To me, in one aspect, the idea of religion is an illusion because the law of karma dominates everybody in the universe and the three worlds, earth, heaven and hell. All the gods also have association in these realms. In a way they all belong in the same world, but religion is divided by the people who attach themselves to one God or one group of gods and follow their teaching. Many people who are religious like to say ‘I am not allowed to worship this, I am not allowed to worship that because I am this and that religion.’ However, that does not apply to me. Even though Buddhism has the Buddha as the centre, and I am very religious myself, however it does not mean that when I go to churches, I feel that I cannot kneel in front of the altar and pray to the gods and saints, like how I did in Ossuary, the ‘skull cathedral’ in Otranto. This 1000 year old cathedral has a sad history as this was the place where 813 Christians were killed by the Turks when they invaded Italy. The Christians were given the opportunity to convert to Islam, however as they did not, most of them were beheaded. The skulls of 813 Christian martyrs were grouped together behind the walls in a church from the year 1480. Pictures of the skulls are not allowed to be taken. I knelt down in front of the skulls and said my compassionate prayer ‘All animals that are friends of suffering, that have birth, age, pain and death together. May you have happiness, do not suppress each other…’ I say the compassionate prayer to the spirits that may still be remaining as some may not have moved on from such a traumatic incident. Compassionate energy is a cool energy which is what the spirits need. Spirits are like us but without the rough body, karn 5, because of that they have no chance to badeebud like us. Their fate goes according to their own karma that they have made in the life they had as humans. Unless a human helps them from the Earth world, they will just be stuck where they are. I don’t mean inside the place where they died (if they have strong unfinished business then they will be stuck, but when they are living in their karma in their afterlife world. This is why in Thailand we have ceremonies like ‘sungrataan’ and ‘tum bunn,’ we partly do it to give to the dead so they can receive the merit in their after life. Spirits have emotion like us, so they need to be lifted in a higher vibration to move on, and the energy from kindness is the energy that leads towards spiritual freedom. When I see statues of Jesus or Mary I kneel down and worship too. Why? Because even when the Buddha was alive, he also had other deities who were culturally supposed to belong to another religion protect him. So why is it a rule not to worship other gods? In Thailand we have some famous shrines dedicated to the gods that are supposed to be from another religions, yet around 90% of the people who go to worship are Buddhists. However, in one another aspect, Buddhism is indeed a true religion in itself, only if you know it deeply and lived in the culture, you will truly understand this.