Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua's Advice on Curing Illnesses

My Comment:
In relation to my blog on Dr Wu Lien Teh, here is the spiritual principle behind what I wrote about Dr Wu's great deeds in China's epidemic. It is an important advice to all Buddhists. So, all doctors, nurses, and people who are helping sentient beings (including disaster volunteers and caregivers), you need to accumulate huge merits and virtue (or at least ensure your store of merits is not depleted), otherwise be prepared to sacrifice. You must be strong in your determination to help people and not to back down in the face of any personal tragedy. I say this also in view of the recent death of a doctor's son as reported in The Star recently. And also a daughter of a doctor I know also died recently. From this teaching by Ven. Master, it also seems that there were rich Malaysians offended by his comments. Shame. Shame. This Master was too straight forward. Nowadays many Chinese monks and Tibetan Lamas treat rich Malaysians better, am I right? They almost always get the easiest access to these monks and Rinpoches. Ordinary folks like me have to queue and book appointments. It is not easy to be called to have private audience with them. Rich people are mostly treated differently. This didnot happen with Master Hsuan Hua. Rich or poor, everyone is equally treated.   

All of you Bodhisattvas who have returned on the force of your past vows, you are now doctors and nurses, and have come back on your vows. Since this is the case, then do not forget those past vows to save people, and relieve their suffering.

Illnesses come about from several causes. Some people killed too much in the past, and so in this life they are much afflicted by illness. Some people in the past stole too many things, and so in this life have to suffer many unhappy illnesses that cause them great losses. Some people engaged in sex too much in the past, and in this life experience a weak body that is never healthy. Their essence and energy are not full. They experience many diseases of "emptiness," deficiencies. Some lied too much in their past and in this life are stupid, lacking wisdom. Where do these illnesses come from? They are all resulting from greed, hatred, stupidity, arrogance, and doubt. These are the cause of all illnesses. There are also illnesses caused by cause and effect. Illnesses can also result from deviant spirits, monsters, and goblins. Ordinary doctors have no way to cure these illnesses. The patient seems not to be sick, but in fact he is not healthy. It is a case of possession by an imp-demon. These goblins and monsters cause the person's spirits to be disturbed.

Medicines cure illness. Buddhism has a mantra, The Mantra of Great Compassion. If you can recite it until it is effective, magical for you, then it can cure all 84,000 kinds of illnesses, but you must concentrate as you recite , and gather in body and mind. Only then can you get a response. At this point, I will tell you doctors and nurses quite frankly, that I am also a doctor. I am also a nurse. The doctor that I am requires that I use no medicines. I use the Da Bei Jou instead. When I was very young, eighteen or nineteen, I used the Da Bei Jou to cure people. At that time, most of the illnesses I encountered came about because the person owed a karmic debt. The patient had a karmic obstacle that came looking for repayment. Most people referred to these situations as "possessions" of deviant illnesses. The first time I tried to cure an illness, it was a case of a woman who drank lye-water. Do you know what that is? It is the liquid that people use to make bean curd. When you add a bit to soy-bean milk, it curdles into bean-curd, and you can make bean-cake from it. If people drink this lye liquid straight, however, they can die from the poisonous effects. A little bit in bean-cake is not toxic. I remember a place in Manchuria called Eastern Well. There was a headman in the village called Li Sheng-syi. His wife had a fight with him and in a rage committed suicide. She drank a whole bowl full of lye water. Her mouth spit out white foam. Her eyes had rolled back and she was speechless. Her son heard that I was nearby and came looking for me.

In those days, in the coldest part of Manchuria, no matter whether it was winter or summer, I always wore three layers of cotton clothing, and no shoes, socks, or hat. I was young then. The boy came, hoping I would save his mother. At that time I didn't answer him or look at him. He knelt for twenty minutes, kneeling there. He looked very sincere. Usually after a person has swallowed lye for twenty minutes, it is fatal, too late to save them. But I agreed to go with him to his house, where I recited the Da Bei Jou for about five minutes. Suddenly this person in a coma spit up all the lye that she had drunk. She vomited it all up and she was cured. This is a true story of the Da Bei Jou's efficacy in curing illness. Lots of people in Eastern Well, after this incident, began to recite the Great Compassion Mantra.

One time there was a contagious epidemic there. A family of nine people, within three days, sent out eleven corpses to be buried. How is this possible? Two relatives came to visit, and died together with the family. In this little village, many people died of this contagious epidemic. I recited the Da Bei Jou on the outskirts of the village, and the epidemic passed on, it was quelled. The Da Bei Jou can cure all illnesses. This is my personal experience. There were many demons, goblins, and banshees who came to get even with me. They had sent illnesses to people whom I cured. If you save a person, you anger the ghost that is afflicting the victim. If you cure someone, there is still the matter of the unpaid debt, and the ghost is angry. As a result I made angry the li mei and wang lyang ghosts of the mountains, and the water-goblins and spirits of the oceans. I met all of the many imps and spooks of every description. Although the sick people all recovered, the spirits that possessed them wanted revenge. They wanted to kill me. When I stayed at Eastern Well, they sent a flood to try to drown me. The water-goblins tried to drown me there, and the flood they sent washed away over eight-hundred houses. Over thirty people were drowned. The waters rose and receded in only four hours. Even those people who tried to escape by standing on their beds were drowned all the same. It was a flash-flood that came and left quickly. Another time near Tyanjin, the same bunch of water-goblins tried to capsize a ship I was travelling on. It didn't overturn because Gwan Yin Bodhisattva came to my rescue, and I didn't have to disappear into the ocean. For this reason, after I reached Hong Kong, I decided not to play around any longer with other people's affairs.

I also met many unusual illnesses, and incurable maladies that I was able to cure. Unfortunately, if you take care of people's illnesses, their ghosts get upset and come looking for you. Doctors and nurses dispense medicines to cure illnesses. Sickness can be cured by using the five elements to mutually destroy or produce each other. For example, heart disease, liver troubles, the five organs, can be dealt with by taking the right medicine. This method of dispensing medicines is based on the five elements' cycles of production and destruction. If you can produce the right cycle, the person recovers.If you destroy the elements, the illness will not get better.

There are subtle and wonderful principles behind this work. To cure illness, a person must be replete in his personal merit and virtue. No matter whether you are a doctor or a nurse, your virtue must be intact. Why did I say that doctors and nurses are walking the Bodhisattva Path? Because as you cure people and save their lives, you relieve their suffering; this is part of the Path of Bodhisattvas.

Although it is a good thing to do, it hinges on a person's virtue. What is the Virtue of the Physician? "I regard others' sickness as my own sickness. I must exhaust my skill and strength to make that person well." When I was a student I read a lot of medical texts. They were titles from Chinese Medical Lore, such as, The Nature of Medicines Verses; Ba Shr Yi Nan Bing; (Jing): The Pulse Secrets; Sz Bai Rwei Tan Tou Ge; Yi Sheng Jin Jyan: San Han Lun Shang, San Han Lun Jung; San Han Lun Sya; Fu Ren Ke; Syau Ren Ke; I studied them all. But you know that after I finished my period of study, if I had become a doctor, I could have been a very successful healer. Why didn't I do it? Because I didn't have the gall, I lacked sufficient courage. I was afraid that I might cure someone to death. If I could cure ninety-nine out of a hundred people who came to see me, and there was one-half a person I couldn't cure, then I would feel that I had wasted this person's life. So I didn't dare go be a doctor. Moreover, I didn't want to make money. Although in this life I can't say I hated money, all the same I didn't want it either. At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, when we had the grand opening, and over two thousand people came, I said to everyone there, "All rich people, please pay attention! As a left-home person I have had a big fault my entire life. The people I look down on the most are rich people. They are wealth-guarding slaves, people who love money more than life itself. They go into the grave holding grudges and ledgers; they would rather die than let go of their bank-accounts. I look down on these slaves to their wealth."

After I gave this speech, over fifty people who had come from Malaysia wanted to liquidate me, and said, "We have all come to protect you, and now you turn around and scold us, saying we are wealth slaves. How can this be?" They wanted to get even, and do me in. In their delegation there was a left-home person named the Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda. They consulted this advisor and asked him if they could struggle with me and throw me over. Ven. Dhammananda comes from Sri Lanka, and is a Theravada monk.

He blew up and said, "You people have been studying Buddhism for decades, some of you are eighty and seventy years old. Your hair is already white and you still don't understand the Buddha-dharma! I have sat next to Dharma Master Hsuan Hua, and the words he says, every word and every phrase, reflect the Proper Dharma. If you go overthrow him, I will never have anything to do with you again. You go your way, and I'll go mine. I won't be your advisor any longer." This speech subdued them, and I wasn't forced to go through the inquisition. That was the end of CTTB's relationship withrich people. As a result, rich people never came to CTTB. The left-home people all said I was too clumsy. "Saying that cuts off your access to money!" So the CTTB is still as poor as ever, even to this day. We eat left-over, salvaged rice and vegetables. Time now for questions. Don't ask me questions that are too intelligent, because I am a stupid person, and I can't handle the tough questions. Stupid questions I can deal with, after a fashion.

Q: Lots of people are habituated to eating meat. How can you change them?
A: "There are two people inside the word for meat. The one inside is stuck to the one outside. Living beings in turn eating the flesh of other living beings: Isn't this just a form of cannibalism?"

Q: Can we give euthanasia to "vegetable people?" ("Joyful peace mercy death.")
A: I am not a vegetable person, so I won't answer this question. But if I put a person to sleep, I offend heaven and earth's preference for life. If you don't kill him, and he has no chance to live happily? I can't answer your question.

Q: How do I open the five eyes and the six powers?
A: What in the world for? Why would you want to do that?

Q: To walk the Bodhisattva Path.
A: Why do you want to do that? If you know what you are walking it for, then you know how to get the eyes and powers. Look at a baby. He knows how to drink milk very naturally. If you can cut off desire and put down all worldly dharmas, and can be adorned with the myriad virtues, then you can get them. If you only know to seek shortcuts, forget it. It's not possible for you.

Q: How can you cultivate the world-transcending path at home?A: Layman Pang off the T'ang Dynasty succeeded in cultivation while at home. Don't forever be asking "How? How? How?" Use your time well. Don't ask about the five eyes and six powers. This is like climbing a tree to look for fish. You won't find any fish there.

Q: How can you make all living beings seek the Tao?
A: If you yourself cultivate the Way and seek Buddhahood, just this is "all living beings seeking the Tao."

Q: What is the ultimate Dharma?
A: Sweep out all dharmas and leave all traces behind.

Q: How can I leave home?
A: Think it over carefully. Leaving home is not done on the spur of the moment, or briefly.

Q: I brought a glass of water. Can you bless it so I can use it to cure sick people?
A: Bless it yourself. This is much better than relying on external conditions. Don't rely on me, don't rely on yourself. Recite the Da Bei Jou sincerely, and use your own will-power. You will naturally get a response.

Q: I have a patient who seems to get better, and then gets worse. What is going on?
A: This is difficult. If a demon of illness comes and goes, it can be a pig ghost or a horse ghost, who comes and says, "You ate too much off my flesh and now it's time to pay it back." Cancer comes from having done too much killing. If you are afraid of getting sick, then eat less meat. If you don't fear sickness, eat all the meat you want.

Q: Does the Off to Rebirth Mantra really work? Do you have to be enlightened?
A: It doesn't take eight hours, eight hours is not apart from one single thought. If you have gung fu, then with the first recitation, a person can be crossed over. Without gung fu, you can recite until your throat breaks and it won't be effective.

Q: How about holding the precepts?
A: Taking them is one thing, holding them is another. If you truly understand, then do no evil and do all good deeds. Get rid of desire. If you can end desire and have no lust, then just that is it. If you can't cut off sexual desire, then whatever good you do is still considered demonic karma.

Q: If I recite the Buddha's name will it solve all my problems?
A: We don't recite the Buddha's name to solve problems. It's to be reborn in Amitabha's Land of Utmost Happiness. Reciting sutras builds your wisdom. If you have enough wisdom, then all problems are solved at the first touch of the blade.

Q: What does it mean to not seek?
A: Try your best. Don't take what you don't deserve.

Q: How do I get rid of greed, hatred, and stupidity?
A: Kill them.


P/S: I have taken down a blog post on Mark Zuckerberg as I do not wish this blog to be seen as influencing anyone to purchase its stocks/shares.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dr Wu Lien Teh - the bodhisattva from Penang

There was a local lecture yesterday about the great son of Penang who helped stamped the Black Death Pneumonic Plague in China in the 1910 to 1930s - Dr Wu Lien-Teh (popularly pronounced in Hokkien dialect as "Woo Lian Tay" but it is actually a transliteration of the mandarin name "Wu Lian-de". But in his schooling days in Penang Free School, he is better known as Ng Lean Tuck (although I personally think that it should be Lean Teik since "de" in mandarin is "teik" in Hokkien). His father's name was said to be "Ng Khee Bok". He was born on March 10, 1879. "Ng" is his family name (Wu) in Hokkien dialect. Otherwise, in cantonese, his name is spelled as "Gnoh Lean Tuck". "Gnoh" is his family name in cantonese. "Wu" is in mandarin. In other people, it is sometimes spelled as "Goh".  He had done great deeds to help sentient beings and I greatly adore his sense of duty and responsibility to help mankind even though there was almost zero % guarantee that he will ever leave the plague region alive. He was invited by China to help. He accepted it. I read that another doctor from the Chinese Imperial Navy declined. He got a Queens scholarship and went to England to study medicine at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The name he used (and inscribed on Penang Free School wall) was "Gnoh Lean Tuck". He had a string of other degrees (some of these are honorary).  But he did many researches and several of them very valuable in epidemic study. One of his treatises was published in a journal to the Leagues of Nations (now known as United Nations) and as a result he was the first person of Chinese descend to be nominated to a Nobel Prize for Medicine. He established many hospitals, labs and associations in China and help founded the Chinese Medical Association. The Qing dynasty people greatly adored him and so did the subsequent governments. He served whatever government was in power and was not the least interested in politics. He also stood up for anti-opium and its ban from trade. Read more about this great man in this link -

Even though he may not be an active Buddhist in Buddhist activities, but he truly contributed in a great way to mankind... and I suspect in dealing with the epidemic he might have appeased the animals (rats that were skinned for their mink, and that which caused the disease). I am sure he was reborn in one of the high heavens as a great god. People like him are also likely candidates for a manifestation of a Buddha/Bodhisattva. Even though he may or may not be one, but just by his deed alone, I dare say he was indeed a Bodhisattva! I adore and respect this kind of people more than people who wear Buddhist robes but disgrace the religion by their pretence and mambo-jambo concocted "religious teachings". It was a pity that while he tried his best to help the people in China during the plague, his family in Malaysia, through his first marriage, had to suffer. I heard that his wife, and his children all died one by one. They never lived long. Sometimes helping others is like that. Even though on a scientific level, we say that the diseases are caused by bacteria, but there could possibly be an underlying spiritual cause to it as well. And these spiritual causes are unknown to scientists. Spiritual causes are like karma. When people kill animals, they create bad karma. And there are animal demons/spirits that responded to the human bad karma and this manifested externally as bacteria spreading. Through Dr Wu's endeavour to help people, there might have been evil spirits that hated the way he helped people. While the demons were not able to "get" at him, they took revenge by "getting" his family members. I learned that Master Hsuan Hua had also once cautioned people to be careful in helping others, especially in using mantras to cure diseases. So, even though spiritual magic was possible to be used to help people, one must exercise tremendous care in using it. Use it in a not-so-obvious way. We are not Sathya Sai Baba. Even Sathya Sai Baba himself was not spared. His genuine powers were doubted by many and in his old age, it manifested as a debilitating disease to his body and it took away about 10 years of his life. He was originally predicted to live up to 96. He decisively bear all the brunt for our sake. So, these sort of things do happen to us when we try to help others. But if we do have bodhicitta, it's okay and is part and parcel of the activity of compassion. It happened also to Dr Wu, but he eventually re-married. The surviving descendants are from the subsequent marriage. When he came back to Malaysia, he also opened a clinic in Ipoh and he contributed many books to the Perak Library. He bought a house in Chor Sin Kheng Road, Penang and after one week of moving all his books and property back to Penang in 1960, he collapsed from a stroke and died on January 21, 1960. He lived up to the ripe old age of 80. He did not have to suffer a long and painful death. It might have been painful too but it was swift. Only people of huge karma need not have to suffer a long pre-death illness. He was not very much as well-known in Malaysia as he was in China. He lived a lower profile, and declined to join politics even though he was invited. Because of the low profile, I guess that was why the government of Malaysia never really took notice of him and never awarded him any posthumous national title. I feel that he deserved one. If Malaysia could award a "Tan Sri" title to P. Ramlee (a Malaysian local actor of Malay race, singer and entertainer famous in the 1960s and 1970s), why not to Dr Wu Lien Teh, who contributed to mankind (not just China). It is a mistake to see his contribution as just to China. Even Singaporeans were interested in this guy, especially during SARS disease, so much so that MediaCorp had produced a 3-part documentary on him. So, if Singapore and China could honour Dr Wu, why not Malaysia - the country of his birth? I don't see any excuses. His contribution was to China and not Malaysia? Absurd. Malaysia should be proud to have him invited to China to help in that situation of dire need. Other than a small road, a sport house in Penang Free School, and a residential garden named after him, he was not honoured in any other way befitting such a great man. Thus the Malaysian Federal Government and Penang State Government should both honour him pothumously as he should. It is not just my thinking but many people also think that he deseved so much more. Invite his descendants (especially the daughter - Wu Yu-ling) to receive it on his behalf. Neither him nor his family sought after such glories. He was giving selfless service. He did not obtain huge wealth from his duties in China. He did not crave for it. He died an ordinary citizen in Malaysia, unlike the hero he was while in China. But what a GREAT citizen he was - a bodhisattva citizen!    

When he first investigated the plague, he did some tests and confirmed it was spread through the air. Anotehr doctor from the West did not believe it was possible that the bacteria could spread by air, and thus the Western doctor died. The turning point of the plague came after he stumped upon a pile of dead corpse. It was said that it was the cultural or superstitious belief at that time not to cremate the dead. But because the ground during winter was hard, they could not bury all of the numerous dead bodies. There were many such piles across the regions. These piles were the source of the deadly bacteria and Dr Wu quickly sought the permission of the imperial palace to burn these corpses. After that, the number of victims reported daily slowly decreased and eventually the plague was over. From a spiritual standpoint, the pile of dead bodies are where the unhappy departed ones congregate. Because they were not provided with a proper "sending off", most of them hang around the place in sorrow (caught by group karma). For the first time, cremation was done in China and the deceased all departed from the area. That was the likely spiritual reason behind the decline of the plague.

During the talk, there was a gentleman who disputed why the Harbin (of China) people (who built a museum in memory of Dr Wu) described Dr Wu as having a "Doctorate" when actually he was just a "Medical Doctor".  I personally feel that such a dispute arises out of self-interest only. Even though Dr Wu may be a medical doctor but he also had a masters degree. And while I am not sure of the Doctor of Science degree he obtained was a doctorate level or an honorary one, still I feel that he did many researches and he wrote many treatises just like a PhD holder would. And the most important thing was that his peers at that time had a high regard of him and if they did not think he was their equal, their universities would not have awarded to him so many honorary PhDs. So, I feel that he had the necessary skill and knowledge of a PhD holder and that is more important than having the paper itself. Many people have got the PhD paper, but they never did any other treatises or researches after obtaining it. Then what? Do you think these people deserve to keep their "Doctorate" title and Dr Wu did not? Such disputes are absurd. Describing Dr Wu as just a medical doctor would be hugely inaccurate considering the many lab and medical researches that he was involved in, even though he may or may not have a Doctorate paper. Dr Mahathir was not involved in any researches or written medical treatises like Dr Wu. Thus you cannot put Dr Wu in the same level as Dr Mahathir (i.e. a medical doctor). Anyway, it is only academic now. It will not have any impact at all on the great man. If he knew of this sort of dispute over his doctorate title, I am sure he will just laugh it off. That is not the measure of a man. His contribution is. And I am sure he contributed much more than the man who brought or stirred up the dispute.   

Anyway then I read about the more recent plagues and apparently there are still plagues happening in remote places around the world. Just google "black death" or "epidemic plagues" and you will find many cases in wikipedia. One such case happened in 2008 to a US biologist. Read below.  

In that article, there was this question of what might be the next big epidemic? Well, we have seen one caused by pigs and one caused by birds in recent years. I think that we might have one that is caused by fish or seafood. Pray hard we don't get to see it happen.

By the way, Dr Wu also wrote his own autobiography entitled " Plague Fighter: The Autobiography of a Modern Chinese Physician". It was published by Cambridge. I hope to get this book. He also co-wrote with K. Chimin Wong a compilation called " The History of the Chinese Medicine". Someone during the talk said that it is the only book written in English on the subject, and it still is.  

Picture from :

Monday, May 14, 2012

Do Not Ban Animal Liberation in Taiwan

Referring to this and other similar news ...

...splashed across the globe and the internet, I have to reiterate what I have written in my previous blog posts before. I feel that such news is happening is due to 2 things:

1. The Buddhists (in this case, especially those in Taiwan) are probably not doing a good job in explaining the significance of animal liberation and its meaning;
2. The media, and especially non-Buddhists, are exploiting the issue for their own benefits. But I suspect that out of these 2 possibilities, it is really our own Buddhist ignorance that contribute to this issue arising. Why do I say so? Well, I have heard of Buddhists supporting the stop of these animal liberation activities. And some of these Buddhists who fail to understand the true significance of animal liberation are Buddhist monks and nuns. What a shame!

The fact that the animals are dying is in fact a sign that the prayers done during animal liberation ceremony is working. This is something non-Buddhists and I believe even Buddhists do not understand. This is because the reason for doing this animal release is not simply to perpetuate its animal life span. On the contrary, the Buddhists intend to help these animals leave or discard their animal lives and get reborn as a human on Earth or angel in heaven, which is better than to remain as an animal. Being animals, they are considered as one of the 3 lower types of rebirth, according to Buddhist teachings. Hence, the intention to help them attain a higher rebirth. And a natural process before they could attain a better rebirth, is to entail them having to die first in their current status as animals.

Unfortunately, our friends in the Animal Welfare or Environmentalist, do not understand this at all. While there are merits for protecting the animals in their present state, what they fail to understand if they ever try to ban animal releases in Taiwan, is that these animals will never be able to get an opportunity to attain a higher rebirth in the next life. They will probably stay as animals for a long, long time. And probably many lifetimes as animals. Those chantings of Sutras and mantras done for animal releases help these animals purify their bad karma and hasten their bondage to the animal kingdom. In this sense, what the Buddhists are doing is indeed a noble act of compassion. And it is far more compassionate than to preserve their habitat and present lives.

But I believe that the Buddhists could do a few things to improve the situation:-

i. Many such animal releases nowadays involve purchasing them outright from wholesalers (e.g. fishmongers, bird sellers). While I do think that it is acceptable even if we have to purchase these animals, a better way would be to liberate them in their natural habitat. It means, we have to go to their habitat to perform these ceremonies, and not bring the animals to us. There was once I even attempted to stop the pig abattoir from working for a day and thus save those pigs meant to be slaughtered by another day. I failed, but my intention of relating to you this story is to tell you that even such attempts is animal liberation. Of course, not to forget cutting down on our meat intake is also animal liberation.

ii. And if it is necessary to bring the animals to us, do make sure you release the animals back to their natural habitat. If possible, release it back to the place where it was originally caught.

iii. If you need to purchase animals for animal liberation, try to purchase them direct from the place where their lives in in danger. In other words, purchase fish from the seafood restaurant, and not the fishmonger. Even though you think the fish from the fishmonger will eventually go to the restaurant, it is different. If you tell the fishmonger you will be buying it from him on such and such a day, he will just catch more fish prior to that. Therefore, it is still better to buy it from the seafood restaurant. But it will mean buying the fish and other sea creatures at dinner meal prices, which will be a lot more expensive. Nevertheless, whether buying it from restaurant or the fishmonger, I still believe the final intention is that an animal liberation done is better than not doing it.

When I first did an animal liberation at an FPMT center, I was told off by one of the center members for catching animals to the ceremony. You see, I told the member that I spend some time to catch some ants at my garden to bring them to the ceremony. I wanted to benefit animals in my natural surrroundings, without having to purchase any of them. Even though I was new to the center then, but I understood the dharma very quickly. The senior member said that the purchase of animal liberation is to release animals and did not understand why I had to catch them. It is a pity that it was him who failed to understand the purpose of animal liberation. After the ceremony, I took the ants back to my garden and released them back to their natural home. That is how animal liberation should be done, and I understood it perfectly well even before I had understood the chapter on animal liberation in The Golden Light Sutra. People should listen to my advice, but since they think they know better, I just kept quiet.

The conclusion of what I have to say is that Buddhists should continue doing the animal liberation chantings but to release it properly back to their original habitat. And not to simply release it anywhere convenient or anywhere they like.  If they are not sure, consult an environmentalists. For the environmentalists, animal lovers and animal protectors, my advice is that they try to understand better what Buddhists are doing in these "animal releases". Do not simply jump to wrong conclusions. And also not to misplace your love for animals and the environment, until these animals have to stay forever as animals. Just imagine yourself trapped in an animal body and unable to free yourself, because no one gets you near a holy object or chant mantras for you. But whatever it is, please do not stop Buddhists from doing the animal releases. It is actually for the good of these animals, even though you see many millions die. For non-Buddhists who do not believe in rebirth and karma, they will say this is rubbish belief. But for Buddhists, it is a blessing to hear the dharma even if it is just for a few seconds. It also does not matter  if we do not understand what we are hearing. Because of the good karma of hearing the dharma, it immediately caused you to be reborn into a better place amongst the humans and angels. So, that's why your animal body has to die. But I caution too that not all animal deaths are due to their good karma. Indeed, it could be releasing the animals into the wrong habitat. That is human carelessness and Buddhists have no excuse whatsoever not to do it right. Hence Buddhists must do it right and everybody gets to benefit from it - i.e. the humans who arranges and performs the chanting get good karma, the environment gets preserved as well as the animals that gets to be reborn into a better place when the time comes. Hence, Buddhists all over the world, and especially those in Taiwan, have a duty to explain to the press media and to their Taiwan Government, the right message about animal liberation ceremonies.   

Monday, May 7, 2012

Ajahn Maha Boowa's Enlightenment

My Comment:
If there is anyone in Theravadian tradition that commands as much of the Thai Buddhists' respect as Ajahn Chah, it is Ajahn Maha Boowa, who is reputed to be an Arahant. I place my highest respect to him. I extracted some paragraph's from a book; title, publisher and copyright as detailed below. You see, even Theravadians have their own enlightened masters. I have no doubt in Ajahn Maha Boowa's accomplishments. He left the worldly life at the long age of 97 years. I have extracted these few paragraphs in the hope that this will inspire faith in people and enable us to exert more effort to achieve the same.
By the time I reached my 16th rains retreat, my meditation was progressing to the point where mindfulness and wisdom were circling around all external sensations and all internal thought processes, meticulously investigating everything without any aspect unexplored. At that level of practice, mindfulness and wisdom acted in unison, like a Wheel of Dhamma, revolving in continuous motion within the mind. I began to sense that the attainment of my goal was close at hand. I remembered my earlier vision predicting attainment in that year and accelerated my efforts.

Luangta Maha Boowa
Fortunately, the current of Dhamma that flowed through my meditation had reached an irreversible stage. By May of the next year, my meditation had arrived at a critical phase. When the decisive moment arrived, affairs of time and place ceased to be relevant. All that appeared in the mind was a splendid, natural radiance. I had reached a point where nothing else was left for me to investigate. I had already let go of everything – only that radiance remained. Except for the central point of the mind’s radiance, the whole universe had been conclusively let go.

At that time, I was examining the mind’s central point of focus. All other matters had been examined and discarded; there remained only that one point of “knowingness”. It became obvious that both satisfaction and dissatisfaction issued from that source. Brightness and dullness – those differences arose from the same origin.
Then, in one spontaneous instant, Dhamma answered the question. The Dhamma arose suddenly and unexpectedly, as though it were a voice in the heart: “Whether it is dullness or brightness, satisfaction of dissatisfaction, all such dualities are not-self.” The meaning was clear: Let everything go. All of them are not-self.
Suddenly, the mind became absolutely still. Having concluded unequivocally that everything wihtut exception is not-self, it had no room to maneuver. The mind came to rest – impassive and still. It had no interest in self or not-self, no interest in satisfaction or dissatisfaction, brightness or dullness. The mind resided at the center, neutral and placid. It appeared inattentive; but, in truth, it was fully aware. The mind was simply suspended in a still, quiescent condition.
Then, from that neutral, impassive  state of mind, the nucleus of existence – the core of the knower- suddenly separated and fell away. Having finally been stripped of all self-identity, brightness and dullness and everything else were suddenly torn asunder and destroyed once and for all.
In the moment, when the mind’s fundamental delusion flipped over and fell away, the sky appeared to come crashing down as the entire universe trembled and quaked. When all delusion separated and vanished from the mind, it seemed as if the entire world had fallen away and vanished along with it. Earth, sky – all collapsed in an instant.
On May 15th of that year, the 9-year prediction from my earlier vision was fully realised. I finally reached the island of safety in the middle of the great wide ocean.          
-      Extracted from “Samana – Luanta Maha Boowa” copyright by Bhikku Dick Silaratano, published by Forest Dhamma Books. 2011.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Happy Wesak 2012

Wesak Day is always the best day of the year for me. For me, this is the Saka Dawa, whereby merits are multiplied by 100 million times. Tibetan Buddhists celebrate Saka Dawa on other days according to their calendar, but I am not Tibetan. So that is quite foreign to me actually, even though I do celebrate these as well. I am more accustomed to celebrating the Buddha’s holy day on Wesak Day, i.e. on the 4th moon 15th day of the Chinese calendar.  

I feel that Malaysians as a nation is deteriorating. And I am not referring to the government or politicians. I am referring to everybody generally – almost every sector of the society. I feel that people are becoming greedier, angrier, more emotional, more easily resorting to committing crime, too much politicking, can’t evaluate situations objectively, too impulsive and generally more stupid. This bode badly for the nation.  Even Buddhists with many years of practice and study have narrow-minded thinking and behaving arrogantly.  I don’t mind if people disagree with me, but when people ignore you, it is a terrible feeling. But what can I do? Nothing. I feel deeply anguished especially when I see people’s karma deteriorating badly. What is more saddening is when I see young people no longer having the good karma to be interested in their religion. For them, Wesak Day is only an annual affair, just to worship a statue. They prefer to attend a workshop that teaches you to earn more money on futures, than a dialogue dharma session between a Zen monk and a Tibetan High Lama. Then there was the case of some colleagues who do not wish to donate for a lamp lighting at the 4 Great Buddhist Holy Places and meal offering (Sanghikadana) for monks at the 4 Gelugpa moansteries, but make donations for a fund meant to rebuild a local Tua Pek Kong (a local deity) temple.  I have no qualms about people donating to Tua Pek Kong temple, because I do too at times. However, I am sad when people do not see the vast positive merits created by making lamp and meal offerings at Buddhist Holy Places. It is when I compare these people and myself, then only I realise my good fortune. Tremendously good fortune.
So I hope I will never forget that. And I hope you will not, too. In the meantime I want to share this reminder – one of the last reminders – from Zen Master Seung Sahn. It is a short video I found in youtube. He gave that advice in 2003. He left his body in 2004. For serious practitioners, it is time to get serious with your meditation practice. Ask yourself – is there progress? Reflect on this.

I wish everyone a HAPPY WESAK 2012!