Giving What People Want and Need and Not What We Want to Give

Last night, I visited a patient suffering from tuberculosis.  Counselled him and chanted Om Mani Padme Hum with him and his family members.  It’s been awhile since I chanted Om.  He is a long time chanter of it, so I explained in brief to him, the significance of this Mantra, and chanted Om Mani Padme Hum with him and his family members.

I had wanted to chant seven rounds of the small beads I was wearing, as I didn’t want to tire him out.  In the end, we must have chanted for 30 minutes to 45 minutes or so, so we reached around 8 and left at 9.  Ended with a recitation of the Heart Sutra.

In Buddhism, we give what is suitable and appropriate for the recipient and not simply shove what we prefer down people’s throat! 😉

This reminds me of the teaching in 《觀世音菩薩普門品》 “The Chapter on Universal Doors (Methods) of Guan Yin (Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva)”.

Below is an excerpt:

無盡意菩薩白佛言。世尊。觀世音菩薩。云何遊此娑婆世界。云何而為眾生說法。方便之力。其事云何。

Inexhaustible Aspiration* Bodhisattva addresses the Buddha: “World Honoured One, how does Guan Yin Bodhisattva traverse this Saha World, how does he speak (teach) the Dharma to the beings? Through what means is this possible?”

佛告無盡意菩薩。善男
子。若有國土眾生應以佛身得度者。 觀世音菩薩。即現佛身而為說法。

The Buddha tells Inexhaustible Aspiration Bodhisattva: “Good man, if there are such beings in the land that requires a Buddha to liberate, Guan Yin Bodhisattva, would manifest as a Buddha and teach the Dharma.”

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Food For Thought ~ Eat Your Own Dog Food

In the software industry that I came from, there’s an expression “Eat Your own Dog Food!”.  It means “Use the apps that you write”.  This made a lot of sense in that only when a developer use their own apps, do they perhaps know the pain or joy of using it as a user.

In organisations and societies, this statement is quite apt too.  If one organises events but do not take part in them, how would you know how well it was?  How would you learn from it or benefit from it?

Beyond benefitting from it, it is also essential for other reasons.  When we organise events for others without benefitting from them personally, then it is easy for our motivation to be pegged to the turn out of the event.  We start to feel disheartened if the turn out is low or be elated if there are thousands.

If management or the working committee organise events or activities solely for others, and have little intention or wish to participate, then it can become work, a burden, a duty.  Whereas if the comm organise events or activities that they themselves wishes to participate, and are interested in, then organising the event itself is rewarding already while the participation of the members come as a bonus!! 🙂

So, Eat Your own Dog Food!

References

Comments On An Article On The Kalama Sutta

A few weeks ago, Meng Haw wrote an article on the Kalama Sutta

He shared it with me and asked for my thoughts on it.  I finally dragged my bony fingers to pen a reply after handling a series of emergencies and releasing the two apps for Android and Apple devices (this message was brought to you by CGZX Labs – we code to bring you the Dharma).

Here are my thoughts on it.  🙂

Thanks for your thoughts and sharing on the Kalama sutta.

Inference is a powerful tool for a start and is often what we mostly use to begin with.  But mere logical reasoning and inference alone is insufficient.  That is I believe the point that the Buddha was trying to bring across.

Most of the other criteria listed is with reference to how people in those days (and perhaps even today) accept or reject a certain teaching or practice.  The Buddha’s point was how one can and should relate to a teaching or practice and consider it based on its tangible result rather than all the other reasonings, speculations, preconception of the teaching based on the messenger etc.

In my opinion, the Buddha was very utilitarian in his approach.  Choosing to look at the purposes and results as to whether it brings short and long term benefit to oneself and others, and not based on dogmatic doctrines.

It’s interesting that you mentioned about trusting and accepting the truth from the scientists.  I’ve mentioned in my talks about how today, the younger educated generation mostly accept whatever is pandered by folks in labcoats.  While I am not refuting scientific approaches nor its discoveries, I believe our acceptance is grounded in our 10 to 20 years of education that has drilled us into familiarity with modern science and accepting them.

While doing so is mostly ok, and in fact convenient for our daily life, it actually goes against the very principle of science.  We should accept the scientific findings with the openness that it can be disproved, or that it stands or holds true within certain known parameters, beyond which it fails.  The thing science has going for it is that for most intents and purposes, our daily encounter with science and technologies fall within the parameters and
boundaries of scientific discoveries and its applications.  So we are quite safe to assume that they are “truth” although a scientist would say “it is true within the following premise XYZ”.

I take a somewhat similar approach to Buddhism.

I like to ask the question “So what?”.  So what if all phenomena is permanent or impermanent?  So what if there is God or no God?  So what if there is self or no self, big or small self?  So what if there are aliens or not?  So what if we were created by God, aliens, evolved through evolution or born, driven by our karma?  So what?

I found that asking this question is many times, more meaningful than answering or discussing those preceding questions.  While those questions are intriguing, inviting and seductive, many times, it is the implications of the conclusions themselves that serves any purposes at all.

Whether a monkey was created by a God believed to exist or evolved from single-celled organism, the fact is, if you snatch the banana from a hungry monkey, you are in some deep monkey trouble!

The same applies to us human beings, whether we exist through our karma, created by aliens or God, or evolved to where we are, if our prized possessions are snatched from our grubbing little fingers, we fret and get upset or angry.  That much is true.

References

Brahma Net Sutra Bodhisattva Vows ~ Dharma Talk by Ven. Fa Guang

Introduction on Bodhisattva Precepts

Monastics observed the basic moral code in Buddhism, but in the Mahayana tradition, monks would additionally observe the Bodhisattva Precepts on top of the existing code. In Japanese Buddhism, new
monastic community was set up using the Bodhisattva Precepts exclusively.

Date : Thursday ~ 25 August, 15 September and 22 September
Time: 7.30pm to 9.30pm
Place: Poh Ming Tse Temple
438 Dunearn Road Singapore 289613

Dharma Series by Venerable Shi Fa Guang
Shi Fa Guang studied at Komazawa University, Japan. He received his bachelor of Arts(Buddhism) in March 2007. He further received his Master of Arts (Buddhism) in March 2009 from the same university and will be completing his PhD in March 2012

Ven.Faguang’s emphasis on Buddhism’s grounded practicality shines clearly for any open-minded seeker.

For any Enquires, Plez contact:
Su Hylan Ko 81619740
Phua Guo Wei 97971963