There aren't many people with whom you can talk religion with, and even less with whom you can have an open, non-judgmental, no-holds-barred discussion about this particular topic.
It is something that is so intertwined in the human psyche, that it is almost always the next source of wonder, after name and perhaps, age.
Admittedly, I am one confused girl. I can be easily swayed to one direction but the downside to that is that I can be as easily swayed back to the point of origin. I find it all a bit amusing that people are born into a religion without that freedom of choice.
As amusing as the thought that if you're different, heaven has no place for you.
Have I told you about the notion I had as a kid? That I SO wanted to believe?
That Buddha, Jesus and the Prophet Muhammad are all friends and are looking down on human beings, wondering why we are screaming our heads off to see which is the best.
They definitely ain't fighting with each other.
But of course, many would love to disagree.
It was a small kid's fantasy and a big kid's wish.
Granted, I would love to experience all religions, just to find out its beliefs, values, theories and of course,logic. Can't help it man, I'm a student of science.
Go find fault with the Education Policy for breeding me this way.
Knowledge is a powerful thing and I just wanted to share what I've heard, earlier tonight at this simple centre in Tmn Eng Ann which my parents brought me to. It's a Buddhist centre, brought to fruition by a group of English-speaking devotees who felt the need of a Klang branch extended from the Buddhist Temple in Brickfields.
Do not misundestand my intentions, this is not a sermon nor teaching.
It is merely for debate, and
For posterity sake.
The speaker was one Sister Chan, who is a Professor ( I think) of Mathematics in INTI College. She spoke on Understanding Kamma (Karma) in a logical way, in a manner that captures your attention.
She said in Buddhism, there are 4 Unthinkables - things that just are, that cannot be fully understood : Nibbana, Kamma, (Omnipresence?) of Buddha and How the universe works.
Unthinkables, things that cannot be understood.
Now, I didn't know that.
I thought that was interesting.
She mentioned that Kamma is about intentions, rather than actions. Intentions lead to speech and action.
Good begets good, and bad begets, yeap- Bad.
Okay, that I know.
Kamma, accumulated from past lives is not a punishment, the concept is one of fruit-bearing, seen in physical effects and also of the mind.
If you're rich, you could be very generous in your past lives.
Brilliant? You probably asked a lot of questions in previous lives.
Beautiful? You ain't the jealous kind before.
Dark kamma cannot be erased, nor miraculously deleted.
They are like salt crystals, while good kamma is water.
A teaspoon of salt into a cup of water? Salty water.
A teaspoon of salt into a lake? Bye-bye saltiness.
Which basically means, do more good and you can soften the blow of accumulated bad kamma.
Dark kamma can be diluted.
Wow. I did Not know that.
It was a good 2 hour session, I came out of it a little more enlightened ( in a purely english sense and not the Buddhist one, mind you) and more curious which is always a good thing.
She ended with the story of the 4 Wives - which is quite famous and of many variations- which I will share here too.
There was this dying old man who had 4 wives. He asked the youngest wife, the 4th wife of whom he had spent a lot on, of whom he had clothed well and covered in fine jewels to follow him to the grave. Naturally, she declined. Saddened, he asked the 3rd wife, for whom he had toiled and worked endlessly for.
She replied harshly, "No, I will not! When you die I'm going to marry your son instead!"
Oo. Evil woman.
He then asked the 2nd wife, who was very loyal to him. Nonetheless, she too said no, saying that the most she could do was to pay her respects to him each year at the grave.
He was super sad.
Then came a small voice from a small, thin and frail woman sitting at the corner, " I'll go with you. I've been following you life after life, and I will continue to do so. I will support you."
It was his 4th wife.
Seeing her, it finally dawned on him that he had been neglecting her all this while, his first wife, who turns out to be the only one who would follow him to the grave.
As you would know, the wives are metaphors.
4th wife is the human body. A body you clothe and beautify as much as you could and yet get cremated/buried in the end.
3rd wife is money and property. All your property goes to your sons in the end. Ha-ha.
2nd wife is your family and friends - as much as they love you and are loyal to you, they could only pay their respects. At the graveyard.
1st wife is Kamma, that follows you through lives.
Kamma; the good, the bad, the in-betweens.
I just thought the whole thing was kind of thought-provoking.
For a Friday evening at the very least.