Monday, June 27, 2005

Do good, avoid evil & purify the mind

I have been thinking about my takeaways from the basic Buddhism course (which I attended for about 20 Sunday mornings @ the temple @ Bright Hill Road). Yesterday was the first Sunday morning where I could wake up later than 6.45am.

In my birth certificate and every form I have been filling so far, my religion has been reflected as Buddhism. I have always thought it's weird that my family and I call ourselves Buddhists when we have been praying to Da Bo Gong (a Taoist deity, I think) at home and we eat beef (unlike most Buddhist friends I know). I decided to attend this course with my 2 girlfriends, so that I will have a clear idea of what Buddhism is all about.

Our teacher Richard shared with us what he has learnt in a way that is easy for us to understand. We did some basic Pali chanting and meditation techniques. Richard emphasized throughout the course that the main crux of Buddhism is "Do good, avoid evil and purify the mind". I agree that this is a good philosophy and attitude to adopt to lead a meaningful and happy life.

While my 2 friends and many other students are going to continue with the intermediate course, I'm contented with whatever I have learnt from the basic course and do not intend to explore further at the moment. I'm more interested in the philosophy behind Buddhism, rather than the practices, chanting and meditation and use what I can relate to my life.

After my brief encounters with some religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism and Christianity), I think I'm more of an agnostic (i.e. one who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism) or freethinker. I always analyse my thoughts and share them with my family and close friends. Now writing in my blog is also an avenue for me to express my thoughts. Reading philosophy books reinforce some of the values that I try to improve. Interacting with my pets and being in touch with nature humble me (but I can't stand cockroaches and love to eat meat too much to be a vegetarian).

I am quite happy with my method of purifying my mind and achieving inner peace by doing the activities I enjoy and I don't feel a need to have a religion. However, I don't mind holding joss sticks to pay respect to the Buddha, deities and ancestors in temples and occasionally pray for happiness for myself, my family, friends, pets and everyone. :)

I told my mum and sis that from now on, I will not reflect Buddhism as my religion as calling myself a Buddhist is inaccurate. I'm a freethinker but I will strive to do good, avoid evil and purify the mind. :)


the baker said...

very interesting... have you read deepak chopra's "The Book of Secrets". I think you might like it. very insightful and he doesn't promote or bash any religion.

oh by the way i just tagged you for 'the cook next door' meme:

hope you'll take part too! :)


the baker said...

FYI, here's a link with an extract of the book's contents:

anyway i do agree with you on the doing good part. i think that's the whole purpose of us being here on earth.

coboypb said...

Thanks, Cheryl. I haven't read the book. Will check out the link you gave and try to borrow the book :)

And yes, I know I have been tagged by you after reading your blog yesterday. I'm in the midst of preparing my answers. Will post them up soon :)