Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

The True Mind

The Dharma is infinitely profound. A novice practitioner, faced with an immense body of the Tripitaka written sometimes in abstruse language, finds it challenging to grasp the key principles of Buddhism. Mention one term, the “true mind”, and you find countless synonyms in the scriptures. Parinirvana Sutra names it “Buddha nature”, Surangama Sutra simply calls it “true mind”, the Prajna series of sutras calls it “Bodhi”, Avatamsaka Sutra calls it  “Dharmadhatu” or “Dharma realm”, the Diamond Sutra calls it “reality”, the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment calls it “dharani”, the Pure Name Sutra (a version of Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra translated by Xuanzang) calls it “Dharma body”, the Golden Light Sutra calls it “tattva” or “thatness”, Srimaladevi Siṃhanada Sutra calls it “Tathagatagarbha”, and the Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana calls it “Tathata”. Whichever term is used, they are all interpretations given under specific circumstances, as Master Yongming Yanshou...

Revelations from the Outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Currently, a major topic of public concern is the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID 2019) in Wuhan, China.  There are now confirmed cases in many countries, and everyone is paying close attention to the development of the infections.  The International Buddhist Temple is a place of worship open to the public.  There has been an increased flow of people and traffic during the Lunar New Year.  To best protect public health and safety and effectively prevent any further spread of the virus, we have implemented an emergency protocol for the temple’s sangha, staff and all visitors that includes use of face masks and declaring personal health status and recent travel record. In reaction to these measures, however, some think that the spread of the virus in Canada is not serious and face masks are not necessary.  Others think that life and death are predestined and there is no...

Create Your Own Destiny

It is true what ordinary people care about the most is themselves and their own destiny. Some think their life is dreadful and blame it on fate. Others assume that everything in their life is determined by destiny, and thus they need to do nothing but accept what happens. Of course, most people fall in between these two extremes. Buddhism believes that all connections and relations that happen in our lives, be they joy or sorrow, success or failure, all embody the principle of karma and dependent origination. Whatever one’s social status, nobody gets special treatment beyond the law of causality. Not a religious precept, causality is a yardstick in our mind to measure our destiny day in and day out. Our destiny is not predestined. If one does enough good in time, his otherwise evil fate could be seriously altered. The Karma over Three Lives Sutra has this to...

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...
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