By Venerable Seck Hong Poh, Resident Monk Buddhist Union

Republic of Singapore

Religion can give a richness to individual life and make a man a better citizen.

In terms of our crowded and restless life, religion could make a man better, both in what he gives to society and what he appreciates in society.

We differ, yet agree on the basic principles of our way of life which reflects the tolerance essential to the vitality of religion.

The strength of Religion depends on the devotion and dedication of those who build, organize and use places of worship.

We should make every possible effort to uphold the value of life for the benefit of humanity.

At the present moment, when the world is suffering from the ravages of war and rivalries between various nations, we must bear the torch of love and brotherhood, so that religion can play its role in promoting world peace.

Primitive men since beginningless time have had an instinctive fear of the unknown. Thus, religion was the outcome of this doubt, superstition, and fear. Therefore, men become civilized and great philosophers were born from time to time to show and teach men the way to evolve. They showed men that if they would give ear they also would reach the goal of evolution. If men would not pay any heed and listen to the advice and teachings of these wise men they would regress and would have none but themselves to blame.

Through the teachings of these great men and the example set by them, moral codes of discipline were set up and arranged so that men could be governed by these codes, and as a result, lead happier lives. These moral codes are to better the lives of people so that not only they, but others that follow them, can lead a much happier life. Thus, everyone would be living harmoniously, peacefully, and happily.

Through religion, a system of ethical behavior will be established. Where a religions system has established itself in a land its ethics have helped bring about stable conditions in that land and under such an atmosphere there will be prosperity.

Science and industry have brought material prosperity to many lands. Should people devote so much attention and energy to the acquirement of wealth and property, and leave aside religion until they feel a need for it?

Man has an obligation to his fellow beings, to the future generations and to himself, and he can learn from religion how to fulfill it, before he has wasted his life and opportunity. It will not be long before people revert to and accept the hedonistic and selfish ideals that life is meant to be enjoyed to the full with eating, drinking, and merry-making and no thought for anything else.

      Imagine the chaos that would arise if such views were to take a hold on the minds of the people. Not only property but life itself would no longer be safe.

      Sometimes we hear derogatory remarks made with respect to religion and its principles. It is to be remembered that religion is one of the main supporters of society. It is religion which has made society aware of the needs of others and to promoted Charity and Compassion among mankind. It is not the role of religion to promote selfish ends. It should be used to generate thoughts of Loving-kindness. Furthermore, no man should jeer at his neighbor because his religious beliefs and practices are not in accord with his. It is better to live in peace and harmony than to have the same neighbor roaming around the neighborhood armed with weapons and with evil intent. Man must use his religion to acquire wisdom, otherwise what a sad future lies ahead for mankind !