Thursday, August 4, 2016

LIve For Today



This has been my "signature" quote for all my internet sites for years already.

Monday, August 1, 2016

We need to change to remain relevent

https://www.facebook.com/alisan.taiwan/videos/1410686825614504/

The above link shows the video of a singing monk.  
 
Very innovative and effective. From the evergreen "Yeh Lai Xiang" Mandarin retro song of the 30s to a Buddhist song. The monk replaced the original lyrics with his own composion of Buddhist lyrics.
But I am sure to the orthodox Buddhists, this is "not very appropriate". Well, you can't please everyone, can you?

Below is a series of qns from a reader and my comments on them:

Reader's comment:
[01/08 7:45 AM] Isn't this against the Vinaya rules and the 227 precepts? This is also against the basic 8 precepts. Any comments?
[01/08 7:53 AM] The 7th Precept :
Nacca-gita-vadita-visuka-dassana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.

I undertake the training precept to abstain from dancing, singing, music and any kind of entertainment show.

My comment:
[01/08 11:04 AM] Justin Choo: Precepts are to guide n protect. imho we need to use our human intelligence n common sense to practise buddhism. Is there anything wrong using a popular song with new buddhist lyrics? In the first place the buddha did not introduce any style of chanting. How come the traditional style of chanting of the different cultures n schools are deemed acceptable. To me any practice that is beneficial n does not harm others should be accepted. Aftet all the the buddha did advise that minor rules may be changed to suit present conditions. It is the people who refuse or unable to accommodate what is good altho to them may be against the presepts.
[01/08 11:15 AM] Justin Choo: That precept was about common dancing singing playing music and partying for purpose of worldly entertainment.
[01/08 11:22 AM] Justin Choo: Arent the temple drums and all sorts of bells, be "musical" instruments? Isnt the chanting be regarded as "singing"? Its all about human perceptions n interpretations. What we should concentrate is to practise the buddha's pristine teachings. We shall go no end if we indulge in semantic n scholastic debate.


Reader's comment:
[01/08 11:22 AM] It is neither right or wrong depending the schools if thought but for the disciples not right and the 7th precept got its purpose basically not to indulge in our senses which will prevent our practice especially the monks n nuns.

For lay people we r still have many rounds of rebirth in Samsara until then we can only have the wisdom or insight to determine wrong or right ?

My comment:
[01/08 11:24 AM] Justin Choo: Precisely neither right nor wrong. So live n let live. Who are we to form opinions on these issues?
[01/08 11:25 AM] Only in Mahayana have musical instruments they have their purpose n reasons behind
[01/08 11:33 AM] Justin Choo: Precisely you are right again brother. When the purpose is pure n beneficial we should adopt.😃🙏

Reader's comment:
[01/08 11:37 AM] Actually it protects the monks n nuns not the lay

My comment:
[01/08 11:37 AM] Justin Choo: Then we become progressive n thinking Buddhists. Don't be bogged down by rites n rituals and also be less opinionated. Like Shang Ren, our Tzu Chi master so wisely advises :"be humble and willing to yeild". We definitely do not know that much Buddhism or anything else, for that matter.


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tzu Chi's Global Initiatives And Relations

This 48-minute video is about Tzu Chi's relief relationships with seemingly remote nations. Foreign officials paid courtesy visits to Master Cheng Yen to discuss about continuing relief missions with their countries and confirming their support for Tzu Chi's initiatives.



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.
----------------------------------------------------------
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 15, 2016

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