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Veneration 2017-06-06T11:38:11+00:00

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Veneration

Posted on 15/10/2012

Veneration

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In this modern age where less attention is placed on faith and religion, those who practice veneration will be blessed.

Veneration not only exists in the religious world; it can also be applied to the arts, a culture, a certain morality or even an ideology such as communism. This allows us

to discover and believe in something of greater existence beyond ourselves, enabling us to attain higher and deeper states of mind. Many people are easily satisfied with just materialistic pursuits and the desire to simply survive in society in a way that will personally benefit them. It will be difficult for such people to realize the happiness and good fortune created by veneration.

The people in Turkey definitely venerate. In the mosques that you see everywhere in each city throughout the country, there is evidence of their reverential worship. I was told that locals visit the mosque five times every day for regular prayer, as well as to intensify their devotion. I witnessed a local man faithfully praying; the look on his face was nothing short of concentration and sincerity.

That immediately reminded me of a time when I visited an elderly woman in Sri Lanka. The devotion and purity that radiated from her touched me deeply and made me realize how blessed and lucky people are who keep some kinds of veneration in their hearts. When another monk and I were invited into the Sri Lankan woman’s home, she stood first in line and the rest of the family behind her according to age. The gentle woman took the lead and knelt down, pressing both her hands on our feet to show her respect. Then the rest of her family followed accordingly. This prostration was the same as “kowtow”, a sign of highest reverence in Han Chinese culture. It is an act of respect that also exists in Thailand – even the King of Thailand performs the ritual when he encounters monks.

It felt as if an electric current ran through my heart the moment the woman kneeled down. She is definitely blessed. Perhaps she may not understand the profound doctrines of Buddhism, and she just held a kind of veneration towards goodness. Her act was so completely sincere and voluntary, that there was a strong power to destroy the hard attachment around ‘self’. While it has always been a social norm for the young to show their respect to the elderly, this Sri Lankan woman demonstrated the opposite when she kneeled down in front of someone who was the same age as her grandchildren. It was difficult to experience this kind of peace and serenity from veneration especially in a country where people are arrogant and egotistical because of their wealth, social position, and education.

I believe that people in Turkey are well aware of the good things resulting from veneration. Otherwise, their faces would not light up with pride and happiness when they speak of Allah. Their faith or their veneration in Allah has given them strong motivation to serve the community and also to live with strong moral convictions. They believe that constant and attentive devotion will bring them closer to Allah, closer to heaven. The principled way of living for my Muslim friends reminds me of the Five Precepts in Buddhism.

During the ten days that I spent in Turkey, it was Ramadan for Muslims. They were forbidden to eat or drink from when the sun rose to sunset. At first, I thought they were only forbidden to eat during daytime for a duration of 30 days, but when I found out that they were not allowed to even drink water, I was in awe. Our two Turkish tour guides took us to many outdoor tourist places in very hot weather. I drank bottle after bottle of water, but still felt that my mouth was always dry. However, our Turkish hosts needed to purchase entrance tickets for us, explain the histories of the places we visited and even to help us take photos, and so on. At first, I did not believe that these two friends would not drink a single sip of water the entire day, but I then realized that this act of fasting was a test of endurance for them. At times, they appeared to be exhausted and sleepy (especially during the hottest time of the day), and I could tell that they had to summon their strength to answer the questions we had. Yet I never saw them display any hint of dissatisfaction the whole time; instead, what I witnessed was pleased enthusiasm.

I believe that after succeeding in such a test of endurance and devotion, the Five Precepts practice would not be anything difficult for my Muslim friends, since I have seen for myself the willpower and fortitude of my fellow Turkish brothers. And, I can also feel that such a nation with deep veneration is soulful (Inner energy), united, and fortunate.

Original Chinese text: Venerable Jieyu

Translation: Zakiyyah Wahab

English editing: Cathy Ziengs

For more articles about Interfaith Travel to Turkey

存有敬畏的人是幸運的,尤其在這個信仰普遍喪失的的時代。這種敬畏不僅僅存在於宗教領域,還可以是藝術造詣方面,或者對某種文化、某種品德或某種思想主義的敬畏,比如共產主義。存有敬畏可以使自我對某一種比自己更偉大存在產生嚮往,比自己更崇高精神產生嚮往,或者是比自己當前心境更高境界的產生嚮往。

很多人滿足於物質的東西,滿足於生存的需要,滿足於欲望的膨脹,甚至於滿足於功利性的虛榮。他們是很難體會敬畏所帶來的快樂和幸運。

土耳其人是有敬畏的,遍佈每個城市的清真寺是他們展示敬畏的場所。而且,聽說他們每天要展示五次來不斷地提醒和鞏固那顆敬畏之心。

那位正在虔誠地做禮拜的土耳其朋友滿臉的嚴肅和認真,讓我瞬間憶起了那位兩鬢皺紋疊起的斯里蘭卡老婦人。這位老婦人是一個三世同堂七口之家裏的長者,走路要彎著腰弓著身子。她神情中所透露出的敬畏和純淨深深地觸動了我,讓我體會到,有敬畏的人是多麼地幸運。

當我和另外一位出家人被邀進門後,老婦人排頭一個,其餘家庭成員按輩分列隊。老婦人帶頭,每個人依次弓腰下蹲,用雙手輕觸我們的雙腳以示尊敬,相當於漢土的叩拜頂禮。這個是斯里蘭卡人對出家人表示恭敬的一種方式,同樣也存在於泰國,連國王見到出家人也要行同樣的禮節。

當老婦人帶著嚴肅恭敬的神情,認真地俯下身的瞬間,我的心好像被電流激了一下,對這種敬畏之心的敬佩和讚歎油然而生。老婦人是多麼的幸運啊!也許她不懂佛法是什麼,單單對善存有一份敬畏。但這份敬畏是自發的,是由衷的,故也是有力量的。它可以摧毀堅硬的自我執著,使年邁的老人跪拜一位跟自己孫子年齡相仿的出家人。在一個以老賣老和自我很容易膨脹的國度裏,這份敬畏帶來的平和和安詳是很難體驗的。

土耳其人應該是體驗到敬畏帶來的好處,否則不可能會是在他們談起阿拉時滿臉洋溢著自豪和幸福。對阿拉的敬畏,讓他們具備了很強大的意志力去服務人群,並操守著良好的生活準則。他們相信更好地去奉獻就會離阿拉更近、離天國更近。伊斯蘭朋友遵守的生活準則也雷同於佛教的五戒。

在土耳其的十天正值他們的齋月,從凌晨三點日出到晚上八點日落他們禁止進食,連一口水也不會去喝。剛開始我只曉得他們三十天的齋月裏白天是不進食的,過了幾日後當我得知他們連一口水也不喝時,我有些震驚了。因為在高溫三十攝氏度左右的乾熱氣候下,我們遊完一個景點接著又是另外一個景點,全天均是戶外活動。我是一瓶接著一瓶地往嘴巴裏灌水,但還是口乾舌燥。陪同我們的兩位土耳其朋友還要張羅著排隊買票,給大家講解,照相等等。起初還不太相信這兩位朋友會整天不進一點水,於是我就稍加留意,我觀察到的是一場意志力和忍耐力的考驗和較量。有時他們會有氣無力,昏昏欲睡,尤其在午後烈陽時段。有時在回答一些隊友的問題時,聲音是從喉嚨裏被使勁地擠出來的。但是沒有見到過他們埋怨和不快,反而是很欣然的熱誠。

我相信經過這種長達30天近乎嚴酷的的考驗,五戒的遵守對他們來說不會是什麼難事的。我親眼見證了土耳其兄弟的意志力和忍耐力,我對此是有信心的。這樣一個有敬畏的民族是有靈魂的是團結有力的是幸運的,這點我領略了。

文:釋戒煜  圖:林苑鶯
2012-10-15

The views and opinions expressed on this posts/pages are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Pearl Institute, its staff, other authors, members, partners, or sponsors.

2 Comments

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