Daily Inspiration for the Mind & Heart

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The work that Tzu Chi does is firmly rooted and inspired by Buddhist philosophy. Volunteers strive to act morally, be mindful and self-aware, and seek to attain ultimate wisdom, or enlightenment (“bodhi” in Sanskrit). The goal is to awaken great compassion for all beings in our hearts, and to walk a loving path of selfless action serving others.

CONTEMPLATIVE WISDOM

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Daily thoughts for meditation, contemplation, and
reflection from Master Cheng Yen

230818 Thursday

Dharma Master Chengyen says we must have a mind free of discursive thoughts to truly be reverent. We must listen reverently to the Dharma, and sincerely receive the Dharma, only then the Dharma will naturally penetrate into our mind. Sentient beings, foolish beings like us live in this world, rushing and bustling about, often troubled and do not know how we come and go. But in this lifetime, interpersonal conflicts connect us and create cycle of enmity. How can the cycle of birth and death be broken? How to still our minds. The birth and death from of arising and ceasing.

This is this suffering of the endless cycle of life and death. To learn the Buddha Dharma is to severe this, but we are also unaware, where we are going in the next life. After hearing the Buddha Dharma, and to be reverent, naturally our mind will find it’s answer.

Heart refer to accumulation, mind is contemplation, as long we as truly listen reverently, we can understand this teaching, after hearing the Dharma, we know there is nothing to be calculative and there is no reason for interpersonal conflicts, only having the gratefulness at heart.

Master said we need to practice diligence, going among people to give, we must train to avoid give up to external conditions and practice to live beyond it. We need to go into Dhyana, which means to think deeply, when we engage in spiritual practice, we need to enter into deep thinking. In daily living, facing various phenomena , interpersonal conflicts, the consciousness, still trouble our minds. We should know that spiritual practitioner should not act impulsively but quietly contemplate. How to resolve. Even when we are in grievances, we must reflect on ourselves.

We need to think , to create space for self-reflection. As things happen, we must quietly contemplate, consider how to handle it, this is wisdom, we need space to reflect and think. For practice and learning, if we know to practice spiritually, naturally the space will emerge. “Eye for eye” mentality, we can imagine the consequences. But we want to practice spiritually, so we quickly give ourselves space, he look at me, i will respond with smile or quietly disregards, no angry glare, i will not have such attitude, so this requires cultivation.

We need to work on our habitual tendencies, Dhyana, means to create space for reflection, we need to learn to cleanse, if someone glare at us, we glared angrily that is habitual. If we can reflect and give ourselves space, we will refine our habitual tendencies, we can naturally mitigate challenging condition – cultivate good habits

The moment we can eliminate all habitual tendencies, we no longer have angry glare, slowly rid off this habitual tendencies, we will have tolerance and forbearance, minds in tranquil, no state can shake this tranquil state, nearing buddha state. Dhyana practice contemplation and calm thought, still and quiet.

With Metta,

Sharing from my Telegram Group, Global Xun Fa Xiang (a international English Dharma sharing group for Tzu Chi volunteers)

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Dawn of Happiness

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UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Sukhothai Historical Park covers the ruins of the ancient Sukhothai city, literally known as”Dawn of Happiness”, capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th and 14th centuries in what is now Northern Thailand.

The ruins are basically a complex of temples and the royal palace. The city walls form a rectangle about 2 km east-west by 1.6 km north-south. There are 193 ruins on 70 square kilometers of land.

The park is also a world heritage site and is maintain by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand with help from UNESCO.

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Wat Mahatat

Some simple guidelines that visitors should follow when visiting..

  • Do respect all Buddha images. Do not attempt to climb the chedis or sit on the Buddha’s lap
  • Dress appropriately, wear something comfortable and loose.
  • No fires or smoking are allowed.
  • Bring along a handheld fan, a cap and apply sunblock!
  • Hydrate when you need, carry a water bottle with you.
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Close up shot of the Main Buddha at Wat Mahatat

There will be numerous opportunity to take nice and creative shots. All you need is some patience and a handheld fan. The weather can be a real killer.

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Offerings left behind by devotees
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Bodhi Sapling
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A mailbox pinned on a tree?

You are strongly encourage to rent a bike to explore the park. Bicycle rental are available near the park entrance, at about 30-50baht until daybreak at around 1900hrs. Exploring by foot is still possible though.

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Wat Sa Si
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The vajra seat

FYI Facts: Buddha statues originally did not exist because Buddha discourage idol worship. In spite of that, after Buddha’s passing, his disciples instead erected thrones made of valuable stones to remember the Enlightened one and his teachings. Buddha images then started appearing in 1st century CE in North India.

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I can almost feel the serene atmosphere
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Wat Si Chum

There are plenty of amenities in the park; you can find toilets, restaurants and even a massage parlor in the park. Outside the park is a cluster of eateries, and many shops selling souvenirs. You would have pass by before entering the park.

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Impressive view of the Buddha at Wat Si Chum
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Wat Chana Songkhram
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Wat Chang Lom

Best time to visit would be in November during Loy Krathong. When people decorate the park with lights and released candles and lotus into water bodies.

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Wat Saphan Hin

How to get there

  • Sukhothai Historical Park is located about 12km from the new city.
  • From Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok Airways operates two direct flights to Sukhothai daily.
  • Opening Hours: 06:00 – 18:00 daily

Wat Yannawa, Bangkok

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Chinese wording translated as dragonboat temple

On the banks of the Chao Phraya river in Sathorn district is the Wat Yannawa. The Wat Yannawa aka known as “the boat temple” features the viharn built in the shape of a Chinese junk vessel, a 19th century sailing ship.

The Wat Yannawa is one of the older temples in Bangkok; it was built during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, before the founding of the Rattanakosin Kingdom and the city of Bangkok. At that time the temple was called Wat Kok Khwai.

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Funny signboards at the temple ground.

The structure has a multi tiered roof with chofas in the shape of stylized naga decorating its roof edges. Other buildings on the temple grounds include a large meeting hall, several offices and libraries and the monks living quarters.

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Behind the boat shape viharn is the ubosot, the building where monks get ordained.

The King Nangklao had the boat like structure built to serve as a memorial to the Chinese junk vessels that were used intensively for trade with China and that had brought prosperity to the Kingdom.

The replica of a Chinese junk vessel is over 40 meters long and made from concrete. At the place where the masts should be are two white chedis or pagodas. In the back where the wheel house should be is a room containing a number of Buddha images where visitors can pay respect to the Buddha. The viharn is open to visitors; At the top of the stairs leading to the boat is a statue of King Nangklao.

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There is a relic exhibition of sages and monks here
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Lay congregation chanting in another hall
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Chinese wording translated as dragonboat temple
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a lay devotee meditating outside the ubosot
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Monks gathered for evening service
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Monks chanting in the ubosot

The boat temple is located in the Sathorn district of Bangkok on Charoen Krung road. It is found just around the corner (South) from BTS Sky Train station Saphan Taksin.

Address: 40 Charoen Krung Rd, Yan Nawa, Sathon, Bangkok 10120, Thailand

2016 Tzu Chi Tri Celebration of Buddha’s day, Mother’s day and Tzuchi day.

This is a major event in the Tzuchi Calendar held on the 2nd Sunday of May each year. This this year it happen to be the 50th year of the foundation in promoting peace in the world. I had the precious opportunity to participate in this year event held back in the spiritual home of Tzuchi volunteers, Jing Si Hall, or literally translated as “still thoughts hall”. Such major events are usually held at the stadium or indoor exhibition halls that can accommodate the huge congregation.

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Fourth Service of the day

Other than participating in the Celebration Service, i also served as a media control guy in one of the event stations, the Tea-serving-station. Basically, all i had to do is set up the slides and mic, control the music volume, play music at appropriate timings and etc.

 

Other stations include the 50th anniversary exhibition

The station aims to promote filial piety and encourage one to express their love and concern to their elders thru the act of serving tea to their parents, grandparents, elder. I witness many children hugging their parents, some crying, some awkward but you can see deep down they are quite touched by the atmosphere and act of filial piety. Thankful that i had the opportunity to witness and assist in making such a wonderful event possible.

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Lastly, i gave away my Tzuching uniform to youth volunteers in Sri Lanka who could not afford to purchase it. I take it as a sincere prayer and blessing for the person who recieve it, hopefully he or she will be able to strive on the Bodhisattva path.

and of course not forgetting a group shot with some of the volunteers to end the day!

Peace out!

Vesak Day 2015

Christmas is the season of giving, the celebration of the birth of a Savior. Deepavali celebrates light over darkness, righteousness over evilness. What is the universal message of Vesak day?

The significance of Vesak lies with the Buddha and his universal peace message to mankind. On this day, we celebrate and remember the birth, passing and final enlightenment of the historical Buddha, also known as Gotama Buddha. Vesak also reminds us that everyone has the potential to rise above and gain enlightenment.

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Flowers for the occasion

Before committing myself to Tzuchi, Vesak day would be spent going on a island wide temple tour with Cheryl. My mornings will be at Mangala Vihara (Theravada) joining the congregation in Buddha Puja at 1030hr.

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Photo taken from MV facebook

Managla Vihara is a Theravada Buddhist Temple founded by the Peranakan community and the Sinhalese Sangha. In fact the piece of land was donated by Mdm Chew Quee Neo, daughter of Chew Joo Chiat, two famous Peranakan in Singapore. MV is a close knitted community with generations of families graduating from their Sunday Dhamma school. MV is situated along 30 Jalan Eunos. 

And then dropping by Shinnyo En Temple(Japanese denomination) to offer a sweet tea bath to Prince Siddhartha.

One of the main activities of the festival is the “bathing Buddha” ritual. Legend records that when Prince Siddhartha was born, there were extraordinary and auspicious signs heralding his birth.

They describe the sky as being clear with brilliant sunshine, flowers blooming and birds singing. Dragons also appeared in the sky spurting two streams of purified water (one cool and one warm), that gently cascaded down to bathe him.

At his birth, seven lotus flowers sprung up beneath his feet as he walked – pointing one hand to the sky and ground he said “in the heaven above and the earth below, I vow to liberate all who suffer in these three realms”.

Since then, Buddhists all over the world celebrate the Buddha’s birthday by using fragrant water to bathe the image of baby Prince Siddhartha. This ritual highlights a universal message of “Let’s cleanse our inner dirt’ of greed, hatred and ignorance so as to allow the generosity, love and wisdom within us to shine forth!”

Quoted from: KMSPKS Vesak Celebration

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Photo Taken from Shinnyo En Singapore Facebook

Shinnyo en Singapore

Last stop of the day will be having some fun at Buddhist fellowship(non sectarian) carnival which ends at 1630hr.

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Photo taken from BF Facebook

Buddhist Fellowship in its early days was named Buddhist Graduate Fellowship, a group catering to intellectuals from the local universities. BF is one of the earliest pioneers in practicing nonsectarian Buddhism. I was active in the youth group some years back… before BF relocated from Poh Ern Shih to Yeo’s bldg. 

Tzuchi celebrated Vesak day together with the rest of the TC chapters around the world on the 2nd Sunday of May yearly. However, this year TC Singapore also organised a Buddhist Film Sharing Session on the public holiday. I will share the link of the movie on a separate post…

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Everyone has the potential to do good, avoid evil and purify their minds.
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Our local chapter was open to Buddhist devotees on Vesak day to bath the Buddha – an act to symbolise purifying of their minds.

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On this great day our Holy Prince of Peace, From sorrow’s chain has found release:
Self is no more, banished the clouds of night, Upon mankind hath shined the light.

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Tzuchi Singapore is located beside a Canal along Elias rd, Pasir Ris.

Recently, PUB completed the redevelopment of Sungei Api Api. During the opening ceremony, TC adopted this part of the waterway, joining in the effort of maintaining our garden city..

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Buddhist Youth in Singapore started a online campaign to spread the universal message of Vesak Day.

Have a blessed Vesak day! May your aspirations be fulfilled 😀

skɪz(ə)m

Nice article on handling and avoiding schism ; a split or division between strongly opposed sections or parties, caused by differences in opinion or belief.

1. Some people speak with malicious intentions and others with the
conviction that they are right. But the sage does not enter into any
controversy that has risen. Therefore, the sage is free from all mental
obstruction.

2. The person who is led by his impelling desire and continues according to
his inclination, find it difficult to give up those views adheres to.
Coming to conclusions of his own, he speaks in accordance with his knowledge.

3. If a person, without being asked, praises his own virtue and practices
to others, or talks of himself, the good say he is ignoble.

4. The calm, disciplined one who abstains from praising himself for his
virtues, declaring, “So i am”, the good call him a noble. In him there is
no arrogance concerning the world.

5. He whose views are mentally constructed, causally formed, highly
esteemed but not pure; views in which he sees personal advantage, will
experience a calm which is unstable.

6. It hard to go beyond preconceived ideas reached by passing judgement
regarding doctrines. Therefore, with regard to these views he rejects one
and grasps another.

7. For the person with spiritual excellence, nowhere in the world does he
have any mentally constructed views about various spheres of becoming. As
he has eradicated delusion and deceit, in what manner can he be reckoned?
He cannot be reckoned in any manner whatsoever.

8. He who is attached enters into debate about doctrines. By what and how
can an unattached person be characterized? He has nothing to grasp or
reject; he has purified all views here itself.

Source :Dutthatthaka Sutta