Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Religious Humans & Humanised Religions

Dr. Daisaku Ikeda presented his annual Peace Proposal titled "Humanizing Religion, Creating Peace" on the founding anniversary of the Soka Gakkai International, 26th January. One can read the entire text here.

While I have not read it through thoroughly, I have certainly taken time off to read the synopsis. It is another monumental effort by Dr. Daisaku to guide the world into perceiving the fundamental element of this human platform - practising religions and their spiritual ideologies, to the correct path of acknowledging 'humans' as the rightful centrality.

Incidentally, six months later, one Buddhist priest, who is the head of several temples here in Singapore, Hongkong and Malaysia, and who is also holding executive positions for five other charities, is charged today for four counts of criminal offences, primarily involving contractual lending of large sums of money supported by purportedly falsified records.

It is a case too many, as the case of former National Kidney Foundation chairman, charged and imprisoned for fabricating false invoices for misleading the multi-million organisation and committing uncharitable acts of extravagance, still linger fresh in the minds of many ordinary Singaporeans. The common folks walking on the streets could not be more heart-wrenched, given the fact that they were the ones who forked out that very precious dollar or cent in donating to the temple for a simplest wish of wishing well for oneself and the world.

Coindentally, echoing this unfolding, dramatic episode from afar is the foreign news of the first visit by Pope Benedict XVI to Australia. Though the fervent heat of welcoming him to this land of migrated Aborigines is strong, the protests against clergical sexual abuses accompanying the cheers are equally rousing and seizing. In a single event of historical significance, both the visitation and confrontation possess unprecendented brilliance in their own rightful manner.

As this post is penned, the Venerable has been charged in court, placed on bail pending trial, while the honorable Pope, in the midst of his religious address, made an abrupt deviation from his prepared script and, on behalf of the many priests who have had abused their statuses and power in abusing their young faithful believers, many whom looked up to them with utmost respect and sincerest trust, offered his long-awaited apology to victims and their families.

It is no doubt a strange union of charity and religions at this instant that one comes to be awed by this strange coincidence. The weakness in the human hearts, for charity and toward religion, is critically magnified and amplified in these simplest two cases of mismanagement and cover-up - it is a soft-spot lied in all of our traditional beliefs and conventional logic, where we come to formulate the most-accepted perspective that a charity leader cannot do wrong, and that a religious leader cannot be fallen. It is in fact a universal, in-born desire to see that kindness will reap goodness, compassion will sow beauty, and justice will bring forth the truth.

From this silent yearning which springs from the depths of our lives since day one comes the actions of donating that very single cent to the charities, and entering and committing whole-heartedly to the religious institutions. In the endless cycles of life and death, human beings actively seek out to fulfill that unseen yet tangible, compelling inner call in doing good to others presently, while seeking out a higher order in wishing their lives to return the goodness to them in future. It is a humanistic river of conscience and consciousness running at the most fundamental level of our lives, connecting us all and relating to us in unity. It is thus of no modified or pretentious presentation in any way, but that of a genuine, outright and straightforward sentiment found in the every sincere donation when the donors brought forth their notes and cents to these organisations. They truly wish for their own, as well as others', lives to rise and shine with brilliance of happiness.

However, in both the context of history and current affairs, they have taught and shown us that it is the leaders living and breathing on this Earth whom will and shall determine the direction, and consequently the fate, of the groups and organisations they are leading. It is ultimately a question of whether the leaders themselves have fought hard against their own devilish forces of greed and lust for power, fame or status, and in furtherance whether they have allowed these forces to seep out of their bodies and slowly mutating into the organisations' organs.

SGI President Ikeda, in his latest Peace Proposal, explicitly and openly pointed out the one single most important primal point for humanity - the revolution of every aspect of our human civilisation around the one single core, which is by and large, humans. As he rightfully pointed out humanity has lost sight of this most important focus point, and in the context of religions, such loss-sightedness is even more blatant as religions, the foremost enlightened platform in the entire human world, has been degraded to be a machinery for corrupted humans to exercise, perform and achieve their own personal agendas and objectives. Humans in these religions are no longer humans; they have lost sight of their own humanity and thus their own identities as well. Instead, humans in these groups become subservience to their organisations, and in the end no longer is 'happiness' the central core of these religions anymore.

Enhancing this vile cycle is the hopelessness and hedonistic principles ravaging humanity's lands. Against this disorderly state, religions with ulterior or personal motives sprout and seize the chance in seizing humans by their thoughts and actions. They successfully created a legion of faithful followers where they would carry out activities not with the aim of achieving human happiness but chaos and suffering. What we are witnessing around the world, as of today, is a testament presented clearly by Dr. Ikeda. It is an urgent call to the whole human race in returning to our inner primal point of re-discovering our humanity. It is from here that all others matter, and all else spring from.

This post has been deferred time and again. On this morning of 08/08/08, where it is by the hands of fate and chance to be once every hundred years, I muster up my courage in facing this long-overdue post and gotten myself determined into completeing it. While the post maybe disengaged in some parts or another, I know I have connected one part of me with another, and traveled deeper into my own being into perceiving and understanding myself a little more.