Saturday, November 29, 2008



Please tell me why is there no accurate explanation for time in buddhist philosophy ? The world is nicely explained as manifestation of mind, but i couldn't find any explanation for time except "continuous flow". I hope you can give a simple answer, for a simple man. thank you for your time

My comment:
Thank you for asking me.

By the way, I am also a simple man, just like you. I shall try to give a simple answer. In fact if you care to read my answers in the "previously asked question" page, you will find that all my answers were simple and down-to-earth.

Time is a concept "invented" by man to indicate a point in time. It was also natural that since time immemorial, man could see the sun rose and set, seasons changed. With the identification of those physical changes, the concept of time naturally occured. Now if we were to explore space, we would notice that there is no end to our journey. And if were to trace back to the origin of "creation" we would find that a beginning cannot be established. If there is no beginning and no end, how can we have TIME?

Please come back if you need to, happy thinking.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Harsh Speech

Question: (unedited)
- I was just wondering if swearing goes against 'right speech'? I'm asking this question because i swear and I need to know if this is considered 'bad' in buddhism. If you could please answer my question, thanks.

My comment:

Hi, Thank you for asking me.

The beauty of the Buddha's teachings is that we can always use our common sense and human intelligence to analyze them. Now let us use our common sense to answer your question..... Well, you got the right answer immediately. Don't you?

It is always a very pleasant feeling when one hears polite and gentle words. It shows that the person is a noble and cultured human being.

Smile from justinchoo :-)


Follow-up Question: (unedited)

well not to be rude or anything like that, but that doesn't really answer my question, im sorry, but at times my common sense isn't that great, thanks.

My comment:

My apology for the indirect answer.

The direct answer is this. There are 10 unwholesome actions in our thoughts, our speech, and bodily actions. One of them is "harsh speech". Swearing can be considered harsh speech which is unwholesome. It is unwholesome because it hurts people's feelings and also creates aversion in one's mind. In other words, it is bad.

Please come back if you need elaboration.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Stressed out

Question:(unedited) (This person is a regular visitor and is a paramedic)

Hello Justin.

This time I have something different on my mind besides a question. I was involved in a bit of an accident at work. I crashed the ambulance into a building (nobody was injured). But I am in a bit of trouble with my supervisors etc. I find myself very stressed about this situation, and have been unable to meditate for about a week now. My mind just cannot settle down. Are there any particular passages from buddha's teachings that I could find some comfort in?

Thank you very much my friend.

My Comment:
Hi G...,

The solution is not to find some magic quotations from the Buddha's sayings. The right approach is to find the pertinent teachings of the Buddha to resolve your problems. You are in a very unique situation where you are confronted with the true nature of life; the realities of life unfolding in front of you everyday when you are whizzing through the traffic, siren and all.

This is the reality of life. Life is full of dangers and uncertainties. Anything can happen to us irrespective of our colour, our belief, our age, our size, our position in society, rich or poor, and everything else! No one is in charge in this world except the workings of kamma. Once you can realize this fact of DUKKHA you will be able to accept what comes in life. Your problem will gradually dissipate once you accept that which is inevitable and natural in this unpredictable world. We must ride with the waves of life, like the skilful surfer.

As for your meditation, don't force yourself to do things that you have difficulty with. The more you fight, the more tense you become. Take a break from the meditation session. When you become more relaxed, you can still continue with the practice. You have plenty of time.

Remember, we are all going through the journey; we have not reached our destination yet.

If you still insist of finding a passage which will help you, refer to verses 1&2 of the Dhammapada:

"Mind precedes all mental states; mind is the root; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts, suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox."

"Mind precedes all mental states; mind is the root; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow."

Have peace, my friend!

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ajahn Chah : Mindful Way (You Tube)

The late Ven Ajahn Chah taught very practical Dhamma.

Most Buddhists would have heard of the Venerable. His most successful Dhamma life was with the Western (Caucasian) group. His most senior Western disciple is Ajahn Sumedho who came into contact with the Venerable while Ajahn Sumedho was a young American serving under the US Peace Corp mission in Borneo. Ajahn Sumedho is now in England. For more info please click HERE:

Another very popular disciple monk is an Englishman now residing in Australia. He is Ajahn Brahmawamso, more popularly known as Ajahn Brahm. For more info please click HERE:

For more info about Ven. Ajahn Chah, please click HERE:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Superman and Buddha

Question: (unedited)
Subject: Silly Question
Simple (dumb) question : is it true that Buddha had supernatural powers, like Superman :)

My comment:

Well since it's a silly question, you will receive a SILLY answer: Superman was an Indian (not your Red Indian) of the Indian Continent. He was a monk, but misbehaved by showing off his supernatural powers and had to be disrobed and exiled in a faraway uncivilized land called America. That was why his underwear was showing!

Laugh by justinchoo :-0

[Footnote: The questioner is a regular, so this is a light-hearted banter!! :-) ]

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Precious self


hello my friend, Im back again to ask another question. I have read a lot about how it is the concept of "precious self" that keeps people feeling trapped in desire and consumed by their egos. It would seem that because people feel "precious" to themselves they have their own interest and happiness as a priority. I have noticed that it is very difficult for me to sometimes not take the mean words or actions of others personally. I try to remember that they are really only hurting themselves through negative karma, but it is hard to not feel "precious" sometimes. Is the ego and the "precious self" the same thing according to your understanding? Thank you again my friend, I hope you are well.

My comment:

Thank you for dropping by. I am very well, thank you.

The Buddha's concept of "no self" or "no soul" is quite often misinterpreted. As you very aptly put it, according to my understanding of the Buddha's explanation, the concept of Anatta or "No self" is as follows.

The underlying concept of Anatta is that in the final analysis, there is nothing in this world which we can call our own. Please not the phrase "in the final analysis". Right now I am a living person, a Self, with feelings and consciousness, likes and dislikes. I am a very imperfect individual.

Without any knowledge of the Buddha's teachings, I will not gain anything in life, except eat, sleep, having sex, getting angry, being happy, being sad, getting sick, getting old, and die. Just like any animal. But with the knowledge of the Dhamma, the Buddha's teachings, my life is not lived in this stereotyped manner. I come to understand this life. That this life is very brief and in the end I will die, and the cycle will start again, et infinitum. Having this life right now is to understand that while I am living I must not abuse my body and mind.

As a normal living being , I will be subjected to likes and dislikes, pleasures and displeasures, love and hate, happiness and sorrow, and a myriad of other feelings. All these are natural, but not all natural feelings are beneficial to me. So, I must be mindful to be prepared for unforseen circumstances. Having this precious knowledge, I will now practise the Dhamma. I will not over-indulge in sensual pleasures. I will lead a life of moderation. When it's time to be happy, I will be happy. When I can't help feeling sad, I will feel sad. I will flow with the tides of life. Neither complaining nor feeling too elated with events.

In short, my friend, live a normal life. Follow the flow of Dhamma. Live a noble and harmless life. Always be mindful that we are just a miserable mortal. Right now you have this "Self", live it with wisdom of the Dhamma. For in no time there will be "No Thing", "No Self". As you said, it is this Ego that is hurting. Let "Itgo" and you will be free. Live this life but not live with the Ego.

Well, that's my understanding of "no precious self".

See you again, smile from me :-)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Science and Buddhism

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1300


I'm writing to you only to refer to a question asked from and answered by you. It's the one with the subject "Time", posted by Tudor.

To answer that question, people prefer to turn to sciences other than the 'science of the mind', although the latter can also provide a quite thorough explanation, if I'm not mistaken. As far as I know, Buddhism has a lot in common with contemporary physics. A book called 'The quantum and the Lotus' deals with the different aspects of and the similarities between quantum physics and Buddhism. (Written by Matthieu Ricard & Trinh Xuan Thuan)

I'm not a Buddhist, I've never studied Buddhist scripts and don't know a single prayer. I'm just a thinker and have always been and I find it comforting and encouraging to see that experts of natural sciences and 'the science of the mind' justify the conclusions I've also come to by thinking and various experiences (and, of course, studying - you can't just "assume" quantum physics without going through a pile of books).

The deeper we search for truth and reality, the more similar the ways of conducting the search and further possibilities opening up become. Sciences and philosophies will no longer be strictly separated as they get closer and closer to the one truth they're seeking.

Thanks for your time :)


Answer: Hi Eve,

Welcome to this site. It is indeed very refreshing to have visitors like you. The Buddha's teachings were about the true nature of the universe and life....Universal Truths. There is nothing about blind belief. There is nothing about obeying dogmas and commandments. It is about the study and investigation of Universal Truths. Universal Truths transcend time and space, let alone race, nationality, and belief.

Scientists may be very clever. They can invent machinery and equipment and fantastic gadgets to probe the tiniest particle and explore the vastness of space. But there is one thing they cannot do. They cannot increase the power (or lack of it) of their physical sense organs. The range of their eyesight, their hearing ability, and even their mental intelligence, are hopelessly quite limited. That is why they have to rely on huge telescope to explore the universe, and powerful microscope to probe the invisible organisms. As the saying goes, the more we see the universe, the less we know because we now realize that there are so much that we do not know.

The Buddha used the power of his mind to "see and know" the true nature of this world and life. Buddhism has no problem with science. This is because a lot of things that science had discovered were already known and revealed by the Buddha over 2500 years ago! So long as science can help in the progress of humans without harming others, Buddhism accepts. The danger lies in the evil tendency, wickedness, and utter foolishness, of very intelligent people! To be very clever does not equate to be very wise. Cleverness and wisdom are two different traits. This is the danger of this world.

If science is the study and investigation of universal truths, then it is Buddhism! By the way, you need not have to know a single prayer to be a Buddhist. If you know the universal truths, you are a Buddhist!

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Reiki and Buddhism


I have been suffering from self-esteen problem as i had very bad acne hence into depression for 4 years. So i seek a Buddhist Reiki healer for help. Actually before i seek her help,i'm already progressing in my life,cause i'm quite use to my acned face and it has been recovering better.I'm beginning to be the old optimistic and fun loving me,always ready to interact with people. But the healer teacher said i shouldn't go back to that 'me',adding that i always like to attach myself to feeling happy and have too many wants and said i will have superficial friends. I'm pretty supress and confuse by this statement because I'm just doing what i naturally like and with conscience intact. And the fact that i care for my look doesn't mean i only look for superficial friends,i always treat people with sensitivity and with my heart just that looking good will booast my confidence in meeting people.Now, i'm in serious depression,every moment having guilt in whatever i do. So how can Buddhist teachings be applied to layman like us who seek normal wants, like having friends or starting family.

My comment:

Hi, Thank you for asking me.
You just get on with your life. Continue to live the life that you've enjoyed. There is no where in the teachings of the Buddha that curtails a lay person's conduct of his life. As a lay Buddhist, one is advised to follow the 5 precepts, and live a noble and harmless life. We are all subject to certain worldly desires and it is natural that we seek worldly enjoyment within certain limits. So long as we are not too crazy chasing and seeking worldly pleasures, it is reasonable for us to seek worldly happiness like what you have been doing.

Reiki, as you know, is a form of healing using one's natural inner energy. This has nothing to do with Buddhism. Please don't get yourself entangled between reiki and the teachings of the Buddha. They are two entirely different subjects.

Hope you can be your HAPPY self again!

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Die In Peace

Hello! My name is K......... I live in Norway where I am studying nursing. I am writing an assignment about how to treat dying buddhists pain and I have a few questions related to this assignment: Is there anything a nurse working in a western hospital should know about buddhism to be able to treat the dying buddhists pain/illness? I've heard that a buddhist shall not be given medication which makes him drowsy when he is dying. Do you have alternative ways to ease his pain? What do a buddhist think about pain and illness? I hope you can help me answering these questions. Best regards, K.......

My Comment:

Hi K.......,
Thank you for asking me. I think we have to separate the issue into two aspects.

One; it is the relationship between a patient and accepted conventional medical care. I would say your job and responsibility concern this aspect. The other aspect is related to the patient's religious (or spiritual) belief. You are not responsible for this aspect as you are not trained or required to cater for everyone's belief or for that matter, everyone's whims and fancies.

Buddhists have a very different view in relation to life and death, especially in the eyes of an ordinary Caucasian with a Christian tradition and culture. It is very difficult to understand Buddhist concepts if one is not willing to open one's mind to a new paradigm of spiritual interpretation.

Buddhists are also ordinary mortals, subject to pain and sorrow, especially when the end is near. They are no different from anyone. Unless the patient is a very disciplined Buddhist, the standard curative care should be good enough. The best you could do is to follow his wishes within reasonable limits.

In the Buddhist perspective, birth and death is part and parcel of life. In Buddhist training, we are taught to contemplate this reality and inevitability of old age, sickness and death; so that when the time comes we can face death with equanimity. We believe that the mind is a different entity in itself. When the body cannot sustain itself, the mind will continue on its own journey in another life. It is therefore very important that the last thought moment of the patient be very peaceful before his last breath, for it will influence the next stage of its existence, which we call rebirth.

Under ordinary circumstances, it is easy to let the patient die in peace with full consciousness until the last moment. But when pain exists, it is a very different matter. It is up to the individual to choose according to his level of spiritual maturity and his threshold of pain.

There was this Buddhist English gentleman who was a very devout Buddhist. He suffered great pain in his last days. Initially, no pain killer was given as requested by him. However, when his days came nearer, the pain was unbearable, and for all compassion, pain killer was administered.

In Buddhism, there is no strict commandment to be followed blindly. The Buddha advised us to use our human intelligence and common sense to lead a harmless and noble life so that we can die in peace, hopefully without pain.
Smile from justinchoo :-)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Buddhist concepts not controversial?

Question: (unedted)
Hi, I am a college student and I have to think of a controversial topic/thesis in Buddhism. So far, the topics I have thought of thus far have not been controversial enough to my instructor, so I was wondering with your expertise if you had any ideas. Particularly, I was interested in something about the Four Noble Truths or about Karmic action. If you can please get back to me as soon as you can with some insight, I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks!

My comment:

Thanks for asking me. I am surprised that your instructor found no controversy in your suggestions. In fact most of the Buddha's teachings are full of "controversies" because the average person usually cannot understand them.

Perhaps if you were to start asking questions on the topics, "controversies" will surface. You will then have a hard time resolving them.

Take for instance, the topic of kamma (karma in Sanskrit), just ask this question: If kamma dictates our lives, how can we take control of our lives? We will just be like sitting ducks waiting for events to happen.

Another question relating to the 4 noble truths: If life is suffering then how can we be happy?

What about the precept of not killing? How can we live without any killing? Do you mean that if someone were to kill me, I would just smile and let him kill me? I think the above will generate enough "controversies" for your assignment.

Then the "kill-all" topic: Buddhists do not believe in the all-powerful, ever-loving, creator God. If he is so powerful and everloving, why allow people to be killed in wars, why allow murderers to kill innocent victims, why allow people to contract cancer and die a painful death, why allow accidents and all the natural disasters, why create hell?

Buddhists do not believe that they are puppets on the strings to be manipulated by God.

This will start the ball rolling!
Related Posts with Thumbnails