California Catholic Daily reporter, Mary Rose, visits a California college each week and asks students about God, good, and evil. Interview with Iris, who is studying art, in the L Quad at De Anza College in Cupertino on October 21, 2019.

Do you consider yourself religious?

Iris: Yeah, somewhat. It’s a daily life kind of thing. I’m not super into it, but because my mom believes religion, I kind of just follow the ways of the religion. It’s Buddhism. My mom tells us stories based on our religion, sometimes it’s pretty calming. It makes us think differently, I guess makes us think more. We just do daily life stuff. We do everything normally, but sometimes we go pray. 

If an atheist asked you why you believe in God what would you say?

Iris: Personally, I wouldn’t mind if they don’t believe. I’m not sure what I would say to them. I feel like they could believe what they want to believe. They don’t have to believe that there is God.

Do you think there’s evidence for the existence of God?

Iris: Not really. It’s hard to actually have evidence. It’s more just what you believe in. Just what you want to believe in.

Do you have a moral code based on Buddhism?

Iris: No. Not for us. We’re not really into it. We believe in it and we listen to classes about it.

Do you believe in an afterlife?

Iris: Yeah, I do. I personally just believe in everything because I don’t feel like there’s a harm in believing in anything and I feel like it’s pretty interesting to know about what happens after we die. Yeah, I believe in it. Buddhism teaches that, based on your whole life, people go to the different depths of hell based on what bad stuff you did in life and, for people who did good, it depends on how good you do, also, it goes up into heaven and how far into heaven you go.

How do you decide what’s good and what’s bad?

Iris: I would say definitely just in our daily life, crimes. Different crimes that would be considered bad for us. I think it would be considered bad after you die, too. Because you killed someone or something, that would be bad, and maybe how many you killed it would be worse. It’s kind of like crimes. Or just even little things like littering or stuff like that, it adds up.

Are those things bad because they’re against the law or because of something else?

Iris: No, it’s because I guess it affects other people. These things affect other people in a negative way. That’s why it would be bad.

How is a Buddhist supposed to live their daily life?

Iris: For us, we have to be kind. Of course there’s different ways of being kind, but you just try to to smile more to make yourself feel better and also for other people who see you, so they don’t think bad of you or maybe that can brighten up their day. Or help people when you can. You don’t have to get anything back but just help people and it should make you happy, too. And of course everybody knows it, but treat people how you want to be treated. Also don’t really go judge people. Everybody’s just human and they have their own personality. We don’t really know much about people so we shouldn’t go judging and stuff like that. That’s basically our mindset.

California Catholic Daily exclusive by Mary Rose.

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