It was such a blessing to have met with my friend, mentor, and brother Rick Chong, visiting from Melbourne a couple of days ago. There’s always something for me to learn from him with each meeting.
Just recently he requested to join me and some friends for Friday prayers. Such a pleasant surprise. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone from another faith attending a Friday prayer sermon.
“That’s because they’ve never been invited to I think” Rick’s reply to my comments on the usual attendees.
So, I brought him out to a local Mosque. He respectfully and intently observed practices that I have taken for granted and showed me his appreciation after we were done at the Mosque.
In return to what little I could share about Islam to him, he enlightens me with concepts of Buddhism that I find so deeply connected to my own faith and worldview. The best Friday prayer session and lunch after I’ve experienced so far. 🙂
The most important lesson from that session I want to apply is to be more proactive to learn from people who are different than myself.
It’s so easy to get trapped in a cycle of getting only negative information about people from another faith group. If ever we find our only comments and sharing about those from another faith group are to ridicule others, it really has very little by the bad act of others, but it has everything to do with our heart’s state.
Every religion teaches us to commit to something higher than ourselves. But, if we play this game of “I get to go to heaven and you don’t”. We’re only worshipping ourselves and our ego.
During lunch, Rick told me that he views all of us as one. That we’re all connected to a source that we would return to. This worldview helps him to think twice before doing any harm to others. For when he hurt others, he would hurt himself.
The only way for us to take care one of another is to love one another. And the only way to love one another is to know one another.
So, one of my first few efforts is reaching out to my friends through this post. If you like to learn more about Islam or anything about my culture please feel free to contact me. If you like me to learn more about yours please do the same.
We need to mobilize ourselves and be active in uniting the people. Because the people who are out to divide us are not sleeping in doing their job.
So, never underestimate the power of a coffee session with people. Communities are built through friendship.