Buddha was once asked, “What makes a person holy?” He replied, “Every hour is divided into certain number of seconds and every second into a certain number of fractions. Anyone who is able to be totally present in each fraction of a second is holy.”
I was reflecting on this above passage, and was asking myself what do I think about holiness, and I thought to be holy means to be regular for mass, to say prayers daily, to give alms and to read the scripture, so for many years of my life, I tried to be holy, I attended daily mass, said my rosary every day, spent time in reading the word (scripture), went for confessions( where you ask forgiveness of your sins), and once a week I tried to give alms to the needy, I was happy, for I fulfilled all the obligation required by the religion I believed, and I followed a routine, which later on became a habit.
On the other side I gave up watching movies, I stopped making new friends, for I thought I need to always be in the company of believers and I was not really in touch with what’s happening around me. I practiced a religion that separated me from others, people who practiced different faith, and I was content with what I did, thinking I understood the truth, and I have no need to understand other faiths and practices.
This thinking also influenced me in choosing a life partner, I tried to find a “believer” who had the same set of beliefs as mine, and in the process I delayed getting married, because I found difficult to get the kind of person I had been looking for, and finally I had to settle down with an arranged marriage, heeding to my mom’s advice that I was not practical and too idealistic.
Now when I look back, I feel so foolish about my mind set, and my rigidity to believe that the only way to be holy is to practice religiosity, I am still learning to find that holiness is beyond all the religious practice one follows, to be holy means to be human, to be loving, accepting, forgiving and above all open for new experiences in life that can make us spiritual beings.
Today, I do follow a set of religious practices, but I am not very rigid about it, I am more open to meet new friends, I am willing to listen to people of other faith and their religious experience, I value and respect their experiences, and I feel there still so much more for learning, today there is no fixed boundary for my beliefs, I am aware of whats happening around me, and also in me –I have become sensitive to my own internal processes that brings in prejudice towards a certain segment of people, certain cultures, languages and also certain stigmas – I am aware, and I ensure that I do not let these things interfere in my interactions with people, which has changed and made me into a very different person. I see the wisdom of being open to listen and understand another perspective in life.
Now when I read the passage on what Lord Buddha says on holiness, it makes a lot of sense to me, so true, to be holy is to live in the present moment – to be human, compassionate, enjoy and savor every moment of our lives, making our lives worthwhile & meaningful, when I really live in the now, then I am truly holy!
Be Blessed & Be Happy!