[ Harvest April 2002 ] The X Factor
- The Monthly Harvest International Buddhist E-Zine
H A R V E S T I N G SPIRITUAL SEEDS OF GROWTH |2002 April Edition| Issue #26 |Panna Youth Centre,Singapore| Promoting Buddhism Amongst Youths|
1.0 From the Editor�s Desk
2.0 Feature: The X Factor
3.0 Inspiration: Many Moods of Love
4.0 Sharing: My Testimony
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
From my life and experience, I have observed another group of three: faith, family and finances. These three components are essential to our happiness and success as travelers on this journey called life.
Specifically as travelers with a ministerial call, we can only carry a limited number of bags if we are to move efficiently and effectively to our desired destination. Too much baggage, and we get weighted down, caught up in the minutia of a mundane existence. But if we carry too little baggage, we will lack the necessities to sustain us on our trip.
I believe that there are three �bags� we should all carry:
- faith, for the hard times
- family, for the fulfillment of intimate and interpersonal needs
- finances, through which one acquires the luxury of options.
From my experience, faith, family and finances form a threefold cord that is not easily broken. As a propagator of the Dhamma, if you can carry these three and not destroy one in the pursuit of another, nothing will be impossible to achieve. Just three things for a lifelong trip - but what a powerful three they are.As leaders, we need to knit together the threefold cord of faith, family and finances. The garment we knit today is one that is designed to insulate us from the cold chill of regret and despair that comes when one fails to maximize his or her moments and misses the opportunities to invest in life.
Faith is that indescribable strength, that secret weapon of consciousness, which allows
us to persevere even when the facts seem damning and the truth unbearable. It is what keeps us going when travel conditions are unfavorable, and we�re not sure we can continue. It is the light that leads us out of the darkness, and the map that guides our way.
Many of our colleagues have faltered in their faith, pulled over to the side of the road, given up and sat watching everyone else pass them by. Yes, even as Buddhist leaders, sometimes faith seems in short supply. In the pressures of normal ministry mixed with spiritual warfare, unusual adversity and hard times, we may have a tendency to turn our backs and deny Buddha's radiating Glory.
But it is at these very times when we need our faith the most. When we trust in Lord Buddha and believe with utmost confidence that He will guide us, we can withstand and walk through anything. We must remember that faith is like a muscle - trouble and opposition may strain it, but in the end it will grow stronger.
Also essential to a successful journey is the solid support of a loving and nurturing family. Unfortunately, in this day and age, this is a scarce commodity. But let�s stop for a moment and define family. Certainly it is mother and father, sister and brother, spouse and child. But it also encompasses aunts and uncles, grand parents, godparents, distant relatives and close friends.
When I speak of family, I mean those whose arms have held you, whose words have lifted you and whose values have kept you rooted. As leaders, we need the unconditional love and understanding of family, whether that be birth family, adopted family or close friends.
We need safe places where we can leave our titles, calls and giftings on the doorstep and just be mere mortals. We find refuge in safe relational places where we can play and rest and let what hair we have remaining down with people who love us not for our latest sermon, but because we are daddy, or lover or friend.
But family, in whatever form, needs strategic planning, unfaltering commitment and concerted effort. We need to invest in family. We all want the returns, but we do not always realize that there is an investment required. And we must realize that the investment may be long-term.
Your family will pay you back, but typically over decades, not weeks, months or even years. It is a long-term investment with inequities along the way.
However, eventually you will reap a return on your investment. It may come in one moment of need, during a crisis, or it may trickle out in little �be there� moments that are significant to you. But you will reap only what you have sown.
We face the danger that we sow into our centre's family but neglect our biological family and our friends. Then we wake up one day and find, in our moment of need, a harvest of brokenness and pain. So, let the long, laborious process of sowing begin. Every season we miss is a cycle we lose. And every cycle we lose is a harvest delayed.
In my experience, what needs to be addressed most is finances. This issue has, for so long, been a taboo subject among people of faith. For some, a focus on piety has caused them to lag behind in the area of finances. They are taught that money is the root of all evil and should thus be forsaken.
I have found that every dream needs financing. Every talent needs a stage. Every message needs a method of conveyance. Ideas die without the funds to realize them. As Buddhist leaders, we have a great message of the Dhamma (Techings of the Buddha) and a wonderful philosophy of living; they should not be muted by a lack of financial dexterity.
There are those who get caught up in the material world and equate wealth with strength of faith. They mistakenly believe that Lord Buddha's blessings can be counted simply in dollars and cents, and that one�s financial status is an indication of one�s status in the eyes of Lord Buddha !
They begin pursuing money for money�s sake. Material goods become their main aim and sole purpose of living, and banks become their Cnetre. They lose sight of the fact that although Buddha does indeed bless us with financial success, we should be mindful to pay gratitude to the Giver and not the gift.
We need to find the equilibrium between the monastic philosophy of gross poverty and the obsessive pursuit of wealth as a means of displaying one�s spirituality. We need to invest and develop a plan that will enable us to benefit from the gifts Lord Buddha wants to gives us. Faithfulness in practical matters coupled with faithfulness and Confiedence to Lord Buddha and His Word will unlock His blessing. We must learn to combine faith with practice in our everyday lives.
All of life is an investment. Where there is great investment, there will be great return. Where there is little investment, there is little return.
Life doesn�t afford us the opportunity to pay what we like and still gain what we want. We need to determine our priorities, develop a balanced investment strategy between faith, family and finances, and make a deposit today so that we can reap the rewards tomorrow.
Don�t fall into the trap, as so many in our profession have, that we only invest in the ministry and hope Buddha will make up the rest. Have a balanced portfolio, and the long-term payoff will be more rewarding.
We must be like the ants and prepare for tomorrow, today. I know a lot of people who failed to be like the ants, and in the winter of their lives were depressed and resentful, cursing their wasted youth. They didn�t invest in the future, and later in life they found themselves in a financial, emotional and spiritual state of poverty. They died poor, bitter and complaining to Buddha for lack of an invested life�s plan.
With our trust fully in Lord Buddha, we should follow their lead, put action with our faith and begin to set our sights on tomorrow while maximizing our moments today. We need to invest in faith, family and finances, and let these three form the foundation of all our success in life and ministry.
May the Buddha's Teaching spread far & wide all across the lands !
Feature: The X-Factor
It must never be forgotten that all Buddha�s primarily teach only two things, i.e. suffering and its cessation. It is expounded by way of the four noble truths, i.e. suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering and the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. The truth of suffering should be known. The cause for it should be set aside. It�s cessation should be realized and the path to its cessation should be developed.
The path that needs to be developed is the Noble Eightfold Path. In the process of developing the eight factors of the path, another twenty nine qualities get developed, making up a total of thirty seven qualities. Hence they are called the thirty seven factors that leads to enlightenment. The task of the individual, therefore, is to develop and complete these thirty seven qualities, culminating in the full knowledge and realization of the four noble truths and the complete extinction of suffering, unsatisfactoriness and unhappiness.
So it is beneficial and necessary for one to know these thirty seven qualities and proceed with the task of developing them. The following is a brief outline.
Right View � is to know and see things as they really are. This means seeing Dependent � Arising, seeing Conditionality, one must avoid the two extremes i.e. things are there and things are not there. These two extremes are wrong view. Actually, all things arise dependently. This is the middle path and right view. That which is dependently arisen is impermanent (anicca), becomes otherwise and not-self i.e. no control, no mastery, no essence. These are the right perceptions that develop with right view. It is the knowledge of the four noble truths.
Right thought � is the abstinence from thoughts of sense pleasures, abstinence from thoughts of aversion, and the abstinence from thoughts of harm. It means the development of thoughts of restraint, kindness, compassion and appreciative joy.
Right speech � is to abstain from false speech, harsh speech, malicious speech and idle speech. One must speak the truth and that which is beneficial.
Right action � is to abstain from taking sentient life, abstain from taking that which is not yours and to abstain from sexual misconduct.
Right livelihood � means the development of the qualities of gratitude, gifting and the control of greed. It requires one to abstain from the five wrong vocations, i.e., trading in weapons, intoxicants, poisons, slaves and raring and selling animals for the purpose of slaughter. For right livelihood being upright is essential.
Right effort- is the development of that untiring and unwavering effort arising from the four great efforts.
Right mindfulness� is the development of the four foundations of mindfulness (given below). This is the foundation that leads to wisdom.
Right concentration � is the development of serene concentration. A mind that is calm, tranquil, serene and one-pointed due to being released from the five hindrances. It means the development of the four stages
When developing these eight factors of the path, it must always be borne in mind that right view must lead the way. What it means is that every factor must be accompanied by right view.
Now when the development of this eight factored path commences, the four foundations of mindfulness get developed. They are :
-Being mindful of body
-Being mindful of feeling
-Being mindful of mental states
-Being mindful of things
When one establishes mindfulness to these four foundations, one must always perceive their arising and ceasing nature. Being mindful in this way is the key to this path development.
Alongside this development, there develops the four bases for success;
-the basis of success called firm resolve
-the basis of success called effort. This effort has three stages, namely commencing effort, ongoing effort and victorious effort.
-the basis of success called mental state. One must have the right state of mind for success. In particular there must be patience, forbearance, softness, tranquility and equanimity.
-the basis of success called investigation.
Then the four great efforts too get developed. They are the effort;
-to set aside an unskilled quality that has arisen
-to prevent the unskilled quality that has been set aside from arising
-to bring forth a skilled quality
-to develop the skilled quality that is brought forth.
The five hindrances are primarily the unskilled qualities. Your object of meditation is the skilled quality. These four great efforts constitute right effort. The right effort should be both untiring and unwavering.
As a result of the above, the five faculties get developed. They are the faculties of :
The faculty of mindfulness can always stand on its own. But, effort and serene concentration must always be balanced and should be developed in harmony. If you try too hard or too little you will not attain to serene concentration. Similarly Faith and wisdom must go hand in hand. If you ignore faith and pursue wisdom, you wll be learned but not wise. Similarly, if you neglect wisdom and only cultivate faith, you would have only acquired blind faith. Such faith is not a faculty that leads to enlightenment. Faith must always be endowed with knowledge and wisdom. Such faith is unshaken confidence.
As one matures in the path, the five powers begin to arise and develop.
The five faculties are also now five powers. Powers that lead to high knowledge and the destruction of the fetters.
When all of the above are sufficiently developed, finally the seven factors of enlightenment arise. There arises the factors of enlightenment called ;
-investigation into things
These factors of enlightenment are extremely subtle and extremely refined qualities. They are the most proximate methods to Enlightenment. When they arise one after the other, you are at the door to nibbana (the unconditioned element, the signless element). Completing these seven factors one reaches enlightenment, nibbana, the extinction of dukkha.
The above are the thirty seven factors that leads to Enlightenment. Namely, the eight (8) factors of the path, the four (4) foundations of mindfulness, the four (4) bases for success, the four (4) great efforts, the five (5) faculties, the five (5) powers and the seven (7) factors of enlightenment. They make up the thirty seven qualities that lead to complete wisdom, breaking up of the fetters, end of ignorance and sufferings, release, Enlightenment.
[ Inspirational Story ] - Many Moods of Love
By: Eric Tan Wenhao (Harvest E-Zine Chief Editor)
Love is everywhere. Especially in advertisements on products as wide-ranging as cars, drinks, condos, watches, credit cards, insurance policies, etc. We see love portrayed too in music videos, movies and even video games. Now we can send love messages via SMS. Government campaigns, Valentine's Day promotions� the list goes on� love is everywhere, in everything, and remains popular in every age. I remember a song that goes, 'Let me count the ways of love. For it comes in all forms, manners and sizes.' Indeed, this is so.
Love sometimes makes people do the most amazing things. We've all read stories of marriage proposals publicly declared through many bold ways such as using broadcasting, wordsdrawn in the sky, and newspaper advertisements. And no less romantic are the stories of couples who exchanged their vows or committed themselves in marriage while bungee jumping, scuba diving and even parachuting. I suppose these acts demonstrate what 'being madly in love' means. Let's give it the name, CRAZY LOVE.
Then there exists the ever-disputable 'Love at First Sight.' The scene is played over and over of a man and woman meeting for the first time and how their eyes suddenly inter-lock and sparks start to fly. After that, well, love blossoms, and doesn't end happily after, or at least not before the test of a path of true love that never runs smoothly. So there, you have it, is INSTANT LOVE.
A next kind of love is MONEY-MINDED LOVE. An example can be found in accounts of nice-looking country girls who would travel to a completely foreign cosmopolitan city in search of rich husbands.
Then there are those scumbags who would prey on innocent victims to satisfy their sexual desires. They are people who would manipulate, sweet-talk and exercise their utmost charm in order to get their lovers to give in to their sexual demands. That's the countenance of LUSTFUL LOVE.
Do you sometimes wonder, 'What does he see in her?' or 'What does she see in him?' Couples who appear mismatched or very different in personalities sometimes do end up happy with each other. 'How can that person love someone like that? If it were me, I wouldn't fall for it!' - sometimes we would think in this way. Well, we may not understand but the parties involved may know better. To us, such relationships exemplify BLIND LOVE.
Perhaps the most common of all is PUPPY LOVE. For the best displays of such love, just walk along Orchard road and note the very young boys and girls hugging, kissing and petting in public. Perhaps, even such relationships will sometimes mature into a lasting commitment; but more often than not, they don't endure for long.
Another common form is love is that among family members. Okay, siblings fight, spouses quarrel but when one family member is in trouble, often that is when love among family members is seen in action. Most mothers rise up to the occasion when their children get into trouble. And most fathers take their responsibility to provide for their families seriously. This is FAMILY LOVE.
We all have friends. And amongst our friends, there are those closer ones whom we know we can depend on for help in times of need and we especially value those friendships. That's the gift of FRIENDSHIP LOVE, or love from friends.
Leaving the best for the last, there is finally one kind of love that is the greatest. It is love that is constant and sincere enough to price the interests of the beloved over oneself. It is selfless, full of compassion and magnanimity. This is COMPASSIONATE LOVE - pure love that comes from Lord Buddha like a living stream flowing all the way into our lives and causing changes.
What is the LOVE that you have to give to Lord Buddha and everyone around you ? The Answer is Compassion Love, renew your faith as a public profession and Buddha's Love is there for you...
"Only Love ceases hatred, this is the Eternal Truth" The Buddha
[ Sharing ] - My Testimony
By: Wilfred Tan Beng Swee (PYC Young Adult Ministry)
First of all I convey my best wishes and loving greetings in the sweet Name of our Saviour Lord Buddha.
I started to receive the "Monthly Harvest" electronic magazine in 2001. The articles I received every month is wonderful. When I first started to receive this e-zine, I was not yet a Buddhist. However, I can feel that Lord Buddha seems to be talking to me, teaching me His precious Dhamma when I read the articles. However, the 2001 May edition of Harvest touched my heart when I discovered that Lord Buddha loves us so much that He came to this world to save us, and taught us the way to salvation. That article pierced my heart. From that day onwards I began to live a faithful life to my Lord Buddha, by living a holy life reading the Dhamma, praying every day and reaching out to my friends to share with them this good news of the Buddha's message for each and everyone of us.
It is my Heart-felt thanks for the free ezine and many Buddhist Evangelical tracts that Panna Youth Centre has provided for the youth as well as myself. It is very much useful in improving my faith as well as my parents faith in the Buddha. Now I am totally set free and my mind is over flowing with peace and happiness. I am praying and crying for my friends to believe in Lord Buddha and come to learn and share this wonderful message to others.
My mind grows with a great passion to serve Lord Buddha and practice His Teachings in this life. I always remember Lord Buddha's last words before He passed into Parinibbana: "Compounded things are all so transient". These words tell me that life is short and thus, I must always remember to live my life to the fullest and is pulling me to preach the unchangeble powerful
word among the people deserving salvation. I am praying for PYC and all the ministry leaders to continue to spread the powerful Buddha-Dhamma.
I hope my testimony will help in allow more people to take faith in Lord Buddha and follow Him faithfully because I came to Buddhism for this cause, I believe all of you should make this your cause. I hope PYC will continue to grow with me.
To be active propagator of Buddhism and to be a Youth with Strength !
Join Panna Youth Centre today ! << Click Here
[ Sayings of the Buddha ]
Develop the quiet even state of mind, when praised by some, condemned by others,
free the mind from hate and pride and gently go your way in peace. Consort only with the good, come together with the good. To learn the teaching of the good gives wisdom like nothing else can. A friend who always lends a hand, a friend in both sorrow and joy, a friend who offers good counsel, a friend who sympathises, this is a true friend indeed.
- The Buddha
[ Intercession ]
Dear Lord Buddha,
I need You. May You pour Your grace and mercy on each and every one of us as we say our prayer to You. Help us to strengthen our relationship with You and allow us to love You more and ore each day.
Lord, may I pray for Your blessings in this new month. May we be able to understand Your Words and do what You taught us. For You are a gracious and compassionate Lord, forgive us for the mistakes we have committed and help us not to repeat our mistakes again.
In your name I pray - Sadhu !
- Panna Youth Centre's Management Committee & it's various ministries congratulate Bro Zhixian & Sis Kerine on their marriage, May they be blessed by Lord Buddha and learn to respect & encourage each other on this Buddhist Path with PYC.
- Bro Jeremy Ng's mother passed away last month, may his family be well, strong and happy during this peroid.
- Tan Bing Leet of Singapore dedicates a prayer for the well being of his mother, may she be well, happy and in good health always.
- Jolene Teo, Meihua, Weili Tan, Gloria Low, Melissa Tay and Kelly Yee dedicates a friendship prayer to each other,pray for understanding and friendship to bind each other closely and to walk in Faith with Lord Buddha.
- Bro Kangxin dedicates a prayer for his bother who is still considering to be a Buddhist, pray for him to respond to the call.
- Prjkeet Raksha from india dedicates a prayer for PYC to continue to lead more youths to Buddhism and to bring a strong power of revival for Buddhism.
- France Fernando dedicates a prayer for the world peace and all family members of those in the 911 attack in USA.
- Bro Meng Huat from Malaysia, Ipoh dedicates a prayer to be consitent in his studies and to develope concentration to focus on studies and to pass exams.
- Bro Cheng Liang & Sis Lina dedicates a prayer for their 2 year relationship, pray for Lord Buddha's blessings to bless them powerfully,
- Jueh Man Hsin of Taiwam ROC dedicates a prayer for all teenagers and youths to refrain from bad influence and associate with more buddhist friends.
- Micheal & Lopez dedciates a prayer for Buddhism to exprience revival all over the world.
- Laura Seet of Italy dedicates a prayer of all Buddhists to be firm and staunch over the evangelists of the Catholic faith who aims to convert Buddhists.
Vibrant, Youthful, Friends, Fellowship, Prayers !
Are you studying in Ngee Ann Poly, Temasek Poly, Singapore Poly, Nanyang Poly , NAFA, ACS(I) or any of the Junior Colleges ? If you are, be part of our Dynamic Network, Join PYC's Cell Group today ! Email to: pyc@... with your institustion and contacts and we will assign you to our cell leaders.
Cell leaders can collect your "Cell leadership Notes" next month OR if you aspire to lead and manage a cell. Contact Bro Samuel Hue
PYC�s Adult Ministry will hold fellowship sessions on Fridays 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 Gerald at 98572829 or email us welcome you to be our member ! We look forward to hear from you ....
- 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.
- Our Harvest Ezine invites you to write in and contribute your enlightening articles, email us
- Due to hyperlink problems, Hotmail users 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 ...
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SMS Quote for Last Month >> Associate with Noble friends, encourage each other and rejoice in Lord Buddha's Grace always. Be Mindful !
- 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!
- faith, for the hard times