[TheDailyEnlightenment] #355 / Thich Nhat Hanh Month @ Awareness Place...
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THICH NHAT HANH MONTH @ Awareness Place
Awareness Place (#01-21 Bras Basah Complex Branch- walking distance from
Bugis or City Hall MRT), a new-age Bookshop Project of Phor Kark See,
presents "Thich Nhat Hanh Month" in February/March, featuring all books
(with calendars and special cards) written by the Master. Thich Nhat Hanh
http://house-of-buddha.com/thichnhathanh.html ) is a well-loved teacher of
Buddhism, specialising in teachings of Mindfulness. He was nominated in 1967
for the Nobel Peace Prize and has written about 30 books, all of which are
written in simple yet elegant English, which had sold more than 1 million
copies worldwide. [ AP is open daily from 11am to 7pm (Tel.337-7582) ]
*Also specially featured are books on Western Buddhism and books by Buddhist
teachers influential in the West. These include H.H. The Dalai Lama, Thich
Nhat Hanh, Sangharakshita and Venerable Shengyen.
~Please scroll to end of this TDE for 5 Special TNH Book Reviews~
1. Going Home: Buddha & Jesus as Brothers
2. The Heart of the Buddha's Teachings
3. Old Path White Clouds
4. Teachings on Love
5. The Miracle of Mindfulness
FUND RAISING FOR REPRINTS & PUBLICATION OF LAMA ZOPA'S WORKS
Project Hope~Fund Raising for Reprints & Publication of Lama Zopa's Works
Dear Friend of the Dharma,
First all of, please allow us to wish you a happy and prosperous year ahead
of you. The Publication Subcommittee driven mainly by Dave Teo and Goh Yee
Chin, our tireless volunteers, have produced such fine works as "Making Your
Mind an Ocean", "Becoming Your Own Therapist" and many others. We are sure
that their contributions and efforts have increased greater awareness
amongst English-speaking Buddhists in Singapore and elsewhere. Due to health
and other work commitments, Dave and Yee Chin have graciously requested to
step down from the Publication Subcommittee. We wish to thank both of them
from the bottom of our hearts and hope that they will continue to serve the
>From the kind donations of well wishers like yourself, we have to datepublish more than 100,000 books for free distribution. Our Dharma books are
being distributed in 24 different outlets in Singapore and up to 200 of them
are taken up weekly.
We are currently embarking on a project to raise funds to reprint more of
these books to meet the demand. We also have plans to publish two new
profound books by our Spiritual Director, Lama Zopa Rinpoche ( yes that is
right ! ), entitled "Virtue And Reality" and "Making The Daily Life
Meaningful". The teachings presented in these books detail methods for
developing compassion and wisdom in our everyday lives so that every moment
of our lives will be of maximum benefit to both others and ourselves.
The bulk of money raised will go to the printing of the books ( reprints and
new prints). Besides that, a small portion of the funds will be used for
postage costs, stamps, envelopes etc and about US 2000 per transcript on a
one time basis will be donated to LYWA ( Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive) as
We hope you would continue to support our quest to spread the Dharma through
free publications. Attached is a sponsorship form for you to fill in if you
would like to contribute to this cause. Do give us feedback on how we can
benefit even more people. I rejoice in the incredible amount of merits you
are creating. May the Day and Night be auspicious for the Dharma and may you
always be happy.
With Metta Always
Liaw Kok Bee: k_b_liaw@...
f ABC Publications
PROJECT HOPE: Fund Raising for Reprints & Publication of Lama Zopa's Works
The Gift of Truth Excels All Other Gifts . The Buddha
I wish to donate the following sum towards your Publication Fund
Bank/ Cheque No.:
Please write your name and "Publication Fund" at the back of your cheque.
Mail this form together with your cheque made payable to
Amitabha Buddhist Centre
494D Geylang Road
Name: Mr./ Mrs./ Ms./ Dr.
Home No: Office No.:
Pager No.: Mobile No.:
Please share with us your thoughts on how we can continue to benefit you and
others through this fund.
Many heartfelt Thanks for your kind donations and support
May All Your Wishes and Prayers Come True
TOASTMASTER YOUNG BUDDHIST CHAPTER
I am taking the initiative to establish a Buddhist Chapter for ToastMaster
to nurture and develop public speaking skills among young Buddhists so vital
for our missionary work. It will be hosted by Shan You Counselling Centre
with ample classroom facility and easy access via MRT, being 5 minutes walk
from Kallang MRT.
I have the devotion of two friends who will are already ToastMaster trained
to help get the chapter going. I plan to launch this early March and would
like registration now. I need at least 20 committed individuals to enrol
before I proceed. Please e-mail me your name, address and occupation before
the 15t February, 2000.
Bro.Low Teck Suan
Shan You Counselling Centre
Tel: 741 9293 Fax: 7419352
TODAY'S RECOMMENDED WEB
Prison Dharma Network~
The sun has entered me.
The sun entered me together with the cloud and the river.
I myself have entered the river,
and I have entered the sun
with the cloud and the river.
There has not been a moment
when we do not interpenetrate.
But before the sun entered me,
the sun was in me-
also the cloud and the river,
I was already in it.
There has not been a moment
when we have not inter-been.
Therefore you know
that as long as you continue to breathe,
I continue to be in you.
-Call Me by My True Names, Thich Nhat Hanh (available@AwarenessPlace)
REALISATION: Reflections on Buddhist Vegetarianism
(This is a revised and expanded edition of what you might had recently
recieved of the same title.)
Dear Brothers & Sisters of the Dharma,
Please take some time to read this article on Vegetarianism. It contains a
list of personal insights on the topic I'd had over the years. Hope you find
them beneficial. :-]
IS THE MEAT-BUYER OR SELLER WRONG?
An interesting incident happened as recorded in "Leng4 Qie2 Jing1" (a
Mahayana Sutra)- I hope I remember the details correctly... but the idea is
in the message of the story-
A disciple of the Buddha asked a man why he kept buying and eating meat. He
said it's because the meat-seller kept selling meat. When the meat-seller
was asked why he kept selling meat, he replied it was because the man (and
others?) kept buying from him. When the Buddha was consulted as to if any of
the two parties had any misgiving, the Buddha said BOTH were wrong.
WHAT IS PURE MEAT?
An intepretation of the moral of the above story-
It is equally wrong to be on the demand or supply side of meat, which is an
indirect result of killing of sentient beings, which breaks the 1st precept.
Many Buddhists believe that it the meat that we buy from the market or
supermarket, or from a food stall/ restaurant does not go against the 3
rules of what constitute "Pure Meat." But this is subject to some argument.
These 3 rules (of "San1 Jing4 Rou4"), which when followed, allows a Buddhist
to eat the meat are when-
1. The meat is not a result of an animal being
SEEN/ ORDERED to be killed for oneself.
2. The meat is not a result of an animal being
SUSPECTED to be killed for oneself.
3. The meat is not a result of an animal being
HEARD to be killed for oneself.
(Some reference on the 3 types of PURE meat, it is clearly stated in "S.
Amagandha Sutta": "Jivaka, I have declared that one should not make use of
meat if it has been seen, heard or suspected to have killed on purpose for a
monk. I allow the monks to consume meat that is quite pure in three
respects: if it is not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on
purpose for a monk."
IS WHAT WE EAT PURE MEAT?
Let's look at the rules above objectively in relation to our everyday life-
1. Buying meat from the market or a foodstall is a direct contribution to
the demand for slaughtered meat. Is this not a form of indirect "ORDERING"
of animals to be killed? Does indirect ordering render us free of blame? (By
the way, ordering "live" seafood at a restaurant IS directly breaking of
this rule- this is universally agreed by all Buddhists.)
2. Does a meat-eater not in the least SUSPECT the meat to be killed for
oneself as a result of one's personal increasing of the demand for meat?
3. Does intentionally not investigating, not actively going to HEAR the
cries of the chicken (the chicken MUST have cried) at the slaughterhouse
render the chicken eater blameless?
SO IS IT OKAY TO EAT MEAT?
If I'm not wrong, I don't think the Buddha ever said that it was OKAY to buy
meat from the market or from foodstalls. I think there is something very
subtle yet in a way very obvious here- the Buddha did NOT command the Sangha
or His lay followers to be vegetarians. Yet obviously, His teachings were a
message of UNIVERSAL COMPASSION, such that He definitely does not think it
is a good idea to be directly or indirectly involved in the harming, much
less, killing, of any sentient life.
Why is this so? Why did He not openly make His stand, and instead left the
final decision, which had led to much debate throughout Buddhist history, up
to us? Is it because He KNEW different Buddhists would measure right or
wrong of diet using different yardsticks (even if He gave the same 3 rules
above) and that it WAS in a sense okay? Well.... we might ask- how can this
ever be okay- since the life of so many sentient lives are at stake? My
personal answer- Many people will be detered by the actual hard logical
"dharma-cally correctness" of being vege to be Buddhists... so the Buddha
left the issue kind of open-ended. He must have known, in His omniscience
that all practitioners of the Dharma WILL eventually relinquish meat-eating
at a certain advanced stage of practice- it comes naturally- it's all part
of the advancement in the Bodhisattva path. An example- the Buddha as a
Bodhisattva would rather cut his own flesh to feed an eagle than let it eat
a smaller bird. All advanced practising Bodhisattvas are thus necessarily
vegetarians because they would not be able to bear the thought of another
sentient being dying, directly or indirectly, out of unneccessity, just to
fill the stomach of another sentient being. While it may not be emphasized
in the Theravada Suttas, the Buddha unequivocally condemned meat eating in
the Mahayana Sutras.
Supply and Demand is an obvious vicious cycle. The whole universe of meat
eating and animal slaughtering is an inticate web of interdependence, cause
and effect. We all play a part in the circle of life, the cycle of birth and
death of all beings that is Samsara.
WHAT IS REAL PURE MEAT THEN?
If the above ideas are agreeable, then it would seem that theoretically, no
"Pure Meat" exists in the modern world, as all available meat seem to break
the 3 rules. This is not true as many forms of meat that consumed still
follow the rules. Here are some examples-
1. Meat that is misordered (meat recieved instead of non-meat, which was
(Not eating this meat would be a waste of it- it means the animal
slaughtered died for nothing, as it was rejected as food.)
2. Leftover or discarded meat from meat-eaters. (But we have to be mindful
we do not keep eating leftover meat out of greed.)
3. Meat from animals that have died for about 16 hours (so as to ensure the
consciousness has left the body) by accident.
4. Meat from alms rounds.
THE BUDDHA AS A VEGETARIAN AT HEART
It might be interesting to note that the only reason why the Buddha was not
a full vegetarian was because He nobly but humbly begged for alms randomly
from households. Beggars can't be choosers, so goes the saying. But us,
being given the opportunity to choose what we eat- should we not choose
wisely? It is also stated in the Mahayana Sutras, that the meat that the
Buddha consumed in His entire life were manifestations of His psychic
powers. That is to say, not only does the meat in theory ALREADY exist as
"Pure Meat" (as begged alms follow the 3 rules), the Buddha, out of great
Compassion, even ensured absolutely NO animal was ever killed for Him
indirectly. In other words, the Buddha WAS a FULL vegetarian at heart!
It is worth mentioning at this point that after historical research by
Buddhist scholars, it is concluded that the Buddha did NOT die from eating
meat ("poisoned or putrid pork"), as so oftenly mistaken. His last meal
consisted of "sukara-maddava"- which is correctly translated to be 1) a
pig's soft food, i.e., food eaten by pigs, 2) "pig's delight," i.e., a
favourite food of pigs, 3) "pig-pounded," i.e., food trampled by pigs. It
was actually a kind of mushroom called truffles.
WHAT IF VEGE FOOD IS HARD TO FIND?
Another reason why the Buddha never made any "commandments" (another word
for "hard and fast rules") is because He anticipated the countless different
lifestyle situations and karmic conditions of myriad sentient beings. It
would be downright ridiculous, for example, to ask the Tibetans to stick to
a strict vege diet when Tibet can hardly grow vege. It might be interesting
to note that the spiritual head of Tibet, H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, IS a
semi-vegetarian because he has jaundice and as advised medically, should eat
some meat on alternate days. H.H. however, openly declared that given the
choice (eg. being outside of vege-limited Tibet), the monks that follow him
should try their best to stick to a vege diet.
So... what happens if you can't find vege food near your workplace, study
place or living quarters...? Does this mean you have no choice but to eat
meat? Think again carefully... the path of Compassion is NOT easy to tread.
It involves MANY sacrifices that are totally WILLINGLY undertaken. Being
vege might mean going the extra mile to get vege food- for the sake of
sentient beings. Think yet again carefully- why are you putting off
vegetarianism when it so obviously have all the plus points, in terms of
health, protecting the environment, fighting worldside starvation... is it
because of plain GREED for the taste of meat? If you want to be SURE you are
not vegetarian not because of greed, the best solution is to BE vegetarian
and prove it to yourself. This is not my challenge for you; this is your
personal spiritual challenge. We have to be totally honest with ourselves-
our decision to be vege or not affects hundreds, if not thousands of
HOW CAN WE TRULY SAVE WHEN WE INDIRECTLY KILL ALL THE TIME?
If you wish to "du4" (save/ help) sentient beings, probably the first thing
you can do is to avoid eating them- it is a direct contradiction of wanting
to help as many beings as you can- while you eat them! Being vege is nothing
great; it is NOT doing good- it is merely passively not harming sentient
beings. Actively saving sentient beings is the real good. How can you truly
actively save sentient beings when you actively eat them all the time?
We have to remember that there are many other ways we harm or kill sentient
life in our everyday life. We should try to cut down on these by say, using
non-animal tested toiletries and make-up (eg. from "The Body Shop") ,
ozone-friendly sprays, less non biodegradable packaging...
THE BUDDHA LEFT IT TO YOU TO CHOOSE
Remember- Buddhism IS a free religion- we choose our options- but there ARE
always wiser ones. To be directly, or indirectly, or not at all connected by
cause and effect to the life and death of sentient beings in terms of our
meals- you choose.
HOW I BECAME VEGETARIAN
I have been vegetarian for about 7 years. I served National Service as a
IPPT Silver, PES A Naval Gunner & Seaman for 2 &1/2 years without reporting
sick once, pulling 17 chin-ups (the second best in my BMT platoon)- in a bid
to prove the health superiority of being vege in terms of both strength and
stamina. I still seldom get sick these days- having never taken a single MC
since I started work 3 years ago. I awakened to the importance of
Vegetarianism after I did research and gave a Dharma Discussion in SP
Buddhist Society on the many ills of meat-eating, including the following-
1. Personal Well-being (Health)- No disease can come from a balanced
vegetarian diet. Medical proof states that all kinds of diseases can spring
from meat-eating while having a vege diet can not only prevent, but help
cure many diseases. Our body constitution is also not designed for meat
digestion. For example, our teeth and intestine structure is virtually
identical to herbivorous animals.
2. Well-being of Animals- Animals live imprisoned and tortured lives before
the final horror of being slaughtered.
3. Well-being of the Environment- Animal-rearing depletes much resources of
energy, land, crops and water.
4. Well-being of Fellow Humans- More than one-third of cropland is used for
cultivating crops as food for animals to be slaughtered as meat. No human
starvation would happen if animal rearing for the rich meat-consumers was
lessened and the crops used to feed 3rd world fellow humans instead.
5. Reduction of Conflict & Wars among Sentient Beings- Mahayana Buddhists
believe that wars, racial riots... are a collective-karmic result of the
return of mass-hatred when group-slaughtered animals (who die in great fear
and hatred) are reborn as humans.
Please visit http://www.macalester.edu/~kwiik/Veggie/vegihome.htm for more
information on vegetarianism. An excellent work on the investigarion of
Buddhist perspectives on vegetarianism is the book, "To Cherish All Life: A
Buddhist Case for Becoming Vegetarian" by Roshi Philip Kapleau, the author
of the classic "The Three Pillars of Zen." (See
Thank you for reading this message.
I sincerely hope you can forward this to your fellow Buddhist friends,
so as to further the encouragement of Vegetarianism among Buddhists.
May All Beings Be Free From Harm & Danger.
May All Beings Be Well & Happy.
Zeph & shian
(From "Zeph's Journal : Some Buddhist Adventures")
EXCERPT : Smile like a Buddha:)
As you make the effort to let go of your worries and anxieties, please
smile. It may be just the beginning of a smile, but keep it there on your
lips. It is very much like the Buddha's half-smile. As you learn to walk as
the Buddha walked, you can smile as he smiled. Why wait until you are
completely transformed, completely awakened? You can start being a part-time
Buddha right now!
The half-smile is the fruit of your awareness that you are here, alive,
walking. At the same time, it nurtures more peace and joy within you.
Smiling as you practice walking meditaion will keep your steps calm and
peaceful, and give you a deep sense of ease. A smile refreshes your whole
being and strengthens your practice. Don't be afraid to smile:)
-The Long Road Turns to Joy, A Guide to Walking Meditation:
Thich Nhat Hanh (available@AwarenessPlace)
BOOK REVIEWS IN CONJUNCTION WITH
THICH NHAT HANH MONTH @ AwarenessPlace
1. GOING HOME: BUDDHA & JESUS AS BROTHERS
>From the author of the best-selling Living Buddha, Living Christ comes ajourney into healing one of the greatest wounds of our time: alienation from
our own spiritual traditions.
Living Buddha, Living Christ opened the door to a dialogue between
Christianity and Buddhism. Going Home takes us on a journey into the
practice of revitalized Christianity. In Living Buddha, Living Christ,
Buddha and Jesus say "hello" to each other. In Going Home, they sit down
together and have a lengthy conversation. They ask each other for advice.
They talk about how they can be united. They talk about each others'
prayers, rituals, and forms of practice.
2. THE HEART OF THE BUDDHA'S TEACHINGS
Thich Nhat Hanh Brings his gifts of clarity and poetry to an explication of
the basic teachings of Buddhism - the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold
Path. These teachings are the time-tested means to transform our suffering
into mindfulness and joy. Original and very accessible, The Heart of the
Buddha's teaching is a profound introduction to the practice and insights of
Buddhism. For longtime practitioners or those newly interested in the way of
understanding and love, as presented by one of today's most beloved
3. OLD PATH WHITE CLOUDS
Drawn directly from Pali, Sanskrit, and Chinese sources, the life story of
the Buddha is retold by Thich Nhat Hanh in a style that captures the clarity
and serenity of the Buddha's life. This is a gift book, a reference book,
and an excellent read, destined to become a classic of religious literature.
This is a truly wondrous book- a biography, a compilation of the Buddha's
teachings, a social study of ancient India, a work of comparative religion,
an epic tale, and a children's story all in one. Masterfully written, to
read it is to be absorbed into the equanimity of mindfulness. The very
rhythm of the words conveys the impression of peace, while telling a
4. TEACHINGS ON LOVE
We all yearn to experience a love that is more joyful and profound.
Teachings on Love provides a time tested path we can follow to nurture this
love in ourselves and for others. Thich Nhat Hanh draws from many sources to
present the Buddha's teachings on love in ways resonant for contemporary
readers. He elaborates on the Four Immeasurable Minds - love, compassion,
joy, and equanimity- as concrete expressions of our deepest love for
ourselves, others, and all beings.
Weaving together traditional anecdotes, personal experiences, and a deep
understanding of the Buddha's way of mindful living, Thich Nhat Hanh offers
step by step practices that foster growth of understanding and intimacy in
any relationship, even those that have done us harm.
5. THE MIRACLE OF MINDFULNESS
The Miracle of Mindfulness is universally recognized as one of the classic
introductory manuals on meditation, concentration, and relaxation. It is at
once practical and inspirational. Originally written as a long letter to a
friend, The Miracle of Mindfulness retains an intimate, personal tone. It is
one of the best available introductions to the wisdom and beauty of
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