Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

Dawning in Spring

Translated by Andrew Yang The pastoral lyric from the Tang dynasty (618–907) is known for portraying simple, rustic life and nature. It reminds people of the kind of leisure, harmony and innocence in life once possible. Furthermore, because of its frequent depictions of shifts of the sun and moon and cyclical change of seasons, it would help the reader appreciate the meaning of impermanence and how it connects to human experience. “Dawn in Spring” by Meng Haoran  (689~740) is a well-known example: I woke up to a spring morning, To hear, far and near, birds trilling. With a storm raging overnight, How many flowers fell off? I wonder. “I woke up to a spring  morning,/ To hear, far and near, birds trilling.” Waking up from a sweet spring-time sleep, you hear birds chirping in trees all around. Here, spring symbolizes a colourful, beautiful life. Those who dream in spring may...

Uniting Buddhist Organizations to Promote Authentic Dharma: An interview with Malaysian Buddhist Association (Part 1)

Translated by Andrew Yang In November 2019, Venerable Guan Cheng, abbot of the International Buddhist Temple, toured Malaysia to promote the Dharma. Venerable Shan Ci was on the team accompanying him, and to exchange ideas and learn from fellow Buddhists and Buddhist organizations, she spoke with Malaysian Buddhist Association on November 5, 2019 about the history and growth of Buddhism in the nation. Participating in the candid interview were Venerable Ch’an Liang, Acting President, Venerable Ching Chieh, Director of Youth Affairs, and Mr Li Chen Shuang, Deputy Director of General Affairs of the Association. Malaysia appoints Islam as its official religion. According to its constitution, all Malays, who are the country’s majority ethnic group, are Muslim, accounting for 70% of the national population. Among the ethnic minorities, Chinese make up 20%, and Indians close to 10%. In general, Malaysian Chinese are Buddhists, Christians or folk Chinese religion believers. According to...

A Full Moon over Cold Hills

Translated by Andrew Yang Those who live in cities cramped with high-rises may not get to see the moon even when it is bright and full. Being accustomed to the hustle bustle of urban life and having to deal with the daily grind to make a living, how many of them can afford the luxury of leaving behind their daily chores and enjoy a paltry moment of tranquility in the wilderness? For most of us city folks, admittedly, that is not easy.  But if you do have a moment, try to sit back and quietly read a few lines from the unique Tang dynasty (618-907) Zen poet Hanshan Zi. You may actually ease off a mind that is so occupied with a will to make it in the world for the achievement of fame and fortune. Since ancient times, Zen and poetry in China have been inseparable like a hermit...

The 8th Ordination Ceremony of International Buddhist Temple

Translated by Andrew Yang On February 9, 2020, the International Buddhist Temple held its 8th Ordination Ceremony for two practitioners.  The ceremony was permeated with an overwhelming joy of the Dharma. The ordination took place at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak, which made it yet more memorable. To protect public health and security, the temple had earlier closed its doors to visitors and volunteers until further notice. All temple services, however, take place as scheduled with participation limited to its sangha and staff. By 8:30 am on the morning of the event, a group of well-wishers from the temple had gathered at the Hall of Grace to give the two new sangha members their blessings. With a ceremonial guard of honour, the Dharma bell and drum went off to a special, solemn ceremony under the guidance of the presiding monks, Venerable Guan Cheng and Venerable Yuan Chuan. The process...

The True Mind

Translated by Andrew Yang 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,...

Revelations from the Outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Translated by Andrew Yang 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...

Create Your Own Destiny

Translated by Andrew Yang 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...
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