Sunday, April 04, 2010

On the Baptism on Easter

This is not what I would usually do. But I think it's a very big shock, even to me, let alone my parents who are already in their fifties.

I woke up at 8 in the morning today, to see a message from my mum. "Your brother is going baptise today. Mummy very disappointed." "Pls help advice him. Pa cry in front of Skype also can't stop him He talk non-stop. Pls help! Quick! Quick! Quick!"

Imagine the shock that I have when I read how panic Mum was. Usually I would probably just doze back into sleep, but when it's such a big news, I myself took some time to come to my senses.

Mum called me within a few seconds later and was crying over the phone, "Have you read my messages?"

I just read. He's already baptised?

"Not yet. It's still night time over there. But this afternoon he's going to the church Your dad kneeled in front of the webcam and cried, but he still doesn't want to change his mind."

Silence.

I have no idea how to console her.

I would not dare to say I know a lot of Buddhism, but I suppose I have learnt enough to know in brief how we should react. So I told her that there's no point we cry over it. He's already decided, then we couldn't stop him. Probably he's influenced by his friends, probably the country as a whole, probably because he doesn't have enough karma to be a Buddhist this lifetime. But having said that, that doesn't mean him being baptised now, he would be a Christian the whole life. When the Buddhism in him matures in the future, he'll still be a Buddhist. Mum was a bit calmer after that, and started to worry the church that he was going to be baptised was some diverted demonition whatever.

So the next thing I did, was to send the text message to the brother. "What kind of church is it?"

"There's no denomination, but the church is a baptist."

Sis called then, also sounded pretty sad. She talked to the brother over Skype, and the brother said he'll consider postpone the baptism for the time being. Sis told him to think of our parents, his decision is too sudden for them.

I know it shouldn't be a matter to even be worried about. We were brought up the conventional Buddhist way, going to the temple, burn josstick, pray so that we pass our exams and what nots. But it was only last year when I was knocked into my senses and started to understand more about it. I visited Jang Sem Ling after the lowest point of my life so far, and that somewhat helped me find a solace. I texted the brother again, not asking him to postpone straight away, he'd seen his God as how I've seen mine, he has every right to do what he wants, but I asked him to put our parents' priorities in his mind first.

"Okay, I know... I'll think about it. Thanks."

Sis called again later. She said Mum was calmer, but we're still unsure how Dad was. She called the brother over Skype again, and he too, was crying on the other part of the world.

Why let the choice of our religion hurt ourselves so much? Blood is always thicker than water. The brother have had the dream of Jesus long ago when he started to read the Bible before going to bed. It was since years ago that he had made up his mind that he wanted to become a Christian. But somehow, the parents just couldn't accept it because they themselves had been cheated off their money when they went to a church in the past. And they've nailed into our minds since that Buddhism is the best.

Like, erm, from what I've learnt from my friends, as long as what the religion teaches you is right, then it's not wrong to believe in it.

But sometimes, I just couldn't help but to think that when the brother becomes a Christian, it would just somehow affect our family ties. I talked to him about it, he said he knows what's the difference of religion and tradition. But him becoming a Christian doesn't mean he will ditch us.

And at this moment in time, as to why he decided to become a Christian, it's his choice and it's not for us to stop him. Buddhism doesn't force a person to become a Buddhist. It is after all, the state of mind. When you understand the logic of it, then you know what's right. But of course, when you pray to a worldly God, you get your reward, that's what a lot of people do. But praying to a worldly God doesn't give you the chance for enlightenment. We after all, the ultimate goal was to leave the cycle of this samsara. So perhaps, his karma wasn't enough. His affinity with Buddha wasn't as strong as his affinity to Adam's God.

I really hope the parents would be able to calm down. There's nothing we could do. It's his life and how he decides to do with it. From the Buddhism point of view, force is not the right thing to do. Heck there's no wrong and there's no right. Whatever we're doing now, it's all in our mind.

I probably might not know what I had before, but I know I had the experience of being in a semi-conscious state when I somehow see images and sculptures of Buddha arranged along the walls, so many of them that it was very grand, and sometimes one from this corner would just burst with golden dusts floating up towards the sky, assuming that person, finally achieved nirvana and become a Buddha. And I saw mine, wondering if I could leave the samsara as well, and at that moment, I thought I could just leave. But there were a lot of matters tying me down. Doing medicine is just a part of the plan this life time. And the ward rounds next week. Dinner with friends. Everything else was stopping me from going all out and somewhat, 'die'. Everything else, was what my friend told me, our attachments.

But having said that, I know it's very difficult for the parents to understand, as compared to sis and I who have attended some dharma class to see what the whole logic is. Just maybe, my affinity with Buddha is stronger as compared to everyone else in the family.

Have a great week everyone.

Disclaimer: This post is purely written based on what happened in my family. It has got nothing to do with anyone's else's believe or religion. No offense intended.

16 Jujus:

William said...

Just my 2 cents:
In matters of faith, there is no compulsion. It is unfortunate that your family was conned some time before by a "church". If his faith is true, he will definitely honour your parents, as it is commanded by God. Hopefully, everyone will calm down and see that it is not the end of the world, but a new beginning.

Bengbeng said...

This is an issue which causes much distress to many families. baptism is baptism but it doesnt mean the end of a way of life. he has however to know how to 'cho lang'. Sometimes taking rigid stances over trivial issues are unnecessary.possible future conflicts r during ceremonies, food served to idols etc. some middle ground needs to b found.

the happy go lucky one said...

yeah i agree with william, i think i left a comment on D&D's post not long ago on the same issue.
to me as a buddhist, of coz i do feel buddhism is best for me, likewise i also feel that other religion might b the best for others.
so instead of forcing him to turn back, mayb u can just listen to him on the reasons he chooses to b christian, and on what type of church he goes to. in this way mayb u can start to understand him and his choice better, and mayb eventually happy for him with his choice. and your parent can have some relief that he is not being 'cheated' by deviated 'branches'

Danny said...

err.. not sure what to say..
goodluck.. hopefully everything will be fine soon :)
take care

Lucas said...

buddhism should be a philosophy, a state of mind and a way of life, not necessarily a religion right?

i guess at this stage its best that you and your sis try and console your parents. and if your bro does go through with it, then help your parents slowly come to understand his decision.

Medie007 said...

i'd probably say it's bad experience that my parents went through in the past. but like what i said, the brother has dreamt about God as I had seen Yamtaka. if anything, his baptism probably would be the same thing as the transmission that i received.

mum was calmer when i called her at noon. she said there's nothing can be done. she listened to what i reasoned to her. i just hope she'll be able to accept it.

it hurts for the parents to see their children believing in a different religion. heck we used to think our uncle's family who had different religions in one household were such a wreck too. perhaps my parents were still pretty old-fashioned. maybe it's time that they start to learn about Buddhism as what it is, and not blindly take it as a religion.

agreed with what you guys said, thanks for the 2 cents.

smallkucing said...

Religion can be "yuen"(fate) too. Agree with what William had said

Calvin said...

Hope your parents can overcome this "sadness" they feel and hope they'll feel much better.

Your brother dreamed of Jesus after reading Bible before sleep, do you think that's because he just read the stories and it's natural to dream about it when the brain is still thinking about it? Did he mistaken this as a sign to be Christian? Make sure he reads and studies more about other religion before choosing one.

passerby said...

This sounds like a coming-out scenario.

I never thought it could be so serious, switching religion I mean.

reanaclaire said...

yes, Medie.. becoming a christian doesnt make your brother a "lesser" son, he is still the same, he still loves and respects your parents, console them with this.. it is only that he has found what he seeks to find, and he loves his God too.
Last time i was the first one to become a christian in my family, my parents were staunch buddhists too.. i faced a lot of tribulations then.. and they have realized that being a christian doesnt mean i m not their daughter, in fact, i become more like one than i ever been before..
now my whole family has come to believe in Him... God works in many ways for those who love Him..

Medie007 said...

Calvin, he dreamt about Jesus BEFORE he started to read the Bible.

reanaclaire, I hope my parents see the picture too...

passerby, yeah indeed. lols.

carpe diem said...

I have experienced it myself. It is the way these people go about trying to convert others that is totally unacceptable. I wonder how much your bro knows about his faith before he decided to convert. It will be good for him to seek another divine sign before he decides. But I do not think he will change his mind. He is away from home and lonely. At this age he is impressionable. There is a group of people around him to shore him up during these trying times. Whatever it is, always tell him to honor his parents. More importantly, you need to make him realize that his purpose in life now is to study and excel in it. I have seen so many who flung with flying colors and got retained, all in the name of God. The pastor even tell them their first priority is to serve God. With no congregation, there will be no pastor anyway. He should finish his studies, come back and then convert if he so wishes. What I have written may be rough but it is true.

By the way, I have many good Christian friends who respects me for what I am.

Medie007 said...

yes it might be true. he had been surrounded by such people since young. there was a friend of his that started preaching about christianinty, and everything that came out from her mouth was God and all. even i feel intimidated. but sometimes it's hard to control, especially when he doesn't want to resist the acceptance.

i just hope he knows what he's doing.

Anonymous said...

Hmm..i wonder what would happen to your parents if your brother converts to Hinduism or Islam...
I'm just a passer-by, but I wannna tell you that it would not be the end of the world if he converts..I am from mixed family, have Muslim, Christian and Budhhist relatives and it does not stop us from being a family.
Have faith, everything will turn out all right, it just takes time.

Best of wishes.

KY said...

Speechless, but good luck.
If the religion makes your brother being a better person, why not? Don't we (family) always wish our family members to have a better life?

Susan said...

Like you have correctly pointed out, its one's decision and how he connects with God. There are times when we need to do certain decision and it may hurt people we love, however if its a true calling, i think its worthy to pursue it.

I have to say you handle it pretty well and your advices to your brother are proper.