Saturday, July 30, 2011

How to practice the living dharma?

These are notes I took down during a recent teachings by Venerable Boon Keng at Than Hsiang temple, Penang. I took down only the important points and I might have missed some points because I do not understand some of the words spoken. I only understand the gist of his message. Any mistake is mine.

Things that people donate or contributed or sponsored for temples, the temples should use it as long as possible. Must not be careless with it or throw it away when it is just a bit broken. (my comment: same for Buddhist centres, we must not be careless with how we utilise donations or sponsorships).

Whether things are smooth or not, when we have true cultivation, we can still prosperous through whatever experiences.

Left home at Hock Beng Si, a kampung area, got Taoist statues and Taoist practices there. Never mind, just a different tradition. (my comment: Venerable Boon Keng is very tolerant of other practices and even regard these Taoist practices as perhaps necessary to connect with normal lay people. He is not so adamant as some Buddhists to discard Taoist practices or other Chinese customs deemed non-buddhistic by the orthodox.)

His Master gave him oversized robes to wear. And there was no ordination ceremony. He soon realised that whether there was an ordination or not, i.e. genuine or false ordination, it's the heart that is important. (my comment: Ordination is just an external ceremony. Important think was that he regarded himself as having taken all the precepts of a monk and his Master regarded him as such). Everyday he had to go give services until 2-3am. Everyday he eats only potato broth. No vegetables, at best only fried cabbage. And he usually wakes up at 4.30am. He had only a few hours of sleep. Sometimes only 1 hour. Whether condition is smooth or not, still must go to do prayers. Even when sick. During good or bad conditions, the Buddha dharma must be in your heart & it depends on how you are able to receive it. We should realize that even facing bad conditions, it is blessings to purify our millions of greed, hatred & delusion. (my comment: “he “ in this entire teaching refers to Ven. Boon Keng. When I took down the notes, when he was referring to himself, I wrote it down as “he”)

What dharma do you practice? Whether Zen, Pure Land, etc, whatever practice we do, there is a purpose and we must make it into a living dharma. Once when beaten by the Zen stick, suddenly he remembers the words in his prayers. He thanked the master profusely.

Smooth & not, it's the heart that must learn the living dharma. If we can do that, the sukhavati is right before you. And you don't need to go anywhere else to practice.

Inside our heart there is a little “Tai Pee Cham” book. In the beginning we practice external “Tai Pee Cham” (Great Compassionate Repentance). But when we are able to practice living dharma, inside our heart, it's the living “Tai Pee Cham”. Like the 2012 movie, there was a scene showing the Lama pouring the tea into the cup and it overflows. Similarly, when conditions are smooth or not smooth, we have to pour out first our good & bad conditions. Good or bad, we still can go through. See through good or bad conditions. Same during practices we do such as meditation. We let go of good or bad meditation. Good or bad meditation experience – all impermanent conditions.

When we meditate, that itself includes 84000 dharmas.

Some people use Buddhism to find fault with others. No need to criticize other traditions of Buddhism. No need to say this tradition is more true than the others.

Good or bad, it's how you see it and turn around the situations around.

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