Friday, December 31, 2010

Can kamma be erased?

Question :(Unedited)
Hai Justinchoo,

i would like to know if bad karma could be reduced or may be erase? or maybe, convert these bad karmas to good karmas?

My comment: 
Hi Y...,

Thank you for asking me.

We may say that kamma works in mysterious ways, but surely it will take its course.  We shall not be able to know exactly how kamma works unless we have reached a very high level of mental (Mind) cultivation.  As lay persons we can only learn from the Buddha's expositions.  The Buddhist context of kamma is "volition" actions, meaning those actions we do on purpose with full knowledge and awareness.  There are various grades of kamma, from the very insignificant to the very serious.  The lower grades of kamma will have lesser effect, while the serious one will take precedent.  I don't think it is possible to convert bad kamma to good kamma.  Once action is done, it cannot be undone.  However lesser bad kamma may be overwhelmed by a surge of good kamma, that the former may not have the chance to fructify. As for the really serious kamma it is quite impossible to escape its retribution.  This is one of the reasons where we often witness good people suffering with no apparent reason.

We can use an analogy of the hour-glass.  All our actions are the sand in the hour-glass.  There is no escape, each one will take its turn to flow down.  However, some will just be hidden in the flow, escaping notice.

Hope this explains sufficiently.  Please come back if need be.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Press Statement On "Buddha Relics" Exhibition




The Malaysian Buddhist Consultative Council (MBCC) do not support “The Buddha Relics & Tibetan Antiques” event held at Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur from 23/12/10 to 1/1/11 organised by the “Malaysia Kadhampa Buddhist Association”.

The Buddha relics are the remains of the Buddha and they are highly respected among all Buddhists worldwide. As the Buddha relics are very rare and precious, the discovery of any Buddha relics would receive world attention. In addition, any claim of discovery of Buddha relics must be verified by recognised Buddhist masters and even scientifically by archaeologists and scientists.

Thus, the Malaysian Buddhist Consultative Council would like to inform the Buddhist disciples and the public not to support such event nor to attend the relics expo. The MBCC is unable to verify the authenticity of its Buddhist lineage.

In addition, the MBCC do not agree with the practice of any party who circulate the proclaimed “Buddha relics” commercially either through sales or donation.

The Malaysian Buddhist Consultative Council is consisted of Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia (YBAM), Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia, Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society (Sasana), Malaysian Fo Guang Buddhist Association and Vajrayana Buddhist Council Malaysia (VBCM).

Best regards,
Sek Chin Yong



马来西亚佛教咨询理事会不认同 嘎档巴总会









May the Blessings of the Triple Gem be with you and your family always.
With Metta,

Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia
No.9, Jalan SS25/24, Taman Mayang,
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: 03 - 7804 9154/7
Fax: 03 - 7804 9021
Also connect YBAM at Facebook

Friday, December 24, 2010

What is in an image?

Question : (Unedited)
I recently purchased a Buddha figurine.This one was the fertility/child protection model.
I am Christian not Buddhist,I just thought it looked cool.
The night after I got it,I looked at it before I went to bed and silently asked it to look after my two teenage children,who were both out.
That night,my son was involved in a car accident.He was unhurt,but are car was totaled.
Is this Gods way of saying 'put your faith in Jesus not Buddha? Or just a coincidence?
Either way,I gave the statue away.

My comment:
Hi B...,

Thank you for asking me.

There are lots of "Buddha" figurines in the market.  There are also lots of names given to them; and also lots of claims of whatever you want to believe.  

A proper Buddha figurine will only represent the historical Buddha.  It is just a symbolic representation of the Buddha.  Being a holy representation, it evokes an aura of mysticism and power.  It is in the mind of the people to turn it into whatever they want to believe out of fear and ignorance.

Depending on which way you want to interpret.  You may thank the "Buddha" figurine that it had saved your children's lives!!  Or you may curse it for causing the accident!!  See, it's all in your mind. You have the freedom to use your intelligence and common sense to interpret.  That would be the advice of a Buddhist.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why Westerners are attracted to Buddhism

Question : (Unedited)
Hey Justin,

Why do you think Westerners are attracted to Buddhism?  Thanks for your time! - J.....
My comment:
Hi J,

Well, I can share my thoughts with you and they are as follows:

1. Buddhism is a totally new concept to the Westerners.  Its teachings give a new perspective of "religion".  Westerners are indoctrinated with the concept of the Creator God, the all powerful. Buddhism gives them an option to think otherwise.

2. Buddhism encourages free thinking and analysis of human existence.  It encourages intellectual thinking.  

3. Buddhism sets humans free to take charge of their lives without fear of any powerful third party intervention.  It gives full control of the person to conduct his life without fear of punishment or desire for reward by an external agent.  It tells the person that his actions, thoughts, and speech are his own volitions.  

4.  Buddhism provides alternative answers to questions about the world and existence.  It gives them answers as to the nature of this world, its incessant violent interactions, why people suffer, while others are more fortunate than others, why some die young, why some live to a ripe old age.  In a nutshell, it provides alternative answers to why we are here, why we are subject to numerous problems just to survive.

5. Buddhism gives them freedom to practice its teachings without threat of hellfire nor promise of eternal heaven.  It is up to the person to practise at the level that suits him.

6.  Buddhism emphasizes goodwill and non-violence, and respect for lives, not just human lives but all lives in the universe.  With respect and goodwill, there is no place for violence.

7. Buddhism is about universal truths which transcend cultures, traditions, geographical boundaries, time, and space.  Universal truths are not based on dogmas and beliefs.  They are based on universal truths which scientists are beginning to realize that much of their findings concur with Buddhist teachings.

8.  Buddhism offers something that Western religions cannot, and that is, harnessing the power of the mind, through Buddhist meditation.

I think this is enough.

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What is ignorance?

Question : (Unedited)
What does the term "ignorance" (lack of knowledge) mean in the Buddhist philosophy?

My comment:
Hi L,

"Ignorance" is being translated from the Pali word "Avijja".  This mental state is the cause of all our follies.  It prevents us from seeing the real nature of this live and the universe, and existence in general.  It tricks us to view life as pleasurable, of substance, and permanent.  In reality existence is the direct opposite, that is, unsatisfactory, insubstantial, and impermanent.  Avijja is not knowing the 4 Noble Truths which identify the real nature of existence, namely: suffering; its origin; its cessation; and the path leading to its cessation.

In common experience; it's just like a blind person trying to find the way.  He needs someone to lead him to the right direction.  The 4 Noble Truths are the lights dispersing the darkness.  While the Noble Eightfold Path is the journey one has to take to reach one's destination.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Question : (Unedited)
hey justinchoo,

What is the Mayayana teaching about the three Bodies of Buddha?  How does it compare with the Theravadin notion of Buddha?  



My comment :
Hi Mk,

Thank you for asking me.

I shall answer your question by referring to my revered teacher's book "What Buddhists Believe".  You can click here to read it:

Briefly it states that the Buddha was the embodiment of three aspects:  He was the physical Buddha, he was the enlightenened one who proclaimed the universal truths (Dhamma), and thirdly, he was the teacher of the Dhamma, teaching with joy or bliss.

These three bodies became known as the Trikaya ("tri" is "three" and "kaya" is "body").
Dharma kaya (Truth Body)
Sambhoga kaya (Preaching or Enjoyment or Bliss Body)
Nirmana kaya (Physical or Manifestation Body)
Although the Buddha is dead, the Dharma kaya is eternal.

Sambhoga kaya was a later Mahayana concept depicting the Buddha rejoicing in the preaching of the truths (Dhamma).
In Mahayana temples you would find three similar Buddha Images depicting the three meanings of Trikaya.  

In Theravada, the Buddha is The Buddha.  There was only one Gotama Buddha, the historical Buddha (Although there were countless other Buddhas).  He preached the Dhamma, and he was the Fully Enlightened One.  These are the three aspects of the Buddha.  His teachings are universal truths and are eternal. When one practices the Dhamma, the Dhamma protects one. When one sees the Dhamma, one sees the Buddha.  When one fully realizes the Dhamma, one is the Buddha.

Hope the answer is sufficient.

Smile from justinchoo :-)
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