Author - Shen Shi'an

Features

How To Help The Deceased With The Triple Gem

(A Summary Of The Ullambana Sūtra) 常以孝慈,忆所生父母, 为作盂兰盆,施佛及僧, 以报父母,长养慈爱之恩。 – 释迦牟尼佛 《盂兰盆经》 Constantly with filial loving-kindness, recollect Fathers [and] Mothers born of, for [them] conduct...

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Features

How To Have The Ultimately Blissful Reunion

若有众生, 闻是说者, 应当发愿, 生彼国土。 – 释迦牟尼佛 (佛说阿弥陀经) If there are beings who hear this, they should vow to be born in that [Pure] Land. – Śākyamuni Buddha (Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Amitā Buddha)...

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Features

How Not To Despair At Many Beings To Save

As featured in October 2018 issue of For You Information (佛友资讯) 若作是言 ‘我当灭度无量众生’, 则不名菩萨。 – 金刚经 (释迦牟尼佛) If to make this statement, ‘I will deliver to Nirvāṇa immeasurable sentient...

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Letters

Can Animals Take Refuge?

Question: Is it alright to get pets to take the Threefold Refuge in the Triple Gem? Although all sentient beings have Buddha-nature, can animals understand refuge? Answer: Getting animals to take...

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Features

How To Sleep Well Like The Buddha

To always rest well, always live well when awake, without greed, hatred and delusion. – Shilashanti According to the Hatthaka Sutta, the Buddha was staying in a forest near Alavi, on a spread of...

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Features

How One Who Slighted None Attained Buddhahood

此诸众生 云何具有 如來智慧, 愚痴迷惑, 不知不见? – 释迦牟尼佛 (华严经) [Of] all these sentient beings, why [are they] complete with [the] Tathāgatas’ wisdom, [yet] ignorant [and] confused, not knowing [and] not seeing [it]...

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Movies

‘Toc Toc’, OCD OCD…

‘Toc Toc’ is a lighthearted take on the serious issue of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). While offering humour, it also offers much needed hope. A band of strangers scheduled for...

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Features

The Girl Who Ate Too Many Lollipops

The law of karma affects all, positively and negatively, according to that done, especially negatively for those who think it does not affect them. – Stonepeace | Books The girl had a short-sighted...

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Features

The Sūtras With Ultimate Compassion And Wisdom

愿我命终时, 除灭诸障碍, 面见阿弥陀, 往生安乐国。 – 文殊师利菩萨 《文殊师利发愿经》 May I [Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva], when life [is] ending, eradicate all obstacles, [to] personally see Amitā[bha Buddha come to receive me], [to be] reborn...

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Quotes

Verses On Looks

见端正人,当愿众生, 于佛菩萨,常生净信。 见丑陋人,当愿众生, 于不善事,不生乐著。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第86-87偈) Seeing proper-looking persons, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings, in [the] Buddhas [and] Bodhisattvas, always give rise to...

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Quotes

Verses On Sickness

见无病人,当愿众生, 入真实慧,永无病恼。 见疾病人,当愿众生, 知身空寂,离乖诤法。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第84-85偈) Seeing persons without sickness, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings, enter true wisdom, [to] forever [be] without sickness and...

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Letters

Can One Be Addicted To Buddhism?

Question: Some say religion, including Buddhism, can lead to indulgence or addiction. Or if put in a condescending way, lead to fanaticism. How should I respond? Answer: (As we cannot speak for all...

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Movies

It’s A Very Very ‘Mad World’

‘Mad World’ (一念无明) accurately depicts of how the mentally ill, who deserve more empathy by society get more demonisation instead. Much more dangerous than the extremely rare ‘raving...

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Quotes

Strange Wonder

奇哉!奇哉! 此诸众生云何具有 如來智慧,愚痴迷惑, 不知不见? 我当教圣道, 令其永离妄想执着, 自于身中得见 如來广大智慧与佛无异。 – 释迦牟尼佛 (华严经) Strangely wonderful! Strangely wonderful! Of all these sentient beings, why are they complete with the...

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Features

Why Do We Keep Practising Giving?

The gift of the Dharma  excels all other gifts. Delight in the Dharma  excels all delights… – The Buddha (Dhammapada, Verse 354) The clothing you give, after being worn much, gets worn out and...

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Letters

How To Convince Karma Exists?

Question: How do I convince someone that there is the cause and effect of karma?  Answer: This is a question you can ask… If he/she does not believe in cause and effect, why does he/she not rob...

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Features

Was That Truly A Buddhist Teaching?

In the unessential they imagine the essential; in the essential they see the unessential –  they who entertain [such] wrong thoughts never realise the essence [of the Dharma]. – Sakyamuni Buddha ...

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Features

How To Appreciate Blooming & Withering Peonies

色不异空; 空不异色; 色即是空; 空即是色。 – 观世音菩萨 (心经) Form is not different from emptiness; emptiness is not different from form; form is the same as emptiness; emptiness is the same as form. – Guanshiyin Bodhisattva...

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Movies

Do You Have The ‘Nerve’?

‘Nerve’ is, (for now at least, thank goodness) a fictitious phone app game from the dark web. There are two ways to participate – as a watcher or player. The first decides and sees the...

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Letters

How Best To Express Filial Piety?

Question: In Buddhism, what are the best ways to express filial piety to our parents? Answer: Beyond the usual ways of taking physical care of them, in terms of offering enough clothing, food...

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Quotes

Verse On River

若见大河, 当愿众生, 得预法流, 入佛智海。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第68偈) If seeing a great river, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings, attain advancement [in] the stream of Dharma, [to] enter the Buddha’s ocean of...

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Movies

To Live, ‘Don’t Breathe’!

‘Don’t Breathe’ is a thriller on the most primordial kind of monster we know – humans! Youngsters who assumed they are in control broke and entered to steal from a blind old...

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Quotes

Verse On Tree

若见树华, 当愿众生, 众相如华, 具三十二。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第66偈) If seeing a tree flower, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings’ many forms be likewise flower, complete with thirty-two [forms].’* – Manjusri...

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Haikus

House Haiku

In a burning house now, quickly look for the fastest way out! (The Buddha described the Three Spheres as a burning house that we are trapped in, that threatens to collapse upon us at any time due to...

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Quotes

Verse On Flower

若见华开, 当愿众生, 神通等法, 如华开敷。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第65偈) If seeing a flower blossom, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings’ supernormal powers and other dharmas,* like flowers blossom fully.’ – Manjusri...

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Movies

Light In ‘The Darkest Hour’

‘The Darkest Hour’ is really a simple science fiction flick… about invisible and thus insidious aliens, who are energy vampires. As in the case of all sudden catastrophes, be it...

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Features

Why You Should Master The Pure Land Teachings Now

若有众生, 闻是说者, 应当发愿, 生彼国土。 – 阿弥陀经 (释迦牟尼佛) If there are [sentient] beings who hear this [teaching], they should vow [aspire] to be born in that [Pure] Land. – Amitā[bha] Sūtra (Śākyamuni Buddha) This is...

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Features

Does Good Triumph Over Evil?

But he who has abandoned greed, hatred and delusion, is no longer Māra’s prisoner; he is freed from Māra’s snares, no longer subject to the Evil One’s will and pleasure. – The Buddha (Itivuttaka 68)...

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Features

Why Should I Help Anyone At All?

May all beings give rise to Bodhicitta – that most noble spiritual aspiration to guide oneself and all other beings to the same goal of Buddhahood. – Stonepeace | Books Why even do anything to help...

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Letters

How To See Emptiness Of Forms?

Question: How do I practise to see emptiness, to depart from forms? I have tried asking myself where is the self-nature of phenomena (which does not exist), so as to not take them too seriously, and...

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Features

10 Stonepeace Verses On Good, Evil & Purity

诸恶莫作, 众善奉行, 自净其意, 是诸佛教。 – 释迦牟尼佛 (法句经, 第183偈) All evil should not to be done, [And] all good should be practised, [With] self-purification of your minds, [As] these are all Buddhas’ teachings...

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Letters

How Do I Make Spiritual Vows?

Question: How do I make my own personal spiritual vows? Answer: You can announce your vows before a Buddha image in a proper Buddhist temple while kneeling, prostrating once upon saying each vow. If...

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Haikus

Wolf Haiku

Part 1: As the first ‘Wolf!’ is hardest to cry, with the second and third ever easier, never cry it in the first place. Part 2: As the first ‘Wolf!’ is easiest to believe...

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Quotes

Verse On Right Path

见斜曲路, 当愿众 生, 舍不正道, 永除恶见。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第54偈) [When] seeing slanting and winding roads, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings, renounce non-right paths,* [by] forever eradicating evil views.’** –...

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Letters

How Should We View Near Accidents?

Question: What is a karmic debt? Will it surely ripen in this lifetime? Answer: A karmic debt is simply negative karma created that has yet to ripen in effect. Its effects can be mitigated with...

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Features

Be A Perfect Mirror

A good mirror helps us to see things as they are. A poor mirror ‘helps’ us to distort things from what they are. – Stonepeace | Books Enlightened minds work like perfect mirrors. What...

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Letters

Should Buddhists Have Kids?

Question: When a child is born, he/she returns to the samsaric cycle of birth, ageing, sickness and death. If so, is desiring to have a child a mistake? Answer: Simply wanting a child is not a...

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Movies

About True ‘Love & Other Drugs’

This story is about a young woman with early-onset Parkinson’s Disease, who fails to connect to anyone emotionally because she feels undeserving of love. Outwardly confident, she nursed self...

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Features

Why Do Buddhists Say ‘Amituofo’ So Much?

阿弥陀佛: 无量光佛; 无量寿佛; 无量之佛。 Amita Buddha [Amituofo] is the Buddha Of Immeasurable Light; Buddha Of Immeasurable Life; Buddha of Immeasurability. On many occasions, Chinese Buddhists often say ‘Amituofo’...

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Features

Who Should We Learn The Dharma From?

依本师所说, 依祖师所解, 依佛言祖语, 依法不依人。 Rely on what our fundamental teacher Sakyamuni Buddha taught. Rely on what the [Pure Land] Patriarchs accordingly explained. Rely on the Buddha’s words and the [13]...

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Quotes

Verse On Vessels

执持应器, 当愿众生, 成就法器, 受天人供。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第48偈) Firmly upholding [a] vessel [for] accepting [food],* [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings, [be] accomplished [as] Dharma vessels,** [who] receive...

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Letters

How Are Vows & Precepts Related?

Question: What is the significance of taking vows in Buddhism? Answer: There are several kinds of vows for Buddhists. Taking refuge in the Triple Gem is one kind. Committing to the Five Precepts is...

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Quotes

Verse On Giving

手执锡杖, 当愿众生, 设大施会, 示如实道。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品: 第47偈) With hand holding the sounding staff,* [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings, establish great almsgiving assemblies,** [to] reveal the path that...

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Quotes

Verse On Face-Washing

以水洗面, 当愿众生, 得净法门, 永无垢染。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第46偈) With water washing the face, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings, attain pure Dharma doors,* [to] forever be without defilements.’** – Manjusri...

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Features

Let’s Extend The Starfish Story!

Just as we appreciate every little bit of help, why not offer it to others who will appreciate it too? – Stonepeace | Books In the famous starfish story, a child was seen picking up and hurling...

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Features

How The Buddha Gradually Urged The Kindest Diet

食肉之人,不应施肉。 何以故? 我见不食肉者有大功德。 – 大般涅槃经 (迦叶菩萨) Those [who] eat meat, should not [be] given meat. Why is [this] so? I see those not eating meat [to] have great meritorious virtues [due to practice of...

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Quotes

Verse On Toileting

大小便时, 当愿众生, 弃贪瞋痴, 蠲除罪法。 – 文殊菩萨    (华严经: 净行品: 第42偈) When defecating and urinating, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings discard greed, hatred and delusion, dispose and eradicate transgressive phenomena...

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Haikus

Self Haiku

Accomplish the selfless to outdo and outlast your short-lived ‘self’, or your’self’ would not matter much.

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Quotes

Verse On Purity

嚼杨枝时, 当愿众生, 其心调净, 噬诸烦恼。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品: 第41偈) When chewing willow branch,* [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings their minds [be] tuned [to] purity, biting [off] all afflictions.’** – Manjusri...

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Features

How To Queue Alone To Lead Many

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. – Mark Twain I went to wait in a small parking lot for the delivery van. It is the last phase of a...

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Features

Can You Walk With A Full Bowl On Your Head?

真能念佛, 放下身心世界, 即大布施。 – 净宗九祖蕅益大师 To truly be able to be mindful of Buddha [Amituofo], let go of the body, mind [with stray thoughts] and the world, [the practice of] which is [the perfection of] great...

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Quotes

Verse For Brushing

手执杨枝, 当愿众生, 皆得妙法, 究竟清净。 – 文殊菩萨 (华严经: 净行品: 第40偈) [With] hand holding willow branch,* [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings all attain the wonderful Dharma, for ultimate purification.’** – Manjusri...

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Features

The Boy Who Eats Too Many Sweets

The short-sighted’s fault is not seeing far enough. – Stonepeace | Books Someone asked – ‘If there is a future life, I would most likely have forgotten about this life then? If so, why...

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Quotes

Verse On Shore

若著上衣, 当愿众生, 获胜善根, 至法彼岸。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品: 第38偈) [When] wearing upper garments, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings be victorious [in attaining] good roots,* [to] reach [the]...

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Movies

‘Now You See Me 2’, Or Do You?

A paradox of the lure of seeing a magic trick performed, is that it couples the wish to be fooled and amazed by the magician’s trickery, with the reverse-wish to not be fooled, to be amazed by...

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Quotes

True Form

诸法真实相: 不生亦不灭; 不常亦不断; 不一亦不异; 不来亦不去。 – 梵网经 (释迦牟尼佛) All dharmas* true form is not arisen, also not ceased;** is not permanent, also not ended;** is not one, also not different;** is not arrived, also...

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Quotes

Verse On Shame

著下裙时, 当愿众生, 服诸善根, 具足惭愧。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品: 第36偈) [When] putting on lower garments, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings [be] dressed [with] all good roots,* [to be] complete [with moral] shame.’ –...

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Features

Should Refuge And The Five Precepts Go Together?

自皈依佛,当愿众生,体解大道,发无上心。 自皈依法,当愿众生,深入经藏,智慧如海。 自皈依僧,当愿众生,统理大众,一切无碍,和南圣众。 – 三依文(华严经) Personally taking refuge in the Buddhas, may all sentient beings comprehend the great path, and give rise to the...

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Letters

How To Encourage A Busy Housewife?

Question: My housewife friend said she is fed up with her spouse and children not helping with housework, and that her son stays home too much. Is there advice I can share? Answer: Her taking care of...

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Letters

Is Suffering A Blessing?

Question: Is it true that ‘to suffer is a blessing’ (吃亏是福)? Answer: No. If ‘to suffer is a blessing’, the Buddha would not have given a single teaching on how to overcome...

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Features

Should Buddhists Eat Cows?

When compassion is greater than greed, it is easy to abstain from eating animals. – Stonepeace | Books A common question among Chinese Buddhists is whether they are ‘allowed’ to eat cows...

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Letters

Should I Work In A Prison?

Question: According to Buddhist teachings, is it morally alright to work in a prison? What if one’s work is linked to prisoners facing the death sentence? Answer: It is alright to work in a...

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Excerpts

Guidance To A Possibly Dying Man

若生西方, 庶可与佛光寿同一, 无量无边矣。 – 净土宗十三祖印光大师 Be born in the Western Pure Land, so that you can attain the same light and life of Āmítuófó, that is immeasurable and boundless. – The Pure Land Tradition’s 13th...

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Features

The Buddha’s Admonition Against Not Severing Lust

All not ready for sudden enlightenment should walk the gradual path to it now. – Stonepeace | Books 《大佛顶首楞严经》卷第六:四种决定清净明诲章:第一重戒 [The] Great Buddha’s Crown’s Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Sixth Scroll: Section...

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Quotes

Verse On Contemplation

若修于观, 当愿众生, 见如实理, 永无乖诤。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品11: 第32偈) If cultivating contemplation,* [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings see [the] principles [of] reality,** [and] forever [be] without...

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Features

You Do It To Yourself

Wake up purposeful, to awaken further. Lie down purposeful, to rest to better awaken. – Stonepeace | Books In a classic introspective Radiohead music video () of ‘Just’ (from their...

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Letters

What To Relate To The Triple Gem?

Question: Is there a right attitude we should have when relating to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Arhats, the Dharma (the Buddhist teachings), the Sangha and Dharma teachers? Answer: What mentioned above...

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Letters

Which Hell Will The Evil Be Born In?

Question: Do evil-doers of different religions go to the same hell after death, or do they go to different hells run by hell-beings of their respective faiths? What about free-thinkers? Answer: The...

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Quotes

Verse On Sitting

正身端坐, 当愿众生, 坐菩提座, 心无所著。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品11: 第29偈) When uprighting [the] body [to] sit, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings sit [on] Bodhi’s seat,* [with] minds without any attachment...

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Features

Where Best To Go When This Life Ends?

具缚凡夫, 有大悲心, 愿生恶世, 救苦众生者, 无有是处。 – 大智度论 (龙树菩萨) For completely bound ordinary beings, who have the mind of great compassion, and aspire for birth in this evil period, to save suffering sentient beings...

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Quotes

Verse On Bedding

若敷床座, 当愿众生, 开敷善法, 见真实相。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品11: 第28偈) When spreading [upon] bedding, [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings [be] open [to and] spread good dharmas,* [and] see truths’ forms...

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Movies

Redemption Of ‘The Bodyguard’

An old retired man develops dementia, forgetting this and that… while not forgetting one incident every day awake – the loss of his young granddaughter, which was indirectly his fault due to an...

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Letters

How Should I Curb Vengeance?

Question: I sense my vengeful streak when let go by a superior not keen to renew my work contract. What should I do? Answer: You have to understand that contract work is exactly designed exactly to...

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Movies

Is There A ‘Macbeth’ In You?

The tale of ‘Macbeth (2015)’ is one of those classic tales that simply have to be retold for all generations. It warns of the perils of listening to ambiguous soothsayers, witches...

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Letters

How Does The Buddha Look Like?

Question: Who created the first physical depiction of the Buddha’s image? How did he or she know how the Buddha looked like? Answer: It is said that in the Buddha’s time, there was an...

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Quotes

Verse On Refuge In Dharma

  自归于法, 当愿众生, 深入经藏, 智慧如海。 – 文殊菩萨     (华严经: 净行品11: 第21偈) Personally taking refuge in the Dharma,* [reflect that] ‘May sentient beings deeply enter [the] treasury of the sutras,** [to...

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Features

How The Buddha Eventually Advocated Veganism

(The Buddha’s Admonition Against Killing & Eating Of Sentient Beings) 释迦牟尼佛如何逐渐提倡全素 (佛陀对杀生与食肉的训诫)  The word ‘veganism’ denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude —...

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Letters

What Does It Mean To Be Awakened?

Question: What does being ‘awakened’ mean in Buddhism? Answer: To be awakened is opposite of being asleep or deluded; it is to spiritually wake up, to become aware. We are currently not...

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Features

Can Buddhist Practice Cause Sickness?

A longer-lasting pain is not as good as a shorter-lasting pain. (长痛不如短痛) – Chinese Saying Why is it that some seem to suddenly become unwell when they embark on the path of Dharma learning and...

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Letters

Do Buddhas Help Many All The Time?

Question: In this part of the universe alone, there are already billions of sentient beings. Do Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have the ability to manifest multiples forms simultaneously to guide them with...

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Movies

Love Vs Lust In ‘Zoolander 2’

In ‘Zoolander 2’ is a satirical yet somewhat thought-provoking take on the nature of love versus lust, of how easy it is to confuse one for the other. There was Hansel, portrayed as a...

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Movies

‘Begin Again’, Play It Again?

‘But are we all lost stars, trying to light up the dark?’ If you are a recording artist, trying to get your big break into the music scene, one song might change your life – for better or...

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Features

Why A Monk Shattered His One Precious Bowl

若人欲拿金碧峰, 除非铁鍊锁虛空, 虛空若能锁得住, 再來拿我金碧峰。 – 金碧峰禅师 If one desires to seize Jin Bifeng, unless able to use metal chains to lock empty space, [and] if empty space is able to be locked and held, then come to...

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Movies

Wild Greed, ‘Wild City’

In ‘Wild City’ is a scene of two brothers on the run from life-threatening gangsters. Fuelled by greed and hatred, they were after a case of ill-gotten money and gold that the brothers...

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Movies

Repentance Of ‘The Gunman’

Why be a hitman, who might be silenced for having pulled a hit, by another hitman? The karmic consequences of killing are often by being killed. And karma can take time to ripen, as the unresolved...

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Letters

Should I Quit My Job Again?

Question: It seems that I left my all previous jobs all because of problems I cannot solve. What do you advise? Answer: In a sense, everyone leaves their jobs only because of problems they cannot...

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Movies

‘Ted 2’ (Too) Is Sentient?

In ‘Ted 2’, there is surprising probe into the mystery of what makes one a person; versus a mere thing. Ted the talking soft toy teddy bear, who miraculously came to life goes on trial...

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Features

Should ‘Buddha Candles’ Be Designed Or Used?

依诸相好,而作佛像, 功德广大,无量无边, 不可称数。 – 释迦牟尼佛 (大乘造像功德经) Relying on all forms excellent, for making Buddha images, the meritorious virtues are broad and great, immeasurable and boundless, and cannot to be...

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Features

How To Transcend Your Present Suffering Now

极圆极顿, 难议难思, 唯有大智, 方能谛信。 – 佛说阿弥陀经要解 (净土宗九祖澫益大师) Extremely complete [and] extremely sudden [for enlightenment], difficult [to] discuss [and] difficult [to] conceive, only with great wisdom, [is one]...

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Features

Introduction To ‘The Pure Land Passport’

轮回路险, 无常迅速。 老实念佛, 莫换题目。 – 净土宗十三祖印光大师 The path of rebirth is dangerous, and impermanence comes swift. Earnestly recite ‘Amituofo’, and do not change the subject. – The Pure Land...

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Movies

Do We Live In ‘Paper Towns’?

‘Paper towns’ are fictitious or virtual towns inserted into maps by mapmakers, in case they wish to prove other mapmakers to be simply copying theirs. In other words, they exist only on...

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Features

How To Protect Mothers With Unborn Babies

Yatohaṁ, bhagini, ariyāya jātiyājāto, nābhijānāmi sañcicca pāṇaṁ jīvitā voropetā; tena saccena sotthi te hotu, sotthi gabbhassa. – Aṅgulimāla Paritta (Pāli) According to the Aṅgulimāla Sutta, when...

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Features

How To Increase & Decrease Gun Violence

若佛子, 不得贩卖 刀仗弓箭… – 梵网经: 第三十二损害众生戒 (释迦牟尼佛) If [as] Buddhas’ [Bodhisattva] disciples, [they] must not sell knives and staves, bows and arrows [i.e. all weapons]… – Brahmā Net Sūtra:...

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Movies

Who Is ‘A Most Wanted Man’?

The espionage thriller based on John le Carré’s novel, like any engaging story, does not tell a straightforward tale. Well, any story too predictable and clichéd is perhaps not worth telling at...

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Features

Are Your Blessings Going Up In Smoke?

The lay Buddhist precepts are encouraged for all to uphold always, especially in times being tempted, by greed, hatred and delusion. – Stonepeace | Books According to the Brahmā Net Sūtra’s (梵网经)...

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Features

Can You Say Your True Name?

The past mind cannot be attained, The present mind cannot be attained, The future mind cannot be attained. – Diamond Sūtra (Śākyamuni Buddha) 过去心不可得, 现在心不可得, 未来心不可得。 – 金刚经 (释迦牟尼佛) In the ‘Sūtra...

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Letters

Does Worrying Reduce Blessings?

Question: I came across the idea that too much worry about one’s children will take away their blessings. Is it not normal for parents to worry about their children? Answer: It is...

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Features

How A Monk Became A Bug

Just as rust is formed from iron, and corrodes the iron from which it is formed, so also, his own deeds lead the transgressor to a lower plane of existence. – Dhammapada Verse 240 (The Buddha)...

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Features

Can Karma Be Created In Dreams?

一切有为法  All conditioned dharmas [phenomena] 如梦幻泡影  are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows, 如露亦如电  like dew, also like lightning [flashes]. 应作如是观  [All] should have such contemplation. –...

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Letters

Can I Prostrate Without A Shrine?

Question: Due to presence of family members with other faiths at home, I do not have a Buddhist shrine. Is it alright to practise prostrations without a Buddha statue? Answer: While it is alright as...

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Letters

How Can I Be Less Self-Critical?

Question: How can I be more compassionate to myself, to stop being so self-critical? Answer: It is actually very important to be self-critical, as it is the first step of being self-reflective for...

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Features

How To Be Free From Demonic Obstacles

虽则身心,无杀盗淫… 若大妄语,即三摩地, 不得清净,成爱见魔, 失如来种。 Although then with bodies and minds without killing, stealing and sexual conduct… if with great false speech, immediately will their Samādhi, not...

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Letters

When Is Generosity Not So Good?

Question: A seemingly generous friend, upon hearing feedback from mutual friends, often offers gifts of food that he does not really want, that is either about to expire or has slightly turned in...

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Letters

How Should Buddhists Invest?

Question: How do we know what financial investments are truly ethical, as the companies (corporations, banks, insurance firms…) invested in have free rein to further invest in livelihoods which...

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Movies

How ‘Wild’ To Let It Be!

How about taking a long walk to somewhere through nowhere particular, with no one particular? Cheryl Strayed did just that – going on an almost entirely solo pilgrimage of 94 days, trekking 1,100...

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Features

Why Should I Help You?

It is impossible to help one without also helping oneself, as helpfulness brings joy to both helper and the helped. – Stonepeace | Books Why should I help you if you already have good karma to...

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Movies

How ‘Birdman’ Spoke The Dharma

The script of ‘Birdman’ seems significantly influenced by Buddhist teachings, as we can see in the following three scenes… [1] Riggan watches his breathing to calm down, as he sits...

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Letters

Can The Buddha Change Our Karma?

Question: I came across the concept that although the Buddha is fully enlightened and has inconceivable powers, he cannot eradicate or change sentient beings’ karmic retribution. But if this is...

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Features

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Since we all truly want happiness, the question of all questions to ask is what is True Happiness, and how to truly attain it for all. – Stonepeace | Books ‘What is the meaning of life...

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Letters

Is There A Birthday Sutra?

Question: May I know what sutra should I recite on my birthday? Answer: There is no custom of chanting any specific sutra for this day. Birthdays, or rather, rebirthdays are actually literally...

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Letters

How Are We Reborn Without Souls?

Question: If each of us do not have a soul or spirit, how do we undergo rebirth? We know that the body is just a form, so there must be something within that takes rebirth? Is there at least a base...

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Features

The Body Candle & The Mind Flame

If we cannot change, all would be pointless, for we are only how we are, unable to become better. – Stonepeace | Books If a candle represents the body, and the flame represents the mind, both...

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Letters

Can Buddhists Pray To Gods?

Question: Is it alright for Buddhists to just pray as form of respect to deities (gods), but not to request anything from them? Answer: It is alright for Buddhists to express respect but there should...

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Letters

Are Sea Cucumbers Animals?

Question: Are sea cucumbers (海参), that are usually sold dried up sentient beings? Or are they just a form of ocean vegetable? Answer: Sea cucumbers are marine animals. Please do not be mistaken by...

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Features

Are You The Hackberry Priest?

We are always our worst enemies, by giving in to our inner enmity, while our outer ‘enemies’ only ‘help’ to remind us of this. – Stonepeace | Books There was a priest...

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Letters

What Is Buddha-Nature & Bodhicitta?

Question: How is Buddha-nature linked to Bodhicitta? Answer: Buddha-nature is the universal potential in all sentient beings to become Buddhas (fully awakened in perfect compassion and wisdom). Since...

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Quotes

Precious Human Rebirth

得人身者, 如手中土。 失人身者, 如大地土。 Those who attain the human body, are like the earth in the fingernails. Those who lose the human body, are like the great Earth’s earth. 人身难得今已得, 佛法难闻今已闻。 此身不向今生度,...

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Features

Please Pacify And Liberate My Fettered Mind!

过去心不可得,The past mind cannot be attained, 现在心不可得,The present mind cannot be attained, 未来心不可得。The future mind cannot be attained. – 金刚经 (释迦牟尼佛) Diamond Sutra (Sakyamuni Buddha) Here are three...

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Letters

How To Not Be A Loner?

Question: In my work place, where colleagues form social cliques, I try to be myself, ending up as a loner who feels vulnerable. What should I do? Answer: Formation of cliques is natural. You do not...

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Excerpts

Compassion Demon

When you over-idealise yourself now when you are far from being ideal is when you demonise yourself instead. – Stonepeace | Books I asked a monk the question, ‘How do I generate boundless...

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Letters

Answering Dharma Queries

Question: Dear Shi’an, over the years, you have accumulated many students. You encourage them to e-mail their questions on Buddhism to you, which you have always reply promptly. I always wonder...

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Letters

How Do We Have Healthy Aversion?

Question: It is said that we should have ‘healthy aversion’ towards life in Samsara. What does this mean? Answer: This means to see the spiritually limiting conditions of life in Samsara...

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Haikus

Water Offering Haiku

On behalf of all beings, may we all have calm and clear compassion, wisdom and blessings for one another. Related Article: A Water Offering

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Features

Who Am ‘I’ Really?

Who am ‘I’? Is it this form, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, something or someone else? ‘I’ cannot be this form for sure, for just as ‘I’ had...

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Features

Are You Still ‘Tied’ Down?

A flappy tie is one of the most dangerous items of clothing, being susceptible to being caught in all manners of moving objects. – Anonone ‘The tie is a useless rag that constrains your...

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Features

A Water Offering

What you offer the world is what you offer yourself, as you are of this world too. – Stonepeace | Books Making many offerings at our home shrines daily, sometimes we might forget why we do so...

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Quotes

Faith In Buddha’s Words

唯可深信佛语, 专注奉行;不可信用 菩萨等不相应教, 以为疑碍,抱惑自迷, 废失往生之大益也。 – 净宗二祖善导大师 (观经四帖疏) [We] only can have deep faith in [Sakyamuni] Buddha’s words,for focus upon and practice; and not have faith in or...

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Excerpts

[7] Why Not Seek Birth In Tusita Heaven?

净土十疑论 The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land 隋天台智者大师著 Written by Sui Dynasty’s Tiantai Tradition’s Great Master Zhizhe (538–597 CE) 优婆塞沈时安英译 Translated to English by Upāsaka Shen Shi’an (2014 CE)...

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Haikus

Mouse Haiku

Without a wire as tail, is a wireless mouse, really a mouse? ___ Then again, it has no whiskers, eyes, mouth, legs… either. ___ How much resemblance is considered resemblance, before losing...

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Features

How To Be Good Dharma Students & Teachers

此诸众生, 去佛渐远。 邪师说法, 如恒河沙。 All these sentient beings [will, in the future (now), away] from the Buddha, gradually be further apart [from him]. Evil ‘teachers’ who speak the [corrupted]...

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Movies

Seven Ironies In ‘Ilo Ilo’

‘Ilo Ilo’ (爸妈不在家) is a movie about the intricate tensions of keeping even a small family together, of how adding a stranger into the mix can both worsen and better its dynamics. There are...

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Excerpts

[4] Why Particularly Seek One Pure Land?

净土十疑论 The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land 隋天台智者大师著 Written by Sui Dynasty’s Tiantai Tradition’s Great Master Zhizhe (538–597 CE) 优婆塞沈时安英译 Translated to English by Upāsaka Shen Shi’an (2014 CE)...

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Excerpts

[3] Why Be Particularly Mindful Of One Buddha?

净土十疑论 The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land 隋天台智者大师著 Written by Sui Dynasty’s Tiantai Tradition’s Great Master Zhizhe (538–597 CE) 优婆塞沈时安英译 Translated to English by Upāsaka Shen Shi’an (2014 CE)...

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Letters

Can I Walk Away After An Accident?

Question: If I have broken something in a shop accidentally and no one knows about it, can I simply walk away? If I do so, would I be breaking any precept? Answer: You should pay for it. If not, the...

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Letters

Can I Read Dharma Books On Bed?

Question: Some say it is disrespectful to read Buddhist materials or listen to Buddhist recordings while lying down flat, that we should sit upright to do so. Is it not alright to make ourselves...

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Letters

How To Handle A Found Bus Card?

Question: If I picked up an identifiable stored value card on a bus, is it alright for me to use it, and donate its worth to charity on behalf of its owner? Answer: This seems alright in principle...

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Letters

How Can I Overcome My Shyness?

Question: When I see acquaintances, mostly in class, I sometimes just don’t know how to respond, because I have been ignoring them almost every other time. It is as if my auto-reflex would be...

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Features

An Often Hungry Arhat Meets A Well Fed Elephant

愿消三障诸烦恼, 愿得智慧增福报。 普愿罪障悉消除, 世世常行菩萨道。 May there be elimination of the Three Obstacles’* all afflictions, and may there be attainment of wisdom and increase in blessed rewards. Universally wishing...

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Letters

Is My Life Just Problems To Solve?

Question: I’m a student. When I think about my future, I forsee many obstacles due to competition in school now and probably in my work life later. I see my life ahead as nothing but a series...

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Features

Are You Attached To Superstars?

If you idealise the illusory, you will beget disappointment, as you gravitate towards truth. – Stonepeace | Get Books A Buddhist teen asked how he can rid his infatuation towards superstars...

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Letters

Is Mercy-Killing Really Merciful?

Question: My dog is very sick. Is there any Buddhist chant to help her feel better, or prepare for a better rebirth? Answer: Yes. (All of the advice below is applicable to humans as well…)...

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Letters

Can A Sutra Be A Lullaby?

Question: I use a melodious and soothing Heart Sutra chant as a lullaby for my baby’s naps. Is this okay? Will I cultivate the wrong habit of becoming sleepy when the sutra is chanted? Answer:...

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Features

Why Is It Better To Give Than To Receive?

不知足者  Those who not know contentment, 虽富而贫  even if rich, they are however poor. 知足之人  Those who know contentment, 虽贫而富  even if poor, they are however rich. – 佛陀  The Buddha (遗教经  Sutra Of...

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Movies

A Bodhisattva ‘Man Of Steel’?

Like a skilful transcendental Bodhisattva whom, as instructed by the Buddha, does not reveal his identity – so as to better enter and blend into the worldly masses and protect relations...

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Features

How Many Horses Do You Need?

Not knowing what is enough, you will never have enough, even if you do have enough. – Stonepeace | Get Books Here is a Tibetan folk tale retold and extended: The first brother has 1 horse. The...

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Haikus

New Haiku

With this moment new, why not live anew, with will renewed? With each moment new, why not live anew, with zeal renewed? With every moment new, why not live anew, with life renewed?

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Letters

Is Wanting To Be Muscular Greed?

Question: Is desire for a muscular body considered greed in the Dharma perspective? Answer: Actually, it takes a lot of maintenance to keep the body muscular. It is not a one-time effort to get...

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Letters

Should Buddhism Be Made Secular?

Question: What do you think about making the Buddhist teachings non-religious to reach out for benefiting more? Answer: It’s a good idea to adapt the Buddhist teachings for secular self...

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Features

Do You Have Any More Excuses?

Some are simultaneously busy and lazy – busy making excuses for being lazy. – Stonepeace | Get Books In the Sigalovada Sutta, the Buddha spoke of six common excuses, that especially the...

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Excerpts

The Monk Attached To Sugar Cane

As the nature of our last thought leads to a corresponding rebirth, we should nurture the purest thought now, via mindfulness of Buddha, to be like Buddha, to be with Buddha. – Stonepeace | Get...

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Letters

How To Repent For Disrespect?

Question: I did something very disrespectful before a Bodhisattva image. I am feeling extremely guilty and wish to express repentance. What is the best way? Answer: You can prostrate before the image...

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Haikus

Patience Haiku

Even the tolerant find it challenging to tolerate intolerance. Even the truly tolerant face the challenge to tolerate intolerance.

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Letters

Do I Lack Compassion At School?

Question: I have a classmate who asks me for answers to tutorials near exam period. He is very lazy and doesn’t pay attention in class. I feel a sense of selfishness and discomfort when passing...

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Quotes

Watch

First, it is wisdom to watch yourself well, lest no one watches you, and you fall prey to your weaknesses, and harm more along the way. Next, it is compassion to watch others well, lest no one...

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Haikus

Holiday Haiku

Busier than work With tighter timelines Touristy sightseeing holidaying ~ Not enough time to spend time to stop and stare

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Letters

How To Choose My Vocation?

Question: I have been trying to find the path or work that I have passion in. I don’t have interest in my current job but will stay for the time being because it pays well, company welfare is...

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Letters

Why Trembling During Chanting?

Question: When we were chanting a sutra during a relative’s wake at a temple, a family member experienced involuntary tremors, after which she had to stop. She said she felt like she was going...

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Features

Why The Dharma Is The Greatest Gift

法轮未转, 食轮先转. [Before] the wheel of the Dharma has yet to turn, the wheel of [hunger for] food first turns. – Buddhist Saying Once, Sakra, the king of the devas, after futile efforts of getting...

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Letters

Are Relationships Empty?

Question: Are relationships (parent-child, spouses, siblings, friends etc.) also emptiness? Answer: Emptiness means being subject to change and thus being empty of any fixed nature. If so, indeed...

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Features

How To See Impermanence Positively

Impermanence is not just about the end of all things, but their renewal too. – Stonepeace (Get Books) Having learnt about the truth of impermanence of all things material in this life, of the...

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Haikus

Unseen Haiku

Raging twister unseen by others – trouble in mind Calming wind unseen by you – peace of mind How is the weather that you brew within your mind?

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Letters

Does Chanting Attract Spirits?

Question: I heard some saying that chanting certain mantras or sutras attracts spirits (ghosts) as they also want to listen to the Dharma. Is there any truth in this? If so, does it really matter...

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» stonepeace

Introducing Stonepeace Books

Circa 1997, when the Internet was still young, Stonepeace quotes began to be circulated online. Other than the namesake, their author is largely unknown. Perhaps he or she prefers privacy, that...

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Letters

How To Handle A Petty Colleague

Question: A good friend, Alvina (not her real name), who is my colleague had fallen out over a small matter. She refused to make up despite me having tried thrice. She had told me something about...

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Letters

How To Prevent An Affair

Question: I find it difficult to observe the third precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct. I tend to have sexual thoughts of others besides my spouse. Please advise as to what I should do. I...

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Letters

Is Eating Bird’s Nest Soup Okay?

Question: As Buddhists, is consuming birds’ nest drink or soup justifiable since it has lots of health benefits? The swiftlets are not harmed and they can always build new homes when their...

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Haikus

Jam Haiku

Two big egos jammed on a small path, either one has to give way, or there is no way for either one.

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Letters

How To Deal With Public Nuisances?

Question: What would you do if you encounter those who blast their music in public transport? How should I control the feeling of being pissed off in me? Sometimes, their music is so loud that my...

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Letters

Should The Kind Be Made Use Of?

Question: I try to be a better person to my fellow colleagues by being more compassionate to them. Sometimes, I help them with their work, which is beyond my job scope. However, they seem to be...

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Quotes

A General Mistake

Just as you do not wish others to generalise your character due to a single act, why generalise another’s character due to a single act? – Stonepeace

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Haikus

Smile Haiku

Those not smiling need encouragement to smile, through your smile. (Instead of frowning more at the already frowning, why not lessen everyone’s frowning?)

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Letters

Am I Obsessed About Buddhism?

Question: I’m new to Buddhism. When I talk to my friends about what I have learnt from the Dharma classes I’m attending currently, they look at me as if I’m turning into a nun the...

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Haikus

Seasons Haiku

Falling autumn leaves Blooming spring flowers Equally transient (Why do we only frown over fallen leaves and only smile at flowers then?)

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Haikus

Silence Haiku

Only when pining to hear Or swarmed with thoughts Is silence deafening. (If there is no awareness of what you crave for and you already cling to, there will be no peace of mind.)

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Letters

Can A Buddha Shrine Be Low?

Question: Can I use a hip height table or cupboard as a shrine for a Buddha image? Answer: It is alright if you and others around are comfortable with it. However, if possible, it should be placed...

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Haikus

Sunset Haiku

Sunset now But sunrise later Disappointment or hope… later? (There is no need to be sad or elated over the fleeting.)

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Letters

Is Buddhism Against Childbirth?

Question: Some governments want their citizens to have more babies. That means more people will be reborn in Samsara. Is it not against Buddhism, whose aim is to end rebirth in Samsara...

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Features

How Is One In All & All In One?

The more clearly we see phenomena, we will see there is no clearly distinct or static phenomena. – Stonepeace The value of pi is that when the circumference of any circle is divided with its...

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Haikus

Diligence Haiku

Remote not working well? Nope… Battery is low. (It is never that the Buddhadharma does not work, for it always does; it is us who do not work hard enough via practice.)

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