I'm A Religious Chameleon

I’ve wanted to update this blog with so many things but business gets in the way. (I can tell you, if you want to live a normal life, don’t wish to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur does not have an ordinary life.)
Anyway, this is not about business today. It’s about spirituality.
In the past 2 years, I’ve started to become a teeny weeny bit interested in Tibetan Buddhism. I’ve been a Buddhist all my life but I really started knowing Buddhism when I was an undergrad in USM. That opened my eyes to what real Buddhism is about. (What you think is Buddhism today is really Buddhism-Confucianism-Taosim all rolled up like some california roll.)
But Nic and I aren’t really the temple-going sort. I don’t think I’ll be a better Buddhist just going to the temple and looking as if I’m horribly pious.
Besides, most friends think I am a Christian.
Yes, I have a lot of Christian friends (and I have dinners with the clergy) but surprise, surprise, I am a Buddhist. I don’t advertise my religious leaning because let’s face it, it’s personal (just like your sex life. If you’re gay, it’s your choice). I don’t wear anything that puts me in a specific category of spiritual people either. And this neither-here-nor-there confuses lots of people. They’re not sure if I’m atheist, Christian, Buddhist, or what-have-you.
So it’s sometimes difficult to proselytize to me. I could be anything. As my best friend is Catholic and the other is Hindu, I am familiar with the festivals and practices of both. (In fact, I schooled in a missionary school and I remembered being a 10-year old and memorizing the Lord’s Prayer!). So you could call me a religious chameleon.
But yes, back to Tibetan Buddhism. What appeals is that the visiting monks or rinpoches can speak English. Their Dhamma talks are easy to understand. They’re less fussy about protocol and understand that everyday living makes keeping the precepts a challenge all the time.
If you’re keen to hear a real rinpoche speak, a few events are scheduled in Penang this week by His Holiness Phakchok Rinpoche.
Tonight’s talk is on Amitabha Buddha at Jalan Concordia (contact Andrew Ho 012 483 3212). There are 3 other events happening – 30 April (meditation class), 1 May (7 point mind training) and 2 May (puja). All are conducted by His Holiness who really, if he weren’t a monk, would be a truly fun guy, by the look of him.
(Another Tibetan monk has an even more amazing story. He used to be a male model! Tsem Tulku Rinpoche strikes me as an extremely good-looking man! I suppose therein lies the attractor factor why he has legions of fans besides the religion of course.)

6 thoughts on “I'm A Religious Chameleon”

    • I do? Haha. I didn’t know Christians had a ‘look’. Must be mixing with too many Catholics – I did grow up with my best friend and we did spend many a lazy school holiday afternoon just thumbing through the Bible (and going crazy making comments about it!).

  1. “What you think is Buddhism today is really Buddhism-Confucianism-Taosim all rolled up like some california roll.”
    So true.
    It’s just a random thought, but I think we could be better atheists if we actually chose to be one. Just a hunch.
    U-Jean, Christian got look wan meh? Lol…

    • Yeah, but most people grow up this way not realizing it. Being Buddhist in Malaysia is being 1/3 Buddhist, 1/3 Taoist and 1/3 Confucianist. I never really knew I was a mixed up ‘roll’ until I went to uni and found out that real Buddhists don’t do half the stuff my mom used to do! No wonder most people become suspicious when they find out and then go the other way….go off Buddhism all together. I can understand their frustrations. Buddhism is not easy to understand as it’s about oneself and one’s karma.

    • Thanks JJ. I’m getting to understand life more and I am grateful that the Dhamma has shown me how to be truly human. With the Dhamma, I am calmer and more prepared to deal with what the world gives me. I also have a better perspective on life…. by thinking that we are all divine beings on an ‘earth’ journey. So I may as well make this ‘journey’ as fantastic as I can. Thanks for the link too. Will check it out.


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