Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

Q&A Concerning the Peacock King Approach (Part I)

Ever since the International Buddhist Temple introduced the Peacock King Sutra chanting and prayer sessions, there have been warm responses. Over the years we have received inquiries from devotees regarding the teaching of this sutra. As a two-day Peacock King Sutra chanting session is scheduled for February 22-23, 2020 for blessing, protection and disaster cessation, here I attempt to answer some commonly asked questions based on the teachings I personally received from Venerable Chien Ju and members of his Peacock Mountain sangha, in the hope to help our readers better understand the teaching and the practice. Question: I like Peacock King prayer ceremonies a lot as they are so special. Although there are many mantras I don't yet know how to chant, they sound joyful and overwhelming. Is there a reason for this? Answer: As many Buddhist elders have taught us, a difference between the Peacock King Sutra and other...

The Three Dharma Seals

Three principal aspects of Buddhism, called the Three Dharma Seals, are meant to clearly distinguish it from non-Buddhist teachings: that all things are impermanent, that all things have no inherent existence, and that Nirvana is perfect quiescence. The amount of writings about the Dharma is vast, but they are all based on at least one of these Dharma Seals. What is a Dharma Seal?  A seal, in ordinary usage, is a stamp affixed to official documentation proving its authenticity. Dharma is a name for the teachings of Buddhism. A Dharma Seal, then, is a standard used in judging the authenticity of a certain Buddhist teaching or practice. If a philosophical or religious teaching or practice conforms to one or more of the Three Seals, it is part of the Dharma. If it is contrary to any one of the Seals, then it is not accepted as part of the authentic...

In the Footsteps of Venerable Guan Cheng:

A 15-day Dharma Tour from Butterworth to Malacca Text:  Venerable Shan Ci, Si Hong Photos:  Si Xin Translated by: Andrew Yang   Foreword Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious country, and the ethnic Chinese account for over 20% of its population, with most of them retaining some fine traditions of the Chinese people. In addition to English, they speak various dialects of the Chinese language, including Mandarin, Cantonese and Hokkien. Meanwhile, in terms of religion, more than 20% of Malaysians are Buddhists. Over a decade ago, for example, Buddhist canons such as Venerable Chyun Wai and Venerable Sing Yat from Hong Kong visited the country to propagate the Dharma. In recent years, the International Buddhist Temple in Canada has received many messages from Buddhists in Malaysia that they enjoy watching video teachings of its abbot, Venerable Guan Cheng, and hope to meet and hear him teach in person. At the invitation...

Water Flows into the Sea

The Zen Buddhist Zhongfeng Mingben (1263-1323) was an outstanding master during the Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). When Emperor Ren Zong was a crown prince, he called him Master Fahui (Dharma Wisdom). And when the ascetic died, Emperor Wen Zong granted him a posthumous title of Master Zhijue (Awakening with Prajna). One day, a monk called upon the master for tips on key points of the Dharma, asking, “Bhadanta, where does life come from?” The master replied, “Water flows into the sea.” The monk then asked, “Bhadanta, and where does death go?” Replied the master, “The setting moon does not leave the sky.” To the question of where life comes from, why did the master say that water flows into the sea? According to Buddhist principles, the flow of water is a metaphor for appearance, while the sea is one for nature. In the enlightenment of saints, we see the nature of...

“Lay Down the Killing Knife and Instantly Turn into a Buddha”

Translated By: Andrew Yang A popular Buddhist saying goes, “Lay down the killing knife and instantly turn into a Buddha.” Its meaning is subtle, and should not be taken word by word. By the Song dynasty (960-1279), a form of this proverb had already appeared in numerous Zen quotes. According to Volume 25 of Records of Passing On the Lamp in the Jingde Era, “The Zen master Fa’an Huiji of Bao’en Abbey in Jinling told the audience, Be aware of illusion and depart right away. Doing so is not an act of expediency. Once away you have awakened. This awakening is not gradual… You should follow the example of Guang’e the butcher, who dropped his cleaver to attain arhatship.” Later on, in A History of Zen Buddhism Based on Five Books of Zen Quotations, this metaphor became the saying, “Put down the butcher’s knife and right away change into a...

Gratitude: Buddhist Practice 101 (Part II)

Translated By: Justine Tsui In Part I, we looked at the way gratitude functions in the everyday life of an ordinary person. Next, we examine how it may relate to the personal practice of a Buddhist follower. Gratitude and the practice of Buddhism On gratitude, the Mahavaipulya Sutra on the Tathagata's Inconceivable State has this to say, "One should be grateful, reciprocate and support his parents, master, teacher and those from whom he has received worldly benefits. Why? Because even though grateful beings are subject to death, their wholesome roots will not be damaged. However, ungrateful beings doing various unwholesome deeds destroy their own wholesome roots. Thus, all Tathagatas praise grateful beings and reprimand ungrateful ones." Among Buddha's teachings are five approaches to meditation: mindful breathing, contemplation of impurity, contemplation of compassion, contemplation of causes and conditions, and worldly discrimination. Contemplation of gratitude is a preparative step for contemplation of...

Gratitude: Buddhist Practice 101 (Part I)

Translated by: Justine Tsui Gratitude is a virtuous way of life based on wisdom gathered through lived experience. Every person, whatever their background, should have a thankful mind. What, then, does gratitude exactly mean? The meaning of gratitude Gratitude is a source of happiness With a thankful mind, we may better appreciate the wonders of nature. This appreciation stems from our love of and hope in life. All beings are dependent on nature, since no one can live without air, water or sunlight.  This is a simple fact. Secondly, we live in a diversified society, and our relationships with nature, with other human beings and the community itself all have major bearings on our wellbeing and survival. In other words, every one of us is obliged to the society we belong to. Grateful people, treasuring what nature and society offer them, tend to have a positive, healthy and vibrant mind....

Buddhism: A Religion or Philosophy?

Friends wonder whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy. On this issue, as a matter of fact, scholars disagree as well: Thome Fang, a philosopher professor, said it is both, but Ouyang Jingwu, a consciousness-only theory expert, said it is neither. Religion works on the basis of faith whereas philosophy relies on rational analysis. Strictly speaking, faith being subjective, it would be more objective to accept something faith-based through understanding it. Therefore, Buddha encourages practitioners to use their reasoning ability to understand the reality of the Dharmas in addition to their sincere beliefs and earnest practices. On faith and understanding, the Zen master Yongming Yanshou (905-974) had this to say, "Faith without understanding increases ignorance. Understanding without faith increases deviation.” Faith and understanding, like two wings of a bird, are neither of them dispensable. Thus we say that Buddhism is both a religion and a philosophy. Some people stop...

Living Compassion: Humanitarian Work in Southwestern China — A 2019 progress report

Translated By : Andrew Yang So far in 2019, Living Compassion has continued the following work: Providing financial aid and donating books in the provinces of Guangxi and Guizhou In Guangxi, new and continued financial aid is working in 12 cities and townships, benefiting 259 students from 100 families, 17 households living in poverty, 12 village schools and one secondary school. Overall, 3,738 copies of 1,250 children’s books have been distributed. The total amount of aid is 751,320 RMB yuan, of which 280,860 RMB yuan will be given out to students in spring 2020. In Guizhou 15 students from 8 families have received financial aid. Thus, in both Guangxi and Guizhou, Living Compassion financial aid has reached a total of 274 students from 108 families, of whom 38 students have also been granted information kit expenses, and 17 households living in poverty. In all, 3,738 copies of 1,250 children’s books...
1 2 3 6