Want to reconnect with Church but have Buddhist family - help??

I’m new here and I hope this is the right category.

I’m 22 of Australian-born Chinese background and I come from a Buddhist family. My parents regularly visit the temple (I go with them sometimes). When I was 12, I along with my mum and sister got baptised into the Church with the intention of enrolling at our local Catholic high school.

During my 6 years in high school, I was obviously exposed to the Catholic faith on a daily basis and I (along with a few others) simply ‘played along’ during prayer and mass as we had no solid knowledge of what to do and I kept secret the fact my family were Buddhist from my friends and classmates who were of course, ‘real’ practicing Catholics. I was worried it would alienate me if they found out… it is wrong to identify with more than one religion and I don’t want to continue with this.

Back then, I cared very little about religion and praying. I just played along at the temple as well. However, as the years went by, I started to have a deep appreciation the Catholic faith and felt a real connection as it is the one religion I could understand (since it’s in English) and I have the most knowledge about, as opposed to Buddhism which is in Chinese and I know relatively little about its teachings. I felt I belonged to a strong circle.

I graduated high school in 2009 and since have stopped attending mass and praying (as the only mass I attended was with school). This has made me feel really disconnected and I’m missing something in life, as my faith has become apart of who I am and it reminds me of the connection I once felt with my friends and peers in school.

I have decided for good that Catholicism is the faith I wish to adopt - I have always been telling people I am ‘Catholic’ whenever I get asked despite my family’s background. To me, I don’t consider Buddhism as a religion at all (I don’t hear any mention of ‘God’ from them as far as I know) and the main figure is Buddha (who was a human being) so these past few years, on the occasions I go to the temple with my parents, I go to it as a Chinese ‘culture’ thing in mind and pray with the incense sticks like others.

In the future, if I have children, I wish to raise them Catholic which means breaking from past tradition and taking the family on a new path. Since I want to be a real Catholic, should I break myself from Buddhism completely or can I incorporate parts of it as merely a “cultural” thing? Can one live both beliefs in harmony? There are times where my mum says she agrees with some teachings of Catholicism (she has attended mass in Vietnamese before). Should I try to sway her into giving up Buddhism too?

Last night on Christmas Eve, I took my parents out to see the Lights of Christmas show at St Mary’s Cathedral and we went inside for a quick look. I then took the opportunity to ask if they wanted to stay back for midnight mass but they declined, which really disappointed me as we walked back out. I wanted to stay back and/or attend the Christmas mass at my home parish the following day instead but I don’t want them to wonder ‘what has gotten into him’ since I have never really showed any interest in religion (what they think at least).

What are some things I should do to if I wish to reconnect with the Church? I feel I do have bits and pieces to patch up. Should I come clean (after all these years) and tell my close friends from school the truth?

Thanks for reading this and I wish you all a Merry Christmas. God bless.

Hi Danz91.

I am new on this forum and did actually only intend to answer on little thread and then leave but now I find I get caught in others as well.

I am born a Sri Lankan Buddhist and I think I understand your question somewhat. In Sri Lanka buddhism and christianity is not only a question of faith but also a cultural belonging. I guess it is the same with you? But it is still hard to understand all the implications of you comming clean with your family and friends.

It sounds like a very big deal to you? Why is that? Do you expect them to be disappointed?

Never the less I would suggest you do tell your parents about it at least and if it was I making the decision in Sri Lanka I would tell my friends too. I guess I would expect some friendly “Oh noo’s” and maybe ome banter after, but they are family and friends after all and as such they would (and should) accept my choice.

I know that I would like my sons to tell me if they had something heavy weighing on their minds. Its good not to have such things between yourself and your family and (true) friends.

I hope you appreciate this advice from a buddhist. Viewing it from the “other side”.

Cheer up! It is never as bad as one thinks when pondering things in the loness of ones gloom.


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