Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 29

It's one thing to hear from me --I write here everyday, but it's another to hear from my wife. I asked her these questions this morning.

From what you saw and heard, what was the best part of Buddhism for you?

"I think I liked its approach. It seems very real. I always have had "Heaven" and "Hell" in the back of my mind, making me feel pressure or even guilty. This way I can make my own decisions based in reality rather than decisions formed around whether or not I'll be going to "Hell". It's practical."

What improvements, if any, did you witness in your husband?

"George never caused too much trouble, but I was always concerned about his health. He never cared about it before. He would say, 'Oh, I'm fine' or 'Don't worry about it. I'm young.' Of course I worried about it. I'm his wife. Because of his dieting and fasting, he has become much more aware of what he's eating and how he's living. He's really interested in how his behavior will cause me and our future family to suffer. I guess he's much more aware of himself and his life now."

What was the most annoying aspect of the religion for you?

"At first it was the lack of meat. When we would be eating kimbop, he would complain that there was a small piece of ham or crab in there and would push it out with his chopstick. Now, I'm used to it. Also, in the beginning he would talk about things Buddha said and tell me all these things and ways to live, but I never saw him living like Buddha. As time went by, I start seeing his behavior catching up to his words. Oh, and he's still sarcastic."

You went to temple with George all month, were you comfortable in that setting?

"It was different, but not uncomfortable. I was raised Catholic and then changed to Protestantism, so change is not that big for me. I was more interested to see the types of people there and that the Buddhist choir sounded very Christian to me."

George says he will stay away from meat. How do you feel about that?

"I'm very happy about this, but like I said, it was irritating at first. We would go to dinner and he would just eat rice and soup. Most Korean restaurants serve at least enough food for two, but I couldn't eat that much. Now, however, I'm excited about it. With his BP issues and the other benefits from not eating meat, I think he'll be much healthier."

Would you ever consider becoming a Buddhist?

"I don't know. Probably not. I still have Christian beliefs that I can't distance myself from." 

Keeping in mind that the children will be raised in the United States, would you consider raising your children Buddhist?

Hmmm...Well, this is a difficult question. George and I are very aware that our biracial children might have some issues fitting in during different phases of their life. Attending church would help our children and family adjust better, I think. Our kids might evenly appreciate their Korean and American ethnicities or they might reject one, but that's for them to decide. 

Next month is Catholicism, do you think it will be easier or harder for you to adjust to?

It won't be too hard for me. I'm familiar with Catholicism. I know that George is a little worried about the rules once inside the church, but he'll used to it. From what I can tell, Catholicism has less restrictions than Buddhism, so it'll probably easier for George as well. He has to read the entire Bible, though. That's a lot.

And that's it from the wife, kiddos. Any questions for me?


  1. Wow, really excellent reading, you guys! I just have one question... as a former preacher who is now a devout atheist, it is shocking to me that you would "try out" all of these religions. I mean, number one, do you really believe that you can have a meaningful experience in a month of religion? Now, for my part, I think it's all hogwash anyway ("it" = religion or any belief based on superstition and the supernatural rather than reason and observation of nature), so my main question is, "Why the hell waste your time and effort like this when you could probably find something much more productive?" But I realize that's my personal view. So, since I am assuming that you are doing a type of social experiment, can you really expect reliable data and results from this method of testing? I am sure the religious people might say your experiences are not valid since you know you're switching next month... there's an issue of sincerity. At any rate, I really, really enjoyed this read, and I appreciate finding out more about you and Go this way. :D

  2. I am not unsympathetic with what Jarvis wrote and have had the same thoughts about your monthly journeys. In thinking about the Roman Catholic you will "become" in a couple of days, I wonder how successful or authentic you can be without going through the instructional process they require to be able to take communion, etc. It seems like Buddhism has far fewer controls. It is a faith you can just step into by reading up about it and practicing its tenets. It also seems highly individualistic. Not so some of the others, I think. For one thing, I don't think you need to read the entire Bible as a RC, because the priests are there to interpret the holy writ for you. You will need to go to mass, take communion, and maybe go to confession, but I wonder how feasible that will be without being formally confirmed in the Church. As the French say, "reste à suivre" (to be continued).

  3. Jarvis,

    You're right. It is absurd to "try out" all these religions, but absurdity isn't something to run from. People do plenty of absurd things that some might deem as a waste of time. This past month, I spent a ton of concentrated and sober time with my wife and dog. Was that a waste of time? This past month, I reflected a lot on my own life and decisions and made some valuable discoveries. Was that a waste of time?
    This past month was extremely meaningful for me and quite awakening on many levels. I see no reason why every month won't bring such pleasures.

    I also agree that some people might say that my sincerity isn't pure enough and they might call my intentions into question and they have every right to do so. But to them I ask, "How can you gauge faith?" or "Is an epiphany quantifiable?"

    And lastly, this is not a social experiment; it's a personal one. I have no interest in obtaining a shred of publishable data or revealing some never-before-seen aspect of modern religion. That was never the intent.

    I'm simply navigating my way through the complex waters of modern religion. I'm not an ethnographer. I'm simply a curious man who wants to know what all the fuss is about.

  4. I really enjoyed Go's perspective of your journey, George. Gave me a few more details that you had not shared. Continue to share her thoughts also, when you can.

    This experience seems to have been life-changing in month one. What will come next?

  5. I don't think you're wasting time at all. I've really enjoyed reading your adventure over the past month. It's seems like Buddhism cuts out a lot of the b/s many other religions thrive on. It's one that survives on acceptance instead of fear. Where many Western religions teach you to fear God, fear nature, fear those different from yourself - Buddhism seems to encourage you to accept all and treat all with the same respect. I like that.

    I'm interested to see how Catholicism goes for you. You've been surrounded by enough of us to have some insight into the congregation. Are you planning on receiving the Eucharist? You're not really supposed to unless you've had the sacrament of Holy Communion, but you won't hurt my feelings if you do. Just remember to say "Amen" after they say "the Body of Christ."

    You definitely need to experience Confession at some point. Make sure to pick up a rosary and this should help you with the rest:

    Here's the Order of Mass (included are prayers like the Apostle's Creed and Our Father):

    Hopefully these links will help. There are a lot more rules when it comes to being Catholic. I was taught them at a relatively young age, so most are second nature for me.


  6. It's definitely not a waste of time. You seem to have already learned a remarkable amount within the space of a month. Besides, how can anyone really ever know if they can be a part of a faith unless they immerse themselves in it? Nonetheless, I still think you should publish a book at the end of it!

    P.S. I'm no Catholic but I've taken the Eucharist and I wasn't struck down. I also read the whole bible in a very short period of time. Good luck with that.

  7. I have enjoyed reading your posts this past month, i may have missed a few but i am pretty sure i read most of them, this seem like a truly grand adventure of spirituality and personal development. I hope that at the end of your journey you have experienced real growth or found whatever it is that you are searching for. as for me, i just like the good read on a topic that has always interested me. Alsoi agree with Vagabondshandi, can't wait to see The Pious One on the shelves at Borders

  8. I know we're concentrating on the spiritual here but from a natural standpoint I'm glad you've come around in the health department. Does this mean that next time you visit Cincinnati we can share a nice cold glass of almond milk and a veggie burger? No comments, Mom! ;)

  9. If you are serious about being a pescatarian (you're still eating fish no?) I can show you quite a few great restaurants that I've found since I stopped eating meat.

    Beer pong and Vegetable Curry next month?

  10. K & T,

    Almond milk, huh? I didn't know that even existed. The veggie burger sounds delicious.


    Nice. Yes and yes.