All posts by quantumted

About quantumted

I’m a 54 year old teacher in Charlotte, NC. I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for 3 years now. I’ve learned a lot, but have a lot to learn. My guru is Grand Master Lu.

The Ten Power of a Buddha 佛的十力

Ten Power of a Buddha 佛的十力

  1. Omniscience; one possess complete awareness, one is able to perceive the entire history of a person from beginning to end, a complete knowledge of the works of the universe.

 

  1. Knowledge of the Karma of every being; an enlightened being whose Tathagata Wisdom is developed, can read the history of transmigration through the body signs (attributes) one carries (inherits)

 

  1. Knowledge to end illusion of every kind; one must observe “Impermanence” in all worldly phenomena; engender the desire of :Renunciation” and practice to attain “selflessness”. One with Enlightened Buddha-Wisdom knows how to teach this path of liberation in a lucid and succinct way.

 

  1. Knowledge of the desire and moral direction of every being; the knowledge of the positive and negative attributes of every being. These attribute are habitual tendencies one carried over from the previous lives. A Buddha knows how to put those attribute to good use, and direct those with negative attributes to overcome.

 

  1. Knowledge of how to liberate every being; an enlightened being is knowing howevery being an be liberated, and teaching in accordance with each beings aptitudes. (Note: Buddha’s ability to teach all levels of beings without barrier of time, space, and language )

 

  1. Knowledge of all stages of Samadhi; A power of Tathagata is ability to observe and determine the spiritual level of an individual ( arhat / Sravaka-Buddha, Pratyeka- Buddha, Bodhisattva, or Buddha)

 

  1. Knowledge of the law of Karma; A Buddha is well aware of the direction and consequences of the laws of nature, of knows that one can do to extricate from oneself from or avoid the karmic consequences.

 

  1. Divine abilities; Ability to see beyond the limitation of physical eyes (clairvoyance)

            Ability to be all places same time. (Miraculous travel)

           Ability of know all being’s mind (mind reading)

           Ability to hear beyond human realm (Clair-audience)

           Knowledge of end of contamination (This knowledge is personal understanding               gained though meditation.)

 

  1. Access to memory vault; Ability to recall past places and past rebirths and events.

                               

  1. Eternal state of non-birth; There’s no rebirth, it is in a state of Nirvana, the state o complete joy, and blissful peace.

 

 

 

The Ten Epithets of the Buddha 佛的十稱

 

The Ten Epithets of the Buddha 佛的十號

Just for information, during your study of Buddhism materials, sometimes you will come across these terms; you will know what it meant.  They all referred to The Buddha.

Thus Gone, Thus Come

Worthy (Offering) One

Perfect Self-Enlightened

Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct

Well Gone

Knower of the World

Unsurpassed One

Leader of Parsons to be tamed

Teacher of gods and humans

The World Honored Enlightened One

 

Bodhisattva’s four Skills 菩薩四攝法

This Week I doubled up as I totally got behind and didn’t post last weeks Dharma. Be sure to read below this post regarding the Dying Process. Amituofo. -Ted

Mahayana Buddhist practice is to practice in order to achieve self-enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings. Therefore we should practice to: Not to hide in a cave, away from people, or away from the society. It is the sentient beings that create opportunities for us to practice. All of these types of challenges and difficulties allow us to analyze and apply our learned Dharma skills, to handle them, and to overcome all situations.

Although, these are the Bodhisattva Skills, it is also for each of us to practice, and these practices can be used by anyone and are not limited to Buddhists. It simply creates a harmonious relationship with anyone who we are in contact and associated with.

1.) Generosity: Joyful in giving, assist in solving problems such as spiritual suffering, money, time, or teaching Dharma.

This generosity of giving should be unattached, meaning not with any expectation for anything in return, not trying to remember what was given, and to whom it was given to.

2.) Kinds words: speaking kind words, complements on good qualities of someone, words that are pleasing to hear.

Kind words should be sincere without pretention. It is a practice of looking only at other people’s good qualities.

Everyone has some kind of good quality.

3.) Altruistic Actions: Practice purification of body, speech, and mind, making effort in doing good deeds, doing things that are beneficial to others or community, setting a good example as a Buddhist for general public, so people would be attracting to learn the Buddha-Dharma.

4.) Coexisting: Participate in activities with others as long as the activities are good and wholesome in nature, not harmful to anyone, and it’s beneficial to all. By showing interest in other’s endeavors, makes people happy, creates a friendship, and give you (Bodhisattva) an opportunity to exhibit your Dharma practice

The Dying Process 死亡的過程

                 

 

  1. The Earth Element Dissolves

* When the earth element loses its power, the body becomes very thin. Limbs loosen and you feel as if the body is sinking under the earth.

* When the aggregate of form absorbs, the limbs become smaller, the body becomes weak and powerless, the luster of the body diminishes and all of one’s strength is consumed.

* When the basic mirror-like wisdom dissolves, the sight becomes unclear and dark.

* Eye sense: one cannot open or close one’s eyes.

* Internal sign: appearance of mirages.

 

  1. The Water Element Dissolves

* When the water element loses its power, saliva, sweat, urine, blood etc. dry up greatly.

* When the aggregate of feelings absorb, the body consciousness can no longer experience the three types of feelings that accompany sense consciousnesses.

* When the basic wisdom of equality (our ordinary consciousness mindful of pleasure, pain and neutral feelings as feelings) dissolve, one is no longer mindful of the feelings accompanying the mental consciousness.

* Ear sense: one no longer hears external or internal sounds.

* Internal sign: appearance of smoke.

  1. The Fire Element Dissolves

* When the fire element loses its power, one cannot digest food or drink.

* When the aggregate of discrimination absorbs, one is no longer mindful of affairs of close persons.

* When the basic wisdom of analysis dissolves, one can no longer remember the names of close persons.

* Nose sense: inhalation weak, exhalation strong and lengthy and one cannot smell.

* Internal signs: appearance of fireflies or sparks within smoke.

 

 

  1. The Air Element Dissolves

* When the wind element loses its power, the ten winds move to the heart and the inhalation and exhalation ceases.

* When the aggregate of compositional factors absorbs, one cannot perform physical actions and one cannot experience smoothness or roughness.

* When the basic wisdom of achieving activities dissolves, one is no longer mindful of external worldly activities, purposes etc.

* Tongue sense: tongue becomes thick and short and the root of the tongue becomes blue.

* Internal sign: appearance of a sputtering light about to go out.

 

  1. The Fifth to the Eighth Signs of Dissolution:

* When the aggregate of consciousness absorbs, the eighty conceptions dissolve.

* Cause of appearance: winds in the right and left channels above the heart enter the central channel at the top of the head.

* Internal sign: clear vacuity filled with white light

 

  1. The Mind of White Appearance Dissolves

* Cause of appearance: winds in right and left channels below heart enter central channel at base of spine.

* Internal sign: very clear vacuity filled with red light.

 

  1. 7. The Mind of Red Increase Dissolves

* Cause of appearance: upper and lower winds gather at heart and then the winds enter the drop at the heart.

* Internal sign: at first, vacuity filled with thick darkness; then, as if swooning into unconsciousness.

  1. The Mind of Black Near Attainment Dissolves

* Cause of appearance: all winds dissolve into the very subtle life-bearing wind in the indestructible drop at the heart.

* Internal sign: very clear vacuity, the mind of clear light of death.

Focus on this clear light for as long as you can. When the clear light of death ceases, the consciousness passes back through the stages of dissolution in reverse order. As soon as this reverse process begins, the person is reborn into an intermediate state (Tib. bar-do) between lives, with a subtle body that can go anywhere, through mountains etc., to find a place of rebirth. Or the person revives into the old body, a so-called near-death experience.

A lifetime in the intermediate state can last from a moment to seven days, depending on whether or not a suitable birthplace is found. If one is not found, the being undergoes a ‘small death’, experiencing the eight signs of death as laid out above, but very briefly. He or she then again experiences the eight signs of the reverse process and is reborn in a second intermediate state. This can happen for a total of seven rebirths in the intermediate state, making forty-nine days, during which time a place of rebirth is necessarily found.

It is said that after death, one’s memory becomes 9 times sharper then when alive, therefore, it is beneficial to learn about death now. Just remember; after death, our consciousness travel through time and space, as a spiritual practitioner, our goal is to attain a more desirable rebirth, unless if we have achieve high level of enlightenment, not subject to rebirth. During the course of “Bardo”, there will be Buddhas and Bodhisattvas radiating bright white lights to lead us, we should remember the three Jewels, pray and call upon them, chant Guru Mantra, or Buddha’s name, remain calm and being aware of the surroundings, during the Bardo period, we do have the opportunity to be liberated. There would be different colors of lights appearing; seek out for the pure bright white light and follow it. That is a pure divine path. One will also see murky lights of varied colors.

Remember, DO NOT fellow any murky lights. That will lead you to a undesirable realms of rebirth. It is important that, during our life you must: Practice the Dharma Path, Meditate and train our minds, Develop familiarity with calm abiding and pure spirit. This will lead us to a high-level of rebirth, or even attain Arahant (not subject to rebirth).

 

Meaning of Offerings 供品的意義

Usually, when you visit Buddhist temples, you would notice people performing prostrations and presenting offerings. The bowing and prostrations are a way of showing respect and appreciation for the teachings of the Buddha and all the lineage masters / teachers. The varied offerings have different meanings as well. Each temple interprets them differently. Here we will briefly introduce them to you:

1.Incense: Discipline and Effort. Body fragrance. Mental stability.                 

2.Flowers: Joyful, Blooming to attainment.                                    

3.Candle/Lamp: Bright future, Enlightened mind,Radiance.                 

4.Water: Great compassion, Equality, Purification, and Boundary guarding.     

5.Fruit: Speedy attainment, ascending levels.                          

6.Tea: Favorite Dharma taste, Speedy enlightenment.            

7.Food: Pure food for health and  Dharma as food for spirit                  

8.Jewery: Auspicious attainment of Dharma wealth.            

9.Sutras: Knowledge, Wisdom, and Comprehension of Great Path.      

10.Clothes: Purification of body and mind, Majestic.  

You may wonder, “what should I bring to the temple for an offering”? My suggestion is to offer what you like and what makes you feel happy. It is more important is that it is from your heart and that you sincerely wish to make this offering.

There was a story, one day the Buddha was teaching The Dharma. There was no light in the large room where he sat. All who came to hear Buddha’s teachings brought oil lamps as offerings to light the room. There was one lady who was very poor. She did not have any oil for her lamp, so she used what little money she had left to buy a small amount of oil. She then brought her little lamp and placed it amongst the other larger lamps. All of the sudden a strong wind came and blew out every lamp. That lady’s little lamp however remained lit.  Everyone was surprised and puzzled.

As the “All knowing one”, Buddha explained to the huge crowd of people attended this Dharma discourse, this poor lady made the biggest sacrifice to come. She even renounced food to purchase oil for her lamp.

So it is the sincerity that counts. (Refer to The 8-Fold Path post under Right intention.)

 

Ten Dharma Realms 十法界

First Susan and I would like to apologize for this late post. Like many of you, we sometimes get caught up in busy schedules.

Four Holy Realms: (Not subject to rebirth)

1.) The holy land of Buddhas —a state of joyful, blissful Nirvana.

2.) The holy land of Bodhisattvas (enlightened Buddhas return to help other beings) Among the Buddhas and bodhisattvas by realization and accomplished the six pāramitās 六度. Sphere of nothingness, absolute peace, limitlessness. Supreme Wisdom and Compassion, (In the state of Nirvana, ability to manifest into various forms at will to save alt beings.)

3.) The holy land of Pratyeka-buddhas. Among Pratyekabuddhas by the twelve nidānas (cause and Effect)

The Pure Land of abandonment of thought, or recollection of past delights)

4.) Hearers: Holy land of Sravaka-buddhas. Among the śrāvakas by the four noble truths. Paradise of cessation of rebirth,    

 

Six Ordinary Realms: (Subject to the cycle of rebirth)                                        

*Three heavenly realms: (subject to rebirth )

(Sphere of heavens depends upon the level of meditational accomplishment)

5.) The formless realm: Beings in this realm are formless, only consciousness exist in limitless space, extremely long lifespan, state of no desires, non greed, non hatred, in a peaceful state. Land of wondrous joy after the previous joys. Paradise after earthly life. Accomplished high level of meditation, but have not achieve state of enlightenment, still subject to individual Karma dictation, are subject to rebirth.

6.) The form realm: Beings in this realm are still with form; certain residual of attachment, enjoys heavenly peace, pure spheres, of non suffering of heat, cold, contaminants. still subject to individual Karma dictation, are subject to rebirth.

( Description of meditation stages–Four Jhanas: )

  • First Jhāna — In the first jhana there are: “directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
  • Second Jhāna — In the second jhana there are: “internal assurance, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
  • Third Jhāna — In the third jhana, there are: “equanimity-pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention”
  • Fourth Jhāna — In the fourth jhāna there are: “a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness; unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention”.

 7.) Desire Ream: This heavenly realm the enjoys all the pleasures, anything one’s mind wish for, will appear, to be satisfied. Arrived by the ten forms of good action on earth life, limited period of enjoyment, still subject to  reincarnation. The difference between the Saint Realm and the Ordinary Realm is whether one’s ability to transcend causes of sufferings “Dukkha”.  

The Nine Mental Abiding (Methods of Meditation) 調心次第

The Nine Mental Abiding 調心 禪定九次第

Lineage of mediators saw the same unfolding process: nine ways that the mind can be true to its inherent stability, clarity and strength.  In their descriptions of nine stages of training the mind through the practice of shamatha (meditation, or “peaceful abiding,” they left us sign-posts of that process. It is necessary for development of superior wisdom and compassion.

First four stages—–placement, continual placement, repeated placement, close placement. (Developing stability)

Stages five and six are taming and pacifying. (To developing clarity)

The last three stages—(seven, eight, and nine) thoroughly pacifying, one-pointed and equanimity (building strength)

  1. Placement of the mind: occurs when the practitioner is able to place his attention on the object of meditation, but is unable to maintain that attention for very long. Distractions, dullness of mind and other hindrances are common.
  2. Continuous attention 🙂 occurs when the practitioner experiences moments of continuous attention on the object before becoming distracted. this is when you can maintain your attention on the meditation object for about a minute.
  3. Repeated attention: is when the practitioner’s attention is fixed on the object for most of the practice session and she or he is able to immediately realize when she or he has lost his mental hold on the object and is able to restore that attention quickly. Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche suggests that being able to maintain attention for 108 breaths is a good benchmark for when we have reached this stage.
  4. Close attention: occurs when the practitioner is able to maintain his attention throughout the entire meditation session (an hour or more) without losing their mental hold on the meditation object at all. In this stage the practitioner achieves the power of mindfulness. Nevertheless, this stage still contains subtle forms of excitation and dullness or laxity.
  5. Tamed attention: by this stage the practitioner achieves deep tranquility of mind, but must be watchful for subtle forms of laxity or dullness, peaceful states of mind which can be confused for calm abiding. By focusing on the future benefits of gaining Shamatha, the practitioner can uplift his mind and become more focused and clear.
  6. Pacified attention: is the stage during which subtle mental dullness or laxity is no longer a great difficulty, but now the practitioner is prone to subtle excitements which arise at the periphery of meditative attention. This stage is usually achieved only after thousands of hours of rigorous training.
  7. Fully pacified attention: although the practitioner may still experience of subtle excitement or dullness, they are rare and he can easily recognize and pacify them.
  8. Single-pointed attention: in this stage the practitioner can reach high levels of concentration with only a slight effort and without being interrupted even by subtle laxity or excitement during the entire meditation session.
  9. Attentional Balance: the meditator now effortlessly reaches absorbed concentration and can maintain it for about four hours without any single interruption.

 

 

The Seven-Point Meditation Posture 坐勢

  The Seven-Point Meditation Posture 坐勢

Based on material from Kathleen McDonald, How to Meditate, Wisdom Publications, 1984.

Point 1: Legs 雙腿

If possible, sit with your legs crossed in the vajra, or full lotus, position. In this position, each foot is placed, sole upward, on the thigh of the opposite leg. This position is difficult to achieve, but one can train the body to do so over time. This position gives the best support to the body and mind. It is not, however, essential.

An alternative position is the half-lotus position where one foot is on the floor under the opposite leg and the other foot is on top of the opposite thigh. A third alternative is simply sitting in a cross-legged position with both feet resting on the floor under the opposite thighs.

Sitting on a firm cushion the raises the buttocks higher than the knees can help you greatly to keep your spine straight. It can also help you to sit for longer periods of time without having your feet and legs fall asleep or get uncomfortable pins-and-needles.

If sitting on a cushion on the floor is not possible, one can use a low meditation bench. It is also perfectly acceptable to meditate while sitting on a chair. The most important thing is to find a suitable position in which you are able to be comfortable.

Point 2: Arms 雙手

Hold your hands loosely in your lap, right hand resting in the palm of your left, palms upward, thumbs lightly touching, forming the shape of a teardrop, or flame. Your hands should be resting about 2–3 inches below the navel. Shoulders and arms should be relaxed. Arms should be slightly akimbo, leaving a bit of space between your arms and your body to allow air to circulate. This helps to prevent sleepiness during meditation.

Point 3: Back 背直

Your back is most important. It should be straight, held relaxed and fully upright, as if the vertebrae were a stack of blocks effortlessly resting in a pile. This helps your energy to flow freely and contributes greatly to the clarity and alertness of your mind in meditation. The position of your legs can contribute greatly to how easy it is to maintain a straight back; often the higher is the cushion under your buttocks and the lower are your knees, the easier it is to keep a straight back. You should experiment to see what works for you.
4: Point Eyes 眼

In the beginning, it is often easier to concentrate with your eyes fully closed.

This is totally fine. As you gain some experience with meditation, it is recommended that you learn to leave your eyes slightly open to admit a little light and that you direct your gaze downwards, not really focusing on anything in particular. Closing the eyes completely may create a tendency toward sluggishness, sleep, or daydreaming,

all of which are obstacles to clear meditations.

Point 5: Jaw and Mouth 下吧

Your jaw and mouth should be relaxed with your teeth slightly apart, not clenched, lips lightly touching.

Point 6: Tongue 捲舌

Your tongue should rest lightly on your upper palate, with the tip lightly touching the back of the upper teeth. This is to help the flow of saliva and the flow of energy through the chakras.

Point 7: Head 頭正

Your head should be just slightly inclined forward so that your gaze is directed naturally toward the floor in front of you. If your chin is held too high, you may have problems with mental wandering and distraction. If you drop your head too far forward, this can bring mental dullness or sleepiness.

 

 

Five Precepts 五重戒 and Ten Negative Deeds 十惡業

                 Buddhist strongly emphasize Five Precepts:

 Five precepts: 五

  1. Refrain from killing 殺living creatures
  2. Refrain from stealing偷盜.
  3. Refrain from unchastely邪淫 (sensuality, sexuality, lust).
  4. Refrain from incorrect speech 妄語.
  5. Refrain from taking intoxicants 兇酒 / 毒.

十惡業 Ten Negative Deeds:

  1. 殺生killing: Taking life of any living beings.
  2. 偷盜stealing: Taking anything which ia giving, or permitted.
  3. 邪淫Sexual Misconduct: Unlawful, unmoral, over indulging sexuality.
  4. 說謊False speech: Untrue speech, misleading speech.
  5. 惡口Harmful Speech: hurtful speech, hatred speech, confrontational speech. negative motivational speech.
  6. 绮語Charter Speech: Meaningless speech, mindless speech, frivolous speech.
  7. 兩舌Divisive Speech: Speeches that cause confrontational between parties.
  8. 貪餒Greed: Strong / endless desires of material objects, and name, fame, praise, gain etc.
  9. 瞋恨Hatred:  Strong emotional disturbances; most harmful to the mind.
  10. 嫉妒Jealousy: It usually directly connected to hatred, due ignorance of Dharma.

( Note): To create positive deeds, simply refrain from the ten negative deeds. 盡止惡業即是善業

The 12-fold chain of Causality 十二因緣

The 12-fold chain of Causality 十二因緣

This is a brief explanation of Cause and Effect. It has two sets of causes: previous and current, and two sets of effects: previous and current, that are dictated by the Karmic-force, generated by oneself. This causes one to become trapped in the cycle of existence, also known as (Samsara).

It is very important to understand how the cause and effect of our Karma works, so we can be aware of how to generate positive causes, and avoid negative ones.

Please take time to study it, until you have a thorough understanding of the information we have gathered for you.

Previous Causes: (1) Ignorance, (2) Formative actions, (3) Consciousness.

Current Effects: (4) Name & Form, (5) The six senses, (6) Touch, (7) Sensation,

                            (8) Thirst, desire, craving

Current Causes: (9) Grasping, laying hold, (10) Becoming, existing

Future Effects: (11) Birth, (12) Aging and Death                        

1.) 無明 ” Ignorance”: of the Four Noble Truths, the Three marks of existence (impermanence, dissatisfaction or suffering, and non-self ), the Five Skandhas, Karma, and The twelve -links, results in a wrong assessment of reality. This narrowness of experience is the primary cause of suffering dissatisfaction, pain, unease, etc.

2.) 行 “Mental Formation”: The impulse accumulations of Karma are characterized by the energetic direction of the first motif, manifesting through body, speech, and mind as structuring forces of our being. This relationship forms the basis of our character and our personal karmic patterning.

3.) 識 “Consciousness” represents the partially structured consciousness that results from the Karma-generating actions, the shaping of that energetic activity into a less flexible and more stagnant form. It is pictured as having a two-fold function: the cognition of objects that arise in our field of awareness and a structured stream that is being continually fed from the reservoir of energetic activity. The interplay between action and consciousness is seen as accounting for all the experiential data associated with the psychological notion of the unconscious, including memory, dreams, and the eruption of emotive complexes.

4.) 名色 “Name and form” has a quick grasping tendency, moving from sensory objects to objects of imagination rapidly. This energy may therefore crystallize and take shape into mental functions, called Nāma名, or it may be represented as material forms, called Rūpa色. As a collective idea, the名色Nāma-rūpa motif models the reciprocal relationship of bodily and mental functioning. 名Nāma is the naming activity of the discursive mind. 色Rūpa develops an internal representation of external objects, without which mind and body cannot exist. Nāma 名refers to three components of mental functioning. There is the sensation or tone-awareness of a mental situation. There is also an ideational or labeling function. And finally there is the component of dispositional orientation, the ‘mood-energy’ we bring to a situation. Rūpa 色 refers to the four dynamic structuring operations of solidity, cohesion, heat, and motility. They are represented by the elemental symbols of earth, water, fire, and air. The operation of these elemental modes goes towards making up what we experience as our physical world, including our body. It embraces the static aspects of embodiment such as cellular, tissue, and organ structures, as well as the dynamic aspect of body metabolism–electro-physiological pathways, membrane transport, etc.

5.) 六入”six sense gates” or “six sense bases” The close relationship of bodily and mental functioning is differentiated into the six-fold bases of awareness, which contribute to the arising of all sensory experiences that make up our interpretation of reality. The six-fold bases are divided into an internal grouping with corollary external supports. The internal grouping refers to the integration of five sensory capabilities (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body) and a sixth capability, termed non-sensuous or mental, which refers to the capability of all acts of memory, imagination, visualization, etc. These internal bases are not to be confused with the corresponding physical organs … They are simply loci of sensitivity structured such that there arises the experience of seeing, hearing, etc. The six external bases, which always work in conjunction with the corresponding internal base, refer to the six types of possible object awareness. These bases are the means by which the differentiated aspects, which are fleeting stabilizations in the field character of our awareness, stand out long enough to be appropriated as this-or-that specific object. The external and internal bases should be pictured as working together in pairs. In any given moment there is the two-fold working of a particular modality of awareness (eye-sensitivity and color-forms, ear-sensitivity and sounds, etc.).

6.) 觸 “Contact” refers to the relationship or rapport between the internal and external. Impressions of tone arise in conjunction with the specific modality of awareness that is operating.

7.) 受 “Sensation” There are six sense-bases (āyatana) types of feeling tone awareness that arise from contact. The feeling tone or sensation of each of the six āyatana is uniquely different. For example, the feeling tone and felt experience of sensations in the body are distinct from the feeling tones generated from experiencing sight or sound. Each modality is experientially separable on the basis of (a) the place of sensitivity (internal base), (b) the corresponding structure of its field (external base), (c) the manner of articulation or relatedness between (a) and (b), termed rapport, and (d) the resulting distinctive tone.

8.) 愛 “Craving”: desire, thirst, or attachment: Following the arising of tone-awareness is an unconditioned or habitually patterned experience of craving or attachment.

9.) 取 “Attachment”: If the object of one’s desires comes to fruition, then these craving desires may manifest as the quality of attachment. This condition of fulfilled desires and attachment is always fleeting and momentary, as new cravings arise once old cravings are satisfied. Attachment may take many forms, for example, emotional attachment to persons, to life, material comfort, routines, pleasant or unpleasant sensations, beliefs, thoughts, judgments, etc. We may not have attachment to things like wealth or success in society, but we are typically very strongly attached to our feelings and constructed identity of the self. One may become fixated on a mental “story” or representation of reality, or a mental version of an object or event, preferring and craving for an unrealized internal version of external reality. Once this fixation shapes behavior in a way that internal desires are satiated, then the craving of may be said to have shifted to the attachment.

10.) 有 “Becoming”: Refers to the new formation of karmic tendencies. This creation of new habits and karmic tendencies will come to fruition through future experiences. They therefore, differ in temporal nature. These include tendencies from past situational patterning (lives) which act on the present situation.

11.) 生 Birth: refers to the process of karmic tendencies coming to fruition, through the birth of new patterning. That which was desired and conditioned now comes to be. In a psycho-biological model, the birth or emergence of a newborn being, appearing, according to the specific history of patterning, in one of six ‘lifestyles’ (six levels of lower existence) . These lifestyles indicate the general character of experience. (They are symbolized by the terms gods, titans, hungry ghosts, animals, denizens of hell, and human. These embrace all the general ways of being-in-a-situation.)

12.) 老死 Aging, decay and death: Once a new situation or a new being has emerged, the last of the twelve motifs, points to the inevitability of decay and death. When the cessation of the continuity of experience occurs, we speak of death. It is the total breakdown and dissolution of experience and experiencer. The process of disintegration, restructuring, and entropic scattering yields a nexus of vibratory murkiness which is the condition of “cycle of rebirth”, the first motif. Thus the entire structure of patterning feeds back on itself, and is often pictured as a circle of twelve sections, called the Wheel of Life.

 

Seven Factors of Enlightenment 七覺支

When you wish to be free from spiritual suffering, and to achieve enlightenment, you must fellow these steps :

  1. Investigation : Investigate and seek out the pure Dharma and a qualified teacher.
  2. Mindfulness : Set out to learn and practice the Dharma, committed and focused. Be mindful of meditation and wisdom practice.
  3. Energy : Engage with whole hearted effort; never becoming lazy or quitting.
  4. Joy : With all the above, you will gradually attain joyful peace, you will experience less and less suffering of stress, unhappiness, frustrations in life.
  5. Tranquility: You will attain a peaceful mind, being relaxed with both your body and mind at all the times.
  6. Concentration: Concentration of both body and mind. Your thoughts are no longer scattered, and are focused and present at all times on the Path. At this stage, you will be able to control and purified your body, speech, and mind.
  7. Equanimity : You achieve calm abiding. The mind is well trained, and immoveable by the surrounding phenomena. It is fully aware of all phenomena without being lustful or averse towards them.

The Seven Pretensions  七慢

Seven Pretensions / Arrogance 七慢

These are great hindrances to the Path of Enlightenment, as Buddhist practitioners, we make sure we are not falling into any of those categories of pretentiousness.

( 1 ) Self-superior: seeing someone with lower capacity, one exhibit as highly superior. (Most people more or less have such attitude, it is a serious hindrance to Dharma practice, therefore must correct it.)

(2) Self-Superior to Equal: Seeing someone with equal capacity, one thinks oneself is somewhat superior.

(3) Self-Superior to Superior: Seeing someone with higher capacity, one believe that one is somewhat superior.

(4) “I” Superior:  Internally, Misunderstanding the five Skandhas as true self -the ” I “, ( The composition of delusionary Form, Feeling, Mind, Action, Consciousness.) externally, Misunderstanding that everything ” I ” do is superior.

(5) Self-Superior on Knowledge: With small knowledge of Dharma, and little experience of meditation, with misunderstanding, one thinks oneself as very knowledgeable and superior.

(6) Self-Superior on Capacity: When seeing some one that is very capable, one thinks “So what! no big deal!”, showing no respect, Even when one knows other’s superior capacity, still don’t want to learn from the other person, in fear of showing inferiority.

(7) Self-Superior on Virtue: One without characteristics of virtue, pretend to be, and seeking praise and respect from others.

 

* Antidote for these pretentions is constantly reminding ourselves that all sentient beings are precious and equal with Buddha nature, we practice to be humble and respectful of everyone, being aware of our own body, speech and mind, make sure we are not falling into any of those categories of pretentious, Do self inquiries, and correct ourselves, and remind ourselves not to make the same mistakes, and a fool of our selves.

 

             

  

 

The Eight-Fold Path  八正道        

                                                          The Eight-Fold Path          

Threefold division:

The Noble Eightfold Path is sometimes divided into three basic divisions, as follows:

This presentation is called the “Three Higher Trainings” in Mahayana Buddhism: higher moral discipline, higher concentration and higher wisdom. “Higher” here refers to the fact that these trainings that lead to liberation and enlightenment, are engaged in with the motivation of renunciation or bodhichitta

Division :                        Eightfold Path factors

Ethical Conducts …………….Right Action

Right Speech

Right Livelihood

Concentration ………………..Right Effort

Right Mindfulness

Right Concentration

Wisdom ……………………….. Right View

Right Intention

Eight Fold Paths:

Right Act: Refrain from actions that harms others, abstaining from, taking life, from stilling, and from illicit sex [or sexual misconduct]. This is called right action.

Right Speech: Abandoning false speech… He speaks the truth, holds to the truth, is firm, reliable, no deceiver of the world. Abandoning divisive speech… do not repeat or say things that cause animosity between two parties, Abandoning abusive speech… He speaks words that are soothing to the ear, that are affectionate, that go to the heart, that are polite, appealing and pleasing to people at large. Abandoning idle chatter… He speaks in season, speaks what is factual, speaks words that meaningful.

Right Livelihood: This means that practitioners ought not to engage in trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings. In the Chinese and Pali Canon, it is explained thus:

And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood.

The five types of businesses that should not be undertaken:

  1. Business in weapons: trading any kind of weapons, and instruments for killing.
  2. Business in human beings: slave trading, prostitution, or the buying and selling of children or adults.
  3. Business in meat: “meat” refers to the bodies of beings after they are killed. This includes breeding animals for slaughter.
  4. Business in intoxicants: manufacturing or selling intoxicating drinks, or addictive drugs.
  5. Business in poison: producing or trading in any kind of poison, or a toxic product designed to kill.

Right Effort: Right effort , can also be translated as “right endeavor” or “right diligence”. In this factor, the practitioners should make a persisting effort to abandon all the wrong and harmful thoughts, words, and deeds. The practitioner should instead be persisting in giving rise to what would be good and useful to themselves and others in their thoughts, words, and deeds, without a thought for the difficulty or weariness involved. Right effort for a Buddhist, also meant diligent in study and practicing Buddha’s teachings.

Right Awareness: Right mindfulness, also translated as “right memory”, “right awareness” or “right attention”. Here, practitioners should constantly keep their minds alert to phenomena that affect the body and mind. They should be mindful and deliberate, making sure not to act or speak due to inattention or forgetfulness. This practice is a very effective method to achieve purification of body, speech and mind.

Right Concentration or Right meditation (samadhi), is the practice of concentration (Samadhi ). As such, the practitioner concentrates on an object of attention until reaching full concentration and a state of meditative absorption (jhana). Traditionally, the practice of samadhi can be developed through mindfulness of breathing through visual objects and through repetition of phrases (mantra). Samadhi is used to suppress the five hindrances in order to enter into jhana. Jhana is an instrument used for developing wisdom by cultivating insight and using it to examine true nature of phenomena with direct cognition. This leads to cutting off the defilements, realizing the dharma and, finally, self-awakening. During the practice of right concentration, the practitioner will need to investigate and verify their right view. In the process right knowledge will arise, followed by right liberation.

Right View: Right view , can also be translated as “right perspective”, “right outlook” or right understanding”. And what is right view? Right understanding of the Four Noble Truth; knowledge with reference to suffering, knowledge with reference to the origination of suffering, knowledge with reference to the cessation of suffering, knowledge with reference to the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering: This is called ” Right ”

It is the right way of looking at life, nature, and the world as they really are. It is to understand how reality works. It acts as the reasoning for someone to start practicing the path. It explains the reasons for human existence, suffering, sickness, aging, death, the existence of greed, hatred, and delusion. It gives direction and efficacy to the other seven path factors. Right view begins with concepts and propositional knowledge, but through the practice of right concentration, it gradually becomes transmuted into wisdom, which can eradicate the fetters of the mind. Understanding of right view will inspire the person to lead a virtuous life in line with right view.

Right Wisdom or Right intention ,can also be known as “right thought”, “right resolve”, “right conception”, “right aspiration” or “the exertion of our own will to change”. In this factor, the practitioner should constantly aspire to rid themselves of whatever qualities they know to be wrong and immoral. Correct understanding of right view will help the practitioner to discern the differences between right intention and wrong intention.

 

 

The Four Noble Truths: 苦集滅道 (佛法四諦)

                         The Four Noble Truths: 苦集滅道

The Four Noble Truths are the core teachings of the Buddha; yet they are probably the most misunderstood of the Buddha’s teachings. The Four Noble Truths have a clear and simple message; it is the nature of life that all beings will face difficulties. By correctly following and practicing the Buddha’s teachings, one can transcend these difficulties and ultimately become enlightened, liberated, and free .

The Four Noble Truths are:

  1. The origin of (dukkha) suffering 苦
  2. The truth of suffering, anxiety, unsatisfactoriness苦因
  3. The truth of the cessation of dukkha (能) 滅
  4. The path leading to the cessation of dukkha 道 (方法)

The First Noble Truth (輪迴  Sufferings of cyclic existence)

Truth of Sufferings : Experiencing birth, aging, sickness, and death. Encountering hostile people and unwanted situations. Being separated from loved ones and from what we desire. Suffering anxiety, dissatisfaction, discontentment etc. Suffering mentally and physically. Due to Impermanence, anything that is born, formed, constructed, or created, will face aging, decay, break-down /sickness, and death/extinct. The Buddha said that, we are composed of nothing but five heaps (Skandhas), aggregates, or conglomerations of individuality.

The Five Skandhas:   

  • Form 型與四大: The physical elements of earth (solidity), Water (fluidity), Fire (heat), Air (Movement), and Space (cavities)——-all of which comprise our human and all sentient beings.
  • Feelings / Sensations 六塵 (五根與心意): The five senses…sight (eye), sound (ear), smell (nose), taste (tongue), and touch ( skin). Buddha added another sensory organ
  • “Mind” –the six sense .
  • Perceptions 六入功能: Combines Form, feelings, and sensations with recognition and judgments.
  • Intentionality / Will 分別, 執著: One’s wishes/intent/motives direct the mind, which controls the way we think, speak, and act. Your intentions establish the priorities in your life. Your past intentions / conditions perpetuate your present intentions, habits, and propensities. This is where Karma is created.
  • Consciousness 六識: Visual consciousness (eye), auditory consciousness (ear), olfactory consciousness(nose), gustatory consciousness (Taste), tactile consciousness (body), and mental  consciousness, which you presently think of as yours, is comprised of six different basic facets.
  • The Second Noble Truth    (Origin of the cause of suffering (Dukkha))
  • Origin of Sufferings : The very fact that this body and mind have come into being through contaminated actions and disturbing emotions, our ignorance is like that of darkness , unable to see the fundamental nature of phenomena and the connection between actions and their effects. Our search for (contaminated) pleasure preoccupies us and takes up most of our energy , yet it is doomed to failure from the start because none of these pleasure can give us the real and lasting happiness we crave. These cravings and graspings are two disturbing emotions whose nature is attachment. These bring about our physical and mental sufferings.
  • Life is difficult because of cause for suffering. It suggests a state of incessant, never ending craving, cravings for sensory pleasures, fame, and name.
  • Ignorance : Can be defined as ignorance of the meaning and implications of The Four Noble Truths. On a deeper level, it refers to a misunderstanding of the nature of the self and reality.
  • Disturbing Emotions : The three root disturbing emotions are called the three poisonsand are the root cause of suffering or dukkha.
  • These three poisons are:
  • Ignorance : misunderstanding the nature of reality, bewilderment.
  • Attachment :attachment to pleasurable experiences.
  • Aversion : a fear of getting what we want, fear of losing what we have, fear of not getting what we want, and fear of change.   
  •         
    The Third Noble Truth  (Cessation of suffering and the causes of suffering.) 

Cessation of Sufferings : Through understanding the fundamental nature of reality, we realize that it is possible to shed the misconception which drive us. Our approach is to investigate the feasibility of gaining liberation. The ability to perceive reality clearly, demands the practice of

special insight. This can only be cultivated and developed with intense concentration. Such power of concentration requires a firm foundation the ethical discipline of conduct, meditation and view.

Cessation is the goal of one’s spiritual practice in the Buddhist tradition.  According to the Buddha; each of us have Buddha-Nature, we all have the capability of achieving enlightenment, once we have developed a genuine understanding of the causes of suffering, we can completely eradicate these causes and thus be free ourselves from suffering. Cessation is often equated with Nirvana and can be said to occur whenever the causes of suffering (e.g. craving) have ceased in our mind. One will achieve calm-abiding state of the mind, ability to see the true nature of all things, ultimately attain enlightenment.

The Fourth Noble truth  (The path to the cessation of dukkha. )

Path to cease Sufferings—(The Eightfold Path)

This path is called the Noble Eightfold Path, and it is considered to be the essence of Buddhist practice. The eightfold path consists of Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. While the first three truths are primarily concerned with understanding the nature of dukkha (suffering, anxiety, stress) and its causes, the fourth truth presents a practical method for overcoming dukkha/ suffering. The path consists of a set of eight interconnected factors or conditions, that when developed together, lead to the cessation of dukkha.

The EightFold path is

Body

  1. Right Action 正業, 正行
  2. Right Livelihood 正命 (正事業)
  3. Right Effort  正精進

Speech

4. Right Speech  正語

Mind

5. Right View 正見(正見解)

6. Right Awareness  正思維

7. Right Mindfulness, (Intention)  正念

8. Right Concentration, (Meditation)  正定

Stages in the Buddhist Path 信解行証

    

            Stages in the Buddhist Path   信解行證

(There are basically four stages in the Buddhist Path;)

Faith:  one begin learning Buddhism, must have faith in the Buddha’s teachings.  Begin by self-inquiry on meanings of life, changing and suffering-nature of life, a wish to be free from mental and spiritual sufferings, and wish to attain true lasting happiness.

How to have faith?  By study and hearing about Buddhism, by observation, and logical judgment, then you begin to see there is great possibility to find answers in Buddhism.

Understanding: one put forth effort in studying, hearing, and comprehending the true meaning of Buddha’s teachings.  The Buddha taught Dharma for 49 years, it’s very difficult for one to study everything and comprehend the true meanings of the teachings, therefore it’s a good idea that one follows a teacher / Guru’s teachings and put in true effort to learn and practice. There is a saying; “if you know one Dharma, you know all Dharma, because, there is only one truth.

Action: One learning by hearing  or reading , and have comprehend the true meaning of Dharma, one actually put in effort to practice according to the “Teachings”, including diligent practice on meditations.

Buddha Shakyamuni  never claim to be a “God”, or in any religious sense, His teaching of “Dharma” meaning  “Truth” or “Law of Truth”, this was not about worshiping of different “entities of higher Power.

Buddhism was an education of Enlightenment, it incorporated as religion about 300 years ago, in order to accommodate worshipers. “, It actually serves as a bridge to entering the Buddhist Path.

The Buddha’s teachings are based on his personal experience, and realizations of the true reality, the Buddha encourage his disciple not to take his words for it, but to apply the methods of his teachings in their daily life, to try and prove, or witness for themselves.

Prove /Confirm: after having faith, true understanding of Buddha-Dharma, one practice correctly and diligently, one can achieves the goal of Enlightenment, absolute joy, bliss, completely freedom from all spiritual suffering and mental contamination. Proven Enlightenment can be attained by everyone, as the Buddha discovered that everyone have Buddha-nature within to begin with.

                        

 

Importance of Taking Refuge 皈依的重要

In Buddhism, it is very important that one takes refuge. But what does this mean? This is when you make the sincere commitment to study under a Teacher/Guru. In a ceremony you take refuge by honoring the three-jewels: The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sangha. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition you would also add the fourth jewel which would be the Guru .

The relationship between a Guru and disciple is deeper than that of a father and son. The Guru has the responsibility to teach and train the disciple, passing down his knowledge and wisdom to them. This tradition includes all schools of Buddhism and has been passed down from the beginning of Buddha’s time.

Therefore one who wishes to learn and practice Buddhism should make an effort to seek out an accomplished master to be their Teacher/Guru, and take refuge in them.

The Three Jewels refers to: The Buddha jewel,  (due to his enlightenment and kindness in sharing his teachings).  The Dharma jewel, (all the Buddha’s wisdom teachings). The Sangha Jewel, (The Buddhist community, the monastery monks and nuns). During early days of Buddhism, The Sangha referred to the Arahants, (those who had high levels of realization). Today we refer to any group of  practicing Buddhists  as The Sangha.

At a basic level, one takes refuge in the visible forms group of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

 

  • Relying on the Guru’s teachings.
  • Study the Sutras (Buddhist Scriptures).
  • Practicing Buddhism with a group of Buddhists and following the precepts.

 

On a higher level, refuge in The Three Jewels refers to:

 

  • Commitment to attain the enlightened Buddha mind, which is emptiness and Nirvana.
  • Commitment to comprehend the ultimate truth, the law of nature, the Dharma as methods, the way, and supreme wisdom.
  • Sincere and diligent practice to achieve a pure mind, free from contamination (hatred, judgment, and delusions).

 

Taking refuge is an important commitment to genuinely practice the Buddha’s teachings. It has nothing to do with superstition. The goal is to learn how to achieve mental and spiritual liberation and to live a truly happier life.

 

Recognizing Impermanence 認識無常

                          Recognizing Impermanence

 All sentient beings seek happiness, but no one attains meaningful, lasting happiness. This is why the Buddha Shakyamuni renounced his royal life style to seek solutions. Upon his Enlightenment, he realized that the main reason sentient beings suffer is due to change, which is the impermanent nature of all things.

Therefore if one wishes to attain true happiness, you must first learn to recognize impermanence, accept impermanence, and transform impermanence into a joyful path.

 Impermanence is not only a Buddhist concept; it is a universal reality. According to Buddhist understanding, everything in our material and conscious worlds that come into being are purely the result of causes and conditions, and are ultimately of an impermanent nature. Nothing is stable and everlasting. But, for our ordinary human minds, all things that are around us appear to be stable and everlasting. We directly assume and cling to this view, when in fact, these things are not stable, and not in a state of everlastingness. Inevitably, things change. Due to our false assumptions of stability and clinging to everlastingness, it brings psychological and emotional pain: Frustration, disappointment, confusion, mental confliction, and we are totally confused in that darkness.

 When we talk about impermanence there are two types: gross and subtle. One could say, visible and invisible. Gross impermanence refers to things and events that come into being due to causes and conditions; stay for a while; and then disappear, or cease. For example, if you go to a party, and you’re with all your good friends, enjoying great food and music, remember! It is an event that is impermanent in nature. It ends when the party is over. Anything that is constructed, with the condition of time and space, will eventually deteriorated.

 Another example is those unexpected nature disasters, which change people’s lives suddenly. All beings endure different kinds of suffering. That is gross/visible impermanence.

 Subtle impermanence refers to things that are invisible, for example: our minds are fragmentary, moment to moment, the thoughts moves very rapidly from one thing to another, all things in our life are in constant change, our sorrows and joys come and go, like a roller coaster. It is important to recognize this law of nature and we can prepare for it and know how to transform any negative situation to a positive one.

Everything that exists in the world can be destroyed in four ways:

  1. Birth will end by death.
  2. Our loved ones be they friends or relatives will end in separation.
  3. The wealth and material possessions, which we worked so hard to accumulation, and those powerful positions one holds, will end when we die.
  4. Everything that is constructed, with time and space will collapse. If we look at our world from these four destructive ways, we can see the impermanent nature of the reality.

According to Buddhism, the understanding and realization of impermanence is very useful, helpful, and optimistic. It allows us to see our whole world as a very temporary state. The fact that we come to this world without anything, and we leave without anything is like a quest, visiting this world for a few decades, and then leaving. Buddhism teaches us how to train our mind to see that true reality of phenomena, how not to cling to things and people due to the impermanent nature of reality. As a result, we are able to protect our minds from many of the unhealthy emotions that cause us endless suffering. And, ultimately, achieve true lasting happiness.

 

 

How to listen and benefit from the Buddha-Dharma 如何聽聞佛法及受益

          How to listen and benefit from Buddha-Dharma

                                 如何聽聞佛法及受益

A True Buddhist Student is one who:

* Genuinely wishes to find a solution for mental and spiritual  liberation. 真為解脫

* Is open-minded and non-judgmental of the teachings. 不執不疑

* Is focused with great concentration, and awareness.  聚精會神

__________________________________________________________________

The example of a glass:  杯例

The upside down glass: When listening with closed mind, nothing can enter. 倒的杯

The Contaminated glass: listens without sincere intend or is judgmental. 髒的杯

The Leaky glass: without focus or concentration, either does not hear it or soon forgets it. 漏的杯

________________________________________________________________

***  How to benefit from Buddha-Dharma:  如何受益

One should examine deeply  into the human phenomena and the conditions of existence and understand the inherent sufferings of rebirth, aging, sickness, and death. All things that are born will die. All things that are constructed will decay. This is the nature of impermanence (change). How do we overcome and transform all of our dissatisfactions and stress to live a more peaceful, serene, and enjoyable life?

  • (聞) Seeking solutions by taking action to learn about Buddha’s teachings. Hearing and reading pure Dharma.
  • (思) Contemplation – After hearing or reading the Dharma, it is important to contemplate the subject over and over until you have comprehended the true meaning of it.
  • (修) Understanding that all things are impermanent, and not clinging to them. By avoiding greed, jealousy, and hatred. Truly practicing and following the teachings correctly. Developing great wisdom and universal compassion in order to achieve ultimate liberation and the ability to help others.

Buddhism is based on Buddha’s own personal experience of the path,  gives us the complete “Recipes ” on how to become liberated ourselves from all mental and spiritual sufferings.

*** Major Traditions of Buddhism : 佛教乘別

       

All traditions of Buddhism emphasizes taking Refuge/initiation under a Guru/teacher.

The different “Vehicles” of Buddhist practice is due to the different levels of individuals capacity.

Hinayana: Also referred as “Small Vehicle“小乘…. those with limited capacity, practice to overcome attachment to this life and out of concern for their future well-being. Seeking for Self liberation alone.

Their practice focus on the basic five Buddhist precepts, and The Four Noble Truth. Which contained in the Buddha’s teaching referred as” first turning of wheel of Dharma”.

Mahayana: Also referred as “Great Vehicle“大乘 …. Seeking for Self liberation/Enlightenment,

for the benefit of all sentient beings. Practice the Bodhisattva Path. including Six Paramitas, complete understanding of Twelve links of cause and effects. Development of bodhichitta, that is great universal compassion toward all sentient beings Which contained in the Buddha’s teaching referred as “second turning of wheel of Dharma”.

Vajrayana: is a school of Mahayana, Also referred to as “Diamond Vehicle or Thunder boat” 金剛乘 . Practices including external Sutra teachings and internal practice of yoga meditation, which combined Mantra, Mudra, and visualization for speedy realization of Buddhahood in shortest time. Which contained in the Buddha’s teaching referred as “third turning of wheel of Dharma”.

Requiring initiation by the Guru / personal teacher on each stages of practice; the Preliminary Stage, Internal practice Stage, Secret tantric practice stage, and Completion stage. Mahayana teachings,. Seeking for Self liberation for the benefit of all sentient beings.

Tibetan Buddhism: four major schools of lineage traditions; they are schools of teachings Mahayana Buddhism, with advanced practice of tantric Vajrayana. The four schools are the Lyingma, the Kagyu, the Gelug, and the Sakya

Zen also is a school of Mahayana, transmitted from the Buddha to his disciple first patriarch Mahakashyapa, with unbroken lineage to twenty eighth patriarch Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk whom traveled from India to China during the 5th century at old age of about 90 , he is the first

Chinese patriarch.

Zen emphasizes rigorous meditation-practice, insight into Buddha-nature, and the personal expression of this insight in daily life, especially for the benefit of others.

Besides teaching the Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma also taught the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolin Kung Fu. Zen’s teaching stanza verses “Not founded upon words and letters; By pointing directly to [one’s] mind.” 不立文字, 直指本心”

(Once again. Thank you to all who have contributed to this document taken from Wikipedia)

What Is Buddhism?

                                What Is Buddhism? 佛教問答

Q: What is Buddhism?

A: Buddhism is a spiritual education and practice for over 300 million people around the world. The word comes from “budhi” (to awaken). It has its origins about 2500 years ago when the Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama, himself was awakened at the age of 35, and known as The Buddha.

Q: Is Buddhism a Religion?

A: Buddhism is an education, because Buddhism was originated after  Siddhartha Gautama attained Buddhahood / Enlightenment, begun to teach people how to achieve complete spiritual freedom, develop superior wisdom and universal compassion.

It was an education until about 300 years ago, it became recognized as a religion to pacify the general public tendency for worshipping. However, the ultimate intend is to help everyone to transcend spiritual and emotional suffering, and through mind training to develop wisdom, to be spiritual free, to live a life of inner peace and joy.

Q: How can Buddhism benefit me?

A: Buddhism offers the teachings of how to see the true nature of reality, a systematic steps of understanding and methods of practice, that lead to attainment of true happiness.

Q: Why Buddhism has become popular in Western World?

A: Albert Einstein said it best; “The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. it should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both natural and spiritual, it should be based on religious sense arising from experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs ( and spiritual needs),   it would be Buddhism.    

Buddhism has no boundary, not limited to certain country, race, language, gender, or religion; Asians practice Buddhism, Asians can become enlightened, Westerners practice Buddhism, Westerners can become enlightened, Africans practice Buddhism, Africans can become enlightened, Christians practice Buddhism, Christians can become enlightened, and so on…

Q: Briefly, who was the Buddha?

A: An Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama, born into a royal family, in about 563 BC, at age 25, he realized that there were immense sufferings in all living beings, with great compassionate he intend to seek out methods to liberate all sentient beings sufferings. After six years of study and intense meditation, he attained superior seeing, understanding the of causes for suffering and found methods to end the sufferings. After Enlightenment, he spent the rest of his life teaching Dharma ( ” the way” or “Truth” ) until his death ( Nirvana / deathless death ) at age of 80.

Q: Was the Buddha a God?

A: Buddha was a man who taught the Path to enlightenment based on his own experience. He did not claim to be a GOD, or creator of all things. He did point out that everyone has Buddha nature, which is divine and sound, capable of achieving true happiness.

Q: Are there different types of Buddhism?

A: There are many different traditions of Buddhism, changes of ways of practice have been made to accommodate different countries , different languages, different customs and cultures. But the essence of the teachings (Dharma / Truth ) is the same.

Q: Do Buddhism try to convert people of other religions?

A: Buddhism has the belief system which encompasses all other religions that teaches moral ethics, love and kindness. Buddhism teaches one to develop superior wisdom and compassion, to attain true long term happiness.

Buddhism does not concern with labels like Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, or Hindu etc. Buddhist are quite “Lay-back”, they do not go out to preach and try to convert, they only teach by “Request”.

Q: What did the Buddha teach?

A: The essence of the Buddha’s teaching are the Four Noble Truth and the Eight Fold Path.

Four Noble Truth explain how to identify the true reality and how to eliminate all types sufferings, to achieve spiritual freedom. The Eight fold Path is the “Prescription / Instructions” how to purify our body, speech, and mind, to clear all obstacles in our own life, and help others.

Q: What are the Buddhist Precepts?

A: There are many precepts in the Buddhism, the main five precepts are (1) Not to take life of any living beings, (2) Not to take anything which is not given, (3) refrain from untrue speech, divisive speech, meaningless speech. (4) Refrain from sexual misconduct, (5) Refrain from any intoxication, which is harmful to the pure mind.

Q: What is Karma?

A: Karma is the law of cause and effect, every action, or intention , good or bad, generate an imprint within our deep consciousness, which dictates our future becoming, rich or poor, degree of joy and suffering etc.

Q: What is difference between Wisdom and Intelligence?

A: Wisdom is one with clear insight of true reality, with trace of delusion. Intelligence is very knowledgeable and ability to solve problems. Buddhism emphasize develop wisdom with compassion as “Two Wings” because the two must be balanced. At one extreme, you could be a goodhearted fool, and at the other extreme, you could become a dangerous Wiseman.

Q: How do I become a Buddhist?

A: Buddhist emphasize “Lineage” , when you make commitment to yourself that you want to study Buddhism, first, seek out a qualified teacher, one who has complete understanding of Dharma, and exhibits good qualities of a teacher. Go and pay respect, request for Teachings ( “Take Refuge” / become a Buddhist student).

Buddhist students wish to attain some level of achievement, requires long term commitment, patience, and diligence. Because the Buddha taught Dharma ( the Truth / Path) forty nine years, the information is vast as the ocean, it takes time and effort to study and comprehend those essence of true meanings, and to apply them in our daily life. Buddhist practice is to learn, test and prove-to-be-true practice. Buddhism teach us the solutions to our own problems within, not outside ourselves.

  Who is The Buddha? 誰是佛

“The Buddha” refers to The Buddha Shakyamuni (Prince Siddhartha Gautama )

Also; ” Buddha” is also refers to “The Enlightened One”.

About the Prince Siddhartha Gautama : The times of Gautama’s birth and death are uncertain: most historians in the early 20th century dated his lifetime as circa 563 BCE to 483 BCE,[. Siddhartha Gautama was born as a Kshatriya, the son of Śuddhodana, “an elected chief of the Shakya clan“, His mother, Queen Maha Maya was a Koliyan princess.

Legend has it that, on the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya dreamt that a White elephant with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months later Siddhartha was born.

As was the Shakya tradition, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilvastu for her father’s kingdom to give birth. her son is said to have been born on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a Sal tree. The Buddha’s mother died seven days after His birth.

The infant was given the name Siddhartha meaning “he who achieves his aim”. During the birth celebrations, the hermit seer Asita journeyed from his mountain abode and announced that the child would either become a great king (chakravartin) or a great holy man. By traditional account, this occurred after Siddhartha placed his feet in Asita’s hair and Asita examined the birthmarks. Śuddhodana held a naming ceremony on the fifth day, and invited eight Brahmin scholars to read the future. All gave a dual prediction that the baby would either become a great king or a great holy man.

Early life and marriage: Siddhartha was brought up by his mother’s younger sister, Maha Pajapati. By tradition, he is said to have been destined by birth to the life of a prince, and had three palaces (for seasonal occupation) built for him. Although more recent scholarship doubts this status, his father, said to be King Śuddhodana, wishing for his son to be a great king, have shielded him from religious teachings and from knowledge of human suffering.

When he reached the age of 16, his father reputedly arranged his marriage to a cousin of the same age named Yaśodharā . According to the traditional account, she gave birth to a son, named Rāhula. Siddhartha is said to have spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha was provided with everything he could want or need, Buddhist scriptures say that the future Buddha felt that material wealth was not life’s ultimate goal.

Departure and ascetic life: At the age of 29, Accompanied by his servant Channa and riding his horse Kanthaka, Gautama quit his palace for the life of a mendicant. It’s said that, “the horse’s hooves were muffled by the gods” to prevent guards from knowing of his departure.

Siddhartha left his palace to meet his subjects. Despite his father’s efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering, Siddhartha seen an old man. When asked, his charioteer Channa explained to him that all people grew old, the prince went on further trips beyond the palace, he encountered a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. These depressed him, and he initially strove to overcome aging, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic.

Gautama initially went to Rajagaha and began his ascetic life by begging for alms in the street. After King Bimbisara’s men recognized Siddhartha and the king learned of his quest, Bimbisara offered Siddhartha the throne. Siddhartha rejected the offer, but promised to visit his kingdom of Magadha first, upon attaining enlightenment.

He left Rajagaha and practiced under two hermit teachers of yogic meditation. After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama (Skr. Ārāḍa Kalama), he was asked by Kalama to succeed him. However, Gautama felt unsatisfied by the practice, and moved on to become a student of yoga with Udaka Ramaputta (Skr. Udraka Rāmaputra). With him he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness, and was again asked to succeed his teacher. But, once more, he was not satisfied, and again moved on.

Siddhartha and a group of five companions led by Kaundinya are then said to have set out to take their austerities even further. They tried to find enlightenment through deprivation of worldly goods, including food, practicing self-mortification. After nearly starving himself to death by restricting his food intake to around a leaf or nut per day, he collapsed in a river while bathing and almost drowned. Siddhartha began to reconsider his path.

There was a lady musician playing music on a boat passing by, singing that when the string is too loss, it will not play, yet, if it’s too tide, it will break, it must be fine tuned just right….. after he heard that and contemplated, he realized the path to Enlightenment is The Middle Way. Then there was a herder girl came by saw this emaciated being sitting, she thought he was a spirit here to bless her, so she made an offering of rice milk to the Prince / acetic, after taking some food, he felt much better, set out to accomplish the goal of finding a solution to human sufferings He sat under the budhi tree ,

with right hand touching the ground, vowed not to get up until he reach Enlightenment. Throughout the night, he experienced challenges from Maya’s and demon’s disturbance, he remained detached, cutting through his own delusions, and remained clear minded, total aware of all events appearing, he was immoveable , in deep “jhāna” meditation.   At dawn, he saw a huge bright star in the sky, he “watched his previous lives, as different types of animals, as human, as King, prince ……. at the time of his awakening he realized complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it.

He saw how beings trapped in the cycle of existence due to cause and effect / Karma; and realized that all beings are capable of free themselves from sufferings; He attained a concentrated and focused state that was blissful and refreshing, the jhāna.These discoveries became known as the “Four Noble Truths“, which are at the heart of Buddhist teaching. Through mastery of these truths, a state of supreme liberation, or Nirvana, is believed to be possible for any being. The Buddha described Nirvāna as the perfect peace of a mind that’s free from ignorance, greed, hatred and other afflictive states, or “defilements” (kilesas).

Awakening: According to the early Buddhist texts, after realizing that meditative dhyana was the right path to awakening, but that extreme asceticism didn’t work, Gautama discovered what Buddhists call the Middle Way—a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, or the Noble Eightfold Path, as was identified and described by the Buddha in his first discourse, the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutra. In a famous incident, after becoming starved and weakened, he is said to have accepted milk and rice pudding from a village girl named Sujata. Such was his emaciated appearance that she wrongly believed him to be a spirit that had granted her a wish.

Following this incident, Gautama was famously seated under a Pipal tree—now known as the Budhi tree—in Bodh Gaya, India, when he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. Kaundinya and four other companions, believing that he had abandoned his search and became undisciplined, they all left him. After a reputed 49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he attained Enlightenment. According to some traditions, this occurred in approximately the fifth lunar month, while, according to others, it was in the twelfth month. From that time, Gautama was known to his followers as the Buddha or “Awakened One” (“Buddha” is also translated as “The Enlightened One”).