Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Ramadan 2003: Day #3

"Five Not Three"
Combining a Buddhist tale, a reflection on "Salat", the three Muslim contact prayers, and a reflection on "Three days" to the Christian view of the resurrection, an interfaith synthesis is attempted through Japanese Haiku.

Day Three: October 29, 2003
Five Not Three

There’s an old Buddhist tale about a group of monkeys, whose master offered them three nuts in the morning and five in the evening. The monkeys complained, so the master offered them five in the morning and three in the evening. The monkeys went away satisfied.

For the passed two days, I have marked three prayer times (rising, midday, and evening) eating one meal in the evening after evening prayer. I knew that for Muslims there are five not three Salat, or daily Contact Prayers, but was rather surprised to learn that the day’s fast is broken after the fourth daily prayer, meaning that fasting actually ends earlier than the regimen my schedule had adopted (i.e. after 7 PM the first day, and close to 11 PM last night!)
So—after feeling rather silly about my naïveté and sharing a good laugh at myself, I have this reflection to offer today:

On the third day, is the birth of the Christian faith, which any cursory look at Christian history will tell you is too short to fill up a witness to an empty tomb. To have looked at the two days prior and to take that radical step forward in faith, is rather—incredible!
At the same time, I must admit that this three-fold view of the world, points out my contemporary impatience, (or a compressed simplification of time) for Ramadan is as long as a month, but as prayerfully simple as the day is long.
Today, I am aware of the prayer outside myself. Though it is often hard to hear amidst the noise that envelops me and draws my attentions towards other areas that do not offer gifts. Yet today, I have received gifts, and I bring them forward in faith.

A Muslim parable was told to explain the importance of daily prayers:

A Lord gave 24 coins to each of his two servants, who he was sending on a journey to a faraway place with instructions that they could use the coins as they wished. There was a station one day’s journey away, from which one could take a horse or carriage, or even a car or plane to the journey’s end.
One servant arrived at the station having only spent one coin in the past day. The other servant arrived later having spent all but one coin on frivolous activities. The first servant encouraged the other to spend the last coin on a horse or carriage, saying, “Perhaps when you arrive, the Lord will take pity on you otherwise you will have to walk on foot and it could take days, and you might starve.”

There are 24 hours in a day.
At the station between life and death,
The coin of prayer is our Third Day.

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