Earlier last month on 7 / 8 January 2012, I was invited to share at the Christian Meditation Seminar "Common Ground" in Catholic Junior College.
It was eye opening to hear speakers from five different religions coming together to share their religion's way of meditation as I was for the longest time under the impression that meditation was found mainly in Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and various Indian religion.
As most religions were theistic, meditation was for them, a way to "reach God through silence". For Buddhist, meditation was a way to purify our mind.
What to me is a step forward was to have people from different religions, using different meditation techniques to meditate together, without a need to convert the other, or to prove that "mine is better than yours".
During the seminar, I took the opportunity to share the "common human experience" that we all shared. When we don't get what we want, we fret, we are disappointed, we are unhappy. Depending on the degree of our want, craving or attachment, we may experience suffering differently. This does not depend on your gender, age, race, beliefs or nationality. It is a fact, a Truth of our human condition. The First Noble Truth of Suffering and the Second Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering (Craving and Attachment).
Most non Buddhists are quite taken aback when they realised that they just agreed to the Buddha's teachings on the Four Noble Truths … or at least the first two. For the most part, non Buddhists may not have a chance to readily or easily get to know the teachings of the Buddha, so half the time, they may reject Buddhism based on hearsay or misconceptions.
Beyond the above sharing, I also shared with them "Dog Poo".
Yes, dog poo. I quote myself based on what someone noted down of my talk
"What happens when you step on dog poo", asked Ven Chuan Guan. Your exclamation of disgust is followed may be by a tap dance, you look for a patch of grass/a bit of
wall. You take a plastic bag, clean it off your shoes, wrap it up, tie a nice knot, keep it in your pocket. Keep it warm. Then you go home, tell your family, show it to them: all smell, have a whiff. It was a dalmation, a german shepherd.
Your family says “that’s nothing, let me show you mine”.
So it is with emotional dog poo which does not taint the body but dirties the mind, We choose to live this cycle or choose not to bring home dog poo. Meditation helps.
Visit the Catholic News (Singapore) web site to read more.
Perhaps all religious leaders, senior and youths alike should be required to attend interfaith events so that we can learn about other religion's teachings. In learning, it is not to relinquish our own teachings or belief and accept other religions, but to have understanding and appreciate the goodness in others even if it flies under a different banner.