood (1996). This is where we find the paragraph with persuasive support for sadhana as spiritual practice. That paragraph is part of a section that starts on page 158 in Flood (1996). The section is titled 'The tantric revelation'. Similarly, the first quote is from Bhattacharyya (1999), a publication on history of tantric religion. The content summarized in this article are from two tantric school references. In other words, the Hinduism section relies on explaining spirituality in Hinduism from tantric school references, but does not mention tantric school. The former causes undue emphasis to one school, the latter completeness and balance issues. I accept your invitation to contribute. Anything I add will include reliable scholarly references. This may take a few days, as I am busy these days. Kind regards, Mark.muesse (talk) 19:24, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

True and false paths[edit]

An editor has removed a citation under "Modern sprituality"[1] without explanation, which he is invited to place here, free from undue pov on that editor's part. Qexigator (talk) 15:04, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

You put Steiner under "Further reading". Totally WP:UNDUE. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:15, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Scientific research[edit]

Could the same editor's removal of relevant content under "Scientific research"[2] in the name of unspecified "Undue" perhaps due more to pov? He is invited to explain here. Qexigator (talk) 07:56, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Hi Qexigator. You added the following:
"While in the early part of the twentieth century, attention was called to the problem of true and false paths of spiritual investigation (Steiner) the present century has seen the publication of such academic works as Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think.(Ecklund) The 14th Dalai Lama has proposed that if a scientific analysis conclusively showed certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then the claims must be abandoned and the findings of science accepted.(Dalai Lama)"
It reads like an essay. Steiner is one of thousands of primary sources; what makes him relevant here, according to which secondary source? Same for the Dalai Lama. And regarding Ecklund: why should this specific publication be mentioned here?
What's more: what's the link between Steiner, Ecklund and the Dalai Lama,a ccording to who? You are merely suggesting a connection, without an explication, or giving a source which makes this connection. Which makes it close to WP:OR.
Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:14, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Well, now at least we can discuss. Replying to your points in turn: 1_It reads like an essay - Your problem in the context is not understood: what rewording would you propose to de-essayify to your satisfaction? 2_ what makes Steiner relevant here...? - Have you read the article? Are you unaware of Steiner's publications, particularly on science and epistemology? Your problem not understood. Are you averse to the historical perspective, from that century to this? 3_ditto Dalai Lama. 4_ what's the link between Steiner, Ecklund and the Dalai Lama?. - Your problem not understood. Given the existing content of the article, this information cannot be dismissed as anecdotal. The article begins "The term "spirituality" lacks a definitive definition" and then mentions a pov proposed by "social scientists", but that cannot be taken as prescriptive for this topic or the article content: the sections on 'Contemporary spirituality' and 'Science' make some attempt to let readers see the nature of the problem concerning scientific methods of inquiry and the intangibilities of 'spirituality' of various kinds, which, from the start, lacks a definitive definition. Please note that the links are available for readers to see for themselves. The article would not be improved by excluding this information. Perhaps your point is about the manner of presenting the information, such as whether it would be better placed under another heading? Qexigator (talk) 17:06, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
The problem is the content itself. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a collection of passing-by references to some books. What makes you think that these specific books need to be mentioned? To be more specific, which secondary source states that these books are specifically relevant? Regarding the The "pov proposed by "social scientists"": this is based on WP:RS.
Let's further examine your paragraph:
"While in the early part of the twentieth century, attention was called to the problem of true and false paths of spiritual investigation (Steiner)" [so what's the specific relevance of Steiner?] [what's the connection with the next aprt? Is there a contradiction? A logical development?] "the present century has seen the publication of such academic works as Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think.(Ecklund)" [Why this specific publication? And what's the relevance in connection with the Steiner-publication? This is anecdotical] "The 14th Dalai Lama has proposed that if a scientific analysis conclusively showed certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then the claims must be abandoned and the findings of science accepted.(Dalai Lama)" [So? What does this have to do with Steiner and Ecklund?]
Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:16, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
I've copy-edited your addition, but removed Steiner, being a primary source, the relevance of which is not being made clear by either the context or a relevant secondary source. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 17:28, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Noted. Steiner is not "irrelevant" to the topic, and would be worth mentioning in an encyclpedic article such as this. I do not see what WP:RS has to do with my reply above, but let that pass. Qexigator (talk) 17:46, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Have a look at the boxes at the bottom of the page. Several hundreds of links. I've added Anthroposophy to the spirituality box. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 21:58, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Yes, and of course Anthroposophy, with Steiner as founder, is already mentioned under 'Development of the meaning of spirituality'. But 'Belief systems' is hardly more than a puff for a contemporary academic specialising in ethics, Wiktionary is tautolgous, and the boxed list is oddly eclectic: in that medley, why not throw in Theosophy or Rationalism or Deism or Atheism or Behaviourism or Scientism, to name a few? Inquiring readers could well find World view[3] more to the point. Then again, Foundations of scientific worldview, Nature/Basic statements[4], or maybe 'List of philosophies'[5]. True and false paths? Well, let enough be enough. Cheers! Qexigator (talk) 23:23, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Well,two more comments. Steiner is being mentioned in the article. And may be the "Deevelopment" section should also say something about analagous meanings, namely spiritualism and esotericism, the search for knowledge of "hidden" or "spiritual" dimensions. Maybe. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:53, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps you had not been aware that, for reasons touched on in my remarks above concerning revising for the improvement of the article, and already well enough known to those who have inquired into the topic - including attentive readers of Steiner-connected articles in Wikipedia - among "Important early 20th century western writers who studied the phenomenon of spirituality, and their works" there are numerous published works of Steiner, including those on Goethe, James and many other philosophers and "esotericists", ancient and modern, which are at least as well founded in epistemology and the problems of scientific method as any of the other writers mentioned under 'Theosophy, Anthroposophy, and the Perennial Philosophy'. See for instance McDermott's article[6], Whereas James emphasizes the surprising and idiosyncratic character of religious experiences, Steiner focuses on many additional ways by which religious and spiritual experience can be rendered more intelligible. You may know all this, but if not, a google websearch may help. Qexigator (talk) 07:56, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the link! I've just printed the article, and will read it. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:11, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
If I understand you correct, the point you're touching with Stiener is: what is spirituality, and what are true and false paths to it? Maybe it's comparable with the fundamental discussion in Zen Buddhism: is kensho the essence of Buddhism, or is it jaust one stop at the "ultimate" goal of compassion? Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 09:13, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
You may be right about certain aspects of Buddhist teaching or path. Steiner has also discussed, among much else, Buddhism, Krishna, Zoroaster, the Old and New Testaments (Jewish/Christian). Given "This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Spirituality article", shall we leave at that? Qexigator (talk) 11:09, 15 April 2014 (UTC)


I understand it's tempting to try to "force" a "definition", but really, it's not an improvement: the term does lack a precise definition. just accept it, and leave it this way. Koenig is an authority on this topic. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 19:40, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

wording in the lead[edit]

I've added a simple definition referenced to Merriam-Webster. The previous first sentence was poorly worded and not helpful. I moved the first sentence to the end of the paragraph and changed the wording to better reflect the Koenig reference. The actual quote from page 17 of the Koenig book [[7]] is it was difficult to find definitions of religion and spirituality that were acceptable to everyone. Bhny (talk) 20:41, 2 June 2014 (UTC)

It's a simple definition indeed, and inaccurate. Here's what Koenig and Cobb say:
  • Koenig e.a.: "There is no widely agreed on definition of spirituality today". (Koenig 2012, p.36)
  • Cobb e.a.: "The spiritual dimension is deeply subjective and there is no authoritative definition of spirituality". (Cobb 2012, p.213)
The Merriam-Webster definition that you gave, "Spirituality is a concern with religion or religious matters ", has a very broad range. Any social scientist or theologist, or even atheist and/or agnostic like Dawkins, is "spiritual" by this definition. Also, there are a lot of people nowadays who call themselves spiritual but not religious. Read the Religion and spirituality in that article for an explanantion of the differences between these two "constructs". So, the MW-"definition" won't do at all. See also the following sources just for an impression of the wide range of definitions:

Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)

The term "spirituality" lacks a definitive definition is about the worst possible way to begin an article. Why not just state the definition[s] as most articles do and then mention the lack of agreement. The article is about "Spirituality" the topic, so it should not start with The term (see WP:REFERS). No word has a "definitive definition"- that is just bad prose. Bhny (talk) 21:41, 3 June 2014 (UTC)
No, it's accurate. It reflects the scholarly and professional status quo. If scholars and professionals widely agree that there is no definite definition of the term "spirituality", then you cannot say "spirituality is [fill in]". That's WP:OR, by definition. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 03:49, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
I'd added the references since the point (the lack of precise definitions) was in dispute. I've added Waaijman's definition to the lead; the "social scientists-definition" is less precise than Waaijman's definition. "The search for the sacred" is already a modern interpretation, where-as (that's not correct English, is it?) "re-formation" points at the embodyment of the sacred here in the concrete world, i.e. "immanence", as "opposed" to "transcendence". Hmm, sorry for these words; I don't know if they clarify the issue, but it's an imprortant point. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 06:34, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
PS: "precious", from the edit-summary, had to be "precise", of course. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:09, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Lead now OK - but not many readers will be able to verify sources in main text if not on line, not in English and not quoted. And what is "saucier" in note 2? Qexigator (talk) 07:44, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
"Gerard Saucier"; sorry, I've corrected it, and moved it back into the main text. I've also found the source, and added the url. I'll go through it, see what they say on the topic. Best regards, Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 10:58, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Okay, I've read the article by Gerard Saucier and Katarzyna Skrzypinska; it appears that they quoted another article, and did not give an overview of definitions. Their emphais is on the modern notion of spirituality, and its emphasis on subjective experience. I've changed the lead & article according to this. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 12:29, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the changes. It is better now. One point about defining topics- there is nothing wrong with using the "modern interpretation". Topics are defined with current usage, unless the topic is specifically about historic interpretations. Bhny (talk) 17:13, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The "traditional" "interpretation" is still in use. It's more correct to say that the modern understanding is a modern "interpretation" of a centuries-old tradition. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:40, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Imprecise tending to meaningless: rescue?[edit]

As it stands in the text this passage:

Spirituality can also be sought through movements such as liberalism, feminist theology, and green politics. Spirituality is also now associated with mental health, managing substance abuse, marital functioning, parenting, and coping. It has been suggested that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in life.

(first seen 4 June 2009[8]) may be trying to be all-roundly non-judgmental, but in effect reduces the term, and with it the concept and the article, to logical and descriptive absurdity. What does the source actually say? Propose leave out, unless there is an editor willing to attempt revising to let the article be something more meaningful here? Qexigator (talk) 16:17, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

It's a whole book! It's called "Positive psychology". Pages 261-262 "define" spirituality, as a "search for the sacred". According to these authors, there's a scholarly greement on the definition of "spirituality". Positive indeed. No objection at all to leave it out. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 18:49, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
In some contexts (but not all) "search for the sacred" would be well enough in tune with common usage and general experience among peoples everywhere and always, so far as any reasonably well-informed person can tell, but there may be uncertainty about whether a searcher's object is for something other than sacred, and, colloquially, some may be regarded as "making a religion" of activities such as those now named in footnote 4. The source you mention, p.262, confirms my sceptical remark above. As usual, putting something in print does not make it so. Qexigator (talk) 22:39, 4 June 2014 (UTC)
In Dutch, there is this beautiful word "zingeving", something like "meaning-giving", "giving it making sense". It's a very broad term; "spirituality" seems to have acquired this broad meaning. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 03:51, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Something like it but not the same. This article, and English Wikipedia's readers, could be well served if someone fluent in Dutch creates an article on "Sense of purpose" based on Zingeving[9], but not forgetting to disambig "Sense of Purpose". --Qexigator (talk) 05:02, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── "The search for the sacred" refers to Rudolf Otto's "das Heilige", of course. And that makes clear the direction of Snyder's definition: "religious experience", as inflated by William James, that is, almost any kind of blissful experience. Ha! It's dawning on me. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:06, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

I've changed the lead again, to do justice to both the tarditional and the modern interpretation. So, Bhny, your insistence did help after all. Thanks! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:15, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
You're welcome! It is looking much better now. Bhny (talk) 15:37, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
As you have mentioned it, if his article can be relied on Otto was one of those who had not yet caught up with Die Rätsel der Philosophie (1914) or Von Seelenrätselnl (1917), to name but two. The present version of the lead seems to identify "spirituality" with vagueness at best, tending to deism or atheism. Is that the information which the article as a whole is meant to communicate, or is it reflecting editorial state of mind, or the state of mind of the authors of the selected sources? In particular: throughout the ages - what ages, beginning as at? And In modern times - as from when? Qexigator (talk) 07:26, 5 June 2014 (UTC)
Good points. I'll have to think it over, and look up some sources. I'll come back to it! Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 12:43, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

Final paragraph, under "scientific research"[edit]

I have a problem with the wording, as it leads readers to believe that there is consensus among neuroscientists and/or the scientific community at large in regards to what causes the benefits often associated with spiritual experiences, with the alleged consensus being that the behaviors often associated with spirituality are the causal factors in the observed positive effects of persons who are more spiritual. Furthermore, there is no citation in the final paragraph, which leads me to believe that this may be an original conclusion made by the author and not necessarily an accurate statement on the consensus of the scientific community on this matter (if there is any). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:21, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Scientific research[edit]

I've added some more links and text to this section based on spending much of the past year reading about this stuff from a science point of view. Someone reverted it -- if you want to revert then please explain why? It does need more citations but I hope people will help to add them as we go. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Because it was unsourced, and because you conflate "spirituality" and "spiritual experience". Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:59, 27 March 2015 (UTC)