Tuesday, September 30, 2008




HI...what does it mean if you love your children too much? Someone I was speaking to,made it seem in Buddhism you can't love your kids too much...it might have something to do with reincarnation,I'm not sure.We never finished our conversation on it and I need to understand this completely.Thanks for your help:)

My comment:

Hi, the one with no name.

Thank you for asking me.

First I must say that I am in no position to answer your question directly, because it would be unfair of me to make judgment on such little information. However, I can express my opinion in general from the message that you provided.

It is very common (and a great problem) for people to misinterpret the Buddha's teachings, especially regarding subjects like craving, attachment, and desires. The Buddha's message is that if we blindly attach ourselves very strongly to things or persons, we will in the end suffer when these things or persons are taken from us. If we are crazy seeking ways to fully satisfy our every desire we will in the end suffer when we realize that we cannot have full satisfaction from all our desires. The Buddha advised us to be very careful when we are especially attracted to things or persons because of the inevitable consequence of losing them in the end. Moreover, in the process of this grasping or attachment of things or persons, we inevitably want to exert control over them, thinking that they belong to us and we have every right to control and manipulate them at our whims and fancies.

The advice is to be careful not to be over-attached or become over-obsessed over our possessions; and this includes our loved ones. We must definitely love our children. We must love them a lot. This is the duty of parents. To neglect them or to reduce our love for them is downright foolishness. The Buddha's advice was that if we were attached to things or persons, be mindful that one day we might have to part. With this mindfulness when things get wrong we will not be too devastated.

What has reincarnation got to do with this?!! By the way the Buddha explained the concept of "rebirth" and not "reincarnation" which is a different concept. Should you wish to know about this, please come back.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Perfect Relationship


hello again Justin, I hope you are happy and healthy, I am back for another question. I have noticed that many people (myself included) are stuck in what I like to call a "dating cycle". We meet someone, get really excited, date them for a few months, find something wrong with them, get disappointed and look for someone else. I am getting really sick of this search for the perfect person to spend time with and I feel that perhaps I dont need to seek out marriage. Im not limiting myself from anything if it happens it happens, but Im quite happy on my own not being stuck in this cycle.

I was wondering though, do monks and nuns find it hard to live without relationships. I understand that monks and nuns cannot even touch, does it not get really lonely for them? Looking forward to your answer.

My comment:
It was a looong wait to hit Bull's Eye! You have hit a 10! This is your 10th visit. Congratulations! But no reward.

I thought you have understood the Buddha's teachings very well, but....well...?
Isn't your dating adventures, a very typical western "cultural experience"? As you said, you people expect this merry-go-round dating cycle. And that's what you will get.

Let's take an example. Suppose you are looking for a perfect house. You can even list down all the requirements for this perfect house. Say you are lucky enough to find such a perfect house. You buy it. After awhile many things can go wrong:-
1. the roof leeks
2. cracks appear on the walls
3. you suddenly find that the house is facing the wrong side
4. the neighbours are funny
5. the bathroom isn't the size that you imagined
6. the garage door isn't opening properly
7. the kitchen layout seems to be different from what you first saw
8. apart from all other things, you have changed your mind as to what a perfect house ought to be; for sure this is definitely not the perfect house that you wanted!
9. so you go look for another house
10. Bull's eye!

I am sure you are wise by now after learning about the Buddha's teachings that you CANNOT find the perfect partner simply because of the truths of "Anicca and Dukkha". "Impermanence and unsatisfactoriness". Even if you can find the perfect partner now, after awhile the perfection will show its flaws. We must be wised up that to search for perfection is to seek death, for even when you are going to die you will never find perfection. Sorry to be so harsh. But I can guarantee you perfect happiness if you are willing to experiment with your life. Make your eyes blind, deafen your ears, and make yourself dumb. Then go take a partner. Your partner will be the perfect one!

Your dating problem is a relationship problem. This is a very serious problem especially in western societies. The belief in personal freedom and independence has a self destructive force when two parties come in union. Each person has the preconceived idea that he/she can do anything he/she wants, and the other party must respect his/her privacy and independence. How can a marriage or relationship work when the two parties have such selfish and uncompromising attitudes? It is like trying to mix oil with water! Relationship can only work when the two parties have a compromising, understanding, and caring disposition . I am beginning to sound like a "marriage counsellor"!

Now coming back to monks and nuns. Of course one will have a thorough understanding of the Buddha's teachings to want to become a monk or nun. This is the spiritual path. What you are feeling is the worldly or carnal experience. The two do not mix. That is why in Buddhism, if one really wants to seek real truth and peace; one has to decide to "leave" this "terrible" world of sense desires which leads to sorrow and death.

If a person likes fishing, do you think he feels lonely when he fishes alone? Of course being a monk or nun is not as easy as going fishing. It takes great self- discipline and commitment to be in the spiritual path.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Walking The Mistress!

(Walking the Mistress!)

Question: (unedited)
Hello justin, I hope you are happy and healthy. I have another question for you: I have read a lot about "natural mind" or finding the "natural state" of my mind during meditation. Does this natural state mean letting my thoughts (good and bad) flow through me without holding on during meditation? Or does this natural state mean a feeling of "no thought" where the mind is simply pointed at the here and now? Thanks again for helping me along the way, may you be happy and healthy always.

My comment:
Hi! Nice to hear from you again. You are talking about the subject of meditation; Buddhist meditation for that matter. It is important to emphasize "BUDDHIST MEDITATION". I don't know whether to regard it as "tradition" or "trend" to always separate Buddhist meditation into Vipassana (Insight) and Samatha (Tranquility). To me, Buddhist meditation IS simply Buddhist meditation. There is always this debate between these 2 types of meditation. I regard this futile exercise as a sheer waste of time.

Meditation is simply to know the mind, to tame the mind, and ultimately, to cultivate the mind. The first step is to understand this mind; that it wanders continuously. Knowing that, we train this mind to stay "quiet", until it is tamed. With a trained mind, we can now start to "teach" this mind to do the "tricks" that we want it to do. An untrained person is with a mind that is not trained. The mind becomes the master, and the person becomes the slave. He will succumb to the whims and fancies of his mind. And he is in trouble; just like most people (including me).

With a trained mind, a person is the master of the mind, and the mind is the "slave" or "servant" of the person. The person has full control over his mind. He will direct his mind to do what he wants and not what the mind wants. He becomes a skilful person with wisdom. He will live in peace and happiness.

As an analogy, an untrained dog-owner taking his untrained dog for a walk, is actually allowing the dog to take him for a walk. The dog will drag and pull him, and the owner simply follows the leash! This is hillarious! This is like the mind taking us for a walk.

The owner has to know that it is the wrong method. He has to learn the technique to train the dog. Once the dog is trained to obey instructions, the owner can then teach the dogs other tricks. Coming back to your questions. First we must tame our mind. The method is to focus on an object so that whenever the mind wanders, it is pulled back to that object of concentration. This is to confirm your second question. This is Samatha or Tranquility.

The next step is to teach your mind to perform "tricks" that you want it to do. This corresponds to your first question. Our mind always wanders, because we allow it the freedom to create havoc in our lives. The method to train this mind is to know its nature. Whenever a thought comes, simply NOTE THE THOUGHT. Whatever comes simply note...PERIOD. When we become skilful in this exercise, we will notice that whenever and whatever the mind thinks or feels, we just note and finish with it. No more stray thoughts, no more problems. This is the gist of what the Buddha explained in the "four foundations of mindfulness". This is Vipassana or Insight.

We understand the nature of the mind, and we know how to direct it to our advantage. Both tranquility and insight must come together if one is to experience calm and acquire wisdom. With only tranquility, these is no wisdom. Without tranquility, there is no way one can gain insight. So as far as I understand, Buddhist meditation must have both.

Happy meditating. See you again.

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ultimate Truths

Please try and comment on this: this year i am supposed to finish high school and, after that, go to college ( i want to study physics). I find it already difficult to reconcile my buddhist beliefs with what i learn at school. How could i ever study and belive in something that is just a lie (or, at least, it seems so for the moment)? That is why i asked you about what enlightened people do for a living. I cannot go up to my teacher and tell him all that i know about forces, energies, causality, quantum mechanics, etc. and than, as a closeing statement , say that it is all illusion and that i do not belive anything in the first place. ( By the way, i never thought that any of your comments were rude, not at all.) thank you for your time ( smiles from me :) )

My comment:
Welcome for the 6th time! From what you wrote, I think you are a very intelligent young man.

There are 2 aspects of the Buddha's teachings. One is based on ultimate truth. The other is related to conventional truth. Both are truths in their own rights. Ultimate truth is like saying "everything is subject to change". Conventional truths are truths in the worldly sense so long as everyone agrees with it, for example, in the U.S. you must drive on the right side of the road. This is not ultimate truth, for I drive on the left side of the road in my country.

A lot of our worldly knowledge is based on conventional truths. But this does not mean that we should reject them. We have to live by these truths because everyone lives by them, so that there is a systematic conduct consistent with a certain degree of harmony. Otherwise there will be chaos in this world. Most things taught in schools are conventional truths. They are truths in their own rights. We must not reject them. They are beneficial for human progress. Science and medicines are very useful and beneficial to all of us. We cannot say that these subjects are empty or useless. So we have to be very careful to balance spiritual wisdom with worldly intelligence, so long as we want to live a worldly life. That is why an enlightened person cannot fit into our worldly society.

You must be very careful not to go overboard into thinking that all worldly knowledge are useless or false. You must continue with your education so that you can become a useful citizen. Please go to college and study physics as you have planned. There is nothing contradictory to Buddhism in what you are studying. If you go deeper into physics, you will find that what you have studied were revealed by the Buddha more than 2500 years ago! You see, the Buddha was the greatest physicist when he explained the functions of this body in relation to the mind; and when he revealed the cycle of the universe.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gods in our homes


Question: (unedited)

I don't known if it's possible to throw some light into this matter. I would like to know, briefly if it's possible, the basic teaching/behaviour or concepts of people towards their parents, or old people in general. Of course, in a Buddhist perspective. All the best......

My comment:
The Buddha reminded us that there were gods (Brahmas) in our homes. We are supposed to pay great respect to them. These "gods" or Brahmas are our parents. Need we elaborate further?

As a good Buddhist, one is to practise compassion for all. It is most pertinent to pay more attention to members of our family. Respect of elders is deeply ingrained in Asian cultures.

However, with the changing trend of modern life-style, the family unit is under pressure and being challenged. People just cannot find enough time to care for one another. Everyone is so busy trying to make ends meet, trying to better one's standard of living, finding financial security to safeguard old age. In everyone's mind, the fear of being neglected by family members when one is old and useless, creates enormous pressure to seek financial independence.

In developed Western countries, this problem may not be so apparent as the social security and care for the aged are well organized and implimented. Taking care of our aged parents is not much of a problem if they are healthy. The big problem comes when they are frail and cannot take care of their personal hygiene. This will be a big test in our compassion and love for our parents. It will test our resilience and affect our financial position if we are not financially sound. And if brothers and sisters are not staying together, the big question of who is to take care of mum and dad.....????

How good a Buddhist will reflect on how much one can cope with the above scenario.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Truths Sting! Lies Stink!!

Mr Oh Teik Bin is one of my blogger friends. His specialty is in graphics. His mission is disseminating universal moral messages in different beautiful and interesting ways.

Today he got a very special message in comic form, very timely during this period of political uncertainties.

Truths sting! Lies stink!!

Please visit his interesting blog by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dhamma Everywhere !!


Question: (unedited)
Hello Justin. Thank you for your answer to my question. I just have one comment. It seems the more I look around and the more I apply the teachings of the buddha to everyday life, the more the "truth" of this cyclic existence becomes clear to me. Much like realizing the silly cycle that we in the west pursue relationships with, I am amazed just how much more clearly I can see the world now. For experienced older buddhists such as yourself it must be obvious, but for me it is all brand new. I am simply amazed it all. Thanks for being patient with me.

My comment:
The fool is always blind

That's why the Buddha is the All-seeing One

When we SEE with our mind,

This world perfection is none.

The Buddha can only teach

We have to play our part

To put into practice

And feel real peace in our hearts.

The Buddha's teachings are like air

The universal truths

For each and everyone to share

They are free and everywhere.

For those who choose not to breathe

The Dhamma* air

Let it be, let it be

Then die in despair!

If you think you care

Then take command

To proclaim and share

The Dhamma with everyone!

*{Dhamma means universal truths}

Smile From Justin Choo :-)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dhamma free as air !

Question: (unedited)
Hello, I'm not a Buddhist, but I need some information. Does Buddhism have an equivalent to Christianity's rite of baptism or christening? Thank you.

My comment:
Before answering your question, a little bit of what Buddhism is, will clarify your question. The Buddha's teachings are about universal truths and about how to understand the true nature of this world and this life. With this understanding, one will be able to live in peace with oneself, with others and with the world. The Buddha was not interested in converting people to his "religion". He found something that he knew will benefit others and he wanted to share this knowledge with anyone who cared to listen and learn. In the ultimate analysis, people want peace and happiness. If anyone cares to follow the Buddha's advise he will experience peace and happiness.

The Buddha did not invent dogmas and commandments for people to follow blindly with fear. He gave freedom of choice to all. If one is interested to follow his teachings, then one will make effort to practise his teachings. With practice, comes positive results, and this in turn reinforces one's commitment to improve further.

The traditional "ritual" of a Buddhist for affirming his commitment as a devout Buddhist is the recitation of certain commitments which he upholds. First he pays homage to the Buddha as a mark of great respect for a great teacher. Then he takes refuge in the Buddha, his teachings, and the community of monks, which means that these 3 "guide posts" will provide protection to the follower. He then recites his commitment to keep his 5 precepts. As diligent Buddhists we use certain precepts to guide our lives. These are the 5 precepts: to refrain from killing, to refrain from stealing, to refrain from committing sexual misconduct, to refrain from telling lies, and to refrain from taking intoxicating substances.

As you can see by now there is no such thing as "baptism" in Buddhism. Very frankly, do you really think that anyone can "change" or "convert" others by just sprinkling some "holy" water? Or by immersing them in some water for that matter? Buddhist teachings are like air. They are free, and non discriminating. If one thinks it benefits oneself, then one will breathe the air. If one chooses otherwise, then it's up to oneself. This is the "religion" of Buddhism....Truth, Peace, Harmlessness, and Freedom.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Not the same, nor different. (Part 2 of 2)

Question: (unedited)
"The entity is there..." What entity? You imply that consciousness dissolves (although the Buddha was couscious of past lives???), but something persists. What is this eternal something, and why don't you want to call it a soul?

My comment:

Consciousness never dissolves. Take the example of a stream. Consciousness is like the flowing stream. It is always there. But the water you see in the stream is not the same water. The "entity" is the "stream". The "consciousness" is the flowing water in the stream. The flowing stream of water is the life continuum. To insist that there is a permanent soul is just like insisting that the stream of water must be the same permanent water. This "eternal something" is the flowing water which makes up the stream. It is a very profound concept of reality. Perhaps it takes time for one to understand after a period of serious contemplation and analysis. It takes time and patience to understand the profound teachings of the Buddha. This is the best I can explain. Hope you are not disappointed with my explanation. Keep on searching and with patience you will find the truth.

(If you understand this concept of rebirth and still insisting on calling it "soul" then there is no cause for argument. It's a matter of semantics.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not the same, nor different. (Part1 of 2)


Question: (unedited) The Buddha proclaimed the self to be empty. Also, though He neverly expressly denied it, the evidence is that he denied the existence of a soul. But the Buddha accepted reincarnation and in the Suttas recalled a number of his past lives. Since there is no soul, what is being reincarnated?

My comment.

The Buddha's axiom is in this statement: "Not the same, and yet not different". It is just like the electric current; there is a continuous flow of current, but the current before and the current now, are not the same, and yet not different. Another example is like a lighted candle. Although the light appears to be the same, it is actually not so because the candle is continuously burning.

The Buddha pointed out that there was no PERMANENT AND UNCHANGING entity. The entity is there, but is in a continuous state of flux. Therefore there cannot be an unchanging and eternal soul. The Buddha also denied that there was absolutely nothing, because there IS definitely some thing. There is this process of becoming, sustaining, and dissolving.

This process of becoming, sustaining, and dissolving is the characteristic of the mind. It is the consciousness that ticks away, just like the movie film that contains the individual frames. It is this consciousness that takes on different life forms depending on the nature of the accumulated kamma. Rebirth is this process of becoming. "Reincarnation" implies an unchanging entity. "Rebirth" points to a continuous process of the stream of consciousness.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rebirth and Population Increase

NGC 4414, a typical spiral galaxy in the constellation Coma Berenices, is about 17,000 parsecs in diameter and approximately 20 million parsecs distant. Credit:Hubble Space TelescopeNASA/ESA.

Today's question was submitted by one of my blogosphere's friends with a "nick" called A True Malaysian. He has requested me to post it here.

Question: (unedited)

I am a believer of reincarnation, rebirth. Someone has posed me a question that if reincarnation, rebirth has any truth, why human population in the world keep increasing? By right, if every everyone of us is subject to this cycle of life, total population in this world supposed to be a constant. Of course, you may argue that other living beings like animal and insect can be reborn into a human and vice-versa, where the % of insect / animal reborn into human is greater than human reborn into insect / animal due to good karma that these living being accumulated from their past life. Still, I am still blur on this.

My comment:

"A True Malaysian",

Surprise, surprise!! You have visited my blog, now you are in my room!! Very good.You have partly answered the question yourself. Other life forms can be reborn as humans. There are another two areas. The first one is that you must realize that the universe is so huge, beyond human reckoning. There are life forms in other world systems as well. In the context of space travel, time and distance are non-events, meaning, they cease to exist.

The other sphere where lives exist are in a different dimension. The Buddha revealed that there are 31 planes of existence. Humans and animals are two of the 31 planes. There are heaven and hell planes in different dimensions which we can't see.

Having answered that, you may like to pose a counter question to your friend, "What then do you think would be the answer?"

Hope this helps.(You are welcome to ask as many questions as you like and as often as you want. I am here specifically for this purpose...answering questions on Buddhism.)

Take care.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Seeing spirits


Question: (unedited)
I was wondering is it often buddihist see spirits? I met a buddihist he took me to a monks house. Now I see spirits did I recieve this gift from them. Also do monks keep around guardian angels? I think that is what took me over to this house in the first place. thanks Becki

My comment:
First, I must comment that Buddhism is about realising truth and understanding the true nature of this world. The Buddha taught that we faced a lot of problems in our lives. He showed us the way to reduce these problems so that we could have peace of mind. What you are experiencing is most probably your own hallucination. The mind can trick us to believe and experience things that we want to experience. Take for example, if we are fearful of ghosts and darkness; when darkness comes and if we are alone, we will immediately become fearful and all sorts of imaginations and hallucinations take control over us.

The Buddha revealed that the mind is the most powerful force that controls us. An untrained mind is an uncontrolled mind. We become slaves to this untrained mind and succumbed to all sorts of fear and superstitions. This is because we are ignorant of the real nature of this mind. Once we understand this mind and begin to cultivate it with real insight by calming the mind, we will begin to understand our lives and will be free from fear and superstition.

There are people who have the "ability" to feel the presence of spirits. In your case, it was only after the visit to this monk. I doubt what you have experienced is real. I wonder why should a monk be transferring this "gift" to you. But be careful if it is real, then I wouldn't treat this as a "gift". To be able to see "things" does not mean that you are lucky or have acquired certain power. You may see MORE than meets the eye; those things that you may not want to see.

What you are doing is not Buddhism. Buddhism is training oneself to be a good-hearted person and be able to live in peace with oneself as well as with others. If a person is pure and peaceful, "guardian angels" are all around. It is just like a beautiful garden, where colourful birds and beautiful butterflies hovering around the myriads of sweet-scented flowers. But if one is evil, it will be like a trash can (for non-U S, rubbish bin), where ants, cockcroaches, rats, worms, and other disgusting and smelly creatures make their home. Hope you are not offended by my comments; but it's the truth that I am sharing with you.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Any Guarantee?


Question: (unedited)
Hello Justin, another day another question from me. I hope all is well with you and here goes: I have heard the saying "mind is buddha, buddha is mind." So my question is this: If we, (and by we I mean buddhists practicing the way), spend our entire life purifying our minds and discovering our "buddha nature", what happens when in our old age we "lose" our mind. I have seen plenty of elderly people in my job suffering from alzheimers, dementia, and other age-related mind-illnesses that are basically erasing their minds. And what about the severely mentally disabled? How can they possible generate good karma in this lifetime when many of them are not even aware of themselves. What will happen to me if after a life time of practicing the way of buddha I develop an illness in my old age and my mind cannot function anymore. How am I supposed to meditate and die with peace when my mind doesn't work anymore?

My comment:

Congratulations! You have finally realized the truth. Our lives are surrounded by dangers and uncertainties. There are a lot of factors and circumstances beyond our control. This is the realities of life. No more sugar-coated niceties of what a typical Christian will guarantee you...the protection of Jesus and a coozy slot in heaven.

Your questions are ironically answers in themselves because the answers are in the affirmative. Yes, all the uncertainties that you mentioned may become possibilities during our life time. That is why the Buddha warned us that this world and this life are sorrowful.."Dukkha". There are many things that we cannot control. The saddest part is that we most probably have brought with us the bad kamma that our past lives had committed. If we have more of this bad kamma, then sorry, it's just plain "bad luck". This is why the concept of Kamma is the central point in Buddhism. Once we understand the law of kamma, then we understand why this world is wrought with so much suffering, why some are more fortunate, while others suffer from day one.

And to quote you: " plenty of elderly people in my job suffering from alzheimers, dementia, and other age-related mind-illnesses " " And what about the severely mentally disabled?" " What will happen to me if after a life time of practicing the way of Buddha I develop an illness in my old age and my mind cannot function anymore. " You are right. That's why I congratulated you. This is the TRUE teachings of the Buddha. This is the world of Dukkha. So long as we exist here, we are subject to this Dukkha. If we want to avoid completely this Dukkha, then we have to exert tremendous effort to purify our mind to such a level that there is no more attraction by the negative forces of this world where we will no longer be reborn. This is Nibbana. No more craving, no more attachment, no more attraction.

In a more positive note, there is some assurance that we may be spared of the unfortunate ill effects of life. This is another pertinent message of the Buddha. The Buddha assured us that when we practise the Dhamma (the Buddha's teachings), the Dhamma will protect us. This is the universal truth applicable to everyone irrespective of race, nationality, or belief. It also transcends space and time. It is a very simple statement of fact. This is the law of kamma. "Whatever one volitionally commits an act by way of thought, speech, or action; there will be a corresponding effect, here and now, or in the future. If the act is wholesome, then the effect will be wholesome. If the act is unwholesome then the effect will be unwholesome. This law does not discriminate nor favour anyone.

As good Buddhists, we have every reason to discipline ourselves in our moral character so that whatever we do is always wholesome and harmless. In this way we will have a better chance to "survive" another round!.....until final liberation from this world of dukkha. It's a pleasure sharing Buddhist thoughts with you. I look forward to hear from you again.


I got this from my Dhamma teacher's blog which you can visit HERE.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hard to keep one's cool

Question: (unedited)

Hello again, I'm back now for a 5th time I think. As I mentioned before I work as a paramedic, and encountered a difficult situation the other day. We were on our way to an emergency call, speeding through heavy traffic, and finally arrived at the scene of an accident. We jumped out of the ambulance to the patient's side only to be confronted with the patient's angry wife who yelled at us for taking to long to get there. I rudely snapped back that "we got here as quick as we could, now back off!". Of course I know she was just frustrated/scared, and I understand that, but I guess sometimes my ego gets defensive before I even have a chance to assess the situation with wisdom. In this case, even though snapping at her I'm sure spread some bad karma, I feel that by getting her out of the way quickly we were able to do our job quicker. So my question is this: What would buddha have done?

My comment:
Hi , I am very happy that you are back, not the 5th., but the 6th time! Your job must be a very stressful one. One thing I can assure you is that it is a very wholesome and spiritually rewarding job. Where else can you find a job that saves lives and getting paid for it?

You must understand that we are just ordinary mortals subject to emotional outburst, especially when confronted by rude and aggressive abuses. The fact that we can realize this fault when we commit one, is itself an achievement in our practice of Buddhism. At least we are now aware of our shortcoming, and we take steps to reduce the incidence of this happening again. You must remember that you are on a journey along this spiritual path. You have not reached the destination yet. So, along the way when you make "mistakes" please remember that you are progressing along this journey of wisdom. Do not treat these lapses as failures or faults, but treat them as lessons learned. Then you will find your journey enjoyable, despite a few potholes and flat tyres.

On a more practical side, and as a reinforcement in your practice, perhaps you can take a courageous move to apologize to the wife. Wait till you see her response! It will be worth your while. Please let me know.

Do not let the notion of bad kamma control your life too much. Concentrate on what is wholesome and pure; and good kamma will take its course. As for your last question, of course the Buddha would have remained in equanimity. Please keep in touch. It's a pleasure sharing comments with you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to solve problems


Question: (unedited)
How to get solution for any problem according to buddisium?

My comment:
When a child has a toothache, he cries. He doesn't know why he is having a toothache. The only way he knows is to cry to attract attention of the parents, thinking that the parents have all the power in the world to solve his problem. As far as the child is concerned, his search for a solution is "successful" once his parents are aware of his problems, because of his naiveness and childish innocence. In the end the parents still have to take him to the dentist.

We are like this child. We think we can rely or depend on someone or something to solve our problems. We are constantly searching for this "miracle person" or "magical stone" to help solve our problems.

Your question on "solution for any problem" is too wide and all-embracing. If you are hungry, your solution is to seek food. If you are short of money, you go and get a job. These are physical and material problems where you seek worldly solutions. However, there is another aspect of "problems" which is more than material and physical. The problems we create in our mind are more subtle and more dangerous. If our mind does not know the real nature of this world, we react to many things in the wrong way, thus causing agony not only mentally but also physically; both to ourselves and to others.

The Buddha's message was that we can solve our own problems by ourselves. Not knowing that; we spend our time, energy and money searching for external help. The key message from the Buddha was "realization of the true nature of this world and this life". Once we understand and realize this, we will know where to look for solution. This world deceives us because of our inability to see reality and to accept this reality.

There are 2 inherent characteristics influencing this world. The first is its ever changing character. Because of this incessant change, nothing is permanent. Because of this impermanence, nothing can last forever. The fact that it cannot last forever, it is very unsatisfactory. The 2nd characteristic of this world is this "unsatisfactoriness".

In our lives we always seek permanent happiness, permanent health, permanent beauty, and so on. When we seek for something that does not exists, we are asking for trouble and problems. In this life there are many things that we want but cannot get. There are many things that we don't want but always come our way. When we get the things that we want; then we want more and more. When we get things that we don't want, we hate and are even prepared to kill to "solve the problem". Not knowing the nature of this world, we actually create our own problems. Once we realize the true nature of this world, we can solve our problems by ourselves.

I think this should be a sufficient answer to your question. I am sure now you would have futher questions arising from my comments. Please follow-up your questions if you need further clarifications. I will be too happy to comment on them.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The difference is in the Mind

Question : (unedited)
In the heart of a Buddist, is Budda thought of as an all-powerful being, or a wonderful loving teacher? I am sure it is not that simple. Please explain how a Buddist looks to Budda as being what?

My comment:

You are right. It is not that simple. As the Buddha's teachings are very profound and difficult to understand for those new to Buddhism, I try not to introduce the scriptural teachings of the Buddha, but in layman's language. The Buddha in fact was as you put it, an all- powerful being, apart from a wonderful loving teacher.

"Buddha" means "the fully enlightened one". He was a teacher of gods and men. "Gods," for lack of a better English term, means "angels" of higher planes of existence. The big difference was in his MIND. The Buddha had cultivated his mind through unimaginable long periods of time through his countless lives, culminating in his last birth which he achieved full enlightenment.

The power of a completely pure mind is beyond the comprehension of an average person. As an example, a diffused light has little energy; but a compressed laser light exerts enormous power. A purified mind has the power to understand everything and can perform miraculous feats. However, the Buddha repeatedly warned his followers not to be engrossed with supernatural powers. He would not allow his monks to exhibit their supernatural powers. His emphasis was on his teachings, not on his supernatural powers.

We revere the Buddha for his TEACHINGS, not for his supernatural abilities. The former is beneficial when we put into practice. The latter has nothing to do with us. His discovery is useful to us. The Buddha had passed away and gone. We do not depend on him. We only use his discovery to improve ourselves. Just like we don't need Faraday (the man who discovered electricty), we need only to use his discovery to our benefit.
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