Saturday, December 3, 2011

Topic in class: Living Beings in this World

In Class on Nov 30th we had a discussion on the following:

  • The Buddhist Scriptures mention the word “living beings” very often. According to the Lord Buddha, living beings imply those that are still attached to the 5 Aggregates, which include, corporeality (identifying to self), feeling, perception, mental formation, and consciousness. 
  •  Living beings possess a body and a consciousness and include human beings, celestial beings, Brahma beings, Mara beings, Petas, Asurakayas, animals, and hell beings. 
  • All these beings are grouped together as living beings of the world.

This was only one slide and took up about 30 minutes clearly a fascinating subject for us in class. We had a wonderful discussion about Buddhist concepts on this slide that help us all realize how very little we could know. Though these concepts were foreign to many of our meditation members, most people were open to learning and not ruling out the possibility. We talked about living beings as defined in Buddhism and what that means exactly, this wasn't just pertaining to human beings but all forms of living beings including heaven and hell beings. Further explored by explaining that our human realm contains another realm that we can see which is coexisting with us, the animal realm. However we do not have the refined eye to see heaven and hell realms, but they too exist and are further broken up and subdivided accordingly. Most people believe in heaven and hell, however for many of us we believe heaven is a place that "all good people" transition to after leaving their existence and it is the same place for everyone, same idea with hell "all bad people" go to t his place call hell and it is the same form of punishment for all. However as I began to study Buddhism more and use my own rationale thought it started to make sense to me that there are different levels of both heaven and hell why not?! After all Buddha's teaching comes from what he learned through meditation, further more other meditation master's confirm the different levels as well (please note this is buddhist cosomology which we'll be touching on as well in future classes) I am not saying I believe them 100% but I am saying I see the possibility of this and through higher meditative states other meditation masters confirm the same thing that there are different levels of heaven and of hell depending on one's own merit performed (good/bad) during one's life, we reap what we sow. If I ever get to higher meditation through my own practice , I could see for myself. All I asked though from class was let's just rethink what we think we know, and be open to the possibility that we actually don't and maybe Buddha who's teachings are still solid today actually has given us a spiritual guide to follow, the ultimate foundation of learning the reality of existence. That was the main topic that we explored in class, that there does exist other realms that we just cannot see and these realms also have other beings in them that define their individual realms. Think about it? In our human realm alone we have all sorts of nationalities just as human beings, and the animal realm we can not even touch on all the species, animals, insects, different classes that exist in our own realm, let alone that we can actually see. So lets just be open to the possibility that other realms, that we cannot see, also have their own classifications of beings within them....maddness huh? Not really after-all the world is full of unknowns, so why not?! To me it makes all the sense in the world :P

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

GMC Merit Drive 2011

World Peace Needs Your Helping Hand. Let’s Make It Happen!!!!

The Georgia Meditation team is collecting donations for the Global Peace Generator Building; this building will be an International Buddhist center for the whole world where people from all nations can come together to one place to study world peace in their language. This Merit Drive ends on November 6, 2011 if you would like more information on the Global Peace Generator Building and would like to contribute and gain merit with us please make a donation on our paypal link found on our website

We are also taking donations to help with the flooding relief efforts for Thailand's worst flood of the century. Our Dhammakaya foundation has been providing aids to over 100,000 households in 23 provinces. They are running out of supplies and are reaching out for donation. If you would like to help with this relief effort you can make your donation on our website or directly to the Dhammakaya foundation on the link below - a press release of this recent devastation to hit Thailand.

Dhammakaya Foundation Relief Fund

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Worldly Knowledge

Worldy Knowledge
Life and Message of the Buddha

Worldly knowledge can never help one to lead a pure religious life that leads to peace and emancipation.

WORLDLY knowledge is useful for worldly ends. With such knowledge, mankind learns how to use the earth’s resources to improve the standard of living, grow more food, generate power to run factories and to light up streets and houses, manage factories and businesses, cure sickness, build flats and bridges, cook exotic dishes, and so on. Worldly knowledge can also be used for harmful purposes such as building missiles with nuclear warheads, manipulating the stock market, cheating ‘legally’, and inflaming political anxiety and hatred. Despite the rapid expansion of worldly knowledge, especially in the twenty-first century, mankind has been brought no nearer to the solution to human problems and eradicating pervasive unsatisfactoriness. In all likelihood, it never will solve human beings’ universal problems and bring peace and happiness because of the premises on which such knowledge, discoveries and inventions are built.

While Buddhism can bring greater understanding on how to lead a good worldly life, its main focus is how to gain liberation through the development of wisdom, mental culture and purity. For ordinary human beings, there is no end to the search for worldly knowledge, which in the final analysis does not really matter. For as long as we are ignorant about the Dharma, we will forever be trapped in Samsara, the repeated cycle of birth and death.

According to the Buddha:
‘For a long time, Brothers, have you suffered the death of a mother; for a long time, the death of a father; for a long time, the death of a son; for a long time, the death of a daughter; for a long time, the death of brothers and sisters; for a long time have you undergone the loss of your goods; for a long time have you been afflicted with disease. And because you have experienced the death of a mother, the death of a father, the death of a son, the death of a daughter, the death of brothers and sisters, the loss of goods, the pangs of disease, company of the undesired, you have truly shed more tears upon this long way—hastening from birth to death, from death to birth—than all the waters that are held in the four great seas.’

Here the Buddha was describing the Suffering of continuous births and deaths in the world. He wanted to show people the Way out of all these Sufferings.

Why did the Buddha speak in this manner to His disciples? And why did He not make an attempt to solve the problems as to whether the world is eternal or not, whether it is finite or not? Such problems might be exciting and stimulating to those who have the curiosity. But in no way would the answers to these problems help a person to overcome Suffering. That is why He ignored questions like these because they were futile and the knowledge about such things would not contribute to one’s spiritual wellbeing.

The Buddha knew that to speak on things which were of no practical value and beyond the power of comprehension, was a waste of time and energy. He foresaw that to advance hypotheses about such things only served to divert thoughts from their proper channel and hinder spiritual development.

Worldly knowledge and scientific research should be complemented and balanced with religious and spiritual values. Otherwise such worldly knowledge does not in any way contribute to one’s progress in leading a pure, religious life. Human beings have come to the stage where their minds fed by the instruments and fruits of technological advancements, have become obsessed with egoism, craving for power, and greed for material wealth. Without religious values, worldly knowledge and technological advancement can lead to their downfall and destruction. These will only inflame their greed which will take on new and terrifying dimensions.On the
other hand, when worldly knowledge is harnessed for moral ends, it can bring maximum benefit and happiness for humanity.

~Venerable Dhammanada on What Buddhist Believe

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Accumulating good deeds!

This week I have been helping Surin Jung, one of our dhamma teacher in our weekly meditation classes edit teachings by our Master Nun Khun Yai. Khun Yai helped to establish the Dhammakaya center without her hard work and dedication to promoting peace, our Dhammakaya foundation would not be as grand as it is today with representation all around the world. I have copied and paste a few of her teachings which I feel are quite profound. This is a compilation of her many dhamma teachings, that Surin has translated from Thai into English. Her words of wisdom are encouraging and helpful for those on the track to include meditation and performing goods deed in their daily lives. I hope you find this as inspiring as I have.

Don't Wait
We don't know when our final day will come

Days and nights pass us by quickly. With each sunset our life becomes one day shorter. Capitalize on each day that you are still alive, by accumulating as much merit as you can. In times of trouble, reflect on your merit. Know how to build up merit and maintain it. Use your merit wisely as you would with money.
-January 11, 1991

Meditation is Essential

The practice of meditation is the most important thing in life, and attaining Dhamma is our ultimate life goal. Even as you walk, drive, or perform other everyday tasks, you need to contemplate on Dhamma at all times. Before I attained the Dhamma I meditated diligently until my mind could leave the physical body, sinking deeper and deeper into meditation until it finally disengaged from my physical surroundings completely and becoming purified and powerful with knowledge.

I was able to progress because I was determined to do so. Meditation is the most important thing in life. If we do not seek happiness in this lifetime, then we will not find it even in the next life. Resolve to find happiness in this life!
-May 10, 1992

One Drop at a Time Fills Up a Jar

Together, each tiny drop of water can fill up a big jar. Likewise, each act of good deed, can fill up your “jar” of virtue. But with no good deed done at all, your “jar” of virtue is empty.

Never be lazy or preoccupied with what others are doing. In the end your fate will be determined by no one else but yourself. So fight as hard as you can! The more merit you make, the more you gain; and the less you make, the less you receive. Take every new day as a new opportunity to make merit.
-January 12, 1975

With Merit, You Will Succeed In Everything
My biggest fear in life is that I will not make enough merit. With large merit behind you, anything you wish can be attained and all you touch will become successful. No one can obstruct you if you have merit to support you with. Having a good base of merit is a great blessing indeed.
-August 31, 1976

Succeed Through Merit
Whatever you set out to do, keep merit in mind. If you possess merit, merit will help you succeed in the things that you do. Merit is your refuge. Center your mind in it and everything will fall in place.
-April 4, 1981

Relinquish All Else
Merely mediating and reciting the mantra “samma araham” will create merit. It’s not easy to attain Dhammakaya when the mind wants to dart here and there around the entire world. We have to rein the mind back to the center of our body, two fingers’ breadth above the navel. Then relinquish everything else. When the mind comes to a standstill, it will glow brightly. Keep the mind steady and think of the bright image at the center.
-(no date)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The 4 Noble truths

After our guided meditation today the Venerable touched upon the four noble truths.The main Teaching of the Buddha focuses not on philosophical speculations about a Creator God or the origin of the universe, nor on a heaven world ever after. The Teaching, instead, is centred on the down-to- earth reality of human suffering and the urgent need to find lasting relief from all forms of discontent. The Buddha gave the simile of a man shot by a poison-tipped arrow who, before he would call a doctor to treat him, demanded to know first who shot the arrow and where the arrow was made and of what and by whom and when and where ... this foolish man would surely die before his questions could be well answered. In the same way, the Buddha said, the urgent need of our existence is to find lasting relief from recurrent suffering which robs us of happiness and leaves us in strife.
Philosophical speculations are of secondary importance and, anyway, they are best left until after one has well trained the mind in meditation to the stage where one has the ability to examine the matter clearly and find the Truth for oneself.
Thus, the central Teaching of the Buddha, around which all other teachings revolve is the Four Noble Truths:
1. First Noble Truth: Life is subject to 'suffering'
2. Second Noble Truth is that this suffering is caused by ignorance which results in desire
3. The Third Noble Truth is that suffering can be eliminated by the removal of desire
4. The Fourth Nobel Truth is the path to eliminate desire.
It would be mistaken to label this Teaching as 'pessimistic' on the grounds that it begins by centring on suffering. Rather, Buddhism is 'realistic' in that it unflinchingly faces up to the truth of life's many sufferings and it is 'optimistic' in that it shows a final end of the problem of suffering - Nibbana, Enlightenment in this very life! Those who have achieved this ultimate peace are the inspiring examples who demonstrate once and for all that Buddhism is far from pessimistic, but it is a Path to true Happiness.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Venerable Brahm - Meditation, Buddhism and Science

Aug 10th Meditation Class

After guided meditation today we listened to a dhamma talk given by Venerable Brahm a monk who resides at Dhammaloka Buddhist Center in Australia. After graduating with a physics degree from Cambridge University in 1960's he taught high school for a year, before traveling to Thailand where he was ordained as a Theravadan monk. His dhamma talks are entertaining, lively, and very informative. His dhamma talk on Buddhism and Science was recorded October 2001. He has many interesting dhamma talks found on youtube his dhamma talks generally draw 300+ people to the Dhammaloka Center. This is really a good read/listen!

If you prefer to read a copy of the audio given by the Venerable you can find the article Meditation, Buddhism and Science the audio is also embedded below for you to listen to.

Monday, August 1, 2011

No Creator of the Universe

The Buddha pointed out that no God or priest nor any other kind of being has the power to interfere in the working out of someone else's Karma. Buddhism, therefore, teaches the individual to take full responsibility for themselves. For example, if you want to be wealthy then be trustworthy, diligent and frugal, or if you want to live in a heaven realm then always be kind to others. There is no God to ask favors from, or to put it another way, there is no corruption possible in the workings of Karma.
Do Buddhists believe that a Supreme Being created the universe? Buddhists would first ask which universe do you mean? This present universe, from the moment of the 'big bang' up to now, is but one among countless millions in Buddhist cosmology. The Buddha gave an estimate of the age of a single universe-cycle of around 37,000 million years which is quite plausible when compared to modern astrophysics. After one universe- cycle ends another begins, again and again, according to impersonal law. A Creator God is redundant in this scheme.
No being is a Supreme Savior  according to the Buddha, because whether God, human, animal or whatever, all are subject to the Law of Karma. Even the Buddha had no power to save. He could only point out the Truth so that the wise could see it for themselves. Everyone must take responsibility for their own future well being, and it is dangerous to give that responsibility to another.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 13 Meditation Class

Yesterday there was traffic heading over to the center I got there about 6:15pm which only gave me less than half-an-hour people generally start arriving 7:45ish. When I arrived to the center it was blazing hot in the meditation hall so first thing I turned on the A/C, mind you the meditation hall is pretty big and cooling it down takes a good hour...i did my best. I then had to coordinate the meditation mats and chairs, since the current staff members are new and have never helped me before, then I had to get the donation box and water bottles for meditation members, along with realizing I didn't have enough orientation/membership forms (so had to make 15 copies). So my point I was stretched out pretty thin, not a good way to start out meditation class. Oh well it happens, if I wasn't so passionate about meditation practice and doing something bigger than myself, I wouldn't be doing this, but gradually the more involved I have gotten with meditation and the dhammakaya center the more I truly want to devote myself whole heartily to spreading out our message which is "true peace through inner peace" After our guided meditation I showed a video that hopefully helps showed the class the magnitude of our Dhammakaya foundation. I also told all members that we are fortunate to have discovered this meditation technique to be affiliated with a center that teaches people (if they want to learn) the reality of our world, our universe, and the truth. Enjoy the video!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Buddha Boy

I showed this video to our meditation class a few months ago. I found it fascinating that Ram Bahadur Bomjon left his village at the age of 14 to meditate on his own. He is now 21 and still in the forest although no one knows where right now. When his brother suggested that he ordain to be a monk, he said that there is nothing that the sangha can teach him that he doesn't already know. By the way a little 101 there are two types of monks: city monks and forest monks. Forest monks are the ones that leave the city life, and society, they take refuge in the forest living with nature and meditating all day/all night and then there are the city monks the ones that you see at temples and various Buddhist centers. Everyone has their own path and journey. Ram is not a monk and therefore you will see him wearing white robe but he does follow the Buddha's teaching. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Observing the 5 Precepts/Gaining Merit

This week Venerable Bendit guided our meditation class, followed by dhamma talk on merit. For those who attend our weekly meditation classes this isn't foreign to them, there are ten ways of gaining merit which can be summarized to three basic practices 1) Charitable giving/generosity 2) Keeping the precepts 3) Cultivation of the mind. As long as we are still breathing, we should spend our time wisely by performing as many good deed as we can. We should carry out the practices outline on a daily basis, since our time on earth is limited and our time of death is unknown.

Let me focus on number 2 for now keeping the precepts. There are five no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, no consumption of alcohol/intoxicants. The precepts are instrumental in purifying one's deeds, words, and thoughts. Many individuals are of the belief that the five precepts have been laid down by the Lord Buddha, hence only Buddhist need to observe them. This is not true. The truth is the five precepts are what define us as human. They are principles by which we must live by. Rather, they were discovered by the Lord Buddha to be crucially important to our safety both in this and our future existence, and were taught to us for our good.

The Venerable stated that upholding the five precepts helps purify the mind so that when one sits to meditate it will be much easier to still the mind and have positive experiences with meditation. There is a direct correlation in the quality of the mind and meditation results.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Meditation is at the heart of Buddhism

Today in class I showed a video of Ven. Dr. H Gunaratana addressing the question of the significance of meditation on Buddhism, this Q&A is part of a presentation held in 1997 at the Buddhist Missionary Society. Though the video is fairly old the Venerable does a great job answering this question. Meditation is the foundation of Buddhism and is at the very core of Buddha's teaching. Meditation is the only way to truly liberate oneself from defilement such as greed, anger, and delusion. Meditation helps you "see" the truth of life and realize how impermanent everything really is and that our ultimate goal is to cultivate good deeds and purify our minds.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Video for Meditation Classes

Am so thankful that a friend of mine, who also was one of the first people to support my efforts in guided meditation groups help create our webpage along with this video. My very first efforts of helping to spread meditation took place in 2005, Venerable Boonchoo guided the session. We did not, however, have regular weekly meditation classes until 2008. Our website along with thia video was launched this year in February we have come a very long way. If I started to document our efforts in 2008 until present so much took place to get our weekly sessions to where they are today. I must admit that this is considered an achievement in my life. I am so thankful to the Dhammakaya foundation for teaching me values on being a good moral human being and learning about merit, because that is all we really have is the cultivation of merit while we are here in this world, and that my friend is why I felt it was so important to help spread meditation. Anyways check out my very first video promoting our weekly class! Our website is

Einstein on Buddhism

“Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity.” - Albert Einstein