[ Harvest March 2002 ] A Simple Guide
- The Monthly Harvest International Buddhist E-Zine
H A R V E S T I N G SPIRITUAL SEEDS OF GROWTH |2002 March Edition| Issue #25 |Panna Youth Centre,Singapore| Promoting Buddhism Amongst Youths|
1.0 From the Editor�s Desk
2.0 Feature: A Simple Guide
3.0 Inspiration: Treat with Love
4.0 Sharing: A New Chapter in Life
5.0 Sayings of the Buddha
6.0 Intercession & Prayer Requests
7.0 P.Y.C Announcements & Feature News
8.0 Quotable Quotes
9.0 About Harvest E-Zine
[ F R O M T H E E D I T O R ]
One of the things I like best about being a Buddhist is that Lord Buddha is our new beginning.
No matter how much you blew it yesterday, or how everything went wrong in your life last week, today is always new and fresh, with all the hope and excited expectation of a new and unspoilt start.
For most of us who are human and imperfect, who "fall short of the Great Wisdom of Lord Buddha on a regular basis, we need to reflect upon this.
"I do not consider � that I have captured and made it on my own yet; but one thing I do TOWARDS is my one Aspiration: FORGETTING what lies behind, and STRAINING FORWARD to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of Supreme Nibbanic Bliss with constant practise in the Buddha's teachings.
It is just what I need to hear ever so often: "Forgetting what lies behind," and "straining forward to what lies ahead."
There's an old saying (old sayings become old because they've stood the test of time) that says: "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." That's profound and liberating. It tells you that you don't have to let your past limit your future!
It is up to each and everyone of you out there. Buddha gives us the free will to choose, and He tells us that He will always offer us a new start and a fresh beginning by confession and contemplation, It is up to us whether we choose to accept his teachings and to integrate it into our daily lives.
But this I recall, and therefore have I hope and expectation: it is because of the Lord Buddha's wisdom and lovingkindness that we are not consumed by the past, because His tender Compassion fail not. They are everyday great and abundant in your stability and faithfulness.
But for us, The Buddha tells us specifically and clearly that this is a time of new beginnings; we don't have to be dragged down and beset by the horrors of the past. We are encouraged to forget the past, and press on into the future, a future that is bright with new hope and promise.
So let's expect the best let's believe the words of Lord Buddha and I believe that in the months to come will be the time to Harvest our efforts and may all sentient beings take Faith in the Buddha's teachings as to be free from all sufferings.
If you feel you are in the wilderness, trudging through a dry and barren desert take heart! Sing to the Lord Buddha a new song! Because He tells us in His Word that He will make a way in your personal wilderness from ignorance to enlightenment.
Expect the best, not the worst it is your choice. It all depends on your attitude. As a great man often says: "Your attitude determines your altitude". You can choose whether you want to soar with the eagles, or wallow around with the pigs.
Let us be fresh and effervescent, bubbling with new hope and enthusiasm, pushing out the walls and boundaries of our wineskins.
Let our attitude be one of positive expectation and zestful eagerness, forgetting the strictures and disappointments of the past, and reaching forward to the responbility of preaching the Buddha's teachings to the nations !
May the BuddhaDhamma spread far & wide all across the lands !
Feature: A Simple Guide
Mind occupies the preeminent place in Buddhism, for everything that one says or does first arises in the mind as a thought. To have a welltrained mind is indeed to possess a treasure. When a person trains the mind, turns inward to examine and cleanse his own mind, he will find therein a vast storehouse of happiness. Real happiness is a quality of the mind which has to be sought and found in the mind. The Buddha teaches that non-attachment to worldly pleasures is a greater happiness than the enjoyment of worldly pleasures. Nibbana is the highest happiness, the happiness of relief from suffering and from repeated birth, and this happiness is only to be attained by freeing the mind from its defilements.
The misguided worldling thinks otherwise. In his view the enjoyment of sensual pleasures is the only real happiness. He forgets, however, that sensual happiness arises merely from the gratification of desire, and thus that this happiness must fade when the desired object is obtained. Nor will the multiplication of desires make sensual pleasure permanent, for there is no permanence in the passing. The pursuit of sensual pleasures ends only in restlessness and dissatisfaction.
The aim of Buddhist mental culture is to gain direct intuitive knowledge of the real nature of existence by systematic training of the mind through meditation. This practice issues in detachment and thus frees the mind from its delusions. Meditation leads the mind from the painladen things of the world to the sorrowless, transcendent state of deliverance, Nibbana. The basic cause of rebirth and suffering is ignorance of the true nature of life. We consider what is passing, unsatisfactory, and empty to be permanent, a source of true happiness, and substantial. This delusion sustains the craving for more existence and leads to the accumulation of kamma. Meditation is designed to lead stepby-step to the dissolution of these delusions and thereby to freedom from the grip of craving.
There are two kinds of meditation recognized in Buddhism: the development of tranquillity, which emphasizes concentration, and the development of insight, which emphasizes wisdom. These two types of meditation respectively correspond to the second and third groups of the Noble Eightfold Path, the concentration group and the wisdom group. Concentration means onepointedness of the mind, the ability to fix the mind on a single object to the exclusion of all else. Concentration is not an end in itself, but to be developed primarily because it is the basis for wisdom, the ability to see things exactly as they are. It is this wisdom that frees the mind from bondage.
To train the mind is not at all easy, for the mind has long been accustomed to flow in the channels of greed, hatred, and delusion; through ages we have relished sense pleasures, raged with anger, wallowed in torpor, fidgeted restlessly, and vacillated with doubt. Such habits are indeed difficult to break. Moreover, it is the very nature of the untrained mind to wander from one idea to another. Thus when the meditator sits down to begin the practice, strange thoughts may dance before his mind. To overcome these disturbances, the Buddha has taught five methods of expelling distracting thoughts:
1. Develop a good thought opposed to the distracting one; for example, develop a thought of lovingkindness to expel a thought of hatred.
2. Reflect on the evil consequences of distracting thoughts; for example, ill will or anger may lead to harsh words or an exchange of blows, to making enemies, or to something worse.
3. Turn the mind away from the disturbing thought and fix it on some beneficial idea or towards some useful activity.
4. Trace the cause of the uprisen evil thought and reflect on whether it will serve any useful purpose.
5. Struggle directly with the evil thought to crush it and subdue it.
At the outset meditation will be a continual effort to pull the mind back whenever it strays from the subject of meditation. It will seem impossible to focus the attention on the selected subject for more than a few seconds at a stretch. With continued practice, however, one will refine one's skills until one can keep the mind focused steadily and calmly on the chosen topic for increasingly longer periods. Then the practice becomes more engaging, more rewarding, and also less tiring. Eventually one's efforts will culminate in onepointedness of mind, samadhi.
With the attainment of the onepointed mind, the meditator turns this pure, steady, clear mind to the contemplation of existence itself. This marks the beginning of vipassanabhavana, the meditative development of insight. The meditator mindfully investigates his own compound of the "five aggregates." He sees that the body, or form, is made up of changing physical qualities, while mind itself consists of fleeting mental factors: feeling, perception, mental formations (intentions, emotions, thoughts, desires, etc.), and consciousness. He sees that these all occur in mutual dependence, all in a flow. There is no substantial self, no immortal soul within them to be called "I" or "mine." As the impermanence, the unsatisfactoriness, and the selfless nature of the five aggregates become manifest to the meditator, he realizes that nothing conditioned is worth clinging to; for everything conditioned is fleeting, and in the fleeting it is impossible to find stable happiness. This is Wisdom, the third and final stage in the Noble Eightfold Path.
With the development of wisdom, ignorance ceases in all its forms and shades. Craving and kamma, the fuel for the flame of becoming, is exhausted, and no more fresh fuel is supplied. Hence the flame of existence burns out for lack of fuel. When such a person who has reached the goal passes away, he no longer takes rebirth in any realm of becoming. He has attained Nibbana, the Deathless like the Buddha did.
[ Inspirational Story ] Treat with Love
By: Eric Tan Wenhao (Harvest EZine Chief Editor)I have always known that I�m bad and I�m mad. Otherwise, why would I think that �good is always not enough, and better is always not the best�?
But last month's Valentine�s Day, I decided that I am going to be good to myself. I have decided to be my own greatest lover. I don�t mean showering myself with gifts or flowers or anything narcissistic (which I suspect I already am), but I�m just gonna treat me better.
It�s All My Fault, My Fault & My Fault.....
I lead a hard life, if you know what has been going on inside me twentyfour hours a day. I give myself unnecessary pain, guilt and misery by setting lofty and somewhat unrealistic goals. When I fail to meet these goals, I�d go through a tormenting selfblaming state. After I�m through with some �self-scolding�, I would just set higher goals for myself. So it goes on and on in a cycle, making me more and more miserable. Ironically, my constant drive towards being �better� has led me down a path full of �failures�. Or maybe, I just drive myself towards craziness.
The most difficult thing for me to do is to forgive myself. My mum taught me that selfcriticism and self blaming is the greatest virtues that one could possibly cultivate. So I grew up believing that everything that went wrong was my fault. For example, if I were late for school (because the bus arrived later than normal), it was my fault (because I should have caught an earlier bus).
But when I started blaming myself for traffic jams and long queues, I realised that there was something very wrong with my way of thinking. You could never control certain things in life, no matter how much you want to! You would freak out sooner or later, if you keep trying to do the impossible. Certain things are bound to happen, whether you like it or not.
Going Easy On Myself
Selfblaming is very destructive to one�s peace of mind. As someone who is very strongwilled, I know how it feels to want something very badly, and yet not get it. In movies and novels, those who strive and work hard for something usually end up achieving it. But in reality, it is not always the case. Sometimes the very things we want most in life end up being the things that we just might never get. It�s sad, I know, but we just have to deal with it.
�When you have compassion for yourself, you understand and accept yourself. If you make a mistake, you forgive yourself...� wrote Matthew Mckay and Patrick Fanning. When you truly accept yourself, you will understand that not everything is possible, and that you have to learn to cope with failures or mistakes along the way.
Not too long ago, I couldn�t bear the pain of not been able to have something I wanted more than anything else in the world. I even hated my life then. But a close friend said this to me, �I�m sure there must be something else more worthwhile than this thing, something else that you can live for.�
Then she told me how much I meant to her, and the things she liked about me. Her words touched me, too. Although I never really gave those words much thought in the past, much less admit them to myself, I was reminded that those words were what others usually say about me.
The Best Valentine�s Gift Ever
Sometimes, we focus so much on our wrongs and perceived mistakes that we forget our good points and the things we do right. These are the times we need a little extra help to refocus our attention. Last months' Valentine�s Day, No branded goods for each other, no roses or cards for each other. We walked by the beach in faith & blessings of Lord Buddha and the best valentine gift we both had was the precious teachings of Lord Buddha that touched and changed our lives deeply.
"The Gift of Truth excels all other gifts" The Buddha
[ Sharing ] New Chapter in Life
By: Su Young Quan (PYC Youth Ministry)
From Right to Left: Bro Arron, myself, Bro Chenxing and Bro Abel Teo.
I was brought up in a Taoist family that practised ancestor worship and all sorts of supersititions such as burning of paper objects and going to mediums. Since young, I naturally followed what our parents did in worshipping the idols. Even as I was educated in a Christian mission school for 4 whole years of my secondary school life, I did not accept the Christian faith either. I learned about Buddhism and Panna Youth Centre through my group of friends who were the active Buddhist Evangelists back in my school.
I came to know about Buddhism through Panna Youth Centre's Youth Ministry in 2001 through my friends before we graduated from our secondary school. I attended the Youth Ministry's sessions occasionally in the beginning few months and became more regular after my other friends started to attend PYC's Youth Ministry's fellowship sessions. Going to Panna Youth Centre has since become our routine as when I am free.
Thank Buddha for His Blessings that I have not had any major life crisis so far and I do not wish to wait till such an experience before believing Buddha and his teachings are real. Like the new economy approach, we will launch a new product when the design is reasonably good and need not be perfect, or else we will miss many opportunities then!
What I like about Panna Youth Centre is his warm fellowship as well as their active approach. Personally, I need to have �the space and the pace� to seek Lord Buddha as He shows Himself to us differently. I appreciate the way the Panna Youth Centre operates, nobody is pressured to give and no one is hurried to be take refuge and make commitment to Buddhism as our ministry and cell leaders always tells us during our fellowship: �No hurry, take your time!� It�s our own call !"
I appreciate the teaching of Buddha by various ministry leaders and it's team. Attending fellowship sessions in PYC helps to enhance my understanding of Buddhism as our youth leader always relates the meaning and application to real life situations and practices. I often try and apply them in my work, e.g. learning to be humble, compassionate and evangelical !
Now I have accepted Buddhism as my Faith and discarded all taoist beliefs and teachings, I will begin my Next Chapter of my life to walk closely with Lord Buddha. The road ahead is going to be full of challenges and uncertainties, but I am certain that Buddha is always there to guide and lead me as well as the you people out there who are considering the Buddhist Faith. Make your decision today !
To be active propagator of Buddhism and to be a Youth full of Strength !
Join Panna Youth Centre today ! << Click Here
[ Sayings of the Buddha ]
As the lotus is born in the water and grows up beneath the water, yet remains undefiled by the water,The Buddha
fragrant and beautiful. Just so that I am born in the world, grows up and dwells in the world,but
like the lotus unstained by water he is not defiled by the world.When I teach others, I does so out of
compassion,because I am wholly freed from both favor and aversion. It is certain that the sun will rise
when the darkness of night fades away; so too the words of the myself are always certain and reliable.
Stir up your energy now,be skillful and be ever mindful. When you have heard my voice train yourself
to attain Supreme Nibbana.
[ Intercession ]
Dear Lord Buddha,
I behold your power and glory and bring an offering of Love & Joy. I come before You
worship You Lord in the beauty of Your holiness and compassion.
Whenever I call You're there, Teacher and friend, you cherished beyond all words
This love never ends, morning by morning, Your mercy awakens my mind,
I lift up my eyes to see the wonders of your Grace opening over me
Your goodness abounds and You've taken my ignorance away with Your irresistible love
How my heart it longs for You and I'm thirsty for Your presence in my world
I cry out night and day for more just to hold the majesty of You Lord Buddha ! You
stand alone and I worship at Your feet with revered hearts of humbility.I will look to
seek Your power and glory you are Lord of all ! My safe refuge, no other name like You
No power can stand against You !
In your name I pray - Sadhu !
Prayer Requests - You can count on
Panna Youth Centre Management Committee, Harvest E-Zine & Dhamma Times Editoral Team
Request: Venerable Zhu Mo passed away on the 4th Feb 2002, may he attain Supreme Bliss.
Panna Youth Centre Management Committee, Harvest E-Zine & Dhamma Times Editorial Team dedicates a goodwill prayer to family of the Late Mr Ong Teng Cheong Singapore's Ex-President.
Bro. Colin Loh from Singapore
Request: Please pray my family to be in good health and a smooth relationship with my classmates and may the world be at peace always.
Bro. Shixiong from Singapore
Request: I pray for all my friends and those getting their "O" Level results this year, may they be well and happy.
Sis. Elise Chew Peiwen from Malaysia (J.B)
Request: I pray for the revival of Buddhist youths through evangelism and may Lord Buddha inspire whoever serving the ministries to find new approaches to bring more youths to Buddhism.
Bro. Jeremy Jeremy Ng
Request: My mother was admitted to hospital, the doctors needed to inject new
plasma into her body & as well as to do some blood filtering,please pray for my speedy recovery.
Asaka Seto from Japan
Request: I pray that I may excel in my studies and good interrelationship with my family and friends around me as that they may come to the light of Buddhism.
Rachel Toh, Angeline Tay, Christina Yick & Adeline Yap
Request: We dedicate a prayer for our friendship as that we all can learn to grow in the Blessings of Lord Buddha and hold understand each other better when conflicts arises.
Bruce Hills from USA
Request: I pray that the teachings of Buddha will be wide spreaded in USA and the community will understand each other's needs and respect each other.
Hsiun Fun & Kuo Tung from Taiwan (ROC)
Request: We pray that Lord Buddha will continue to give us his Blessings as our relationship marches into the fourth year, we also pray for everyone in our school to be happy.
- PYC�s Adult Ministry will hold fellowship sessions every Friday to discuss and share the Dhamma, if you are interested to join in, please call Sis Simin @ 96894250 or email us for registration/enquiries.
- PYC�s Youth Ministry will hold Dhamma sharing sessions, Q & A sessions in coordination with our Band Ministry, if you are interested/enquiries, please contact Bro Zhihua at 97333406 or Bro Zhixian at 90058252 or email us welcome you to be our member !
- Are you in need of help? Do you need someone to comfort you and pray for you? "The Monthly Harvest" has a column for special prayer requests for our members, absolutely free! If you need us pray for you and your family, relatives or friends, just let us know by sending an email us, we will be glad to offer you our help and assistance in your times of need, let us pray together.
- Friendship Links : www.code4.org.sg , www.prajna.cjb.net & www.ksridhammananda.com
- Panna Youth Centre being a non-profit Buddhist Youth organisation greatly depends on the support of many, if you would like to make a pledge or donation to us, please kindly email to for more information.
- Why not make your IE.5 browser start at www.prajna.cjb.net ? Click Internet Options under Tools, followed by Use Current and Apply with OK. Try it out just click on the Home button anytime you want!
- Our Harvest Ezine invites you to write in and contribute your enlightening articles, email us
- Due to hyperlink problems, you are advised to type the respective URLS out to vist the recommended websites. - With Apologies from the Editor Eric Tan Wenhao
Feature News from PYC
Want to know WHY chose Buddhism as your faith and Path ?
Answers to your questions will be published in every month's of "Harvest". Email us your questions now ...
>>Panna Youth Centre's Internal mailing list is now @ http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/pannayouthcentre
- For Singporean Subscribers, to recieve a Free Monthly SMS Buddhist quote on your handphone, please email us your handphone number.
- For latest Buddhist related news and happenings all around the world Daily, a cyber project by Panna Youth Centre's Cyber Ministry http://www.groups.yahoo.com/group/DhammaTimes
- A Project for you to be a propagator of Buddhism online, make a resolution to forward every month's of Harvest EZine to at least 5 people within your family. Bring fun to within your family using your PC and multiply the numbers of Buddhists!
[ Q U O T A B L E Q U O T E S ]
Science can give no assurance herein. But Buddhism can meet the atomic Challenge, because the supramundane knowledge of Buddhism begins where science leaves off. And this is clear enough to anyone who has made a study of Buddism.
Egerton C.Baptist, "Supreme Science of the Buddha"
[ A B O U T H A R V E S T E -Z I N E ]-
"The Monthly Harvest" is a free international Buddhistinspired EZine service hosted by Singapore�s Panna Youth Centre. Our subscribers receive an email with our articles, intercession; Dhamma quotes from the scripture, inspirational stories and PYC latest activities.
To subscribe, simply send an email to:prajna-subscribe@...
Archives at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/prajna/messages
Please forward this edition of "Harvest" to your friends and relatives and let the Grace of Lord Buddha touch their lives today! Be a Evangelistic Buddhist today & know the Buddha and make the Buddha known !Copyrights @ 2002 Panna Youth Centre, Singapore.
Jurong Point Post Office PO Box 15 Singapore 916401
This issue is edited by: Eric Tan Wenhao & Sis Ng Pei Fuen
" See the Truth & you will see Me"
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