On September 16, 2017, Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) participated in an interfaith programme entitled “Beads and Scriptures” jointly-organised by the Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship (Insaf) of the Pure Life Society and the Centre for Spiritual Advancement (CSA). Held at The Pure Life Society building in Puchong, Selangor, the programme aimed to explain the use of beads and scriptures in our respective faiths to promote understanding among various religions.
The Buddhist faith was represented by SGM, which sent a delegation of ten members; Islam was represented by a Sufi group; Hinduism by the Divine Society and Catholicism by the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. There were also representatives from the Baha’i and Sikh faiths.
Each religious group demonstrated its way of praying and reciting scriptures and explained the use of beads and the meaning of the scriptures read. The Sufi group stated that internalising the teachings of Islam and reading the Al-Quran is the believers’ way to connect themselves with Allah. The Baha’i group sang out their prayers accompanied by guitars, believing that all religions come from the same source. They accept that all religions are good for society.
SGM Study Department Leader Tan Kok Leong shared on the pronunciation and rhythm of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, the clasping of hands while praying, the way we hold the beads and how gongyo is performed. He also explained about the meaning of chanting and the significance of the Gohonzon, the object of devotion in Nichiren Buddhism. Following that, all the SGM members present demonstrated how chanting and praying is done.
There are similarities among religions such the spirit of self-pursuit and elevation of one’s belief, purifying oneself and praying for peace and happiness of other people. The SGM members experienced beauty and harmony amidst similarities in diversity in the whole process of interaction.