Eat and Drink in Moderation 於食知量

Swiss woman dies after attempting to live on sunlight; Woman gave up food and water on spiritual journey


Documentary film ‘In the Beginning, There Was Light’ gave her the idea

Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reports that a woman starved to death after embarking on a spiritual diet that required her to stop eating or drinking and live off sunlight alone.

It is saddening to see such a news.  Sad on two counts.  1. That this woman lost her live because she adopted an inappropriate practice that would seem to be unsuitable for human beings.  2. While many hundreds and thousands around the world go hungry or starve, they don’t go on the news.

Eat and drink in moderation 於食知量

The Buddha taught the way to True Happiness by the Middle Way, the Noble Eightfold Path.  With respect to food and drinks, he advocated moderation as well.

In the Aparihani Sutta (AN4.37 [1]), the Buddha advised thus:

“And how does a monk know moderation in eating? There is the case where a monk, considering it appropriately, takes his food not playfully, nor for intoxication, nor for putting on bulk, nor for beautification, but simply for the survival & continuance of this body, for ending its afflictions, for the support of the holy life, thinking, ‘I will destroy old feelings [of hunger] & not create new feelings [from overeating]. Thus I will maintain myself, be blameless, & live in comfort.’ This is how a monk knows moderation in eating.”


To eat enough to sustain the body, and not to overeat.  Eating mindfully, one may allay hunger and not give rise to greed, hatred and delusion.

In the Buddhist commentary, Yogacarabhumi sastra  瑜伽二十一卷七頁云[2]:
What is Moderation in Food?  Where one has guarded one’s sense doors, reflecting rightly, consuming food not in excess, not for pride or wantonly, not for adornment or beautification, but for calming one’s body, for sustaining it temporarily, for removing hunger and thirst, for enabling one’s cultivation, for removing old feelings and not give rise to new feelings, for sustaining the effort and joy in blameless calm abiding.  This is named “Moderation in Food”.
Dear friends, are you hungry yet?



Sometimes People Ask Me When I Would Be Free. I Am Almost Never Free, But I Would Gladly Make Time For You.

Sometimes people ask me when I would be free. I am almost never free, but I would gladly make time for you.

It’s the same with Buddhism or anything in our life. If we think “I’ll do that when I am free” or “I’ll call when I am free” or “He will call when he is free” … it probably means that you are placing that as second priority or for the latter, you are second fiddle.

And more often than not, I see people failing in their goals or succeed half-heartedly because they only do it when they are free. 

Do it even when you are not free.
Do it not because you are free and have nothing better to do.
Do it even when you are busy.
Do it not because you are not so busy now.

Good nite everyone.

I’m Doing This For Your Own Good … My Mom Used to Say …

I do not know about your mom, but my mom would always say that she is doing this and that for my own good.  Many times I would challenge her.  Not exactly the easiest son to bring up. ;p

Now, years later, I look back in hindsight, the advices she gave me, the caution she pointed out, not to mention the parties and outings she forbade me … and I wonder how my life would have turned out if I
ignored her advices.  Would it have turned out differently?  Will I be a better or worse person?  One can only guess or speculate.  No one knows.

For the most part, her advices were fairly sound.  Like she would tell me, “study first, play later” or “when you finish your studies, I won’t bother if you play your games (or write them!) … “.  She didn’t know that I would take her word for it.  When I finished my studies, I played games practically, for all intents and purposes, non-stop for two months.  I played until my best friends like got worried for me.  I played until my mom started asking when I’m gonna find a job.  To which I’m like “Didn’t you say that … ” … ;p … tough arguing with that!

I played until my counselling-mentor supervisor at Shanyou recommended me to a company.  No, they didn’t know I was playing games like there was no tomorrow! ;p … I played until my sister got me the Recruitments page from ST, circled a few positions with a highlighter and thrust it at me.  Okay okay … I get the message!  I’ll go get a job!

I was able to do that because I listened … more or less listened to my mom’s advice to study first and play later.  It was a privilege I earned.  But it was possible also because my parents did what good parents did, took care of the family, the kids and most importantly also took care of our home learning 家教.  Without any of that, it would not have been possible.

But there were moments when I didn’t listen to their advices.  I ate eggs, chicken and drank chicken soup on the very evening I was admitted to CDC for chickenpox.  I even bathed!  Fortunately there was the anti-biotics medicine to prevent complications from the water bubbles.  ;p No harm done I guess.

I also got my sis to pull out all my hair one day, ‘cos I was sick of being told that three white hairs would grow in place for each one you pulled.  I challenged that and put myself on the line.  In principle, the statement did not specify the duration for the growth to take effect.  So that’s a blank cheque and loop hole.  So we counted the number of white hairs she plucked and waited.  No, not on the spot silly!  I sorta gave it a month … nothing happened.  But of course nothing short of the usually hair growth happened.  But having disproved it, I rest safe to pull out white hairs if I wanted to.  I never repeated that experiment. hehe

Let’s see, what else did I do?  Oh yes, I also pointed at the moon with my fingers, thumbs and what have you got.  My ears are still intact.

But there were other times I got myself burnt, hurt and cried my hearts out.  Sometimes it is physical trauma, other times emotional ones.  Color me crazy, but I do not regret the emotional ones.  Physical traumas are ones that … given a choice, I would rather not go through it again.  But, having gone through them, I sorta know my threshold for physical pain.  So, maybe it was not so bad after all?

Emotional hurt is another thing altogether.  Meeting a person, getting to know each other and somehow clicking, is something that perhaps will never be synthesized by science.  Given a choice to live my life again, I would go through the relationships again.  Except that this time round, I would be more understanding, more giving, more caring, more patient, more loving, more thoughtful, more forgiving, less flustered, less jealous, less demanding (really?? ;p), less selfish, … … well, if I don’t succeed in ending samsara … many more chances … hahaha …

I learnt a lot from relationships.  From the care and love from the other person, I instinctively extended that to my parents, my sisters, friends and people around.  As I admired the qualities of the other person, I tried to emulate them, growing in the process.  Through loving the special other, I learn to love even more, my parents, my sisters, friends and people around.  As I speak gently to her, I learnt to speak gently to others (but not in the mushy way I hope!
hahaha).  As I cared about how her day was, I learnt to care about the day of others.  As I feel for how she felt towards how I acted, I learnt how I must have hurt my parents so many times.  I think I come out better.  Not by much I must say, but perhaps we have to learn a lot … a lot a lot … through experiences, before we become Perfect, become Enlightened, become an Arahant, a Buddha.

Sometimes relationships are strange as well.  When one or both parties start to act like mommies, things get really strange.  Then we get one person trying to act in the best interest of the other, supposing the best for the other.  Such a relationship can sometimes backfire.  It can backfire in a parent-child relationship, much more in that of an adult couple relationship.  Couples should have confidence and respect for each other, enough to trust that the other person can make his or her decisions and not need to mother over them.  Granted, there are exceptions, but sometimes we have to realise that relationships are not balance-sheets, you cannot account for everything.

Relationships are also not businesses.  It is not about being efficient or productive.  If you want that or be calculative, go start a business.  Countless people spend countless hours, days and nights, making small little things to express their admiration or appreciation of their special other.  We say that it is the thought that counts, but the effort behind also speak volumes.  After all, “mind is the forerunner of all” – Dhp 1, the mental effort behind those physical effort must be tremendous!  If one were to try to be ‘efficient’ then maybe one can and should just buy this or buy that … or …

But in some ways, relationships are also like businesses.  If one were to spend too much time worrying about the outcome, one may never start a business.  In Singapore, we have a joke about how most graduates are workers, albeit executives, while non-graduates are businessmen.  You see, after pondering, calculating, speculating, discussing, planning, anticipating, charting, mulling, and all other “ing”s, they get too frightened, drained or immobilised, they give up altogether.  I’ll leave you to figure out about why non-graduates are businessmen.

In this aspect, relationships are similar.  If one try to chart out a relationship from start to end, one would never start it.  Why?  Because you either suffer first or suffer later.  Having said that, I say that if you want to begin a relationship, go in, give it your best, give your whole totality in it.  Otherwise, don’t.  If you fear being hurt, and so you don’t love, you won’t have love.

To love or be in love.  Do you care more about the other person’s feelings and well-being (to love) or do you care more about your own (good feeling of being in love)?  Sometimes in relationships, there comes a time when you see that the other person is hurting just to see you.  While you know that they want to see you, and yet for whatever reasons, your presence causes them to feel pain, grief or agony, what would you do?

If seeing the other person means hurting them, then I would rather not.
If hearing my voice means causing them grief, then I would rather not.
If thinking of me means making them feel sad, then I would rather not.

Are you ready to love like there is no tomorrow and still be without fear of pain?

Or will you listen to your “mommie”?

Pondering kindly is ezi

Dharma Talk – Happiness Is Balancing Material and Spiritual Needs

Buddhist Conference 2554 – Creating Happiness in the Here and Now
presents Fringe Programme:

Happiness Is Balancing Material and Spiritual Needs

Dharma Talk by Venerable Faxun


5 June, Saturday, 7.30pm =96 9.30pm


Poh Ming Tse Temple

(438 Dunearn Road Singapore 289613)

Would you like to be happy, the Buddha’ way? Do you have burning questions on balancing material and spiritual needs? Find your answers and take home practical tips on happiness that you can apply on a daily and lifelong basis.

Venerable Faxun graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic in 1989 and was ordained in Taiwan in 1992 by Venerable Wu Yin at Luminary of Bhikkhuni Sangha. She received a five years basic monastic training in Luminary Buddhist Institute. Upon completion of the monastic training, Venerable returned to Singapore in 1997 and served in the Sagaramudra Buddhist Society. In 2001, Venerable continued to pursue her Bachelor of Arts and Education in a University in Western Australia and in 2009, Venerable completed her Honours Degree.

This talk is part of the Buddhist Conference 2554=92s Fringe Programme, =93What is Happiness=94. Buddhist Conference 2554 takes you on a journey to undercover the real essence of happiness, the Buddha’s way. Create your Happiness Here and Now! Overseas and local speakers include Geshe Tenzin Zopa (Nepal), Ani Choying Drolma (Nepal), Venerable Chuan Ren (Singapore), Venerable Bodhi (Singapore), Dr Phang Cheng Kar (MD) (Malaysia), Mr Vijaya Samarawickrama (Malaysia) and Mr Danai Chanchaochai (Thailand).

Buddhist Conference 2554 – Creating Happiness in the Here and Now

Sat, 23 October 2010 | 8am to 6.30pm | Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

Tickets available from SISTIC at S$38 or S$132 for a group of 4, from 1 July onwards

*Programme and speakers are subject to changes in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Visit for more information and Fringe Programme Listing


Q&A: Laziness and Internet Addiction

2) Can the venerable give me some advice on how to cope with laziness and internet addiction?

Hmmm … laziness and internet addiction. Quite an interesting pair … ‘cos laziness is inactivity, while addiction is not.

We can be lazy about many things. For example, I’m “lazy” when it comes to killing mosquitoes. So I’ve not killed one (in my knowledge) for many many years. I’m also “lazy” with making money. So I’ve quit my job and become a monk, and have not made any cash for all these years; the up side is that you cannot be retrenched as a result! :p We are lazy about some things and passionate about others, even to the point of being addicted to them. The difference between the two, lies in interest.

We are lazy about things that do not interest us. Life, unfortunately and frequently, requires us to do things that are less than interesting. Take work for example. Most of us are not interested in our work. Really. We are driven mostly by what it can bring us or others. Sometimes that is monetary gain, sometimes it is a sense of satisfaction derived from identifying ourselves with the profession. Without the motivation behind, we would naturally be lazy, and I say that without condoning or condemning it.

To fight laziness, one would then need to find the value in the thing or activity. This value may then generate interest and in turn drive and energy. Cutting internet addiction on the otherhand, would require one to see the effects such an addiction brings you. You may need to share with me the extent which the person, with internet addiction, is surfing the internet. The frequency and duration etc. Is it serious enough to be considered an addiction? How is using the internet affecting the persons’ life? Is it hampering his normal daily activities such as studies, work or personal life? These information would be
helpful for a start.

Let me know how this work out and we can follow up on it.