Sep 17, 2010

Solemn saturday | Buddhists, King Kong worshippers

"Dulu keluarga semua Buddha... Banyak jenis Buddha, ada buddha dari jepun, ada buddha dari india, ada buddha dari china... bukan sekadar sembah kepada buddha, mereka juga sembah pelbagai dewa dewi, mereka sembah TOk Pekong, Pao Kong, Datuk Kong, barangkali juga sembah KIng kong (laughter)... Maka jadi agama kong kali kong.. mereka sembah patung-patung kerana percaya boleh datangkan kebaikan kepada mereka... nombor ekor... etc"

I got to see this vid from FB, posted up by HS with the comment "If you don't like Buddhism, it's ok, but don't criticize Buddhists by saying they pray to King Kong!"

To tell you the truth, I enjoyed his 10mins talk comfortably, without feeling even a bit slighted, probably due to the fact that I have an affinity towards good humor and I can really use plenty of jokes to reduce the amount of analgesia I am taking.

I believe there's really no reason to be all hyped up.

Because what he said is true, just that the classifications may have gone a bit strayed off in our bolehland. All Chinese who worships gods and Buddha are lumped together as Buddhists, which is the greatest fallacy in Buddhism.

So, are buddhists idol worshippers?

The answer was clearly given by the late Venerable Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda.
"Buddhists are NOT idol worshippers, but ideal worshippers.

lthough it is customary amongst Buddhists to keep Buddha images and to pay their respects to the Buddha, Buddhists are not idol worshippers. Idolatry generally means erecting images of unknown gods and goddesses in various shapes and sizes and to pray directly to these images. The prayers are a request to the gods for guidance and protection. The gods and goddesses are asked to bestow health, wealth, property and to provide for various needs; they are asked to forgive transgressions.

The 'worshipping' at the Buddha image is quite a different matter. Buddhists revere the image of the Buddha as a gesture to the greatest, wisest, most benevolent, compassionate and holy man who has ever lived in this world. It is a historical fact that this great man actually lived in this world and has done a great service to mankind. The worship of the Buddha really means paying homage, veneration and devotion to Him and what He represents, and not to the stone or metal figure.

The image is a visual aid that helps one to recall the Buddha in the mind and to remember His great qualities which inspired millions of people from generation to generation throughout the civilized world. Buddhists use the statue as a symbol and as an object of concentration to gain a peace of mind. When Buddhists look upon the image of the Buddha, they put aside thoughts of strife and think only of peace, serenity, calmness and tranquillity. The statue enables the mind to recall this great man and inspires devotees to follow His example and instructions. In their mind, the devout Buddhists feel the living presence of the Master. This feeling makes their act of worship become vivid and significant. The serenity of the Buddha image influences and inspires them to observe the right path of conduct and thought.

An understanding Buddhist never asks favours from the image nor does he request forgiveness for evil deeds committed. An understanding Buddhist tries to control his mind, to follow the Buddha's advice, to get rid of worldly miseries and to find his salvation.

Those who criticize Buddhists for practising idol worship are really misinterpreting what Buddhists do. If people can keep the photographs of their parents and grandparents to cherish in their memory, if people can keep the photographs of kings, queens, prime ministers, great heroes, philosophers, and poets, there is certainly no reason why Buddhists cannot keep their beloved Master's picture or image to remember and respect Him.

What harm is there if people recite some verses praising the great qualities of their Master? If people can lay wreaths on the graves of beloved ones to express their gratitude, what harm is there is Buddhists too offer some flowers, joss-sticks, incense, etc., to their beloved Teacher who devoted His life to help suffering humanity? People make statues of certain conquering heroes who were in fact murderers and who were responsible for the death of millions of innocent people. For the sake of power, these conquerors committed murder with hatred, cruelty and greed. They invaded poor countries and created untold suffering by taking away lands and properties of others, and causing much destruction. Many of these conquerors are regarded as national heroes; memorial services are conducted for them and flowers are offered on their graves and tombs. What is wrong then, if Buddhists pay their respects to their world honored Teacher who sacrificed His worldly pleasures for the sake of Enlightenment to show others the Path of Salvation?

Images are the language of the subconscious. Therefore, the image of the Enlightened One is often created within one's mind as the embodiment of perfection, the image will deeply penetrate into the subconscious mind and (if it is sufficiently strong enough)can act as an automatic brake against impulses. The recollection of the Buddha produces joy, invigorate the mind and elevates man from states of restlessness, tension and frustration. Thus the worship of the Buddha is not a prayer in its usual sense but a meditation. Therefore, it is not idol worship, but 'ideal' worship. Thus Buddhists can find fresh strength to build a shrine of their lives. They cleanse their hearts until they feel worthy to bear the image in their innermost shrine. Buddhists pay respects to the great person who is represented by the image. They try to gain inspiration from His Noble personality and emulate Him. Buddhists do not see the Buddha image as a dead idol of wood or metal or clay. The image represents something vibrant to those who understand and are purified in thought, word and deed.

The Buddha images are nothing more than symbolic representations of His great qualities. It is not unnatural that the deep respect for the Buddha should be expressed in some of the finest and most beautiful forms of art and sculpture the world has ever known. It is difficult to understand why some people look down on those who pay respect to images which represent holy religious teachers.

The calm and serene image of the Buddha has been a common concept of ideal beauty. The Buddha's image is the most precious, common asset of Asian cultures. Without the image of the Buddha, where can we find a serene, radiant and spiritually emancipated personality?

But the image of the Buddha is appreciated not only by Asian or Buddhists. Anatole France in his autobiography writes, 'On the first of May, 1890, chance led me to visit the Museum in Paris. There standing in the silence and simplicity of the gods of Asia, my eyes fell on the statue of the Buddha who beckoned to suffering humanity to develop understanding and compassion. If ever a god walked on this earth, I felt here was He. I felt like kneeling down to Him and praying to Him as to a God.

Once a general left an image of the Buddha as a legacy to Winston Churchill. The general said, 'if ever your mind gets perturbed and perplexed, I want you to see this image and be comforted.' What is it that makes the message of the Buddha so attractive to people who have cultivated their intellect? Perhaps the answer can be seen in the serenity of the image of the Buddha.

Not only in color and line did men express their faith in the Buddha and the graciousness of His Teaching. Human hands wrought in metal and stone to produce the Buddha image that is one of the greatest creations of the human genius. Witness the famous image in the Abhayagiri Vihara in Sri Lanka, or the Buddha image of Sarnath or the celebrated images of Borobudur. The eyes are full of compassion and the hands express fearlessness, or goodwill and blessings, or they unravel some thread of thought or call the earth to witness His great search for Truth. Wherever the Dhamma went, the image of the great Teacher went with it, not only as an object of worship but also as an object of meditation and reverence. 'I known nothing,'says Keyserling,' more grand in this world than the figure of the Buddha. It is an absolutely perfect embodiment of spirituality in the visible domain.'

A life so beautiful, a heart so pure and kind, a mind so deep and enlightened, a personality so inspiring and selfless -- such a perfect life, such a compassionate heart, such a calm mind, such a serene personality is really worthy of respect, worthy of honour and worthy of offering. The Buddha is the highest perfection of mankind.

The Buddha image is the symbol, not of a person, but of Buddhahood -- that to which all men can attain though few do. For Buddhahood is not for one but for many: 'The Buddhas of the past ages, the Buddhas that are yet to come, the Buddha of the present age; humbly I each day adore.'

However, it is not compulsory for every Buddhist to have a Buddha image to practise Buddhism. Those who can control their mind and the senses, can certainly do so without an image as an object. If Buddhists truly wish to behold the Buddha in all the majestic splendor and beauty of His ideal presence, they must translate His Teachings into practice in their daily lives. It is in the practice of His Teachings that they can come closer to Him and feel the wonderful radiance of His undying wisdom and compassion. Simply respecting the images without following His Sublime Teachings is not the way to find salvation.

We must also endeavor to understand the spirit of the Buddha. His Teaching is the only way to save this troubled world. In spite of the tremendous advantages of science and technology, people in the world today are filled with fear, anxiety and despair. The answer to our troubled world is found in the Teaching of the Buddha."

So, what's this business about Buddha from India, China, Siam?

Buddhism originated from India. Full stop. Lord Buddha, the enlightened one, are not just one. There are lots of Buddha way before the current Lord Buddha, Lord Siddharta Gautama, an Indian prince. But all the Buddhas before did not preach like Lord Siddharta did.

It is a common fallacy among Chineses, not knowing the fact that our enlightened Buddha teacher is from Indian lineage. When I told my mother that in a temple, when I was a secondary school student, I was shouted by my mom, short of giving me a tight slap.

Buddhism mainly consists of 3 main order: Theravada ('the school of Elders' - from India, Sri Lanka, Thai), Mahayana ('the great vehicle' - China, Indochina, etc) and Vajrana (Tibetian) which by the highest principle held the same gift Lord Buddha gave to mankind. Just that practise may be a bit different, taking into account cultural and community values of various places and countries.

I hope the speaker did realize even in Islam, there are different denomination as well - Sunni and Shia.

But no matter how denominated we are within our own religion and other religion, we all held peace in the highest regards.

That's why I think those who turned to violent, just want to steal this thing called religion from peace loving people like us.

I am of strong support of the Ground Zero Mosque in USA.

I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero.

I want it built
on Ground Zero.

Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice. I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship. And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you.

Buddhism had always taught about the 3 poisons in life.
Loba - greed, Dosa - hatred, Moha - ignorance/delusion
with Moha the root or great foundation for Loba and Dosa.
Loba, Dosa and Moha is Pali language - the original spoken language of Buddha teacher.

This video-speech is a timely spiral to the cyberspace for ignorance is never a bliss.

It is a wake up call for all Buddhists -
to climb out of the slums of Moha, and
do not burn ourselves in the fire of Dosa.
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.

Smiling Face

P.S. A race-based Masjid is not within the discussion by believers outside of the religion.


Anonymous said...

Very good ... thanks.

CY said...

Thanks for compiling this post, particularly enjoyed the quote by the late Venerable Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda. May you be well and happy :)

pilocarpine said...

may all be well and happy..
let our inner peace shine..