Monday, November 28, 2011

Peaceful Means May Not Always Be Appropriate

Have you heard of the extreme of peace? It is referring to the performance of non-violence in inappropriate situations. There may be circumstances in life whereby you need to take immediate action, even if it is a little violent, in order to have the correct response to the situation. It is not always appropriate to adopt non-violent way. In fact certain actions such as fasting till death can be tantamount to be misuse of peace. Just like anger, Zen Master Dae Bong explained that once Zen Master Seung Sahn explained that using anger in the proper way can be very compassionate. He called it "BIG LOVE" anger. He gave a situation whereby a mother would actually need to shout at her child and pull him away immediately from a boiling kettle that he was going to touch. Even though it can be a little violent, it was appropriate for the situation and it was an expression of love and compassion. Peaceful means, such as negotiation, will have been inappropriate in this situation. By the time you have finished talking, the child would have touched the hot kettle and would have got burnt. But "BIG LOVE" anger does not perpetuate. After pulling the child away, the anger subsides and you can see the mother hugging the child. She may scold the child a little but that's it. That's "BIG LOVE" anger. But if she lets her anger perpetuates inside her and keep on scolding the child the whole day after that, then it turns into "ATTACHMENT" anger. See how it changes?

That's why Master Seung Sahn is not so fixated by "ahimsa" or "non-violent" ways, instead he advices that we should have the correct action/function and the correct relationship to the correct situation. In more common words, it is doing the right thing at the right time and the right place. If the correct situation calls that we need to fight, we fight. You get what the master means? If hungry, eat. If tired, rest. That's what zen masters always say. Doing the right things, at the right time and place. That's Zen. That's also Mahamudra. The masters always remind us it's nothing more special than that. I remember Master Hsuan Hua used to say, "There is no fixed dharma. If the dharma is fixed, then it is a dead dharma". A fixed "right view" is a dead view. It is a one size fits all approach. But we know that one size does not fit all. Responding to situations in life is also the same. We cannot apply the same approach in all situations. Peaceful means can be applied in most situations, but not all unfortunately. And if peaceful means fail, we may need to resort to other means. It's is terrible but sometimes that is the facts of life. On a smaller scale, in the working life, sometimes situations may warrant that we be a little aggressive in the way we deal with some colleagues. This is not to bully others, but to prevent others from bullying us. So, sometimes we need to show a tougher self. But we should never act in violent ways if it is inappropriate. If it is an expression of attachment anger, then already you have the wrong attitude and can only result in more bad karma. And more suffering.    

So, I leave you with this thought. Does it make sense?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How do we ascertain any view is right or wrong?

Question from someone in a forum: -

How do we know whether a particular view is right or wrong? Hence it is first and foremost to know "How do we know whether a data is NOT garbage data?" => "How do we know whether a particular view is right or wrong?" Kindly enlighten me.

My attempted answer that was not replied to the questioner but only posted here: -

1) Adopt an “auditor’s” mindset so that you don’t listen to only views of one particular side/view or tradition. Be open and independent (i.e. do not be judgmental) in your attitude. Listen to any view that comes. In Buddhist texts, this is explained by the analogy of the 3 kinds of vessels. This is referring to the vessel that is already full or contain toxic water inside. Whatever additional nectar poured into it will spill out or will be equally poisonous. The vessel should also not be upside down, i.e. you are not ready to be open and consider that view could be possibly true. A leaking vessel is when we hear a particualr view but dismiss it almost immediately, without any proper analysis.

2) Then subject the “view” to the tests much like the scientific lab tests that a scientist performs to verify and confirm his theory. By “testing”, it involves comparing, contrasting and analysis of the consequences, and other research on that view. In spiritual context, this means,

a) testing it against existing views from the classical spiritual texts and great masters.
b) testing it against common sense,
c) testing it against other religions views
d) testing it against scientific theories
e) research on the epistemology, ontology and other aspects of that view
f) put the view to practice and see what is the end results. This is called “walking the path to know its destination”. But one must be careful in case the destination proves to be the wrong one and it may be too late sometimes to pull out or back track.

 Notice that testing does not involve “asking the guru” because “testing” does not involve merely believing something. If you want to test something, you must put aside your devotion and all other personal views. “Auditor’s mindset” mentioned above is important.

3) We need blessings from the Buddhas and lots of positive karma. Without these, you will not be able to understand the “right view” even if it is presented to you on a golden plate. There is also the likelihood of misinterpreting the view or coming to the wrong conclusion even after all the tests done. The less delusion you have, the more likelihood you will come to the right conclusion. This third factor is the “unknown or variable” factor and is common in almost all equations. Hence, the importance of engaging in meritorious deeds, purification and repentance practices (i.e. cutting down on our negative actions, purifying our mind) and doing our preliminaries well before any realization can happen.

I hope this helps. The above are only my sincere attempt to answer and if you think it is not correct, please then ignore it as if you did not read it. May everyone be well and happy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Mo divination was accurate

Today I checked a Tibetan Mo divination for a relative who went to the hospital to take her biopsy test results. She has had some 14 polyps removed from her colon. And she feared the worst. And I was worried too. The Mo divination showed positive results and indicated a successful sign. Just to be sure, I changed the question slightly and asked about her health in a more general way. It gave a different answer. It was negative, something like there is still need to take caution for in the long term the health may not be so good. I did not understand the divination and not sure which to believe. Was it going to be good or bad? In the evening, after talking to the relative, then only I understood the answer given by the Mo divination. The relative confirmed the positive news that there was no cancer. However, she needed to take precaution on her lower stomach area because that area is still very vulnerable. Hence, both Mo divination on the two different questions turn out to be correct.

I am happy for my relative. At least in the short term, she is going to be fine. It is a cause for celebration. And indeed I was thinking of telling her that tomorrow is the day the Buddha descended from Trayatimsa Heaven after having gone there to preach to his late mother, who had been reborn in heaven. Refer my blog post on Nov. 18th, 2008 for details of this holy event. And that my relative should be a vegetarian to celebrate her temporarily cancer-free status. For throughout the duration, from 10th to 17th November, to honour this holy occasion, I remained meatless, and will be so tomorrow.   

Friday, November 11, 2011


Today, 10th November, 2011 is the full moon day, marking the Buddha's acceptance to descend from Trayatimsa Heaven after spending some time preaching there. And on the 17th November, that's the day he actually descended. I have blogged about this event in the past and you can refer to my previous blog posts on "holy days" to read them again.

Anyway, I take this occasion to wish my dearest Lama Zopa Rinpoche to stop manifesting the stroke and perform self-healing. Perhaps if Osel Hita Rinpoche were to start actively involved in Buddhism again, then he will self-heal even faster. This is a prompt for him to act now! Osel Hita must start thinking of us, ordinary sentient beings! It really does not matter if he thinks of himself as an ordinary sentient beings too. We don't think that he is. And he should take that opportunity to benefit us by re-connecting with all of us again. But  anyway, we cannot force him, right? It's our karma. We got to practice ourselves and achieve enlightenment. That's the best offering you can give your guru. And that is exactly what I aim to do. So, I pray , pray, and pray that Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche will quickly self-heal!

And o-yes... realised that by the time I post this message, it's the next day.... so... Happy 11.11.11 too!

Om Mani Padme Hum

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gayness is not the issue, attachment is!

Referring to this news which is the hot topic now in Malaysia, and the other news of certain opposition to the Elton John concert to be held in Malaysia just because of his gayness (refer news links below), I think it is silliness for certain segments of the Malaysian community to be so strongly anti-gay/lesbian. I have written before on this issue (refer blog on Aug. 16th, 2011) and it is clearly very possible for a gay or lesbian to be free from attachment despite their external sexual orientation/appearance. It is no longer a hindrance to such people. And one clear example is the woman (who lives with another woman, but have 2 daughters on her earlier marriage) who is said to be in a same-sex relationship for many years but is a Zen Master in her own right. She is Zen Master Soeng Hyang. Refer her bio in wikipedia. She is now the school teacher of Kwan Um School of Zen, founded by Zen Master Seung Sahn.
Refer ttp://

And you can refer to this link for some of her dharma talks. Listen to them and you can then decide whether she lives up to her title as a Zen Master.... Or, whether you think she has as much attachment as you and me.
Check "the mustard seed":

So, please stop marginalising people due to their external sexual appearance and stop discriminating against them! Remember: the message "Love is okay, attachment is not" applies to both the homosexual as well as the heterosexual groups. Even I say this, that does not mean I support that group. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I think that there is no need for any parade or street protest or anything like that. I am not sure how to explain until I came across something Neil Patrick Harris said recently. He said that gays and lesbians and be gays and lesbians without having to make any statements. In other words, you do not need to make your gender preference stick out in the public like a sour thumb. Put in another way, there is no need to wear a shirt with large words printed on it "I AM GAY". That's making undue attention to the LGBT group.

Refer news:-


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life is

I have 2 poems to share. Wrote them today. I'll let you think of their intended message, if any.

Mind clear like space

When chanting,
Just chant.
When meditating,
Just meditate.
When doing,
Just do.
When knowing,
Just know.
No Tibetan Buddhism,
No Zen Buddhism,
No Theravada Buddhism.
Mind clear like space.

Life is

Life is..
this much,
that much,
so much.