Daily Inspiration for the Mind & Heart

20171226_130716-01
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

20171227_152550-01
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)

Advertisements

Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahatat

tumblr_o3z13abskQ1ugr0a5o3_1280
Khmer style chedi or pagoda
tumblr_o3z13abskQ1ugr0a5o7_1280
Stop and breathe
tumblr_o3z13abskQ1ugr0a5o1_1280
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path
tumblr_o3z13abskQ1ugr0a5o6_1280
Side chapel and museum
tumblr_o3z13abskQ1ugr0a5o5_1280
The main sanctuary

The main sanctuary at this temple, known by locals as Wat Yai, houses the Phra Phuttha Chinnarat, one of Thailand’s most revered and copied Buddha images. This famous bronze statue is probably second in importance only to the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew.

tumblr_o3z13abskQ1ugr0a5o4_1280
Most beautiful Buddha in Thailand

The image was cast in the late Sukhothai style, but what makes it strikingly unique is the flamelike halo around the head and torso that turns up at the bottom to become dragon-serpent heads on either side of the image. The head of this Buddha is a little wider than standard Sukhothai, giving the statue a very solid feel.

tumblr_o3z13abskQ1ugr0a5o2_1280
Finding a peaceful corner in this fully congregated hall.

Despite the holiness of the temple, endless loud broadcasts asking for donations, Thai musicians, a strip of vendors hawking everything from herbs to lottery tickets, several ATM machines and hundreds of visitors all contribute to a relentlessly hectic atmosphere. Come early (ideally before 7am) if you’re looking for quiet contemplation or simply wish to take photos, and regardless of the time be sure to dress appropriately – no shorts or sleeveless tops.

Address: Ong Dam Road | Nai Mueang, Phitsanulok, 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.

Tzuchi Chapter @ Elias rd
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.

Enter a caption

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.

IMG_20150601_110444
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.

11391321_926279407422705_8829894770031287816_n
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

11169417_1580123452252744_1295081907808610536_o
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.

11377096_10153322923034076_7832091950308714196_n
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…

IMG_20150523_225216
Everyone has the potential to do good, avoid evil and purify their minds.
IMG_20150601_193315
Our local chapter was open to Buddhist devotees on Vesak day to bath the Buddha – an act to symbolise purifying of their minds.

IMG_20150601_194817

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.

IMG_20150607_175910
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..

11219397_10207095279286930_6398419419869003107_n
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

Who suffers who knows

From Piya Tan

Who suffers who knows

Remember that time when we try to tell someone how painful things are for us? But we are dismissively told, “It’s all right!…” Clearly the other person does not hear our cries, nor feel our pain. Try telling someone who is drowning: “It’s all right, don’t drown…”

All right, so we are not really drowning. A problem is somehow solved in the past tense. When we look back, such pains are just a memory, and then we can tell ourselves, “It’s really all right,” because it has passed, and we have learned something from it.

Or, when we tell another person about our problem, this person says, “Oh, I had a bigger problem than yours…” and so we become the captive audience, unheard, but having to hear another round of painful episode pasted over our own pains like some cold “koyok” (medicated plaster) that smarts and reddens our tender skin.

A true friend, a spiritual friend, is one who carefully tries to listen to us. Such a person may be one in a hundred or maybe even rarer. Once, when our family was really in bad financial difficulty that drove me to voice our need at the end of a public Dharma talk attended by about a hundred people.

“Our family really needs help this month: we are unable to pay our rent!” At the end of the talk, no one came forward to even console us. Except for one kind woman: she gently handed me a small donation, with a soft smile. Later I heard, she became a nun.

It is more painful to be told “It’s all right” when it is not; or to hear another’s problem when ours is hanging over our head; or to be unheeded even when we cry out for help. People only seem to be kind and helpful when they hear that we are struck down with a deadly disease or, better, dying, or best, dead.

The good things we say of the dead at their funerals are better practised when they were undead. Funerals and deaths often make hypocrites of the best of us. Oh, it’s all right, our turn will come. Some of those people who have hated us when we lived would say the kindest things as our mortal remains, returning to the elements.

The lesson is clear surely. Our problems are never really as bad as those of others, espe­cially when we know the Dharma. The Buddha does not turn away anyone who comes to him for help. He heals the sick, uplifts the poor, ennobles the foolish, sets right the un­hing­ed, and awakens even drunks and serial killers. We might not have the Buddha’s powers, but we know him by his example, wisdom and compassion.

Our spiritual strength lies in seeing, that is, understanding what we should not do, what we should do, and to do it. This is, in fact, the essence of the three trainings of moral virtue, mental culti­vation and wisdom. Let us now spend a quiet moment reflect­ing on this before read­ing on.

If we think that our problems are the worst, or that we are suffering more than anyone else, we are being false to ourselves. How many people have we really known, and how much suffering has really overwhelmed us?

It is amazing to see how a humble elder rummaging through the refuse bins to collect discarded cans, just for a few dollars a day. He talks to no one, and needs no chatting. He seems happily deep in his routine: he does not seem to be suffering. And we, we are only concerned that he does not mess up our street!

To those who think we are romanticizing the misfortune of others, we could well reply we are trying to see the goodness in the humble ways of those who have less but are more in their courage to do what good that needs to be done for themselves.

My love for the Dharma has over the years gently woken me to the fact that the suffer­ings of others are always worse than ours. The reason is simple: yes, we once suffered like others, too. But we suffered greater because of our ignorance and craving.

Insofar as we are able to see the sufferings of others as being worse than ours, we can say that, to that extent, we are wiser. If we respond to them, then, we are more charita­ble. There is a lot to learn from suffering: it means that we should move on. It means that some good­ness in us and in others has yet be touched.

No matter how much we hear of the sufferings of others, we can never really know them. We can never really know others even through their joys (much as we think we do). We might hear all that another has to say of themselves (if this were ever possible), but we still can never fully know them. The reason is simple: we do not even really know our own selves.

At best, we can only hear the unfinished tales of others. Our mistakes can be disastrous when we try to freeze these flowing formative moments of another, and frame them into a colourless still-life portrait hanging on the wall-nail of our cold comfort. We are never ready or able to hear a person’s full story, and yet we are ever ready to summarily judge them at a moment’s notice. What does that make us?

The ways of compassion are simple, yet deceptively simple. We need to know people, we need to live with them, love them. The Buddha’s teachings are mostly reminders that being true and loving is the best way to heal. The simple truth of joyful reality ennobles us for­ever.

Leo Tolstoy, the Russian writer and religious thinker, legendary for his love of goodness but dislike for the church, tells us the story of the Three Questions. The thought came to a certain king that he would never fail if he knew three things. These three things were
·   What is the best time to do something?
·   Who is the most important person?
·   What is the most important thing to do at all times?

Many educated people tried to answer the king’s questions, but they all came up with different answers. The king decided that he needed to ask a wise hermit in a nearby forest. The hermit would however only see common folk, so the king disguised himself as a peasant and left his guards behind, so that he alone went to see the hermit.

The hermit was digging flower-beds when the king arrived. The king asked his questions, but the hermit went on digging hard. The king offered to dig for him for a while. After digging for some time, the king again asked his questions.

Before the hermit could answer, a man emerged from the woods. He was bleeding from a terrible stomach wound. The king tended to him, and they stayed the night in the her­mit’s hut.

The next day, the wounded man was doing better, but was surprised at the help he was given. The man confessed that he knew who the king was. For, the king had executed his brother and seized his property. He had come to kill the king, but the guards wound­ed him in the stomach.

The man pledged allegiance to the king, and went on his way. The king asked the hermit again for his answers. The hermit replied that the questions had just been answered.
The most important time is now. The present is the only time we have.
The most important person is the one we are with.
The most important thing to do is some good with that person.

Yes, we have heard this one, too; now is the time to live it. The Buddha sits patiently wait­ing for us to humanly appear before him.

R259 Simple Joys 92
Piya Tan ©2012 120824