Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

On the Purpose in Life Part III: At-homeness

Translated by Andrew Yang As a rule, human beings want to have a happy life, and in Parts I and II, we have discussed the reasons why, in order to achieve happiness in life, one must cultivate the mind. Buddhism refers to the world we live in at present as “saha”, meaning in Sanskrit that which is tolerable. It implies that although there is happiness in this world, it is fleeting and transient, while pain and dissatisfaction are omnipresent and hard to avoid. Nevertheless, some would say, during my life time, I have been accustomed to enduring enough pain of all types and for so long that I don’t care for a different life, nor do I want to leave this life altogether, hence the epithet “tolerable”. Not necessarily a gloomy portrayal, it merely points out the fact about human existence. Invariably, a human being comes to the saha world...

2020 Hong Kong Book Fair

2020 Hong Kong Book Fair 15 July (Wed) to 21 July (Tue) Vinaya Samadhi Prajna Lecture Hall, a subsidiary of International Buddhist Temple, will participate in this year’s book fair. Venue: Hall 3G, 3/F, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong Booth No: C16, C18, D15, D17 Highlight: New Audio Player - a collection of Master Guan Cheng’s dharma talks classified under sutras, vinayas and treatises

On the Purpose in Life Part II: Cultivating the mind

Translated by Andrew Yang As was discussed in Part I, if one’s purpose in life is to seek happiness, then possessing wealth, reputation, power or status may not suffice. Similarly, gratifying the six senses does not necessarily deliver happiness either. Second, people have different needs and hopes at different times and under different circumstances. Apparently, once these needs and hopes are met, they feel happy. Thus, for someone who is penniless, a little money to meet their urgent needs makes them happy. For one who is sick, healing soon is a happiest thing. And for a loving mother, seeing a rebellious son turn into a pious and hardworking man makes her happy. Of course, this kind of anticipated happiness is all but temporary. Happiness dies down as gratification subsides. Moreover, we have innumerous needs and hopes, how could one have them all fulfilled and stay happy all the time? According...

On the Purpose in Life Part I: The pleasure theory

Translated by Andrew Yang Some friends wonder about their purpose in life. Absolutely, most people work hard every day to eke out a living securing food, clothing, shelter and the daily commute, while juggling family and career. They follow what other people do and undoubtedly lead a monotonous, uninteresting life. Indeed, a person has only a few decades to live, and from cradle to grave, much of it is in haste. What is more, while alive he also has a role to play on stage, acting out a script of a mini human drama, but soon enough, the curtain falls and stage is cleared.  Of course, he did not bring along a penny at birth, and neither will he take one with him upon dying, so just what on earth did he come to this world for? Studying the meaning of life has to do with religion, philosophy, cosmology, ethics,...

Happiness Begins with Cultivating the Mind

Translated by Andrew Yang A middle-aged reader once remarked, “I feel depressed and miserable. I work hard for my family and my job. I am busy all day to get us by with food, clothing, shelter and the commute. Yet all the time, I face overwhelming pressure from work and from getting along with people. A guy has only a few decades to live, and I am already working so flat out, yet why do I still feel unhappy?” The concept of “happiness” is relative. People without a dime are happy when they have just a few bucks to meet their urgent needs. Those wanting to make it quick are happy once they turn nouveau riche. For people who are sick, getting well soon alone makes them happy. Compassionate Samadhi Water Repentance says, “One who is content, though sleeping on the floor, is happy. One who is discontented, though being...

When Impermanence Strikes Home

Translated by Andrew Yang As COVID 19 ravages the world, significantly impacting normal life, everything from social order to the natural and living environment to international travel, let alone family, school, jobs and so on has all been devastated. This is an instance of what we call “impermanence”, and when it calls, we are all caught off guard. During this time, we have heard news from devotees who have different troubles. One friend, cooped up at home much more than usual like most of us, has had to confront accumulating differences with his spouse, and as things rapidly go out of control, he is now dealing with a divorce. Another member, who had just bought a home, was laid off and is distressed about employment and paying the bills. Still another, with a travel plan wrecked, made blunders while grappling with the unexpected. All this reminds me of the following...

The Six-syllable Brilliant Mantra

Translated by Andrew Yang Many Buddhists, Tantric or otherwise, routinely chant Om Mani Padme Hum, the Six-syllable Brilliant Mantra in Sanskrit. The Chinese transliteration of the mantra becomes Om Ma Ni Ba Mi Hong. Since ancient times, Lamaists have long upheld the mantra as the heart mantra of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, something used by Amitabha Buddha in praise of the Bodhisattva. Tibetan Buddhists chant it in a hope to eliminate misfortune and eventually reach Pure Land. According to the Tibetan Chenrezig classic Mani Bkah Hbum, it is a source of relief, salvation, wisdom and joy, and it has been ever popular with monastics and the lay alike. The first verse of the Mantra of Avalokitesvara Inspiration chanted in Chinese temples every morning is the very Six-syllable Brilliant Mantra. Among the many Chinese Buddhist scriptures, the most detailed explanation of its origin and merit is found in the Mahayana Sublime Treasure King Sutra, translated by Devasantika (?-1000), a...

Who Am I?

Translated by Andrew Yang “Human life is a pure fantasy. Indeed, in a worldly encounter, who is meeting whom? Prior to my first breath, who was I? And upon my last gasp, who do I become?” This poem is a gatha sent to the king of Goryeo, a Korean kingdom (918-1392), by the monk Zhongfeng Mingben (1263-1323) during the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). Its profound meaning has made numerous readers wonder about the origin of life, and the question “Who am I?” has since been an enduring topic for Buddhist discourse and contemplation in pursuit of enlightenment. The origin of life has been a perpetual mystery since ancient times. Since countless kalpas ago sentient beings have been reincarnating without knowing from where they come at birth or to where they go upon dying.  What drives them to the hustle bustle of this world, and what makes them eventually leave after such...

Nurturing the Next Generation with Authentic Dharma: An interview with Malaysian Buddhist Association (Part 2)

Translated by: Andrew Yang Question: How do you promote Buddhism in a Muslim country, so that Buddha's holy teachings benefit as many beings as possible? Answer: First, it must be stated that while Islam is Malaysia’s official religion, in substance it is not an Islamic country. Furthermore, the task of purifying the people’s minds cannot be done by any religion or single race alone. With Buddhism, which is based on compassion, we work out of love to encourage fusion and harmony. While fostering mutual understanding and respect among different ethnicities, cultures and religions, we maintain good contact with the government and, on a macro level, cultivate respect and solidarity with all other religions and races. In 1970, we established Malaysian Buddhist Institute under the initiative and leadership of our founding president Venerable Chuk Mor, and have worked hard since then on Buddhist education. For five decades, our institute has had...
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