i ve been to churches. i ve been to temples. one thing i realise they are all about the same: trying to be holier than the one next to you :(
in church, i witnessed christians raising their hands during praying or singing in an "act to receive the holy spirit." as if raising the hands wasn't enough, some uplifted hands started to shake and spasm quite violently. and if that wasn't still enough to prove holier to you, some would start jumping up and now or jerking spasmodically in their seats. scary? yep, very to me. and wait till they have another phenomena: speaking in tongue. during prayer, aome holier christians would "speak in tongue" which was a kind of "spiritual" prayer to God. i would feel very uncomfortable. if it was just a holier than thou syndrome, that'd be fine. but what if the talking were from/to another entity other than God Himself? brrr! that would be really creepy and freak me out!
anyway, if humans couldn't understand, how would the tongue speakers know God would?? perhaps being holier is really meant to be able to communicate with God or just being holier than thou. that thou would be me the blur one awed with disbelief.
it was like a scene from the EXORCIST. does that spiritually prove to be the manifestation of the holy spirit or just a pure unholiness of trying to be holier than thou?
emptiness is form; form is emptiness. i wonder....
back in the buddhist temple having my weekly dharma classes, a quite similar sight could be behold. buddhists pray to BUDDHA. the statute is a representative image only and not a worship to an idol. it's suppose to invoke the buddhahood seed in everyone of us when praying respect.
BUDDHA isn't a god. he was rather an enlightened man and a great teacher teaching us how to live happily, to bring forth our buddha nature and to be compassionate to all sentient beings - not just humans but animals, every living things and even spirits included.
so we pray to the buddha. in my most basic of praying like what sifu taught is just a simple clasped hands, a humble sincere bow and a mindful thought about the buddha. usually in 3 bows: 1 for the buddha, 1 for the dharma and 1 for the sangha. another extra bow would be to each other in the class in the hope of achieving buddhahood for each other.
it's all that simple. well, at least to me. i m a pure "simpleton" and that's why i like buddhism cos in my impression it's the simplest religion to follow teaching one how to lead a happy simple life and do good. (forget about being a buddha first. just follow the DO GOOD part and the rest shall fall nicely and rightly in place.)
a simple praying is now like being exaggerated to "patterns more than badminton" like a full postrating - all the way down to the belly. it goes like this: clasp hands, bow, kneel, bow with outstretched hand (there's a unique pattern even to that) and stretch straight on the stomach and form a figure 1 (this last stance very prominent in tibetan buddhism), then up and repeat 3 times.
here's the catch: i ve a terrible chronic backache, doing that is quite awkard. then what about the aged, the sicked and the handicapped?
to me, those are really exaggeration. another holier than thou public expression. i might be quite skeptical but i always believe BUDDHA IS WITHIN US and GOD IS ALSO WITHIN US. it's a intimate relation between i and buddha or god. there's no need to public express it to show that "i m holier than thou" which usually more aptly become unholier and hypocritical.
emptiness is form; form is emptiness...
you see it holy; it could be seen unholy.