State of Catastrophe Declared in Chile After Massive 8.8-Magnitude Quake,2933,587565,00.html

Chile’s president declared a state of catastrophe in the aftermath of a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake Saturday that left bodies, crumbled buildings and outages in its wake.

Chile’s interior minister says at least 214 people had been found dead as of Saturday afternoon, and the pre-dawn quake, the most powerful quake to hit the country in a half century, also cut electricity, water and phone lines to many outlying areas, meaning there was no immediate word of death or damage there.

The quake also unleashed a tsunami across the ocean, putting much of the Pacific Rim on alert for potentially devastating waves.

We may be thousands of miles apart from those who perished or are hurt in earthquake, but let us take a minute out of our busy life and keep them in mind.

May those who can offer them help, offer them open-handedly.

May those in need of food, drink and shelter, receive them.

May those who need some to comfort, receive comfort and solace.

May all beings be well and happy.

Sabbe sattā sukhi hontu

SBF Press Statement on Pastor Rony Tan’s remarks

SBF Press Statement on Pastor Rony Tan’s remarks

9th February 2010 – Below is the official press statement issued by Singapore Buddhist Federation on the recent Pastor Rony Tan’s remarks.  Attached is the pdf file for reference.

The Singapore Buddhist Federation applauds the timely involvement and advice by the relevant authorities in stopping the potential damage being done to both Buddhist and Taoist communities by inappropriate and insensitive remarks made by Rev Pastor Rony Tan.

Lord Buddha taught us to be compassionate and forgiving, but repentance must be sincere and follow up with deeds lest this untoward event be forgotten and repeated.Genuine and continual inter-faith consultation is preferred instead of open instigation.

In this regard, the Singapore Buddhist Federation welcomes all initiatives from all quarters to facilitate maintenance of religious harmony in Singapore.

Issued by Singapore Buddhist Federation
9th February 2010


What the Teaching Is Not

In Digha Nikaya 1 Brahmajala Sutta – The Brahma Net Sutta (What the Teaching Is Not), the Buddha advised the monks on what they should and should not do when others speak in disparagement of the Buddha, Dharma or the Sangha.

An excerpt:

“… 5. Bhikkhus! If others should malign the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, you must not feel resentment, nor displeasure, nor anger on that account.

Bhikkhus! If you feel angry or displeased when others malign the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, it will only be harmful to you (because then you will not be able to practise the dhamma).

Bhikkhus! If you feel angry or displeased when others malign the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, will you be able to discriminatc their good speech from bad?

“No, indeed, Venerable Sir!” said the bhikkhus.


If others malign me or the Dhamma, or the Sangha, you should explain (to them what is false as false, saying ‘It is not so. It is not true. It is, indeed, not thus with us. Such fault is not to be found among us.’ “

In light of the recent debacle of a Christian pastor making wrongful comments on Buddhism and Taoism, it is good to remember the Buddha’s advice above.  For as long as I can remember, Buddhists in Singapore  has mostly been of a rather docile and meek manner even in the face of an attack on Buddhism.  I suspect that such behaviour is not necessarily due to the Buddha’s teachings as above, but because of our cultural influence.  The Singaporean (or Singapore Chinese?) attitude of “Kiasu” and “Kiasi”.

“Kiasu” is a close romanisation of the Hokkien pronounciation of 怕输 ‘afraid of loosing (out)’ while “Kiasi” means 怕死 ‘afraid to die’.  Kiasu can be a form of competitiveness but it can become a form of self-preservation mechanism that morphs into Kiasi.  Kiasi is a pronounced form of self-preservation fringing on cowardice.  It can also be seen as a developed application of ‘Mind your own business’.

In the past ten twenty years, Buddhists have gradually matured and outgrown this culture.  Whether on the press or on the net, Buddhists are remaining firm on what they stand for.  Without going to the extreme end of becoming religious zealouts, Buddhists are firmly saying “Enough.  This is not what the Buddha taught.  Stop spreading falsehood”.  This is encouraging and heartening to see both online and offline.

Let those Buddhists (monastics and lay alike) who are well-grounded in the Dharma stand up and establish what is falsely said, and declare what the Tathagata1 has taught.  Let those who are not well-grounded put in more effort to learn and practise so that they may be well established, for it is for their and others’ welfare and benefit.

Should a written apology be written by the pastor in his capacity as leader of his congregation?  Share your views either here or on my facebook wall.


1 Tathagata 如来 The One who has thus gone and/or the One who has thus come.  One of the epithets referring to the Buddha.


Digha Nikaya 1 Brahmajala Sutta – The Brahma Net Sutta (What the Teaching Is Not)

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year to all!

What are your ‘fortunes’ this year?

Will you have will-power to resist some of the little pleasures that you know is going to add inches to you?

Will the ‘Tiger year’ bring luck or a dash of anxiety this year?*

Can you make the right decision and choose between being ‘(self-)right(eous)’ and being ‘happy’?

Are the stars aligned, and the planets in tandem?*

Maybe this year, you can still be happy even if you do not get what you want.  Or can you?

Whatever will happen outside is dependent on many, too many factors and conditions.  Whatever happens in our mind depends on how we want to nuture and cultivate it.

So what are your ‘fortunes’ this year?  You decide.  That is all. ^_^

May you be guided and protected by the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.


* – I do not subscribe to the foretelling of fortune through horoscopes or astrology, although I recognise how the belief in them can influence our fortune through self-fulfilling prophesies.  See Macbeth for more literary exposition on it.