I’m half Buddhist.

“Pap, I’m half Buddhist” declares my son. There’s nothing surprising about this opening statement from a 12 year old, but then he continues to claim that his other half is Christian. I would’ve expected him to announce that he is half-Muslim – considering that his birth mother is of that faith. I certainly didn’t expect this.

When we moved to Colombo five years ago, he learnt the ABC’s of Buddhism. He used to go to the temple with my sister, he was fascinated by the little rituals. He loved to light the oil lamps and joss sticks, he liked arranging the flowers on the offering table at the temple and he loved to sit around the Bo tree scribbling in the sand, watching people chanting aloud. An occasional firefly or a bug would draw his attention and distract him, but he was a well behaved kid once set foot in the temple premises.

Then he moved to Dubai to live with the mother and came back an atheist a year later.

So I wondered how did he become a Christian, out of the blue.

Apparently, every evening he follows his boarding-school mates to the Chapel where he gets a chance to pray. He says he likes to kneel down and ask God for all his wishes to come true.

And he loves the fact that he gets blessed at the end of the service. “Paap, the father keeps his hand on my head and says ‘God Bless You my son, Rafael!’ and it makes me feel good...” he says in a cheerful voice over the telephone as I enquire about his new-found life in the boarding school.

As long as the religion teaches morals and provides him with guidance in life, as long as it gives him hope and instils faith in him, I wouldn’t care too much about the label it carries.

When it comes to one’s faith, does the label really matter? Either way, I’m just glad that my son is in safe hands. ;)


  1. Interesting story. I think you are right that labels don't matter, as long as one ends up knowing right from wrong.

  2. I too am puzzled, more than once, that why someone has to 'belong' to one or another religion. If it is meant to do good, ideally it shouldn't care if someone's in this faith or that no?

    I'm glad you take a more relaxed approach here though.

  3. your little boy is such a sweetheart. wish us adults could hold on to such unjaded purity.

  4. that makes so much sense! super post :)

  5. @JP: my thoughts exactly.

    @Sach: Thanks. I think we have to embrace the new trends and learn to look at the big picture. I grew up in a multi-cultural society, I too had my primary education in a Catholic school, didn’t make me any less of Buddhist. ;)

    @Dandelion: Yeah. We adults learn from kids all the time...

    @Black: Thank you.

  6. I'm with you on the feeling glad he's in safe hands SI, that's the most important thing. I've never really asked my kids what they consider themselves in terms of religion but I think I shall do so now.

    Have a good one!

  7. Thank you RD, you too.
    Yeah, it’s hard to belong to one country, one religion, one this and one that in this day and age – when we are all so mixed up in every which way...
    Must be really tough for our kids - the ‘transit’ generation!

  8. Great post. If more of us take this stand our kids generation will be in safe hands.

  9. Sweet post, SI.
    All religions basically have a sound and virtuous philosophy behind it. I don't think religious segregation is a necessity.
    And it's fantastic that he saw that so young :)

  10. wish everyone thought like this. awesome post btw

  11. @Santhoshi/Sabby/Welcome to Boredom: Thank you, ;)

  12. Echo Jack Point... One of the many reasons that makes me think Sri Lanka needs to have schools where children from all religious backgrounds mix... Sadly this only happens in a handful of schools...

  13. hi...
    I still feel sad because i'm finally realizing that i'm too grown up to walk to the priest after each service to get the special blessing for kids..
    Love Rafael sooo much...Squashi Hugs for him...

  14. @Chavie: STC is one such school - so consider yourself lucky have had that experience. ;)

    @Penny: Hmmm... you can still be ‘not grown up’ in your spirit. ;)

  15. Beautiful story! I think creation of group identities such as Buddhist, Sinhala or "Udarata" occurs mainly in the childhood with the influence of parents and teachers. So is the more sinister idea that ones own group is superior to the other which has led to lot of havoc in the world.
    I think your child is very lucky to be grow up in an environment which teaches to be tolerant to the diversities among human beings! :)

  16. This was lovely :) All religions basically teach people to be good, lawful, honest and kind. So as long as you work on that during your lifetime, the best you can, I think you're good on all fronts.