Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Please see http://www.moonpointer.com/stonepeace for the new version of this blog - where all old posts are stored too.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

We have moved to www.moonpointer.com! But still eternally grateful to Blogger!

Monday, August 04, 2003

Save Each Other

Q: If we are here to save all living beings, what are all living beings here for?
A: I think of it this way- We are here to encourage each other to save each other.
Greater Happiness

If by renouncing a lesser happiness
one may realize a greater happiness,
let the wise one renounce the lesser,
having regard for the greater.

-Dhammapada 290

We do not rise above our present "happiness" because we do not clearly see what is the greater happiness, and are thus unwilling to put in effort to attain it.

It's only temporary la...
then again, everything is temporary...
thus the truth of impermanence is universal.
Becoming Stone

The observer, when he seems to himself to be observing a stone, is really,
if physics is to be believed, observing the effects of the stone upon himself.

-Bertrand Russell

When I see a stone
and still my mind like it is still,
I do not see a stone-
I become the still stone.
I experience stonepeace;
I become stonepeace.

This is It

Now. This is it.
The whole purpose and meaning for the existence of everything.

-Timothy Freke

This is it.
It can't be anything else...
till it changes into it,
which it will

Cause, Condition & Effect

You are the cause and effect of yourself,
conditioned by everything,
including yourself,
conditioning everything,
including yourself.
Mountain Zen

The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.
-Robert Pirsig

Sometimes you need to find your Zen at the top of mountains.
Anonymous Blogging

Y: If my identity can be protected, I am free to circulate my online diary.
Z: You can always set up a site which no one knows belong to you- Eg. something like "watcanisay.blogspot.com" or something- and publicise it like a great discovery! But make sure the stuff are smewhat beneficial of course- Dharma-ish is good.

A drop of poison in a glass of pure water renders it all poisonous.
Keep the Buddhadharma pure-
re-present if necessary,
but don't include additives.
Last Words

zL: You there?
Z: I got to go soon. Any last words till we meet later?
zL: Do good, avoid evil... and purify the mind. hahaha
Double Eyelids

A few months ago, a friend suddenly discovered I have double eyelids. Asking my Mum, she confirmed I used to have single eyelids. How bizarre. "Shit" doesn't just happen in life- "Strange" happens. Just when you might think mine was a freak case, this friend also had double eyelids sudddenly, a few years back. Strange karma. Karma can work strangely. I winder what causes did we create to experience these effects.
Why Use Dharma Labels?

The Dharma is whatever is true (in line with reality) or in line with the Buddha's teachings. So in this sense, the famous people you quote are indeed speaking the Dharma in line with BuddhaDharma, even if they do not know it. But when we share the Dharma, is it better to share it with or without Dharma terms and labels (subtle or not so), with or without quoting the Buddha or famous Buddhists?

If the objective is just to share the Dharma in the short run, it might be okay to share it without Dharma labels or quoting the Buddha and famous Buddhists. If the objective is to share the Dharma in the long run, it might be a better idea to share it with Dharma labels or quoting the Buddha and famous Buddhists- because it lets the reader know that the wisdom shared is Buddhist, that he can discover more wisdom in Buddhism.

Otherwise, the reader is learning Dharma in bits and pieces from quotes from different people and religions... He might feel lost, thinking they are all the same, not knowing that Buddhism teaches the ultimate Truth, missing the point that we are trying to point him to Buddhism.
It’s Not Only Words

Words have the power to heal or destroy.
What do yours do?
Every word matters.
Every lack of a right word matters.
Even a pause matters.

Thus the Buddha taught us to reflect in the fourth precept-
Are our words true, harmonious, gentle and constructive?
Or are they false, divisive, harsh, and useless?

[1] What one knows to be
unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others,
one should not say.
[2] What one knows to be
factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others,
one does not say.
[3] What one knows to be
factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others,
one has a sense of the proper time for saying.
[4] What one knows to be
unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others,
one does not say.
[5] What one knows to be
factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others,
one does not say.
[6] What one knows to be
factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others,
one has a sense of the proper time for saying.

- With paraphrased excerpts from Abhaya Sutta (The Buddha’s Discourse on Right Speech)
Win-Win Wins!

Do you see winning as a personal achievement?
Or do you see helping others to win a greater achievement?
Must there be a losing for there to be winning?
Why can’t we all win together?

If you lose,
can you win mentally by accepting defeat?

If you win,
can you win by not letting pride go to your head?

If someone loses to you,
can you win him as a friend with your compassion?

If someone wins you,
can you win by rejoicing in his happiness?

“Greater than one who wins a hundred battles,
is one who conquers oneself.”
Thus the Buddha won the toughest battle,
by realising the truth of Anatta (non-self/selflessness/egolessness).
He teaches that True Happiness
is bringing happiness to one and all selflessly-
for sharing your happiness doubles your joy
while bringing joy to others!
Buddha Reminder

What would you do now that I remind you
that the Buddha said we are all hidden Buddhas,
that we unawakened ones are the same as Him in essence?
Be respectful then, to all.

Would you fall to your knees and worship all?
Afterall, you are a sleeping Buddha yourself.
Be respectful then, and awaken Him.
Don't cry tears of joy?
Afterall, tears will not awaken the Buddha within;
Calming the passions will.

Would you kiss the ground the Buddha walked upon?
Afterall, there is no place He never walked on
in His countless previous lives, to perfect Himself.
Treasure where you stand upon-
it is already holy ground.

The person waiting for an apology,
even if he is right,
is perhaps as egoistic as the one who cannot apologise,
even if he is in the wrong.

The wronged but magnaminous reconnects like nothing happened.
The spiritual challenge is not waiting out for the other person to reconnect;
the winner is the first to reconnect.

It is good for oneself to forgive from another even if no apology was given.
It is good for oneself to seek forgiveness from another if one is wrong.
It is good for oneself to seek forgiveness from another even if he seems unaffected.
Repentance cleanses your heart.
Repentance brings joy to the wronged and the "wrong-er".
The Emperor's New Art

As long as even just one person, even if it is just the artist, sees something as a piece of "art", it is art in the instant- even if it does not follow popular taste. Perhaps then, art is the result of attachment. Even if the emperor is seen as an ignorant fool parading naked in his new "clothes", the "clothes" were beautiful to him- before he woke to his senses. Art then, is just something we hold in our mind as special, "better" than the non-art.
Emptiness of Art

Anything can be art as it is but just not appreciated yet-
so there are no essential definitions of art.
Art is then emptiness- void of fixed self-nature.
Common Denominators

It's personally apalling to me how many Buddhists do not see the 3 Universal Characteristics as the common denominators in defining reality. If a Buddhist does not bear these chaacteristics often in mind, I think there is something very wrong. For such fellow Buddhists, let's go back to the basics of the Dharma. We need to realise how the trio affect our lives, and see them clearly.
Being Happy & Useful

Let us be all well and happy and help many people;
instead of being unhappy, not useful to ourselves or anyone else.
No Point Writing About Happiness

There is no much point writing about happiness if it stays.
There is no much point writing about happiness that does not stay.
The problem we have is sadness...

So I write about it-
about seeing sadness (First Noble Truth),
about seeing what causes it. (Second Noble Truth),
about knowing lasting happiness (Third Noble Truth),
about walking the way to lasting happiness. (Fourth Noble Truth),
Dharma Movie Review: City of God

In the ironically named godless city of God, we see trigger happy young men and boys who mess up their interconnectedness in blood brotherhood, friendship and enmity. Even the righteous Knockout Ned got his lights put out when he was shot by a boy whose father he had to shoot in self-defence. His father was just doing his job as a security guard and Ned his "job" as a reluctant gangster. Ned was trying to save the kid, who didn't see the senselessnes of revenge and shot Ned ungratefully in the back. Makes so much sense when the Buddha said hatred does not cease hatred, that only love does. It only takes one party to forgive or seek forgiveness to resolve hatred. We see L'il Ze messing up his friendship with best friend and partner in crime Benny by stepping overboard with no holds barred hatred and jealousy against an imaginary enemy who respects him as long as he respected him. For loyalty anfd honour amongst thieves to exist, even in among the lawless, there just has to be some rules- or all hell breaks loose. And this hell will karmically spill over to the unleashers of the hell- in this case, L'il Ze himself, as he dies shot multiple times by the street urchins called the Runts. Not capping your overflow of hatred makes no one have any reason to not hate you too.

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Lousy Poses

Most of the time, we have lousy poses in whatever we do. But we choose the nice ones and snap them, to "immortalise" the moments we want, thinking the rest is not really us- when all we are in each moment is equally true and untrue- they are us but not really us- because we change from moment to moment.
Come and Go

U: My Gramps just passed away.
Z: My Sis just gave birth. How we come and go, come and go.
Lapses of Time

I see the counter lady at the foodstall staring into empty air with an empty look. I see another lady in front of the stall doing the same- staring into another space. The first is waiting for the kitchen to get the latter's food ready. The latter is waiting for the first to pass her the food.

There are lapses in life with "nothing" to do. When one really does nothing but stay awake, it is a form of meditation already- silencing. But when the mind is filled with waiting, with random thoughts, it is the opposite.
You Might Be a Formite

SARS can be transmitted by formites. Formites refer to anything that carries the virus. The formite itself need not be infected by the virus- it merely carries it. This is interesting, though scary. It means you might be a formite without knowing- an invisible Mara enemy to the world. Thus is mindfulness important in upkeeping one's personal hygiene. SARS made everyone a formite suspect- yet we have no choice but to trust each other not to be an invisible Mara without beings one for others.
Scriptural Authenticity

You may be able to verify the authenticity of the sutras, whether they are spoken by the Buddha or not. But you have to authenticate the Truth in the Buddha's words by yourself. In this sense, it all boils down to you to develop wisdom to discern what is true, to continually increase your wisdom to realise the total Truth. In this sense, there is no need to argue on scriptural authority- since the ultimate authority is you. Improve this authority ultimately instead. The Buddha's onus was in sharing His Enlightenment. Discovering the Truth in it is your onus. Discovering its reality is your bonus.
Is Life Fair?

zL: He complained about life being unfair. I said life is fair.
Z: Tell him he can either think life is unfair and suffer or think it is fair and make the best hay he can while the sun shine. He doesn't even have to believe in the law of karma.
No Commercials

I hear this commercial on the radio (98.7FM)-
"30 minutes of pure music without commercials. All hits all day!"
Selling the selling point sometimes unsells it.
When one oversells anything, including the Dharma, it overkills.
Ultimate Creativity

The Enlightened are the ultimately creative.
Those who deconstruct and look in the details are the ones who truly KNOW.
I Am God?

"Be still and know that 'I' am God." -God in Psalm 46

If we wanna be religiously ecumenical (embrace other religions with our thinking), then this is interesting- as when one is truly still, there is no sense of any internal or external "I", which is when "I" can then be known as "God" in the sense of the all powerful, the highest truth- of non-self (Anatta).

Dun take this seriously. But this the above intepretation of a selective scriptural verse is an example of how ecumenical cults fool around with scriptural texts from different religions (including Buddhism) to combine all religions, coming up with the supposedly "most superior" religion.

"Be still and know you are your God-
your own creator, creator of your own world, yours almighty." -stonepeace

Stone... solid, immovable, unchanging
Peace... of mind to behold

Monday, July 21, 2003


Photography is an instant action.
Drawing is meditation.

-Henri Cartier-Bresson

The process of drawing is more important than the drawn,
for if the result of a drawing is a life-like portrait of the real thing,
one might as well snap a photograph of it.


Q: How to have unwavering faith or confidence in the Triple Gem?
A: By tasting the truth of the Dharma properly- by realisation of its essence, at least in part, of the 3 Universal Characteristics. This can be done systematically in meditation. The confidence gained is permanently unshakeable- it breaks the fetter of doubt in the Dharma, which is the core of the Triple Gem.
Get Real Feedback about You

Getting feedback is not accurate unless you get it from the wise and constructively critical who knows the values to use to judge. Thus are spiritual friends important.

I am never free.
Avoid Evil

Z: So, still not going to the gathering with the presence of the obnoxious? Maybe you can transform her?
A: I'm not ready yet- my mind will be more disturbed than skillful enough.
Z: Good reply- "Avoid Evil, Do Good..."- Avoiding evil comes before doing good haha.
Was the Buddha a Buddhist?

Q: He said the Buddha is not Buddhist!
W: It's ok- she used "Budddhist" with quotation marks. But come on haha... the Buddha called himself a Buddha. So the Buddha must be a Buddha-ist at least!
The Value of Labels

Without labels, there will be no words on no guideposts leading us to nowhere. In the long (long long long) run, all roads lead to Buddhahood- but using Buddhist labels for Buddhism skillfully can shine a clear path forth among the countless crossroads. Without labels and sutras, Buddhism could not have survived till today- it would be a lost teaching. What's worse than being lost is not knowing what is the name (label) of that which is lost.

Help-Chanting (Zhu1 Nian1) helps ourself before it helps others- when we chant singlemindedly as we can with sincerity and urgency for others, we are chanting with our remainign life as if we are the ones dying too.
Why Born of Lotuses in Pureland?

The 9 grades of birth in lotuses should be more rationally explained or it will seem like a fairy tale. There has to be some form of birth into the Purelands and as there is no parental birth, it is through lotuses which symbolise purity. And the varying periods of time in the lotuses is Pureland's way of ensuring the beings have ill karma ironed out before birth. Only thus can the beings in Pureland be of more equal standing.

What can't be explained must be experienced.
What can't be experienced must be irrelevant to our experience.
Why was Amitabha Sutra Taught?

2 reasons why the Amitabha Sutra teachings were taught by the Buddha without invitation by anyone-

a) No one knows it to ask about it.
b) It is so important and beneficial that the Buddha had to teach it in spite of a).
Why Market Amitabha Buddha's Pureland?

The Buddhas promise to universally "market" Amitabha Buddha's Pureland to the beings of their worlds not simply because he wants them to- but because it is so excellent that the Buddhas readily agree to do it. Please do not misunderstand that that Amitabha Buddha was demanding or egoistic to the other Buddhas- as a Buddha as no ego or craving.

Forget foresight and hindsight-
the first is too early and the latter too late.
Instead, discover insight in the moment.
Catch-22 @ Work

Friend's supervisor does only minimal work because he is lowly paid. But maybe if he does a better job and goes the extra mile, he will be better paid? Catch-22 situation. He is looking for a better paid job. But if his attitude does not change, he might soon realise that he is working more than he is paid, and face the same problem. Sometimes, the cycles of Samsara are not just of birth and death, but of "trivial" matters like these- which render us stuck in self-limiting, external blame-pointing situations.
Ego Competition

I don't like competitions because I don't like losing.
Perhaps I should take part compete with myself, not with others-
to let go the ego.
Someone Stole the Toilet

Read an article about a person who goes to a part of Greece which uses squat toilets. The first time he sees the absence of a toilet bowl, he assumed someone stole "the toilet"! It's funny how our perception gets accustomed to things and attaches criteria for what is "politically correct." On the other hand, the people in that part of Greece must be attached to squat toilets being proper and "politically correct." It is interesting to note that a toilet bowl is not the toilet itself. A toilet is a function for toiletting- not a particular thing. Is the bowl really necessary? What other things do you deem essential in your life, which are not?
Proof of the Pudding

The proof of the pudding is in your eating,
not someone else's eating and description of its taste.
Knowing the life of the Buddha inside out will not make you a Buddha.
To know release, be released- others' experiences is only inspiration.
Confucious's Blogs

Reading Confucius' Analects, I realised they are blog-like teachings! They ARE blogs!
Art of Enlightenment

When art becomes
it becomes a definite science.

If so, the path to Enlightement is definitely an art!
Become Truth

You do not see Truth- you become it.
Help By Not Helping

A good Bodhisattva Mother will let a toddler fall if necessary, on the path of learning to walk- lest the child does not know the meaning of failure and continual perseverance against continual failure. Sometimes not helping someone is offering the best help possible.
Big Circle

Sometimes you need to
go round in a big circle
to realise there was no need to
go round in a big circle.
The big circle is part of the way out.

So it is not a waste of time,
this cycle of birth and death-
for all detours are part of the path to release.
Samsara is part of the way to Nirvana-
not its antithesis always.
What Falling in Love Means

Falling in love with anyone or anything to me means
the acknowledgement of my attachment and its price,
to let it grow and ungrow in good time,
to not fret, to not regret at any time,
to be able to look back when it's time to let go,
to say it was worth it, that it made us better people-
having better learnt the meaning of true love,
to share equanimously with more people.
Looking for Trouble in Mind

Half completed "The Philosophy Gym: 24 Adventures in Philosophy" by Stephen Law. As I ws reading the book, I wondered if I was looking for trouble or release. What do I mean? Am I looking for philosophical conundrums to bug myself? Or am I looking for release for some of my delusions? Do I want an intellectual exercise or do I seek Enlightenment? We have to be mindful not to waste time with useless stuff. All the speculation in the world will not lead to experience of the Truth. Use philosophical thinking skillfully, or you might end up like Achilles in Zeno's Paradox of motion- always seemingly getting closer to the finish line but not getting there or anywhere.
Admonition for Lack of Diligence

If the next best Dharma teacher to the Buddha that you can find is around, and you are reluctant to go forth to learn, especially meditation, from him, rest be assured that if the Buddha was still around, you will be likewise. If you do not deserve to encounter the Buddha now, make the best of the Dharma teachers around now.
Doing Good Together

"If both husband and wife desire to behold to each other in both this life and the next life, and both are matched in faith, matched in virtue, matched in generosity and matched in wisdom, then they will behold each other in both this life and the next life also."

-The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya II:59

Creating similar collective karma binds people together positively.
It's much easier to create good karma together to be together,
than to create evil karma together and hope to be together-
because a result of doing evil is not getting what you want.

Truth of Constant Change

Subhuti asked: "How should an ordinary person be taught the truth?"

The Buddha answered: "By asking the person this: 'How can that which existed in the past become non-existent now?' This inquiry will lead to the realization that there is nothing that ever existed that is a permanent entity or an eternal self. Then the questioner will see that there is both existence and nonexistence."


Because all entities change in every moment,
they exist and do not exist at the same time.
Being able to live with balanced persepectives of existence and nonexistence is the Middle Path.

Treasure everything because everything is fleeting,
but be attached to nothing, also because everything is fleeting.


"Where there is heat, there must be cold.
In the same way, where there are the three fires (greed, hatred and delusion),
there must also be Nibbana (extinguishment of the fires).

Where there is evil, there must also be good.
In the same way, where there is birth, non-birth can be inferred."

-Jataka Nidanakatha 22-23 (The Buddha)

We tend to think of the opposite of birth as death-
when the opposites of birth and death can be the birthless and deathless- Nirvana.

Blog On!

Let's be realistic-
you might not have enough of your life to write a novel on,
but let's be realistic,
you should have enough interesting enlightening episodes to blog on-
so start bogging- get an account at blogger.com
and let me know when you have something up and running!
Long Wait for Bus

There's this bus I have to wait for almost every night. An average wait used to be about 5 minutes. Nowadays, it can take up to 15 minutes. But checking the bus schedule, it has not changed. Turned out that I used to be waiting for the bus just 5 minutes before arrival, and now I happen to wait for it about 15 minutes prior. It struck me that this means no one should generalise about a particular bus always taking a long time to wait for. If the bus is timely, then it is us who are untimely. Likewise, we point out the mistakes of others too often too easily. Perhaps there is something on our part that could have accomodated.

If you look carefully at the behaviour of the Buddha, the way He thinks, speaks and acts, or even dresses, you will realise that they are always done in a manner as universal yet minimal as possible, as cultureless as possible. Void of cultural trappings, that is how the Buddha's teachings can easily be assimilated by any culture.
Instant Karma

No, I'm not going to talk about how ,"instant karma's gonna get you." Instead, I'm going to be talking on how we create karma in the instant, which yes, sometimes makes instant karma get you.

I see a woman taking her wallet out of her bag while walking, a piece of used tissue gets brushed out accidentally. She stops for a while, two steps beyond the tissue on the floor, looks back at it, hesitates for an instant, and carries on walking. In an instant, her good and bad selves battled, and her goodself lost, creating bad karma. I snapped my fingers at her to let her know someone else saw the dropped tissue, and am not sure whether she heard it or not, as she walks on by. I feel a sense of rage at her apathy. In that instant, I had created bad karma by letting anger take over me. Instant karma got me.

Sunday, July 20, 2003


Beauty is in the eyes-
the way they look, (the way you see things)
the way you look. (the way your eyes are)
Tousled Hair

I find it amusing when I see guys in public restrooms carefully shaping their hair to give it the tousled look. This is a modern day example of "order within chaos", reminds me that nothing happens by chance.
Ringing Phones

I find it hard to understand when 2 differerent phones can ring shortly one after another in a place where it is impolite to have ringing phones. It is as if the owner of the second phone has not heard the first phone ringing, as if he does not see that as a reminder that his phone too had better be turned off. A wise person takes heed immediately when he realises something is wrong, he self-reflects instantly and does not make the mistakes others do.
Easiest Way

The easiest way to carry food is to eat it.
The easiest way to carry clothes is to wear them.
The easiest way to transport a car is to drive it.
The easiest way to know the Buddha is to become a Buddha.

The Buddha's function is not for mere veneration,
it's to inspire you, to let you know that your greatest function, ability,
is to become a Buddha.
True Beauty

Behaving like you are so obviously so beautiful
makes you obviously ugly-
even if you are somewhat beautiful.

It is unassumingness that makes the beautiful beautiful.
So true beauty is never merely physical,
it's an attitude too.

And a beautiful attitude can make physical ugliness totally unobvious.

Self-reflection will save everyone.

The Sixth Patriarch of Zen taught that
"The trangressions of the world are mine,
and my trangressions are mine alone."

We should self-reflect
on why we are unable to help others to self-reflect too.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Why Realisation of Dukkha is Nirvana

While it might be astonishing that Dukkha is Nirvana, it is nevertheless true. So how can Dukkha, which seems so obviously to be the antithesis of Nirvana, arise simultaneously? When we speak of Dukkha (as one of the 3 Universal Characteristics and as the first of the 4 Noble Truths) in the ultimate sense, it is not simply about theoretical agreement with the fact that there is gross physical suffering in life, but that in its most fundamental form, Dukkha can be experienced here and now in the most subtle mental form. In the process of insight meditation, one comes to a point when one watches one's thoughts rise and fall and realises, to his dismay and exasperation (yes- this is Dukkha indeed), that no thought or physical sensation can be grasped on to. At this point, suffering goes beyond merely speculating or visualising that in the "distant" future, we will suffer from ageing, sickness and death. At this point, one faces the most basic of all existential dissatisfactions squarely in the face- the inability to hold on to anything within and without ourselves when we want to. Exactly when one sees this crystal clearly, along with the other two Universal Characteristics of Anicca and Anatta (which are facets of each other), one lets go (the Fourth Noble Truth of relinquishing attachments) of all grasping (the Second Noble Truth- craving that arises from ignorance of the 3 Universal Characteristics) and attains Nirvana (the Third Noble Truth). Thus, the exact moment one realises Dukkha fully is the moment one attains Nirvana!

This is probably why, in Mahayana Buddhism, Nirvana is used to substitute Dukkha as part of the 3 Universal Characteristics- because the realisation of Dukkha IS the realisation of Nirvana. This is also probably why there is the Mahayana saying that "Afflictions (our various forms of suffering) are Bodhi (Enlightenment)"(Fan1 Nao1 Ji1 Pu1 Ti1), and vice versa. Not only does Dukkha or our afflications lead or motivate us to Nirvana (Bodhi), but we have to realise that Dukkha and Nirvana can be ultimately synonymous! This is the ultimate non-duality of Samsara and Nirvana. Any attachment for Nirvana and aversion to Samsara is thus a delusion. Experience Dukkha, I mean Nirvana, now!
Buddhist Fundamentalism?

The Solid Foundation of No Solid Foundation

Fundamentalism: A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism. (Religious skepticism or indifference- the view that religious considerations should be excluded from civil affairs or public education.) [From dictionary.com]

Hey wait! Buddhism isn't by nature fundamentalist. How can there be, as the title suggests, "Buddhist Fundamentalism"? Well, first of all, even though a religion does not advocate fundamentalism, there will be fundamentalists- even in Buddhism- extremists who do not tread the Middle Path of moderation.

But if Buddhism does not advocate fundamentalism or even hint of it, does it mean Buddhism has no fundamental or core essential teachings? Yes there are- or Buddhism would have no standing ground; it would be vague and undefined. There wouldn't even be the need to call Buddhism "Buddhism"! So what are the fundamentals of Buddhism? The foundations of Buddhism are no foundations! What do I mean by that? Didn't I just say that Buddhism has fundamentals? Yes. Here is where it gets tricky...

The Buddha clearly taught us that the 3 Seals of the Dharma mark His teachings. They are seals in the sense that they authenticate the Truth, and differentiates the Dharma from non-Dharma. The trio is also called the 3 Universal Characteristics- as they mark the nature of everything (mind and matter- all mental and physical entities) in the universe. The Buddha discovered that the easiest yet most accurate way to completely describe the universe lies in these 3 characteristics- nothing more or less is needed. Since Truth is the way things are in reality, these characteristics themselves are aspects of the Truth- the fundamentals of Buddhism. But yet we can say these foundations of the Buddha's teaching are not really there in the sense that they are not something solidly "solid". This is due to the nature of the 3 characteristics-

1) Anicca (everything material and mental is constantly changing)
2) Dukkha (everything we grasp to brings disssatisfaction as they, and our attachments change)
3) Anatta (everything is without any fixed self because they change)

If you look carefully, the truths circle around Anatta- the truth of unsubstantiality. Sometimes this is called "soullessness", "egolessness" or "self-lessness". The truths can also be said to circle around Anicca- the truth of constant change. Dukkha is the sentient or human aspect of the two otherwise seemingly cold and unrelatable truths- the complete realisation of which is synonymous with Nirvana (the end of suffering- See next article "Why Realisation of Dukkha is Nirvana") Dukkha has to be stated as a truth in the sense that it is a true problem for us as long as we are unenlightened. If it is not a problem, the Dharma or Enlightenment would not be necessary in the first place. Seeing its "reality" and doing something about it is having Compassion for yourself and others.

Before I digress again, the 3 Universal Charateristics are indeed fundamental foundations of Buddhism, but as they are about unsubstantiality, they are in this way, the foundations of no foundations. This is a supreme "form" of foundation because it is only with this "form" of foundation that religious or doctrinal fundamentalism will not arise in Buddhism. At this point, you might think Buddhism is the nihilist's dream come true. Not exactly, because with the emphasis of Dukkha being a universal characteristic (problem for all sentient life), there is no compromise of the importance of morality. The truth of Dukkha can convert rational nihilists to realise that since they are subject to Dukkha, and that since subjecting others (to bring personal "happiness") to more suffering only compounds personal Dukkha, it is wise to be moral.

What is unsubstantial cannot be clung on to. Fundamentalism is clinging on to what is believed to be substantial. If a Buddhist clings to the truth of insubstantiality substantially, does it make him a fundamentalist Buddhist? So does Buddhist fundamentalism really exists? I would think the best answer I can give you is a Zen question reversed as an answer- The face of Buddhist fundamentalism is your original face before your parents were born!

Everything's got a moral if only you can find it.

-Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

Jabberwocky* is what you make of it.
Everything is Jabberwockish is you look carefully-
apparently something, not exactly anything, actually nothing.


*See jabberwocky.com to know what this is.

Emptiness of Definitions

Things lose their definitions when they lose the reference points by which they are defined. Thus, any one thing by itself intrinsically has no meaning or worth. No thing is substantial by itself. In fact, every one thing being unsubstantial in itself does not substantiates anything else at all. It is an illusion. Everything brings meaning into everything else in a web of interdependence. This meaning is actually arbitrary- according to the observer's perception. Here is an example of what I'd been trying to say above-

Where does forehead end? At the hairline?
What happens when the hairline is shaved off?

Where does face start? At the hairline?
What happens when the hairline is shaved off?

Where does scalp end? At the hairline?
What happens when the hairline is shaved off?
The Pointless Deja Vu of Rebirth

Was telling a friend something
but she claims I told it to her before,
but that I'd forgotten- scary!

Maybe how many times must we repeat something
before we realise we have been repeating it?
What is the point of repetition for repetition's sake?

Reborn here and there,
been everywhere, done "everything"-
other than attain Enlightenment- Darn!

The point of rebirth
is to drive home into our thick deluded heads
that rebirth is pointless.

You are not here to save all beings, are you?
Then what the hell are you doing here?
Save yourself first for goodness' sake!
Follow Not the Followers

It makes no sense to follow the followers of a teaching and not the founder itself. Do not mistaken intepretations of a teaching to be the teaching itself. Do you take refuge in the Buddha or the fellow "average" Buddhist? Followers try to follow the founder, but it is inevitable that more often than not, you will come across followers who are less than perfect than in following the founder's perfect example. To fellow Buddhists who sometimes lament that they fail to find exemplary model Buddhists who genuinely practice what they preach, or rather, what the Buddha preached... well, let us remember that the Buddha Himself IS the genuine "Buddhist" already. The Buddha should be our first inspiration. This is not to discount the importance of less than perfect teachers, but let us remember it is the founder we aspire to emulate. He is the one we should take reference from primarily. If a teacher can teach you the path, if not part of it, to perfection, even if he is apparently not perfect, the onus is on you, not him, to attain perfection. No fellow teacher or Buddhist's glaring or even subtle imperfection should ever discourage you. Remember that the fact that you do not have inspiring model fellow Buddhists in your life is a karmic effect of your own creation. What you do not deserve you do not get. This should encourage you instead, to put in greater effort in cultivation- to be your own model Buddhist- a Buddha!
Graping Precepts & Practices

The third fetter to Enlightenment (as an Arahant) is sometimes translated to be "grasping to precepts and practices." We should realise that the precepts are moral guidelines, not hard and fast rules to stick by fundamentally. Here's an example- the Buddha as a Bodhisattva once killed a man on a boat, who was going to kill over 100 people onboard. Did he break the first precept of abstaining from killing? No. The spirit of the precept is not simply not to kill any being, but to protect life. He killed one person to save 100- the effects of goodness heavily outweigh the evil. In fact, not killing the potential murderer in this case leads to the murder of 100. If one grasps at the letter of the precept blindly, one might just freeze and let the massacre happen without any action. Is this not truly breaking the first precept 100 times over?

Another example of how one can wrongly grasp the precepts is the case of Angulimala, probably history's most infamous single-handed serial-killer, who killed 999 people before repenting his ways. He doubted his potential for Enlightenment or even spiritual progress, having broken the first precept through and through so many times before. But the Buddha assured him of his genuine spiritual transformation. Later, he attained Arahantship. In both cases of the Bodhisattva and Angulimala, they still experienced the "inescapable" karmic consequences of their voluntary actions. The Bodhisattva was reborn into hell for an instant only though, before ascending to a heaven, since his act of killing was of altruistic intention. Angulimala was stoned to death by villagers who did not realise his true repentance. In both cases, the "suffering" was inconsequential in the sense that it did not disturb their minds. As Sylvia Boorstein puts it, "Pain is inevitable, but suffering optional."

What is grasping to practices? This is also sometimes translated as "attachment to rites and rituals." For one to break the third fetter, one would have realised the basic insight knowledges and know that all Buddhist rites and rituals, or even practices such as observation of precepts, meditation and chanting, are to lead to realising the 3 Universal Characteristics. All practices are not yet the "real" thing, not the substance of Truth (the Dharma) yet- they are merely skillful means to the ends of attaining insight realisation. In this sense, they can be arbitrary in nature though essential. Grasping to them thus becomes a fetter.
Every Gesture of Love

When you kiss and or hug, or show any gesture of love, do it properly and fully each time. Such that if it turns out to be the last time, you won't regret not having put your heart into it. Even if it was not the last time, at the end of your life, you would be able to look back and be glad that you were always wholehearted throughout your life. Are there any gestures of love you have been "owing" someone? This might be the last time you have a chance to express your love.


Hopefully Somewhat Enlightening & Entertaining Thoughts... Stuff discovered on the path to the natural unshakable peacefulness of a stone...