Sunday, January 7, 2007

Moving A Head

Walking along a mountain somewhere in the midst of South Korea, me and a handful of Korean acquaintances came upon a Buddhist temple. As we approached the holy grounds and became witness to many locals bowing before Buddha on the temple floor, I was openly invited to displace my sneakers and join the majority in this praising ritual. However, feeling less than nothing, and with a clear sobriety hitting that this action couldn't be imitated without either completely ridiculing the religion or truly believing in the big bellied guy, I declined. Preferring the air outside, I found myself standing alone with the sole acquaintance who elected to pass the opportunity by. After kicking our feet around in the dusty grounds and his casually inquiring on my religious beliefs (quite open), he struck me still with the following tale...he himself had been raised in the Buddhist religion, his parents were quite devoted, they had run a very successful business and therefore gave a lot of their wealth back towards supporting their religion, always generously handing over these much needed investments to a certain head monk. Anyways, one day his father was hit with a serious illness and ended up bed-ridden in the hospital for a lengthy period of time. Although well aware of what occurred, NOT ONCE did the head monk come to visit, or send greetings of any sort. Yet, a local Christian priest did show face and wished him well. Furthermore, when his father got well, the monks lack of action despite all they'd given settled the matter, on the spot they turned their back on the temple and changed their religious beliefs to 'Christian'. Meaning, this man now standing in front of me, who used to enter the temple with devotion, now ignored its presence. Why did this affect me, religion is so deep rooted in much of the world, stirring up wars, and being the epitome of importance for many, that... its incomprehensible and incredible, yet generally understood and common for one individual person (behind a religion) to easily re-structure and change another beings entire belief system simply by their everyday actions or words that come out of their mouths. One person.

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