Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Form vs emptiness


Question :(Unedited)
Hi Justin,
form = emptiness; emptiness = form
how would you get a westerner (having logic ingrained in them since birth) around this concept? do you have any examples that could help clear it up for me? i am struggling w/it. thx Justin.
My comment:
Hi P,

I don't know where you got this equation. Risking being labelled an intellect, I would postulate that form is not emptiness; and vice versa.  Perhaps if you can elaborate further, I may be able to comment.  Be that as it may, let me share with you the concept of "emptiness".

What we are experiencing in life IS real in form.  It is the whole futile process of living (existence) that is "emptiness".  Now let us be an observer of a life cycle of a butterfly.  First the egg, then the caterpillar, followed by the pupa in the chrysalis, and finally emerged the butterfly.  All this process took only a few weeks, and the butterfly will die after another two weeks.  As an observer, we can SEE the futility of this cycle which is real; but don't we see the "emptiness" in this process?  As far as the butterfly is concerned, it is a real life.  As far as we observers are concerned, it is just a passing passage of one very short life.  This to me relates very well to the concept of "emptiness".  Imagine the butterfly to be you, maybe you could see this "emptiness" for real!

As to "form", it is a combination of elements, always in motion.  The main characteristic of this "form" is its "incessant change", culminating in decay and destruction; and repeating its cycle of formation, generation, decay and destruction.  The whole process is a futile phenomenon of struggling to survive, which in the final analysis will inevitably end up in death/destruction. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Two little black birds sitting on a monk!

Two little black birds sitting on a monk!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Do we really have a Soul?

 Question : (Unedited)

 Although I consider myself a spiritual person, like a human being I question many times about rebirth and death?  If in fact "nothing dies but all suffers transformations"  if only the physical body dies and the spirit lives in another plane of existence, why can't we be sure of it?  Why do we want to believe that there is life after death, and this is nothing else but a way to transform our fear of death to create an hope of a new existence?  I want badly to believe we have another life, but then why after all these years we still don't have a scientifical proof of it and it continues to pertain to a mystery world... like a fairy tale to calm down our fear of death itself?  I have tried to answer to myself to this and other similar questions, have practiced a positive attitude and yet a doubt still clouds my mind.

 My comment:

Hi M,

Thank you for asking me.

I shall not try to debate on whether there is life after death, although the Buddha had revealed the cycle of birth and death.  Actually the purpose of the Buddha's teachings is not to convince us of anything, but to point out certain facts of our existence which we can experience here and now.  I assume that you are familiar with the Buddha's teachings.  The Four Noble Truths touch on the realilities of life, and the Noble Eightfold Path leads us to live a harmless and noble lifestyle, here and now.  That's all to it.  As for concepts like kamma, rebirth, and other esoteric subjects, the Buddha had explained in detail.  I am sure you know the Buddha's explanation and I shall not repeat here.  It is up to you whether to accept them or not.  If you find that they are not convincing enough, then you need not have to accept them. Due to our limited human capability to grasp and comprehend fully these subjects, we question them.  These concepts are beyond the human intelligence to analyze and prove beyond any doubt by using any scientific instruments or complicated mathematical computations.  It takes a higher intelligence to fully comprehend; and it is the pure mind power that we need.  This can only be achieved through proper Buddhist meditation and it is no easy task.

As the Buddha advised, it is better to concentrate on this life than to speculate the "unknown".  It is more important to lead a wholesome and noble life here and now, by reducing our greed, hatred and delusion.  Then we can experience in this very life, inner peace and happiness.

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

I Want, I Want, I Want! (Part 2 of 2)

 thanks for ur answer.
But as u said it was buddha's aspiration to attain enlightenment and to know the truth of life and not the desire, but the word aspiratoin itself  has one meaning as high desire(another is hope to achieve something),also if we consider the latter one then but the question arises that how came the Buddha hope to achieve something in his young age as he even did'nt know thw meaning of enlightenment.He must have desired to know the truth of life.

My comment:
 Hi R,

As I had forewarned in my reply that this discussion might prolong because of "semantic".  I also stressed that "desire" in our worldly interpretation involves satisfying the physical senses.  What you are referring is not related to satisfying the physical senses, but searching for the ultimate liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

As for the Buddha's quest (I am trying my best to use a neutral word) to know the truth, it was not a one-life decision, but through a very long period of past existence.  

I am sorry I think this is the best I can answer you.  May I repeat what I wrote:

Have peace, justinchoo :-)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I want, I want, I want! (Part 1 of 2)


Question : (Unedited)
Lord Buddha has said,"Desire is the cause of all evils".
But if  he would not have desired for knowing the truth of life how could he be able to know the truth of life,it means to desire is must.

My comment:
Hi R,

Thanks for asking me.

The "desire" the Buddha was referring to was about sensual desires.  Sensual desires refer to desires of the 5 senses.  These sensual desires are unquenchable.  It is the very nature of physical senses.  Take for example, hunger.  Once the hunger is satisfied with intake of food; the process of depletion starts, and after some time one feels hungry again.  Another aspect of sense desire is the stronger feeling of craving.  One's craving to satisfy one's desire is itself a catalyst to crave for more.  When this craving goes unchecked, one becomes crazy!  So the option is opened to anyone who follows the Buddha's teachings:  to continue feeding these desires with more craving, or to come to one's senses to reduce this crazy cycle of on-going "madness".

As for "desire" to know the truth of life or striving for enlightenment, it is a very different concept.  Here we are talking about one's commitment to reduce one's greed, hatred and delusion until complete eradication.  This is not a life-long process, but countless life-processes.  "Desire" is not an appropriate word to describe this journey towards enlightenment.  “Aspiration” will be a more appropriate word.  Of course anyone can still argue until the cows come home that it is still "desire".  So it is up to you to decide.  No big deal if you still insist that it is "desire".   The important thing is that I have given you my opinion.  See, this is the beauty of Buddhism.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Global Jail

Question : (Unedited)
I'm doing a school paper on Buddhism and i was just wondering about these questions from a Buddhists point of view. What do Buddhists believe causes suffering? What do they believe about who suffers

My comment:
Hi D,

Thank you for asking me.

Two perspectives on "suffering".  One is "personal suffering".  The other is the whole global scenario of "suffering".
One suffers not only physically, but also mentally.  The underlying cause is our unquenchable desire for sense gratifications.  We crave for things that we like.  We crave to avoid that which we abhor.  The more we crave, the more we want.  If unchecked, we become crazy!
Mental suffering comes from greed and hatred.  They are mental poisons slowly killing their victims.  One who does not know how to be contented and how to forgive and let go, suffers this excruciating mental poisoning.

Everyone of us experiences suffering during our life-time.  The only difference is in its intensity.  Buddhists subscribe to the workings of the Law of Kamma (Law of cause and effect, or Law of retribution).  This universal law is amoral.  Simply put, good actions bring good results; evil actions create suffering, here and now, or in future lives.  

This world is like a global jail.  It is more graphic when we look from outer space at this world.  The amount of sufferings (both humans and other living beings) is so pervasive and widespread.  Unfortunate most are blind not to SEE this true nature of existence.
Related Posts with Thumbnails