Living in friendship with one another PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 24 November 2014 11:36



In a small forum I attended this month the speaker said that if peace is to be established in the Bangsamoro Entity that will be set up as soon as the BBL is passed by the Philippine Congress the residents of the entity will have to live in friendship with one another. This is a statement that need not be underscored. People with different cultural backgrounds need to live together  in a neighborhood for only then can they  get to know each other better and thus walk towards friendship.

This is one reason why I am strongly against the development of ghettos in our city, those neighborhoods which are limited to one ethnic/cultural group, even if this is not done by law. We have to understand that  beyond our immediate neighborhood there is the bigger neighborhood that is our city, in which we all must live in friendship.

But living in friendship with one another is not something that happens spontaneously. Like all good things in life this is something that has to be worked at, something that has to be cultivated. And very often the effort has to begin with the self.

Rather late in my life I began to be aware of  the Buddhist value of mindfulness from my readings. I am no expert in this, mind you, and the best word to describe me in this interest is that I am a neophyte. To a beginner like me mindfulness is that orientation of being constantly aware of the here and the now, open to the who I am with and the where I am at the moment. And this openness to the moment is accompanied   by the desire to do what is right and good.

Now back to living in friendship with others.

With mindfulness we try always to be kind and truthful. I do not mean here that we should be “pc” or politically correct, saying and acting in such a way that we do not rock the boat; we don’t offend anyone, true, but in the process we also come out as insincere. Surely there can be a marriage made between being truthful and being kind.

And this is what I would like to bring up in relation to living together in friendship.  Intercultural friendship is possible but first we need to interact  for it is in interaction that we share ourselves with others.

I have formed special bonds with two Tausug ladies with whom I feel very comfortable.  I can see that their practice of their religion of Islam is such that their idea of prayer is no different from my own and I am a Christian.  Are they the deviants among those who follow Islam? I do not believe so. I believe though that like all good people they “live” their religion, and not simply be labeled as belonging to that religion,  no matter what that religion may be.