Monday, March 25, 2013

Sangha leaders in Myanmar must advice the local Buddhists

Referring to the news above, I want to state my stand here that I think that there is something utterly wrong somewhere if you were to wear a robe of a Buddhist monk but holds a knife at another's throat threatening his life, just because of a difference in faith. It means the monastic robe is not longer sacred and it does not hold much meaning to him anymore than just another normal clothes that lay people wear. It's the fault of people who think they hold the original and truest teachings of their religious founders for all major religions. Even if everybody else profess the demonic teachings, the saints must learn to live in harmony with the "lost souls". But even the gods cannot live in harmony with the demons. How can humans? How can we so long as our religious teachers keep harping that other teachings are wrong and destined to burn in hell? And our Buddhist leaders, especially certain Theravada teachers, have only superficial harmony with others from another tradition. Therefore, how can they live peacefully with others from another religion, if you can't even be in harmony with your fellow Buddhists? The incidents of intolerance and killing by Buddhists monks reported in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and anywhere else is indeed a shame to the principles taught by the Buddha. If they care so much of the originality of the Buddha's teachings, why is it that they are not holding to such a fundamental teaching of the Buddha? Their Buddhist monk leaders have clearly not done enough to teach this to their students or disciples. They emphasize more on their ethnicity in the fight with other ethnics in their country. But they forget they are also Buddhists and people will see this as Buddhist monks fighting and killing. I pray they come to their senses and learn to live peacefully with others. The "Buddhas" must learn to live peacefully with the "Maras". You can't eliminate all Maras. Ultimately they come from our afflictive emotions. Rightful thing is to deal with that first.

I am not saying the Buddhists are entirely to be blamed for this issue. I think I have explored this issue in an earlier post on the matter. So I will not repeat it here.
Rightful thing to do is for the Sayadaws to speak up and advice the local Buddhists properly in order to contain the violence in Myanmar. Their silence is deafening. I think the local Rakhinese Buddhists generally look up to the Buddhist Masters and will listen to their advice if they speak up. I think even if the Sri Lankan or Thai chief monks were to speak up, and if the news reach Myanmar, I think the Buddhists in Myanmar will listen. I think even Ajahn Brahm and the other European monks should speak up too. When violence is happening and it involves the Buddhist faith, they cannot remain secluded in their forest retreats. I find it utterly disturbing that Buddhists can go on their usual business as if nothing concerns them. Where is their compassion? It's not only about the Myanmar Buddhists, but the dignity of the entire Buddhism as a religion is at stake here. Other faiths will say "Look at the violence you guys have done in Myanmar. Despite all the talk about the peace in Buddhism, your monks can even kill others.... Your peace is a fake.... BUDDHISM IS A FAILURE". If the Sangha leaders remain silent, it clearly shows they do not have the bodhicitta that Mahayanists talk about. But if they do possess this quality, they must do something about the situation. I think. What do you think? But my advice is likely to fall on deaf ears. This blog post is unlikely to reach anywhere. When people who are in a position to do something don't do what they are suppose to do, what can small flies like me do? Hence the least I can do is to write my advice in my blog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Dalai Lama: Re-think Our Traditional Buddhist Ways

This is the first part of five that records the interview between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Hyon Gak Sunim. Hyon Gak Sunim is a disciple of Zen Master Seung Sahn but has left Kwan Um School of Zen to be largely on his own. So this video means a lot to me because both Buddhist traditions have made much impress on me. Watch all five parts. In his message, I think the Dalai Lama is trying to encourage Zen tradition to think out of the box and not just follow centuries old tradition. Since the society nowadays is very much grounded on logic and scientific thinking, try to introduce some "words and speech" kind of study into Zen, although traditionally Zen is "beyond words and speech". He is not asking us to abandon it altogether, merely introduce other elements to make it more relevant to our society. All Zen Masters should pay heed of this advice. In Korea especially, many youths are attracted to Christianity and have converted. Christianity is definitely easier to understand. Korean youths might find Zen Buddhism confusing especially those puzzling Zen koans. We must adapt to our times in order for Buddhism to survive. I am not sure if His Holiness has said it or not, but I think the same is true of Tibetan Buddhism.

Also another point brought up by His Holiness is the need to identify ourselves with broader concepts, ultimately identifying ourselves a "humans", rather than narrower concepts like religion, race or politics. For example, Theravadians, Mahayanists, Tibetan Buddhists, Protestants, Catholics, Sulus, Sabahans, Chinese, Malay, etc. We should broaden it to Buddhists, Christians, Asians, etc. Then broaden it even further to just Humans.  He pointed that it is because we identify ourselves to these narrow concepts that often people fight. We fight because we want to defend our narrow little concept. We destroy each other for our own ego. In the end we achieve nothing, and indeed, everything may be destroyed. He used the example of North and South Koreans. They are the same race and the same country, but because of their narrow political identity, they end up being enemies. It's ridiculous if you think about it. Asean talks about achieving an Asean Community in 2015 or 2016, but if one country still desire to claim land that belongs to another country all these years, then what does that tell you about that community? It's superficial. There's no unity at all. Asean Community is a dream and will stay a dream if people don't let go of their selfishness, attachment and ego. So, please think about the message given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Liberation of the Penis: What is its true nature?

This is something just came into my mind in a flash of a moment. So I better write it down in case I may forget. If you are a man and you find it difficult to understand the concept of emptiness, hopefully you will find this blog post useful. All guys have something in common that women don't. Do you know what it is? A penis. Commonly referred to as the dick. What is the nature of a dick? Is its nature long and hard or short and soft? Representing "form" is "long and hard". Representing "emptiness" is "short and soft". So, putting it similar to the passage in the Heart Sutra,
"Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Form is nothing but emptiness. Emptiness is nothing other than form."   
"Long and hard" penis is "short and soft" penis. "Short and soft" penis is "long and hard" penis. "Long and hard" penis is nothing but "short and soft" penis. "Short and soft" penis is nothing other than "long and hard" penis.
You probably know that both "long and hard" and "short and soft" are both part of the penis with only the conditions surrounding it that makes it either "long and hard" or "short and soft". For example, once the conditions for "long and hard" disappears, the "short and soft" appears". Once you get excited again, the conditions for "long and hard" re-appears.  Once you understand this, you have a little bit of understanding of form and emptiness. Where has your long and hard penis gone to when the short and soft one appears? In reality, it has not gone anywhere. It's right there within the short and soft dick.  Where is form? Where is emptiness? Different conditions but yet not apart from each other. Where is the Buddha Nature when you experience samsara? It is similarly right there within samsara. Only the conditions are not there for you to experience it. Where has samsara gone to when you experience the Buddha Nature? Actually samsara has not gone anywhere. Once you make a vow to re-enter samsara for the sake of all sentient beings, you will experience samsara again. As Khenchen Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche said - samsara and nirvana are two sides of the same hand. In our context here, I will put it as "samsara and nirvana - two conditions of the same penis". Once you have understood the conditions surrounding your body, you will no longer be bound (as in attached) by them. You will be free from the problems of attachment to long and hard penis versus short and soft penis. You will be free once you are in control of the conditions that causes them. And you should be in control because in reality we are in control of our actions, thoughts and speech. Only when we are confused, we are controlled by those conditions. And we end up being slaves to our desires. For example, you think there is something special about long and hard penis and you start to be horny. That's the problem. In the early morning when guys have an erect penis, if you just let it rest as it is and don't re-act towards the conditions that arise, they will subside soon later. So conditions come and go. Once we understand the nature of those conditions and not let it muddle our thinking or actions, we will not be controlled by these conditions. Hopefully we can be free of being slaves to ourselves. Yes, be free. Be a Master to ourselves. Not slaves. Think about it. So, we have successfully (I hope) used a somewhat unusual way to point to the dharma. My apologies if anyone find this offensive. But in reality, the dick is part of the man's anatomy and it is neither derogatory nor otherwise. It is just what it is - a penis! The Zen Master's answer to "Which is the true nature of a penis?" would be to just wag his own penis, or pee right there and then!  He is demonstration control and function of a penis. In this case, there is no need for words and speech. That is Zen.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Buddhist Should Pray for Sabah Issue to be Resolved Peacefully

Malaysia has been relatively peaceful so far. Nature has been good to us. we don't have volcanoes or affected by the hurricanes that some nations suffer every year. We only have floods. We don't have problematic states seeking independence and insurgents here. But the recent situation in Sabah could potentially change all that peace we have enjoyed so far. It was attacked by a group of intruders trying to claim Sabah as thier homeland. However it is foolish if anyone thinks it is just a Sabah issue and therefore only they have to worry about it. This is so wrong. It is every Malaysian's issue. It could potentially drag on and cause more lives. So it will be ashamed if I am the only person suggesting Buddhists to dedicate their prayers for peaceful resolution to the conflict in Sabah. Buddhists cannot sit down and see events unfold. The least we could do is dedicate the daily prayers we do. That is what I am doing. Nothing special, but yet I am doing something on my part for the nation. And you will notice that I said that we pray for the situation to be resolved peacefully. I did not pray for those intruders to die. As a Buddhist, I believe in compassion and forgiveness. If they surrender, I hope we will let them go back to their actual homeland, i.e. the Phillipines. I always believe in giving criminals a chance to change for the better. Only if they don't change, will the full force of karma befalls them. And how sad that will be because lives many lives may be affected. Not just them but people who defend our country. Nobody wants to die in a battle field. So lets pray hard for common sense and wisdom to prevail. Malaysia did not annexed forcefully Sabah from them like the way Kuwait was annexed by Irag last time, or like the way China attacked Tibet in 1959. I feel that if anything it is the people of Sabah who should determine the future of Sabah. And that had been done in 1962 whereby the Cobbold Commission had determined that the people of Sabah wanted to join Malaysia. Hence the issue of the Sultan of Sulu, even if they are the rightful heirs, should not arise anymore. The people of Sabah had spoken way back in 1962 and they want to be part of Malaysia. Not Sulu. Any terrotorial claim to any land that is inhabited, must take into account what is best for the people there, and not just mere geographical or historical evidences. This is my personal opinion.
I call upon every Buddhist brothers and sisters to dedicate your daily prayers for the conflict in Sabah to be resolved peacefully and the Sulu intruders to return to the Phillipines peacefully. May no further persons die in the conflict! OM MANI PADME HUM!