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 4

Last night, I decided to surprise my wife after work. I used to do that kind of stuff all the time. I remember taking the subway for nearly an hour just to meet her after class (she was a college student when we met). Now, I never do that kind of stuff and that's too bad. She's riding her bike to work this month because I'm choosing not to use any motorized vehicles and therefore can't shuttle her around on the scooter. I can, however, meet her with my bicycle and together we can enjoy riding our bikes. I did just that last night and even added the dog into the equation.

I arrived at her office a little earlier than planned and was going to have to wait for a few minutes until she could call it a day. Well, those few minutes turned into thirty minutes which burnt through most of my patience. By the time she came out, I was more irritated than anything and the entire "surprise" was useless. I had pure intentions, but my own frustrations ruined the whole damn thing. What a shame, but it made me realize that I need to get back to my Buddhist practice of meditation. Luckily for me this month, Quakers also treasure meditation. In fact, many Quaker Weekly Meetings take place in total silence. 

The ride back home calmed my irritated nerves a bit. Riding a bike with my wife and dog is a great experience. My wife leads the way with my dog following closely and, of course, pulling me along. He will literally follow her in any direction she goes. No matter who absurd the route or course, he'll stay directly on track. It's pretty classic to watch.

We got home and I decided that I needed to meditate. I didn't think meditating for an hour would be much problem for me. After all, I did it plenty of times a couple months ago and I've read the Bible enough to be able to manage the underlying message, but there are a few core differences that I'm still trying to ease into. 

  • Each person has an inner light (part of God's spirit) inside them - so there is a unity between all human beings

  • Spiritual truth can only be known through direct revelation from God

  • God continues to "talk" to people today

  • Conscience gives a guide to conduct

  • The Bible is not regarded as the only guide for conduct and belief

  • Doubt and questioning are valuable tools for spiritual growth

  • All human beings can have a direct experience of God - they don't need priests to help them

  • There is good and evil inside all human beings, and all human beings can choose between them - everyone has the power to choose good over evil if they really want to

  • Christ's life demonstrates the full truth of God

  • Quakers do not agree on what happens after death. Some believe in an afterlife, some don't.

This is an interesting list and I guess I should make it very clear that not all Quakers follow the same set of beliefs or rituals. For instance, there are different Meetings all over the world. In the US, the Ohio, Iowa and North Carolina Meetings are very conservative. It would not be unheard of to spot some old-fashioned Amish-looking clothing in such a Meeting. I don't know what the Korea Meeting is like yet. This list is from the BBC which was taken from the British Yearly Meeting. It's unofficially official. 

And I like this list a lot. I dig the idea that the each person has the inner light within. That reminds me of the Buddhist belief that everyone has the capacity for Buddhahood within them as well. I certainly agree that conscience gives us a guide to conduct as well. One of those two little guys on our shoulders -regardless of physical manifestation- is usually giving us some good advice. I like their take that the Bible and priests are not the only way to understand God or have a relationship with him. This is important to me because I felt that Catholicism was essentially spoon-feeding spirituality to me whereas Buddhism revealed itself as more of a preferred path. For true spiritual growth and harmony, I feel that silent reflection rather than recitation leads us -or maybe just me- to a more pious existence. 

Organizing all of that into one single prayer is pretty difficult. Again, the struggle of trying too hard to pray or meditate correctly comes back from April's troubles to haunt me yet again. This months god seems to be a distant cousins to last months as the Bible has been downplayed in order to push the Quaker belief of equality and oneness. 

I tried to meditate, but the messages at this point are still too unclear for me to channel Quaker energy into a meaningful connection with the spiritual world. I have a lot more reading to do and even more searching for Korean Quakers to continue. 


  1. I am still trying to visualize how you do this dog, wife, and you biking thing in a huge city like Seoul. Unless the dog has its own bike, I assume it is running along beside you. Sounds dangerous.

  2. HA! We'll have to take a picture for you. The wife rides about a bike length in front of mine. The dog runs between us and is on his leash which is connected to a harness and my left hand.

    It's not the safest, but these are the times that ęł  and I will look back and really treasure.

  3. You are absolutely correct...these are the times that will be forever in your mind and heart. I would love to see the sight!

    So are there levels of Quakerism like Judaism...orthodox, reformed etc?