Life of Pi and I
I went to see “Life of Pi” yesterday with my children. They were happy to see the animals and strange and beautiful scenes of sea life. However they were quite surprised by the reference to God in the movie. When the film’s main character claimed he wants to be baptised, my children laughed loudly. Some people sitting in front of us did not like it. My children are not baptised even though their mother is from Lutheran church. (Christian). I told them they can follow Buddhism and learn Buddhist ways which they do. I also told them when they are grown up they can select any religion and follow that up or stay as Buddhists and I am not going to enforce them to follow strictly one religion. They also study Christianity at their church school and go to church and the temple. I took them several times to a Hindu kovils too. So they have a good understanding of Piscine Molitor’s behaviour in the film. However I still don’t know why they laughed yesterday. It’s perhaps the way the boy Pi said it. They were not baptised and my wife refused to baptise them because most of the parents do that to get a better secondary School in England. So she refused to follow the trend. I am glad she did that.
Anyway thinking about “Life of Pi” I was somewhat behaved the same way even though I was not floating/fighting for life in big Pacific Ocean. When I left for higher studies I was a devout Buddhist and also an avid reader of Marxist literature. First few years in Soviet Union I ditched Buddhism completely and became atheist/Marxist. However after these first few years I was introduced to Russian Orthodox Church by a beautiful fellow Russian student. She went there and I followed. Religion was somewhat taboo in that era and she was quite brave to do that. Then I start studying Christianity and read the bible as well. I was still an atheist but like the somewhat mysterious nature of Russian Orthodox Church. After my studies in Soviet Union I ended up in England. I met few Muslim friends and start reading Quran. They told me I have to read it in Arabic but I was not interested to learn another language as I already could speak in Russian and learning English more thoroughly as my higher education mainly were in Russian. As I understood Quran was somewhat similar to Bible’s Old Testament for a while I read some Kabbalah teaching as well.
Last few years I went to spiritualist church and talked to mediums. Mediums are the people who talked to the otherside or ones passed relatives. I read lot of books on medium-ships and similar paranormal literature. I stop believing reincarnation and karmic theory soon afterwards and stopped believing that one can talk to dead relatives of others or your own. By this time I was engaging heavily in Amateur astronomy and registered myself to study MSc in Astrophysics. Meantime I had (Sometimes heated) discussions with lot of Christian friends who follow different sects like Jehovah’s witness and some other denominations while also reading Buddhist literature.
After all those years later I realised I still like Buddhism because of just one sentence. Buddha said in Kalama sutra “Do not believe religious teachings, just because they are claimed to be true, or even through the application of various methods or techniques” – (ref: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalama_Sutta) . However, I don’t like to be called a Buddhist as that will label you to something. Attached you to something that is against the very much what Buddha said about attachment.
Going back to “Life of Pi” we were all in a big Life Ocean seeking truth. And we always find what’s close to our own hearts and minds as ultimate truth, a prejudiced decision where our parents, teachers and respective societies we used to live in taught us or forced us to follow on.