Read up on our latest Dharma teachings

No Doubt, No Awakening

I was recently approached by a layperson, who told me she had been struggling with doubt in her practice since starting on the path a few years ago. She was born to a Chinese Buddhist family, but being raised in the west, and with a deplorable habit of suspecting almost everything she could be suspicious of, she found it really difficult to insulate her practice from her persistent skepticism. In spite of her shortcoming, which is not unusual today in the age of modern secularism, she was particularly drawn to the Medicine Buddha Sutra and would recite it almost daily. As she later revealed, there was one phrase in the sutra which constantly challenged her to her core. Every time, when her eyes would try to gloss over that sentence, the words would spring out at her like a prematurely released jack-in-the-box. She would go on to reluctantly read, one...

Breathe, Love & Live – Consciously

My journey to establishing a Buddhist Practice began in 2004 when I was going through a very difficult time in my life that was filled with pain, loss and suffering. I was in the midst of recovering from an automobile accident that occurred 4 years previously. During my recovery journey, I met a layman Practitioner who had volunteered to tutor college students like myself who were struggling to complete their coursework assignments due to cognitive difficulties. When I look back now, I realize our sessions had quickly progressed from simply getting the work completed to building a valuable friendship. This mentor practiced compassionate listening and patience by simply being fully present to listen to my personal journey up to that point of pain and loss surrounding the car crash. In a short amount of time, our weekly sessions evolved to what I now know as Dharma talks. These are sharing...

Karma: Part I

The actors assume their places for the next take. The assistant cameraman, visibly vexed by the redundancy of filming another scene, raises the clapperboard again. Snap! The sharp sound breaks the silence in the air. The film is rolling, and the director, looking on in angst, calls, for what he hopes to be the last time, “ACTION!” This scenario should not be new to us. We are all actors playing our unique roles on the movie set of Samsara. But this is no typical acting gig. That is to say, in this movie, we have no say over what role we get to play or what props we get to work with. We must simply make do with what we have. Lurking behind the scenes of this movie is also an invisible hand, a powerful force that silently pushes the scene forward and drives the script of our lives: our...

The Power of Thought

In my last article, I introduced the common fault that most people fall victim to in their search for happiness. In this article, I would like to examine the effect of thought on well-being and happiness. James Allen, the famous British philosopher who was one of the pioneers of the self-help movement, and later inspired motivational thinkers like Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie, once said, “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the sum of all his thoughts”. A thought is like a seed in the garden of our minds. Planting good seeds will cultivate a beautiful and flourishing garden while planting bad ones will lead to one riddled with weeds and undesirable byproducts. The Buddha in his discourse on the eight-fold path, described right thought as the basis for a virtuous life. He explained that right thinking can help us eliminate our suffering and bring us lasting peace and well-being while deluded...

What is True Happiness?

Most people are led to believe, at a very young age, that happiness comes from satisfying their desires. A thought of craving comes up, you then react by trying to satisfy that desire, and its consummation gives rise to a pleasurable sensation, which we often associate with happiness. Take for instance, Sunny, a restless, hyperactive young boy heading home in his mom’s minivan after soccer practice. They pass by a park and Sunny sees some children eating ice cream. Sunny immediately gives rise to the thought of how refreshing a double scoop of ice cream would be in this scorching summer heat. He begins to arouse a desire. His craving is finally satisfied when his mother gives in to his incessant whining. When Sunny takes that first bite into frosty wonderland, his whole body is soothed and he feels completely at ease with himself. Sunny is very happy at this moment, until his attention is hitched by...
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