Thursday, March 31, 2011
This coming Saturday, we will be having our very own SPORTS DAY- showdown of the houses!
Earlier on in January, House Kassapa has taken the lead in the Dharma Challenge with their skits and Jianyong the blackie answering numerous questions. Do you think their victory is justified? Challenge them. Bring them down.
So garner your strengths, suit up and battle in the area of disc throwing (frisbee disc!), captain's ball, touch rugby (guys don't anyhow touch ah) and MORE!
Feel free to bring in secret weapons/team players from all over the world to represent your house in this battle!
Please meet at 930am at Sengkang MRT. Report to your various captains, who will be leading you in this advance.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Our dearest Committee member Hangqi has done up a iphone app for our blog.
Right now you can get updates, visit our blog, facebook page and even be inspired by a daily Buddhist quote!
You can download the application here!
Thank you Hangqi
Friday, March 25, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
THE FOREMOST IN KEEPING THE PRECEPTS
Born of the Sudra Caste (the lowest caste in ancient India) and not allowed to receive any education, but gained enlightenment as quickly as the other educated monks and was one of the well respected ones among the Order.
Everyone has the capability to achieve success in one way or another. We shouldn’t undermine ourselves just because our status, talents and education are no match against others. Be determined, focus on your goals and success is equally yours.
Has great concentration and mindfulness. It is said that he attained all four stages of meditation during a conversation between his mother and Lord Buddha about Venerable Upali himself, just by concentrating his attention towards his bodily posture and his breath.
To put it mathematically, FOCUS is directly proportional to SUCCESS. The MORE FOCUS you put in, the HIGHER THE SUCCESS rate. You’ll be surprised how much you can achieve just be increasing your determination and concentration.
Just because Venerable Upali is so disciplined in observing the precepts, he is viewed as a thorn in their flesh and often treated badly by the other monks and nuns who are careless in their observance. But knowing that it was just the right thing to do, Ven. Upali ignores the negative treatment he received. The Buddha later on criticized the Brethren upon their wrong doing against Ven. Upali.
In life, there would be certain occasions in which we would be ill treated by others. In such circumstances, we must have the wisdom to determine why is this happening. If our actions are the cause, then we must accept our fault, and change for the better. But if sometimes it is just the right thing to do, we must be courageous enough to execute it, and react wisely to negativity spawn by jealousy or ill will.
“Upali was an outcaste, but he enjoyed high prestige in the community of monks. He success was a stimulus to people in distress. His success symbolized the glory of equality that shines forever.”
Sadly, Kevin didn't shave bald for that session. But he DID have a haircut recently!
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
It will be held at 7pm, at SBM.
Just being naggy, Sharing starts at 2pm on that day. Remember!
Friday, March 18, 2011
We have a need to see ourselves as morally upright, ethical, reasonable and smart (To keep our inflated ego floating). When we are confronted with information that makes us realise that we are not as wonderful as we think we are, we experience a state of discomfort. Process is known as cognitive dissonance.
When we perform an action that is not in line with our self-image, we experience cognitive dissonance. To reduce this discomfort, we try to find excuses for ourselves- self-justification.
Another situation is that you believe you are a punctual person. One day, you missed your alarm and was late to meet your friends.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Monday, March 14, 2011
It's a very simple design, we don't have much resources to make it better, but we hope every one can now have your very own pocket Pali chanting book and sincerely hope that this is a small but sincere offering to the Buddhist community. May the Dhamma grow.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Since I was a teenager in secondary school, I have never been able to reconcile my understanding of this world with the concept that an almighty, all-loving and all-knowing creator God-being lives above.
“He who has eyes can see the sickening sight;
Why does not God set his creatures right?
If his wide power no limit can restrain,
Why is his hand so rarely spread to bless?
Why are all his creatures condemned to pain?
Why does he not to all give happiness?
Why do fraud, lies, and ignorance prevail?
Why triumphs falsehood — truth and justice fail?
I count you God one the unjust among
Who made a world in which to shelter wrong.”- Bhuridatta Jataka, No. 453, Buddhist Scriptures.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Thankkkkkkkkkiez. And see you on Saturday for dinner at 5PM at Lavender MRT station before proceeding for Venerable Chuan Guan's talk at Tai Pei Buddhist Centre :D
Love y'all! :D
When I was a teenager, I've heard of how Buddhist parents were afraid when their children get drawn to attend church services because if their child should get baptised, then it is a one way path, and their children in future, could not or would not pay respects to them, or remember and honour them with an ancestral tablet either in the temple or at home.
I myself went to, let me see, three or four services when I was a student in JC and in NTU. The first1 when I was in NTU was through the invitation of my then girlfriend who was a Catholic (I was a lay person back then!). Actually, she was not quite my girlfriend yet but we were more or less headed in that direction. I was not about to jeopardise my prospects with her. My mom had a very different idea.
When she saw me wake up early (7+8am or so) on a Sunday morning, her mommy-spidey senses alarms went off faster than you can finish reading this line! She grilled me on where I was going and basically charged me with LIM (Clan of the Forest) Family Penal Offence #348 Section 28A Clause 132, "… wherein a member of the family shall make an attempt to enter the premise of a church for the purpose of attending a service, either intentionally, unintentionally, wilfully, knowingly, or otherwise, with premeditation, in person or proxy, alone or with groups of two or more, such a member shall be … ", you get the idea.
I admitted to the offence, and she as Judge Dredd, policed, charged, judged and was about to subject me to the highest form of punishment. I stood there and listen to her read out the consequences "If you step out of the house and attend the church service, you don't have to come back". In other words, I would have been disowned by my parents, banished from the family and clan.
Shit right? I mean, not shit in the sense that the rule is shit, but shit as in, how did I get caught? :p
The invisible jury and panel of the public turn onto me, to see how I would defend and plea. This is what I told her.
"Mom, I have been a Buddhist since young (or did I say all my life?). I am now 20+ (almost 21!) years old, if one church service should convert me to Christianity (or Catholicism for that matter!), I don't deserve to be a Buddhist!"
She was flabbergastered, but at the same time, I could sense that bit of pride in her welling up and overwhelming her. Stopping me might imply that I am not worthy of being a Buddhist, and in turn, may indicate a weakness in the family's heritage as a Buddhist family or of Buddhism itself? Letting me go on could prove to the world (or more importantly to herself perhaps?), that my upbringing by her and my dad was good enough that I should be able to stand firm as a Buddhist, or I might come back home singing "Amazing Grace … … how sweet the sound … ".
Or she was probably just too confused (as usual) by her son's gift of the gab.
In any case, she let me leave, but not before she gave me the "Please don't do anything stupid. Your dad is so going to blow the top if you convert!" look.
I quickly put on my shoes, in my jeans and somewhat crumpled Giordano long-sleeve shirt that I tried to make do with. This dress code thing with churches, really make you feel like you are going to do something important!
I left and quickly made my way to meet my friend and went to the Emily3 church. She told me before hand that sometimes, there will be people who spoke in tongues and that I should not be surprised or shock when it happens. I just went "uh huh", though in my mind, I was like "Dang Gi (G as in 'G'o) speak in tongues as well, so no biggie … " or so I thought! As I drifted off in my thoughts, I found myself in the service, joined by a congregation of young, middle aged and elderly members.
The pastor greeted us and enjoined us to greet the person next to us. Then he asked whether there was any newcomer. I was like "Shit! Am I really supposed to stand up or raise my hand? Am I supposed to tap dance and tell everybody about my life story? I guess I can tell them how I started coding when I was 12+ 13 years old … " ok, my thoughts really stopped at the "raise my hand" part, 'cos my friend (potential girlfriend!) urged me to do so and I was like thinking "oh yeah, of course!".
After my five minutes of fame in my first service, I sat down, went through the service, witness my first account of others speaking in tongues, and basically cruised along without much fanfare.
As they say, the rest is history. While the church services may appeal to some, my visits to the services only helped me realise that Buddhism was the religion and way of life for me. For others who find it their cup of tea, they may eventually decide to get baptised. This is what most Buddhist parents feared, for many had the concept that it was a one way ticket and having different faiths, their children may as a result, abandon some of the Chinese culture and heritage. Apparently, this is not true. In most religions or groups, one can denounce one's acceptance of the faith just as one can pronounce one's acceptance of it.
I saw a few articles about how in the United Kingdoms (UK), one can officially denounce one's faith and choose to be taken off the national registry. Just do a search on "debaptism".
- The first time I attended a service was through an invite by a friend, Yiren, in junior college.
- Anything that is phrased like legal references just seem all so much more important, doesn't it?
- I cannot remember if it is Emly or Emily Church.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Last night, at the most unlikely of places I experienced enlightenment on a nano-scale.
While waiting at pizza hut for a forgotten order, I realised that I wasn't angry or frustrated. In similar past situations, my tolerance would not have even existed. Usually, I would kick up a big fuss to register my dissatisfaction with the management.
It took me awhile to notice how calm I was, and that my patience was barely stretched given the fact that I was really hungry. 5 mins later, the order came and I left to resume my dinner with the Lee's happily.
My emotions, speech, actions and thoughts differs, depending on the people I am with but everything still boils down to me.
We all choose to put in effort in being mindful in the presence of certain people. Like how we choose our words carefully when speaking with Bhante(s).
We all have qualities of the Buddha, but the difference is that we choose not to unlock them. Fret not though, the choice is still in our hands. The more we practice, the more we better better at it.
Start small. Start somewhere. Above all, just start.
Again, the choice to start is yours alone :)
Monday, March 7, 2011
Hello guys. We have a new activity here at Singapore Buddhist Mission.
BOTIF or Bodhi Motif is SBM Youth's latest youth project. It is a Buddhist youth filmmaking programme that comprises of an 8-week basic filmmaking course and subsequent film projects. Art has always been used as a form of spiritual expression and reflection, hence, we want to equip Buddhist youths with basic filmmaking skills. Through making little films and videos, we hope Buddhist youths can find their voice and in turn strengthen their faith in the Triple Gems. We also hope that with these little skills, Buddhist youth can help their temples archive down Dhamma talks and Buddhist events, post them onto Youtube or distribute them via DVDs and help spread the Buddha-Dhamma.
We will start off with an 8-week basic filmmaking course in April. At the end of the course, participants will be divided into groups and given a project to make a 5 to 10 minute short film with a Buddhist theme. We are also in talks to have a 1-day acting class for youths who are interested to learn basic acting.
The course and activities will be conducted TOTALLY FREE for all SBM (Youth) members and participants. We also welcome friends from other Buddhist groups to join us. It will begin tentatively by early April on every Saturdays, 11am to 1pm, at Singapore Buddhist Mission.
Interested youth can drop Shi Xiong (97599802) or Zeming (94888903) a sms to register or to find out more. Closing date is 31 March 2011. So hurry up!
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Sariputta, Foremost in Wisdom
“Believe nothing on the faith of traditions, even though they have been held in honor for any generations and in diverse places. Do not believe a thing because many people speak of it. Do not believe on the faith of the sages of the past. Do not believe what you yourself have imagined, persuading yourself that a God inspires you.
Believe nothing on the sole authority of your masters and priests. After examination, believe what you yourself have tested and found to be reasonable, and conform your conduct thereto.”
1) So what, according to Buddhism, is wisdom?
The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent, and not self. This understanding is totally freeing and leads to the great security and happiness which is called Nirvana.
However, the Buddha doesn't speak too much about this level of wisdom. It is not wisdom if we simply believe what we are told. True wisdom is to directly see and understand for ourselves. At this level then, wisdom is to keep an open mind rather than being closed-minded, listening to other points of view rather than being bigoted; to carefully examine facts that contradict our beliefs, rather than burying our heads in the sand; to be objective rather than prejudiced and partisan; to take time about forming our opinions and beliefs rather than just accepting the first or most emotional thing that is offered to us; and to always be ready to change our beliefs when facts that contradict them are presented to us.
A person who does this is certainly wise and is certain to eventually arrive at true understanding. The path of just believing what you are told is easy. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.
2) Sariputta, Foremost in Wisdom
The story begins at two brahmanical villages in India, called Upatissa and Kolita, which lay not far from the city Rajagaha. Before our Buddha had appeared in the world a brahman lady named Sari, living in Upatissa village conceived; and also, on the same day at Kolita village, did another brahman lady whose name was Moggalli. The two families were closely connected, having been friends with one another for seven generations. From the first day of their pregnancy the families gave due care to the mothers-to-be, and after ten months both women gave birth to boys, on the same day. On the name-giving day the child of the brahman lady Sari received the name Upatissa, as he was a son of the foremost family of that village; and for the same reason Moggalli's son was named Kolita.
If Sariputta was notable for his lasting sense of gratitude, he was no less so for his capacity for friendship. With Maha Moggallana, the friend and companion of his youth, he maintained a close intimacy, and many were the conversations they held on the Dhamma. Venerable Sariputta's devotion to his friend was fully reciprocated; we are told of two occasions when Sariputta was ill, and Maha Moggallana attended to him and brought him medicine.
Though Sariputta was an enthusiastic and effective Dharma teacher, he also knew that while people can be helped through being taught the Dharma, sometimes they need practical, material help also. And in this way he was always ready to lend a hand.
On one occasion large numbers of people were coming to the monastery where the Buddha was staying to invite monks to their homes for a meal. People were anxious to get the more well-known monks and these monks were particularly happy to go to the homes of the wealthy, knowing they would get fine food. All the monks except Sariputta had accepted invitations when a very poor woman appeared and asked if a monk would like to go to her home. The monastery attendant informed her that all monks except Sariputta were gone. Thinking that such an eminent monk would not wish to accept a humble meal from her, she was quite disappointed. But when the attendant informed Sanputta about the poor woman, he happily agreed to go to her home, to her delight. When King Pasenadi heard that Sariputta would be eating at the home of a very poor woman, he sent her a large amount of money, more than enough to provide Sariputta with a meal, with plenty left over to live comfortably for the rest of her life
3) The Five Hindrances of Buddhism
The five hindrances are negative states of mind that Buddha Shakyamuni taught about that impede your progress towards gaining wisdom and ultimately awakening. These five states are sensual desires, ill-will, torpor, restlessness, and skeptical doubt.
- The Buddha
1) Sensual Desire
Sensual desire is straight forward. That is, desires of the senses. If you are consumed with this hindrance then you are misled from your path. Sensual desire is sexual desire but it is more than that. It is anything that appeases your senses. Remember that the Shakyamuni declared these hindrances for his monks and nuns. As a layperson the Middle Way is the best path.
Ill-will is that hostile feeling of malevolence and enmity. It is when you harbor any sort of animosity or hatred towards anyone. It can be described using any one of these words: hatred, hostility, animosity, antipathy, and unfriendliness.
Torpor is sluggish inactivity and apathy. It is the lack of effort that is required to move along on your path. It is the voluntary suspension of your activities and your physical powers.
Restlessness is the state of mind and body that is called unease or agitation. Remember it applies to both mind and body. You can overcome this state of mind by following Shakyamuni's teachings. That is, you can be settled in your mind and your heart when you practice the Eightfold Noble Path.
5) Skeptical Doubt
Skeptical Doubt is that which prevents you from seeing things as they are due to unnecessary skepticism. If you have discovered the truth for yourself and continue to doubt it your are putting off your attainment of wisdom.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
1. It lowers oxygen consumption.
2. It decreases respiratory rate.
3. It increases blood flow and slows the heart rate.
4. Increases exercise tolerance.
5. Leads to a deeper level of physical relaxation.
6. Good for people with high blood pressure.
7. Reduces anxiety attacks by lowering the levels of blood lactate.
8. Decreases muscle tension
9. Helps in chronic diseases like allergies, arthritis etc.
10. Reduces Pre-menstrual Syndrome symptoms.
11. Helps in post-operative healing.
12. Enhances the immune system.
13. Reduces activity of viruses and emotional distress
14. Enhances energy, strength and vigour.
15. Helps with weight loss
16. Reduction of free radicals, less tissue damage
17. Higher skin resistance
18. Drop in cholesterol levels, lowers risk of cardiovascular disease.
19. Improved flow of air to the lungs resulting in easier breathing.
20. Decreases the aging process.
21. Higher levels of DHEAS (Dehydroepiandrosterone)
22. Prevented, slowed or controlled pain of chronic diseases
23. Makes you sweat less
24. Cure headaches & migraines
25. Greater Orderliness of Brain Functioning
26. Reduced Need for Medical Care
27. Less energy wasted
28. More inclined to sports, activities
29. Significant relief from asthma
30. Improved performance in athletic events
31. Normalizes to your ideal weight
32. Harmonizes our endocrine system
33. Relaxes our nervous system
34. Produce lasting beneficial changes in brain electrical activity
35. Helps cure infertility (the stresses of infertility can interfere with the release of hormones that regulate ovulation).
36. Builds self-confidence.
37. Increases serotonin level, influences mood and behaviour.
38. Resolve phobias & fears
39. Helps control own thoughts
40. Helps with focus & concentration
41. Increase creativity
42. Increased brain wave coherence.
43. Improved learning ability and memory.
44. Increased feelings of vitality and rejuvenation.
45. Increased emotional stability.
46. Improved relationships
47. Mind ages at slower rate
48. Easier to remove bad habits
49. Develops intuition
50. Increased Productivity
51. Improved relations at home & at work
52. Able to see the larger picture in a given situation
53. Helps ignore petty issues
54. Increased ability to solve complex problems
55. Purifies your character
56. Develop will power
57. Greater communication between the two brain hemispheres
58. Respond more quickly and more effectively to a stressful event.
59. Increases ones perceptual ability and motor performance
60. Higher intelligence growth rate
61. Increased job satisfaction
62. Increase in the capacity for intimate contact with loved ones
63. Decrease in potential mental illness
64. Better, more sociable behaviour
65. Less aggressiveness
66. Helps in quitting smoking, alcohol addiction
67. Reduces need and dependency on drugs, pills & pharmaceuticals
68. Need less sleep to recover from sleep deprivation
69. Require less time to fall asleep, helps cure insomnia
70. Increases sense of responsibility
71. Reduces road rage
72. Decrease in restless thinking
73. Decreased tendency to worry
74. Increases listening skills and empathy
75. Helps make more accurate judgments
76. Greater tolerance
77. Gives composure to act in considered & constructive ways
78. Grows a stable, more balanced personality
79. Develops emotional maturity
80. Helps keep things in perspective
81. Provides peace of mind, happiness
82. Helps you discover your purpose in life
83. Increased self-actualization.
84. Increased compassion
85. Growing wisdom
86. Deeper understanding of yourself and others
87. Brings body, mind, and spirit in harmony
88. Deeper Level of spiritual relaxation
89. Increased acceptance of one self
90. Helps learn forgiveness
91. Changes attitude toward life
92. Creates a deeper relationship with your inner Spiritual Self
93. Increases the synchronicity in your life
94. Greater inner-directedness
95. Helps living in the present moment
96. Creates a widening, deepening capacity for love
97. Discovery of the power and consciousness beyond the ego
98. Experience an inner sense of Assurance or Knowingness
99. Experience a sense of Oneness
100. Leads to enlightenment
Grab your chance to master photography skills from renowned photographer, Lim Seng Tiong, and showcase your works!
About the Trainer
A former Straits Times photojournalist and recipient of the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award (1995), Seng Tiong has more than 30 years of experience in photography and teaching the art form. He has contributed his works to numerous publications and has held several solo exhibitions.
A Youth Photography Apprenticeship Programme & Exhibition
Selected youths will be able to attend a series of workshops on 31 March, 2, 9 and 14 April 2011 with the objective to capture pictures based on the theme “Acts of Goodwill”.
Your works will be exhibited at Vesak 2555 Celebration to be held at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza on 30 April and 1 May 2011! This programme is open to all Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents in Singapore aged 17 to 35 years old. Participants who have completed the programme will be presented with a Certificate of Participation
Find out more here: http://vesakcelebrations.sg/activities/goodwill/
You guys do these things because you are all inspired by the power of the Buddha-Dhamma and have experienced for yourselves how it can help young people through their growing years, and eventually their lives. You have seen for yourselves how leading a righteous Buddhist life makes for a happiness and peace of mind.
Persevere, and push on.