February 15, 2011 in How does Memphis test your Faith? What gives you faith in Memphis?, Question of the Week by Candia Ludy
How does Memphis test my faith? Buddhism is the fourth largest world religion, practiced by 5.84 percent of the world population, and is over 2,500 years old.
Recently, in a legal matter, my being Buddhist was referred to as the elephant in the room. At the time it was said, I had the feeling that being Buddhist was in line with alcoholism, illegal drug use, physical and mental abusiveness, and non-traditional sexual orientation.
I have been asked by three people who came to study meditation not take pictures of them because they feared losing their jobs. Others have spoken of hiding their Buddhist practices from family members, their children being teased at school, being the center of jokes, or causing worry and concern that they had joined a cult.
What gives me faith in Memphis are the people who steadily come to study meditation. Often they do not wish to change their religion. They want to have a calm mind, an open heart, and a direct connection to their spiritual path. They have been reading books by Buddhist authors and feel the tools offered will help them and so they come to ask questions, find a group to sit with, and a place to talk openly.
My belief in Memphis grows as I am asked to join in interfaith services and find more and more Catholic, Protestant, Islamic, and Jewish congregations, along with religious and secular service organizations, open to self and inter-group dialog. We meet in our belief in service to others and a deep wish for peace in ourselves, our families, communities, and the world.
I have not done a street poll to ask Memphians, “What is your view of Buddhism and Buddhists.” But I would be interested in hearing what readers of Faith In Memphis think — honestly but with gentle speech — about Buddhism and Buddhists.