Thursday, December 13, 2018

Om Mani Padme Hum

The video below is produced by Venerable Hai Tao and his team from Taiwan. This video explains the origin of Om Mani Padme Hum. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Mahayana or Theravada Buddhism?

When I was young, I didn't know that Buddhism is divided into two main Buddhist schools of thoughts namely the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) and Theravada Buddhism (School of the Elders). Mahayana  Buddhism is based on the Bodhisattva path whereas the Theravada Buddhism on following the Eight noble path self-enlightenment to be an Arhant.

Growing up in a typical Chinese family in Singapore, we pray to Buddha, Kuanyin pusa or Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva and other various Chinese deities like Earth god deity (土地公) and others deities. So my family is a typical Taoist family who also pray to Buddha and Kuanyin bodhisattva besides many Taoist deities. My parents are not able to explain to me the difference on Taoism and Buddhism so I started reading up on what is the difference. As I read more, I identify myself as a Buddhist.

Instead of focusing on the differences of Mahayana and Theravada, I focus on the core teaching of Buddha which are the Four Noble truths, the Noble Eightfold path, Karma, be mindful, meditate and just do good. After listening to both venerable masters Sheng Yen and Chao Khun Keng, both emphasised the importance of doing good and following on the precepts. 

I enjoy listening to Buddha's teaching from both Mahayana and Theravada venerable monks namely Venerable master Sheng Yen and Chao Khun Keng respectively. Sadly Master Sheng Yen passed on in 2009. But luckily there are many videos on Buddhism by Master Sheng Yen.

On the topic of karma, in the video, Do you want to be a ghost? by venerable Chao Khun Keng, he shared that a person who slaughter chickens for a living suffered from neck pain as he bent the neck of chickens before slaughter. After he stop selling chickens, his neck is no long in pain.

In this life, I hope to share what I learned from the venerable monks with others on Buddha's teaching as it can help people just as Buddha's teaching has helped me. Since we do not own the current physical body forever, why must we hold on to anger and hatred forever? Just let go and send out good will and joy to others.  
Master Sheng Yen on Mahayana and Theravada (Hinayana) 
In Shakyamuni Buddha's time, Buddhism had not split into Mahayana and Hinayana, though Mahayana ideas were already circulating. The distinction between Mahayana and Hinayana and their later developments reflect the different ways of interpreting the Buddha's ideas and the precepts. While Hinayana Buddhism is a conservative form of Buddhism that adheres to Pali scriptures and the Buddha's original teachings, Mahayana Buddhism emphasizes the Bodhisattva spirit in delivering senting beings and transforming the world.
Forest Monk Chao Khun Keng. I enjoy listening to his Dharmma talk

Running on Karma (一念天堂,一念地獄)

Sometimes people wonder why the evildoer escape from their evil deeds and go unpunished in this lifetime and why good person suffer. Sometimes karma manifest in this lifetime, sometimes karma will just happen in next life or next next life.  The movie Running on Karma is a film on Buddhist concept about Karma. 

The protagonist is a Buddhist monk who gained supernatural power of seeing a person's past life when he meditated for several days after his friend passed away. He could see what will  happen to the person due to the person past life. He gave up monkhood and went to work as a stripper after he realised he could not stop what will happen. He helped the police woman escaped death twice or thrice but later realised that it was the police woman who saved herself by her kindness. However in the end, the police woman who was a Japanese soldier who killed many people was killed in the forest. 

He also stopped an angry police sergeant who was beating the murderer by saying to him, "One thought Heaven, One thought Hell"(一念天堂,一念地獄). I recalled in a Dharma talk by Venerable Chao Khun Keng who shared that our mind is very powerful and we needs to be  aware of it. Therefore, we always have to be mindful of our thoughts as our actions are driven by our thoughts.
Running on Karma 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Inspiring and Humorous Dhamma Talk by Venerable Chao Khun Keng

My ex-colleague shared with me a very interesting and inspiring video on a Dharma talk by Venerable Chao Khun Keng. Known as Phra Ajaan Keng, Chao Khun Keng is the first Singaporean ordained in the Thai Buddhist tradition and was conferred the ecclesiastical title of Chao Khun by the King of Thailand. I learned a lot from his interesting talk. 

He is a humorous and engaging speaker and like typical Singapore, he uses mostly English with a mixture of Mandarin, Singlish and Hokkien (common Chinese dialect from the China Fujian province). He shared what he saw during his meditation and he  why he has no doubt on the transference of merit.

I highly recommend that you listen to his talk as shared in the video below. I agree with him on the importance of meditation and not just read the sutras. I experienced the bliss of rapture joy during meditation and it made me realised one does not need much in life to be happy. Now I am happy sharing what I learned from dharma talks by Venerable monks who shared on  Buddha's teaching. Buddha had selflessly spent more than 45 years on teaching the Dharma more than 2500 years ago. 

I hope Venerable Chao Khun Keng is in Singapore and will conduct some more talks. I do have some questions to ask him. 

Some quotes from this video by Chao Khun Keng.

When you meditate, then you can direct your mind from a very chaotic state and enter concentration. That is real. Enjoy the bliss of concentration.

With this support of concentration, are you able to see the truth of this five Skandhas your body, your feeling, your perception, your analytical mind and this consciousness?To say that this is not self, this is suffering if you are attached to it. And this is no self. Its not going to live forever.

Buddha always say We are our owner of our own action, heir of our actions, born of our action, related to action. Whatever we do for good or for bad, we must bear. 

Its from your practise of meditation that you see through the eyes of the mind, the wisdom that arises from meditation.

Dhamma Talk at Singapore Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. This 2-hour video is a 1 hour talk and 1 hour question and answer session. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Heart Sutra by Master Lim Zheng Yi

I enjoy listening to Taiwanese Master Lim Zheng Yi sharing on Feng Shui, Chinese metaphysics and Buddhism. I first got to know him from Taiwan variety talkshow and he is a very positive and knowledgeable Yijing master. In this video, he share Heart Sutra. He published a book on Heart Sutra with Buddhism painting. In this video, I learned one very important concept in Heart Sutra. To be a master of your life, you should observe your thought and not react to your thought. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Why I'm on Vegetarian Diet after Meditation

It seems like there are people (also Buddhists) out there who are not happy to see others on vegetarian diet. They would say sarcastic remarks like there are monks who are also eating meat. 

For those who do not know, the Theravada monks who go out for alms will eat whatever people offer which include meat. Whereas the Mahayana monks mostly from China, Taiwan and Singapore are on vegetarian diet. 

However if you read one of the five precepts set by Buddha, one should refrain from harming living being. Buddha prohibited his disciples from taking life for meat. If you specifically request and pay for the meat, you are encouraging someone to harm another living sentient being so that they can earn money by harming the sentient being. The person will want to expand his business to cater to huge demand for meat. 

For me, after practising meditation and chanting Om Mani Padme Hum mantra, I lost the desire to eat meat. In fact, I felt like vomiting after I had some meat after chanting.( Does anyone has similar effect?) 

Monks are different, they do not ask specifically for meat. They accept whatever is offered to them when they go on alms. 

As for me, since I'm a lay person. I do not want to pay for a meal that cause another sentient being to suffer just because I crave for the meat. After meditation and thinking of animals suffering stop me from eating meat. Anyway, nowadays there are lots of delicious vegetarian food. If you think about it, it is not the meat that is delicious. It is just the seasoning coated on the meat that is delicious. 

The Greatest Treasure

When I was young, the only Buddhist sutra is the Heart Sutra. I got to know about Heart Sutra from TVB channel when the drama featured Buddha's teaching. Thus, the title of my blog is Heart Sutra and Buddhism. 

As I read up more on Buddhism, I realised there are so many other sutras besides the Heart Sutra. There are the Lotus sutra, the Diamond and Suragama sutra. Sometimes I wonder when I finish reading all the sutras. 

For this, I am really grateful to Master Ananda, Buddha's younger cousin and disciple who remembered and shared Buddha's teaching. 

Buddha is right, we can never satisfy our endless desire and material pursuit is not the key to happiness. Even though I have hundreds of pens, I still buy whenever I see new design. 

I tried meditation because Buddha said the only way to be liberated from endless samsara is through meditation. When I sat in quiet meditation, I felt immense peace and joy. Sometimes I recite Om mani padme hum mantra during meditation. After few months, I stop eating meat. I just lost the desire to eat meat. Do you also have the same experience? 

Sometimes I just feel tired of the endless samsara. There are times when I wonder if others feel the same. Sometimes I ask what is the purpose of my life? My body is a vehicle for my soul in this human realm. Like all living beings, our body can at most last 100 years if you get to enjoy a long life but at 100 years old, the body will be old and weak. Nothing last forever. Only a clear conscience that you have done your part in this life, giving help when ever possible.

If someone ask me what is the greatest treasure in this world, I will say it is Buddha's teaching. He selflessly taught the Dharma which encapsulated what he knew to the path to enlightenment to many people. Thus, it is important to share his teaching to others and stop false teaching propagated by others. 

From Buddha
"I have delivered all the sentient beings as I could and have planted the seeds of deliverance  for those who have yet to be delivered.

Let the Precepts be your Teacher, and my Teaching as your guide, and I will be you forever."

Om Mani Padme Hum