[ Harvest May 2002 ] Turning Point
- The Monthly Harvest International E-Zine
- A Buddhist Youth Lifestyle Publication -H A R V E S T I N G SPIRITUAL SEEDS OF GROWTH |2002 May Vesak Edition| Issue #27 |Panna Youth Centre,Singapore| Promoting Buddhism Amongst Youths|
1.0 From the Editor�s Desk - Break Through
2.0 Feature: New Believers
3.0 Inspiration: Turning Point
4.0 Sharing: The PYC Spirit
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
The 27th of this Month marks the Noble Birth, Supreme Enlightenment & Passing into Maha-Parinibbana of our Lord Buddha !What is unique to the faith & discovery of Lord Buddha's life and teaching in recent times is that his ideas were completely opposed to the dominant ideas of his time. The scholars have quite clearly established that he opposed the others' philosophy which divided all peoples into four castes, putting Brahmins at the top and Sudra at the bottom, on the theological basis of divine will. Rejecting this division and asserting that all are born of women, Lord Buddha preached ideas of common humanity and equality. He recognized the rights of women and the right of education for all.
Lord Buddha's teaching on loving kindness can really be appreciated only when it is seen in the background of the utter cruelty to human beings and animals contained in Hindu doctrines. Caste was a cruel separation of people that turned the ill-treatment of the low castes into an ideal. According to the Dhamma of the Brahmins (Hindus), an upper caste person who wanted to treat a low caste person as an equal was a sinner who needed to undergo purification through rituals. To be kind to anyone outside the chosen clan was irreligious according to these doctrines. As for animals, the Brahmins' main job was to offer animal sacrifices. Lord Buddha refuted & preached against such sacrifices and faults in their views & practises.
Kindness and cruelty remain the major point of human discourse even to date. There are many ideologies which justifies cruelty for various pretexts, such as maintaining the purity of the race, national interest, culture and even economic development. Deliberate policies that deprive basic food, water, medicine and education to vast sections of people are promoted by big nations, big corporations, and big financial institutions. Inequality towards women is promoted in the same way. Deprivation of basic food items and the spread of HIV/AIDS is very much linked to these policies, as is the spread of violence. Every form of cruelty rises not through accident but through well worked out human networks.
Lord Buddha understood, the conditionings of human cruelty and worked against them. He challenged the notions that supported such cruelty and promoted notions that were capable of defeating the negative notions. He in fact succeeded, for quite some time, to win most of the Indian population over to his views and also most of the world. Great King Asoka became the symbol of the influence of the social movement that rose from Lord Buddha's influence.
Discovery of Buddha's original teaching can lead to a powerful movement to resist all forms of cruelty and discrimination. It can also be an inspiration for movements to protect nature. The Buddhist festival of Vesak this year is a good occasion to try to understand the damage that has been done to Lord Buddha's teachings and to rediscover the original message. If this were to happen, it would give a tremendous boost to the spread of Buddhism wholeheartely !Have you, my friend, acknowledged the Buddha as your Lord and Savior? May this Vesak Day find you receiving Lord Buddha's grace of salvation and light of wisdom & perfection !
Panna Youth Centre & all ministry / cell leaders wishes all PYC members and readers of our Harvest E-zine a Happy Vesak Day 2002 ! Let's fullfill PYC's Vesak 2002 Theme
May the Buddha's Teaching spread far & wide all across the lands !
Why do new believers often show more evidence of spiritual life than those who have been Buddhists for a while? Sometimes, when I look at my own heart, and then at those just coming into the family, it seems as if those who have known Lord Buddha for the shortest period of time love Him the most.
While I have seen many examples of Buddhists who have grown more loving and committed with time, the opposite occurs enough to warrant some thoughts. See if what I have been thinking makes sense.
- The �honeymoon� effect.
The enthusiasm of new believers seems to parallel the honeymoon phase of marriage. What starts in the soft light and warmth of a new day soon cools in the deepening dusk of mutual disappointment.
Therefore, we as Buddhists should always renew our faith in the Lord everyday. We must always tell ourselves that everyday is a new day in the Lord. As our faith in Him strengthens, our lives will be filled with His grace and mercy.
- The impact of contrast
A new look gets more attention than a familiar one. Just as we notice changes of appearance in a friend or family member, it is natural to be impressed by the �new look� of a follower of Buddha. We must always remember that having taken refuge in Lord Buddha, we must �regard Him as our own parent�(Vimalakirti-nirdesa Sutta)
- The casualties of �war�
Another reason for new believers� enthusiasm may be that they have not yet been neutralised or sidelined by enemies.
Quarrels, burnout, bitterness, moral scandal, disappointment, distraction and disillusionment are common human reactions. I�m convinced, however, that it would be a mistake for those of us who have taken refuge in the Lord for a while to blame our loss of momentum and affection on the natural course of time. For many reasons, seasoned Buddhists lose enthusiasm for the Lord�s Word, for prayer, for spreading the Dhamma, or helping others.
- In search for role models
There are also Buddhists who seek for guidance from their role models who are considered �model Buddhists� to them. These role models can be a Venerable teacher or lay follower such as a ministry leader or cell leader. Sometimes, if the role model they adored has committed a serious offence or involved in a scandal, they would lose their faith in the Buddha. Therefore, a Buddhist must always know that these role models are still Buddhists, not Buddhas. They are still ordinary followers just like each and everyone of us. That is why the Lord has said in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta: �Make my Teachings your light and rely upon them. Do not depend upon any other teachings.� We should always rely on Lord Buddha and let His Teachings guide us in everything we do.
When we become less likely to remain strong in our faith, when our enthusiasm and love for the Lord cools, when we go through the motions without the gratitude of His love, the problem is not that the honey moon is over. The problem is not just that we are no longer having a new look. Nor that we have succumbed to our enemy, or to follow the so-called �model Buddhists� blindly. The real problem is that we have stopped thinking and believing in our hearts like real followers of Buddha.
Let us pray:
�Lord Buddha You know how often I have lost my faith in You. You know how often I have tried to find acceptance in the expectations of different people in my life. You know how inclined I am to hide behind poorly kept external rules and conformity. If it were not for what You have came to free us from our sufferings and taught us the precious Dhamma, I would have no hope. Please renew in us the beliefs that deepen the faith of the aged and bring enthusiasm to the youths.In Your name we pray. Sadhu.
[ Inspirational Story ] - Turning Point
By: Eric Tan Wenhao (Harvest E-Zine Chief Editor)
When you are at the crossroads of life, in which direction should you head for? Ariel has some insights into that mind-boggling question that we all face at some point in our lives.
I am not psychic. I can�t foresee what the future has in store for me by gazing into a crystal ball nor do i believe in fortune telling for these are not in accordance with the Buddha's Teachings,this is my standing point. Therefore it�s fair enough to make decisions based on what I know and feel now, as I remember how the Buddha taught on integrating wisdom into our judgements.
Yet making decisions is never easy. For me, making a decision to say goodbye to people or things in my life has always been a painful one. In my teenage years, when I had to say goodbye to my first love Huixin, it was the hardest things to do. Although she wasn�t pretty or beautiful, we had the best of times together. And they would always be a memorable part of my life.
But it seemed inevitable for us to go on our separate ways, given the circumstances at the time. Some things were really beyond my control, so I didn�t blame myself too much for the break-up. In fact, I was so composed that I didn�t shed a single tear - until a ripe 6 months later. If I didn�t show any trace of sadness on the day we broke up, it was a complete contrast scenario later, for it took two whole weeks for my grief to pour out in mighty flow of tears - in the privacy of my room, of course. By this time, I also knew that it was too late to turn back the clock. I had to move on, whether I liked it or not.
Absurd as it sounds, that was Nature�s way for me to deal with the pain. All the while, the conscious part of me - the logical part - knew that there was no way the relationship could survive. Allowing logic to rule over emotions, I was strong enough to hold on to my decision till the transition was over. Thus, it was only much later that my suppressed grief surfaced. Thankfully, with much prayers and blessings from Lord Buddha, survived me through this ordeal.
There were moments I looked back and wondered if I had made a wrong decision in leaving Huixin. I admit that I didn�t become happier than I was (far from it). So yes, I had some regrets. But it was my own decision (although I faced lots of pressure from my mum, who thought Huixin was a toad). And I had to live with the consequences.
I think one of the things that deter a person from making a major decision, like leaving a relationship or a job is the fear of an unknown future. They often struggle with questions like: Will I regret it later? Will I be happy? Will I find a better job (or a better relationship)?
I suppose most people tend to regret their decisions later. Probably because they thought things would have turn out better if they had chosen the alternative. How many times have I heard friends saying things like: If only I had chosen to go to a JC instead of a Poly; I should have majored in Political Science instead of Economics. Perhaps going ahead with the change wasn�t as smooth as they had expected. But wouldn�t they regret too if they didn�t make the leap?
I am well aware that if my past relationship with Huixin had pulled through in the face of parental objection and other circumstances, my life would have been drastically different. Not necessary better, though. A lot of things won�t have been realized, such as my dream of being a writer (Huixin never appreciated my ambition). I would never have come this far in my career. I would never have had the chance to find out if there are people who appreciate my writings.
There are always pros and cons with each decision you make. My advice is to put all these down on paper and weigh them carefully over your mind. But logic doesn�t have all the answers. If you find that you still can�t reach a satisfying conclusion, then you have to trust your instincts. Each time you desire to move on from something - whether it be a subject you are studying, a routine job or a frustrating relationship, trust that there are sufficient reasons enough for you to even have that desire in the first place. For example, if you decide to quit your job, it may be because you are unhappy about certain things. Or you choose to leave a relationship, it could be due to the realisation that things aren�t working out for you and your partner.
Then make your decision. And after you have done it, hold onto your convictions that lead you to make the switch. �Cos a few months down the road, your thinking will waver no matter how positive you had been. You will find yourself struggling with regrets about your decision, and blame yourself.
But don�t throw in the towel yet! I�m well aware that this scenario may happen to me too. After all, I have a natural tendency to cry over spilt milk. Ultimately, if things go sour, I may look back and think that it wasn�t a wise decision at all. But this is not going to stop me from pushing ahead right now. I will remind myself of the reasons that led to my decision: that certain things are bothering me so much that I am �forced� to choose this path. And I will strive to believe that in the light of my changed thinking and situation, it isn�t fair to make an assessment of my decision-making in the past. This way, I won�t ever regret the moves I make.
My advice to some of you who are hesitating about a decision you are going to make is: Just do it. Worry about the consequences later. But be fair to yourself. Don�t bother to look back to judge decisions made in the past. No doubts there would always be regrets, but regrets are really a waste of time and energy. Instead, put your resources to good use to improve whatever it is that you dislike about the new situation.
It�s only human to be afraid of the future. But it�s cowardly if you use that as an excuse not to change the unhappy circumstances in your life. If you feel right about your decision, it�s a right decision in the present time, and that�s good enough. If you worry too much about the future (which you can�t see), you will never get around to do what you want to do. And don�t let anyone get into your mind and talk you out of your decision and what you want out of life, for neither can they predict the future too! Always seek the Buddha's blessings and make your own decisions. The Choice is yours !"No others ! But the Buddha is my refuge Supreme!"[ Sharing ] - The PYC Spirit
By: Freddie Liao Soon Kiat ( PYC Youth Ministry)
My name is Freddie. I was born and brought up in a Taoist family. I was an idol worshipper. When I was studying in secondary school, this question came to me, "What is religion all about?" The answer was that religions, deities or gods is above man's limitation; he must not be entangled in sex or love of self. I rejected Buddhism as my mother often mixes both Buddhism and Taoism under the name of Buddhism, which has totally disgusted me.
With those thoughts, I compared these deities and found they are below the standard, they have immoral lives and they steal and cheat. So I came to the conclusion that there is no religion that I can trust. I used to argue with my friends that there is no religions that is true and real. When I was in the first year of college, I fell seriously ill, and was admitted to the hospital. I feel that I was on my death bed, but I was recovered and discharged after two weeks. I came from the hospital with another question, "If I die today where will I go to?" I did not get a proper answer to this question. I was confused. I had no peace.
After I recovered from my serious sickness, the fear of death haunted me every hour. On day, a good friend of mine - David, gave me a Buddhist tract - "Lord Buddha, Can I know You?". I tore it in anger without reading the title. But still I felt that Buddha loved me. I angrily told my friend that I do not believe in Buddhism or any religions and I asked him not to tell me about Buddhism ever again.
One day, when I was in the library, I came across an English version of the Dhammapada. I was rather curious as to why my good friend (David) is such a devout Buddhist. I opened it and my eyes fell on chapter 14:182:
Lord Buddha began to speak from that verse and confirmed what He taught is true. My mind was changed and I wanted to know more about Buddha. I wanted to become a Buddhist. One day,that good friend of mine invited me to PYC's Youth Ministry fellowship session and I agreed.
After the talk, on 24th November 2001, I knelt and prayed in my house and I said "Lord Buddha, You are my Lord. Please forgive me and give me a new beginning. Come into my heart and be my personal saviour." At that instant, I can feel that some burden rolled away from my heart. I was filled with peace and was delivered from the fear of death.
Lord Buddha called upon me to preach His Teachings to the non-believers and if they believe Buddha and follow His Teachings, they can attain Enlightenment just like Him.
So I committed my life to serve Lord Buddha through PYC's Ministry. I took up Dhamma classes and I wanted to serve Him. I started to attend PYC's Youth Ministry Meetings and shared the Dhamma with my friends. Many people have accepted Lord Buddha into their lives. Among them were idol worshippers and lepers. Praise Buddha !
The PYC spirit .......... Go PYC Go !
To be active propagator of Buddhism and to be a Youth with Strength !
Join Panna Youth Centre today ! << Click Here
[ Sayings of the Buddha ]
"If you take Refuge in the me , my Dhamma and my order, no fear or trembling will ever arise and he who has faith in the me have faith in the best, and for those who have faith in the best, the result is the best.�
- The Buddha
- [ Intercession ]
Dear Lord Buddha,
I pray with the others who have agreed to this prayer -and as the other believers pray in the same time with Faith & Aspiration.
Give me a new awareness of your teachings in my life. Give me a new boldness. Allow me to see society as You see it ( this perverse generation ) and give me compassion for lost and percepted minds that deny your Grace.
Guide me to be a healthy Buddhist and become an active participant in sharing your teachings and leading hearts to your path continuing steadfastly in the your doctrine, and in fellowship and in the breaking of the loaves, and in prayers.
Grant that I may see and share in many people, especially Teens & Youths being added to the the new blood or reviving and evangelizing through your wonderful teachings all for your honor and Glory.
I pray this, in union with the brothers and sisters who have joined this prayer commitment,
In the precious name of Lord Buddha - Sadhu !
- PYC's poly cell groups are brainstorming to recruit new members from the year 2002 July intakes of freshies, pray for youths to come and join our CG meetings actively.
- PYC's ACS(I) cell group is passing down to new cell leaders to take over CG meetings next year as our exsisting cell leader- Bro Abel graduates this year. Pray for the continual of evangelization in ACS(I) and nour new CG leader - Bro Glenn to take over the roles and be a good model of leadership. Also pray for christian staffs to come to Buddhism !
- Pray for success in PYC's Vesak 2002 Planning & Celebrations.
- Transparent Waves from India is setting up PYC, India. Pray for blessings, unity and resources in all rounded aspect as well as to reach out to more locals effectively.
- The Harvest E-Zine Editor dedicates a prayer for all Mothers to be well & happy.
- Bro Koh SH dedicates a prayer for more youths to share the Buddha's teachings effectively with more people.
- Pst. Mengtat is in Taiwan serving NS, pray for safe trip and to share the Buddha's teachings with both local and Taiwan NS men.
- Bro Kevin Liu & Sis Lynette See dedicates a prayer for their marriage in mid May, pray for Buddha's blessings to live with mutal respect and faith.
- Sis Sze Bing's grandmother passed away recently, pray for strength for the family of the deceased and may the deceased rest in Buddha's Grace.
- Bro Richard Chiu of PYC Taiwan dedicates a prayer for the evangelization of the Buddha's teachings during this month of Buddhist celebrations.
- Maggie of USA dedicates a prayer for peace & understanding between various race and thoughts and also pray for the propagation of the Buddha's Teachings in USA.
- Howard, Angie, Les, Grynn, Latte of Australia dedicates a friendship prayer to each other.
- Hock Suan of Malaysia, Ipoh dedicates a prayer for his mother who is suffering from illness, pray for speedy recovery.
- Te Jueh Cheng from Taiwan dedicates a prayer for his studies in the coming university exams and a prayer for his family members to recieve Lord Buddha's blessings.
- Chandra Rajasamy from India dedicates a prayer for his family to discard the Hinduism and embrace Buddhism. Pray for decision to be made as soon as possible.
- Below is a prayer specially composed & dedicated by our member - Lake Loh
I am just a child of Lord Buddha. You have taken care of me since I was young. I want to thank you for all the care and concern that I have received from You.
I just want to thank & praise You with the whole of my heart! I know You will be by my side whenever I am and whatever I do. i will take your blessing and try my very best in the coming exam so that I wont disappoint You, myself and those who cared for me.
Deep inside my heart, I wish that i will score all A Distinctions in the modules in the coming examination. I will strive for it and I wont take your blessings for granted.
Buddha will be by my side throughout the rest of my life.
Vibrant, Youthful, Friends, Fellowship, Prayers !
Are you studying in Ngee Ann Poly, Temasek Poly, Singapore Poly, Nanyang Poly, NAFA, LaSalle-SIA, SIM, SMU, NUS, NTU, ACS(I) or any of the Secondary Schools, Junior Colleges & ITEs ? 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" 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 @ 9 6894250 or email us for registration/enquiries.
PYC�s Youth Ministry holds sharing sessions, Q & A sessions and outings 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.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 futre edition 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 only, to recieve a Free Monthly SMS Buddhist Quote on your handphone, please email us your handphone number. Please save the number 9 0107336 in your Handphone as "Buddha"
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
with PYC by making a resolution to share the Buddha's Teachings and to anchor them with PYC. Contact: Bro Hsiongcai @ 98306362 join our VESAK 2002 celebrations !
[ Q U O T A B L E Q U O T E S ]
The teachings of the Buddha, founded on the basis of the true reality of nature, have been recognized to be valid at all times and under all conditions. Buddhism is the only Doctrine based on the true reality of nature in its totality available to mankind. It is now becoming increasingly clear that solutions to most human problems that arise as a result of over indulgence, excessive competition and exploding greed leading to acquiring and amassing unlimited wealth, increasing violence, terrorism, drug addiction and self destruction lie in the teachings of the Buddha. It is clear that Buddhism is getting accepted, the world over, as the way of life of intelligent people in the third millenium.
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