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The Teachings Of Great Master Yin Guang

Whether one is a layperson or has left the home- life, one should respect elders and be harmonious to those surrounding him. One should endure what others cannot, and practice what others cannot achieve

 

The Sweetest Smile Yet

As we come to the end of our treatise on Loving and Dying, I should make it clear that I do not at all claim to be an authority on living, loving or dying. But I have tried to share some thoughts on the subject with you, thoughts about how to live and die with love and understanding all along the way

 

A World Of Anomalies

Reading the newspapers and newsmagazines can give us much food for reflection. Besides the orbituaries, there are grim reminders of uffering all over the world, though we may have become quite numbed to it.

 

Contemplation On Death

While we are alive it is good to contemplate on death now and then. In fact it is good to do it daily. The Buddha recommends frequent contemplation on death because there are many benefits to be gained from such contemplation. Let's look at how we can benefit in contemplating on death.

 

Our Death Should Be Serene

All of us have to die one day. Our death should be serene and peaceful. Therefore when someone is about to die we should make it as serene and beautiful for him or her as possible. Yes, are you surprised that death can be beautiful? If you are, it is because we normally have dosa or aversion towards death. There is fear of pain and the uncertainty of what is to come after death. Then there is attachment to our loved ones which gives rise to much pain in our heart in having to part with them.

 

We Are Our Own Saviours

Sometimes as a monk I'm asked to go for funeral chanting. I do feel sorry for the bereaved ones but sometimes I also feel quite helpless because there is so much confusion as regards the role of a monk in funeral chanting.

 

Loving Is Understanding

o die well we must live well. If we have lived well we can die well. There will be no regrets. We can go peacefully, content that we have done what we could, that along the way we have spread understanding and happiness, that we have lived according to our principles and commitment to the ideals of love and compassion.

 

We Must Do Our Bit

Earlier I said that when I saw the sick, the dying and the dead, two resolutions arose in my mind. One is to be able to take pain and death with a smile, to be able to remain mindful and composed to the very end. Now I wish to touch on my second resolution.

 

Tribute To Kuai Chan

'd like to tell you about a brave yogi who died peacefully from lung cancer with the word, Nibbana, on her lips. Her name is Kuai Chan and she passed away on December 18,1992 at her home in Kuala Lumpur.

 

Coping With Disease The Right Attitude

We should not look on disease and suffering as something which will destroy us completely, and thereby giving in to despair and despondency. On the contrary, we (ie. in the case of Buddhists) can look upon it as a test of how well we have understood the Buddha's teachings, how well we can apply the understanding we have supposedly learnt.

 

Two Resolutions

As I'm writing now, I recall that just yesterday a fellow monk died. He had been suffering from terminal cancer for eight months. When I was by his side at the hospital a few days before his death, he was in pain. I tried to feed him some broth but he could not eat. He looked quite gaunt and grim. He could hardly speak.

 

Hello Death Goodbye Life

One day when I die, as I must, I'd like to die with a smile on my lips. I'd like to go peacefully, to greet death like a friend, to be able to say quite cheerfully: "Hello Death, Goodbye Life."

 

Preface

I have written this book to share some thoughts on death with anybody who may care to read it. Thoughts about how we can go about facing death - with courage and equanimity. With dignity. And if you like with a smile. Thoughts about how to cope with suffering, to live with wisdom and compassion, or with as much of it as we can muster, until we die.

 

Acknowledgement

I am very much indebted to: Santivara for all his hard work in doing the layout and design of this book; and to Tuck Loon for his cover art and illustrations.

 

A World Of Anomalies

Chủ nhật - 29/09/2013 20:52
A World Of Anomalies

A World Of Anomalies

Reading the newspapers and newsmagazines can give us much food for reflection. Besides the orbituaries, there are grim reminders of uffering all over the world, though we may have become quite numbed to it.
Loving and Dying

By Visuddhacara
Illustration by Hor Tuck Loon

A WORLD OF ANOMALIES

 

Reading the newspapers and newsmagazines can give us much food for reflection. Besides the orbituaries, there are grim reminders of suffering all over the world,  though we may have become quite numbed to it. There are murders, robberies, rapes and wars, religious, ethnic, social and political conflicts, pollution, diseases, starvation, poverty, tortures, oppression, terrorisms, accidents, suicides and natural calamities such as earthquakes, fires, floods and hurricanes. It is a long and  depressing list which can go on and on.

At the same time, side by side with these news stories there are pictures and advertisements showing happy people enjoying themselves, as if without a care in the world. They are laughing and posing behind posh cars, grand mansions, luxury hotel suites, bottles of alcohol, cigarettes, perfumes, cosmetics, glamourous designer outfits and exquisite jewellery. They are gorging themselves at food fests, beauty contests and fashion shows with beautiful and sophisticated looking models parading on the catwalk. The contrast is especially ironic when, say, you happen to see a high fashion parade next to ~ heart-rending  picture story of piteous African children all skin and bones dying from sheer starvation.

We are said to be a civilised people who abhor violence and the inflicting of senseless pain on one another. Yet we have boxing championships at which two brawny men would, for a sum of money, try their utmost to bash out each other's brains to the roars of approval from the crowd, not unlike the barbarous days of the Romans when gladiators fought lions and each other for the entertainment of blood-thirsty spectators. We have matadors that would infuriate, torture and kill a bull just for the fun of it. And everybody, or at least the stadium-filled spectators, seems to think it is fun too.

Smoking and drinking have taken great tolls on the health of the people, yet cigarettes and alcohol companies still insist on urveying in every possible way, even through the sports arena, their products of death. Smoking is ludicrously described as "an encounter with tenderness"! and drinking is equated with success and prestige among many other things. So-called developed countries are dumping their cigarettes and other harmful products on Third World nations while curbing the consumption of those products among their own people. In their inordinate greed for wealth, companies would go to great engths, not seeming to have any qualms at all about what they say or do in the purveyance of their products. The mass media such as newspapers and newsmagazines, which accept and publish these advertisements because of greed for the huge sums of money they bring in, cannot absolve themselves too from responsibility. They have a basic human right to exercise a social conscience by declining harmful advertisements but they choose not to do so.

Looking at a glossy airline magazine, the picture of an elderly brewery company chairman in Thailand caught my attention. Dressed in suit and tie and with greying hair, he was proudly displaying, in his posh conference room, a row of bottles of beer brewed by his factory. Just behind him was an altar on which sat a gleaming Buddha image. One can see that the altar was impressively and centrally located in the room. Now, the Buddha, as we all know, had taught abstinence, and the fifth precept to which all Buddhists subscribe, states: "I take the precept to abstain from alcohol and drugs which are a cause for heedlessness." It is hard, therefore, for an observer to reconcile
the mass production and distribution of alcohol, which is considered a wrong kind of livelihood in Buddhism, with the image of a Buddha, displayed as it were, so proudly in the room.

Sulak Sivaraksa, a Thai social critic and activist, wrote in his book, Seeds of Peace, "It is a sorry fact that Siam has about 250,000 monks and more than twice that many prostitutes. This speaks for a system that is dysfunctional and has to be reexamined from the ground up. If we can return to the beautiful roots of our Asian traditions, we will help create a sane and functional model for living." In citing the latter two examples, it is not our intention to pick on Thailand, but just to point out anomalies. In point of fact, anomalies exist everywhere. Just as in Thailand, they can be equally found in Buddhist Burma, Buddhist Sri Lanka, our own or any other country. Nobody has a monopoly.


When two roads diverge in your journey of life, which one will you choose?

Yes, we can go on and on with the list of contradictions that abound in the world we live, but this much, we believe, would suffice to make our point. Yes, are we not a kind of society with a split or schizophrenic mentality? -like a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. We know what is unwholesome, yet we condone and even encourage its proliferation. Apparently, we are all willy-nilly caught in it, and we are hurled along with the tide. Programmed and conditioned by the moguls of the advertising media, we respond to their commands and messages. Buy this, buy that. Eat this, eat that. Wear this, wear that. Do this, don't do that. This is ugged and that is feminine. This is the in-thing and that is out. This is the great way to live; it is the jet-set high society, the world of great fun and entertainment.

Forgive me if I may sound like a critical pers,on, a bad sport, or a mad monk standing on a soapbox declaring at the top of his voice that the end of the world is nigh and threatening a decadent society with hellfire and brimstones. But you might agree with me that it might not be a bad idea if, now and then, we were to step back a little and look at the state of the world and the state of our mind and the state of our life. Some wisdom may yet arise from such contemplation. We can re-assess our position and the direction we will like to go. Do we follow the crowd or do we break ranks? If I may ''borrow'' a verse from Robert Frost: Two roads diverged in a wood and I-I took the one less travelled byAnd that has made all the difference. Yes, when two roads diverge in your journey of life, which one will you take? The one less travelled by - the path of mindfulness and wisdom, of love and compassion? Please do think about it, for it might well make all the difference.
 

 

Tác giả bài viết: Visuddhacara

Nguồn tin: Chùa Tịnh Luật

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