Sunday, November 10, 2019

How to Reduce Bad Karma

The following video is a talk by Ajahn Keng, a Singaporean forest monk who shared his experience how he reduced his bad karma. During meditation, he understood why he suffered from itchy skin problem. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Heart Sutra Explanation

The Heart Sutra is still my favourite Buddhism sutra and it captures the essence of Buddha's teaching on emptiness. Thus I started Buddhism blog titled Heart Sutra and Buddhism. As I read more, I learnt about different sutras like The Diamond Sutra and the Lotus Sutra.

The following Heart Sutra and annotation is from here by Chung Tai Translation Committee. Please click the link here as it has very good explanation of the Heart Sutra.

prajna Great transcendental wisdom; wisdom from understanding the truth; wisdom of understanding the empty nature of the ‘self’ and all phenomena; wisdom that can overcome birth-and-death and all suffering, and enlighten all beings.

paramita Perfection, the practice that can bring one to liberation. Literally, “to the other shore.” To become a buddha, the bodhisattva practices the six paramitas: perfection of charity (dana), moral conduct (sila), tolerance (ksanti), diligence (virya), meditation (dhyana), and, most important of all, wisdom (prajna).

empty nature Both the self and all phenomena are without independent existence or inherent, fixed characteristics. They are impermanent, mutable and mutually dependent; their individuality is in appearance only. 

Buddhism provides us with several classifications of phenomena to help us understand how ordinary people perceive the world. They are: the five skandhas, the twelve bases, and the eighteen spheres (see below). However, our perceptions of the world are founded on ignorance; therefore, these constructions are ultimately empt

five skandhas Five aggregates—form, feeling, conception, volition, and consciousness . Form refers to our body or the physical world, the other four are of the mind. Ordinary beings see themselves as composed of these aggregates. When we analyze them deeper, we find no real substance.

neither arising ... nor decreasing. By understanding the mutual dependencies and inter-connections of all things, one realizes that all creation and destruction, birth-and-death, good and bad, more and less, etc., exist in appearance only.

no form, feeling ... This negation of the five skandhas is to point out that the superficial appearance and characters we are familiar with actually have no intrinsic substance. Form (physical matter) is energy, its appearance is an illusion of the perceiver; feelings are subjective; conceptions are mind-made; volition (will or intent which leads to action); and what we call consciousness are streams of thought based on deluded understanding of reality. There is no “self” to be found in form, feeling, conception, volition, or consciousness.

no eye, ear...or dharmas. Negation of the twelve bases (of consciousness) which include six senses and six sense objects . The six senses are used to perceive the six sense objects and the result is our conception of the world. The six sense objects are also known as six dusts in Buddhism.

no realm of vision ... no realm of mind-consciousness. Negation of the eighteen spheres , six senses, six sense objects, and six types of consciousness, that of vision, hearing, olfaction, taste, touch, and mind-consciousness. The eighteen spheres represent the way the deluded mind perceives and divides the world, and prevents us from seeing the unity and equality of all things.

no ignorance ... no ending of aging and death. The twelve links of dependent origination  explain the process of the rebirth cycle. They are ignorance-intentional action-consciousness- mind and form -six senses -contact- feeling- craving- grasping- being- birth -old age and death. However, from the view of absolute reality, the twelve links and their elimination (ending of ..., which is needed to gain liberation from rebirth), are also empty. In fact, what we perceive as birth-and-deaths are actually delusions, so suffering is also empty.

Updated:
Research by Hufeng has shown that 以无所得故 does not mean "Because there is nothing to be attained". It translates a Sanskrit word anupalambhayogena "by means of nonapprehension.

SUTRA OPENING GATHA 開經偈

The Dharma, infinitely profound and subtle,
Is rarely encountered even in a million kalpas. Now we are able to hear, study, and follow it,
May we fully realize the Tathagata’s true meaning.


無上甚深微妙法 百千萬劫難遭遇 我今見聞得受持 願解如來真實義


THE HEART OF PRAJNA PARAMITA SUTRA

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara,
While deeply immersed in prajna paramita,
Clearly perceived the empty nature of the five skandhas, And transcended all suffering.
Shariputra! Form is not different from emptiness, Emptiness is not different from form.
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
So it is with feeling, conception, volition, and

consciousness.
Shariputra! All dharmas are empty in character;
Neither arising nor ceasing,
Neither impure nor pure,
Neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore, in emptiness, there is no form;
There is no feeling, conception, volition, or consciousness; No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind;
No form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharmas;
No realm of vision, and so forth,
Up to no realm of mind-consciousness;

No ignorance or ending of ignorance, and so forth,
Up to no aging and death or ending of aging and death. There is no suffering, no cause, no extinction, no path. There is no wisdom and no attainment.
There is nothing to be attained.
By way of prajna paramita,
The bodhisattva’s mind is free from hindrances.
With no hindrances, there is no fear;
Freed from all distortion and delusion,
Ultimate nirvana is reached.
By way of prajna paramita,
Buddhas of the past, present, and future
Attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.
Therefore, prajna paramita
Is the great powerful mantra,
The great enlightening mantra,
The supreme and peerless mantra.
It can remove all suffering.
This is the truth beyond all doubt.
And the prajna paramita mantra is spoken thus:
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.


观自在菩萨,行深般若波罗蜜多时,照见五蕴皆空,度一切苦厄, 

舍利子, 色不异空, 空不异色, 色即是空, 空即是色, 

受想行识, 亦复如是, 舍利子, 是诸法空相, 不生不灭, 不垢不净, 不增不减, 

是故空中无色, 无受想行识, 无眼耳鼻舌身意, 无色声香味触法, 

无眼界, 乃至无意识界, 无无明, 亦无无明尽, 乃至无老死, 亦无老死尽,

无苦集灭道, 无智亦无得, 以无所得故, 菩提萨埵(duǒ), 依般若波罗蜜多故, 

心无罣碍( guà ài ),无罣碍, 故无有恐怖, 远离颠倒梦想, 究竟涅盘, 

三世诸佛, 依般若波罗蜜多故, 得阿耨多罗三藐三菩提, 

故知般若波罗蜜多,是大神咒, 是大明咒, 是无上咒, 是无等等咒, 能除一切

苦, 真实不虚, 故说般若波罗蜜多咒, 

即说咒曰, 揭谛揭谛 波罗揭谛 波罗僧揭谛 菩提萨婆诃



The Heart Sutra story

The Heart Sutra by Imee Ooi

Sharing the Gift of the Dharma

Many years ago, I went to Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery located in Singapore Bishan for a dharma talk by Ajahn Brahm . There are many free Dharma books at the temple. I took a few books to read. 

Many years later, what I read resonated with me as I read a wider range of books where survivors of near death sharing are kinda similar to what the books wrote like our body are like television set and the consciousness are like the television programmes. Its takes time for the seed to grow to tree.

Today I start to pay forward by donating money to Kong Meng San Chor Kar See Monastery. If you are to donate, you can visit their website.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra

At my workplace, I met many Buddhist colleagues who chant Amitofo. For me during meditation, I focus on chanting Om mani padme hum. Sometimes I also chant Amitofo or Kuanyin pusa which makes me feel safe. Maybe from their influence, I also aspire to go to pureland after this life. Amitofo. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra Concert 心经演唱会 - Singapore 2020

The Heart Sutra is still my favourite Buddhism sutra and it captures the essence of Buddha's teaching on emptiness. Thus I started Buddhism blog titled Heart Sutra and Buddhism. As I read more, I learnt about different sutras like The Diamond Sutra and the Lotus Sutra.

Whenever I want to listen to the Heart Sutra, I will listen to Imee Ooi rendition of Heart Sutra. 

Thus when I heard that there will be a Heart Sutra  (in 8 different languages) concert by Imee Ooi and her team in Singapore Esplanade Theatre by the bay next year 11 of January, I felt very happy. Today is the first day to purchase the concert ticket. 

To purchase the ticket, click here. I brought $100 ticket today.

The following Heart Sutra is from here by Chung Tai Translation Committee. Please click the link here as it has very good explanation of the Heart Sutra.

For the concert, I hope Imee also sing Om Mani Padme Hum too as I like listening.

SUTRA OPENING GATHA 開經偈

The Dharma, infinitely profound and subtle,
Is rarely encountered even in a million kalpas. Now we are able to hear, study, and follow it,
May we fully realize the Tathagata’s true meaning.


無上甚深微妙法 百千萬劫難遭遇 我今見聞得受持 願解如來真實義


THE HEART OF PRAJNA PARAMITA SUTRA

Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara,
While deeply immersed in prajna paramita,
Clearly perceived the empty nature of the five skandhas, And transcended all suffering.
Shariputra! Form is not different from emptiness, Emptiness is not different from form.
Form is emptiness, emptiness is form.
So it is with feeling, conception, volition, and

consciousness.
Shariputra! All dharmas are empty in character;
Neither arising nor ceasing,
Neither impure nor pure,
Neither increasing nor decreasing.
Therefore, in emptiness, there is no form;
There is no feeling, conception, volition, or consciousness; No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, or mind;
No form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharmas;
No realm of vision, and so forth,
Up to no realm of mind-consciousness;

No ignorance or ending of ignorance, and so forth,
Up to no aging and death or ending of aging and death. There is no suffering, no cause, no extinction, no path. There is no wisdom and no attainment.
There is nothing to be attained.
By way of prajna paramita,
The bodhisattva’s mind is free from hindrances.
With no hindrances, there is no fear;
Freed from all distortion and delusion,
Ultimate nirvana is reached.
By way of prajna paramita,
Buddhas of the past, present, and future
Attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.
Therefore, prajna paramita
Is the great powerful mantra,
The great enlightening mantra,
The supreme and peerless mantra.
It can remove all suffering.
This is the truth beyond all doubt.
And the prajna paramita mantra is spoken thus:
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.


观自在菩萨,行深般若波罗蜜多时,照见五蕴皆空,度一切苦厄, 

舍利子, 色不异空, 空不异色, 色即是空, 空即是色, 

受想行识, 亦复如是, 舍利子, 是诸法空相, 不生不灭, 不垢不净, 不增不减, 

是故空中无色, 无受想行识, 无眼耳鼻舌身意, 无色声香味触法, 

无眼界, 乃至无意识界, 无无明, 亦无无明尽, 乃至无老死, 亦无老死尽,

无苦集灭道, 无智亦无得, 以无所得故, 菩提萨埵(duǒ), 依般若波罗蜜多故, 

心无罣碍( guà ài ),无罣碍, 故无有恐怖, 远离颠倒梦想, 究竟涅盘, 

三世诸佛, 依般若波罗蜜多故, 得阿耨多罗三藐三菩提, 

故知般若波罗蜜多,是大神咒, 是大明咒, 是无上咒, 是无等等咒, 能除一切

苦, 真实不虚, 故说般若波罗蜜多咒, 

即说咒曰, 揭谛揭谛 波罗揭谛 波罗僧揭谛 菩提萨婆诃


The Heart Sutra by Imee Ooi
The Heart Sutra story

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Importance of The Five Precepts

Buddha said that to follow his practice, he advised Buddhists (laypeople) to follow his five precepts and the 8 Noble 8-fold path. 

As a Buddhist, I strive to observe the five precepts. However during wedding, when people toast, I drank a sip of wine. Most importantly it is not to indulge in it. In the past when I was working in restaurant, I had to drink lots of wine for wine tasting as part of my job. No wonder, Buddha said it is important to have right livelihood so that it is easier to observe the five precepts. Since I left the restaurant job, I rarely touch alcohol. 

The Buddhist Five Precepts:

These basic training rules are observed by all practicing lay Buddhists. The precepts are often recited after reciting the formula for taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

The Five Precepts:

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness
Master Sheng Yen on the five precepts. The precepts are meant to safeguard our mental and physical peace and well-being, and to create a harmonious society, instead of intimidating or restricting us. After receiving the precepts, we'll be on our guard and be alert for our actions, and thereby becoming more stable and healthy in mind and body. There's no need to fear taking the precepts; if we break a precept, simply repent and resolve not to make the same mistake again.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Rebirths- Dr Brian Weiss: Many Lives, Many Masters

I just finished reading the book, Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss.  Dr. Brian L. Weiss is an American Jewish psychiatrist, hypnotherapist, and best selling author that focus on past life regression. This book is about how Dr Brian Weiss discovered past lives and the Masters  Spirits through the process of treating his young patient, Catherine with hypnosis. Catherine recalled her many past lives from Egyptian slave to a German pilot in world war 2. She was born of different genders, races and religion in her different rebirths. Catherine was told that she had lived eighty-six times in the physical state. She was also told that no matter what the circumstances, people are not to kill.

In this book, the Master Spirit told Dr Weiss that debt in previous lives must be repaid. That's why some souls will be reborn together so that the other can pay back the debt. 
Through hypnosis  Catherine discovered that Stuart whom she was having an affair with was someone who killed her in her previous life. 

After reading this book, my faith in Buddha's teaching is further increased. More than 2500 years ago, Buddha already taught us about rebirths and karma.

I will share some of the quotes in this book that I find meaningful and remind me of Buddha's teaching. 

" But if people knew that life is endless; so we never die; we were never really born" then this fear of death would dissolve. This quote reminds me of the Heart Sutra.

"We have debts that must be paid. If we have not paid out these debts, then we must take them into another life... in order that they may be worked through. 

One of the most important of life´s lessons is to learn independance, to understand freedom. This means independence from attachments, from results, from opinions, and from expectations. Breaking attachments leads to freedom, but breaking attachments does not mean abandoning a loving and meaningful relationship, a relationship that nourishes your soul. It means ending dependency on any person or thing. Love is never a dependency.

Happiness comes from within. It is not dependent on external things or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend on the behavior and actions of other people. Never give your power to anyone else.

"Every individual soul chooses the significant people in that life. Destiny will place you in the particular circumstance; it will dictate that you will encounter a particular person, at a certain time, place." ~ Brian Weiss


The above book reminded me of a story of what a young monk with divine eye.
  从前一座小庙里,住着一位和尚师父和一位小沙弥,小沙弥只有9岁。小沙弥长得面容清秀,聪明伶俐,就是生性顽皮,常常看着一些事情无端发笑,说些稀奇古怪的话,让和尚师父也摸不着头脑。
  这一天,和尚师父要外出云游,少不了要带上小沙弥,这可乐坏了小沙弥,弄得小沙弥手之舞之,足之蹈之。和尚师父正色道:出家人要守清规戒律,如此轻狂成何体统!小沙弥连忙收起笑容止住手脚,连连称是。
  这一天,师徒二人出行,来到田间小路上,看到一中年农夫赶着青牛耕地,小沙弥看了一会,不觉抿嘴笑出声来,弄得和尚师傅不知所笑何为,厉声说道:你这孽障,笑些什么?
  小沙弥随口应道:老子耕地儿扶犁,你说稀奇不稀奇?
  ——明明是牛耕地,人扶犁,牛在前人在后,怎么是老子耕地儿扶犁,一派胡言,快走快走。
  师徒二个接着前行,来到一个村口,这时一青年妇女抱着一个孩子出来,给孩子端尿,小沙弥看了,忍不住大笑起来,和尚师父连忙正色道:你这个轻狂的孽障,为何如此发笑?
  小沙弥答道:媳妇端了公公的尿,你说可笑不可笑?
  ——明明是女施主给她的孩子端尿,怎么是给公公端尿,胡言乱语,快走快走。
  正是太阳落山的时候,他们来到一座大庙前。这座庙是和尚师父年轻时出家的地方,接待他们的是年逾古稀的老方丈。晚饭时分,小沙弥看到庙前的大鼓,拿起鼓锤就要击鼓,和尚师父抢前一步,一把夺过。当值的和尚看到两师徒抢雷锤,觉得有趣,以为他们没有见识这么大的鼓,都想擂鼓,也到了击鼓时间,就说时间到了,快击鼓。
  和尚师父听值班和尚要自己击鼓,也不好推辞,就用力击起鼓来,那沉沉的鼓声,在寺院回荡。这时小沙弥哈哈大笑,笑得众和尚你看着我,我看着你,莫名其妙。
  此时小沙弥大声说道:自已擂了自己的皮,你说稀奇不奇?
  此时和尚师父看自己的徒弟在无端耻笑自己,什么自己擂自己的皮,难道我身上披的是牛皮?连忙喝令小沙弥跪下受罚。
  此时老方丈从里面走出,拉着和尚师父同桌进餐,并请小沙弥同桌。
  老方丈打量了师徒二人,笑问:刚才师父为何动怒?和尚师父答道:我这徒弟太顽皮,不守清规,看到什么就无端发笑,现在都笑到我的头上了。
  老方丈哦了一声,用和蔼的眼神看着小沙弥,问:你看到什么,因何发笑?如说得有理,老纳求你师父免你罚。
  小沙弥说道:我看那中年男子挥着鞭子赶着牛耕地,其实那牛是男子的父亲。他父亲在世时,好吃懒做,不务正业,而他的儿子勤扒苦做,积积攒攒,而所积攒的家业,都被他父亲挥攉一空。故父亲死后到阎王那报到,阎王要他还债其子,就转了牛生。
  和尚师父问:那青年女子抱子出来,你又为何傻笑?
  小沙弥说道:那女人抱的孩子,原是那女人的公公转世,她公公在世时,十分勤劳节俭,故此攒下了一份厚实的家业,成为这个地方附近几个村的富户。那公公去逝后,阎王就安排他到媳妇跟前转世。我看到那媳妇给小孩端尿,故而发笑。
  和尚师父又问:那我击鼓,你又为何发笑?
  这个……小沙弥欲言又止,面有难色,老方丈挥挥手,叫小沙弥下去,老方丈说:这个还是我来说吧。
  原来在这附近有一家员外,他家养了一头牛,后来这头牛就老死了。员外可怜牛一世劳苦,没有宰杀,就选个地方将牛掩埋了。后来牛要转世了,阎王安排它转世人生,可他身上牛皮未脱。老牛就给这大庙里的住持报梦。后来老住持就将梦里说的事告知了员外。员外立即派人将牛挖起。将牛挖起时,牛皮还完好无缺,员外让人把皮剥下,捐到大庙做了个鼓。这个鼓现在还在呢。
  鼓还在?和尚师父有些惊奇。老方丈说:不仅鼓在,而且当年被托梦的老住持、那头转世的牛今天都在这里。
  和尚师父问:他们在哪?老方丈答道:那鼓,就是师父你今天擂的鼓,那头牛后来转生后,为了报答庙里住持的恩德,也出家为僧,服侍住持——他就是师父你啊。
  和尚师父一惊:是我?无怪我那顽徒说我是自己擂了自己的皮,那老住持是?和尚师父已若有所悟。
  老住持笑笑,那老住持就是你的那位顽徒啊,他前辈子修得不错,但没有修成佛,所以这辈子接着修。由于他前世的修过,打下底子,所以他这世是开着天眼的。他说的那些稀奇古怪的话,就是他神目所见啊。
  和尚师父哦了一声,对老方丈谢道:多谢师父指教。我是错怪他了。
  方丈说道:你也不必过于自责,严师出高徒嘛。他虽说慧根不错,但好玉也要好人雕琢嘛。如果他这世能修成佛,那师父你也是功不可没的,师父可要严加管教。

How to Reduce Bad Karma