Category Archives: Buddhism

Stephen Hawking makes it clear: There is no God

Stephen Hawking concludes that there is no God.
Some people feel uneasy about this, as it seem to challenge their belief system. Does the fact that Stephen Hawking is a scientist make such a statement even more of a challenge?

Photo from computerworld.com

In Buddhism, there is no belief in God, as in creator God(s) who is responsible for our existence. Some may feel that a world view without a God makes our life bleak and meaningless, or at the very least amoral. But we are very capable of good and morality with or without a belief in God.

What do you think?

Hawking said: “Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation.”

I’m not sure whether there was a specific moment in which science overtook the deistic explanation of existence. However, El Mundo pressed him on the suggestion in “A Brief History of Time” that a unifying theory of science would help mankind “know the mind of God.”

Hawking now explained: “What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God. Which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”

 

http://www.cnet.com/news/stephen-hawking-makes-it-clear-there-is-no-god/

If I have a Special Power

cropped-IMG_20150422_085951.jpg

A friend asked me what I would like to have if I can choose any special power.  Anything at all.  Here’s what I would like to have:

I would like to be able to just snap my finger and have all sentient beings be completely, perfectly free from suffering, to be perfectly awaken, to be perfect, to be Buddha!

But alas!  No one can make others enlightened.  We must work on our own liberation, we must do the cultivation ourselves.  Enlightenment is not granted or or conferred.  It is not given.  It is through our own humanly possible effort that we work on shortcomings, flaws, faults, defilements and agitations in the mind.  To work on the habitual tendencies that compels us to repeat our mistakes.

Until one day, we cut the fetters that bind us.

That may seem bleak to some, that no one is there to save us, that we have to do it ourselves.  The good news is that we are not alone in doing this.  We have the teachings of the Buddha as our guide and instruction manual if you will.  What it means is that we are responsible for our happiness and no one else.  It also means that we are in charge and do not have to submit to someone else’s whims and fancy, to placate or please, to cajole or beg for liberation.

Two weeks from now, we celebrate Vesak in Singapore.  We celebrate this conquering of suffering through humanly possible effort.  We celebrate this potential, this Buddha nature, that is in all of us, in every sentient being, regardless of our race, language or religion.  Or for that matter, species.

May all beings be free from fear, free from harm,
May all be well and happy!

PS: So my friend, what super power would you like to have? 😉

Reference

Dhammapada XX: Maggavagga 275 – 276

275. Walking upon this path you will make an end of suffering. Having discovered how to pull out the thorn of lust, I make known the path.

276. You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.

Building Bridges Seminar

 

Today, we had an insightful morning at the Building Bridges Seminar, which is a conclusion of the series of three discussion forum between the Muslim and Buddhist faith.  The topic for this seminar is “Human Suffering, Spiritual Renewal and Common Action”.

There were three papers presented on suffering at the individual, social and ecological level.

1. A Buddhist View of Human Suffering – Ven Dr Chang Qing

2. Suffering: Social Perspective – Ven. Dr. Rambukewela Gnanaseeha Thero

3. Help Alleviate Human Suffering: Buddhist View from Ecological Perspective – Ven. N. Sumana Thero

Below is the link to the paper I presented which summarises the above papers.

Suffering – Understanding and Transcending it. A Summary of Human Suffering at Three Levels

 

8 Precepts Urban Retreat May 2015

8 Precepts Urban Retreat

Join us for a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of city life and find inner peace through the practice of mindfulness.

  • 8 May (Fri)
    Check-in | 7.30pm | Stay-in participants only
  • 9 May(Sat) One Day Retreat
    Retreat begins | Stay-out participants are to report by 7.30am
  • 10 May (Sun)
    Check-out | 10am | Stay-in participants only.

Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

For more information, please visit
http://www.kmspks.org/courses/rejuvenate-your-mind-and-body-4/

Vesak 3-steps-1-bow Practice 31 May 2015

The annual 3-steps-1-bow practice on the eve of vesak is once again upon us.  This year, it will be conducted on 31 May 2015, with 20k ~ 30k Buddhists participating in the 2.5 hours long round-the-monastery spiritual practice.

Yearly, Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery also issue free queue tickets for participants so that the monastery is able to cater to everyone’s participation from 6pm to 7am in the morning.

This year’s ticket for the practice will be issued on Sunday 24 May 2015 at 9am.

Those without the ticket may join the open queue which usually starts around 10+pm.

http://www.kmspks.org/news/distribution-of-3-steps-1-bow-tickets-free/

What is this 3-steps-1-bow practice about?

The practice itself involves doing a prostration followed by taking 3 steps.  This completes a set.  Together with thousands of fellow participants, one perform each set mindfully, in unison with each other and in line with the inspiring background chant of the verse “Namo benshi shijiamunifo” 南無本師釋迦牟尼佛.

The verse itself means

南無 Homage, Refuge 本師 to our root teacher 釋迦牟尼 the enlightened sage of the Sakya clan, 佛 the Buddha

In our life, we have many responsibilities, duties and pursuits.  While they may appear trivial to others, they are important to us.  Let us not ignore or deny that.  But for 2.5 hours, during this practice, we learn to put all these aside, both the trivial and important.  Not to escape, but to devote some time inwards.  To be mindful inwards, towards our body, speech and mind.

We put aside our daily pursuit for self-gratification, running after pleasure and away from discomfort.  We observe and learn about our body and mind, our strengths and our limits.  Ah, how the body can give rise to pleasure, but under the right conditions, it can also give rise to a spectrum of different experiences such as aches, soreness and pain.  We learn to face and embrace the body the way it is.

We also learn to see how our mind is stronger than we think we are.  We have more resilience than we realise.  That the mind can indeed triumph the body.

It is not the most relaxing or easy thing to do, to be honest.  But we learn to see how we do not always need the air-con to cool our mind.  That even as we perspire and experience heat and fatigue in the body, we can be tranquil in our mind.  As the Chan Buddhist saying goes “心静自然凉” “One is cool when the mind is quiet (and calm)”.

Mindfully, we take each step.  Mindfully, we prostrate.  Sincerely we purify our body, speech and mind.

Join us for this year’s 3-step-1-bow this year.  Let’s start the journey.  The way to Buddhahood is going to be tough, strenuous and arduous.  But it would be all worth the while.  And when you look around, fellow Bodhisattvas are there, with us along the way.

See you then!