Mar 3, 2007

discourse on happiness by Sakyamuni Buddha

This is taken from the Sakya Resource Guide website. So, what is happiness in the Buddhism point of view? Read this and enjoy.

Discourse on Happiness

I heard these words of the Buddha one time when the Lord was
living in the vicinity of Shravasti at the Anathapindika mona-
stery in the Jeta Park. Late at night a deva appeared whose light
and beauty made the whole Jeta Grove shine radiantly. After
paying respects to the Buddha, the deva asked him a question in
the form of a verse:

"Many gods and men are eager to know
what are the greatest blessings
which can bring about a peaceful and happy life.
Please, Tathagata, will you teach us?"

(This is the Buddha's answer):
"Not to be associated with the foolish ones,
to live in the company of wise people
and to honor those who are worth honoring-
this is the greatest happiness.

"To live in a good environment,
to have planted good seeds
and to realize that you are on the right path-
this is the greatest happiness.

"To have a chance to learn,
and to be skillful in your profession or craft
and to know how to practice the precepts and loving speech-
this is the greatest happiness.

"To be able to support your parents,
to cherish your own family
and to have a job that you like-
this is the greatest happiness.

"To live correctly, to be generous in giving,
to be able to give support to relatives and friends
and to live a life of blameless conduct-
this is the greatest happiness.

Discourse on Happiness

"To avoid doing bad things,
to avoid being caught by alcoholism or drugs
and to be diligent in doing good things-
this is the greatest happiness.

"To be humble and polite,
to be grateful, and content with a simple life
and not to miss the occasion to learn the dharma
this is the greatest happiness.

"To persevere and be open to change,
to have regular contact with monks and nuns
and to participate in dharma discussions-
this is the greatest happiness.

"To live diligently and attentively,
to perceive the Noble Truths
and to realize Nirvana-
this is the greatest happiness.

"To live in the world,
with your heart undisturbed by the world,
with all sorrows ended, dwelling in peace,
this is the greatest happiness.

"He or she who accomplishes this
will remain unvanquished wherever she goes.
Always he will be safe and happy-
This is the greatest happiness."

-Mahamangala Sutta (Suttanipata 1)

fund my Buddhism studies in Kathmandu, Nepal

If you have noticed the side bar on your right, there's this 'Fund my Studies' ChipIn widget. My intention is to raise $850 (which include tuition, room and three meals a day) to study at the International Buddhist Academy next year. The course will commence from June 4th to September 15th each year.

I will sponsor my own flight tickets and living expenses which may comes to about RM4 000. During the 3-month course, I will go through the philosophy class as well as learning Tibetan language. Below is the course outline:

The Moonlight Distinguishing the Views, by Kunkhyen Gorampa (1 month)
This text is praised due to its clarity in identifying and critiquing the three major interpretations of Madhyamika philosophy which developed in Tibet, comparing these approaches with the classical Indian sources. Studying this text instills a correct understanding of the Madhyamika view, particularly regarding the definition of inexpressibility and emptiness. [Check out my previous post on emptiness which mentioned about the Madhyamika philosophy]

Abhidharmakosha, by Acharya Vasubhandu (the first two chapters in 2 months)
This is the key text used for the study of abhidharma within the Tibetan traditions due to its systematic and exhaustive treatment of ontology, psychology, cosmology, causality, states of consciousness, etc. It is an indispensable text for all students of philosophy and is considered a vital part of the Buddhist path. As was said by Buddhaghosha, "Those who study the Abhidhamma literature experience unending joy and serenity of mind."

If you would like to chip in a few bucks (or more), kindly click on the ChipIn button. You contribution is much appreciated. I will keep you updated about this course from time to time.

**Update** I've removed the ChipIn button because I'm funding my studies through sponsored post and Adsense.

Mar 2, 2007

Q&A on Buddhism - part 7

Disclaimer: For non-Muslims or Buddhists only unless if you are reading this for knowledge purpose. This is a Q&A session with HH Sakya Trizin.

This is the continuation from part 6.

Q: How should we understand Emptiness?

A: Emptiness is actually only a name. It doesn't mean that all things are empty or void. Every religion tries to explain the true nature of phenomena, but all have come to the conclusion of something existing, either positively or negatively. Ordinary people do not think much about phenomena and their origins, but the more spiritual people do, and wonder why things exist and where they come from. Christianity concluded that all things are created by God. An early Buddhist school, Sarvastivada, concluded that, although gross things do not really exist, atoms - so minute that they can have no sides facing different directions - do exist as basic elements.

A more advanced Buddhist school, the Vijnanavada, decided that ultimately nothing exists externally and that the things we seem to perceive are only projections of mind. However, when the Madhyamika philosophers examined phenomena, everything seemed to disappear and they could find nothing. They were not satisfied by the explanation that God created everything or that tiny atoms existed, and they reasoned that it was impossible for subjective mind to exist if objects did not exist, as mind and objects are as interdependently inseparable as are right and left. So, if there was no external matter, there could be no mind.

The Madhyamika concluded, after a very scrupulous examination, that there was nothing, ultimately, that could be clung to as really existent. Positive things could not be found, negative things could not be found, nothing could be found which could be accepted as really existing because the true nature of all things is beyond existence and non-existence, beyond thought, and inexpressible. Shantideva said, "The Absolute is not an object of mind; it lies beyond mind. It is something you cannot describe; it is the wonder of the incomprehensible." However, when we talk about such things, we have to name them, so we call it the Emptiness, but really Emptiness is not something that can be named, it is inexpressible.

Of course, this is all 'ultimately'. Relatively speaking, the Madhyamika accepts whatever ordinary people accept, but the writings of this school do show an experience of the inexpressibility of all things.

Q: Isn't this critique of phenomena merely a logical paradox? Can it have any bearing on daily life?

A: Of course it does. When you realize the Ultimate Truth, you are free from suffering. We are in suffering because we haven't awakened from the relative illusion. We are wrapped up in this relative illusion and, due to this, we hold things as real; we act and hence suffer and create many more causes of suffering.

Q: So the real point of attachment?

A: When you are no longer attached to things as real, you create no further causes of suffering.

In the next part, we will look at what HH Sakya Trizin had to say, if it is okay to think of ourselves as a Buddha.

Disclaimer: This interview was taken from the book "Pointing Towards Vajrayana" published by The Singapore Buddha Sasana Society Sakya Tenphel Ling. The Palden Sakya Centres of American Buddhism Sakya Shei Drup Ling actually holds the right of this text.

Mar 1, 2007

researching for Yogyakarta

Currently I'm doing some research on places to go in Yogyakarta. My Sis managed to get a couple of tickets from AirAsia when they offered them for free recently.

I won't be sharing too much about it yet. I just want to talk about an impressive website called which is very user friendly for those who's visiting Yogyakarta.

I managed to book a room at the Manohara Hotel through the website. I'm glad that their reply was very prompt. The Manohara Hotel is the only hotel located inside the Borobudur Archaelogical Park and it is a great place to experience the fresh air and sun rise.

Dubai Open - will Nadal get his first title in 2007 here?

In my opinion, the Dubai Tennis Championships is an important match for Nadal. Last year, he won the championship here over Roger Federer and went on unbeatable at Monte Carlo, Rome and of course at the Roland Garros.

Nadal had been missing quite a number of matches this year but still managed to win over Marcos Baghdatis in the first round, which is a good sign. Both Nadal and Federer reached the quarterfinal yesterday. From the main draw singles, I don't think they will have any problems reaching the final. But the question is whether Nadal's going to shine like last year and put some pressure back on Federer after some disappoinment games at the second half of the year last year.

Hey, here are pictures of Nadal taking time out from his preparation at the Dubai Tennis Championships to have fun at the Wild Wadi, Dubai’s premier water park. Check out the cool Burj Al Arab at the back of the water park. There's also this magnificent view from the top of the Jumeirah Sceirah – the tallest and fastest free-fall speed slide (outside of North America) at 33 metres high! All pictures are taken from the Dubai Tennis Championships website.

Link: dubai tennis championships, dubai properties

if you haven't know I love mint chocolate

I love mint chocolate whether it is ice-cream, cake, sundae, sweets or chocolate bar. And I especially love Baskin Robbins' mint chocolate chip ice cream. I would rather leave the outlet empty handed if the flavour is not available that day, which rarely happen because it is their permanent flavour.

Here are some information about mint chocholate chip ice cream (not necessarily Baskin Robbins). It is an ice cream flavor composed of mint ice cream, usually green, but sometimes white in the natural flavors, and small chips of chocolate. In some cases the liqueur creme de menthe is used to provide the mint flavor.

Mint chocolate chip ice cream is considered one of the world's most popular ice cream flavors.
Too bad I did not get a mint chocolate birthday cake for my birthday.

Feb 28, 2007

Rosie apologized about the "ching-chong" incident

Recently a well-spoken poet named Beau Sia has responded to Rosie O’Donnell’s racist “ching chong” incident via YouTube:

Rosie responded and apologized in her blog. Here's an excerpt:

2 beau
an open response
to ur informative creative
and quite beautiful video

i apologize
for any and all pain
caused to any and all
by my comments
lack of compassion - empathy

u r right
i didnt get it

i know
my intent
was not to harm
yet obviously i did

there ya have it

Feb 27, 2007

a very gay 79th annual academy awards

It was a very lesbian Oscars this year. Not only was the year's biggest award show hosted by an out lesbian, but Melissa Etheridge took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song, and Jodie Foster was a presenter. Dame Judi Dench was also nominated for her role as a predatory lesbian in Notes on a Scandal, but lost to Helen Mirren for The Queen.

How did Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts' picture get here? Check out this website. You will either laugh about it or question if it is true. The other picture is Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt (who is currently dating Michael Buble).

Heroes Personality Test

I read Che-Cheh's blog regarding about the Heroes personality test. I am a big fan of the show and haven't miss a single episode yet. I took the test and I'm quite surprised to know I'm Matt Parkman, a LAPD cop who hear the thoughts of others. The description is quite true about me though.

Matt Parkman
You scored 66 Idealism, 37 Nonconformity, 20 Nerdiness

Congratulations, you're Matt Parkman! You're a great person: caring, hard-working, and honest. You might not have the best of luck, but you do your best in all areas of life. Your kind and responsible nature is rare, and you should be proud of it. Your best quality: Heart Your worst quality: You may take more abuse than you deserve.

Feb 26, 2007

the Oscars - KL Red Carpet Live and what happen to Linda Onn

So what happen to Linda Onn? She was supposed to be at the Kodak Theatre for Star Movies' red carpet show but we only saw Dominic Lau did the hosting job alone. Sources said that Linda Onn refused to follow the dress code for reporters and insisted on wearing the black and white modern kebaya created by an Indonesian designer which she mentioned in the press last week. Hence, she was axed from the co-hosting job. (New updates: I came across this blog. Check out his posting here and here for more details.)

Have you seen the KL Red Carpet Live "Breakfast With The Stars 2007" earlier on before the Oscar awards show? Can anyone please tell the host Zainal Alam Kadir to shut up and let his co-host Joey G talk? Why must he be so annoying, dominating the show and acted as if Joey G wasn't there? Poor Joey G. Whenever he opened his mouth and about to start talking, Alam interrupted. Joey G looked embarrased and yet professional enough to remain cool.

Oh yeah, why were there so many Akademi Fantasia (AF) rejects at the KL Red Carpet show? I thought this was supposed to be attended by local 'stars'. I expected to see people like Afdlin Shauki, Saiful Apek, Rosyam Nor or Sharifah Amani since this is a movie-related show. I'm not looking down at the AF 'stars'. I'm just disappointed because most of them were not prepared and knew nothing about movies. Not only they didn't know how to speak English when asked by Joey G (again this was the reason why Joey G felt awkward) they didn't even know what were the nominated films. For example, Vince can't even named a single film in 2006. Then most of them haven't even seen a movie which was nominated for the Oscars. The worst was when a 'star' was asked which movie he thought will win the Oscar, the answer was 'Salma Hayek'. Duh. Sorry but what a hopeless show.

However I must praise a few 'real stars' like AC Mizal, Anuar Zain and Aznil Nawawi because they are really professional. They were well prepared and knew what they were doing.

Feb 25, 2007

Astro Fest 2007

I was at the Astro Fest on Friday. My sister got 3 guest tickets so I went there with my pal Syong. Jess was supposed to join us but couldn't make it in the last minute.

It was raining when we got there at 4.45 p.m. The registration started at 5 p.m. We queued up, submitted the lucky draw numbers and were given free magazines (I took VMag and ifeel). My sis told me to go to the main stage on the east wing as there would be Astro tours going on at 5.30 pm, 6 pm and 6.30 pm. The food and games were still not ready. While waiting at the main stage, we saw Lina Teoh. At first I didn't realised it was her because I thought she wasn't in the entertainment scene anymore.

At 5.30 p.m., it wasn't crowded yet. So my friend and I decided to try out the games available like archery, basketball-shooting, golf-putting, darts, etc. Then we quickly proceed to the building to take the Astro tour. We were taken to Studio 1 where shows like AC Di Sini, Roda Impian and Akademi Fantasia Prelude took place. Then we went to the radio stations. And that's about it.

We were quite hungry so we decided it was time to have our dinner. We had ice kacang, satay, fried kueh teow, nasi briani, etc. It was all free! :D

We continued to play games at the fun fair and won a couple of coupons for lucky draw. At 7.45 pm we went to the jazz lounge and managed to get ourselves a table. We had some fruit punch and suddenly we heard fireworks outside the lounge (which is next to the main stage). My sis told me it was the first time they had fireworks on Astro Fest. Then we continued to enjoy ourselves at the air-conditioned room at the jazz lounge. The show kicked off with the performance by the local band Jazzy Chillerz featuring Razak Rahman on the saxophone. After a couple of songs by Jeanie with the band Jazzy Chillerz, we decided to leave because it wasn't our taste of music. The jazz numbers were too old for us.

We played a few more games, won another coupon and exchanged for gifts. Syong won a can drink and I won two can fruits. We decided to go home and packed our stuff to go to Gentiing.

John Legend - P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care)

I'm a huge fan of John Legend's music. Here's his new single P.D.A. (We Just Don't Care). It is a great song. I saw the music video on MTV yesterday and I thought it was very exotic. Here's a blog review of the music video.

Chinese New Year 2007

It's already the 8th day of CNY. Kinda not up-to-date to blog about the celebration now. So, I'll just post some food pictures (no close up pictures of pork) here. My dad prepared all these food for our family dinner on Chinese New Year Eve. He definitely knows a thing or two about cooking.

I always like beaches. So here's a picture taken while my family and I had our evening drinks at Hyatt Hotel by the Teluk Cempedak beach on the 3rd day of CNY. I was kinda shocked when they charged RM25 for a glass of orange juice. Perhaps I forgot it was a 5-star hotel.

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