Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

Venerable Guan Cheng’s Dharma Lecture Tour Celebrated in Singapore

Translated by: Andrew Yang At the invitation of Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery, the Buddha of Medicine Welfare Society and Tse Tho Aum Buddhist Temple, Venerable Guan Cheng gave Dharma talks in Singapore in late June and was keenly received by captivated audiences. On the four nights from 27th to 30th of June, Venerable Guan Cheng held a series of talks on Happiness Comes from Nurturing the Mind at the newly-built Virtue Hall of Shuang Lin Monastery. The talks were given in English, Mandarin and Cantonese. Participants included the sanghas, lay Buddhists, Buddhist scholars as well as college teachers and students. All the talks were packed with attendees who vied for answers to their questions. Revolving around the theme of "Happiness Comes from Nurturing the Mind", the Venerable discussed purposes of pursuing Buddhism, where mental suffering comes from, and how to effectively tackle it by cultivating meditation, examining both the correct...

Master Faxian – An Admirable Senior Adventurer

Translated by: Andrew Yang There is no age limit for pursuing wisdom. With perseverance and the right goal in mind, even if you reach the age of an elder, you can still achieve a feat that dazzles the world. In China’s Eastern Jin dynasty, that is, over 1,600 years ago, lived a Buddhist master who, at the age of 64, risked his life by travelling all the way to India to study the Dharma. At 64, normally is already close to enjoying their happy retirement surrounded by grandchildren. Had he not been a monk, however, how would Master Faxian at that age have taken all the hardship in climbing the snow-clad Pamirs and other dangerous mountains and crossing mighty deserts to learn the Dharma in India? It just shows what a strong will he commanded and how admirable his dedication was. Master Faxian’s journey to the west happened two hundred...

Verses Delineating the Eight Consciousnesses: A Primer and The Joy of Vegetarian Cooking: Two New Books Now Available

What is common with the consciousness-only school and vegetarian food? Well, both have become the subject of a new book just produced by the International Buddhist Temple. Verses Delineating the Eight Consciousnesses: A Primer This new book deals with the consciousness-only theory, or yogacara, a branch of profound psychology within Buddhism. Composed by Xuanzang of Tang dynasty, Verses Delineating the Eight Consciousnesses sums up the essence of the theory in only forty-eight verses each made up of seven words, and as such has been hard to comprehend. To help contemporary followers of Buddhism study the classic and appreciate the tenets of the consciousness-only school, Venerable Guan Cheng, abbot of the International Buddhist Temple, has just published a 285-page Verses Delineating the Eight Consciousnesses: A Primer. The word “consciousness” is a Buddhist term for the human mind. As is often said in Buddhism, focus your mind in one place and there...

Follow the Footprint of Living Compassion – Visiting Sponsored Students in Guanxi province of China

Author: Cynthia Ip Once before I read an article about the difference between sympathy and empathy. After visiting some sponsored students of Living Compassion , I guess I grabbed some idea about it. When we know someone is in trouble, we always feel sorry for them and we may offer them help. For example, I used to sponsor some educational program. The way we sponsor is to donate money or raise some monetary donation. Then we feel good because we believe when poor students receive these donations, their problem would be resolved. We did it because we sympathize with these less privileged students. Until I had the opportunity to visit these students in person, I realize our sympathy is way too superficial. Students we visited could be orphans or single parented. Their parents could no longer take care of them due to extreme poverty, sickness or death. Every poor family had...

Cultivating Views on Impermanence

Written by: Venerable Guan Cheng Translated by: Andrew Yang Edited and revised by: Venerable Hong Ci   Impermanence, or anitya in Sanskrit, is a universal truth. In Buddhism, it refers to everything in the world that arises and passes from karmic causes and conditions. According to Volume 43 of the Mahaprajnaparamita Sastra (or Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom), there are two kinds of impermanence: gradual and momentary. Gradual impermanence is progressive change that can be observed in the passing of time. This includes the human phases of birth, aging, sickness and death, and the natural cycle of creation, growth, decay and extinction of all things. Gradual change is easily observable on a macro scale. Buddhists often use the term "Kalpa" as the unit of measurement for extremely long periods of time. There are small, medium and large kalpas: a small kalpa is approximately 17 million years, a medium...

From Science to Buddhism: Professor Agnes Chan and Chanwuyi

Author: Venerable Shan Ci Translator: Andrew Yang Professor Agnes Chan is Executive Director of the Chanwuyi Society of Hong Kong. She is currently professor of clinical psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and heads its neuropsychology lab and the Chanwuyi Research Centre for Neuropsychological Well-being. She has received research awards from the American Psychological Association and Chinese University of Hong Kong, and has been named among the Ten Young Exemplary Persons of Hong Kong. Professor Chan’s research covers cultures of both the east and the west. Before turning Buddhist, she had been a Catholic by religion. So, what motivated her to put her heart into Chanwuyi, and become a devout Buddhist? Here is part of our recent interview with her: First of all, what is Chanwuyi? Chan-wu-yi, a three-word abbreviation, is three things in one: “Chan” (also translated as Zen) Buddhism, “wu” in wushu or martial arts, and...

Karma: Part III (The Finale)

I’m often asked what qualities make a good Buddhist practitioner. On most days, without skipping a beat, I would usually go off on a discourse about the six paramitas or the noble eightfold path, but on this day, I felt inclined to raise a few eyebrows in the crowd. A couple of bankers were in the group, who seemed rather aloof to our whole conversation, so to keep them engaged, I boldly responded, “A good Buddhist practitioner must also be a good investor!”. Too cool to be interested in this whole touchy-feely spiritual affair soon turned into curious anticipation as their eyes, as if sparkling with dollar signs, a good indication they had been conditioned by their jobs for too long, darted towards me. I then went on to say, “Believe it or not, the Buddha was one of the greatest investors who ever lived”. “I thought Buddhism was all...

Giving Thanks & Practicing Gratitude on Thanksgiving

Over the past few years, as I’ve evolved a Buddhist lifestyle, Thanksgiving has become one of my favourite Western holidays, right up there with Christmas because it feels so good to give. Here is a personal list of my reasons why: Thanksgiving is one of the least commercial holidays the western world has that provides an opportunity to complete acts of kindness for family, friends and people we don’t know. This holiday tradition of gathering family and friends together to “give thanks” for everything and everyone that this life has given them is an opportunity to strengthen and/or repair personal relationships. There are many community and personal opportunities to volunteer your time or donate money to those who are less fortunate. You have the choice to make an incredible vegan or vegetarian meal to celebrate in which no animals will be harmed. (There is a link to a recipe for...

Karma: Part II

We learned from the last article that karma is not a deterministic law that the Hindus and Jains had advocated, but more like the continuous adding and tasting of new karmic ingredients in the melting pot of life. As a seed planted without water, sunshine and the right soil will never blossom into a flower, the initial karma without considering it in context of one’s intention, state of mind, present and future actions cannot account for the full karmic result of an event. This is encouraging news to all of us for the results of our past karma are not etched in stone. With new wholesome intentions and skillful actions, we can undo the foolish deeds of our past. But before we set course on our voyage towards greater freedom and happiness, we ought to first learn some basic sailing terminology and know-how to make our journey a smooth sail....
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