This is the sixth in a series of Aniblogger Testimony posts, where select writers will discuss their personal faith. Today’s post is by Canne of Canne’s anime review blog. The previous posts in this series were written by Lauren Orisini, R86, Nikko, Arianna, and Ed Sizemore.
First of all, I would like to express my feeling of admiration towards my friend, Charles, for creating this amazing project. It made me realized how influential my faith was to my entire life. This is something I usually overlook and would never have written about on my own.
I am not a Christian or Muslim. I live in South East Asia and I am officially a Buddhist. But the actual nature of my belief is more complex and ambiguous than that. I am a hybrid of Buddhist and ghost worshipper.
It all rooted from my ancestors. My great grandparents migrated from the mainland China, carrying with them the strong belief in ghosts of the ancestors. They believed that our ancestors were guarding us, their children, and were secretly helping us to get through obstacles in life. We would go to the shrine to offer them foods and luxurious immortal goods like paper money and paper clothes. We prayed for their happiness and their help. Similarly, we also believed in the afterlife. When a person died, he or she continued to exist as a ghost. Some of them would go on and reincarnate into another body while some remained. This was by no means a negative statement. There were good ghost and bad ghost and every other kind in between; in other words, they were like us. This is why I can easily connect with stories about ghost and spirits including several anime like Natsume Yuujincho or Spirited Away.
So where does Buddhism stand for me? Alongside my ghost worshipping, of course. I believe most of you are Christian and are not familiar of the main idea of Buddhism. So I’ll also talk about the basics. Do note that all this is based on my logics and understanding alone and I am not a very knowledgeable person when it comes to Buddhism. The way I see it, Buddhism teaches us to understand the true nature of everything. It does not care much about any particular gods or deities. It does not comfort us that there is a better place waiting for us after death. It tells us that all things change and nothing last forever. We will find true happiness when we realize this fact and manage to let go of all things and possessions. In short, Buddhism teaches me to be realistic and logical, just like science.
So you see that in my soul, there are two completely different things co-existing. I believe in ghosts, reincarnation, magic and miracles. But at the same time, I am very logical and realistic. How did I survive such stark contrast? I did everything both ways. I’ll give you an example. Back in my college years, when the big examination approached, I logically planned my study schedule one year ahead and study really hard. And when I was a few weeks ahead of the said exam, I also went to the shrine and prayed to the spirits that they helped me get through the exam and I would offer them big fancy meal plus big bottle of liquor. The result was that I mostly did great in my examinations.
When I watch anime, I mostly use my ‘spiritual side’ rather than ‘logical side’. I love fantasy and there is no better place to find that than in anime.