Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

Do Animals Have Spirituality?

Translated by Andrew Yang A friend asked, “Why should believers in Buddhism be vegetarian? My religion believes that animals have no spirituality. If so, why can't they be killed and eaten for food?” Gentle readers, do not make light of slaughtering animals and eating their meat. It is important to know that of all evil karma, killing is the worst. Brahma Net Sutra tells us that carnivores cut off their seeds of great compassion. Buddhism, indeed, captures all good practices with compassion and mercy. Compassion means loving sentient beings and bringing them joy, and mercy means taking pity over them and removing their suffering. Further, compassion and mercy apply to all sentient beings including animals, and so no killing is upheld as one of the fundamental Buddhist precepts. Practising vegetarianism is thus an embodiment of Buddhist compassion and mercy. Buddhist scriptures point out that unintelligent as they may be, animals...

Brotherhood

Translated by Andrew Yang A younger brother repaying grievances with compassion In the times of Sakyamuni Buddha, there was a farmer in Benares, India, whose wife had passed away leaving behind two sons. The family of three lived on a few acres of meagre vegetable plots, and felt life was happy. Later, the farmer became seriously ill, and on the deathbed, told his sons, “The younger one of you is only ten years old now. You must take good care of him and fulfill your responsibility as the elder brother. In time, when he is old enough, give him some of the land so he could till himself, and the two of you should take care of each other”. The next day, the farmer died, leaving the brothers deeply miserable. And a year passed when the elder brother had got married, but his wife was not a kind person. Being...

Birth and Fate

Translated by Andrew Yang Two scholars, born on the same day but with different destinies According to An Ancient Mirror for Moral Education, there were two scholars in the Qing dynasty born exactly on the same day at the same time, and in the same town. Local astrologists and numerologists all predicted that they would follow the same destiny. Sure enough, both of them passed the same examination on the same day for employment by the central government, and both secured an official post in central China, one in Ezhou and the other in Huangzhou. They agreed that in future, if there was any change in their fortune, they would inform the other, to confirm that the predictions made by the fortune tellers were accurate. After a few years, the official stationed in Huangzhou suddenly passed away. The one in Ezhou went to mourn him and said in front of...

Do You Know Your Own Mind?

Human beings continue to develop science and technology while advancing material civilization by leaps and bounds. At the same time, their understanding of the spiritual world is unfortunately becoming progressively inadequate. Generally, when psychologists, for instance, give themselves a task of investigating the “mind”, they focus on analyzing the minds of other people, but not on their own. And they tend to limit themselves within the confines of the consciousness of “delusion”, ignoring the nature of the human mind that is supra-consciousness and detached from phenomena. How, then, could such an approach properly explore the profound significance of the true mind? Modern people tend to value the enjoyment of material life, and follow the rule of guarding individual interests. Thus, most people attend more to appearance and ignore the virtue of spirituality. In fact, this mental entity is the inherent Buddha nature of all sentient beings and the source of...

The Six-metaphor Lay Practitioner

Translated by Andrew Yang “A worldly life is like a boat with a low awning. To the west coast or the east, it keeps moving. Many a time the crescent moon becomes round, and the wind blows north after it goes southbound. Year after year, no one is forever good to get along. When in late spring no flower stays red for long. Right or wrong, what one hears one is to tolerate. And also, act half demented and half deaf-mute.” Life is like a lone boat with a small canopy to shelter from wind and rain. In the sea of time, it drifts along with billowing waves. Sometimes things are joyful like a full moon, and sometimes they turn sorrowful like a new moon. When things are well, they are like a warm southerly wind, and when they are adverse, they behave like a harsh northerly wind. All dharma...

2021 Lunar New Year Speech by Ven Guang Cheng

Edited by Ven Shan Ci Translated by Ven Shan Hu Respectable practitioners, I wish every one of you a good new year. May you all enjoy good health, abundance and peace of mind. At the turn of a new year, it is a great opportunity to share with you how to apply the Buddhists’ dharma in adversities. The Lotus Sutra says, “There is no peace in the triple realm, Just like in the burning house, Which is full of various suffering.” We, sentient beings in the desire realm have no way to escape afflictions. We feel troubled when in adversities.  Difficulties in our personal life, family or society are adversities beyond our control. We may not be able to change the situations we are in but we can change our mind as afflictions come from our mind.  Through practice, we can change our mind. The Yogâcāra (Consciousness-only) school of...

The Poems of Zen

Translated by Andrew Yang When practitioners of Zen (or Chan), reached a high level in meditative contemplation, this state cannot be expressed in words, nor is it possible for ordinary people to gauge or think about through mental acuity. Buddhist scriptures sometimes describe this state as “it is where words and stream of thoughts ceased to function”. Once they attain enlightenment, their perception and understanding have exceeded the realms of speech and consciousness. Their hearts are joyful, and their literary wisdom overflows from a hidden spring, enabling them to render their attainment in meditation in poetry. For this reason, there is a large collection of Chan Buddhist poems. On the surface, Buddhahood and poetry seem to be distinct from each other and unrelated. Buddhahood belongs to religion, while poetry belongs to literature. In terms of content, the former is the result of awakening to the truth of life and the...

The Clouds Gone with the Storm Overnight

Translated by Andrew Yang During China’s Five Dynasties period (907-960) following Tang, there lived a Chan master named Master Zhizhi, a disciple of Huanglong Huinan and hereditary disciple of Linji Sect of Chan. Once, Master Zhizhi had a residency as a visiting monk at Guizong Temple on Mount Lu, but feeling that there were too many monks living in the monastery, and as he always liked to stay away from crowds and rather live alone in serene mountains, he bid farewell to the abbot and made home up on a nearby peak. At the time, all the colleagues persuaded him to stay, because with no one else around, there would be no donor community to support him, and since the peak was shrouded in clouds and mists, they thought he would not be able to grow food. And if, every day, he lived on nothing but yam and wild vegetables,...

Why Practise Vegetarianism

Translated by Andrew Yang A young friend believes that believing in Buddhism and following a vegetarian diet are things for the elderly to do. Young people, having a long way to go, do not need any religious faith, he thought. And as long as they work hard, with luck they will certainly acquire status, fame and fortune. He also assumes that vegetarianism is just a rule for some religion, and inasmuch as one is kind-hearted and do plenty of good, why bother about being a vegetarian? Gentle readers, it is true that as long as young people are willing to work hard and strive to improve themselves, they may indeed have a bright future. But, when we look at it from another angle, do wealth, reputation and social standing encompass all our lives? If they do, then why are there those who have achieved brilliance in business, politics, and academia...
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