Monday, September 15, 2008

Dhamma free as air !



Question: (unedited)
Hello, I'm not a Buddhist, but I need some information. Does Buddhism have an equivalent to Christianity's rite of baptism or christening? Thank you.


My comment:
Before answering your question, a little bit of what Buddhism is, will clarify your question. The Buddha's teachings are about universal truths and about how to understand the true nature of this world and this life. With this understanding, one will be able to live in peace with oneself, with others and with the world. The Buddha was not interested in converting people to his "religion". He found something that he knew will benefit others and he wanted to share this knowledge with anyone who cared to listen and learn. In the ultimate analysis, people want peace and happiness. If anyone cares to follow the Buddha's advise he will experience peace and happiness.


The Buddha did not invent dogmas and commandments for people to follow blindly with fear. He gave freedom of choice to all. If one is interested to follow his teachings, then one will make effort to practise his teachings. With practice, comes positive results, and this in turn reinforces one's commitment to improve further.


The traditional "ritual" of a Buddhist for affirming his commitment as a devout Buddhist is the recitation of certain commitments which he upholds. First he pays homage to the Buddha as a mark of great respect for a great teacher. Then he takes refuge in the Buddha, his teachings, and the community of monks, which means that these 3 "guide posts" will provide protection to the follower. He then recites his commitment to keep his 5 precepts. As diligent Buddhists we use certain precepts to guide our lives. These are the 5 precepts: to refrain from killing, to refrain from stealing, to refrain from committing sexual misconduct, to refrain from telling lies, and to refrain from taking intoxicating substances.


As you can see by now there is no such thing as "baptism" in Buddhism. Very frankly, do you really think that anyone can "change" or "convert" others by just sprinkling some "holy" water? Or by immersing them in some water for that matter? Buddhist teachings are like air. They are free, and non discriminating. If one thinks it benefits oneself, then one will breathe the air. If one chooses otherwise, then it's up to oneself. This is the "religion" of Buddhism....Truth, Peace, Harmlessness, and Freedom.

9 comments:

Avatar said...

Dear Justin,

Hi there, just came across your site from Keong's blog.

Nice blog you have here. You seem to be a Buddhist *expert*. I'm blogging about Buddhist Economics tomorrow, so it would be interesting if you could share your thoughts on this topic.

Please do drop by my blog tomorrow if you're interested.

Wonder, Wealth & Wisdom

Rgds

Justin Choo said...

Avatar,

Thanks for visiting.

Visited your blog just now, and sure will visit your blog tomorrow.

Avatar said...

Thanks :)

Avatar said...

Dear Justin,

BTW - Your err *candle* does not flicker? Maybe it's because you didn't save it in GIF format?

It's composed of several pictures overlaying on each other just like cartoons. Never tried uploading GIF files to my blog though.

Rgds

Justin Choo said...

Avatar,

Yes it's supposed to flicker as you most probably saw it in our friend's blog.

Don't know how to do it correctly. I will consult my IT sifu.

Thanks.

A true Malaysian said...

Justin,

It's true, in Buddhism, no one will require you to convert or must convert.

There is no such thing as you must do or mustn't do in Buddhism.

It is all up to us. As a Buddhist, I don't fear Buddha for not following 100% of his teachings, because, whatever we did, we bear the consequences.

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

Well said. Thanks for visiting.

someone you know said...

Justin,

I tend to believe that founders of the world great religions after Buddhism have knowledge (not sure until what extent) of Buddha's teachings.

But, because these 'founders' were aware of the weaknesses of human beings, they, in a way, introducing someone 'powerful' so that human beings will comply to the 'requirements' of what stated in their 'records'. In a way, creating what we normally say 'God fearing' people.

(My comment above is sort of hypothetical, and have not intention of belittling other faiths. You may choose to delete after reading, Justin)

Justin Choo said...

dear someone you know,

Are you someone I really know?

No need to delete your comment.

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