Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Practice of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (观音菩萨)

Today is the Enlightenment day of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, who is also known as Guan Yin Pu Sa. He is the embodiment of great compassion, and He can appear in any form in all the six realms of existence to relieve the suffering of the sentient beings. 
Today there be many devotees praying at Waterloo Street Kuan Imm Cho Hood temple in Singapore. I spent the day today chanting Om Mani Padme Hum and Heart Sutra.

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (观音菩萨) Guanyin is the most popular Bodhisattva in East Asian. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva is known to the Chinese as Guanyin 观音菩萨. Guanshiyin means "The one who Perceives the Sounds of the World." 

In this video, Venerable Master Sheng Yen shared the 7 practices of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (观音菩萨).

1) Suragama Sutra (Leng Yen Ching): The Perfect Penetration through the Faculty of Hearing Method.

2) Heart Sutra: Perceiving the Five Aggreagtes to be Empty method. 

3) Lotus Sutra: Universal Gate Chapter

4) Great Compassion Sutra: Dharani of the Great Compassionate One method

5) Six-syllable mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum

6) Miraculous Dharani of white-robed Avalokitesvara

7) Ten-phrase Avalokitesvara sutra for Prolonging Life
The Heart Sutra

In this video, Venerable Master Sheng Yen shared the 7 practices of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (观音菩萨).
Kuan Yin Temple at Singapore Waterloo street

Monday, July 8, 2019

Manjushri Bodhisattva 文殊菩薩的故事

We ought to know that this physical body called 'I' is bound to be gone. If one is attached to oneself or to others, greed and hatred will arise. In this case, how can one's deeds accord with the wisdom of Bodhisattva Manjusri.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Free Buddhism E-books Singapore KMSPKS Monastery Website

If you want to find out more on Buddhism and inspiring stories, you can download free e-books from Singapore Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery (KMSPKS) website here. There are books like Buddhism for Beginners, The Significance and Benefits of 6-Syllable Mantra (Om Mani Padme Hum) and many more. Thank you Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery for the free resources. 


From Buddhism for Beginners 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Chao Kun Keng Dhamma Talk on 27th June 2019

This Thursday, I finally attended dharma talk by Chao Kun Keng, a Singaporean monk at Nibbaba Dhamma Rakkha located at 24 Lorong 29 Geylang. Normally I don't like to go out on weekdays as I need to wake up early for work. I decided to attend as I didn't attend the March talk this year and I wanted to offer requisite to him personally.

I arrived early as I anticipated there would be many people. But the building was locked so I thought that I went to the wrong place. Luckily I arrived early and sat near the front. The room at level 4 was filled to the brink and some had to stand to listen to the talk. 

Some key points of his Dharma talk:
Ajahn Keng taught us how to meditate by relaxing different parts of our body and observing our breaths. All of us take for granted our breaths. 

During meditation, you can observe your thoughts influenced by the five aggregates (色受想行识)( form (or matter or body), sensations (or feelings, received from form), perceptions, mental activity or formations, and consciousness.

He also shared with us that sentient beings like snake, dogs and rats understand what we said. Also it dogs or cats go to your house, do not treat them badly as it has affinity with you. They could be related to you in their past lives or were past occupants of the house but due to attachment to the house, it came back again. 

If a person is greedy, he/she easily deceived by others. 

One of his student meditated for 13 hours straight. I could only meditate for 1 hour at most. I need to be diligent in meditation. 

Besides meditating, you should observe the five or eight precepts. Do not complicate Buddha's teaching. Basically Buddha taught the threefold practice namely Sila(Precepts, morality), Samadhi (concentrated mind) and Prajna (Insight, understanding). 

Sila: Precepts, Morality, Ethics (Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood)

Samadhi: Equanimity, Calmness, One-Pointedness, Absorption, Settled Mind, Concentrated Mind, Undistracted (Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Samadhi) via meditation

Prajna: Insight, Understanding, Emptiness, Interdependence (Right View, Right Intention/Thinking)

Below is the Dhamma talk in Mandarin by Chao Khun Keng on 27 June 2019

Dhamma talk in Mandarin on 27th June 2019

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Buddha -Episode 37

I like this 54-episode drama Buddha from India. It features teaching of Buddha. However, the birth place of Buddha is at Nepal but in this show it states it is in India. 

You can't find the videos in youtube but I watched it from Facebook. The below scene is from below episode 37.

Buddha: Didn't the people offer alms?

Disciples: Guru, can't we go to another place?

Buddha: Sure we can. But the reason for you all to leave this place may follow you to another place too.

Disciples: The people from this region always humiliate us. They are repulsive and jeer at us.

Buddha: You feel agitated of their behaviour? If the people welcome you with respect, you will feel happy, won't you? It means you have given the key to your internal peace in another's hands. So the external factors are affecting you and can rule over you.

Disciple: Guru, we have realised our mistake. It's not the external factor but our mind that emote pain and vexation. That means we have not understood your teaching. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Buddha's Teaching

After reading so many Buddhist sutras like The Heart Sutra, the Lotus Sutra from Mahayana and The Anatta-lakkhana sutta from the Theravada, Buddha had been teaching and emphasising the following.

All component things are impermanent  
All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation. 
To analyze the sentient being into five aggregates. These five are material form, feelings, perceptions, volitional states (or mental formations), and consciousness. 
Three characteristics of existence: Impermanence (Anicca), Unsatisfactoriness or Suffering (Dukkha) and No-self(Anatta).

After contemplating on the concept of No-self, I understand this concept as there is no permanent 'self'. Sentient beings do not have permanent 'self' as they go through cycle of rebirth in the six realms (hell, hungry ghost, animal, human, asura and heavenly beings) and their next rebirth depends on karma. Buddha realised the truth 2500 years ago and it has now recently being verified by many people who survived near-death experience like Doug, Mira, Duane.

Thus Buddha taught the Noble Eightfold path to help sentients beings on cessation
of suffering. The Noble Eightfold path include right view, right thoughts, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right meditation.

Cause and effect are invisible, but powerful forces that rule the universe. 

For this, I am immensely grateful to Sakyamuni Buddha for his compassion and selflessness for teaching the Dharma tirelessly for forty-five years. 

If you understand the above concepts, you will not harm others and break the precepts. 

The Anatta-lakkhana Sutta from the Access to Insight

Seven weeks after the recluse Siddhattha Gotama attained Supreme Enlightenment and came to be known as the Buddha, he gave his first discourse to the group of five ascetics with whom he had been associated six years earlier. These five ascetics were: Kondañña, Bhaddiya, Vappa, Mahanama, and Assaji. By the first discourse, the Buddha set in motion the Wheel of the Law. He explained to the five ascetics why he had discarded the two extremes of indulgence and mortification; he declared that he had discovered the Middle Way, which is the Noble Eightfold Path leading to Enlightenment; he expounded the Four Noble Truths and convinced the five ascetics that he had attained Supreme Enlightenment.
At the end of the first discourse, the "spotless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma" arose in Kondañña, thus: "all that is subject to arising is subject to cessation." The Venerable Kondañña then told the Buddha that he wished to go forth under the Blessed One and asked for Full Admission, which he received. With further instruction by the Buddha, the "spotless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma" arose in the Ven. Vappa, the Ven. Bhaddiya, the Ven. Mahanama, and the Ven. Assaji in this order. They too knew thus: "all that is subject to arising is subject to cessation." These four ascetics, too, expressed their wish to go forth under the Blessed One and asked for Full Admission, which they received.
At this stage, then, the first five disciples of the Buddha had insight only into the impermanence of anything which had a conditioned origin. It was at this stage that the Buddha gave his second discourse. Between the first and second discourses, the Buddha had, in his instructions to the five disciples, analyzed the sentient being into five aggregates. These five were material form, feelings, perceptions, volitional states (or mental formations), and consciousness. The Buddha showed that the sentient being was made up of these five aggregates only. The disciples had to have this knowledge to follow the second discourse.
Having thus instructed the five disciples, the Buddha gave the discourse on the No-self characteristic of existence. No-self is one of the three characteristics of existence, the other two being impermanence and unsatisfactoriness. These three are inter-related and one cannot be taken apart from the other two. They are found only in the teaching of the Buddha.
Impermanence (anicca) may appear obvious to some who see the gross origin and disappearance of animate and inanimate entities. However, the Buddha's teaching goes beyond the gross and obvious and extends also to the mind, including its most subtle and sublime level. He taught that anything which has an origin exists only for a fleeting moment and that what appears to be compact and stable, both animate and inanimate, is from moment to moment arising and perishing. This fact can be experienced by one who follows the Noble Eightfold Path.
Unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) is a fact of life regardless of whether those critical of the Buddha's teaching label this as pessimism or not. The First Noble Truth explains why this existence is essentially unsatisfactory. Some do not accept this view because, for the time being, all appears to be going well for them; some see it in others but do not give it much thought because it does not affect them; some are unable to see this unsatisfactoriness due to mental impairment or gross ignorance; some would accept that life has its suffering and resign themselves to it, stating that it is all due to "original sin." The Buddha did not hesitate to focus full attention on this characteristic of existence and did so because he was aware of its cause and knew that others too could realize this for themselves. The cause of this unsatisfactoriness is found in the other two characteristics of existence.
No-self (anatta) means that there is no permanent, unchanging entity in anything animate or inanimate. With regard to the animate, this implies the absence of a soul which either emanated from a divine source or was created by a divine being. Biblical religions bless only the human being in the whole of the animal kingdom with this soul. The No-self doctrine is found only in the teaching of the Buddha. At least an intellectual grasp of this characteristic of existence is needed to appreciate the Buddha's teaching. It is only when insight is gained in this respect that progress can be made along the Path to full enlightenment.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum in Singapore

Last Saturday I finally went to Buddha Tooth Temple Relic. I went there for a Dharma talk. After the talk, I went to explore Buddha tooth relic which was a hotly debated topic regarding the authenticity of the tooth relic about 12 years ago. Singaporeans and local residents had donated more than 43 million dollars and 273 kg of gold to build the temple and the gold stupa for the tooth relic. Besides the tooth relic, I also went to explore the roof garden and other Buddha's relics at level 3 that looks like beautiful crystals. 

Beautiful Buddhist relics also known as Sarira that looks like pearl or crystal-like beads are commonly found in the cremated ashes of Buddhist spiritual masters. 

From Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum website here
"Sariras, the Sanskrit name for relics, refers to the remains of a body part usually after cremation. In Buddhist context, sariras refers to the crystallization of solid remains of especially Buddha Sakyamuni after His cremation. Henceforth, relics are also broadly defined to include solid remains of other Buddhist practitioners, regardless of Sangha and secular disciples.
The emergence of relics signifies that the spiritual energy of Buddha or the spiritual practitioner during their lifetime is constant and serene, untainted by nature’s forces yet elevated due to persevering religious practices. Hence, this energy is converted to physical forms to what we known as relics. Relics are the essence of wisdom, the fruit of spiritual labour, which are free of lust, greed and wrath."
Recently, my colleague shared with me his Buddhist friend who practised meditation was found to have sarira when his relatives collected his cremated ashes. 

Venerable Chao Khun Keng explained that mind is like a laser beam. Due to the purity of the mind, for some of the monks, their hair can turn to relics. Pure mind that doesn't have greed, hatred and delusion. Pure energy that channel go to the body. 
 Buddha Tooth Relic Temple is located in Chinatown. It is about 10 minutes walk from Chinatown MRT station.
At the main hall, the future Buddha,  Buddha Maitreya is seated between two Bodhisattvas
 Monks and lay Buddhist practitioners chanting at the main hall in the morning.
 At Level 3, you can explore the museum where you can find out more about the Buddha and his other relics in the relic chamber. No photography is allowed in the Relic Chamber.

At the roof garden. 

Sariras, relics (image from Google)

Chao Khun Keng explaining about relics 1:29.  The monk when they meditate, they focus on the body.  The mind is like a laser beam They use the mindfulness to scan the body. Due to the purity of the mind, the body can turn to relics. Due to the pure mind, the mind that does not have greed, hatred and delusion. It has the pure energy to channel into the body and clean up the body, it can also use pure energy to cure the sickness. In a way, meditation can enhance your health.