Thursday, February 24, 2011

Believing Without Questioning

Siddhartha, Religion, Spirituatilty, and Nihilism 

This is probably my fifth time to read Siddhartha, and it is my first time to actually starting to get the meaning out of this book.  Nihilism in German class has helped me to understand what this book is about; it has also helped me to reflect on my own life.  It is not until two weeks ago that I even started thinking the fullness of existence.  Like Siddhartha said, it’s not possible to put in words the fullness of being and existence.  I cannot describe the meaning of fullness, and I don’t think anyone can do.  The oneness of the universe and the oceanic feeling to me re simply imagination; different people can look at them in a different way, and there is no one that can describe them in an understanding way.  What Siddhartha was describing about the rivers sounded like words of a poet, I did not get the meaning of what he was saying.

I can now proudly say that I am a spiritual wonderer like Siddhartha, actually I have been a spiritual wonderer for a few years now, but reading Siddhartha, once more, has re-enforced my quest for true meaning of spirituality.  I was born in a Catholic family, my parents believe only in the teaching of the Catholic Church, and believing in other faith was not acceptable to them.  I was baptized in the catholic faith when I was ten year old and the same day I started to receive the Holy Communion.  During the time I was attending classes for my baptism, I was told to obey every ritual practiced by the church.  I was told that the catholic teaching is the only true teaching because it is the only church that Jesus Christ himself created before he went back to heaven.  I was taught that the priests are holy people, and that the saints should be worship.  I was told that I have to confess my sins to the priests because they have been given the power, by God, to forgive sins.  As a young girl and even in my late teenage, I thought all these teaching were true and should be observed and follow as required by the church.  I never questioned them and I learned so much about the church faith and practice.  Three years ago during my first year in college, and through mixing with people from other faith, I started having so many questions not only about the Catholic faith, but also about other religion. 
In the past three years, I have learned about Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, the Ancestral Spiritual Practice movement, and other religious practice.  Like Siddhartha, no one these religious or faith group can teach me anything that I do not know, and all of them cannot answer the most fundamental questions that I have.  Last summer, I had the privilege to talk to one assistant Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.  I asked him to tell him where exactly can I find God, his answer did not surprise me.  He said that God is everywhere, especially in our hearts.  I asked him how can I talk to him, and he said through prayers.  I also ask him what is the benefit of going to Church, and he said it’s because the church is the house of God.  I told him that I wanted to know when God was going to come back to His Home because every time I visit His House, He’s never there.  At this time the assistant Bishop told me that I needed more prayers for my soul, because I seemed lost.
Two weeks after I spoke with the assistant bishop of Brooklyn, I had an opportunity to speak to three evangelical pastors who volunteer at my husband’s work place.  I asked them why no pastor is able to do any miracle that Jesus said they will be able to do if they believe in Him, and no one was able to give me any concrete answer.  All of them however continue to claim that miracles are performed in the evangelical churches allover the world.  I told them that I have been to so many sermons, and I have never seen any miracle.
Siddhartha is a good example of how we should not believe in anything that we do not understand, and we should always ask questions when we are not clear about something.  Just because our family belong to this faith or that faith should not mean that not mean that we have to follow in their footsteps blindly.  We should also distinguish religion from spirituality, and to know that it is the spirituality that is the more important between the two because the spirituality deals with inner development of an individual.  Siddhartha did not confined himself on one group or faith, he moved from one to another, and in the end he realized that he needed to know who he was inside and not accept what he was taught by different teachers.  I do not in evolution, and I have to believe in something, and at this time my journey continues.       

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post. You really get the point when I say you are supposed to "reflect" when you write these papers, this is some pretty deep reflection. You may be surprised, but Nietzsche started out studying theology. So did Martin Heidegger. He was actually writing in the 1920s in Germany but I didn't assign anything to read by him cuz he's just too hard to read honestly. But he is also considered to be one of the most important nihilist philosophers. His main concern was with Being with a capital B, in other words the wholeness of being just like we are talking about in Siddhartha. I am just pointing this out because I think it is interesting how the people most associated with nihilism and atheism both started out on a path that would've lead to the priesthood had they followed through.