Living in New York City, we run into a lot of people have different kinds of backgrounds, culture and values gathered from all over the world.
In my occupation, I am given opportunities to think about religions and our emotional well-being in depth.
And I found myself not so religious though I know that my religious background influenced on my values.
I was born in a very small town in Japan far from Tokyo and my family wasn’t really particularly religious.
I knew that my values are out of standard in a way in the US long time ago and became more aware of my uniqueness since I had a relationship with my ex-husband.
He was an American of third generation grew up in the middle class family in the South.
Of course, you have different values when you are from different country and especially Japan is such a unique country in the sense such as conservativeness and religious backgrounds.
I grew up not knowing about my own religions as a child even though I had first hand experiences in rituals and ceremonies.
In Japan, Buddhism and Shinto are main religions and they uniquely co-exist and often times we don’t distinguish one from another in our daily life.
Information and knowledge in depth of my own religions were earned actually since I lived in the US in order to explain my background to my friends.
It was very interesting to know my own religions in depth anyway.
In the Master program of Social Work, my focus was on clinical social work, which was given to students who wanted to be a therapist.
And I had opportunities to learn how much influences I had from my religious backgrounds on my values and mind sets.
I must tell you that I have great respect to any religions and never be against any of them at all.
As any other concepts and of course religions, if you are saved by them, please proceed. I say, whatever works works!
Some people prefer to seek their peace of mind in religions rather than psychotherapy or any other therapies and I am happy for them.
Most important thing here is that we are happy or not. I mean true happiness, not like some temporary pleasure from some acts or thoughts.
In natural and raw ways, if we feel truly happy with religion or with any other concepts, it is wonderful.
I am going to talk about Buddhism today because it is my background though I am aware of many types of Buddhism are around the world and I am just talking about my own experiences and thoughts here.
First of all, in Buddhism, there is a main concept of reincarnations and we come back to this life when we couldn’t have enlightenment in the previous life.
When we had enlightenment, we wouldn’t have come back to this life.
Because simply this life and I say, any lives in our physical body are trainings. We are being trained to have an enlightenment.
Yes, we failed in the previous life so we are here in this life. And we are absolutely trainees.
Within my knowledge with background of East Asian, training shouldn’t be easy at all.
My American friends who know Japan a little joke and make fun of the culture saying that as trainees, we have to just watch the master’s doing for 5 years sitting behind him/her.
Of course, no question can be asked, probably looking ridiculous for people in the US.
Of course we are trainees in this life because we couldn’t have enlightenment in the previous life so we should work harder this time.
Life itself is a training in the concept of Buddhism so naturally it doesn’t have a concept of enjoying the life.
I will talk more about my experience in tomorrow’s column.
Have a wonderful day!