Wednesday, July 23, 2008

13 year-old wishing to convert


http://www.flickr.com/photos/jobarracuda/843979364/




Question:(unedited)
Hello, I have been studing buddhism for weeks and weeks and I wish to convert from Catholism to Buddhism (Theravada). Also I'm only 13 years old but (as many say to me) very mature for my age. Any Advice?




My comments:



Changing one's religion is a very serious matter because it may most probably affect people close to oneself. Changing one's religion inadvertently involves some external changes which others will take notice and may feel threatened or offended. We must tread this sensitive path with great caution and sensitivity. I would assume that you are living with your parents who are Catholics. If they are specially devout Catholics, you must be very careful as not to hurt their feelings and sour your relationship with them.




The Buddha taught universal truths which have no boundaries and which transcend space, time, belief, and race. Truth IS truth. We still can practise universal values based on universal truths without outwardly changing our religion. We can practise Buddhism in our heart. It is the practice that is important, not the external physical exhibition. You can continue to study Buddhism and practise the Buddha's teachings. In this way, you build up your SPIRITUAL awareness and maturity. You can practise Buddhism just like any Buddhist; by keeping the 5 precepts, and paying homage to the Buddha and taking refuge in the Buddha, his teachings, and his holy order of monks.




Unless you have a very liberal and understanding parents, to outwardly change your religion would surely cause problems for you and your immediate members of the family. Continue to practise Buddhism SPIRITUALLY without having to change your present religion. Respect your parents and do not hurt their feelings. This will be to your advantage in order to live harmoniously with your family members. You have plenty of time on your side. Wait till the time is ripe and conditions are favourable, and then you can declare to the world that you have changed your religion.




Hope you are satisfied with my opinion. Please call again if you need further clarifications

3 comments:

A true Malaysian said...

I have the same opinion. Anyone can practise Buddhism or adopts Buddha's teachings, after all, in essence, Buddhism is not a religion per se.

Religion is just a label to me. You can call yourself a Buddhist but not necessarily so in the true sense of the word.

It is unfortunate to incorporate a legislation to regulate religion conversion in a country.

Justin Choo said...

A True M'sain,

Your question and my answer in "Allexperts" do no not appear here bec this is my personal web blog, while "Allexperts" is a separate website .

This blog features selected past questions answered by me from the "Allexperts". This is stated on the right column of my blog.

A true Malaysian said...

Ok, you can choose to publish my question some other time.

This is the way I learn Buddhism, by asking questions.

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