I was at the funeral of the Engineer's uncle yesterday, which is an unfortunate way to spend Valentine's Day. But I found it was a day of wonderful enlightenments.
Firstly, I love the fact that I live in a nation where on Chinese New Year, the parade welcomes all walks of life. Where old Chinese men and old anglo-saxon men walk side by side banging on the same drum. That here in rainy city you can walk into a bakery with a Scottish name (Angus) that bakes the most amazing Northern Europe pastries and is run by a tiny couple from Vietnam.
Yesterday, the service was held at a Catholic Church with mass held by an East Indian priest for a Chinese family. I love it. He talked about Jesus and Elvis in the same speech, I really loved it. And listening to him talk about faith in Jesus and God, I couldn't help but wonder: are all religions really the same? I am a Buddhist so I believe in karma, reincarnation and self as the ultimate 'god' or 'buddha'. This priest was talking about simply listening to Jesus and 'believing' - having faith. Don't worry about how or what or where or why. Just believe. Well shiver me timbers, as a Buddhist that is exactly what I chant for: faith. Just knowing and believing. Then he started talking about resurrection. He kept asking if we believe in resurrection. No one said a thing. He asked again. Still no reaction. Until finally he looked at me and said 'SAY YES!'. Well I thought it would in bad taste at a funeral to raise my hand and say, "Actually, I think you'll find that I believe in reincarnation but if you look at both words and what they mean, aren't they the same? Isn't reincarnation about resurrecting the soul in a new life?". I don't know if the priest would have agreed with me but I feel happy believing that is true.
Plus he used bells and incense. I use bells and incense! And we ring our bells three times. Why is it three? WHY?
In a world where we fight wars over religion, vote in horrible presidents because he's on the same side as God, and persecute innocent people based on their faith, when is it time to practice what we preach? Why can't we just shut up and listen to what our own god is saying to us. That fundamentally, no matter how you pray or where you pray, or what you believe, fundamentally we are all believing in the same thing: faith.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo