Monday, June 30, 2008

It's all in your mind

Hi, all you good people. Thank you for visiting this blog. From now onwards, instead of posting question and comment on separate days, I shall publish the question together with my comments in one post.

Question: (unedited)

I'm beginning to learn more about Buddhism.I've met people who sought refuge from both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism.On many of my experiences with them, I found that when they chant with faith, many of their sufferings will lessen and dissolved over a period of time.Some practise Goka Sakkai where there are their on chanting.What do you think of these chantings?

My Comment:
Actually,you have already answered your own question when you wrote "I found that they chanted with faith, much of their sufferings would lessen and dissolve over a period of time". It is this faith in them that they themselves solve their own problems. It is all in the mind!

Buddhism is a very much misunderstood "religion". Let us now go to the basics. "Buddhism" means the teachings of the Buddha---the historic Buddha whose name was Gotama. To study Buddhism, it is therefor logical and essential that we study the teachings of Gotama, the Buddha. "Buddha" is the term used to describe a person who is fully enlightened, that is, he who knows everything that is to be known in this universe. About 2500 years ago, the Buddha gained realization of the truth of the nature of this "life" and this "universe". He discovered that everything existed in a flux, forever changing. Things that were forever changing could not last forever in a permanent state. There was always this ceaseless cycle of birth, growth, decay, and death. This was very unsatisfactory.

He discovered that the cause of this repeated cycle was of our own doing. Because of our desire to exist, we were all the time being attracted to be reborn .....again and again. He further realized that there was a way out to stop this repeated cycle. If we could eliminate our desire to exist, then we would not become part of this rebirth cycle. In order to achieve this objective, the Buddha prescribed a system of personal practice which we could undertake in our daily lives. He pointed out that the culprit of all our woes and problems was the mind. If we could control this mind, then our problems would be solved. For most of us, we are slaves of our own minds. We react and succumb to the external stimuli. Pleasurable stimulus creates happiness, pleasure, and enjoyment. Miserable stimulus causes unhappiness, resentment, and sorrow. We become slaves of these pleasures and sorrows. The more nice things we have, the more we want. When problems befall us, we complain; and when more problems aggravate our lives, we become unhappy, resentful, miserable, and in the end, we begin to hate others, to hate ourselves, hating everything and everyone. The outcome will be; we hurt others as well as ourselves.

As a practicing Buddhist, a person should review the following:

1) To come to terms with this world which is not perfect. Therefore, there cannot be perfection.
2)To realize that the mind is the source of our problems.

3)To take steps to understand this mind; to calm and train this mind through the practice of contemplation.

4)To become more skilful in our lifestyle, in thoughts, speech, and actions.

5)To avoid evil, to do good, and to train the mind.

6)To have faith that good and wholesome actions will bring forth good and wholesome results, as assured by the Buddha.

7)To understand that the Buddha's message of compassion and goodwill are universal values which trancends race, nations, space, and time.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Can prayers help? (Comment)

Occasionally, I go to the Boddhi tree at the Mahindarama Temple in Penang, to "pray". The approach to my prayers is very different from the Christian way. I will first pay homage to the Buddha, and then recite some simple Buddhist verses in Pali mainly sharing goodwill with the unseen kind beings (devas) and in return "hope" that they will protect me and help me lessen my worldly problems. Below was my comment for the questioner:

First, to be sure, Buddhists do not subscribe to the existence of a supreme being who wields absolute control over us. Buddhists also do not depend on the personal intervention of the Buddha, for he is no longer in this plane of existence. Buddhists follow and practise the Buddha's teachings which will accordingly bring good results and protection for them, as sure as the heater will work when you plug and switch on the switch. We don't have to pray to Faraday to provide us with electric current; we only need to apply his knowledge to gain benefits. (Michael Faraday was responsible for the discovery of electricity.) This is Buddhism.

As far as ultimate salvation is concerned, Buddhists do not rely on anyone because no one can do it for us. We rely on ourselves with the guiding principles of the Buddha. Buddhists are masters of themselves and the navigators of their own destinies.

There are however, certain worldly assistance that certain beings can help us, if we "communicate" with them through our goodwill and requests. We believe that we must first be worthy of help. We have to be persons of good character, not harming others, and are kind to others as well as to ourselves. There are certain beings existing in higher planes of existence who have certain worldly "powers". They are the ones who can sometimes answer our prayers, so to say. I follow the Theravada tradition, and the above is our belief.

A comment I would like to add is that certain schools of Buddhism believe that by chanting or praying to certain Buddhas or deities; they will not only answer their prayers but also help them gain final salvation.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bill Gates for the benefit of the world

Bill Gates "retires" for the benefit of the world.

He is now looking forward to devote his time to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; to do good for the world through his riches, which peaked at $100 billion during the tech boom. He has been accused of monopolizing the software industry. Now let's see whether he will be accused of monopolizing the "Welfare" industry!! How many billionaires in history have you known of such altruistic people? None, except Bill Gates! Will Warren Buffet be next?

This article is worth reading.

Can prayers help? (Question)

Prayers to many religions are the core foundation. Prayers are soothing balms for troubled souls. Do Buddhists pray? This is the question to-day: (unedited)


Please wait for to-morrow for my comment.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Just received news of arson on a Buddhist monastic institution in India. Below is the report:

Ven. Sirs / Esteemed Upasakas, Upasikas & Friends in the DHAMMA,

It is very painful to inform that three Residential Viharas of DHAMMA DIPA INTERNATIONAL BUDDHIST ACADEMY at Manu Bankul, Tripura , INDIA , where 180 Buddhist monks and novices used to reside, learn and practice DHAMMA had been burnt down on the 24th June 2008 at 15.45 Hrs. Indian Standard Time. It is the only Buddhist monastic educational institute in Tripura established in order to preserve and promote Buddhist Culture and DHAMMA in India and accordingly the novices and monks are being given education and training. There was a threat from the very beginning to sabotage and destroy the Buddhist Academy and on the 24th June 2008 it was attacked and burnt down. The monks and novices lost everything on the fire; nothing could be saved except the robes they were wearing. It was really pathetic and a policy of some elements to nip the bud for the uprising of Buddhism the Tripura State of India . We have to start afresh with all precautions and work against all challenges and opposing forces. It is unfortunate that Buddhism had been attacked time and again in India , and TRIPURA incident is one of the living examples.

It is a piece of information for the World Buddhist Community. Please circulate to other DHAMMA brothers and sisters. I will be very grateful to receive your valuable suggestions and kind co-operation for the cause of Buddhism please.

With Metta!
Ven. Dr. Dhammapiya

Convert or rot in hell!! (Comment)

As you know Buddhists are not into the numbers game. So no such trick as "conversion". My comment as below:

In the true spiritual sense, if you are a good person, having compassion for others as well as for your own self, not hurting anyone in thoughts,speech, and actions; and being constantly on guard to fulfil all the above at all times, then you are a good Buddhist! The Buddha's mission was not to convert anyone into his "religion". His mission was to help people not to do silly, foolish and evil things. Not to hurt others including all living beings as best we could. By maintaining this lifestyle of non-hatred, non-greed, right understanding of good and bad, people would be able to live in peace. This is his universal message applicable across nations, races, ideologies, encompassing time and space.

In the worldly sense, of course you can be labelled a "Buddhist" if you follow the teachings of the Buddha more closely and diligently, by indepth studies and practice, and training and developing the mind through Buddhist meditation. As a "confirmed" Buddhist in the Theravada tradition, which is one of the different schools of Buddhism which I belong, I undertake to live my life by the 5 guiding principles or precepts to the best of my ability. These 5 are:

Refrain from taking life

Refrain from stealing

Refrain from sexual misconduct

Refrain from telling lies

Refrain from taking intoxicants.

There is no formal ritual like "baptism" in order to convert. It is all in your mind. You cannot cheat yourself. If you are sincere then you start practising the Buddha's teachings, and you are "converted". That simple!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Convert or rot in hell!! (Question)

Convert or rot in hell! As stale a statement as rotten cheese, or in Asia we say rotten durian!

So can we convert others to Buddhism? This person asked: (unedited)

[Is it possible to convert to Buddhism? If so, how is it done? ]

Think about it. I'll see you to-morrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Meeting spiritual needs naturally

To-day we take a break from our monotonous journey of "Question & Answer" monologue. This article is one of four featured in the well-known British weekly magazine New Statesman. You can read them starting HERE.

Pantheist Paul Harrison explains how we are all capable of fulfilling our own need for deeper meaning without the help of the supernatural. He wrote that "Pantheism can’t relieve stress and anxiety by offering help from magic or from gods – but a running stream, the rustling of leaves in a forest, or a clear view of the Milky Way can place all our personal problems in perspective and give us inner peace, even euphoria. Meditation is a wonderful stress reliever for any faith or none – and can be experienced more deeply if you feel that your body is one with your mind, rather than some inconvenient distraction. The mystical feeling of oneness with everything is easiest to sense when you know that your body is, as physical fact, a part of everything."

You can read about Pantheism HERE.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Song Of The Triple Gem (San Bao Ge)

The evergreen "Song of the Triple Gem" (San Bao Ge) is available on Youtube. I used to sing at the Penang Buddhist Association Sunday School in Penang some 40 years ago!! Now I can sing again by following the Hanyu Pinyin lyrics. May you have inner peace singing along too.

Beginning of the world (Comment)

There cannot be a beginning or an end. It is a cycle of "forming, existing, dissolving, and disappearing". My comment as below:

You would be surprised to know that what the Buddha had revealed about the nature of the universe, the scientists have just discovered to be true! Astro scientists have discovered that the whole universe is ever expanding and always in motion. There is also this incessant cycle of creation of stars, existence of stars, degeneration of stars, and the ultimate death of stars. And the cycle continues ad infinitum. You can get a clearer understanding of the nature of the universe in the "astronomy" sites. This was exactly what the Buddha revealed over 2500 years ago, without the aid of any telescope.

In essence, the Buddha revealed that there is no beginning and no end. There is also no time frame in the true nature of things. Ask any astro scientist and he will confirm this for you. The Buddha at times refused to answer this type of question because there were many (and still are) who could not understand this concept of "no beginning and no end". The Buddha not only revealed the creation of this world, but also revealed the cosmic creation of the whole universe. He also revealed the beginning of life forms as well as humans. He divided the process of "creation" (for lack of better word) into four stages...formation, existence, degeneration, and destruction. Upon destruction, all the material elements return to their original base elements, and after a long long time, they begin to group together and the process of formation starts again, and the cycle continues.

So you can understand, that the whole process is a cycle, and has no beginning or ending. These forces of "formation, existence, degeneration and destruction" are universal phenomena throughout the entire cosmic space which has no ending. Time is a non factor, it has no meaning in this cosmic display of life cycle in enormous scale.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Beginning of the world (Question)

A lot of Buddhists still do not know the Buddha's explanation of the beginning and end of the world. This person wanted to know as well:(unedited)

[Some people believe in the Big Bang theory, others in Creation as described in Genesis in the Bible. What is the Buddhist belief on the creation of the world?]

Do you think there is a beginning of this world and an end to this world? My comment to-morrow.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Devil (Comment)

To-day we shall take the devil by its tail! Well, the devil is supposed to possess a tail, isn't it?

This was my comment:

All spiritual seekers always encounter the problem of the inability to reconcile or "match" their preconceived ideas of their understanding of what religion is, with the "new" religion that they are learning, or interested in. We try to bring in those beliefs and ideas of our familiar religion that we have inherited from our family and culture. We have already been indoctrinated since childhood of what our religion is, what we must believe, and what we must obey. With this fixed mindset we then undertake to learn a new religion assuming that this new religion must also embrace all those beliefs that we have been led to believe and accept.

A good example is the learning of a new language. We have our fixed ideas of the English language which has tenses, and, singular and plural nouns. Now, assuming you are learning the Chinese language, and I am to tell you that the Chinese language has no tense, and no singular and plural nouns. So, what are you going to do about it? Would you still insist that the Chinese language must have tenses, and must have singular and plural nouns? Or would you be wise enough to accept the Chinese language syntax and to learn as being taught? Of course, you will be wise enough to leave aside whatever you have of the preconceived ideas of the English grammar, and to have an open mind, so to speak, to accept the Chinese syntax.

Westerners have this problem of reconciling the concepts of the Creator God as well as the Devil, with the concepts of Buddhism. Suddenly, everything that they have been taught and believed in the name of religion is being questioned! It is therefore, easier if one is to start from a clean slate, so to speak.

The Devil in the Christian concept is non existent in Buddhism. This much I will comment. What the others choose to belief is of no concern to a Buddhist. We will not go into a debate over this.

As for "the equivalent", yes. The Buddha revealed that there are 31 planes of existence. We do not monopolize life. There are other planes of existence that our human faculties could not see or understand. We should know by now that what we cannot see or understand does not necessarily mean is not true. There are planes where there exist ghosts and aggrasive demons.

If we have a deeper understanding in the Buddha's teachings, we will realize that the greatest devil is our untrained mind! It is the devil that caused us misery and agony because of our own ignorance of the true nature of this world and of life. The crux of the teachings of the Buddha is to understand this devil inside us, so that we will have peace in our lives.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Devil (Question)

Someone asked a very simple question. But do we have a simple answer for him?

He asked:(unedited)
[Do buddhists beleive in the Devil(Satan) or the equivalent? ]

We'll meet the devil to-morrow! Don't be afraid to visit this site then.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Chance meeting? (Comment)
"Are our lives fated? Is kamma the only influence in our lives?"

As I have said before, we are what we were. And we will be what we are. We have been going in circle since time immmorial. Our lives are a series of past events. We are still acting on this stage, based on our previous actions as well as the present actions. Once we understand the law of kamma, we know that our present lives are not fluke shots. We had unwittingly created or moulded what we are to experience in this present lives. So what we are now had been pre-destined by our previous kamma. In that sense, our spouses and important events in our lives had been pre-determined by our past actions. Exactly which kamma produced which effect is not for us to know. But it can definitely be postulated that "we are what we were".

However, it is important that I reiterate here, that our lives now, are just half of the story. From now onwards we must realize that we have full control over what we want to do, in order to mould our future for tomorrow and the day after, and our future lives. As such we do not view this law of kamma as something fatalistic. This is what we call skilful living; living in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha.

You wrote: (i never used to give much thought to spiritual matters until recently when i started reading buddhism.)

My answer: This is the result of your good past kamma ripening! You have answered your own question in this respect! It is for this understanding of the law of kamma, that Buddhists are not so crazy as to go overboard to convert others. When the time is ripe, the fruits will appear! Of course, we must still make effort to spread the Buddha's teachings to those who seek, and also to those who are waiting for us. Remember we still have full control of what we want to do with our lives right now.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chance meeting? (Question)

Are our lives fated? Is kamma the only influence in our lives? This person asked: (unedited)

[may i bother you with one more question.... what determines why a man and a woman get to meet in this life and the experiences (happy/unhappy) they share.... is it a random event or is it because in previous lives both were linked up by karma in some form or other.... and that carries over into this life? i personally believe that the things we experience in this life happen for a reason... both as a consequence of things done in this life as well as in previous ones. i never used to give much thought to spiritual matters until recently when i started reading buddhism. once again thanks for your help and may the blessings of Lord Buddha be with you... ]

Think about it and compare notes to-morrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rebirth (Comment)

To many, rebirth means taking life in human form or in some heaven. Stranger still is the Christian concept of going to heaven but rejecting the concept of rebirth. Isn't taking life in heaven an act of rebirth? Never mind. This was my comment:

There are some variations in interpreting the concept of rebirth amongst the different schools of Buddhism. My explanation is based on what I understood after listening to learned monks from the Theravada Tradition.

Rebirth takes place almost instantly upon death. Once the life form of a being ends, the evolution current of the mind immediately moves on to attach to another life form in accordance with its good and bad kamma deposits. It will search for the appropriate life form that can actualize the accumulated deposits of good and bad kamma. If the the mind is pure and vibrant, it will be reborn in a higher planes of existence, enjoying peace and happiness. On the other hand, if its current is weak, evil and dirty because of all the evil deeds that had been accumulated, then it will seek rebirth in the suffering planes.

There are actually 31 planes of existence. The 6 planes are sub-groups of the 31 planes. The 49 days' period is broadly believed by the Chinese. When the life force takes the form of a ghost or spirit, it is actually a rebirth in that plane of existence. It is believed by the Chinese that usually, rebirth in the form of spirit will be in the vicinity of the place of death, and after 49 days, this spirit will then depart to somewhere else. Spirits which haunt places are usually those who are not willing to depart from the place of death due to several reasons. They may be too attached to the place, or waiting to haunt and seek revenge, or because of sudden death that shocked the evolution current of the mind.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Rebirth (Question)

This is one of the more frequently asked questions. There will be plenty more to come in different approaches. Let's start with this simple one: (unedited)

[buddhism says that souls will be reborn within 49 days into any 1 of the 6 realms. how then does one explain those restless spirits that "haunt" places for years? how come they are not reborn as according to buddhist beliefs? ]

My comment to-morrow.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Any Guarantee? (Comment)

As you know, any warranty will come with certain conditions. There is no such thing as "no condition" warranty. The company will close shop in no time! Below was my comment:

There is no guarantee that we will be reborn as a human in our next life. But there are certain precautions and positive actions that we can take to increse our chance of being reborn as humans.

Very simple. The Buddha's universal teachings in 3 lines:

Avoid committing evil

Persistently do good

Determine to purify the mind

All of us know what IS evil. All of us know what IS good. To purify the mind, we follow the Buddha's teachings. Only ignorant people make their lives complicated by confusing themselves, by thinking wrongly. They hurt themselves as well as others.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Any Guarantee? (Question)

Occasionally your doorbell may ring and smiling strangers will promise you some good news. No, they are not giving you free toothpaste. They promise you better things to come; but on one condition. You must die first in order to receive. Of course the Heavenly Kingdom. How come these grinning jokers never promise you Kingdom Come here and now!!

Someone wanted to know whether Buddhists, can be like those smiling jokers who are trained to look you at the eyes, guarantee him to reborn as a human in his next life: (unedited)

[what conditions one needs to fulfill in this life in order to be reborn as a human in next life?]

I hope to-morrow may not be too late for him. I need to think and let him know to-morrow. You do likewise.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

See past lives (Comment)

Have you ever heard of any fortune teller or clairvoyance or psychic striking the first prize lottery? Then you should read below:


Actually if an ordinary person can see his past kamma, he will be in great shock! The very fact that we cannot see our past, means that we are not ready yet. Actually it is a safety catch that we not see our past ( and also our future, for that matter) and be able to live by. Just imagine if you could see your past, do you think you could handle your life? And if you could see the future, you think it will help you to live a better life? We humans are by nature curious, but we don't have 9 lives, so to say. Quite honestly, if we can know both past and future, we are in deep trouble. The reason is that we are not ready to cope with such powers. However, to answer you directly. Yes, we can know our past as well as the future. That is when you have cultivated your mind up to such powerful level that you don't rely on your external faculties to comprehend things. You only use your powerful mind to explore the endless universe in the beginningless of time, and the infinity of the future. In this repect, no amount of chanting will give you such power.

Our lives are definitely influenced by our past kamma, both positive and negative. There is no escape in this universal law of retribution. Good begets good, and bad begets bad. It's that simple! But this is just half of the story. Knowing that we are the inheritors of our past kamma, we also now know that we are the creator of our future kamma. (Here we use the word kamma quite loosely to describe the results that we are experiencing. In the Buddhist context, kamma means volitional actions, which means actions that are deliberately and consciously done. It is the results of these actions that we are actually talking about. In Pali language, it is called vipaka, i.e. results or consequences.) In order to protect ourselves, from now on, we have to generate good kamma so that we can reap good results in this life as well as the future.

Friday, June 13, 2008

See past lives (Question)

Do you want to see your past lives? Well this person wanted to: (unedited)

[i would like to know how one can find out about one's past life karma. will chanting help? i feel my present life is influenced by negative karma from past lives]

Tell you to-morrow. You also think about it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The age-old question (Comment)

As I said before, it is actually a waste of valuable time arguing over this age-old nebulous question. So a general comment would suffice:


Actually your question was answered in my earlier reply that Buddhism (to the best of my knowledge) is the only religion that does not subscribe to the existence of a Creator God. As Buddhists, we are not concerned of what others claim themselves to be. Our mission is to practise the Buddha's teachings, to avoid doing evil, to do good, and to purify our mind. To avoid doing evil, means not to hurt all live forms to the best of our ability. To do good means to help others including being kind to ourselves. To purify our mind means to train our mind to be alert and mindful in order to practise the above 2 principles at all times.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The age-old question (Question)

Some would like others to prove that God doesn't exist. The irony of this is that these same people, in the first place, would not be able to prove that God exists. Buddhists do not have this problem. They simply are not interested; whether God exists or does not exist. The concept of God, the all powerful, the creator, etc, etc, is never in the vocabulary of Buddhist teachings.

This person didn't sound like asking a question, but expressing doubt about the existence of God: (unedited)


Thanks for the response, i got it now. This is off that topic but i was wondering what buddhists views were on Jesus. Not his teachings but his claim to be God. I have not even come to a conclusion on that but i figure that if he did claim to be than i dont believe he was a liar and i dont believe he was insane therefore he has to know what he is talking about. BUT if he wasnt claiming be God thats another question. Im just curious but i see this as the most important question when looking at religions or ways of life because Jesus and Krishna were the only people i know of who claimed to be God so we have to examine if they were lying or if they were even claiming that. Thanks again, ]

We may speculate until the cows come home, or in this case, until Kingdom comes; we will still be in square one. So are we still going to answer such nebulous question? Will tell you to-morrow. In the meantime you can think about it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Prisoners of the World (Comment)

Can we change the world? We can't even change ourselves, what else change the world?
Here is my comment:


Thank you for sharing with me your concern for the world.

This world was, is, and will be what it is. So take heart. Do not be too concerned about the present state of affairs of this world. Once you understand the true nature of this world, you can live in peace with the world. If we understand the revelations of the Buddha, we will have no quarrel with this world.
This world is like a prison. We all know that a prison has strict rules and restrictions. To "qualify" as a "resident" one must have certain "qualifications" to be "selected". One must commit a crime and proven guilty. The length of one's stay is dependent upon the severity of the "qualifications". Once inside there, one cannot change the rules to suit oneself. It is a punishment whereby one has to bear with it until the term ends. It is no point complaining and resisting the system. So if the prisoner is wise enough, he will understand his position and accept the rules which he has no power to change. Upon this realization, he submits himself to the system and obeys all the rules and regulations and wait patiently to serve his dues. He can only be free when he gets out of this prison. The conditions of the prison he cannot change, for it is the requirements of the prison to restrict the prisoners from freedom.
The Buddha pointed out that the true nature of this world is "imperfection". It is because of our own imperfection that we are "sentenced" to this world to serve out our "prison" term. If we are wise enough to realize this truth then we can behave like a model prisoner, stop complaining and bear with the imperfections. Once we accept this world as it really is, then we have no more problem with the world. Only the world has problems. Only those who are ignorant of this true nature of this world have problems, because they want the impossible, they want perfect happiness, eternal life, and complete peace on earth! It is like the unreasonable prisoner who complains about lack of freedom and lack of sunshine in the prison. You are right that the world is in a horrible state. You are right that people are hateful, and evil. When the Buddha first attained enlightenment, he was reluctant to preach the truth to the world, because he knew that most people would never understand. Even the Buddha knew that he would never save the whole world; what about us?
The only thing we can do is to start with ourselves. Practise the Buddha's teachings diligently. Change ourselves first. Then show the rest of the world, our spiritual achievements so that they will want to become better persons like us. This is so much we can do. And I can tell you from my own experience, it is not easy even to change my "self", let alone others! I cannot change the world. But I can make effort to share my knowledge of the Buddha's teachings with you and others. This much I can do. Perhaps, you can do better. I hope you are at peace with my answer. If you need any further clarification, please don't hesitate to write again. I always gain much happiness in answering questions like yours. It is because I know I am doing my little part to help people feel more at peace with themselves.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Prisoners of the World (Question)

Each day when we open our eyes, most of us will have the newspapers staring at us with all the doomsday news. Hardly have we any chance to live in peace, even for one moment. What else with the frightening escalating oil prices with each passing day! The big question is : Can we change the world? That's what our friend asked; this age-old question: (unedited)

[What should a good Buddhist do in order to share his knowledge and wisdom with other. This is a pandemonium world we are living now. There is no certainty in everyone's heart. Their spirit is empty inside. How are we going to reach out to the entire world to divert the suiation with the teaching of Buddhism not as a religion but as an education ? It is our fault that we have not put sufficient sincerity and dedication to carry out the holy teaching. The world of chaos is the manifestation of our own collective karma( unwholesome thought ). How are we going to let humanity realises that they are the creator of heaven and hell.How are we going to let them know that nobody is responsible for our action and the path we choose. We make the entire universe tears. We make the world suffer.......]

Do you think you can change the world? I've got to think about it. See you to-morrow.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Little dust in our eyes (Comment)

I have little dust in my eyes. I chose the "half-full" glass interpretation. At least I am not blinded by all the dust. Most of the dust have cleared, leaving just a little dust! This was what I wrote:

Hi, Thank you for asking me. It is in the sharing that we can learn more.
You wrote: (i understand that buddhists don't believe in God )
My answer: It is the most common question asked by most westerners who have been indoctrinated since birth that religion means something to do with God. In the Christian concept there is this one and only Creator God. In Buddhism the term god or gods are not directed towards this Creator God. For a lack of a better terminology in the English language the word "gods" is used to denote those higher spiritual beings in the higher planes of existence. In Buddhism there is definitely no such entity as the Creator God who is almighty and absolute. This is the most important revelation by the Buddha and is the only religion that rejects the existence of a higher agent that can totally control our lives. The Buddha revealed that there were 31 planes of existence that a life could be reborn. Those gods that you referred to in the sutta were the higher beings existing in the higher planes.
You wrote: (like to think that he gave his first sermon when he met an ascetic on the way to Varanasi)
My answer:
It was just a conversation with the ascetic Upaka who could not help being impressed by the glow and serenity of the Buddha. When we read stories during the Buddha's life, quite often we will come across slight variations in details. What I usually do is to disregard these variations and concentrate on the important main events. The gist of this meeting was to point out that if one is deluded, one can even missed the Buddha even if he is infront of us. This happened to Upaka.
Upaka asked the Buddha whether he was some extraordinary man and the Buddha said no. Then Upaka asked whether the Buddha was a god, and again the Buddha said no. "Then who are you?" asked Upaka. "I am the Buddha," proclaimed the Buddha. Then Upaka shook his head and went away.
You wrote: (Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta )
My answer:
This Sutta is the first sermon. When the Buddha expounded this sutta, he set the wheel of truth in motion and nothing could stop this motion from then on. The meaning of this sutta is "the setting of the wheel of truth in motion". This wheel has reached us and we are now benefitting from it, and it will go on rolling.
You wrote: (However, while the Buddha was thinking this way, Brahma Sahampati, the creator deity in Hinduism, came to the Buddha and convinced him that he should go and teach.)
My answer:
Brahma Sahampati is (I am using the present tense) one of the rulers in the higher plane which we call the Maha Brahma realm. He is just one of the gods in that realm of existence. You wrote: (Brahma Sahampati persuaded the Buddha that there were beings who would understand, beings who had only a little dust in their eyes) My answer: It is said that this is the tradition of the Buddhas, that someone of a great stature will have the honour to invite the Buddha to expound the truth out of great compassion for the people. It is just like our diplomatic protocol whereby someone has to invite the VVIP to give his speech.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Little dust in our eyes. (Question)

Depending on how you interprete; "little dust in our eyes" can have two opposing meanings! We can say we can't see clearly because we have little dust in our eyes. So we have to wash off those dust to have a clear vision. On the other hand, we may mean that since we only have very little dust in our eyes, we can at least see a bit. It's just like the glass with half-filled water. Is it half-full, or is it half-empty? The choice is up to the person. He won't be wrong either. The difference is in the reasoning. With little dusts in our eyes, can we comprehend the sublime teachings of the Buddha?

Someone shared this thought: (unedited)

[Hi Justin, Thanks so much for your time. I've lookeda t buddhism alot recently and i understand that buddhists don't believe in God but i ran into this online.................Though the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta is considered to be the first sermon the Buddha gave after his enlightenment, I sometimes like to think that he gave his first sermon when he met an ascetic on the way to Varanasi. After his enlightenment in Bodh Gaya, the Buddha thought: "This is such a subtle teaching. I cannot possibly convey in words what I have discovered so I will not teach. I will just sit under the Bodhi tree for the rest of my life." For me this is a very tempting idea, just to go off and live alone and not have to deal with the problems of society. However, while the Buddha was thinking this way, Brahma Sahampati, the creator deity in Hinduism, came to the Buddha and convinced him that he should go and teach. Brahma Sahampati persuaded the Buddha that there were beings who would understand, beings who had only a little dust in their eyes. So the Buddha's teaching was aimed toward those with only a little dust in their eyes - I'm sure he did not think it would become a mass, popular movement. After Brahma Sahampati's visit, the Buddha was on his way from Bodh Gaya to Varanasi when he met an ascetic who was impressed by his radiant appearance. The ascetic said, "What is it that you have discovered?" and the Buddha responded: "I am the perfectly enlightened one, the Arahant, the Buddha."................................................................Anyway????? I don't really understand. Thats the website if you want to check it out. Thanks again, ]

Hope that the dust can clear up to-morrow to make my comment. In the meantime , excuse me, I'm going to wash my face!!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Misty perception (Answer)


Don't panic, and thanks for asking me. It is in the sharing that we can learn more. My first suggestion to you is "stop"! Yes, stop the "confusing". How? Yes, just stop doing what you are doing, thinking, reading, analysing. The more you continue, the more you are going to get confused. The reason... you take in too much information without the supportive foundation for the various subjects. What I would suggest is that you take a break, go for a holiday with your fiance, and please forget about Buddhism, Taoism or Advaita (I don't know what that is). We don't want to have a situation of information overload. You know what will happen in the scenario of an info overload.

The immediate remedy for you is to go back to the "relax mode". Then your mind will be calm again. Once you are back to square one, so to speak, I suggest you can start again. This time take a stroll into your spiritual journey, which must be gradual, cool, relaxing, and peaceful. Choose the subject you are interested most and start with that first. Do not bring in other subjects. Once you are fairly clear with that subject and are fully satisfied, then proceed to the next, and then the next. You will find that by going the gradual way, you will have more space for your mind to digest the relevant information. Then you can decide on which path you want to follow.

At this juncture, I do not wish to explain in detail the questions that you asked because it will cause you further pain and confusion. But just to satisfy your doubts I shall try to be specific,and give you my point of view in the shortest possible time here. Jesse, there are actually 2 types of truth as expounded by the Buddha. Universal or ultimate truth, and worldly or conventional truth. When we go deeper spiritually we will realize more ultimate truth and slowly "discard" the worldly truth. An example of worldly truth...if you get everything that you desire then you will be the happiest person in the world. Ultimate truth.....only if you realize the real nature of this world you will have peace in yourself because you will be able to live with this chaotic world and not being a part of it. Once we are not part of the system, the system cannot affect us.

As for now, I can assure you that everything in existence is for real. So your fiance is real! As an ordinary mortal we depend on our 5 external senses to view things, and our limited brain to analyse information based on our limited knowledge of the world. As the saying goes, "garbage in garbage out". If you are interested in Buddhism, then when you understand the teachings of the Buddha, you will know how to view this world in its reality, and its proper perspective, and not being deluded by its external beauty and temptations. Then you would understand what is this "illusion".

If you are still not satisfied with my answer, please come back to me and I will try again. In the meantime, take it easy, and have fun. If you are happy with my answer, then I hope to hear from you in the near future when you are ready to take the spiritual journey, once again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Misty perception (Question)

I haven't been drunk before. So I wouldn't know the feeling first hand. However, it is said that when one is drunk, one's perception is hazy. The person can't even keep his balance. This person who asked the question below is experiencing this dizziness: (unedited)

I've been studying the philosophy of Advaita, Buddhism and Taoism as well as trying to find a cognitive shift in my perception so that I can experience the world as non-dual. One night I read something regarding the question of truth. What is true and what isn't? Should we proceed from the standpoint of everything being false? An illusion? Something clicked in my mind and the next day I was experiencing extreme panic attacks and have been ever since (that was a week ago).
Now when I look at my fiancee I doubt her existence and feel a flooding of panic that is overwhelming. I also feel this with everyone else as well as objects, time and existence itself. I know that this is an odd question, however, I was wondering if you have any insight into how I should proceed. Thank you for your time and expertise. ]
You like to think about it? See you to-morrow with my comment.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What sort of question is this?? (Comment part 3 of 3)
I think that's fun enough. I shall now show him the way to Timbaktu!

The exact location is in your mind. But then, where is your mind? Well, never mind!! And Good-bye!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What sort of question is this?? (Qn part 3 of 3)

This is the final part. He now wants to know the exact location of the way. Which way? What way? (unedited):

[Hello, Yes that helped me out. Thank you very much. My teacher said that the way is an exact location, which has to do with the last sentence of the scenario:"Still on 593 at 4889 figs and arrows can help you find the way". do you have any clue what the exact location may be? Please let me know when you get a chance. Thank you. ]

He was like speaking French to me and here I was like speaking Chinese to him. Somehow we both still want to continue to "communicate" further. I think to-morrow I shall send him to Timbaktu.

Monday, June 2, 2008

What sort of question is this?? (Comment part 2 of 3)

5.Where can you go to find the way and what is the way?

The answer:

I have eyes but not see

I have ears but not hear

I have nose but not smell

I have mouth but not eat .....means

Although we have the sense organs, we always cannot understand the truth.

If I look and see

If I listen and hear

If I breathe and smell

If I swallow and eat .....means

To find the way, we must look inside us and find the truth.

That is a repeat...The place to go is to come inside me.

The way is no returning....means the path to liberation, which is, not having to return to suffer again. This is the way.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

What sort of question is this?? (Qn part 2 of 3)

I knew it's coming. He was sure to ask for clarifications regarding my counter riddle. And here it is: (unedited)

[Hello, I can not figure out that return riddle for the answer to #5. Can you please give me the answer to #5 directly. Thank you. Email me back. ]

You are also given a chance to figure out what I meant. Will tell you to-morrow.
Related Posts with Thumbnails