The Fzuki Way or Fzukiarash is a religion based on the writings of the Khruzi philosopher Brashadar Fzuki. Fzuki's tenets incorporated elements of ancient Khruzi religious principles and proscribed a set of practices to achieve Arbhuhramazhz, or Good Action. The Fzuki Way has become the dominate religion of the Mendam Codominium, practiced by the bulk of its Khruzi and Human citizens. It is the only religion to have a significant multi-species following with scattered adherents among the Khaddahl, !Tak and Turgil. It has spread to many Spinward Region worlds and into the Bengali Dominions. With no belief in an afterlife or even a mechanical preservation of personality or memory, The Fzuki Way is steeped in formality and ritual, emphasizing the refinement of Arbhuhramazhz as the whole of a being's contribution to the Universe.
Brashadar Fzuki or Brashadarhumbarshkafzuki was a philosopher of Khruzi religious development who held a fellowship with the Joint Khruzi-Human Cultural Studies Group on Khruzi. He published his doctrine Arashularbhuhramazhz, subtitled The Way of Proper Action, in 4366CE as a scholarly project. The document was available in both Shardakka and Anglic and he soon received requests from both Khruzi and Human readers to teach them the Arashkhruu, or the Three Paths. Fzuki spent the rest of his life refining his doctrine and establishing Burshboshallghrash, or training monasteries, throughout the Khruzi settled and influenced worlds of the Spinward Region. Fzuki died in 4761CE as the Mech Plague spread across Known Space, but as of the establishment on the Mendam Codominum in the following year, over a billion adherents on a hundred worlds had adopted the Fzuki Way as their guide to life.
After Fzuki's death, no single leader dominated the Way. Individual Burshboshallghrash had their own leadership and Way scholarship consisted of interpreting Fzuki's writings and refining their translation into Arbhuhramazhz. In the unsettled centuries following the Disintegration Wars, the discipline, ritual and certainty of the Way gained mass appeal, and proved useful to the Codominium government, which mandated Fzuki Way study for all military and administrative applicants, Khruzi or Human, in 4869CE. By the sixth millennium, a one or two year stint at a Burshboshallghrash to learn the Arashkhruu became a standard part of Mendam education.
While most Mendam citizens accepted the founding philosophies of the Way: Only your actions in this life matter, the prescriptions of the Arashkhruu and the interpretation of the Way as a permanent state of sentient development, were less universally accepted. Although true schisms did not occur within the Way itself, entirely new movements, such as Herio Baen's Disentropic Way, with its striving for transcendence, emerged as a direct challenge to the static ritual of the Fzuki Way. However, practitioners of the Way saw little need to enforce their beliefs on others. It was either accepted or not. If a being chose not to accept the Way, it was the fault or weakness of that individual. However, the Codominium government was less sanguine about more "undisciplined" faiths and incorporated a recognition of the central role of the Fzuki Way in Codominium society in the Argolos Accords of 6173CE.
By the seventh millennium, increases in interstellar traffic and cultural contact led to a spread of the Fzuki Way beyond the Mendam Codominium. As early as 6163CE, the first Burshboshallghrash was established on Bengal, and neighboring worlds began to accept or adopt the Way as a religion. Most notably, Strem VI, ruler of the New Autarchy converted in 6501CE and he pressed his citizens to follow suit.
The Fzuki Way remains the majority religion of the Mendam Codominium, with over sixty percent of the population, 178 billion beings, formally adopting the rituals of the Arashkhruu in daily life. Outside the Codominum, another fifty billion adherents, including over twenty billion in the Bengali Dominions, have adopted the Fzuki Way.
The basic credo of the Fzuki Way is expressed in the following statements:
The Arashkhruu are Arashbaahl (Focus), Arashghaahl (Practice) and Arashshaal (Patience). The core of Fzuki teaching is how to master these paths through meditation, discipline and repetition. Using these universal skills, the initiate is then able to focus on making the Nine Virtues the only viable response to external stimuli. The Nine Virtues are Arashturl (Courage), Arashbanna (Honor), Arashhun (Strength), Arashkhal (Wisdom), Arashghansa (Intellect), Arashghrash (Perseverance), Arashressa (Charity), Arashshalma (Respect) and Arashnuut (Truth).
The Way considers personal responsibility, personal initiative and privacy important aspects of their faith and reject collectivist or totalitarian structures that limit their ability to properly exercise their Virtues. As the Way teaches that death is not to be feared and that some acts are irredeemable, suicide is tolerated, in some instances encouraged, but it is seen as an admission of failure. The Way holds all thought to be private and considers any form of mind probing or direct brain interface, anything that can translate "thought" into "action" without the filter of conscious control through the Arashkhruu, to be anathema.
The adherents of the Fzuki Way follow the Umhurbuharashkhruu - the Encouragement of the Way of the Path - in all aspects of daily life, in public and in private. The Umhurbuharashkhruu dictates social behaviors, dress, diet and daily ritual. Its purpose is to reinforce the lessons of the Arashkhruu in everyday life and to identify members of the faith to one another.
Practitioners universally spend one to two years of study at Burshboshallghrash, usually at the onset of adulthood or conversion to the faith. In this monastic setting, small groups of students learn the Arashkhruu from adepts. Both students and adepts reside at the Burshboshallghrash for the entire period of instruction. Once a student has mastered the Arashkhruu , the student begins a more detailed set of instruction in each of the nine virtues from specialized adepts. Each adept at both the Path and Virtue level starts with a small group of six to nine students and continues to teach that group until the last student has reached a level of master approved by a committee of three other adepts. If a student fails, it is the responsibility of the adept to make that student reach mastery. Once a student has mastered the Paths and the Virtues, the student becomes an initiate and returns to society.
Initiates may become adepts by returning to the Burshboshallghrash and undergoing further instruction to develop a deeper understanding of the Paths and Virtues. Adept training requires two to five years and a final examination before the senior adepts of the Burshboshallghrash.
Initiates in general society meditate at their Burshboshallghrash as often as they deem appropriate. Most Burshboshallghrash have four general services every day: at sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight, but attendance by most initiates is weekly or monthly. The Way is supported by the generosity of their membership. No tithing is required, but each initiate should consider Arashressa, the virtue of Charity, in determining a fair amount to contribute.
Initiates celebrate birth of children with great ceremony and "birthdays" using Khurzi, standard Terran or local time, are personal holidays celebrated by meditation at Burshboshallghrash and donations to demonstrate prosperity. Khrazhdbuzhja or "Death is nothing" is a central part of the Fzuki creed. An individual's death is handled in an unceremonious manner; the deceased is cremated at the Burshboshallghrash, usually by students, and the ashes scattered to the winds. Fzuki initiates are not concerned with the recovery of the dead; a corpse is just meat, and there is no dishonor in leaving it to rot, if that is necessary. However, an initiate will expend great effort to save a life, regardless of the personal danger involved.
Each Burshboshallghrash serves between ten thousand and fifty thousand initiates and generally houses over a thousand students and several hundred adepts. A council of senior adepts runs each Burshboshallghrash and appoints one of their number to represent them at periodic conclaves of a diocese, composed of up to a gross Burshboshallghrash. Each diocese has a major cathedral, usually located in a major city. Each world has one High Adept, appointed by the dioceses, who resides in a designated planetary cathedral. Above the planetary level, a high council - the Disciples of Fzuki - manages the religion from their cathedral on Khruzi. There are no significant sects within the Fzuki Way, though some High Adepts outside the Mendam Codominium may choose to interpret edicts from the Disciples in idiosyncratic ways.
The Fzuki Way has poor relations with the Technologists and Mechanists, considering neither to be a "true" religion, since neither define or proscribe behaviors or offer anything more than a "technological crutch" to their followers. Mechanist Incarnations are considered separate individuals by the Way and neither demonized or recognized an a continuity of personality. The Fzuki Way makes a clear distinction between biological and Machine intelligence, and discounts machine sentience, deriding the Zhretra, Risen and their ilk as "clever clocks" originally created by the action of biological entities. Followers of the Disentropic Way are viewed as undisciplined and misguided followers of a false and illusory promise. Initiates of the Way may make efforts to "reform" the Disentrops, but their religion is recognized by Mendam Law.
The doctrine of the Fzuki Way dismisses "Old Book" religions as superstition and mythological. In return, most "Old Book" followers consider the Way a materialistic, atheistic world view not worthy of categorization as religion. However, in public and in relation with other faiths, Fzuki initiates practice the Virtues of Arashbanna and Arashshalma and do not deride the faith of others, though polite attempts at conversion, guided by Arashnuut, Arashkhal ,Arashghansa and Arashghrash may persist.
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