“I walked through the way of Jesus, the way of Buddha, the way of Plato and several other great teachers. I studied the agreements and disagreements among these major religions. Finally, I realized that the final goal is the same – but the road to reaching it is different.” — Star Chang, author, Coming Home
Sometimes when you set off on a journey and discover great treasure, it’s impossible not to share it. Star Chang, a businesswoman who set off on a spiritual search to answer life’s greatest questions, is one such person who felt compelled to share her experience with others. Her book, Coming Home: A Spiritual and Religious Dialogue, is the outcome of her own questions, conversations with others and wisdom gained along the way.
We invited Chang to share more about the inspiration for the book and what she hopes people take away from it, in this interview for the Patheos Book Club.
What inspired you to write Coming Home?
When I saw the economic disparity between the rich and the poor, that life experience lead me to search for a peaceful solution to pain and suffering. After studying the scriptures of the major world religions, history books and spiritual books, I had questions about these various doctrines. I kept on searching and experiencing.
Throughout my spiritual journey, I wrote down what I found. Sometimes a question was rise in my mind: If I have come this far on my path, why don’t I share it with others who are searching for the answer as I am?
Who did you write it for?
Anyone who is seeking ultimate wisdom. This book covers the major world religious beliefs such as Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam and Platonism. It will be a helpful read for those with doubts or questions about these beliefs. The target readers are theist as well as atheist – everyone is welcome.
How would you describe your own spiritual journey, and what is your current grounding as a spiritual person?
I walked through the way of Jesus, the way of Buddha, the way of Plato and several other great teachers. I studied the agreements and disagreements among these major religions. Finally, I realized that the final goal is the same – but the road to reaching it is different.
You chose a dialogue format for much of the book; who are the characters in your dialogues and why did you choose that format to ‘tell the story’?
The questions or issues that I want to address are in many different categories and subjects. By using the dialogue form, it gave me more freedom in addressing the issues and presenting the solutions from various lenses and perspectives.
The characters in the book are chosen from my surroundings, who I have met along my journey, who raised the questions. They also came from the people I met in my travels.
You’re not a writer by profession; what was the hardest part about writing a book?
I know that I am not a professional writer. Before starting to write the book, I kept asking myself: “Do I really want to do it?” The answer is, “Yes. I wish to share what I’ve learned to the people who are also searching for the answer.”
This book was first published in English. The hardest part was that I am not a native English speaker, and I needed to deliver it with precision in English. This book covered many areas, such as Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and philosophy, which need accurate descriptions. That part was the hardest.
What do you most hope people take away from your book?
– Pursue your truth instead of material things. Everything will be gone when we die. We can’t bring wealth, power, status or fame with us. If we know this truth, we will find more peace in our lives.
– The higher is the lower. The higher the bamboo is, the lower it bends. The more full the wheat is, the lower it bends.
– Watch, but do not judge.
– See things through and let them go. There is a proverb that says, “Let go or be dragged.”
– Do your best and listen to your inner voice, or to God, whichever word holds the highest meaning for you. Try your best, and leave the outcome to the highest.
– Be kind to others. Be respectful to others. To be kind to others is to be kind to yourself.
– Empathize. Understanding the positions and viewpoints of others will lead to a better, more peaceful life.
Read an except from Coming Home – and reflections from our religion bloggers – at the Patheos Book Club here.