Monday, November 30, 2009

Spam comments still active in my blogs!

The spam comments are still coming, despite the "moderation" mode that I've set a few weeks earlier.

Please bear with me while I put on the "word verification" mode as well.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Question, you are afraid to ask a monk.

Question : (Unedited )

hi justin me again. just wanted to know your thoughts on lust and
masturbation (bit of an icky subject i know but i had to ask)
thanks again j

My comment:
Hi J,

You are a very lucky person to get a chance to ask such "sensitive" question. Up till now I dare not ask my spiritual teachers for fear of embarrassing them or getting a "tick off".

The 3 questions we need to ask ourselves in all things are these:
1) does it hurt oneself?
2) does it hurt others?
3) is it beneficial to oneself?

If 1 & 2 are negative, then there is no harm done. As for 3; if 1 & 2 are negative, even if not beneficial, there is nothing wrong with it. Just plain common sense.

In Buddhism we are encouraged to use our human intelligence and common sense to analyze all things and come to conclusion with full confidence. We need not have to search the "holy text" to decide on everything. Give ourselves due authority to live as decent human beings who know what is right and wrong without the need to depend on others, or fear of some "powerful beings".

As humans, we are very sensual, especially regards to sex. It is our natural instinct, there is nothing wrong with it. But be careful not to allow this sexual craving to control our lives.

Be moderate, and remember, freedom must come with responsibilities.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dispassion on life.

Question : (Unedited)

What is the difference between "craving not to live" (an opposite of craving to live) and "disppassion on life" (Nimbida)"

My comment:

I looked up the Pali-English dictionary, but could not find the word "nimbida".

"Craving not to live" to me sounds like "wanting to commit suicide".

"Dispassion on life" sounds like the understanding of the nature of the unsatisfactoriness of existence. That life in itself is nothing but a passing cloud. There is nothing in life, except birth, old age and death. There is nothing to be passionate about living.

Friday, November 27, 2009

A smile in a million!

A picture speaks a thousand words!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Origin of 5 aggregates.

Question (Unedited)
Plants and trees have life but no conciousness. Can the congregation of the 5 aggregates happen by chance? Where is the origin of each of the 5 aggregates?

My comment:
The origins of things cannot be understood by ordinary mortals who depend on the limited sense organs to comprehend things. Only the Buddha, who by the power of his omniscient mind is able to comprehend the origin and end of phenomena. The 5 aggregates are the phenomena of the natural order of things. They cannot happen by chance.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You can help stop these barbaric and cruel killings.

There will be a Barbaric and Cruel mass murder of animals of all sorts today November 24 and tomorrow November 25. If you feel for these pitiful and defenceless animals, please read through and go to the site and send your messages to the Nepalese Authorities to stop this senseless, cruel and barbaric killings.

Please forward their message to as many of your contacts as possible. This time we may not be doing much, but with the international internet community actions the time will come that they stop these barbaric, senseless and cruel killings. We hope the next time around, all our actions will save millions of innocent and defenceless animals. Don't underestimate your individual actions; all added up will be millions!

I "copy and paste" this article from Humane Society International for your information and follow-up.

[Animal sacrifice is foreign to many in today’s day and age, but it still happens. One of the worst scenes of such slaughter in the world is the Gadhimai Jatra festival, held in the Bara district in the south of Nepal. Every five years, hundreds of thousands of animals are massacred in the name of a Hindu deity. During the last event, more than 200,000 animals were killed in just two days. This year, organizers are calling for nearly a half million animals to be slaughtered November 24 and 25.

The details of these so-called “festivities” are particularly horrific. There is no slaughterhouse or system in place for humane killing; instead, the animals are kept trapped in enclosures. The “panchhbali,” or five offerings, involves slicing the throats of five kinds of animals (buffalo, goats, pigs, roosters and rats) with a knife. This is not a quick death, but slow and agonizing for the victims. Buffalo, due to their size, suffer the most. Men swinging swords, often drunk, enter the corral and begin to hack away at the huge beasts. They target the hind legs first to bring the animals down and then proceed with a slow chopping at the neck, often requiring tens of cuts to actually kill the animal. The cruelty is unspeakable and the pain these creatures endure is unfathomable.

Take Action
Stop the massacre! Write to Nepalese leaders now to express your horror over the planned bloodshed.

In fact, more Indians attend this festival than do Nepalese; Bara is just over the border from India, where sacrificial slaughter has been banned in some states. Additionally, the only real beneficiaries of the event are the local business people, who pressure the villagers to offer excessive numbers of farm animals for the sacrifice. Reportedly, the businessmen can earn as much as $2 million from the sale of the carcasses and hides, while the community gains nothing. Superstition and pressure from organizers impede local action, though many people view the carnage as barbaric.

This horrendous cruelty somehow existed without much publicity until this year. Animal advocates and religious leaders both within Nepal and around the world have displayed outrage and disgust and are working together to pressure on the Nepalese government to put a stop to the mass animal sacrifice. HSI is joining in this effort by working with two of our local partners in Nepal, Kathmandu Animal Treatment Center and Animal Nepal and asking our supporters to write to Nepalese leaders to voice their concern.

Animal Nepal is organizing events in the capital ahead of the event and filing a case at the Supreme Court, as well as planning a symbolic ritual blessing in the hope that compassion will reign. HSI intends to keep the pressure on Nepalese leaders and help spread awareness of the horror of the event. Even “tradition” is no excuse for cruelty in a civilized society. As Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying, “The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals.”]

Please click HERE to go to the site for your compassionate action.


Gyanendra's kin leads campaign against animal sacrifice

KATHMANDU: Five years ago, when he enjoyed unbridled power and was planning to stage an army-backed coup to become the head of the government,

Nepal’s king Gyanendra attended the festival of Hindu goddess Gadhimai in southern Nepal, throwing his weight, as the world’s Hindu emperor, behind an orgy of animal and bird sacrifices.

Today, with his crown abolished and Nepal declared a secular state, the former king’s kin is spearheading a passionate campaign to prevent animal sacrifices in the Terai temple.

“I stopped animal sacrifices at my parents’ house when I was eight,” says Pramada Shah nee Rana, whose grandfather Nir Shumsher Rana was a field marshall of the Nepal Army. “When I was married to Ashish Shah, King Gyanendra’s nephew, I realised animal sacrifices were deeply rooted in the family tradition. However, I have put an end to that too.”

Now her animal rights organisation Animal Welfare Network Nepal has grouped with animal activists in Nepal, India, France and the UK to begin a public campaign against the Gadhimai Temple fair starting from Nov 24, when the temple authorities say at least 500,000 birds and beasts will be slaughtered. The fair is held every five years when Hindu devotees from Jndia and Nepal gather to slaughter birds and animals for two days.

“The government must take immediate action to address the grave health risks of the mass sacrifice including bird and swine flu, TB and food poisoning,” Shah said. “If such mass sacrifices are still allowed in Nepal in the 21st century, it will send out the message to the world that we are still a barbaric nation.”

In 2002, a year after he ascended the throne following the assassination of his elder brother King Birendra, King Gyanendra had visited India where animal rights activists protested against his offering panchabali – five sacrifices – at the Kamakshya temple in Assam

Shah, who was educated in Delhi’s Army Public School and studied in Mumbai’s Sophiya College for two years, says her inspiration is former Indian minister and animal rights campaigner Maneka Gandhi.

Gandhi has already written to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, urging him to prevent the wanton killings. “Many people in Nepal and the subcontinent are concerned about this sacrifice,” she wrote. “Your government has taken so many humane steps – banning the export of monkeys, for instance. Since you have introduced the Meat Act, which makes the humane killing of animals mandatory, these acts during the Gadhimai Festival would be illegal.”

Shah is hoping that Gandhi will come to Nepal since a visit by her would give greater momentum to the campaign. “We are not against the Hindu religion,” she said. “We are against its perversions. No religion says that animals have to be sacrificed to appease god.”

At home, the campaign against the mass animal killings has been boosted by Nepal’s Buddha Boy Ram Bahadur Bomjan taking up cudgels on its behalf. Bomjan, who stunned the world five years ago when he was reported to be meditating without taking food or water, is asking the temple management as well as pilgrims and the district administration not to spill innocent blood in the birthplace of the Buddha, the apostle of peace.

“The campaign is producing results,” said D B Bomjan, a prominent member of the Buddhist Tamang community to which the Buddha Boy belongs. “Three villagers have already handed over three buffalos to us, which were intended for sacrifice at the fair, saying they have had a change of heart.”

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hell Torturers.

Question : (Unedited)

Who are those beings that torture the sufferring beings in the hell? What/Who gave them the right and do they accumulate bad karma for doing the job?

My comment:
Frankly, I don't believe in this torturing business. I think it was the result of our little deluded mind that conjured up these fancy and terrible stories to scare evil doers and potential ones. (This is just my personal opinion.)

The Law of Kamma takes its due in the natural process of things. It does not need others to implement punishment.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Question : (Unedited)
Why is Mahabrahma also called the Creator God? Does he play a role in the beginning of a new world system? Do we and dewas basically look alike (ie. have a face with 2 eyes, 2 ears,1 nose and 1 mouth and 2 hands and 2 legs)? Is it true that in the beginning of a new world system, the brahmas decended to the earth surface and gradually evolved to become human beings?

My comment:
Mahabrahma is called the creator god only by the Hindus. Maha means great, and Brahma means god. The story goes that this Brahma was the first to descend to the lower realm and feeling lonely wished for companions. Later others also descended and the self-fufilling prophesy was created. This Brahma thought that he had great power in creating the others, while the others thought that this Brahma really created them; thus he became Maha Brahma!
The beginning of the world and life are described in the Brahmajala Sutta (the first sutta in the Digha Nikaya) and the Aganna Sutta (Vol 3 Digha Nikaya).

From the description of the planes of existence, devas are also sensual beings which I would assume that they are similar to us, except more refined.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thought moment.

Questions : (Unedited)

1.Where do our unwholesome thoughts come from? Can it be influenced by an unseen being?

The "unseen being" is our "ignorant and deluded mind".

2. Can more than one stream of conciousness co-exist in one physical body? What can we do to prevent that from happenning to us?

"Stream" means "continuous flow". There can only be one continuous flow. It is just like electrical current. Our consciousness is in a continuous flux comprising a continuous flow of "thought moments". Each thought moment is referred to as a unit of the mind. Each unit of the mind has 7 major currents which cause the continuous flow of 17 waves. One cycle is one beat of the mind, just like the heart beat, but millions of times faster. It is so fast that we have been deceived to believe that we have permanent and unchanging souls.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Question (Unedited)
Can dewas interfere with our practice of dhamma? If so, how?

My comment:
Devas are those beings in higher realms than us. There are good and not so good devas. Those devas who are our "neighbours" can influence our worldly lives. Buddhists perform chanting and puja at the Bodhi trees for purpose of requesting worldly favours and protection from them. Before formal chanting, we always invite the devas to participate and listen and share our merits. This is the Buddhist way of seeking "spiritual" protection.


Hi Dhamma Learner,

Welcome back. Here it goes:

(1) Is Mara the most powerful dewa, the fact that he is the king of the highest dewa realm?
Mara is one of the 2 most powerful devas in the highest sensual realm. The righteous king is Vasavatti Deva, and the other is this Mara Devaputta.

(2) Why is Mara not supportive of those practising dhamma? (eg. in a story of Arahant Uppa Gupta, who existed 300 years after Buddha's passing away)

Mara was jealous of those who could attain jhana as they would be reborn higher than him. Mara has great power that he can enjoy objects created by others for him. The story goes that Upagotta had subdued Mara and he had promised not to disturb any follower of the Buddha ever again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hastening the death of an animal.

Question: (Unedited)

I had an experience yesterday that saddens me, and I needed to find a Buddhist to discuss this with. I live in Lincoln, Nebraska and there are no Buddhists here that I know of that I can discuss this with.

Yesterday, while working (I drive van to take individuals to a sheltered workshop and to their appointments all day) in the back of an alley I discovered a opposum that was dying, it was hunched and was missing its tail, and was clearly suffering and was obviously not going to live. I pitied the animal, but there was noone I could call for help.

I left the animal, and thought of it throughout the next two hours while I was picking up my individuals. When I dropped them off, I realized I had to do something to rid the animal of its suffering.

As I have no gun, nor any other weapon, I ran over the animal and killed it. I then placed the animal in a trash bag and put its body in a dumpster,as I thought it was a more humane and sanitary way of ridding of the body.

I felt sad all day yesterday over this event, and have talked to others who have assured me that I relieved the animal of great suffering.

I am not sure if I did the right thing, there was noone I could take it to relieve it suffering (I am, as usual, very broke and would not have had the money for euthanasia, if there was anyone I could bring the animal to).

Please let me know your thoughts on this, as I need to know if I did the right thing, or if there was another path I could have taken.

Thank you.

My comment:
Hi D,

Thank you for asking me.

First, I am assuming that you are a Buddhist, or one who is interested in Buddhism. Otherwise what I am going to comment will be a lost cause. Before discussing the unfortunate episode that you had encountered, let us review what the Buddha had expounded in the 4 Noble Truths. These truths form the basis of our understanding of the true nature of this existence. Having understood these truths one will bear with life's injustices, miseries, and sorrows. If we were to fly above the world and look down, we will witness a never-ending cycle of horrific scenario of millions of lives suffering in miseries. This has been going on since time immemorial, and will continue forever, so long as there is life in existence. This is the very nature of existence. This is the 1st Noble Truth of Suffering. Please remember that the very nature of existence is suffering. Let me give you 2 examples. The very nature of a hospital is to heal sick people. So if you go to a hospital, don't expect to see healthy patients. If they are healthy, they won't be there in the first place. We send criminals to jail. The very nature of a jail is to contain criminals. If they are not criminals, they won't be there. This world is for life to act out its kamma. It is the very nature of this world that those born are destined to suffer. If we have no kammic effect to settle, we would not have been born into this world to suffer.

Now coming back to your episode, it is just a minute enactment of what suffering is all about. Right at this very moment, millions of lives suffer in miseries for no apparent reasons, due to no fault of theirs. What we are witnessing is just a small scene of a never-ending play on the world stage. What had happened before, we do not realize. This is the work of the universal law of kamma. It may sound cruel and insensitive to hold this view, but this is the TRUTH, the first Noble Truth which the Buddha revealed. That's why I assume that you are a Buddhist or at least one who is interested in Buddhism in order to understand this explanation.

Having understood this 1st Noble Truth, instead of wallowing in the quagmire of miseries, we project our pity in the form of compassion for the other less fortunate. Having understood the cause of sorrows and miseries, we get down to help in whatever way we can. There is actually no remedy for all the sufferings in this world because (please remember) it is its very nature. Just like the hospital and the jail. The doctors can do just that much, that's all. The counsellors working in the jail can do just that much, that's all. You can do just that much to help, that's all. This is what Buddhism is all about....seeing the very real nature of things and be wise enough to behave ourselves and live a harmless life.

As for putting down the poor suffering animal, it is just being peculiar in Western society. Do you shoot a suffering human who has no chance of survival, just to put him out of his miseries? If one understands the law of kamma, one will avoid killing, for whatever reason. It is very difficult for a non-Buddhist to understand this concept of not terminating life.

May you have peace. This world is like this. There is actually nothing much that we can do, except to live a harmless life and to share the Buddha's teachings with those who care to listen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How to control anger?

Question : (Unedited)
First I would like to say thank you for taking the time to answer questions I recently started reading the teachings of buddhism. I was raised in a Christian home but was made to go to church as a child. Now that I'm older I have questioned some things that were taught to me. I'm struggling with anger and low self-esteem and I would really like to know what I can do to help with this. If there is any advice that you could provide, I would really appreciate it And thank you for taking the time.-K-

My comment:

Hi K,

Thank you for asking me. And welcome to the journey of inner peace and happiness. Please take your time to know more about Buddhism. The "mother" of all Buddhist web sites is which will link you to the vast network of Buddhist sites.

Coming back to your "problems", please be aware that all of us have anger and low self-esteem one time or another. This is "normal" human nature and shortcomings. What we can do is to acknowledge our shortcomings. We may also like to find out the cause(s) of our problems; most of these causes have roots from our childhood years influenced by the family environment, and society as a whole. As Buddhists we also attribute part of our character and personality to our past kamma.

I used to read lots of self-improvement books for inspiration and improving self-esteem. I found that the advices given are very similar to Buddhism. Universal truths have no boundary.

The main emphasis is one training of our mind to be positive. In order to improve our character, or rather, reduce our negative emotions, we have first to acknowledge the problems as real and at the same time to make effort to reduce them. Just by realization of our problems is already 50% of our problems solved. Each time your problem arises, note it; and you will find that the problem will become less frequent. Once you note it, you stop the negative process from continuing. It is a life-time process because our bad habits and negative tendencies are very deeply ingrained in our mind. It takes great effort to achieve positive results. The Buddhist concept of this method is what we call being mindful of each moment. We do not allow the mind to wander and wallow in negative and unhealthy thoughts.

Hope this helps.

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Let go of things that are passed.

Question : (Unedited)
hello justinchoo,
I have recently gone through a very painful breakup. I feel as
though I keep clinging to my ex, and the memories --and it is
causing me great suffering and dukka. Is there anything you can
reccomend to help stop clinging and grasping, as I know they
are the root of suffering.

My comment:
Hi Anonymous,

Thank you for asking me.

It's easy to say that I'm sorry to know of your problems. But that doesn't solve problems. First, we have to face reality squarely. Everybody has problems, one time or the other. So you are not alone. Secondly, time is the "mother" of all healers.

The method is to "let go" of the recurring thoughts of the hurts and justifications of what had already happened. Everytime when the same thoughts surface (and this surely will go on, no ends) you are just to say this to your mind "LET GO". This effectively means; you cut off the current of negative and disturbing thoughts, each time they surface, not allowing them time to overwhelm your thought pattern. In this way, you do not dwell on these thoughts any more than they appeared. In time, without your conscious knowledge, you will be free again.

In a more conventional approach, of course, the "shrinkers" will recommend, you go for a holiday, play more games, take a walk, indulge in social activities, talk to someone, and do anything that can take your mind away from your problems; and in time to come, you will be back to normal. Well, do all these!

In a more "Buddhistic" way, the approach is to acknowledge that this world is wrought with problems and unfortunately we are part of this vicious cycle of human events. Having acknowledged that, we accept what had already happened, and get on with life. As a consolation, we can spend more time chanting the Buddha's discourses, and also calm our mind through Buddhist meditation.

Well, problems are nothing new; so solutions are also nothing new. You have the freedom to choose. To let go, or to be haunted by recurring thoughts of sorrow which in your case are passed and gone.

Have peace, from justinchoo.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sharing the Dhamma

Question: (Unedited)
Q1 ) Can one who is reborn in ghost realm / deva realm recall his previous lives ?

Q2)In this life i practise Buddhism seriously but have not reached to the point to become arahant or enlightened .In my next time , if i reborn in the human or deva realm , will i have 100% opportunity to continue to practise Buddhism because i don't want to practise other religion except Buddhism .


My comment:
Hi ,
Q1) If we were to use our present knowledge and experience in this existence, I would say there is a possibility. We know some people have this uncanny ability to remember past lives. Apart from that, I really don't know.

Q2) If we interprete the workings of the law of kamma, we would realize that certain kamma will produce certain results. If we want to associate with the Dhamma in our future lives, we have to practise the Dhamma seriously; and also spread the Dhamma. Remember, the highest merits are those actions relating to the dispensation of the Dhamma. You would also know that to be born in the deva realm means to "enjoy" a peaceful and happy existence as the fruits of good kamma. It is in the human realm that one has a greater chance to practise the Dhamma.
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