Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Faith & Salvation

Currently, on the eve of GE-13, Pakatan is unnecessarily embroiled and tied down in Gordian-like knots over a haircut because some lil’ Napoleons (of the mullah-ish variety) had the temerity to impose Islamic rules on non-Muslims.

Like Samson of the biblical Israelite Judges, Pakatan is severely weakened on the eve of battle, all because of the haircut.

Samson & Delilah

I suppose the misogynists can once again blame the politically enervating hair-cut on Delilah's or the Jezebel's, Eve's, Salome's, Lilith's, Ataliah's, Mrs Lot's and her incestuous daughters (ancestors of Moabites and Ammonites, and coincidentally the Israelites' enemies, thus nasty Hebraic badmouthing was in order).

While we non-Muslims consider PAS just over-absorb in matters of a sexual nature, to wit, sex, sex, and sex, they OTOH believe they’re merely doing God’s work, though I suspect, God doesn't want to have anything to do with their unnatural obsession with women and sex.

With a large dose of hubris, they have thus declared their faith and their unswerving holy duty to implement hudud. If you have a mouthful of hair, that's just the initial unpleasant taste of what can possibly come later.

Ah, Faith!

While Science may give us answers to almost all we want to know, it can't assuage/answer our mortal fears, that of the so-called 'hereafter'.

Even in religions which do not recognize the existence of an omnipotent omniscient Creator ‘God’, like Buddhism and Jainism  these religions still attempt to assuage our fears by presenting a train of logical process as to our 'hereafters', a series of rebirths in Samsara, … BUT which belief nonetheless still requires a leap of faith, though admittedly a minor one in comparison to the Abrahamic faiths which demand a gargantuan Grand Canyon-ish leap of faith.

Other religions like Taoism and Confucian(ism) deftly side-skip the issue of a Creator, and focus on Man's obligation and moral behaviour towards, respectively, the universe and society. These ideological approaches save subscribers from the problem of having 'faith' in order to achieve 'salvation'.

Aiyah, those Chinese (like kaytee) are damn tricky ones ler, wakakaka, tap dancing their way around the matter of a required leap of faith.

You can blame Confucius for it, for the venerable sage told the Chinese, “Revere the gods BUT keep them at a bloody distance”.

Wakakaka, good old Kongfuzi (Master Kong) – pssst, the word ‘bloody’ was added by kaytee to spice Kongfuzi’s saying up a bit.


Born 15 to 20 years before the Persians freed the Judeans (Israelites) from their Babylonian captivity, and when the bible was said to be written (during the Judeans’ captivity), Kongfuzi wasn't much into heavy metal theology. The grand old man focused specifically on strong family ties and loyalty, and associated stuff such as ancestor worship, respect of elders (especially by their children) and best of all, respect of and obedience to husbands by their wives, wakakaka.

He was the originator of the saying "Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself".

The other indigenous Chinese religion, Taoism, is often and most unfortunately mistaken with Chinese folk religion. Taoism is not unlike Confucianism or Buddhism, where it doesn't give a fig about an Omnipotent Omniscient Almighty Creator.

It is more into the ethical concept of wu-wei which in simple terms means 'action without action'. Oh, those tricky Chinese again, confusing us.

We are told, apparently, that in ancient Taoist texts, wu-wei is sometimes analogous with flowing water, in particular on the fluid’s yielding nature - water flows but on meeting an obstacle like a boulder, doesn't exert any force but instead yields and flows around the rock – thus, 'action without action'.

Wikipedia has this to say: Taoist philosophy proposes that the universe works harmoniously according to its own ways. When someone exerts their will against the world, they disrupt that harmony. Taoism does not identify one's will as the root problem. Rather, it asserts that one must place their will in harmony with the natural universe.

Thus, a potentially harmful interference is to be avoided, and in this way, goals can be achieved effortlessly.

"By wu-wei, the sage seeks to come into harmony with the great Tao, which itself accomplishes by nonaction."

I am sure you have heard of the popular saying “Be at One with the Universe”. Now, you know where it came from!

I also suspect Taoists were the original Greenies. Once I visited a Taoist monastery in Kunming, Yunnan, on top of Mingfeng Hill, where I found the place to be the most tranquil in my life’s experience. The environment was truly peaceful, soothing and serene.

Kunming Golden Temple

I am not sure whether it’s the fengshui layout of the monastery or the pine trees in its gardens and surrounding areas.

Laozi was said to the founder of Taoism, and Chinese often tell the story of how Confucius, his contemporary (or even junior), deferred often to the Taoist sage and sought Laozi’s advice.

When asked how he wanted to be interred when he passed away, Lao Tze was reputed to have said, “Bury me and the worms get my body, leave me exposed and I would be feeding the birds, so what’s the difference?”

But being the typical cunning tricky Chinese, he scooted out of China to the West (India?) before he died, and was never seen again. Thus there was no body of his to be claimed or fought over for interment.


Then Buddhism came from India to China, and (like most invaders) soon assumed a Chinese character and became Chan (Zen) Buddhism.

Taoism, Confucianism, Chan Buddhism - These three major Chinese religions (apart from Chinese folk religion) share a humanist philosophy emphasizing moral behavior and human perfection.

Humanist philosophy prefers individual thought and evidence (rationalism, empiricism) over established doctrine or faith.

Thus, it’s little wonder the Chinese were more receptive to communism, though, mind you, they have since change their minds, preferring instead the advice of Deng Xiaoping, who said “To be rich is glorious,” wakakaka.

Deng Xiaoping

When I was doing my HSC I recall reading an essay, I think one by Radhakrishnan), on the difference in Indians and Chinese political thinking or thoughts. He wrote that the former was so bound by Hinduism and the caste system that communism had no or very little chance of gaining a foothold amongst Indians who probably (then) needed the social system most, whereas those Chinese who “revere the gods but keep them at a distance” had no problem of faith and readily took on the new ideology of communism.

But back to the issue of faith, all (or most, if you exclude those tricky tap dancing Chinese religions, wakakaka) require some leap of faith, where the only difference would be what quantum of leap, a gi-normous one for each of the Abrahamic faiths or a teeny weeny ‘step over the local longkang’ type of leap for Buddhism and Jainism.

Symbol of Jainism

Ironically, the ones which require huge leaps of faith are the easier religions to follow – just do what you have been told, and you’d be saved – whereas the ones like Buddhism and Jainism are immensely difficult to follow, more so when there’s no brimstone and fire or Nicky waiting threateningly at the end.

As the nun-mentor of my late mum used to tell my family when she came to see my mum, “Buddhism is not a religion of mere following and just obeying, but a religion of doing. One cannot be a Buddhist by just believing; one must live and action the precepts of Buddhism.”

But regardless of gigantic or microscopic leaps of faith, of believing-obeying or actioning, faith in religions in the final analysis is all about saving oneself, of ensuring one's ‘hereafter’ (or 'hereafters' for Buddhists) will be akin to a 5-star international Hotel at Phuket or a 1st class sea cruise hosting a Playmates’ workshop.

To ensure your faith, some religions (surprisingly not Judaism) have old Nicky or Satan (the Syaitan Dr Mahathir said you know), who I believe becomes the unfortunate scapegoat for God’s negligence or mistakes, just so to ensure your faith in an infallible God does not falter.

Yes siree, God has a wonderful job description, namely, “take all credits for the wonders of this universe, miracles and acts of compassion, kindness and generosity, but blame the Devil for all wrongs, disasters and anything you don’t want to be associated with. And if cornered with unpleasant facts (eg. 350,000 innocent Indons killed during the Boxing Day tsunami), use the phrase ‘God works in mysterious ways’.”

Again, the damn Chinese are ever tricky, assigning the job of hell to a (folk religion) god, not unlike the ancient Greeks’ Hades (Romans’ Pluto). Thus a Chinese, who is neither a Christian or Muslim, can’t blame all evils to Satan, because there isn't any Satan. And if you badmouth the Chinese God of the Underworld, you won’t be popular when you meet that divine Auditor, who I am informed, has 36 levels of 'Correction' Halls, wakakaka.

Taoist, Confucianist, & Buddhist Chinese (like non-Chinese Buddhists) have learnt for thousands of years they themselves are responsible for their own mistakes, evils or moral crimes, which fortunately don't include visits to unisex hair salon or attending the concerts of Elton John or Inul Daratista or celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Inul Daratista

Faith! As my matey John used to tell me when my faith in his promise falters, “kaytee, have faith in me, trust me, after all I’m a lawyer.”

Hah, Faith! And who will be saved?


  1. i think "chan" or "zen" is one of the sect, "chan" is the most localise and many thought were actually influenced by Chinese culture and not Indian.

    For instance the poem by Huineng :
    Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree; The bright mirror is also not a stand. Fundamentally there is not a single thing, Where could any dust be attracted?

    I belive the most basic idea of Buddhism among Chinese is Emptiness and Nothingness, hence we cant insult and disrespect buddha. and the sculpture and statue of buddha is just a pile of clay. Hovewer many want to make Buddhism very complicated, and create unnecessary fear and indoctrination for their selfish sake.

  2. Why do people have this obsession, preoccupation with an afterlife?

    People slaughter chickens, cattle, sheep, goats, etc., with nary a thought that these creatures may have a soul, but in their hubris insist that human beings do have a soul that following death will rise up to a wonderful place where there is more than enough to eat and to wear, and everyone gets to live in presumably palatial mansions; and, yes, each of the menfolk comes into possession of a bevy of nubile, perky virgins (one wonders where all these virgins come from and why is there a seemingly endless supply of them?!); and, not to be discriminatory, surely the womenfolk too will each find a phalanx of beefy, half-naked, virile and handsome, romantic young men waiting for her, whereupon she will be swept off her feet, hoisted on their shoulders, marched off into the sultry night to an eternity of ... oh, well, whatever ....

    What if we say that when we die we just turn into nothingness; there's no going to heaven or hell or anywhere. Just like cats and dogs and other living things, so when people die they just totally cease to exist in any form whatsoever. What's so bad about that?

    People are afraid of the unknown, and death is one of the major unknowns. So, stretching back into the dim mists of human existence, in order allay their fears of death and the ensuing unknown, and to comfort themselves, I guess our forebears concoct all these fanciful stories about heaven and paradise and a continued existence in those realms after their time on earth is over. It's all a load of crap, isn't it?

  3. then how come indian who were bound by hinduism n caste sys have no problem to adopt liberal democracy while the chinese not? i think this have nothing to do with religion belief but has everything to do with how both countries perceived the role of the west, and whether revolution is the best option, by looking at what happened in france n russia.

  4. communism, unlike democracy, bans religious practice and won't permit nor close one eye to perpetuation of caste discrimination or oppression.

    Though India theoretically practises democracy and has anti-discrimination laws including laws against caste oppression, even till today it hasn't succeeded in eliminating the social-caste practise and oppression because of strong cultural inertia, and in fact in many areas is very much less than democratic.

  5. In India, West Bengal and Kerala are ruled by communists.

  6. Marxism/communism is supposed to be the overthrow of the bourgeoisie by the proletariat to establish a classless society.

    It actually leaves a dangerous vacuum for the power-seeking members of society to hijack the process and seize power. The rich princelings in China, the Kim family and the well-fed army in North Korea are the new bourgeoisies.

    Marx was naive to think people will behave selflessly like in a bee or ant colony.

  7. Kerala and Bengal have been exceptions, bearing in mind that Kerala has the highest literacy rate (educated citizens) in India.

  8. perhaps u r right, i know very little of india so i wish not to comment further.

    wrt china n religion, i think u r being over simplistic. chinese is superstitious but not religious, ther r basically cultural incline, i guess the reason is china were historically much secular than most countries, partly due to "son of heaven" and "mandate of heaven" concept whereby the "tianzi" (emperor) already act as symbol of god/heaven and thus religion rarely have a crucial role in the administration and governance.

    govt not interfere doesnt meant the people are free from the encumbrance of religious / cultural rigidity develop over time, for instance the confucianism of late sung is a much diff version that treat woman like shit, i think we all learn about stone arch erected in honor of a chaste woman widowed at young age, and the drowning in pig cage. thus i think there is a point of time the chinese especially woman doesnt enjoy the freedom as of today. communism did in some way improve the status of woman.

  9. There was a point in China's medieval history when many people didn't enjoy a lot of things, like decent wages, labour laws, accessible education, etc. Those eras had their social-politico-cultural practices.

    More importantly, all three Chinese major religions were and still are pretty slack (or liberal, if you like). As mentioned, Confucius himself advised "Revere the gods but keep them at a distance."

    So in general (meaning there were some rare exceptions), Chinese were brought up not to be religiously fanatics.

  10. fair enough. i almost want to use the statement "superstitious but not fanatic" but decide not to, seem like u r more straight forward :)

  11. One would have thought that with us coming into the 21st century, with all the modernity of globalization and education and almost instantaneous communication throughout the known world, radicalism in religion would surely but eventually peter out. No such hope....in fact, the level fanaticism we see around us is quite terrifying, like some implacable ever encroaching red (or green ) tide that threaten to swallow up the world.

    May be the Nobelprize Org should introduce a new category award to wipe out this religious/bigotry menace in addition to their awards to those who make outstanding contributions in the fields of chemistry, physics, literature, peace, physiology or medicine.

  12. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2238211/Blood-flows-mosque-floor-Indian-Shiite-Muslims-mass-flagellation-procession.html

  13. A very intellectual read KT.
    I use the Tao philosopy too in my Islamic belief.
    I regard Tao a social science guide book for all of mankind.

    Read more @ http://warongpakyeh.blogspot.com/2008/11/hardying-and-softyang-of-islamic-law.html

  14. why? Didn't God make man different to His other creatures/creations, that man has free will? How can blind belief be free will? It's like threatening everyone with Hell (wakakaka) if they don't believe.

    I don't believe!