Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Random thoughts: superstitions and religion

During my mum's funeral, there are some rituals to follow. My siblings are Buddhists, I am a free thinker although I do tend to lean more and more towards Buddhism.

There is chanting, some way of paying respect Etc. Then my "distant relatives" start asking me if we have done this or that, or should not have done this or that.  

The distinction is clear. Superstitions is selfish. They are there to enrich oneself ( keeping the deceased's last worn clothes are supposed to enrich the person who has possession of it) or to avoid bad luck (wash with pomelo waters before stepping back into the house, and that my dad should not send my mum off because it is supposed to have a negative effect on his fortunes)

Religion ritual are compassionate with others in mind. Eat vegetarian for a period of time to accumulate good karma for the decreased. Chanting to allow the decreased to go to western paradise.

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to the monk who I feel is very kind and compassionate and got to ask a lot of questions I have in mind. 

The answers he gave, are the same as those I have in mind. It is not necessary for my dad to send my mum off, since it is usually the job of her offsprings, and that my father's legs are weak, he should rest more. I said, but if he wanted to, is there any conflicts. "Why not, in Buddhism we talk about compassion, it is a companion for a lifetime, what is wrong with sending her off" was the monk's reply.

On another occasion,he asked if I was vegetarian. I said twice in a month, but I was hoping to keep it for a lifetime since I have not been touching meat for almost 2 weeks and intent to keep it that way. I told him I still have craving though. He said there is no need to 执着(stubborn) the important thing is having the compassion about animals. If we need food/ meat to sustain our life, so be it. He said he never have that problem since he is a vegetarian since young.

I took the opportunity to ask again. ( I told my wife, pure vegetarian is a business concept, we just need to abstain from meat so that we do not kill). I ask if my concept is sound. He said the concept  of vegetarian comes from the period of 5 dynasties under Emperor 梁武帝,in the past, there is no such thing as vegetarian food.

Go for the principle in pursuit of truth, not the ritual. 

I have quite a peaceful period reading some sculptures and thinking. I wonder if I can get used to it if I convert formally.

While I never tell the monk (shifu), my thoughts, our conversation lead to some unwholesome practices at the temples,so I thought I will continue to 修行in my own ways. 

Be kind. Loving others and loving yourself is not mutually exclusive 


  1. Hi SI,

    You might find this link interesting: http://www.e-buddhism.com/2016/02/what-buddha-said-about-eating-meat.html

    I find the practice of eating mock meat distasteful. Change the form but not the essence. Hence, Chinese vegetarianism will never be for me.

    1. Hi LP,

      The monk said the same thing. If u desire meat and eat mock meat, might as well as real meat.

      Ok! KFC now lol ...just kidding

      In the past, perhaps the fact about food not specifically killed is true. People are more or less on self sustained.

      In today robust capitalism system, everyday work in demand and supply forces ... We but meat, we form part of the demand forces and we cannot say the meat is not killed for us. It is killed for demand and we form the demand.

      I might have in to craving but I dun want to give excuses when j start eating meat again

    2. Sillyinvestor,

      The vegetarian "tradition" for Buddhism is more a Mahayana (北传)thingy. They will quote sutras expressly saying no to eating meat ;)

      The quote shared by LP is from the Theravada (南传) tradition.

      As for the Tibetan Vajrayana school, well, the current Dalai Lama does eat meat ;)

      What your shifu meant was that 梁武帝 "popularised" vegetarianism. If the top guy does it, the underlings will copy ;)

    3. Wow,
      Smol, respect lei. Dun play play ... U sure know a lot. Your Buddhist classes are effective and u have not been sleeping lol.

      But as u say it, even the 北传say no to meat, not say yes to vegetarian ...

  2. Hi temperament,
    Yes indeed, it's a relationship. In Christianity, they call him "father", in Buddhists they call him "teacher", as Buddha means the enlightened one ...

    I am both a father and a teacher ;p

    Just kidding

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