I have made it my journey in this life to devote a good amout of my available time towrds the 'right understanding' of the nature of 'God' and Religions having made a simple promise to myself that I would faithfully seek out the answers for myself no matter how or where there are answers to be found for the questions that had been raised in my mind since a child. I grew up a buddhsit while living among the rest of my family and relatives who were Muslims. I was made to attend both the Buddhist saturdays and sunday schools while learning the Koran and attendiong the Friday prayers at the mosque. Religion had meant scorn by peers while i was attending my primary education being accused as a 'Kapiak' (Kafir) because I was exempted from having to attend the Islamic classes and the Friday prayers by my teachers who under the intruction to do by my Uncle, the man who had adopted me. Even as a child i felt I was headed for a big time conflict in my religious and spitirual upbringing and was anticipating when the two major religions that was having a tug -o-war over my soul was going to come into collision. It did come when one of my aunties decided to have me circumcised together with a cousin of mine who is a week older than me.
It was this event that changed my childhood life forever, I hated all that has to with Gods and religions eventhough was still to young and scared to let the world have a peek into how I really felt. The hide and seek i had to play so that the Muslim part of me does not know what the Buddhist part of me was up to. for fear of being treated with redicule and totally ostracised, so I played along with the decissions that the adults in my life back then had come to about my faith and religious understanding. I was taken back by my immediate family, my mother and father, my brothers and sisters who had then moved to Kuala Terengganu. Yes , i was twelve years of age and till this day can never forget the evening my uncle had to break me the news while we were sitting on the esplanande wall at Padang Kota Lama, in Penang. That was the first time i had witnessed my uncle shed his tears from the pain of having to give me up, all in the name of religion!
I held that against God! The Buddhas, the Deities and my teachers and family and friends and whoever else that gave the idea that there was a God, a compassionate being in the form of a Buddha, a Mathatma and so forth, Nnope, I had enough, I had been thrown some crap at my childhood age that some of it had poisoned my mind about faith and belifs, needless to say some of the episodes and events that i faced growing is unmentionable or too painful to share but they were a horror enough for me as i can still remember raising my middle finger at the stars in the middle of the night and saying 'fuck you!". I was worse than an Atheist a some point in my life as I did not only not believe in the existance of a God but I took it steps further and mock God from the depth of my soul. I was young and I was ignorant but I was not stupid!
There is often someone in a person's life who had to be the catalyst for change, th much needed change of attitude or character and mine came in the form of my martial arts instructor, also the Head of the Religious Department in Terengganu back in the sixties. He and his family sort of adopted me and allowed me to come to an understanding of who I was and what i was looking for not only through the learninf of the Malay Art of Self Defence (Silat Seni Gayung), but also through long nights of playing Scrabble games and while at it having deep converstions on matters of life and religion, of politics and women. My master was a very highly well rounded man of knowledge and was both well verse in matters of the material world as well as the spiritual, thinks like and Englishman and teach like a Mahaguru. It was through Pa'Cik Abu Johan's guidance and uncinditional love that I was able to gradually untangle myself from the tightening ropes of hate and dellusions that was poisoning my teenage mind. Through my teacher's acquaintances I was wxposed to great minds of the time such as the Majistrate and the chief of police back then as they loved to play scrabble and were often out ot beat me as my trump card at being able to hang out with these heads of the government department was that I was good at beating them in the Scrabble game! I learned about life and adulthood idirectly from highly educated well respected and feared men when I was a teenager and this included the Late Sultan of Terengganu, HRH Tuanku Sultan Ismail Nasseruddin Shah the grand father to the present King of Malaysia; I was often his Golf caddie replacement and yes we talked when we were walking towards the golf ball and I learned about why there those born to be rulers and those born to be loosers from the Sultan when I was growing up in Terengganu.
There were many individuals that had come to my psycho-emotional rescue and they helped to heal the pain by removing the ignorance and mostly simply by being there and allowing me to pretty much be and become who I am without too much pressure or coercion but with open hearted compassion and acceptance. I began to accept myself better when I finished secondary school as by then I had come to grips with who or where i stood as a young adult, less confused and angry and more in controll of own feelings. It was then that I chose to set upon my journey to discover my stand, my Dharma position, my faith with regard to God and religion. I could have discovered the answers right where I was but the journey as I now have discovered took me aroung the world into many lives and libraries into many mosques and temples, retreats and taverns; I decided to take God by the beard and the devil by the horns... Yes I became known even as the Cheeseburger Buddha at a stage in my life.