By Reshu, New Age Islam
25 Dec. 15
It was a fine sunny Sunday morning yesterday, and my friend Trinkoo and I headed to a Buddhist vihar for morning prayers and meditation.
I have always admired Buddhist monks, besides Catholic nuns, Muslim sufis and Hindu gurus who remain detached from worldly temptations and distractions and at the same time are socially engaged. Their love for the Truth triggers them to take the path of piety and loving service.
While I was born in a particular faith community, I recognize and admire the many good things in other faiths and communities, too. All goodness, no matter where it is found, is a reflection of God. Spending a couple of hours yesterday in the Buddhist temple along with numerous monks and lay devotees, I was filled with awe at witnessing their dedication and devotion. The altar was decorated with filled with candles, and the fragrance and colour of flowers added to the purity of the chants of the monks and devotees. The senior-most monk guided the gathering in meditation (dhyana), through breath focus. We began by smiling to ourselves, putting ourselves into a happy, peaceful mood. Then, we watched our breath, the purpose of which was to be in the present, in the “now”, which I think is the key to peace and happiness. We spread metta, or loving-kindness, to ourselves, and then to the people of our city, our state, our country, the whole, and then to all beings in the entire universe.
The meditation was followed by a beautiful video discourse on “Enduring Patience”, by one of India’s most well-known Buddhist monks, who left the world recently. I found tremendous wisdom in his narration of how the Buddha endured hardships by not reacting to abuse or attacks. The Buddha practised and preached compassion and love even to those who opposed him.
Enduring patience is immensely important and useful when we face so many challenges in the world in our daily life, the monk explained. It’s difficult, but it helps us in the end and we feel good about being patient in times of suffering and adversity. It is key to our spiritual path, he explained.
Yes, that’s true—whether in the context of small, everyday ‘irritants’ to big challenges in our lives, practising enduring patience makes us peaceful within. So the next time, I know what to do if an auto driver does not go by the metre but asks me to pay more than I ought to! I will not board the auto, but will send blessings on him, rather than complain.
Later in the day, Trinkoo and I attended a spiritual gathering of the Radha Soami Satsang. People from various class backgrounds had come for the satsang. Two women led the discourse, which was on the purpose of life of human beings on earth. We are here, the sisters told us, to connect with God, and for that we need to remember God as often as we can. This really touched my soul!
As with what I had learnt at the Buddhist temple earlier that day, the wisdom that I learnt at the satsang was truly universal.
Yesterday was one of the most positive days in my life—being amidst the monks and being in the satsang. What also gave me immense joy and peace also was to learn that everybody is striving to be in union with God. The one and only point I have on my secret “wish-list” or “dream list” is that it would be so nice if the whole world competed in a race for piety and God remembrance, rather than racing to compete to acquire more guns and more money and more power. It would make the world so much more peaceful, isn’t it?
Stepping out from our own prayer mats and sitting on a meditation cushion of another faith does not dilute our faith. It only increases it! Believe me! Being with the monks during the dhyana and listening about naam simran (remembering the Name of God), at the satsang helped me to recite the Quranic verses at my namaz with more devotion! The devotion of the people in whose company I had spent those hours yesterday had also spilled on over to me.
We need to recognize and celebrate the goodness in everyone. A very beautiful verse from the Quran comes to my mind that talks about our oneness, getting to know each other and about righteousness:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.
With zikr, dhyana and naam simran, come let’s together race towards God!