Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

Forefathers’ Difficulties Rarely Known to Posterity

Translated by: Justine Tsui A few days ago, I passed by a vegetarian restaurant and saw a shelf full of Buddhist texts outside the place.  These canonical books were left there, covered with dust and stained by the rain, on the pavement beside a busy road.  Two Buddhists, with prayer beads in hand, picking and choosing books from the shelf meticulously.  One holding a book in hand and grumbled, “Over these two months, there’re nothing new but the Diamond Sutra, the Heart Sutra and the Great Compassion Mantra!  Why can’t they have some rare scriptures printed?  Those who sponsor the printing should know how to spend their money!”  He then stuffed the book back onto the shelf and left, seemingly unhappy. I couldn’t help but sigh about this kind of arrogance and disrespect towards Buddhist scriptures!  This attitude may be caused by that more and more people are giving out...

Thai Monkeys and Their Attachment

Upadana is an important Buddhist concept of attachment, grasping or clinging. Human beings’ attachment can be strong, and it arises from their innate greed, anger or delusion. In fact, this is true not only with humans, but also with animals beings. Monkeys  in Thailand, for example, are often captured merely because of their dogged craving. In Thailand, many coconut farms use monkeys to pick the fruit where the tall trees with straight trunks are difficult for workers to climb. The locals know well that monkeys are nimble and make best coconut pickers, and they have figured out a way to catch them. How do they do it? Well, monkeys are not stupid animals. They are agile, smart and good at learning, and it is not easy to make them fall into a trap, but the farmers simply take advantage of their greed for food to routinely catch them. Banana is...

A Milestone for the Dharma — Notes on a visit to Vernon, BC

Translated By: Andrew Yang On the afternoon of June 16, 2019, Venerable Guan Cheng, abbot of the International Buddhism Temple, and four senior Buddhist priests, all of them his disciples, set off for the city of Vernon, BC. The weather was sunny and beautiful. Our car drove along a scenic road, crossing rolling fields, lush green plains and pine-filled valleys and mountain peaks. After 500 kilometres, we arrived. On this visit Master Guan Cheng was going to talk about the Buddhist Dharma in a predominantly white community to people had not heard of it. It all started three months ago, when Mr Sherman Dahl, a father who had recently lost his daughter, came to the monastery for help from the master. He confided that his 18-year-old daughter was an athlete representing her school in competitions and was preparing to enter university, but sadly, this lively, bright girl had committed suicide...

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...
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