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All About Buddhism ~ For Non-Buddhists and Buddhists

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  • redstone's Avatar
    4,314 posts since Jul '04
  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Originally posted by redstone:
      Looks like i've got lots of reading up to do.

      Happy reading Very Happy

  • Taiwanpolitics's Avatar
    698 posts since May '06
  • Dan008's Avatar
    50 posts since Sep '06
    • Most of the Chinese in Singapore who accepted Christianity are the weathly and english educated. I am not saying Christianity is bad or something just that I feel that these "weathly Singaporean Chinese" who they thinks that by accepting Christianity and go to church every weekend with their big BMWs and Mecs and speaks english all the way and dress up just to go church. Do they really understand what is going to a church? Instead of going to church to know more about Christianity and understanding it, they focus more on being "happy" and going to heaven! If one day Jesus says no one goes to Heaven, will these people still help others and so call pray for them? You see they are using "going to heaven" as a reward method, as no one wants to go to hell. If Jesus ask you this question, in order to save more people from going to hell, you have to go to hell. Will one do it? This is question people should ask themselves first. Willing to sacrifice oneself in order to help others. Just like what Jesus did. Did he die because he can go to heaven? (Need not to say he is the son of god).

      I would says it must come from the heart if you really wanna help others. And ask for no rewards.

  • Dan008's Avatar
    50 posts since Sep '06
    • In Buddhism, there are no required of burning joss stick or papers for the dead. Only prayers will do. Somehow chinese like to mix the Toaist way with the Buddist way. Buddist - practice on one's mind, only take what is needed. We do not need to kill in order to live. Besides killing is a circle, never ending. Thats why we need to get out of this "circle of life and death". And we are not idol worshipers for sure, the idol of Buddha is there for us to remind ourselves of the correct path to enlightenment and not for us to pray for blessing and 4D... please stop doing all these. And we bow is becuase to show our respect to the great Buddha not to worship him. Don't understand why some temples still have joss stick there.

      Please understand your/our religion.
      Correct me if I am wrong, as I am only human.

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Originally posted by Dan008:
      Most of the Chinese in Singapore who accepted Christianity are the weathly and english educated. I am not saying Christianity is bad or something just that I feel that these "weathly Singaporean Chinese" who they thinks that by accepting Christianity and go to church every weekend with their big BMWs and Mecs and speaks english all the way and dress up just to go church. Do they really understand what is going to a church? Instead of going to church to know more about Christianity and understanding it, they focus more on being "happy" and going to heaven! If one day Jesus says no one goes to Heaven, will these people still help others and so call pray for them? You see they are using "going to heaven" as a reward method, as no one wants to go to hell. If Jesus ask you this question, in order to save more people from going to hell, you have to go to hell. Will one do it? This is question people should ask themselves first. Willing to sacrifice oneself in order to help others. Just like what Jesus did. Did he die because he can go to heaven? (Need not to say he is the son of god).

      I would says it must come from the heart if you really wanna help others. And ask for no rewards.

      Hmm thanks for sharing your views... but.. no comments and dont want to offend any Christians here Mr. Green

      Actually a large proportion of true Buddhists in Singapore are also wealthy and english educated.. but when we take into account those who considers themselves as Buddhists even though they are not really Buddhists (to become a Buddhist one must first take refuge in the Three Treasures: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) nor do they know about the teachings of Buddhism... meaning those following the Chinese folk traditions and are usually the elderlies who many of them are not very well educated... then of course Christians become comparitively more 'educated' and 'wealthy' within Singapore.

      Edited by An Eternal Now 30 Mar `07, 12:27AM
  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Originally posted by Dan008:
      In Buddhism, there are no required of burning joss stick or papers for the dead. Only prayers will do. Somehow chinese like to mix the Toaist way with the Buddist way. Buddist - practice on one's mind, only take what is needed. We do not need to kill in order to live. Besides killing is a circle, never ending. Thats why we need to get out of this "circle of life and death". And we are not idol worshipers for sure, the idol of Buddha is there for us to remind ourselves of the correct path to enlightenment and not for us to pray for blessing and 4D... please stop doing all these. And we bow is becuase to show our respect to the great Buddha not to worship him. Don't understand why some temples still have joss stick there.

      Please understand your/our religion.
      Correct me if I am wrong, as I am only human.

      Your post is quite well said... there are a few points I would like to post. Burning papers for the dead is not a Buddhist practise... in Buddhism, we dedicate merits through offering the Sangha (monastic community) and Pujas (i.e Ullambana Pujas performed during 7th month includes chanting Ullambana Sutra and Ksitigarbha Sutra) to the dead in hope they can be reborn in better realms, but we do not believe that burning any papers will have any helps on the deceased. It is more of a Chinese cultural practise or religious Taoism practise. Also see about the myth of Ghost Festival: Ullambana Dharma - Not Festival Of Hungry Ghosts

      What "circle" or "cycle of life and death" means in Buddhism, is that sentient beings are constantly being reborn in Samsara - the world of sufferings. They are always reborn again and again in the 6 realms of existence in samsara, according to their karma. Samsaric existence is full of pain and sufferings, even in the Human Existence we have to go through Birth, Ageing, Sickness and Death, and the eight distresses. But even if you are born in a royal family, or even in the celestial/heaven realms, samsaric pleasures are still disatisfactory because of its transiency/impermanence... and by attaching to these transient pleasures thinking they are real and truly existent, permanent, we create even more sufferings. We suffer as we do not know that all compounded phenomena are empty of inherent, permanent, separate existence... and that all arises out of conditions and are always transient. Therefore the Buddha taught that suffering and disatisfactoriness is a fundamental truth in life (i.e first noble truth), however he also teaches the cause of suffering and the solution (second, third, fourth noble truth), the path leading to the liberation from these sufferings.

      Sentient beings cannot become liberated from samsara because they are tied down by the bondage of their ignorance and karmic propensities... due to an illusion of duality (means subject-object separation) or a false sense of self, sentient beings are constantly grasping on things and craving for samsaric pleasures and existence, thus undergoing never ending suffering. Not only are we being reborn lifetime are lifetime, we are constantly reborn moment after moment even in this very life. This is because of our illusion and attachment to our 'self' and our sentient thoughts (our identification and attachment to thoughts and things caused by ignorance), and the process of identification with a 'self' is continued without an ending until we attain insights and enlightenment. To gain these insights we have to practise the eightfold path in our lives.

      So therefore in Buddhism, Buddha showed us the path leading to the complete ending of all sufferings, finding the abiding purity and bliss of Nirvana, to become liberated from the cycle of rebirth in Samsara. Buddha taught that the Buddhas of past and future all teach Buddhism as "avoid all evil, doing all good, and purifying the mind". Most religions only teach "avoid all evil and doing all good", but only Buddhism teaches about liberation and the purification of the mind. The problem with just "avoiding all evil and doing all good" is that as a result we accumulate a lot of good karma and avoid creating bad karma, meaning we can be reborn in the higher realms or even the celestial realms like the heavens, however we still cannot attain nirvana, we cannot be liberated from the cycle of samsara.. and our enjoyment in these higher realms are also limited and transient. Similarly as described just now even if our lives are very good, there is still bound to be unsatisfactoriness and sufferings.. if we cannot be liberated moment to moment. Therefore when we practise Buddhism, also we practise purification of the mind... through mindfulness we become aware of and disidentify from all our sentient thoughts, our habitual tendencies of the mind, the afflictive emotions and so on due to identification with a false sense of self, and the identification is also known as the false 'ego'. Our Buddha Nature is like a clear mirror, our pure awareness, which unfortunately is obscured from us because of a layer of dust, or mental defilements. Through Buddhism we clean the mirror of its defilements to reveal the clear bright mirror underneath. Therefore through practising Buddhism we gain insights into the nature of reality, the nature of our minds, our Buddha Nature, and through awakening from our delusions we find the nirvanic bliss of clarity and liberation from all sufferings in our lives.

      You're right about bowing as respect and not worship or praying for worldly favours. Buddhism is perhaps the only religion out there that truly goes beyond forms and idols (see: Buddhism is truly detached from idols) As for joss stick, offering incense is a practise since the times of Buddha in India, carried on to various places (not only Chinese offer incense, the Tibetan Buddhists and Theravada Buddhist like Sri Lankans, Burma etc also offer incense). In general, incense fragrance represents the fragrance of Dao De. And the incense we burn during religious ceremonies and Pujas, chanting sessions are usually very very good quality incense -- their fragrance can permeate the entire room... not just the normal joss sticks most people use. Offering incense is not a must when we visit Buddhist monasteries.. usually I just put my hands together as a gesture of respect. If you are immoral, you can offer a lot of joss sticks and there is no use. There is also no point offering incense everywhere in the monastery making the entire place totally smokey Mr. Green

      Edited by An Eternal Now 01 Apr `07, 3:04PM
  • cycle's Avatar
    705 posts since Mar '07
    • Hi AEN,

      Have been reading your various posts for the past few days and I just want to let you know that you are a great Dharma teacher for me!

      I'm very impressed with your comprehensive knowlege in the Dharma given your young age. I've taken refuge under the Triple Gem since age 20 and have been studying the Dharma whenever I can, but am still very ignorant. Bad karma. Embarassed

      I've also met many Buddhists distorting or totally misconstrue the actual meanings of the Dharma, even after going through Dharma classes themselves! Some even look down on the Sangha or other monastic places, mostly due to self delusion of one's ( false) intelligence. This is indeed the ending of Dharma era.

      Your answers to many doubts and queries, challenges included, are clear and accurate with lots of references and links. I'm especially impressed with your wisdom and patience excercised when dealing with forumers out to put you or Buddhism down. My kudos to you.

      Wish that there will be more young Buddhists like you, then there is hope for Singapore Buddhism. Smile

      Looking forward to your postings. Jia you!

  • Eric Cartman's Avatar
    1,934 posts since Dec '06
    • Some dumbfcuk, upon hearing i was into buddhism, went to set up a taoist medium place and claimed that a deity "psychicly" knew my name and etc, and wanted to meet me up. Then he proceeded to tell me all the wrong info lol, and he still had the galls to tell me to go there frequently to offer some incense LOL!

      There's a lot of other forehead-smacking things like that that I don't even bother to talk about anymore, because the misunderstanding has already gone too deep for salvation due to a group of dumbasses.

      Edited by Eric Cartman 01 Apr `07, 3:10PM
  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Originally posted by cycle:
      Hi AEN,

      Have been reading your various posts for the past few days and I just want to let you know that you are a great Dharma teacher for me!

      I'm very impressed with your comprehensive knowlege in the Dharma given your young age. I've taken refuge under the Triple Gem since age 20 and have been studying the Dharma whenever I can, but am still very ignorant. Bad karma. Embarassed

      I've also met many Buddhists distorting or totally misconstrue the actual meanings of the Dharma, even after going through Dharma classes themselves! Some even look down on the Sangha or other monastic places, mostly due to self delusion of one's ( false) intelligence. This is indeed the ending of Dharma era.

      Your answers to many doubts and queries, challenges included, are clear and accurate with lots of references and links. I'm especially impressed with your wisdom and patience excercised when dealing with forumers out to put you or Buddhism down. My kudos to you.

      Wish that there will be more young Buddhists like you, then there is hope for Singapore Buddhism. Smile

      Looking forward to your postings. Jia you!

      Thanks for your compliment... but what I know and my experience is also very limited.. Embarassed so I have also much to learn from others.

      And welcome to the forum Very Happy

      Edited by An Eternal Now 30 Mar `07, 3:51PM
  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Originally posted by Eric Cartman:
      Some dumbfcuk, upon hearing i was into buddhism, went to set up a taoist medium place and claimed that a deity "psychicly" knew my name and etc, and wanted to meet me up. Then he proceeded to tell me all the wrong info lol, and he still had the galls to tell me to go there frequently to offer some incense LOL!

      Shocked

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Sharing more detailed, indepth understanding of the Four Noble Truths.

      Following taken from 'Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha', written by a modern day Arhat, Dharma Dan (source: http://www.interactivebuddha.com/mctb.html).

      9. THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS

      The Four Noble Truths, suffering, its cause, its end, and the path that leads to its end, are fundamental to the teachings of the Buddha. He was fond of summarizing his whole teaching in terms of them. Actually, when asked to be really concise, he would just say the first and third: suffering and the end of suffering. This was what he taught. Like the other little lists here, they have great profundity on many levels and are worth exploring in depth.

      TRUTH NUMBER ONE: SUFFERING

      The first truth is the truth of suffering. Hey, didn't we just see that in the Three Characteristics? Yes! Isn't that great! We also just saw it in The Three Trainings Revisited. There must have been something important about it for it to start off something called the Four Noble Truths that is not immediately obvious. Why do we practice? Suffering, that's why! It is just that simple. Why do we do anything? Suffering!

      Plenty of people balk at this, and say that they do lots of things because of reasons other than suffering. I suppose that to be really correct I should add in ignorance and habit, but these are intimately connected to suffering. This is worth investigating in depth. Perhaps there is something more to this first truth that they may have missed on first inspection, as it is a deep and subtle teaching. Actually, to understand this first truth is to understand the whole of the spiritual path, so take the time to investigate it.

      The basic gist of the truth from a relative point of view is that we want things to be other than they are, and this causes pain. We want things that are nice to be permanent, we want to get what we want and avoid what we don't want. We wish bad things would go faster than they do, and these are all contrary to reality. We all die, get sick, have conflicts, and constantly seem to be running around either trying to get something (greed), get away from something (hatred), or tune out from reality all together (delusion). We are never perfectly happy with things just as they are. These are the traditional, relative ways in which suffering is explained, but these definitions can only take us so far.

      At the most fundamental level, the level that is the most useful for doing insight practices, we wish desperately that there was some separate, permanent self, and we spend huge amounts of time doing our best to prop up this illusion. In order to do this, we habitually ignore lots of useful information about our reality and give our mental impressions and simplifications of reality much more importance than they are necessarily due. It is this illusion that adds a problematic element to the normal and understandable ways in which we go about trying to be happy. We constantly struggle with reality because we misunderstand it, i.e. because reality misunderstands itself.

      “So what's new?” one might say. Good point! It isn't new, is it? This has been the whole of our life! The big question is “Is there some understanding which makes a difference?” Yes, or we wouldn't be bothering with all of this spirituality stuff. Somewhere down in our being there is a little voice that cries, “There is another way!” We can find this other way.

      Connecting with the truth of suffering can actually be very motivating for spiritual practice. Most traditional talks on the Buddha's teachings begin with this. More than just being motivating for spiritual practice, tuning into suffering is spiritual practice! Many people start meditating and then get frustrated with how much suffering and pain they experience, never knowing that they are actually starting to understand something. They cling to the ideal that insight practices will produce peace and bliss and yet much of what they find is suffering. They don’t realize that things on the cushion tend to get worse before they get better. Thus, they reject the very truths they must deeply understand to obtain the peace they were looking for and thus get nowhere. They reject their own valid insights that they have obtained through valid practice. I suspect that this is one of the greatest and most common stumbling blocks on the spiritual path.

      There is a flip side to suffering which can help, and that is compassion, the wish for there to not be suffering. Wherever there is suffering there is compassion, though most of the time somewhat twisted by the confused logic of the process of ego. More on this in a bit, but it leads directly to the second Noble Truth, the cause of suffering.

      TRUTH NUMBER TWO: “DESIRE”

      The Second Noble Truth is that the cause of suffering is desire, also rendered as craving or attachment. We want things to be other than they are because we perceive the world through the odd logic of the process of ego, through the illusion of the split of the perceiver and the perceived. We might say, “Of course we want things to be great and not unpleasant! What do you expect?” The problem isn't actually quite in the desire for things to be good and not be bad in the way that we might think; it is, in fact, just a bit subtler than that.

      This is a really slippery business, and many people can get all into craving for non-craving and desiring non-attachment. This can be useful if it is done wisely and it is actually all we have to work with. If common sense is ignored, however, desiring non-attachment may produce neurotic, self-righteous, repressed ascetics instead of balanced, kind meditators. A tour of any monastery or spiritual community will likely expose you to clear examples of both sides of this delicate balance. So, don't make too much of a problem out of the fact that it seems that one must desire something in order to seek it. This paradox will resolve itself if we are able to experience reality in this moment clearly.

      “Craving,” “attachment,” and “desire” are some of the most dangerous words that can be used to describe something that is actually much more fundamental than these seem to indicate. The Buddha did talk about these conventional forms of suffering, but he also talked about the fundamental suffering that comes from some deep longing for a refuge that involves a separate or permanent self. We imagine that such a self will be a refuge, and so we desire such a self, we try to make certain sensations into such a self, we cling to the fundamental notion that such a self can exist as a stable entity and that this will somehow help. The side effects of this manifest in all sorts of additions to mind states and emotions that are not helpful, but these are side effects and not the root that cause of suffering that the Buddha was pointing to.

      As stated earlier, a helpful concept here is compassion, a heart aspect of the practice and reality related to kindness. You see, wherever there is desire there is suffering, and wherever there is suffering there is compassion, the desire for the end of suffering. You can actually experience this. So obviously there is some really close relationship between suffering, desire and compassion. This is heavy but good stuff and worth investigating.

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • (continued from previous post)

      We might conceive of this as compassion having gotten caught in a loop, the loop of the illusion of duality. This is sort of like a dog’s tail chasing itself. Pain and pleasure, suffering and satisfaction always seem to be “over there.” Thus, when pleasant sensations arise, there is a constant, compassionate, deluded attempt to get over there to the other side of the imagined split. This is fundamental attraction. You would think that we would just stop imagining there is a split, but somehow that is not what happens. We keep perpetuating the sense of a split even as we try to bridge it, and so we suffer. When unpleasant sensations arise, there is an attempt to get away from over there, to widen the imagined split. This will never work, because it doesn’t actually exist, but the way we hold our minds as we try to get away from that side is painful. When boring or unpleasant sensations arise, there is the attempt to tune out all together and forget the whole thing, to try to pretend that the sensations on the other side of the split are not there. This is fundamental ignorance and it perpetuates the process, as it is by ignoring aspects of our sensate reality that the illusion of a split is created in the first place.

      These strict definitions of fundamental attraction, aversion and ignorance are very important, particularly for when I discuss the various models of the stages of enlightenment. Given the illusion, it seems that somehow these mental reactions will help in a way that will be permanent. Remember that the only thing that will fundamentally help is to understand the Three Characteristics to the degree that makes the difference, and the Three Characteristics are manifesting right here.

      Remember how it was stated above that suffering motivates everything we do? We could also say that everything we do is motivated by compassion, which is part of the fundamentally empty nature of reality. That doesn’t mean that everything we do is skillful; that is a whole different issue.

      Compassion is a very good thing, especially when it involves one's self and all beings. It is sort of the flip side of the Second Noble Truth. The whole problem is that “misdirected” compassion, compassion that is filtered through the process of ego and its related habits, can produce enormous suffering and often does. It is easy to think of many examples of people searching for happiness in the strangest of places and by doing the strangest of things. Just pick up any newspaper. The take-home message is to search for happiness where you are actually likely to find it.

      We might say that compassion is the ultimate aspect of desire, or think of compassion and desire on a continuum. The more wisdom or understanding of interconnectedness there is behind our intentions and actions, the more they reflect compassion and the more the results will turn out well. The more greed, hatred and delusion or lack of understanding of interconnectedness there is behind our intentions and actions, the more they reflect desire and the more suffering there will likely be.

      This is sometimes referred to as the “Law of Karma,” where karma is a word that has to do with our intentions and actions. Some people can get all caught up in specifics of this that cannot possibly be known, like speculating that if we kill a bug we will come back as a bug and be squished. Don't. Cause and effect, also called interdependence, is just too imponderably complex. Just use this general concept to look honestly at what you want, why, and precisely how you know this. Examine what the consequences of what you do and think might be for yourself and everyone, and then take responsibility for those consequences. It's a tall order and an important practice to engage in, but don't get too obsessive about it. Remember the simplicity of the first training, training in kindness, generosity, honesty and clarity, and gain balance and wisdom from the other two trainings as you go.

      Sometimes looking into suffering and desire can be overwhelming. Life can sometimes be extremely hard. In these moments, try looking into the heart side of the equation, compassion and kindness. Connect with the part of your heart that just wishes the suffering would end and feel that deeply, especially as it manifests in the body. Just this can be profound practice. There are also lots of other good techniques for cultivating a spaciousness of heart that can bear anything, such as formal loving-kindness practices (see Sharon Salzburg’s excellent Loving-kindness, The Revolutionary Art of Happiness). Finding them and practicing them can make the spiritual path much more bearable and pleasant, and this can make it more likely that we will be able to persevere, gain deep insights, be able to integrate them into our lives, and use them to benefit others.

      The take-home message is to take the desire to be happy and free of suffering and use its energy to do skillful things that can actually make this happen, rather than getting caught in old unexamined patterns of searching for happiness where you know you will not find it. The Three Trainings are skillful and can inform the whole of our life. By following them we may come to the end of many forms of suffering and be in a much better position to help others do the same.

      TRUTH NUMBER THREE: THE END OF SUFFERING

      This brings us nicely to the Third Noble Truth, the end of suffering. Now, as noted before, there are three types of suffering pertaining to the scope of each of the three trainings. Traditionally, the Buddha talked about the end of suffering as relating to mastering the third training and thus becoming highly enlightened. The first point is that it can be done and is done today by meditators like you from many spiritual traditions. Yes, there are enlightened people walking around, and not just a rare few that have spent 20 years in a cave in Tibet. This is really important to understand and have faith in. The other point is that with the end of fundamental desire, which we will render here as the end of compassion and reality being filtered through the odd logic of the process of ego, there is the end of fundamental suffering. That's it. Done is what has to be done. Gone, gone, gone beyond, and all of that. All beings can do it, and there is, to make bit of a mystical joke, no time like the present.

      Now, it must be said that the Buddha also praised those who had mastered the other two trainings and thus eliminated what suffering could be eliminated by those methods. Even very enlightened beings can benefit from mastering the concentration states. However, there are some complex and difficult issues related to eliminating all of the ordinary suffering in the world and thus related to mastering the first training, which is an endless undertaking. It is because of this particular issue that such teachings as the Bodhisattva Vow arose, and I will deal with these complexities towards the end of this book.

      TRUTH NUMBER FOUR: THE PATH

      The Fourth Noble Truth is the Noble Eightfold Path that leads to suffering's final end. Another list! Hopefully you have come to like these little lists by now, and so one more will hopefully be seen as another manageable little guide on how to find the end of suffering. Luckily, we have already seen the whole of the Noble Eightfold Path in other parts of some of the other lists, and it is summarized in the Three Trainings of morality, concentration and wisdom.

      The morality section is just broken down into three specifics: skillful action, skillful speech and skillful livelihood. Skillful means conducive to the end of suffering for us and for all other living beings. Be kind, honest, clear and compassionate in your whole life, in your actions, speech and work. Notice that nothing is excluded here. The more of our lives we integrate with the spiritual path, the better. Simple to remember and also a powerful guide.

      The concentration section contains three things we saw in the Five Spiritual Faculties and the Seven Factors of Enlightenment: skillful energy, skillful concentration, and skillful mindfulness.

      The wisdom section has the two last parts of the path: skillful thought or intention and skillful understanding or wisdom. These two are often rendered in different ways, but the meaning is the same: understand the truth of your experience and aspire to kindness and wisdom in your thoughts and deeds. Again, simple but powerful.

  • Herzog_Zwei's Avatar
    8,208 posts since Jul '06
  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • BTW forummers I understand some of my posts are hard to understand.. or if there are any questions (don't have to worry whether they are answered here or not) you can always ask in the forum Smile

  • i_luv_erky's Avatar
    497 posts since Jun '07
    • I learned not to kill ant or even mosquitoes.
      But Aedes how?

      If they Breed, we will bleed.

  • TWE's Avatar
    1,308 posts since May '06
    • Wah eternal now i really very impressed with your patience to type so many stuff here . Good work pal the buddhist community needs pple like you Very Happy . Frankly speaking i couldn't find the time to read every words that you type .

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Originally posted by TWE:
      Wah eternal now i really very impressed with your patience to type so many stuff here . Good work pal the buddhist community needs pple like you Very Happy . Frankly speaking i couldn't find the time to read every words that you type .

      NP, anyway, read a post or two everyday, you'll finish reading in no time Wink

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Originally posted by i_luv_erky:
      I learned not to kill ant or even mosquitoes.
      But Aedes how?

      If they Breed, we will bleed.

      Up to you... honestly I still kill mosquitoes sometimes due to reasons such as that you mentioned.. but know that every unwholesome intentional action (which is 'bad karma') will lead to unwholesome karmic effect in future.

      My dharma teacher got bitten by aedes, stayed in hospital for a long time and at one point there was certain life dangers, but still she refuses to kill a single mosquito to this day.

      I'm not sure if everyone can be as 'extreme', or compassionate, as her. We can try. In Japan, Zen monks have a practice at certain times of a day, to let the mosquitoes in and be fed by their blood. I think it is a great practice, though of course not so feasible in our country with mosquitoes that spreads diseases around. But at least you know the kind of compassion that true practitioners have for these animals..

      On the other hand, my dharma teacher did mentioned before that if lets say.. the dharma center was infested with pests and there is no way but to get rid of them, she should shoulder the karma of inviting pest controllers to get rid of them. Do note that one must be ready to shoulder the karma, because there is definitely going to be negative karmic effect from these... but sometimes its for the greater good.

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • Related topic: Ways to get rid of Pests/Insects

      Hello, my master Ven. Shen Kai offered a solution to Ants and [email protected] He also mentioned about mosquitoes (but I can't remember well for that one). I will summarise a few points below.

      Ants - put some Mei2 You2 near their home, they dislike the Mei2 You2 and will definitely move away from their home to somewhere else. To give the ants a sense of direction where to go you may put some food nearby, and they will go and live there. But don't put the food too far as it may be difficult for them to travel that far distance.

      [email protected] - get some empty Wu3 Jia1 Pi2 Jiu3 (a type of Chinese traditional beer?). [email protected] love to have a beer and will all go inside. Then you can throw the cans into a dirty place i.e trash can and let them live in their paradise. I don't know about other beers, you all could experiment yourself.

      Mosquitoes - I can remember only he mentioend two ways - burning that mosquito 'incense', or using some kind of electronic device that could make them sterilised and not be able to reproduce babies.

      So we do not necessarily need to kill them to get rid of the pests. Wisdom will be of good use.

      My Master taught - to develope Great Compassion one must start by not harming, and protecting animals no matter how tiny they are.

      Even though these animals may be tiny - if you can kill small animals, one day you might kill bigger animals, then killing humans no longer seem a difficult task to do.

  • cycle's Avatar
    705 posts since Mar '07
    • My ways with ants is this:
      First of all, keep our place clean, especially the kitchen. Wipe off food debris after we eat, don't leave sweet things around. Next, if too bad the ants are here, don't panic, just look for the source which is usually easy to find; then remove the source ( most of the time just a tiny bit of food) and shake off the ants that are clinging on the source if any, and viola, they will all run away and disappear before you finish counting to 5. Smile

      And those flying insects, I would try to lure them onto a piece of paper or magazine, then slowly walk to the window and throw them out. Just the insect, NOT the paper; or else it becomes littering.

      As for cockroaches, the grandmother's tales is to place pandang leaves. I don't know how effective is this though, but to keep our home clean is the basic prevention. I'm very weak infront of cockroachers, especially the flying ones. Aiyo, I will just run and cover my head with something, anything! Mad

  • TWE's Avatar
    1,308 posts since May '06
    • As for roaches those who staying as high as 6th floor and above , most of the time is due to the cockroach flying in sometimes kamikaze type Razz cos i almost got hit in the face by one Confused . And mainly is because sometime the cockroach manage to get into some higher floor homes and then got noticed and was thrown out of the window alive by some " compassionate beings " but what follows is the cockroach in a bid to save their own live and also their future offspring which was mentioned somewhere that only the female cockroach fly in order to protect their eggs . So while trying to save their eggs , the cockroach will try their best to fly into any home that they can reach and try to lay their eggs there . And the same thing will repeat agn getting caught n thrown out agn floor by floor till the cockroach get killed or reach the ground floor . Oh by the way , i noticed that some of the brands of insect killer for example baygon ( just an example cos i forgot the brand name already ) they boast of quick knockdown rate where as they actually dun really kill them but instead only render them unconcious which we always assume to be killed . I witness an incident that my engineer ask me to get a can of insecticide to kill the entire nest of ants . I do as what i was told and walk away when i saw all of them motionless on the floor . But to my surprise abt 2 hours later , one by one the ants resume their concious and carry on their activities . Well the knock down rate is indeed fast but they only render them unconcious not dead .

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • More on Dependent Origination:

      7.1. Dependant Arising as a Central Notion in Buddhism

      The Buddha’s theory of dependent arising has an immediately obvious
      significance — it is the only positive ontological theory expounded by
      the Buddha.The formulations of the four Noble Truths and the Eightfold
      Path are of course positive teachings,but they are not really philosophical
      dogmas. They are descriptions of the condition of humankind, the ultimate
      goal of humankind, and teachings about how to achieve that goal.
      Only dependent arising describes the ontic status of the universe (dependence), its mode of creation (dispositions conditioned by ignorance), its
      future fate (the appeasement of dispositions which reverses the cycle of
      arising), the ontic nature of the individual (impersonal aggregates conditioned
      by ignorance), and the future fate of the individual (extinction
      through enlightenment). Scholar Gunapala Malalasekera has expressed
      the status of these various formulations well in saying that “Just as the
      Four Noble Truths… form the heart of the Buddha’s teaching, so does
      the doctrine of dependent arising constitute its backbone.”1

      Dependent arising was likewise of supreme importance for Nagarjuna.
      As explained above, Nagarjuna opened his treatise with a dedication
      that placed dependent arising at the center of his appreciation of
      the Buddha and as central for Madhyamika thought. Indeed, renowned
      scholar of Buddhism Gadjin Nagao has gone so far as to say that Nagarjuna
      “regarded Sakyamuni as the great master precisely because of his
      elucidation of dependent arising.”2 As with the above discussion of selfnature,
      a prefatory presentation of the doctrine and its development is
      necessary. Dependent arising is not a theory that the Buddha developed,
      but one that he saw. As he sat under the Bodhi tree on the night of his
      full awakening he discovered the fact of the mutual contingency of all
      existent things.This awareness led him to the “threefold knowledge” that
      marked his station as one who had achieved full enlightenment sambuddhah).
      First, he saw, through his new- found knowledge of dependent
      arising, the origin of suffering in ignorance and the end of suffering in
      wisdom. Second, fixing “his mind upon the chain of causation, in direct
      and reverse order,”1 he obtained the knowledge of all of his previous existences.

      This provided him with the recollection of his previous actions
      and their karmic consequences, enabling him to see that he had lived out
      all of his accrued karma and that this would be his last existence. Third,
      having so clearly perceived the origin of the cycle, he knewwith certainty
      that he had fully erased the binding ignorance, and would surely never
      return to existence.He knew himself to be “Thus Gone;” he was a Tathagata.
      2

      A key to the Buddha’s teaching is that he was not the only one privileged
      to see dependent arising. Anyone who follows the path he recommended
      can realize its nature and workings. More than this, individual
      freedom requires that one verify these truths for him- or herself. The importance of and possibility of perceivingdependent arising isexemplified
      by the story of the conversion of Sariputta and Moggallana related in
      chapter one,above:all thatwas needed for each of them to realize nirvana
      was to be told “all things that arise will cease.” The duty of the Buddhist
      monk who is aware of the Buddha’s formulation of dependent arising is
      to examine each of the links for him- or herself, discover how they are
      conditioned, howthey arose, and howthey can be ceased.3 This is the key
      to the Buddhist path. The import of this duty is far greater than merely
      verifying one aspect of the Buddha’s teachings. Rather, one who follows
      this will understand the entirety of the Buddha’s teachings, his “dharma,”
      and, more, one who follows this is guaranteed to see the Buddha himself.
      He once said “those who see dependent arising will see the dharma;those
      who see the dharma will see dependent arising,” and another time he said
      “those who see the dharma will see me; those who see me will see the
      dharma.”4

      7.2. The Meaning of Dependent Arising

      There are two main formulations of dependent arising, one general and
      the other specific. In its most abstract form, the theory holds that “That
      being, this comes to be; from the arising of that, this arises; that being
      absent, this is not; from the cessation of that, this ceases.”1 The more specific
      formulation details the process by which links in the chain arise, one
      after the other, and which links directly influence which others.The most
      common of these specific formulations is the twelve-link one described
      in chapter two, but there are minor variations on this. The crux of all formulations of the theory is the mutual interdependence of all things.Every
      element is both conditioned and is a conditioner, so every element is both
      an effect and a cause. There is no transcendent law of cause-and-effect
      ruling the process, for there is only a relative “before” and “after,” only a
      relative causal sequence. On the one hand no element is individually autonomous, and on the other hand neither is there a higher force ruling the
      process. Since no thing exists on its own, no thing is real in itself.A thing
      is dependent on another, then, not just for its identification, as “tallness”
      is dependent on “shortness,” but for its very existence, as the piece of
      clothing is dependent upon the threads which constitute it.
      Thus far, the doctrine of dependent arising may seem clear and
      obvious. If so, it is only because one does not yet understand it in all of
      its implications.The Buddha’s attendant, ananda, once said to his master,
      “It is surprising, sir, it is wonderful, sir, how profound this dependent
      arising is and how profound is its illumination. Yet it seems to me as if
      very simple.” “Say not so, ananda, say not so,” admonished the Buddha
      in reply.2 The theory is abstruse and its ramifications vast.

  • Moderator
    An Eternal Now's Avatar
    17,258 posts since Sep '04
    • In the eyes of Buddhism,the doctrine of dependent arising solves all
      metaphysical philosophical problems.Etiology is solved because there is,
      not an absolute beginning, but an temporally indeterminate welling up of
      mutually-conditioned factors.Since no factor is temporally prior, as such,
      the discussions of genesis manage to avoid positing an absolute beginning
      without recourse either to a metaphysical entity like a transcendent
      God or to causal priority ad infinitum. Eschatology is solved because,
      since the ultimate end of existence is merely the appeasement of arising
      through appeasement of ignorant dispositions, there is no need to predict
      apocalypses or nihilistic destruction of existence. Things arose, but there
      was no ultimate cause, and things will cease, but there is no ultimate fate.
      Soteriology is likewise solved; one need not face either a final Judgment
      Day nor mere annihilation, but rather one will just face the self-caused
      abandonment of equally self-caused afflicted existence.When ignorance
      ceases, birth ceases, and death ceases. Karma, metempsychosis, and the
      nature of the soul are also all solved without recourse to abstract soul-
      theories. Karma is neither an adventitious elemental defilement, like it is
      for the Jains, nor a subtle and transcendental deterministic fate, like for
      certain schools of Hinduism. Karma is simply the correlation between
      cause and effect. Karma is determined by one’s actions and dispositions,
      and when one appeases one’s dispositions then, when eventually the lingering effects of prior causes have come to fruition, existence will be no
      more. The simple conditioning of one link by another link enables the
      Buddhist karma to be determined without being deterministic,and subtle
      without being transcendental. Reincarnation is similarly solved with no
      recourse to atman-theories.Death is conditioned by birth, which is in turn
      conditioned by ignorance.Thiscontiguous contingencyobviates the need
      to posit a substantial and transcendently-enduring soul. The perceived
      existence and continuity of the individual is likewise explained without
      recourse to atman: since the aggregates of the individual arise together,
      and these aggregates account for the entire nature of the individual, there
      is no need to posit an extraneous metaphysical entity like the self.The debate
      of free will versus determinism is also solved.There can be no “free”
      will, for no element of existence is independent. All things are dependent
      upon other things, and so is the will. This does not mean that the universe
      is bound by inexorable determinism: the Buddha declared himself to be
      an upholder of “free action,”1 for it is one’s will in the form of volitional
      dispositions which both caused existence in the first place and will ultimately
      bring about appeasement and freedom.2 Two more theories repugnant
      to the Buddha, the extremes of eternalism and annihilationism,
      are obviated by dependent arising. Nothing is eternal, for, when a thing’s
      conditioning factors cease, then it will cease.Neither is anything destined
      to face destruction in non-existence for,as contingent upon other things, it
      was never independently real in the first place. Finally, dependent arising
      solves ontology. Things are empirically real, for they were arisen. However,
      they are not ultimately real, for there is no substance, tòn, on which
      they are founded. There is Becoming, but no Being. Since things are not
      ultimately real, the affliction of suffering can be vanquished; if suffering
      were ultimately real, then it could never be abolished.

      The Abhidharma schools were the first to offer an interpretation of the doctrine of dependent arising, but interpretation probably was not their intent. They understood the doctrine to mean the temporal succession of momentary and discrete elements (dharmas) which were in themselves real.1They did not see dependent arising to mean that the elements were only relatively real, but rather they saw it as describing the interactions
      between already-existing elements. The point of the doctrine dependent
      arising, they felt,was solely to negate soul-theories, not to negate
      the elements themselves. Dependence was thus seen as referring to the
      conditioning relations between the elements,which relations were meticulously
      analyzed and systematized. It was these relations that became
      seen as the dynamic force of becoming.

      The Perfection of Wisdom (Prajnaparamita) writings criticized the
      Abhidharma theory of relations as being, not an explanation of dependent
      arising, but an interpretation of it, and an interpretation with which
      they disagreed. The systematic hierarchy of relations was seen as being
      no less metaphysical than the speculative theories of causality which the
      Buddha was trying to avoid.2 A further problem was that, while it was
      not explicitly wrong to describe the universe as made up of discrete elements,
      it was misleading. To isolate an element temporally was to take
      a first step towards conceptually reifying that element. The approach
      adopted by the Perfection of Wisdom school was to elevate the theory of
      dependent arising from the empirical to the conceptual by formulating a
      two- truth theory, a theory later embraced by Nagarjuna. This approach
      declared that the Abhidharma schools saw reality from the standpoint of
      lower, conventional truth, and so they saw all as being composed of real
      elements which are mutually dependent in terms of causal efficacy. The
      Perfection of Wisdom, on the other hand, believed themselves to have
      access to perfect prajna, “wisdom” (hence the name of this school, Prajnaparamita).

      From the standpoint of higher, ultimate truth afforded by
      such wisdom, elements were seen as being, not just causally conditioned,
      but even ontologically conditioned. That is, the elements did not merely
      constitute conglomerate things which, as an assemblage, had no inherent
      identity and real existence;moreover, rather, the elements themselves had
      no inherent identity or real existence.

      The result of this interpretation of dependent arising is that the elements
      are “empty;” as dependent arisen, they are not real and are without
      self-nature. Furthermore, concepts, too, are unreal.3 All concepts are
      based on dualities as “tallness” is dependent on “shortness.” The ultimate
      implication of this interpretation is a shift from emphasis on logical reasoning,
      as evidenced in the Abhidharma, to non-dual intuition, or prajna.
      This non-dual intuition prefigured Nagarjuna’s use of comprehensive
      four-fold negations and the later mysticism of Zen.1 In the writings of both the Perfection ofWisdom school and Nagarjuna, all propositions regarding
      a subject are negated (e.g. something is, is not, both is and is not,
      neither is nor is not), but no alternative proposition is offered. The only
      way to grasp the subject is through non-dual, non-conceptual intuition.

      (pls continue reading from the book...)

      Source: Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika with Commentary (You can msg me for a request of this E-Book, I think there are some very valuable teachings in there but I haven't got the time to read much. Sent by a friend.)

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