Inner Peace: How to find peace in this frantic world

An article I wrote for NTU Buddhist Society’s Prajna magazine.


This Frantic World

Another academic year has come and gone, let us reflect on how the year has gone and how we can find peace in our life amidst this fast paced frantic world.

As I write this, I recall the recent bombing in Istanbul airport and shopping district in Baghdad.  2015 and 2016 has been pockmarked with so much attacks in public places, one has to wonder if humanity is on its way to write itself out of existence.

And when bombings are not in the news, natural disasters such as earthquakes, droughts, floods and typhoons seem to be the new norm in weather and news reports.

As though man-made and natural disasters are not enough, we see news about the economy and it’s not a pretty sight whether back home or globally.

Even if one can ignore the news, there is the seemingly never-ending cycle of exams.  Is there ever an end to all these?

What can we do about all these?

There are three main areas that we would be looking at.  1) Areas of changes externally 2) Areas of changes internally 3) Areas of acceptance

Read More …

Helping Others with Our Heart and Wisdom

So one day I was at lower pierce and saw some insects skimming along the surface of the water.  All was fine until I saw an insect struggling in the water.  Being kind and selfless, I reach out to save it.  Ok, it was probably not so heroic.  I just thought it was drowning and merely tried to fish it out … hehe

Photo I took of the mayfly scuttling around in the water.

I’ve dished out plenty of ants, houseflies, bees, tiny wasps from basins, toilet bowls, and yes mugs of water, so I was no stranger to insect rescue operations.  As I waited for the insect to recover, do some cleanup, I looked at it closely.

A picture from the internet of the insect that was resting on my finger.  Not taken by me … hahaha … This is more or less how it looked like, except that it’s wings was slum over my fingers and it didn’t look like it was in a rush to do cleanup.

Hmmm … … after a few seconds, something struck me.  It was like one of those Hollywood movies where the main character has a suddenly realisation of what actually happened!

I was not rescuing the fly.  It was quite happy cruising along, and as I discovered, it being a mayfly, it would breed in the water.  It was not drowning and didn’t require any rescue from me.  -.-”

That morning I learn something.  I learnt that we can sometimes make mistakes in our assessment of a situation and conclude wrongly that people need help.

Just as on the surface, the insect really looked like it was struggling, sometimes we may think that others have a problem and we have or are the solution.  The truth cannot be further from it.

When it struck me what was happening, I quickly put the mayfly back into the water and it didn’t drown.  I continued to buzz along, in the world of its own.

Sometimes when we go overseas to do humanitarian work, we hear of projects to build a modern toilet, to build this and that.  Is this an example of us looking at others as struggling in the water, when in fact they are doing just fine?

I’m not suggesting that we should stop our humanitarian works, but instead we should continue doing them, just to give more thought to them and not presume that we always have all the answer, or as a friend commented “What makes us think that transplanting our system to their country will help them when we ourselves are not necessarily happier?”.

Reminds me of the saying “A mud Bodhisattva crossing the stream cannot save oneself” … much less others.


Eight Awakening of the Great Beings

:: Eight Awakening of the Great Beings ::

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“Buddhist Disciples! At all times, day and night, sincerely recite and bear in mind these eight truths that cause great people to awaken.” – The Buddha

There are the Eight Truths that all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and great people awaken to. Once awakened, they even more energetically continue to cultivate the Path. Steeping themselves in kindness and compassion, they grow in wisdom. They sail the Dharma ship across to Nirvana’s shore, and then return on the sea of birth and death to rescue living beings. They use these Eight Truths to show the proper course for living beings, causing them to recognise the anguish of birth and death. They inspire all to forsake the five desires, and to cultivate their minds in the manner of Sages.

If Buddhist disciples recite this Sutra on the Eight Awakenings, and constantly ponder its meaning, they will certainly eradicate boundless offenses, advance towards Bodhi, and will quickly realize Proper Enlightenment. They will always be free of birth and death, and will abide in eternal bliss.

The Cycle

~ A short story written by Ven Chuan Guan.  An adaptation inspired by The Lotus Sutra and The Egg.

You passed away in your sleep, leaving behind your two kids.

Then you saw me. Or more like you noticed that I can see you.

“Am I dead” you asked.

“Yeap.” I replied.

“Is this the after-life? Am I in heaven or hell? … ” Read More …