I am faced with a very serious conflict. My dad is a believer of the Cao Đài faith, while my mom is Buddhist.
When I was young, I used to come to a Cao Đài temple to make contributions. Occasionally, I would also follow my mother to the temple to bow to the Buddhas.
As I grew older, I no longer frequented the Cao Đai temple and would accompany my mother to the Buddhist temple on mid month days of the lunar months.
In my dreams, I often see myself flying in the sky, walking on water or the tips of grass blades. At times, I would dream that I was at the Cao Đài temple but it was as if I was an invisible presence because no one paid attention to me; I would hang out there but never could participate in any full ceremony session there. Sometimes, I would dream of the Buddha and GuanYin Bodhisattva: I would then kneel in front of them and recited the Buddha’s name.
Now, I wish to take refuge with the Triple Jewel but my mother would not hear of it and wants me to follow my dad’s faith. While I have faith in both religions but I prefer to be Buddhist.
Please kindly advice what I should do?
Thank you very much!
My teacher, the late patriarch, Ven. XuanHua, says that all religions are not outside of Buddhism.
That is because:
- Fundamentally, all religious faiths advocate goodness. All the goodness taught in other religions is encompassed in the Buddhist goodness.
- Buddhism is all encompassing.
- He no longer discriminates.
Since you are not yet non-discriminating, I’ll propose the following:
- It is very good to have a religious faith. It provides balance in life. For example, I really like the fact that the Catholics go to church on Sundays because it helps them touch base with the inherent goodness in them instead of spending that time plotting to serve their insatiable egos.
- Since you are still living at home, it is not advisable to go against your parents’ wishes. If you feel that strongly about acting on your religious beliefs, why should you even become Cao Đai at all? Just keep the status quo since both your parents are OK with it.
- You could become Buddhist after you moved out of the house and asserted your independence financially. There is no rush, is there? As long as you stay on the good side, then you are acting like a Buddhist already. The Buddhist practices discreetly: they do not advertise themselves.
- After you’ve asserted your independence then it’s time for you to begin to gently tell your parents about your desire to not ever force religious faiths onto your children and that you will respect their choices for religions.
- Make sure that your potential spouses respect your personal faith. Those who have little respect for religions are not good mates in the long haul. Most of them make for very poor parenting as well because they are not good role models for the next generation.