Today is Duruthu Poya that reminds the faithful that the Lord Buddha came to Sri Lanka over 2500 years ago, to Mahiyangana to intervene or intercede over a dispute amongst the natives of that time, who were NOT Sinhala. How does that tie up with the other tradition of Mahinda, son of Emperor Asoka of India bringing Bo sapling to Sri Lanka many centuries later in the reign of King Devanampiyatissa?
Precisely, it is NOT for us to reason and rationalize, just believe! That is why it is called Religion! Yesterday was both the Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday for Muslims a time of reflection and prayer, and also the Harvest Festival of Thai Pongal for the Hindus. The Russian Orthodox Christmas was just last week!
These beliefs that we indulge in, are fine, as long as we don’t impose it on others as being the path to deliverance. People MUST be entitled to their own, even Atheism and Agnosticism at their peril, but not for others to try to change.
As for me I try to keep my beliefs to myself and not try to preach to those who don’t hold my morality and lifestyle and the resulting belief system. It has evolved from the Religions, I have been bathed in, and grown in and read, and have come to a point of a happy contentment, as to where I have come from, and where I will eventually end up, as well as how I should lead my life in the process before getting there!
I personally do not believe one needs to go anywhere on pilgrimage, except merely for the ride, as a trip for a feel good factor! or to make certain commitments and offerings so one keeps a promise for oneself or another for various expectations, such as a medical cure, or a better future. These are mere rituals, I may or may not indulge in with no expectations given or taken.
For example, I am still wearing a pirith noola on my hand, put on by a priest I don’t know, at a ceremony in November at the opening of a Warehouse, where I cut the ribbon, after the traditional religious rites. I just have not bothered to cut it and as it was tied on my hand with a good heart, wishing me a good life. I will cut it if it irritates me or if I just feel like doing so, not for any other superstition.
If we stop judging others by the outside acts of religious grandstandings, (including acts of preventing others not of your religion from peacefully practicing their belief at a home or hall) and more on their behavior to their fellow man, the world would indeed be better.