Thursday, July 7, 2016

Statements regarding "God" concept


Unedited:
Hi Justin
I really liked you answers, many of them thoughtful and have answered many questions I had.
However one question I like to ask is concerning the Buddha's statements regarding "God". The culture of that time was predominantly Hindu culture with its Hindu gods. Now how is that beleif system different from the Christian concept of God, and do the Buddha's statements about the Hindu gods apply to the concept of the Christian God? Or is he taling about the
religion of the day?
My comment:
Hi "whoever you are",
Since the monotheist religions always claim that their respective Gods are the Only true God, then we can easily conclude that whenever we discuss the concept of "god" in our own interpretations, the "belief system" will automatically be different from their beliefs. So there is no issue on arguing, and trying to convince one another of each claim. To put it simply, take the Christian God; they believe that this is the Only God. But ironically they cannot register a "copyright" to this claim simply because they themselves have not seen it and can only describe in their own way. Same as other monotheistic religions. If there is really only One God, then only one of that type of religion can be right! But is there such a God?
To the Western mind, when the concept of god is discussed it is inevitably linked to the Christian God. But why must this be so? Before Christianity came into being, the Asian people had had already their concept of spiritual beings and gods. So why must we always bring the Christian God to compare and confuse ourselves? If one wants to believe in the Christian God so be it. It is a sheer waste of valuable time to compare or to rationalize and hope to find a common solution that what one believes is passable or agreeable with someone else's God.
Coming back to your question, the Buddha existed long before Christianity took roots. So of course he was referring to the Indian belief system. What the Buddha said about "gods" had nothing to do with the Christian concept. For the lack of a better English term, the word "gods" is used when the Buddha talked about terrestial beings. The closest to the Christian creator God is the Hindu god "Brahma". These terrestial beings have some powers over worldly affairs, and they may help or hinder human interactions. That's all. A better term for these "gods" would be deities or angels. In Buddhist parlance, they are called "deva" in Pali language.
Hope this helps. You have a happy day.
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Follow-up QUESTION: (Unedited)
Dear Justin
I agree with you, and have for a long time, that all the religions cannot be right, and each religion has a different description and attributes of what that religion's "God".
You mention that " What the Buddha said about "gods" had nothing to do with the Christian concept." The question remains though if the Judaic concept of God, the God of Isaac, the God of Abraham, existed before the Buddha, and if the Buddha had any knowledge of this concepts? Was the concept of a non-Hindu God, and creator of the universe a concept that the Buddha was unaware of? If he was aware of such a concept did he comment on it at all?
I am not talking about the existence of "God" but the Judaic concept of creator God, and why it is meaningless to discuss this concept in Buddhism, is it because the concept was never entertained by the Buddha or Buddist thought?
So is it correct to say that the Buddha did not say the Judaic God did not exist because he was not aware of the concept?
My comment:
Hi,
Thanks for returning. Let me put it in a very simple question. "If one is discussing about the art of carpentry, why waste time talking about how to swim?" The Judaic God concept or any other god concept has nothing to do with the teachings of the Buddha. Why bother about other people's beliefs and interpretations? The problem with foolish humans is that they will try to convince and rationlize that their beliefs are always and totally correct and that the others are wrong. Add intolerance into their mindset and we have what we are witnessing in the world today.
The Buddha's teachings are very direct. He merely pointed out the true nature of existence, and how to live a peaceful and meaningful life. It is up to the individual to decide. Why waste our time to indulge in matters that are of no concern with us, knowing that we will never resolve those issues? Do not chase after other people's shadows.
Be happy. Make life simple by not complicating unnecessary self-inflicting details.
Regards.
-------------------------------------------
Another FOLLOW-UP QUESTION:
(Unedited)
Dear Justin
I understand what you say.
"He merely pointed out the true nature of existence" . There is another site that says :
"A Buddha is not hindered by ignorance, but is omniscient (knows everything)."
He must have been all knowing to know the true nature of existence and that the true nature of existence, the universe, the cycle of life, of universes coming into being and disappearing, in all of it there was no God to be found and He does not exist.
Or he had potential access to such knowledge of the existence of God but did not take that path?
What do you think?
My comment:
Hi friend,
The Buddha had confirmed that there is no such "creator all-powerful" GOD who creates and controls us. There are only "gods" or beings who exist in other realms. These we call generally deities or angels. In Buddhist term it is called "deva".
Regards,
Justin Choo

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tzu Chi Universal Prayer Song (English Version)

Tzu Chi Universal Prayer Song (Mandarin Version)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Happy Wesak. May peace and good health be with you.

This Sunday 3 May, 2015, Malaysia celebrates Wesak Day, The Buddhist thrice blessed holy day. Elsewhere this year, Wesak Day is on 1 Jun. Why? Usually, Wesak is celebrated on the first full moon day in the month of May, which usually will be the 15th day of the fourth Chinese lunar month. But this year the fourth Chinese lunar month full moon day falls on 1 June. Thus the difference.

A lot of so-called Buddhists do not really understand the pristine teachings of the Buddha. That results in wrong interpretations and understanding of what Buddhism is. Below is an article I wrote on the misconceptions about Buddhism. Hope on this auspicious Wesak Day this article may provide better understanding of Buddhism.

Happy Wesak to all my Buddhist friends. May everyone have good health and inner peace.


http://goodguy.hubpages.com/h…/Misconceptions-about-Buddhism

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Love And Happiness



 

Question:  (Undited)

i have done some brief research on bhudism and consequently have decided to purchase a few books which i hope will give me better insight into bhudism. what i was wondering though was this, i am currently reading a website on happiness. it says self worth is unconditional, that self love is loving yourself no matter your faults, your situation etc. even if u had disabilitating diseases, if u were working in mcdonalds all ur life etc, or unemployed, that self worth and self love is to love yourself no matter what. it says if u place values on external things which contribute to lowering yourself self worth then the self worth is only conditional. for example, if u dont feel yourself worthy of someone elses love, you feel inferior to other people because you aren't as confident in social situations etc. my question is, though i understand that you must seperate your self worth to love yourself unconditionally. i just dont know how to do it, i hope this makes sense and if not i will go over the website again to make this more succint. but hope you can offer me some words of advice


My comment: 
Hi b,
Thank you for asking me.

What is the basis of happiness? In common term, the basis of happiness is the presence of specific factors which make us happy. The most classic example will be having lots of money. Once this condition is present, the person will immediately feel a sense of happiness. After a certain period, this condition of just having money is no longer the main factor for his happiness. He will have to seek new factors to experience new happiness, like having a new house, new cars, and other things. Once these are fulfilled, the law of diminishing returns sets in. These conditions which previously generate lots of happiness are now stale. If no new conditions are satisfied, then the person will no longer experience the happiness again. In short, "happiness" is a "conditioned" experience. Without the prerequisite condition, happiness will not appear. The Buddha warned that all conditioned things are transient, they cannot last forever. Anyone who seeks or chases after happiness will be very disappointed in the end. However, this does not mean that a person should not be happy when conditions are right. The warning is that at any time these happy conditions may change. To an uninitiated person the absence of such happy conditions or the presence of negative conditions will trigger a state of unhappiness. The wise Buddhist approach to life is to be contented with the things we have, be happy when conditions are right, and be careful when conditions are not right. We have to ride through the waves of living conditions, the ups and the downs. In so doing, we live a guarded contented life. Since happiness is a conditioned state of mind, we cannot be happy if sad events occur. To be happy when our loved one dies is madness.

Now coming back to "love". The Buddhist context of "love" is "compassionate" love.
First let me comment on Buddhist compassionate love. The dictionary defines it as "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it". It is love without conditions. Another term is spiritual love or universal love. There is nothing to do with whether you like the person or not. You still can show compassionate love to the person even though you do not like him.

But if we talk about love for oneself, then we have to be very careful with its interpretation. The person cannot love himself and be happy acknowledging that he is ugly, stupid and down trodden. To have this sort of misinterpreted understanding of love and happiness will be very catastrophic for the person's life! He will not be able to make it. The more appropriate approach is to come to terms with the given conditions with guarded acceptance of the present realities confronting the person. With this acceptance of the realities of the present conditions, the person will not feel as bad as before. Then from this realization and acceptance, the person should embark on a mission to improve himself. With this mindset, he will see himself in a new perspective of self-worth and not a failure. Unfortunately, from my experience, Buddhist writers are not as eloquent as the American motivation gurus when describing self-worth and self-improvement. Read any good book by any of these American motivation gurus and you will get the perfect picture. Strangely enough, these people most probably do not know any Buddhist teachings, but what they write are universal truths as taught by the Buddha himself 2500 years ago!!

Hope my comments do not add to the confusion. Please come back if you need further clarification.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Don't Be A Zombie



Question (Unedited) :
My question is about how to live life without being attached. I am very drawn to the doctrine of non-attachment as I recognize that I am overly emotionally attached to my opinions about everything and that it causes me no end of anxiety problems. I am still dogged by searching for something to be and something to do with my life that will be meaningful. But I sense that 'meaningfulness' could lead to attachment. I also struggle with motivation. So I guess that my question is: what is my life for if I am not to be attached to anything in it?

My comment:
Hi J,

Thank you for asking me.

Your last question first:
"what is my life for if I am not to be attached to anything in it?"
Answer: Your life will be like a Zombie!!
My personal feeling is that we must live a "moderate" lifestyle, unless we want be monks. Under normal circumstances, we will have a certain degree of likes and dislikes. It is a matter of conducting our lives with a bit of wisdom. There will be occasions which make us happy; and others which make us unhappy. It is part and parcel of life. The most important lesson is to understand the first Noble Truth of "Unsatisfactoriness" or "Imperfection". We may have certain attachment to various things at various times. When conditions are favourable to us, we derive happiness from these attachments. And surely, when conditions are unfavourable, we experience unhappiness. Our opposing feelings reflecting both conditions are due to our association with worldly affairs. So long as we live in this world, we cannot escape from this scenario. The next best thing to do is to "wise-up" our outlook to life. Do not be "TOO ATTACHED" to things. Be ready to "LET GO" of these attachments if need be. Nothing is permanent. Everything is subject to change. When we can SEE this bigger picture of life, then we are willing to ACCEPT the inevitable. We can then "LET GO" of that which we cannot hold forever. Then we no longer have any problem due to "attachment".
The problem in life is not so much of attachment. The real problem is our inability to let-go of the attachment when conditions dictate that we should. It is just like the "angry young man". But when we come to terms with reality, it is just like growing old and becoming more mellow; life becomes more peaceful.
Smile from justinchoo :-)
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