Curiosity and Buddhism

  • lotus tat 4


    I recently went home to Malaysia for a family wedding and reunion. It was really wonderful.

    While I was there I caught up with a really wise and lovely friend of my mothers, and we got into a discussion on religion – much to the frustration of my Step dad who is proudly and loudly dead against religion (disclaimer: mainly because of the negative things people do in the name of religion to be fair).

    During our conversation we tried to come to a conclusion about where religion can foster negativity and where it can nurture good things. We asked, what is God?

    I can’t answer any of that.

    But if I were to lay my heart bare here, I’d say God is enlightenment. And I think religion has led to both wonderful and horrible things. The act of seeking that religion fosters is what could lead to good. And conversely, the act of regulation and stagnation is what could lead to not so good.

    Dammit, I was trying to be really open minded and not fall into solid answers and I’ve accidentally tried to answer something un-answerable. But there you go.

    The main thing I wanted to share was this: my Aunty (we call most people older than us Aunties – or Uncles, and she’s definitely caring and wise enough to warrant this) told me something about Buddhism which stayed with me. If you hold your hand out with your forefinger touching your thumb, you make the hand position that Buddha makes. She told me that the three fingers pointing up represent the things that hold man back from enlightenment, and these are your Past, Ego and Illusions. Once you pull away and leave these behind you get closer to the thumb – representing enlightenment. But the thumb has to move towards you too. And I love that, I am working towards leaving those three aspects behind, and moving towards the thumb. And then putting creative, caring and beautiful things back into the world, which will hopefully bring the thumb in return, closer to me.

    In the words of Russell Brand (whom I am starting to like no matter how much I really don’t want to). Let’s be nice.

    So on Thursday, I will go to a Transcendental Meditation course, and I will let you know how I get on.

    On a side note, I got to see some excellent examples of great parenting while I was back home, which is rare and should be celebrated. My cousin’s children had an argument and they came to us saying ‘[My brother] said I was having red light thoughts, but he’s having red light thoughts because he said that.’ To this family there is no right and wrong, good and bad, there is only green light thoughts that make people feel good and happy, and red light thoughts that make people feel unhappy and bad. How great is that?

    Image Copyright to Victo Ngai

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