Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year 2011 greeting message

[kajangbuddhistcenter] Happy New Year 2011
...
From:
Chook Ka Joo
...
View Contact
To:


Beautiful Thought by
Lord Buddha

Once Buddha was travelling with a few of his followers. While they were passing a lake, Buddha told one of his disciples, "I am thirsty. Do get me some water from the lake."

[]

The disciple walked up to the lake. At that moment, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water became very muddy and turbid. The disciple thought, "How can I give this muddy water to Buddha to drink?"

So he came back and told Buddha, "The water in there is very muddy. I don't think it is fit to drink."

After about half an hour, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back to the lake.

The disciple went back, and found that the water was still muddy. He returned and informed Buddha about the same.

After sometime, again Buddha asked the same disciple to go back.

This time, the disciple found the mud had settled down, and the water was clean and clear. So he collected some water in a pot and brought it to Buddha.

Buddha looked at the water, and then he looked up at the disciple and said," See what you did to make the water clean. You let it be, and the mud settled down on its own -- and you have clear water.

Your mind is like that too ! When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don't have to put in any effort to calm it down. It will happen. It is effortless."

Having 'Peace of Mind' is not a strenuous job; it is an effortless process!

TREAT EVERYONE WITH POLITENESS

EVEN THOSE WHO ARE RUDE TO YOU

NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT NICE

BUT BECAUSE YOU ARE NICE

for you can change the world


When your inner world change

SO WILL THE OUTSIDE WORLD


MAKE THIS A BETTER WORLD


FOR YOU CAN .


HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011


MAY YOU & ALL YOUR LOVE ONES


ALWAYS BE BLESS & GUIDE BY


THE TRIPLE GEM


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is the Highest Blessing?

Fwd: [UM-dhammafarers] Fwd: What_Buddha_Said 1174: The Highest Blessing...‏
From: yokeleen chen (yokeleen@gmail.com)
Sent: Wednesday, 12 May, 2010 11: 36 AM
To:



Friends:

What is the Highest Blessing?

Thus have I heard: On one occasion the Exalted One was dwelling at the
monastery of Anathapindika, in Jeta’s grove, near Savatthi. Now when the
night was far spent a certain deity, whose surpassing radiance illuminated
the entire Jeta Grove, came to the presence of the Exalted One. After
drawing near, he respectfully saluted Him and stood at one side. Standing
thus, he addressed the Exalted One in verse:
Many deities and men wishing to know what is good, have pondered on the
blessings and auspicious signs of luck. Tell me what is the highest blessing?
What is the best protection?



The Blessed Buddha responded:
Not to associate with fools, but only with the wise. To honour only those who
are worthy of honour. This is the highest blessing & also the best protection.

To live in a suitable place, to have done merits in the past, and to set oneself
on the right path. This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

Great learning, good skills, a highly trained discipline, and a pleasant speech.
This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

The support of father and mother, the cherishing of wife and children, and
a peaceful job. This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

Generosity, pure morality, the helping of relatives, and blameless behaviour.
This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

To avoid all evil action, to abstain from intoxicants, and firmness in virtue.
This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

Reverence, humility, contentment, gratitude & hearing the Dhamma in time.
This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

Patience, respect, sight of calm recluses and suitable conversation in time.
This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

Self-control, living the Noble life, realising the Noble Truths and Nibbāna.
This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

The be unmoved by the 8 worldly conditions # sorrowless, stainless, & safe.
This is the highest blessing and also the best protection.

Having fulfilled all these requirements, everywhere they are undefeated,
everywhere they go in safety, fearing nothing, cooled, calmed and serene...

These are the highest blessings and also the best protections!

#: Gain and loss, fame and disrespect, praise and blame, happiness & sorrow.

Source: Sutta Nipāta Sn 258-269 in BPS Wheel no 54 (Edited Excerpt):

The Mirror of the Dhamma. A Manual of Buddhist Devotional Texts.
By Nārada Thera and Bhikkhu Kassapa. Revised By Bhikkhu Khantipālo:
http://www.bps.lk/wh054-u.html

Have a nice & noble day!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Emotional Literacy workshop for children

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Tim Ong
Date: 9 May 2010 18:25
Subject: [buddhistcommunitya lliance] Emotional Literacy workshop for children
To: buddhistcommunityal liance@yahoogrou ps.com




Hi everyone,

Children of all ages sometimes need help to understand and manage their emotions. The skills to identify and to cope with basic emotions such as anger, fear, grief and loss, and aloneness are learned as they mature. Usually circumstances are their teachers, and the outcomes are dependent on their level of maturity. Research shows that when children are taught coping skills they handle most aspects of life better, resulting in a positive self-image and higher self-esteem.


This workshop is designed to teach the techniques to manage those emotions and to transform them into peace, safety, joy and connectedness through expressive activities using sound, colours, gestures, clay and sensing. The workshop will be held over two sessions in groups of a maximum of 15 participants.


Healing emotions, rather than emotions being denied, repressed or excluded, is essential for inner peace. Give your child a chance to learn the techniques from a trained and experienced facilitator.


About the facilitator:

Thang Mee Yuen is a certified practitioner of therapeutic play accredited by Play Therapy International (PTI) after completing over 100 hours of clinically supervised work and meeting the required standards by the Canterbury Christ Church University, UK and the IBECPT.


PTI is an international society for play and creative arts therapies based in the UK while IBECPT (The International Board of Examiners of Certified Child and Play Therapists) is the professional body governing play therapy certification on an international basis.


She is also a certified emotional literacy trainer accredited by Sophia College, Western Australia.


Open to all children aged 7 years to 12 years


Workshop details:


Dates: 19th and 26th June, 2010


Time: 1.30pm – 5.30pm


Venue: Sungai Long Buddhist Society

7-2, Jalan SL1/3

Bandar Sungai Long

43000 Kajang


Fees: RM150/participant (materials and light refreshment) - 30% of net profit will go to Sungai Long Buddhist Society


Contact: Mee Yuen (meythang@hotmail. com or 013-3612755)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nibbana

Submitted
Fwd: [SBS] DT: Nibbàna by Bhante Balacitta; 26-12-2009‏
From: yokeleen chen (yokeleen@gmail.com)




Nibbàna



by Bhante Balacitta



26-12-2009; Hokkien Cemetery Columbarium, Taiping, Malaysia



Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammà sambuddhasa

(Homage to the fully enlightened Samma Sambuddha)





There are two types of teachings found in the Buddha Dhamma. One of the teachings is for making life easier while one is still in samsara. Another one is for gaining permanent supreme peace, supreme happiness - Nibbàna.



To make life easier for one still in samsara, the Buddha talked about kamma. One must be charitable and practise harmlessness by having good moral conduct. This, I believe, is being preached by almost all great religions: Good begets good and bad begets bad. It is that simple.



But the teaching for gaining permanent supreme peace, supreme happiness - Nibbàna, is the domain of a Samma Sambuddha. The teaching can only come from Him or from his noble disciples or from someone who has learned from them. At this present age, our lord Sakkyamurni Gotama is the latest samma sambuddha who lived more than 2500 years ago.



The way to the supreme peace, supreme happiness - Nibbàna, as shown by the Buddha, is by way of the Noble Eightfold Path which he rediscovered after it was lost to the world for a long, long time. The paths are: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right samadhi.



Nowadays, there are many people practising Buddhist meditation. This is good. But in order to gain the real benefit in Buddhist meditation practice, right view has to come first. Without it, one is unable to develop one’s thought, effort, mindfulness and samadhi correctly. (But one cannot go wrong developing right speech, right action and right livelihood). (ref. MN 117 and MN 149)



Right view, under the Noble Eightfold Path means understanding clearly the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths in Pali are:- 1. dukkha, 2. dukkhasamudaya, 3. dukkhanirodha and, 4. dukkhanirodhagāminī patipada, which translated means: the problem, the origination of the problem, the cessation of the problem, the path leading to the cessation of the problem,.



The main goal of Buddhist meditation practice is to end the round of rebirth – samsara. This ends the chain of further becoming of the five clinging aggregates.



Samsara is dukkha. It is an illness. Because of it, a lot of other dukkha exist. When one can understand this truth, one understands dukkha. Then one will take up Buddhist meditation with the purpose of attaining the true goal; that is the ending of samsara, the ending of all problems.



Whatever that comes to exist, do so depending on conditioning. Whatever that arises depending on conditioning are all impermanent because the conditions themselves are impermanent. Likewise, the five aggregates come to exist because of conditioning and are therefore also impermanent (refer to SN.36.8).



Not knowing this, unenlightened people crave for the five aggregates. This leads to clinging. Such clinging leads to craving for becoming.When people are happy, they crave for becoming. When unhappy, they reject becoming. When they are bored they crave for sensual pleasure. Thus, craving for the five aggregates conditions clinging. Clinging conditions becoming which in turn conditions birth. Birth then conditions old age, sickness, death - the whole mass of dukkha.



On the other hand, when one understands the above mentioned fact, the nature of the five aggregates would not be seen in the same way as before; clung to like before as "this is mine", "I am this" or "this is myself". And thus, mental proliferation and craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming will also cease to be achieved like before. One understands the third noble truth. [ii]



When one understands how dukkha comes to be and how dukkha comes to cease, this means one already understands the law of dependent origination- patticcasamupada.



After this stage, one’s view is already right and so too is one’s thought, effort, mindfulness and samadhi. One only needs to practise more diligently to end all the latent mental defilement, to end all the problems, to end samsara. And there will be no more depression; no more sorrow; no more lamentation; pain; grief and despair; no more whatsoever problems, but only supreme peace, supreme happiness that is..NIBBANA. Thank you. [iii]



__________________________


i When a puthujana having a sense contact, let’s say, he sees a form with his eye, feeling then appears. Thinking that they are independent permanant entity that is controllable, his thought proliferates and craving for sensual pleasure or craving for becoming or craving for non-becoming, come to be.
If he is still not mindful of the process that is taking place, which is of dependent origin, then it will lead to more mental proliferation and more tanha. And thus, when there is more tanha, clinging comes to be; when there is clinging, becoming comes to be.
At this stage, if he is still alive, he will become a person with such habits or temperament, dependent on his mental reaction towards the object he is clinging to. But if that is his last thought moment before his death, actual birth will take place. It could take birth spontaneously in heaven or hell, or from a mother’s womb or from an egg or from moisture. And thus, when there is birth, aging, sickness and death also come to be. And this is how I figured out.

ii When one with right view has a sense contact, for example, eye contact, feeling then appears. Knowing and being aware of the fact that the origin of the feeling that he is experiencing depends on eye contact, and therefore, it is impermanent and uncontrollable, the thought ceases to proliferate and craving doesn't come to be, that is - craving for sensual pleasure or craving for becoming or craving for non-becoming, doesn't come to be.

iii For those who can understand Mandarin or Cantonese, I recommend the recorded Dhamma talk of Venerable Bhikkhu Vupasama about the connectedness between The Four Noble Truths and The Patticcasamupada. The recorded talk can be downloaded from the internet.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

World Buddhist Conference 2010

LIVING IN HARMONY When Things Fall Apart


Life is far from the perfection we want it to be. We should see life in its proper perspective. Even if misfortunes or calamities were to affect us, we should not lose hope or adopt a pessimistic and fatalistic view of life.

The Buddha had taught us that we can indeed remain happy in the midst of misfortunes or “when things fall apart” if we understand how our mind works and apply techniques to calm it.


Join us in the World Buddhist Conference 2010 this coming September! You will learn how Buddhism teaches us to live our lives in peace and harmony with ourselves, with our friends, and with nature.


Speakers

This Conference will be graced by the presence of the world-renown Vietnamese Buddhist monk, author, poet, and peace activist Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh. Considered as one of the most influential Buddhist teachers in the world today, Venerable has written well over 85 titles of accessible poems, prose, and prayers, with more than 40 in English. He will speak on the theme of the Conference which is Living in Harmony: When Things Fall Apart.

The line-up of speakers includes Venerable Wei Wu, Venerable Tenzin Zopa, Dr Joan Halifaz, Venerable Tejadhamma, Dr David Loy, Venerable Thubten Chodron, Dr Tan Eng Kong and Anchalee Kurutach.


The registration has started! Catch the Early Bird Offer now!

For further details visit our website @ www.wbc.my

Registration & payment via online at: www.bgf.org.my/donation/index.html


For more enquiries:

Secretariat: +603 7804 9154 / +603 7804 9157 (during office hours).

Email: wbc@ybam.org.my

With regards and metta,
Mak Lai Cheng
Organizing Secretary
WBC 2010

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Great Article On Anapanasatti

Fwd: Great article on anapanasatti‏
Email sent by
yokeleen chen (yokeleen@gmail.com)




ONLY ONE BREATH



By Unknown Author



This morning I was talking to Venerable Subbato and he was saying he
never has developed Anapanasati - mindfulness of the breath. So I said
, ' Can you be mindful of one inhalation ? ' And he said , ' Oh yes.'
' And of one exhalation ? ' And he said, ' Yes.' And I said, ' Got it
! '

There's nothing more to it than that. However, one tends to expect to
develop some special kind of ability to go into some special state.
And because we don't do that, then we think we can't do it.

But the way of the spiritual life is through renunciation ,
relinquishment , letting go not through attaining or acquiring. Even
the jhanas* are relinquishments rather than attainments. If we
relinquish more and more , letting go more and more , then the jhanic
states are natural.

The attitude is most important. To practise anapanasati , one brings
the attention onto one inhalation, being mindful from the beginning to
the end. One inhalation, that's it ; and then the same goes for the
exhalation. That's the perfect attainment of anapanasati. The
awareness of just that much is the result of concentration of the mind
through sustained attention on the breath - from the beginning to the
end of the inhalation , from the beginning to the end of the
exhalation. The attitude is always one of letting go , not attaching
to any ideas or feelings that arise from that , so that you're always
fresh with the next inhalation , the next exhalation , completely as
it is . You're not carrying over anything. So it's a way of
relinquishment, of letting go, rather than of attaining and achieving.

The dangers in meditation practice is the habit of grasping at things
, grasping at states ; so the concept that's most useful is the
concept of letting go , rather than of attaining and achieving. If you
say today that yesterday you had a really super meditation ,
absolutely fantastic , just what you've always dreamed of , and then
today you try to get the same wonderful experience as yesterday, but
you get more restless and more agitated than ever before - now why is
that ? Why can't we get what we want ? It's because we're trying to
attain something that we remember rather than really working with the
way things are , as they happen to be now. So the correct way is one
of mindfulness , of looking at the way it is now rather than
remembering yesterday and trying to get to that state again.

The first year I meditated I didn't have a teacher. I was in this
little kuti* in Nong Khai for about ten months , and I had all kinds
of blazing insights. Being alone for ten months , not having to talk ,
not having to go anywhere , everything calmed down after several
months, and then I thought I was a fully enlightened person, an
arahant. I was sure of it. I found out later that I wasn't.

I remember we went through a famine in Nong Khai that year and we
didn't get very much to eat. I had malnutrition, so I thought, ' Maybe
malnutrition's the answer. If I just starve myself...' I remember
being so weak with malnutrition at Nong Khai that my earlobes started
cracking open. On waking up , I'd have to pry my eyelids open ; they'd
be stuck shut with the stuff that comes out of your eyelids when
you're not feeling very well.

Then one day this Canadian monk brought me three cans of tinned milk.
In Asia they have tinned sweetened milk and it's very very delicious.
And he also brought me some instant coffee, and a flask of hot water.
So I made a cup of this : put in a bit of coffee , poured in some of
this milk , poured hot water and started drinking it. And I just went
crazy. It was so utterly delicious, the first time I had anything
sweet in weeks, or anything stimulating. And being malnourished and
being in a very dull tired apathetic state, this was like high-octane
petrol - whoomph ! Immediately I gulped that down - I couldn't stop
myself - and I managed to consume all three tins of milk and a good
portion of that coffee. And my mind went flying into outer space, or
it seemed like it, and I thought, ' Maybe that's the secret. If I can
just get somebody to buy me tinned milk.'

When I went to Wat Pah Pong the following year I kept thinking, ' Oh ,
I had all those wonderful experiences in Nong Khai. I had all those
beautiful visions, and all those fantastic floating experiences and
blazing insights , and it seemed like I understood everything. And you
even thought you were an arahant.' At Wat Pah Pong, that first year
there, I didn't have much of anything. I just kept trying to do all
the things I'd done in Nong Khai to get these things. But after a
while , even using strong cups of coffee didn't work any more. I
didn't seem to get those exhilarations , those fantastic highs and
blazing insights , that I had the first year. So after the first
Vassa* at Wat Pah Pong , I thought , 'This place is not for me. I
think I'll go and try to repeat what happened in Nong Khai.' And I
left Ajahn Chah and went to live on Pupek mountain in Sakorn Nakorn
province.

There , at last , I was in an idyllic spot. However, for the almsround
there you had to leave before dawn and go down the mountain , which
was quite a climb , and wait for the villagers to come. They'd bring
you food , and then you had to climb all the way back up and eat this
food before twelve noon. That was quite a problem.

I was with one other monk, a Thai monk , and I thought , ' He's really
very good ', and I was quite impressed with him. But when we were on
this mountain, he wanted me to teach him English ; so I got really
angry with him !

It was in an area where there was a lot of terrorists and communists,
in North-East Thailand. There were helicopters flying overhead
sometimes checking us out. Once they came and took me down to the
provincial town, wondering whether I was a communist spy.

Then I got violently ill , so ill that they had to carry me down the
mountain. I was stuck in a wretched place by a reservoir under a tin
roof in the hot season with insects buzzing in and out of my ears and
orifices. With horrible food I nearly died , come to think of it . I
almost didn't make it.

But it was during that time in that tin-roof lean-to that a real
change took place. I was really despairing and sick and weak and
totally depressed , and my mind would fall into these hellish realms ,
with the terrible heat and discomfort. I felt like I was being cooked
; it was like torture.

Then a change came. Suddenly, I just stopped my mind ; I refused to
get caught in that negativity and I started to practise anapanasati. I
used the breath to concentrate my mind and things changed very
quickly. After that , I recovered my health and it was time to enter
the next Vassa , so I went back - I'd promised Ajahn Chah I'd go back
to Wat Pah Pong for the Vassa - and my robes were all tattered and
torn and patched. I looked terrible. When Ajahn Chah saw me, he just
burst out laughing. And I was so glad to get back after all that !

I had been trying to practice and what I had wanted were the memories
of these insights. I'd forgotten what the insights really were. I was
so attached to the idea of working in some kind of ascetic way, like I
did the first year, when asceticism really worked. At that time being
malnourished and being along had seemed to provide me with insight, so
that for the following several years I kept trying to create the
conditions where I would be able to have these fantastic insights.

But the following two or three years seemed to be years of just
getting by. Nothing much seemed to happen. I was six months on this
mountain before I returned to Wat Pah Pong, just deciding to stay on
and follow the insights I had. One of the insights the first year was
that I should find a teacher, and that I should learn how to live
under a discipline imposed on me by that teacher. So I did that. I
realised Ajahn Chah was a good teacher and had a good standard of
monastic discipline , so I stayed with him. Those insights that I had
were right, but I'd become attached to the memory.

Actually, insight is more and more a matter of living insightfully.
It's not just that you have insight sometimes, but more and more as
you reflect on Dhamma, then everything is insightful. You see
insightfully into life as it's happening to you . As soon as you think
you have to have special conditions for it, and you're not aware of
that , then you're going to create all sorts of complexities about
your practice.

So I developed letting go : to not concern myself with attaining or
achieving anything. I decided to make little achievements possible by
learning to be a little more patient , a little more humble , and a
little more generous. I decided to develop this rather than go out of
my way to control and manipulate the environment with the intention of
setting myself up in the hope of getting high. It became apparent ,
through reflection , that the attachment to the insights was the
problem. The insights were valid insights, but there was attachment to
the memory.

Then the insight came that you let go of all your insights. You don't
attach to them. You just keep letting go of all the insights you have
because otherwise they become memories, and then memories are
conditions of the mind and , if you attach to them , they can only
take you to despair.

In each moment it's as it is. With Ana-Pana-Sati , one inhalation , at
this moment , is this way. It's not like yesterday's inhalation was.
You're not thinking of yesterday's inhalation and yesterday's
exhalation while you're doing the one now. You're with it completely,
as it is ; so you establish that. The reflective ability is based on
establishing your awareness in the way it is now rather than having
some idea of what you'd like to get, and then trying to get it in the
here and now. Trying to get yesterday's blissful feeling in the here
and now means you're not aware of the way it is now. You're not with
it. Even with anapanasati, if you're doing it with the hope of getting
the result that you had yesterday, that will make it impossible for
that result to ever happen.

Last winter, Venerable Vipassi was meditating in the shrine room and
someone was making quite distracting noises. Talking to Venerable
Vipassi about it , I was quite impressed , because he said first he
felt annoyed and then he decided the noises would be part of the
practice. So, he opened his mind to the meditation hall with
everything in it - the noises, the silence, the whole thing. That's
wisdom, isn't it ? If the noise is something you can stop - like a
door banging in the wind - go close the door. If there's something you
have control over, you can do that.

But much of life you have no control over. You have no right to ask
everything to be silent for ' my ' meditation. When there is
reflectiveness , instead of having a little mind that has to have
total silence and special conditions , you have a big mind that can
contain the whole of it : the noises, the disruptions, the silence,
the bliss, the restlessness, the pain. The mind is all-embracing
rather than specialising on a certain refinement in consciousness.
Then you develop flexibility because you can concentrate your mind.

This is where wisdom is needed for real development. It's through
wisdom that we develop it, not through will-power or controlling or
manipulating environmental conditions ; getting rid of the things we
don't want and trying to set ourselves up so that we can follow this
desire to achieve and attain.

Desire is insidious. When we are aware that our intention is to attain
some state, that's a desire , isn't it ? So we let it go. If we are
sitting here, even with a desire to attain the first jhana , we
recognise that that desire is going to be the very thing that's going
to prevent the fulfilment. So we let go of the desire , which doesn't
mean not to do anapanasati , but to change the attitude to it.

So what can we do now ? Develop mindfulness of one inhalation. Most of
us can do that ; most human beings have enough concentration to be
concentrated from the beginning of an inhalation to the end of it. But
even if your concentration span is so weak you can't even make it to
the end, that's all right. At least you can get to the middle, maybe.
That's better than if you gave up totally or never tried at all, isn't
it ? Because at least you're composing the mind for one second, and
that's the beginning : to learn to compose and collect the mind around
one thing, like the breath , and sustain it just for the length of one
inhalation ; if not, then half an inhalation , or a quarter , or
whatever. At least you have started, and you must try to develop a
mind that's glad at just being able to do that much, rather than being
critical because you haven't attained the first jhana, or the fourth.

If meditation becomes another thing you have to do, and you feel
guilty if you don't live up to your resolutions , then you start
pushing yourself without an awareness of what you're doing. Then life
does get quite dreary and depressing. But if you are putting that
skilful kind of attention into your daily life, you'll find so much of
daily life very pleasant - which you may not notice if you are caught
in your compulsions and obsessions. If we act with compulsiveness it
becomes a burden , a grind. Then we drag ourselves around doing what
we have to do in a heedless and negative way. But being able to be in
the countryside - the tress, the fields, we have this time for a
retreat - we can sit and walk ; we don't have a lot to do. The morning
chanting, the evening chanting can be extremely pleasant for us, when
we're open to it. People are offering the food. The meal is quite a
lovely thing. People are eating mindfully and quietly. When we're
doing it out of habit and compulsion ! ! ! , then it gets to be a
drag. And a lot of things that are quite pleasant in themselves are no
longer pleasant. We can't enjoy them when we're coming from
compulsiveness, heedlessness, and ambition. Those are the kinds of
driving forces that destroy the joy and the wonder of our lives.

Sustaining your attention on the breathing really develops awareness
but when you get lost in thought or restlessness, that's all right
too. Don't drive yourself. Don't be a slave driver or beat yourself
with a whip and drive yourself in a nasty way. Lead, guide and train
yourself ; leading onward, guide yourself rather than driving and
forcing yourself.

Nibbana is a subtle realisation of non-grasping. You can't drive
yourself to Nibbana. That's the sure way of never realising it. It's
here and now, so if you're driving yourself to Nibbana, you're always
going far away from it, driving right over it.

It's pretty heavy, sometimes, to burn up attachments in our mind. The
Holy Life is a holocaust , a total burning, a burning up of self, of
ignorance. The purity that comes from the holocaust is like a diamond
; something that went through such fires that all that was left was
purity. And so in our life here there has to be this willingness to
burn away the self-views , the opinions , the desires , the
restlessness , the greed ; all of it , the whole of it , so that
there's nothing but purity remaining. Then when there is purity, there
is nobody, no thing , there's that , the 'suchness '.
And let go of that. More and more the path is just the simple being
here and now, being with the way things are. There's nowhere to go,
nothing to do, nothing to become, nothing to get rid of. Because of
the holocaust, there is no ignorance remaining ; there is purity,
clarity and intelligence.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A small "Mass Weddings” at KBC


One year into marriage registration service, Kajang Buddhist Center held its first small "Mass Weddings” with Bhante Kumara in attendance on Christmas Day 2008. There were four registrations on that day and Bhante Kumara graciously gives a sermon to the newly weds on Buddhism ways to a happy marriage.

The marriage registration service was setup to cater for the Buddhist Community in southern Klang Valley. Registration days are scheduled only on weekends to enable more relatives and friends to attend and witness the happy occasion. A beautifully decorated registration office with a pleasant environment is what awaits those who wish to have their marriage registered at Kajang Buddhist Center.

Obtaining and submission of completed form with Statutory Declaration done is accepted throughout the week. However, to ensure an effective service, KBC has adopted the method of service by appointment only.

At your service is Bro Ghim, our in-house Assistant Registrar of Marriages, to answer all your queries with regards to marriage registration. He can be contacted at 019-3257689.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Message From Bhante Mahinda

Subject: NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM BHANTE MAHINDA_4

NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM BHANTE MAHINDA

As we approach the new calendar Year of 2009, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you about the New Year resolutions.


You must have heard people talking about it. But what are the resolutions to make and how to make them?


Before you make your resolution for the New Year, please recall to mind of the good things you've done throughout the year 2008.


When you recall an action or an event which is good or wholesome you'll feel some joy & happiness in your hearts. That's how you'll recognise a good or wholesome action.


Try to recall of at least 3 of such actions or events which you participated. The practice of contemplation of virtues or merits is called SILĀNUSSATI. This will help to establish in you a sense of confidence in cultivating good or wholesome qualities. When you develop this skill you will find it very useful, especially when you are feeling somewhat low and depressed. The contemplation of virtues or merits will help to uplift your spirits and get out of your negative state of mind.

For example, those of you who have been to Bodhgaya for the Novitiate Programme, just recall to mind of this event and the time you spent under the Bodhi tree or in the sacred shrine or the meditation garden, observe the joy/happiness that arise in your heart. Similarly when you recall of how you saved the life of a cat or dog, or performed some other charitable act, you can feel the joy of doing good. That's how you'll be motivated to do more good things.

That's when you're ready to think of a few good things that you'll do for this coming year. Then you make a firm resolution to carry them out.

The thought of avoiding or overcoming certain bad habits (in body, speech or mind) is a good thought.

Basically we should all try to resolve to avoid all evil, to do the good and to purify one's own mind. But merely repeating the words is not good enough. You need to identify at least one bad habit that you'll try to quit and get rid off and at least one good thing you'll do again and again (such as cultivating metta or loving kindness throughout one full day a week. Then increasing to everyday and in every direction whether standing, walking or moving around, sitting or lying down. The thought of purifying your own mind is a good one. Resolve to go for longer retreats next year.

Once you've made these resolutions and you're happy, and quite comfortable with them, then go to the Buddha – to a shrine or a quiet and sacred spot – and make the resolution again & again until you've sure that's what you really want to do. Seek the blessings, guidance and protection from the Triple Gem so that you'll be able to fulfil your aspirations and overcome whatever obstacles that may arise. The good things that you wish to do are the aspirations. The resolutions you make is your determination, the effort and perseverance to fulfil your aspirations.

If your aspirations is to attend a month long retreat to purify your mind and if you so resolve to do it, then that resolutions will give you the strength and courage to do so thus fulfilling your aspiration.

ADITTHANĀ or resolutions/determination is one of the 10 Paramita or Perfections.

If you wish to do something and do not have the resolutions or determination, your mind tend to waver. You get into the situation where you're undecided yes, no, yes, no. If you are really resolved and determined to do something then the wavering disappears.

Remember how the Buddha made his resolutions under the Bodhi tree. He declared to himself:

"Let my body wither away, let my blood dry up.

I will not get up from this seat until I realise the Truth."

Such was the strength of his determination. This gave him the power to confront and overcome whatever challenges and threats that Mara had plotted and carried out against the Buddha.

The next thing to consider is that when making your resolution/determination you need to weigh and consider the pros and cons of the situation that you are in. You need to be fairly confident that what you wish to carry out is feasible.

If you go to that Bodhi tree now and make the resolution which the Buddha made, then you are in for big trouble. So take time to weigh and consider things.

That's why you need a few days to prepare your resolutions. You may list out all the things that you wish to do for the year. Then prioritise them. Which one more urgent, which one needs greater attention.

When you've decided then go to your favourite shrine or a quiet and sacred spot and declare your resolutions for the New Year. It is good if you can do it on the New Year day itself. Because somehow Jan 1 tends to make some people feel new, i.e. time for a change, a change for the better (however for those with wisdom everyday can be a New Year).

Once you are clear with your resolutions, repeat iT again and again. During that time you may make some adjustments and even drop off some things that you're not so confident with or even add on something that has arisen in your mind.

If your faith and confidence in the Triple Gem is established then seek blessings, guidance and protection so that you'll be able to fulfil all your aspirations for the year. After you've made your aspiration you don't have to cling on to them, reciting them day in day out. What you need to do is to learn to connect with your heart. Day by day practice the Dhamma with right effort, create the necessary conditions for your aspirations to be fulfilled. That's how your resolution will be accomplished.

Wishing you and all other members of your family and friends, a peaceful and happy New Year.


P/S: Bhante wishes to thank all those who have done Bodhi puja and other prayer dedicated for his good health during the past few months. His health is now almost back to normal, but will be spending most of next year in self-retreat.



Hi,

New Year Greetings from Aloka Foundation office! May the New Year bring you lots of joy and happiness and may all your aspirations be fulfilled.



Our new address and contact details are as follow:


D8-9-G, Block 8
Pusat Perdagangan Dana 1
Jalan PJU1A/46
47301 Petaling Jaya
Selangor Darul Ehsan

Tel: 03-7842 7001
Fax: 03-7842 7003




--
Better than a thousand useless words
is one useful word, hearing which one attains peace. ~ Dhammapada 100

Monday, November 17, 2008

Free From Depression


Date : 29.3.2008

Title : Free from Depression

By : Ven Balacitta

Contributed by Stanley Chen

Sometimes people feel good, uplifted or are happy and sometimes not. When people feel bad, down or are unhappy but if they know how to take care of themselves, are calm and peaceful, then there are no problems. Feelings are impermanent and are subject to change. If they do not know how to take care of themselves, are calm and peaceful, then there are problems. However it will not be a problem if one meets the right person who is able to help or advise one to solve it.

Nowadays, people are exposed to many kinds of advertisements which try to tell people that life would be more wonderful, uplifting or happier when they use their products. When one is looking for help, it is important that one finds someone who really is capable to help, otherwise, no help is better. If a person goes to see a doctor for help because of a feeling of emptiness or unhappiness or they are feeling bad or down, then it is highly possible that the doctor will prescribe some anti-depressant drugs for him. Taking anti-depressant drugs is of course the easiest and quickest way to make oneself feel good again but that is only temporary. In order for us to solve any problem, it is important for us to solve the cause of the problem. If we try to solve any problem without knowing and taking care of the cause, we may only solve the problem superficially. The root cause will still remain to generate the problem again and again. But anyhow, if any of you are taking these anti-depressant drugs already, please do not discontinue it before you find a better solution, otherwise, the sudden termination of the usage of the drugs is known to give many kinds of problematic reactions to the user.


We human beings have a body and mind. The mind of an uninstructed worldly person will surely be adversely affected when encountering a highly unwanted situation like the loss of someone very dear. When the mind is affected, the body will also be affected. If one is unable to accept the reality that all conditions in life are all impermanent and subject to change, then one will be easily disturbed whenever something good changes to bad. A person who is too engrossed with the vicissitudes of life will always be busy running after gain, praise, honour or pleasurable sensations. Similarly, he will also be busy trying to run away from loss, blame, discredit or unpleasurable sensations. When he encounters the former, he will feel elated, and when he encounters the latter, he will feel dejected. One who is easily elated or dejected is also a person who can easily lose his mental balance.


Living in the world, it is inescapable for people to experience the vicissitudes of life. Sometimes we will experience the results of our good kamma and sometimes we will also experience the results of our bad kamma. It is easy for people to be able to take care of themselves, be mindful, be peaceful and calm when life is smooth and easy but when the extreme downside of life happens suddenly, many will loose their mental balance. There will be sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief or despair and very sadly, most will also start to neglect their health.


The Buddha has shown us the four Noble Truths. In the four Noble Truths, he has shown to us what is suffering, what is the cause of suffering, what is the freedom from suffering and what is the path towards the freedom from suffering. The path towards the freedom of suffering is, of course, the Noble Eightfold Path which can be categorized under morality, meditation and wisdom.


Nowadays, there are many meditation retreat centres where one can learn to develop this Noble Eightfold Path. If any of you always feel bad, down, empty or unhappy, I encourage you to go for meditation retreat.i I wish others who are presently feeling good, strong and happy, to protect yourself by cultivating a meditative way of life, who knows when the "U Turn" will come. Correct meditation practice with the right kind of supports (morality and wisdom) can help one to understand the true nature of the world better, which in turn, will help one to be able to maintain mental balance even when facing the extremities in the vicissitudes of life.


As a matter of fact, in order for us to be always 100% free from mental suffering, we have to reach the state of Arahantship (full-enlightenment) . To reach that state, we have to develop the Noble Eightfold path in full perfection and this is not an easy job to do. But anyhow, if one starts correctly in the development of the Noble Eightfold Path, one can be said to have entered the stream of the Noble Eightfold path, a Sotapana (Stream-enterer)- SN. 55.5 A Sotapana, although is not a person 100% free from mental sufferings like an Arahant, is nevertheless, much more free from mental suffering than the most fortunate ordinary person in the world. A Sotapana already has right view with regard to the true nature of the world, the five aggregates or the so called "self". He understands truly that whatever things that he has been identified with before as "mine", "I", or "myself" are actually impermanent, stressful and empty. He will never cling to it madly as before and it is impossible for him to fall into clinical depression like an uninstructed worldling again. A Sotapana might be depressed for a while when encountering the loss of someone dear but he knows the path to come out of it and he will come out of it. Just like venerable Ananda, when venerable Sariputta, venerable Mongallana and the Buddha were gone, he was depressed, down hearted and feeling empty. But it was only for a while because being a Sotapana, he knows the path to come out from suffering. If earlier, a person needs to depend on anti-depressant drugs for his superficial wellbeing, upon reaching the state of Sotapana, he can now throw away all of his anti-depressant drugs forever. Forever he is free.


Now, after talking about freedom from mental suffering, I would like to talk about our physical health. If one takes good care of his own physical health, he will enjoy at least 50%.of wellbeing, that is, bodily wellbeing. But If a person does not take good care of his bodily health and he is still an uninstructed worldling, he will suffer twice if he falls sick, that is, one part in body and the other part in the mind - for lamenting, complaining, worrying, ...


Earlier, I had said that when a person's mind is affected, his body will also be affected. But this does not mean that one who is totally free from mental suffering is also totally free from bodily sufferings. Although our mental wellbeing does influence our bodily wellbeing, this does not mean that all the causes of our bodily wellbeing is caused by our mind. I have found two places in the cannon that tell the causes that can affect our bodily wellbeing. One is from the Sutta and another from the Abhidhamma. They are as follows:


In the Sutta – SN. 36:21, it is mentioned that there are 8 causes that affect our feeling (bodily pain). They are:-


  1. Disorders of the bile;

  2. Disorders of the phlegm;

  3. Disorders of the internal wind;

  4. Imbalance of the combination of the bodily humors (bile, phlegm and wind);

  5. Change of climate;

  6. Uneven care of the body;

  7. Harsh treatment (external forces); and

  8. The result of kamma.


In the Abhidhamma, it is mentioned that there are only 4 causes but what I can see is that it is quite similar to the above except that it is presented in a different way and they are:-


  1. The food that one consumes (the food one consumes could have effect on one or all of the bodily humors);

  2. change of climate (environmental changes like electrical radio magnetic wave pollution, air pollution and any other type of pollution should also be included);

  3. the mind (the capability of the mind in facing the vicissitudes of life); and

  4. the fruition of past karma.


I will also like to bring to your knowledge some tips for health which I found mentioned by the Buddha in the Suttas:-


  • "When a man is always mindful, knowing moderation in the food he eats, his ailments then diminish; he ages slowly, guarding his life." - ( extracted from SN. 3:13)

  • "...Come, bhikkhus,eat a single session (before noon) by so doing, you too will be free from illness and affliction, and you will enjoy health, strength, and a comfortable abiding."- (extracted from MN 65)

  • ... your medicine of strong-smelling urine (puttimutta) will seem to you to be just like the various tonics of a householder or householder's son... As you live contented, it will serve for your delight, for a comfortable abiding, for non-agitation, & for alighting on Unbinding. (extracted from AN. VIII, 30)

  • ... 'Good man, this repulsive urine (putimutta )is mixed with various medicines. Drink from it if you want; as you drink from it, its colour, smell and taste will not agree with you, but after drinking from it, you will be well...after drinking it, he became well.ii– ( extracted from MN.46)

  • Monks, there are these five advantages of walking meditation (cankama) it hardens one for traveling; it is good for striving; it is healthy; tends to good digestion after one has eaten and drunk, munched and crunched; the concentration won from it, last long... (extracted from AN. III, 29)


With the above information, I hope that by now you will know, at least, what needs to be balanced, what needs to be avoided, what needs to be done for your own well being, for your own happiness.


That's all for today. By the power of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, may all of you be successful in finding real peace, real harmony, real happiness and be happy always.

i They are many meditation centers around in Malaysia and all of them are doing great job in strengthening the faith of the people in the teaching of the Buddha. But if a depressive person were to come to see me for advise, I will recommend him or her to attend at least a 10 days meditation course conducted by S.N. Goenka or his assistant teachers. Depressive people are weak in energy and self-discipline, they need constant encouragement. The simple meditation instruction coupled with the healthy atmospheric condition in the Goenka meditation centre, could help. These are there contact numbers: 012 339 0089 (Chinese speaking) and 016 341 4776 (English speaking)

ii If one is in poor health and all conventional treatment had failed, why not give urine therapy a try. Whose knows this simple therapy will work miracle. The book titled " The Water Of Life" by John W. Armstrong, is a very powerful book, it can change people perception in regard to urine. But if one do not have the gut to try urine even after reading so many cases of successful stories, then why not try Water Therapy. It can also work like miracle for curing many kinds illnesses. Very often, I will drink about 1.5 littles water first thing in the morning. After that, I could feel that my whole bodily cells become very happy. I felt refreshed, energized and good.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Four Wheels For A Good Life



Venue : Mr Gooi's house
By : Ven Aggacitta
Date : 14.07.07

Contributed by Stanley Chen

Today's talk will be based on Cakka Sutta (AN 4:31). "Cakka" is the Pali term for "wheel". A wheel is a structure that aids movement. In any mechanism, when the wheels are properly aligned and functioning, the entire structure moves smoothly. In the same way, if the following four 'wheels' in our lives are smoothly rotating, we will soon be steered to prosperity.

1) Staying in a suitable place

It is obvious, from the worldly perspective, that staying in a suitable place is one of the major factors required for one to make a successful living. For example, the chances of a business becoming successful will be greatly increased if it is situated in a place where there is a good and constant flow of its targeted customers. A hawker should be situated in a place where there is a mass of hungry consumers.

A monk on the other hand, needs a quiet and secluded place to practise, where he has a chance to associate with the wise and be in contact with the Triple Gem. But this spiritual need is not only confined to a monk.

Several decades ago when political and economic circumstances were unfavourable, many Asians emigrated to greener pastures, particularly in the West. They settled and prospered in their adoptive countries but often felt a sense of emptiness and alienation. As Buddhists by birth, they missed being in contact with the Sangha and places of worship such as monasteries and stupas, which are as common back home as the air they breathe in. As such, they often gathered together and pooled their resources to find suitable places of worship and to invite monks over so that they could come into active contact with the Triple Gem again. Eventually many Buddhist centres sprouted in western countries, serving not only the needs of the immigrants but also that of the increasing number of Westerners who were interested in Buddhist teachings.

SBS devotees in Taiping are fortunate because they have the chance to come into contact with the Sangha all the time and listen to Dhamma talks almost every week. This is not so for other places even within Malaysia and Singapore. During my annual tour of these places, many devotees often request that I come back to see them more often as they lack qualified monks to guide and lead them in their spiritual quests.

2) Association with the wise

When people associate with the virtuous and the wise, they have a better opportunity to practise cultivation of the body, speech and mind. Why? Because they are influenced by their 'good vibes': by their exemplary presence, moral and spiritual values and profound teachings. So they develop wholesome tendencies to keep the precepts well and lead a life of good conduct.

3) Having done merits in the past

There is a Burmese saying, "Because we were good in the past, now we are good; because we are good now, we shall be good in the future." In other words, our past good kamma resulted in our present good life, and our present good conduct will ensure a good future life.

Look around you. You can see many kinds of people—some are beautiful, clever and affluent while others are deformed, ugly, stupid and poor. We often hear stories of those who became prosperous later in life even though they started with humble beginnings. They may even be uneducated, whereas those who are supposed to succeed in life because they have all the advantages in their youth fail miserably. This is largely due to their past kamma.

Our present actions, too, will influence our future. Take a look at many middle-class and affluent families nowadays. Parents spoil their children because they have no time for them (common in dual income families) or because they led a deprived youth and want to spare their children a similar fate. So they pander to their children's whims and fancies, suffocating them with material luxuries, but neglecting to nurture them with moral and spiritual values. In terms of moral conduct and aptitude, these kids end up in a sorry state.

There is a story of Visakha who attained stream-entry (sotapatti, the first stage of enlightenment) at the age of seven. When she came of age she was married off (as was the Indian custom of that era) to a man from a rich Brahmin family. However, she continued with her usual practice of giving dana to monks. Her father-in-law, who did not believe in doing so, always remained in the kitchen eating his breakfast whenever the monks came. Desiring to lead him into the Dhamma, the wise Visakha said aloud that her respected father-in-law only knew how to eat leftovers but not fresh food. Of course, the old man heard it and demanded to know why Visakha said such a thing. She replied that even though he was wealthy now, he did not know how to ensure his continued prosperity in future lives as he was missing the excellent chance of doing merit by giving dana to those worthy of it. The old man was impressed by her cleverness and eventually became a pious Buddhist.

After death, we cannot bring our current wealth with us, but our good kamma is carried forth, like a good investment, into our future lives.

4) Set yourself in the right direction

An excellent guide in the right direction for us is the Noble Eightfold Path. All thoughts, speech and action arise from the mind. Where there is greed, hatred or delusion, all actions arising from this are unwholesome. Where there is generosity, metta or wisdom, all actions arising from this are wholesome.

Once a devotee from Pokok Assam brought an elderly lady to seek guidance from me. Apparently, she had led a good life because even though she was uneducated, she managed to bring up all her children well enough that they became professionals with fulfilling and prosperous lives of their own. However, she was prone to frequent compulsive worrying about nonsensical and illogical things. This is a situation where one creates unnecessary worry and unhappiness for oneself because one does not know how to restrain the mind.

We need to train our mind to stay still—just like the way a dog-handler trains his charge to sit and not to move unless a command is given. A well-cultivated mind is able to steer away from the unwholesome and follow what is wholesome. Meditation is the most excellent way to cultivate the mind. As such, all are welcome to join us up in SBS for our weekly Saturday night meditation sessions.

When all the 4 'wheels' are properly aligned in life, we will be steered to lead a prosperous and happy life.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Movie Sharing Session at KBC

Come join us at our movie sharing session at KBC!

Recently, the youth group of KBC has organized a movie sharing session. This movie sharing session will run through April, May and June with the following schedule at our very own Centre with an educational purpose. This movie sharing session is open to the public for all ages.

Time : 7.30pm to 10.30pm

Venue: Kajang Buddhist Center

(poster design by Bro. JW Tan)




APRIL SESSION – OUR EARTH OUR FUTURE

DATE

MOVIE

SHARING CANDIDATE

5th April

萤火虫,飞吧

Fireflies: River of the Light

(Japan)

1.张秋菊

19th April

Fly Away Home (Canada)

3.庆芬老师

26th April

Our Earth, Our Home

Aloka Alert Team

MAY SESSION – BEAUTIFUL LIFE

DATE

MOVIE

SHARING CANDIDATE

3rd May

暖春Warm Spring(China)

1.Dr. Pang

10th May

I am SamUS

2.Bro. Tan Huat Chye

24th May

东京铁塔 Tokyo Tower (Japan

3.Bro. Charlie Chia

31st May

Title Talk

Chosen Sharing Candidate

JUNE SESSION – THE WAY TO HAPPINESS

DATE

MOVIE

SHARING CANDIDATE

7th June

Beautiful MindUS

1.

14th June

Travelers and Magicians

2. Uncle Vijaya

21st June

天上人间(蒙古)

3. Brother Wong

28th June

Title Talk

Chosen Sharing Candidate

Any changes will be updated.

The admission is free and a light refreshment is provided.

For more information, please contact;

Bro. Loh Chiun Tai : 012-6229798
Bro. Eugene Pang : 016-2150192
Sis. Tan Kai Sin : 016-6822016