Having many friends from different countries may benefit us in many ways. The more, the merrier, isn't it? Along with it, cultural interaction and also friendship grow as we communicate on a daily basis. No matter what the difference is - age, sex, gender, religion, or beliefs - interpersonal interaction is inevitable. Conversation may vary and bring us into wider life perspective and as a result, we will have more open minded personality. We will become more tolerant towards diversity. In a country where i come from, unity in diversity is the founding father's principle which has become less applicable in practice recently. You know, [some] people. When minor difference on skin, belief, and social status can be major issue in your country, you will know that some people are trying to coerce the homogenization of ideas and identity. It's politization also playing behind the curtain. Yeah, it's so sensitive i won't go any deeper.
Aside of it, i love interfaith dialogue which seeks no absolute truth but rather harmonizing values that can bring more significant understandings within the self. I think it can mediate the different norms existing that perpetuate harmony and tolerance in society. This morning in the class, i had very interesting conversation with my friend. Not actually interfaith dialogue but in a way, we understood that each of us has value that coexist with each other. She is a Bhutanese and very friendly. She sat next to me for lunch and i started small talk:
me: Anyway, do you understand our last lecture? I am really confused back there but you seem understand very well in the front.
her: No, i actually don't. You know, academic is not my first priority.
me: So why are you even here?
her: I need to sustain my life.
me: You believe in carnation, and i think i must be done many sins in previous life since i feel so stupid in present life.
her: Maybe. But nobody knows what we have done in previous life. You will be born and reborn in the next life as the consequence of your deeds in present life.
me It's quite scary. I'm thinking Journey to The West which brings in this Pig character whose karma is really bad and he must live thousand life cycle to free himself from love and desire. Have you ever heard about it? [now, i know why i like Patkay more than Go Kong anyway]
her: i think i have. It's quite true somehow. In life we know we have desire, lust, obsession, and so many emotions that keep us from being liberated.
me: yeah, we are attached to the world and we love it. How do we liberate ourselves anyway?
her: that's why love and other emotions can halt us. Once you have one. You want more. And once you have more, you want more more. Many friends want have PhD after completing this course, but not me. I just wanna go home and have a very nice life with my family. To liberate ourselves, meditation is one way.
me: like going to the mountain or somewhere placid and calming? you know, some of my family are Buddhists. And i read novels with Buddhist values inside of it, i am finding that the locus is on the balance of life. Anyway i don't have any obsession at least yet to purse PhD after this. I wanna go work and start my own life back home.
her: Meditation is not always done in mountain or even temple. It can also be done here, in the class. Everywhere, everytime. Even if when we talk, we can meditate. Surely, it requires a very high skill of meditation level. And i'm not capable of doing it. Actually what you read about those values are not the essence of Buddhist, surely it is Buddhist value but to really know about it, you can't only by read. Even my master needs to whisper to let me know about it because it is secret and sacred.
me: How do we even meditate in such a noisy place?
her: Every person has different meditation. Buddhism is not always being a vegan and meditating in a faraway places. Some may need to do it, but some may need do meditate in their noisy room, crowded place, and when talking and interacting with people.
Do you know what you're gonna do after this course?
me: what a question! Ha. Well, i don't actually know what i'm gonna do but i wanna be useful for others.
her: you should know the intention of what you are gonna do. Is that because you just wanna be useful or your soul needs it.
I know when she mentioned meditation in noisy and crowded place, we were talking the way to have inner peace. Everybody needs it and must deal it in a different way. In Islam, there is a sufism that points out the schooling of life and detaching ourselves from worldish matter.
Talking about interfaith, i have watched one good independent movie that depicts the reality of having differences. Cin(t)a. It's introducing us that tolerance begins with understanding each other's differences. It's not everyone's fave but surely it is mine.
Having tolerance towards difference is not easy to do, it takes time and also contemplating. Not about people's values but also their traditions, cultures, and also personality. It seems we shred a thick wall inside of our brain in order to gain complete knowledge about ourselves. Because when we understand each other, we are being brave to understand ourselves. There're scattered pieces of us spread in people and we need to have that by interacting with them, by experiencing.
Anyway, me and her needed to break the conversation because the class was starting in minutes and i needed to sholat beforehand. Yes, she is friendly and open minded. I like to talk with her about life and philosophy. She reminds me the purpose of me being here. I know it's not a mere academic study. I'm feeling like i'm here for something greater. Some times, things that appear to be the purpose are not the only purposes that are visible. I am like having vibes and directions to meet people, to experience many things. Happiness and sorrow. Laughter and tear.
One thing you have to remember as i keep in my own mind is that, you're there for something, you're doing something for some purpose. Maybe you haven't found it yet or maybe you have to fetch the purpose itself, but not matter what, your existence is way bigger that what you might think :)