I made a very conscious reflection on this…
I visited one of the Buddhist temples in the Philippines, which is the Manila Buddhist Zen Center in Silang, Cavite and was impressed at the scenery and silence of the place. There were also rules that my friends and I cannot walk at the center aisle but on the sides instead. It was funny that while walking on the sidewalk, I was thinking hard about this rule. We approached the main temple and I paid my respects by taking off my shoes and kneeling down and bowing. I also donated some cash in their donation box because we visited the place and for me, it was a way of showing my appreciation to their religion and place of worship. We took pictures (without flash, glad it was a sunny day), one of their rules is that you can take pictures but without flash. This rule also had me thinking. The place was perfect for meditation and I am very amazed at how the place was maintained, well-cleaned and well-preserved.
I am a faithful believer of Catholicism that’s why I had to help my priest friend in promoting his parish, San Isidro Labrador and also I took a picture of one of my visits to my former school, University of Sto, Tomas, their chapel being Santissimo Rosario University Parish. In Roman Catholic practice, we can walk in the center aisle and genuflect to pay respect on the cross of Christ. There were no indications as to turn off the flash in taking pictures but in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of course, it is your discretion to turn off your flash and focus on the celebration, not to mention, it is strictly prohibited to have your cellphones ringing and buzzing all the time at mass, which for me is a good rule, as cellphones “destroy” your ability to focus.
It had me reflecting…
Buddhism is a religion where practices were based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, their BUDDHA, which is their “awakened one”. It centers on the teaching of the FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS, where summarily explains suffering causes and solutions. Buddhist countries are China, Vietnam and South Korea. Formal membership lies on lay principles of the THREE JEWELS: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
Roman Catholicism is part of the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ which is Christianity. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, was made Man, the “Chosen One”. The life of Jesus Christ and His teachings can be found on the FOUR GOSPELS of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which can be referred to in the HOLY BIBLE. Formal membership to being a Roman Catholic will be through Baptism and from then on, through the Sacraments of Confession and Confirmation can one attend the Holy Mass, a rite where the Priest of Christ celebrates. The SEVEN SACRAMENTS are signs of grace which a Catholic can perform as part of the symbol of loving Christ.
The differential aspect of this two religions had me comparing one from the other (just a reflection). Catholic practices now should be well implemented. It saddens to see that some of the youth of today who are Catholic are so engrossed with popularity and are focused on activity-based culture and not on the religion itself. We can see how some are active in church “palaro” or church “meetings” but do not go to mass where the banquet of Christ is being celebrated. Some just walk in the center aisle and do not genuflect at all! One of my friends in Facebook, Stephen Rili, has the same sentiments and he said, “Really disturbing. Yun ngang magandang gawi dati na we acknowledge first the presence of the Blessed Sacrament by making the sign of the Cross or genuflecting before sitting ay pawala na.” (really disturbing. The beautiful practice we acknowledge before, by making the Sign of the Cross and genuflecting before sitting down is now on a decline). In visiting the Buddhist temple, it helped me gain appreciation to the traditional practices of the Catholic Church and it inspires me to let others appreciate it too.
The Roman Catholic is a beautiful religion and just as the Chinese and Korean people continue respecting and practicing Buddhism, we must also change our ways in respecting and practicing Christianity.
Bring back the beauty and power of the Sign of the Cross and genuflection. After all, we love Jesus Christ, don’t we?