Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

Real Happiness

Translated By: Andrew Yang Everyone seeks happiness and enjoys it, but without exception happiness in human life is always short-lived and impermanent. So then what is true, absolute, eternal happiness? To discuss, we look at three different types of happiness: the human world's happiness arising from five desires, heavenly joy from meditation and lastly, the other-worldly bliss of Nirvana. What is the human world's happiness that arises from five desires? Humans, addicted to pleasures, think that the happiest things for them are nothing beyond wealth, fame, eating, sleeping and sex. Money and wealth brings material pleasure. Fame is a good reputation and vanity, with charming compliments from other people. Food and eating endorses killing. Sleeping here embodies loafing and laziness. And sex in this context refers to lustful obsessions. These five objects of vile desire are what humans commonly pursue. The consuming greed that drives people, the anger displayed in...

The Other Shore

Translated By: Andrew Yang Several times the blue ocean has turned into mulberry fields. Only the big void remains crystal clear. Those who have arrived must no longer cling to their raft. But those who have not yet do need the ferry. — Zen Master Guishan Zhengyuan (781-865) Fellow Buddhists: you know that the value of life is not limited to wealth, fame, career, or even family. The greatest meaning of life, indeed, is in obtaining wisdom to realize the ultimate truth, and help other sentient beings as well as ourselves ferry across the sea of transmigration over life and death. All sentient beings on this shore suffer from impermanence and a lack of intrinsic existence.  In contrast, all on the other shore, where Buddha resides, however, live in sheer, constant joy. We must catch Buddha's ship of prajna in time, so we could sail from this shore of impermanence and...

Living Compassion : An Altruistic Journey — An update on work in Southwestern China

Translated By: Andrew Yang Established in early 2017, Living Compassion is one of the charity institutions set up and run by the International Buddhism Temple. It focuses on poverty reduction, student aid and emergency relief for the needy in remote, poverty-stricken areas of mainland China, administering humanitarian aid to orphans and children otherwise without parental care and families in extreme poverty. So far the project is working in the provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou and Yunnan, with our dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers forging on in spite of huge challenges to support those in dire need. Together on this altruistic journey, our workers exemplify the spirit of compassion and loving-kindness. In late April, Venerable Shan Zhen and I made a trip to Shenzhen for a meeting with Ren Hua, the project’s head of volunteers, and Xu Yuerong, its financial manager. We heard a detailed report from them and drew plans for future...

Venerable Guan Cheng on Hong Kong Tour to Promote the Dharma

In April 2019, Venerable Guan Cheng, abbot of this Buddhist temple, travelled to Hong Kong to promote the Dharma, holding public lectures and private talks. He discussed burning issues with people from all walks of life relating to their work, family and Buddhist studies and shared wisdom from Buddha. The audiences responded warmly, with over 130 novices committed to the threefold refuge and five precepts at a solemn ceremony that opened up for them a new path towards awakening. Large public lectures On the afternoons of April 21 and 28, Venerable Guan Cheng delivered two public lectures in a Pure Land Series focusing on An Overview of The Treatise on Rebirth in the Pure Land in the hall of Scientia Secondary School. Jointly sponsored by the Hong Kong Vinaya, Samadhi & Prajna Lecture Hall and the International Buddhist Temple, the lectures were continuous in content and given in Cantonese. Large...

Sweep Away the Dirt

Many Buddhists have ducked into an ivory tower by getting hung up on the written word. They may have thoroughly memorized terms of the Consciousness Only Theory, or know by heart arguments behind the Three Theories propounded by the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna (ca 150–ca 250 BC), but they do not bother to participate in chanting, hymns singing, worshipping and repentance or other services required by a monastic life. They regard Buddhist theory as more important than its application. They may be eloquent in debates and their arguments may sound well-grounded, but their behavior is often full of greed, anger and delusion. Indeed, they fail to practice what they learn from the scriptures. It is true that the Buddhist scriptures are the ultimate Dharma treasures, capable of enlightening the readers. However, if scholars are obsessed with the meaning of the written text, not valuing the need to practise what is in...

A Hostel Guest in Fleeting Dust

Since I became a monk, Daily Chants for Chan has been the basis of my everyday chanting and hymns singing at morning and evening services, which has quite a gradual calming effect on me, replacing the secular songs I used to know. Nowadays, even if I do hear them occasionally, my ears seem to know when to shut down in time to avoid smearing my mind. Last month, however, I was browsing in a bookstore one day. The nearby music section was playing Teresa Cheung’s "Knowing You Is Karma" sung back in the 1960s. Not only was the tune nostalgic, but its lyrics seemed to contain some philosophical musings over the joys and sorrows in life, and my ears immediately perked up. The last line of the lyrics went, "Being born in this world is being fleeting dust", where the words “fleeting dust” left a deep impression on my mind,...

The Source of Music

Translated by: Andrew Yang  I had a chance to attend a music and tea gathering at LockCha cafe. It was delightful sipping tea with live instrumental Chinese music playing in an elegant setting. Upon returning to the temple where I was staying, with the melodious pipa tune still lingering in my ears, the ink and brush work of Su Dongpo’s poem “Fetching Water and Brewing Tea” I had just seen in the tearoom reminded me of another of his Zen poems, one about music from the lute. Su Dongpo, a talented lay Buddhist (1037-1101), was versatile in writing, painting, calligraphy and music. Once, when he was playing the lute, its soft beautiful notes aroused feelings of Zen in him, which made him compose these verses on the spot, “Were there music in the lute, why is there none when it is in a case? Were there music in the fingers,...

Let the Breeze Carry Away White Clouds

Recently, a middle-aged friend was laid off from work. In a fit of pique, he complained that his employer was unfair in not letting go instead the co-workers newer than him. Pitying himself, he holed up completely at home and became increasingly depressed. This upset his wife and children and seriously affected their mood. Thus, life in the peaceful family was turned upside down. Everything that happens to us is, indeed, due to karma. Quite often, for example, we may not get the credit we deserve for having tried our very best, but to make your boss at work happy takes things working together, such as making consistent efforts, being flexible but smart, and, importantly, having a lot of work experience. The one thing most often overlooked at workplace is getting along with your supervisors and co-workers. The time, place and how you work with people all need to be...
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