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

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.”

Different people, different strokes

Tonight as I retired for the day, I saw on facebook a comment that mentioned me (Ven Chuan Guan).
I was like … hmmm?

Taking a look at the original post , it was just a Vesak well wishes by Yian Probsolver Tay.  Things sure escalated quickly.

Below is my reply that I decided deserves a blog entry of its own. 🙂

Read More …

CNN: In 50 Years, Will People Still Believe in God? And More …

CNN: In 50
Years, will People Still Believe in God?

In US, a Pew Survey shows that there is an increase of people who doubt the existence of God.

2007: 83% never doubted

2012: 68% never doubted

Also discussed, “Playing Devil’s Advocate – Questioning the Existence of God”.

Stephen Hawkings – “There is no God”.

An interesting point mentioned was how many Americans are cultural Christians and Jews, meaning that they do not necessarily believe in the Bible or the Christian teachings, but would identify themselves as Christians and Jews anyway.  This may be similar to cultural Buddhists or Taoists in Singapore where one take on either religion simply because one is born into it.

Perhaps this may apply worldwide and have deeper implications as knowledge of the various beliefs and teachings become more readily available.

In the 80s, when Singapore Ministry of Education started a Religious Knowledge (RK) programme in its secondary school (middle school in US), it is later attributed by some to have led to a rise in Buddhism in the 1990 and 2000 census, when Buddhism rose from 27.0% in 1980 to 31.2 (1990) and later 42.5% (2000).  [1]

Could the recent drop to around 33% in 2010 census be due to a decline in interest in religion as a whole?  Or is this the after effect of the stop of the RK programme?  Buddhism has traditionally not made it mandatory for new Buddhists to attend foundational Dharma classes on Buddhists teachings, so there is a tendency that cultural Buddhists, or as I like to term them ‘form-Buddhists’ by virtue of the forms they fill in, identifying themselves as Buddhists, usually do not know enough about Buddhism to really benefit from its teachings.

Add to the fact that I’ve had devotees who has filed complaints with me about 1) driving instructor who preached to her about his religion for two hours, 2) colleagues who would share their faiths and pressure Buddhists at work  and 3) feedback about the press giving imbalanced coverage towards certain religion, to the extent of glorifying them.

Meanwhile, in the past few years, we’ve had at least two to three reported cases of attacks on Buddhism, either through distortion of its teachings or ridiculing it during some religious services.  And these are the reported ones.

There is probably no one single factor responsible nor one single solution to solve it all.  One area stands out, and it is publicity.

Buddhists who are active, may sometimes feel like that are (too) many talks and classes already, while nominal (form / cultural) Buddhists may feel like Buddhism only exist once or twice a year during Vesak and Ullambana month.

Even if they wish to know more about Buddhism, their parents, from whom they inherited Buddhism, may not be able to share with them what Buddhism is.  Consequently, they may be at a loss when it comes to taking that first step to know Buddhism.

We need to publicise our events to the general public.  And we need to do it beyond Buddhist society and temple notice boards.  We need to publicise outside of Buddhist magazines.  And we need to do it now.


Sharing of Dharma.  Coming soon.


~ 隨緣 According to conditions.

My motto in life is to put in place those conditions we can.~



Decline of Religions in the West

[1] Norway goes secular, removes Lutheran Church as state religion
OSLO – Norway, which is one of few developed countries to still have a state religion, passed a final hurdle Thursday to separate the Protestant Lutheran Church from the state, parliament said.

… …

In practice, the change will give the Church the authority to name its own bishops and deans, without having to bow to the government’s final say on such issues, as the situation stands today.

The current requirement for at least half of all government ministers to be members of the Church will also be scrapped, and even the minister of church affairs will no longer need to belong to the church.

In Singapore, the mass media regularly highlights the rise of Christianity both locally and overseas, meanwhile, in Europe and North America (United States and Canada), Christianity is waning.

Is the behaviour of society as a whole similar to that of a rebellious adolescent, unwilling to conform to the status quo, rebelling without a cause?  Do we have a tendency to choose what our parents are against or are there more reasons for it?  Is it true that Asians are embracing Christianity or is it just a selective bias that the media may unwittingly have?  Does such reports influence the receptiveness of it?

In post world war Europe, one of the school of thoughts to have gained traction was Existentialism.  At its forefront is Jean-Paul Sartre, a French Existentialist who said that “human beings have no essence before their existence because there is no Creator.” Thus: “existence precedes essence”. [2]

From a wikipage on Jean-Paul Sartre,

This forms the basis for his assertion that since one cannot explain their own actions and behaviour by referencing any specific human nature, they are necessarily fully responsible for those actions. “We are left alone, without excuse”.

Some suggest that the atrocities of the two world wars led people to doubt and question the existence of God, and divinity, for if there was an omnipotent and benevolent God, then how can such atrocities and suffering be allowed?

In a series of works, such as “The Trial of God” [3] a 1979 play by Elie Wiesel and “God on Trial” [4][5] a 2008 BBC/WGBH Boston television play by Frank Cottrell Boyce about Jewish prisoners who put God on trial in absentia for abandoning the Jewish people, such question and doubts are expressed.

While these are focused predominantly on the Abrahamic faiths, the same principle can be applied to any beliefs that espouses a divine being that is both omnipotent and benevolent.

And in David Hume’s (1711 – 1776) [6] formulation of the problem of evil in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1776) [7][8]

“Is he willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then is he impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then is he malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?”

In Philosophy, Epicurus [7] [9] is generally credited with first expounding the problem of evil, the “Epicurean paradox”:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?  Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?  Then
he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?  Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?  Then why call him God?

In the Bible itself, we have Job put to the test of his devotion to God.  Job questions the reasons for his sufferings and is rebuked by God for questioning. [10] So this history of questioning and doubt is perhaps more ingrained in the Western society than mere reactionary behaviour to the world wars.

Perhaps all these boils down to the tendency for us to find a reason for our sufferings.  Despite our different beliefs, all human beings, sentient beings if you will, seek happiness and shun pain.  No one seek suffering.  Even a masochist derive satisfaction from pain, from self-mortification.

Making sense of this world, we try to find an answer to our experiences and encounters.  Anthropologists suggest that early or proto religions started as an answer to our ignorance of the natural world.  Consequently, earlier religions often centred around the worship of natural phenomena.  They worshipped life giving phenomena, such as the sun, the moon, the land, rain, river, spring, domesticated animals etc.  They also worshipped life threatening forces such as the lightning, the land (earthquakes), the river (flood), the sea (tsunami), the volcanoes, wild animals etc.  They worship the life giving sources in the hope that they may live, and they made sacrifices to the life-threatening ones hoping that they will be spared.

Such were the early religions.

These either developed into personifications of the various natural forces or get sub-planted by newer religions that overthrow these beliefs or assimilate them into their fold.

When man developed tools and technology to better cope with nature, we grew into more complex societies.  Religion evolved correspondingly and continued to be intertwined with its development.  For the longest time since recorded history, religion and monarchy rule maintained a symbiotic relationship.  The monarchy gave protection to the religion while the religion gave legitimacy to the monarchy.

From late 18th century to middle of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution dramatically changed the world.

In the words of Nobel Prize winner Robert E. Lucas, Jr., “For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth … Nothing remotely like this economic behavior has happened before“. [11]

The living standards increased not because of kings and monarchies, but because of science and its applications.  Machines operated not because of your beliefs, but because the very principles of the physical world was unravelled by the accumulated knowledge of countless man and woman who studied and observed the natural world and formulated principles beyond the religious texts of the day.

And in the next two centuries, religion began its gradual decline.

Today, we use technology and assume that things would work without necessarily appreciating the hardship our predecessors have gone through.  Sitting in my room, I can make a connection with someone at the other end of the globe, seeing and conversing in real time (barring lag due to connection speed).  This would have been seen as magic or supernatural just a century or two ago, and depending on whether the religious establishment is able to accept such technology, you may be heralded as a saint or condemned as a witch.

Flying through the air in the relative comfort of your plane seat, one may recall that we are living like the Greek Gods of ancient times or possess spiritual powers described by religions of Indian and Chinese origins.

And yet, all these do not require your belief in a religion or in Science for that matter.  In fact, if your ‘belief’ in science cause you to skip safety checks, then uncertainty and doubt make well
work better here.

Interestingly, the invention of the light bulb, candle, usage of flint stone for starting fire were each met with curiosity, amazement and perhaps even suspicion and denial.  Curiosity and amazement because it was previously thought to be impossible to make fire or produce light at will, and probably suspicion and denial as it challenges the status quo.

With each development, we discard the former and adopt the new.  Sometimes the old may evolve and adapt to the newer conditions, other times, it may linger on, and die a slow painful death.

Is religion on such a path?  Perhaps that is why the Western countries are dropping Christianity as to some, it may have failed to give reasons for our sufferings, from the world wars, to the last decade of disasters, ranging from SARS, two tsunamis, numerous hurricanes and earthquakes etc.

On the flip-side, is that also why some fundamentalist Christians [12] [13] in the bible-belt states in US are stating that disaster victims “die for their sins”?  Is this their way of making sense of human sufferings?

Do viruses really pick and choose victims based on their beliefs?  How about the various types of natural disasters?  Does the bombs and bullets differentiate its target if not for the person firing them?

So why are some Asians on the other hand dropping Asian religions to adopt something else?  While it is easy to attribute it to the aggressive tactics by evangelical groups, it may be helpful to consider other factors we have considered so far.  Perhaps the younger generations are attracted by the new age concert-style religious services, or perhaps it is also because they never had a chance to really know about the Asian religions.

I learnt from my Christian and Muslim friends that in their religions respectively, a person who wish to convert, has to undergo compulsory lessons before they can be given the conversion.  Those who are born into a Christian family would most likely receive Sunday school classes while muslims will attend Islamic studies as part of their education.  Meanwhile, there are no compulsory religious classes for Buddhists and Taoists alike.  This may explain why the younger generations are more susceptible to conversion attempts by evangelists.  (I’ll need to find out more from my counterparts from the other faiths, about how the younger folks or converts learn about their faiths).

Another factor is that many Buddhists are fence-sitters as far as religion for their spouse or children are concerned.

The Buddha taught lay couples who wish to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come, should be in tune in conviction (faith in the Triple Gem), virtue (morality / precepts), generosity and in discernment (wisdom) [14].  Further, the Buddha advised lay people to have conviction (faith in the Triple Gem) so that their descendents may prosper in terms of conviction, virtue, and discernment (wisdom) [15], so Buddhists should be more proactive in sharing the gift of the Dharma with their children, for their welfare and happiness.

The counter-argument from many Buddhist parents is that they wish to give their children freedom of choice.  It is admirable and comforting to know that Buddhists are not indoctrinating their children with Buddhism, dogma-style.  It is however important to note that choice is only meaningful if their children is making informed choices.  If their children do not get a chance to learn about Buddhism, and only get to hear half-truths and distortions from over-zealous evangelists, then what kind of choices are they subjecting their children to?

Further, do parents give their children choices when it comes to their education and all the enrichment classes that kids have to go through these days?  Buddhists owe it to themselves to learn about Buddhism and to share it with their
loved ones and friends.  If it is useful and beneficial to you, if it has made a difference in your life, why not share it?  When our children grow up, trust me, they will make their own choices even if you want it otherwise.  The difference is that they will be making an informed choice.

The door to the Deathless is open, the Path to True Happiness, the Cessation of Suffering has been discovered.  Ehi passiko.  “Come and see”.



Letter to Sr Theresa Seow and Ms Chua, and Her Reply

Below is an exchange of emails between Mui Hoong, ST Forum editor and myself that started because of the article Quiet contemplation on common ground.

10 Jan 2012 10:07pm Here’s the letter to Sr Theresa Seow and Ms Chua.

11 Jan 2012 11:45am Letter to Straits Times Editor.

11 Jan 2012 14:00pm A reply from Ms Chua.


Letter to Sr Theresa Seow and Ms Chua

Dear Sr. Theresa and Mui Hoong,

Hope this email find you well.
I am writing regarding the article “Quiet contemplation on common ground”.  I mentioned to Sr. Theresa earlier today that there is an unconscious misrepresentation of Buddhist meditation in it and I hope to share with you what it should be.
As emailed to you through facebook earlier in the day (around 3+pm), I’ve posted a short piece on facebook and a more comprehensive article on my blog .  I have not heard back from you and hope to clarify through this open letter.


In summary, Buddhists do not have a belief in a creator God and also do not meditate to reach God through silence.  We meditate to cultivate Samadhi (Concentration) and Prajna (Wisdom).  This wisdom culminates in Nirvana, i.e. complete Cessation of Suffering, attaining the fruit of Arahanthood or Buddhahood.  This is not communion with god/God(s).

The common ground seminar started something noble and beautiful that can bring about even more interfaith peace and harmony.  Let’s not allow this to be marred by the unconscious misrepresentation of Buddhist meditation.
I urge your good self to post an update so that readers may get the right understanding of Buddhist meditation and Buddhism do not get unwittingly misrepresented.
Please contact me at this email, facebook or my mobile @ ####### for clarifications if needed.
PS: I’m posting this email on my blog as an open letter and will update facebook shortly.
In cc:
Ven. Sik Kwang Sheng, President of Singapore Buddhist Federation, Abbot of Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
Felix Toh, Dharma Propagation Division, Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
Sincerely, with metta,

Shi Chuan Guan (Shi ZhiXing)
“Have a nice day! … unless you have other plans!”Let’s make this world a better place … … I’ll start with myself, and if all you folks do the same, we should get there some day!

11:45am  Letter to Straits Times Editor


Dear Straits Times Editor,

Below is a feedback to Ms Chua Mui Hoong on her article “Quiet contemplation on common ground” dated 10th January 2012 on Straits Times main section page 2.
I’m writing to clarify her article that when the
various religions come to meditate, ” … they are all engaged in a practice both unique to their tradition and common to all faiths: reaching God through silence.”.
As stated in my letter to her below, Buddhists do not have a belief in God nor meditate to reach God through silence.  As I was the speaker presenting Buddhist meditation during the seminar, I feel that she have unintentionally misrepresented Buddhist meditation.
It would serve the general public and Buddhists alike to have my letter published so that right understanding can prevail and the common ground seminar may achieve its intended goal, interfaith peace and harmony.
Please contact me through this email or my mobile at #######.
Sincerely, with metta,

Shi Chuan Guan (Shi ZhiXing)

Dharma Propagation Chair

Singapore Buddhist Federation

Reply from Ms Chua


to: “Shi ChuanGuan (ZhiXing)” <>

cc: Daulet Manecksha ,  “[DPD SEM] Felix Toh” ,  释广声 Venerable Sik Kwang Sheng,,, Theresa Seow

date: Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM

subject: Re: Clarifications on the article “Quiet contemplation on common ground”



Hi Venerable,

I am so sorry for being tardy in my response. I just saw your email to me personally and this email. I noticed from your email that you had sent me a message via Facebook – I have an account but have not checked my messages for a couple of weeks!

I enjoyed your talk and some of your words remain with me, especially the bit on “dog poo” and how we should learn to let go of misfortune and bad events and not dwell on them. Thank you for your sharing.

I am aware that Buddhists do not have a belief in a creator God.

My article mentioned several times that meditation is a search for the divine, or God, or Ultimate Reality. I also mentioned the need for mindfulness and being attentive to the here and now. It is clear from the overall article that I am not referring exclusively to the concept of a Creator God. I hope the article as a whole does not misrepresent Buddhist beliefs.

The bit where I referred to reaching GOD in silence is in this paragraph: “So when a Christian sits and centres herself with a prayer word like Yahweh or Maranatha (Aramaic for Come, Lord), when a Buddhist meditates on loving kindness, when a Taoist follows the rise and fall of his breath to harmony, when a Muslim chants the various names of Allah, or a Hindu engages her chakra in
meditation – they are all engaged in a practice both unique to their tradition, and common to all faiths: reaching God through silence.

On hindsight, it would be more accurate to say “reaching God, or the Ultimate – through silence.”

I hope Buddhists reading the article will pardon the use of the word God in this paragraph without qualification. Any offence is unintended and I do apologise if any has been caused.

The article is attached below with the relevant paragraphs highlighted in bold and underlined.


Mui Hoong

PS: You are most welcome to post this reply on your website or Facebook.

Article here:

Quiet contemplation
on common ground

People of different faiths pray together in powerful expression of harmony

By Chua Mui Hoong, Review Editor

I SPENT the weekend just past holed up in an auditorium with nearly 400 others, listening to religious leaders share insights on the contemplative dimension of their faiths.

They focused oncontemplation and meditation – the common search for meaning and the journey to God, or the Ultimate Reality or the Divine Consciousness, through the path of stillness and silence.

What was particularly special was that after some of these sessions, the lights would dim, and we would all sit in silence and meditate together.

We tried to clear our chattering monkey minds of external thoughts, and used different techniques to tether the grazing cow of our wandering brain to an anchor point, a focus. Some used a prayer word from the Bible; others a Sanskrit mantra; some watched their breaths; some fingered prayer beads and recited the names of Allah in prayer.

Some fidgeted; a mobile phone or two rang; some used the meditation time to take photos or update their Facebook.

But for an amazing five sessions of 20 minutes each, we sat in companionable silence, engaged in the individual, intensely private yet intensely communal practice of silent prayer.

The event aptly titled “common ground” was organised by the Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Council for Inter-Religious and Ecumenical Dialogue and the World Community for Christian Meditation. It was also supported by the Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) of Singapore.

In his opening remarks, IRO president Ashvin Desai from the Jain community noted: “We are living in a fast changing world where we are witnessing a mushrooming of spas and retreats, together with large number of people taking up yoga, meditation and other forms of individual exercises. Clearly there is strong demand for individual time and escape.”

As Mother Mangalam, a Hindu aged 85 and the life president of the Pure Life Society in Malaysia, put it, there is a crying need for periods of silence in today’s noisy, busy world.

If this sounds new ageish and mumbo-jumbo, it is not.

Meditation is at heart the ancient practice of sitting still, in silence, being attentive to the here and now – being attentive to life in oneself, life around us, and the Life Source in us.

Different faith traditions use different words, but many teach the wisdom and insight that the Divine resides in each of us, a wellspring of peace and love to be tapped.

So when a Christian sits and centres herself with a prayer word like Yahweh or Maranatha (Aramaic for Come, Lord), when a Buddhist meditates on loving kindness, when a Taoist follows the rise and fall of his breath to harmony, when a Muslim chants the various names of Allah, or a Hindu engages her chakra in meditation – they are all engaged in a practice both unique to their tradition, and common to all faiths: reaching God through silence.

This contemplative tradition common in many faiths lies beyond doctrine and dogma, and thus lends itself to meaningful interfaith exchanges.

Interfaith dialogue begins with cognitive understanding of each other’s religions. With understanding comes respect for each
other’s differences.

But there can also be commonality in diversity, as the religious leaders stressed at the seminar. This is not to say that all faith traditions are the same. They are eminently not, bound as each is to certain historical periods and culture and teachings. But faith practices have common elements, and prayer is one of them.

Sitting together in meditation, whether known as dhikr, jing gong, samayik, samatha or centering prayer, is religious harmony in action, a visible expression of respect and tolerance for other faiths. The act of praying together says more than words can, of how much I respect and value your faith tradition and honour it as being different from, yet equal to, my own practice.

This point was not lost to participants and speakers. Many marvelled that such an event was taking place in a region and a world riven with religious conflict.

Many also thought it fitting that Singapore play host to such an event, as a multi-faith society with a long tradition of respect for religious diversity. Or as Father Laurence Freeman, a Catholic and a Benedictine monk from Britain, put it, Singapore had a “particular opportunity” to be a “witness” to the potential of interfaith friendships across religions.

A few leaders also ventured the hope that an interfaith centre could be set up to provide space for people of different religions to spend quiet time together.

Habib Syed Hassan Al-Attas, the Imam and Head of Ba’alwie Mosque in Singapore, shared insights on contemplation from Islam, ending his talk with a show-and-tell. He pulled out from his robes a string of prayer beads – and then another – and another. Soon, the Muslim prayer beads, the Buddhist strand, the Catholic rosary, the Hindu prayer beads, were all strung around his arms.

Then he beamed beatifically and made the observation that these prayer chains, whether they had 108, 99 or 150 beads, were all expressions of, and paths to, the common ground in our different faiths.

I left renewed in my own faith tradition as a Catholic, resolving once again to be faithful in this practice of silent prayer. I left with an immense pride in my society, my country, that has got so many things right, it could be a beacon for others of such interfaith exchanges.

And most of all, I left the seminar feeling I had touched common ground – the wellspring of the divine that resides in humanity of all faiths – and it is holy.

CUA Mui Hoong (Ms)

Review Editor
The Straits Times, Singapore
Tel: 6319 5301
Fax: 67320131
1000 Toa Payoh North
News Centre
Podium, 2nd storey





Do Buddhists Meditate to “Reach God Through Silence”?

This morning started off as Tuesdays do for me since 2009 September.  My Dharma brother Cheng Soon and I would meet at the Buddhist Library and we would do translation of the Buddhist teachings, from Chinese to English.  Today was no different.  Except when I read the sms from Sister Theresa Seow about the Straits Times article “Quiet contemplation on common ground” by review editor Chua Mui Hoong.

Over the last weekend (7th & 8th January 2012), representatives from various faiths came together for a seminar on “The Contemplative Dimension of Faith”.  The theme and title was “common ground”, representing the contemplative practice (meditation) that is common in many religions.

As I read the article before lunch today, a line grabbed my attention.

“… they are all engaged in a practice both unique to their tradition, and common to all faiths: reaching God through silence.”

I reread the article and line a few times but did not seem to figure out how that came about.  I’ve posted the picture below on my facebook wall to highlight that it is either a misrepresentation or misinterpretation of Buddhist meditation shared during the seminar.

In my article in the handout given during the seminar, I explicitly highlighted that “Buddhists have no belief in a creator God”.  This almost did not survive the final edition due to … a space constraint … but made it to print after the organising team managed to resolve it.  I’m glad I insisted because even with that clear assertion and my session where I pointed out the clear path, fruits and goal of Buddhist meditation, Ms Chua unfortunately went away from the seminar with the wrong understanding.

Buddhists do not meditate to reach God through silence.

Simply put, Buddhists meditate to cultivate Samadhi (Concentration) and Prajna (Wisdom).  This wisdom culminates in Nirvana, i.e. complete Cessation of Suffering, attaining the fruit of Arahanthood or Buddhahood.  This is not communion with god/God(s).

There are some Buddhists and moderate theistic persons who may wonder why this monk need to highlight this.  After all, isn’t a
common ground more meaningful for peace and harmony than picking on the details?  As they say, the devil is in the details.

By highlighting this in the handout, talk, on fb and here, I’m clarifying what is and is not Buddhism.  If this remains unmentioned, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike may start to think that Buddhists also pray to God, just using different names, when in fact we do not.

Further, by highlighting this here, and especially during Geylang Serai Inter-Racial And Religious Confidence Circle (IRCC) and other dialogues in Singapore, I am trying to promote understanding and not mere ‘feel good, we are the world, hands together’ homogenised world religion type of understanding.

Common ground is a very noble and beautiful effort by the Christian community towards interfaith harmony and understanding.  Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) and its members supported this seminar precisely because of that.  But common ground was not meant to and should not lead to homogenisation.  Homogenisation can and I believe has led to the exact opposite: Fundamentalism.

As I mention in numerous talks, Buddhists do not have a belief in God (boys and girls, how many times have I mentioned this?   Sunk in yet?), but this does not make theistic believers our enemy nor Buddhists yours.  And that is very important moving forward, both in peace and harmony, but also nurturing in-depth understanding amongst faiths.

In parting, I believe that as Sister Theresa communicated to me through sms, Ms Chua was sharing her personal experience in good faith.  But I believe it would serve the readers and public better if her sharing reflect what is reality.

EDIT: Updated for formatting and typos.

Update: 10 Jan 2012 3+pm, I sent Ms Chua a fb message pointing to this blog and the fb page.  Hope to hear from her.

Update: 10 Jan 2012 9:22pm. Have not heard from Ms Chua as yet.  I am sending Sister Theresa and Ms Chua an email (sent around 10:03pm) to help Ms Chua have a better understanding of Buddhist meditation and also to request her to post a correction to the article so that Buddhism do not get unwittingly misrepresented.

Update: 10 Jan 2012 10:07pm Here’s the letter to Sr Theresa Seow and Ms Chua.