THE GIFT OF DHAMMA EXCELS ALL OTHER GIFTSTitle: More LIFE Lessons To LearnAuthor: Oh Teik BinTeluk Intan, Perak, MalaysiaFront and back cover by Oh Teik BinEmail: email@example.comPrinted for free distribution ot for saleThis edition (2012) : 5000 copiesThis Dhamma Dana literature is a gift, printed solely for freedistribution. Lots of other educational and Dhamma material bythe same author are available at the following Websites: www.dhammatelukintan.blogspot.com www.slideshare.net/ohteikbin www.youtube.com/user/ohlifelessons www.toondoo.com/user/bteikoh www.scribd.com/teikbin http://engagedbuddhists.ning.com/profile/ohteikbin www.twitter.com/TBroh www.facebook.com/ohteikbinNo copyright is applicable to this publication and anyorganizations, societies or individuals are welcome to reprintpart or all of it. However, such reprints must be for freedistribution. It would be appreciated if the author could beinformed by email of any reprint.Printed byBHS Book Printing Sdn. Bhd.Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
CO TE TS Dedication/Acknowledgements Preface1 Fate in Your Hands 12 16 Favorite Contentment Quotes 83 Coping With Stress 154 o Charge…A Lesson To Ponder in Life 265 12 Causes Of Downfall 346 Twisted Thinking And Mental Suffering 407 The Farmer’s Donkey 468 14 Steps To Conquer The Worry Habit 519 Reflections On Gratitude 5810 Timeless TIME Quotes 6411 Right And Wrong 7112 A Short Course In Human Relations 7813 The A – Z Of KIASU 8514 Unconditional Love… A story to ponder on 9615 Who Are The Real Outcasts? 10416 Morning Motivation 11317 Abraham Lincoln’s Letter To A Teacher 12018 Fingers…A Story For Living 12819 Enemies To Conquer 13520 The Best Gifts To Give 14121 Life Lessons From The Court 14822 o Shoes… A Lesson To Learn 15423 Forgiving Others 16124 Good Character…Food For Thought 16725 The Shipwreck…A Story With A Life Lesson 17926 14 Magical Moments Of Ease And Peace 18427 10 Life Lessons From The Japan Disaster 19128 The Moonlight Ride…A Story To Touch Your Heart 20029 The Benefits Of Meditation 21130 ‘Aiyoh! Why Like That One?’ 217
PREFACE The feedback for my previous book for free distribution, “LIFELessons With PowerPoints” has been most encouraging. Manysaid that the full color format, compact size, concise presentationsand points for Dhamma Reflection are very appealing. One readerwrote in to say: “I have never read to completion any Dhammabook but I read the whole of LIFE Lessons in one sitting! It iseasy to understand but of course it’s a challenge to practice theDhamma.” Some wrote, mostly through email, comments onfavorite chapters in LIFE Lessons and how the material affectedthem.* “When I read ‘Mother’, I immediately phoned my mum whom Ihad not seen for some months.”* “ ‘14 Steps To Develop Patience’ really helped me to check mytemper and impatience which had been causing me much pain.”* “I got to learn to count my blessings from ‘Life’s Problems’ ”.* “ ‘The Lizard’ taught me so much about love and compassion.”* “I was inspired to practice the meditation on loving-kindnessafter reading the chapter on ‘Metta Bhavana’ ”.* “ ‘A King’s Three Wishes’ sparked some realization in me onhow foolish we can be in non-stop pursuits of material wealth.”The positive responses to LIFE Lessons really motivated me towrite ‘More LIFE Lessons To Learn’, a sort of sequel to theearlier book. It also has 30 chapters touching on different aspectsof the Dhamma and their applications to our present living. ThePowerPoint Presentations in this book can be viewed from mySlideshare Space at www.slideshare.net/ohteikbin . They can bedownloaded and used as Dhamma and educational material inBuddhist Sunday School, Dhamma Classes, Motivation, Youth/Children’s Camps and other educational programs or activitiesThe author is truly grateful to BHS BOOK PRINTING SDN.BHD. and all other sponsors who have made this book possible.May All Beings Be Well And Happy!OH TEIK BI
1 Fate In Your Hands 1Buddhism does not subscribe to the belief that one’s destinyhefty household bills of all sorts we need to pay monthly.is fated and unchangeable. Our lives are not predestined. When we are all burdened with unnecessary commitments, weOur intentional doings of important things that really matter in have little time for so may the mind, speech and body willchart the future. It and developing thethat even in this age life – learning about is very strange mind, showing kindnessof others, rendering services to technology and psychological to advances in science, the needy, spending time with ourunderstanding cultivating our spirituality. people, including loved ones and of the mind, so manyeducated our lives as so superstitiousend; we fail to realize that We lead ones are if they will not and gullible. They, in life is uncertain and death is certain.their ardent quest to change their luck, fortune, life spanand destiny, often fall parents is tremendous. We indeedhear The gratitude we owe our victims to con men. It’s often sador read in the newspaper of parents orscams. I personally that many children abandon their terrible give little attentionknow of to theircases of Reason?who are in deep ‘busy-ness’. and care many parents. people They* paypiety and gratitude are among luckvirtues we need to Filial huge sums of money for good the charms, talismansand amulets in the to realize true happiness and peace. practice if we wish false belief that their luck will change.* consult ‘fortune experts’ to have their names altered ormodified so that their health or wealth will grow.* run around to temples or other places of worship to getauspicious days and times to start their business, marry theirsons or daughters, conduct last funeral rites and what-nots.* depend so much on matters like astrology and feng shuito live their lives to the extent that conflicts and argumentsarise and multiply among the members in the family.The Buddha once said, “Fools wait for a luck day. For theindustrious or diligent one, everyday is a lucky day.”Our life is in our hands. When we learn, understand,practice and realize well the Dhamma, things will work outnaturally for us. When we take true refuge in the TripleGem, the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, we will stopchasing around for false hopes, protection, security, andunnecessary worldly things that are rooted essentially ingreed, hatred and delusion. We will strive with our owneffort towards a destiny of happiness, peace and freedom.
2Once upon a time, therewas a general who was leading his army intobattle against an enemy ten times the size of his own. Along the way to the battle field, the troops stopped by a small temple to pray for victory.
3 The general held up a coin and told his troops: I am going to implore the gods to help us crush our enemy. If this coin lands with the heads on top, we’ll win. If it’s tails, we’ll lose. Our fate is in the hands of the gods. Let’s pray wholeheartedly.After a short prayer, the general tossed the coin. It landed with the heads on top.
4 The troops were overjoyed and went into the battle with high spirit. Just as predicted, the smaller army won the battle. 7 The soldiers were exalted. One soldier remarked, “It’s good to have the gods on our side! o one can change what the gods have determined!”Another shouted, “Our destiny is predetermined by the 8 gods!”
5“Really? Fate? Destiny?” the general laughed. The general showed his soldiers the coin – BOTH SIDES OF IT WERE HEADS! General 9 End of Story May The World Be Free From Wars Which Bring Untold Suffering To Many. With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin 10 For Reflections
6 One’s destiny is not fixed or decided by the gods or ‘Fate’.One’s destiny lies within one’s own hands. The Law of Cause and Effect reigns supreme – the present is conditioned to a good extent by the past. 12The future is uncertain and not fixed – causes and conditions from the past and present do influence the future. What we do NOW is of utmost importance.
7 The outcome of a deed or action depends on various factors and conditions… one of the most important being one’s state of mind/attitude … concentration, mindfulness, confidence and other positive qualities of the mind. ‘IF WE THI K WE CA , WE CA ’ is certainly a good attitude to cultivate. The End* “You are the master of your own destiny. Use yourstrengths well. They are the keys to your destiny andyour success in life. Once you know yourself and takeaction to realize your dreams, you can unlock thedoors to your own potential.” eil Somerville* “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter ofchoice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thingto be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan
2 16 Favorite Contentment Quotes 8Some years ago, I received by email a short story with avery good moral message of simplicity and contentment. Ireproduce the short story six, I used to some editing: Ever since I was a child of here with ponder on the“An American businessman exist a Harvard MBA watched tremendous disparities that with in human conditions. Ita Mexican fisherman unload Ihis small catch andfish at a was later on in my life, when started to learn of practisesmall Dhammavillage. The businessman then asked why he the coastal that some light was shed on thesedidnt stay out issues. and catch more fish. The Mexican said philosophical longer Some years ago, I did a Power Pointhe had enough to support his familys immediate me when I presentation based on the thoughts that puzzled needs. The was young. The objective was to help make us reflect onrest of his time he spent with his wife and kids and playinghis guitar and taking life easy.are, The Four Noble Truths, the Dhamma – the Way things The businessman told him,“You Five Universal Orders, The Law you Cause and Effect, The should spend more time fishing; of could then buy amuch biggerRebirth, The Six Realmswould have a fleet of Kamma and boat. Eventually you etc.fishing boats. You would needrealization of these Dhamma With understanding and some no middleman but sell yourbig catch directly toto live in righteousness,Why, you could points we can learn processing factories. harmony andexpand your business andthe Naturala cannery in ew York peace in accordance with even own Laws. A life that is lived meaningfully within oneself and alsoCity. Your enterprise would reach out far and wide.”The fisherman asked,would be long would it life. serving those in need, “How a most worthy take?” Thebusinessman replied, “Oh perhaps 15 – 20 years. Youwould make millions and then you could retire and live asimple, happy life in a small village. Life would be so easyliving with your wife and playing with little kids in such acarefree way. You could also enjoy your guitar playing.”The Mexican fisherman was amused and smiled contentedlyat the businessman. He said, "Isnt that what Im doingright now?"Today, we see so many people caught up in the game ofchasing for more and more material wealth, status andpower, thinking that somewhere, sometime in the future,they would then attain the pleasure, happiness and peacethey yearn for. They forget that real happiness and peace areattained in the NOW, living a simple and contented life.
9 16 Favorite We tend to forget that happiness doesnt come as a result of getting something we dont have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Frederick Keonig Contentment is natural wealth,luxury is artificial poverty. Socrates
10 Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy. Lao Tzu There is no end of craving. Hencecontentment alone is the best way tohappiness. Therefore,acquire contentment. Swami Sivananda Contentment is a pearl of great price, and whoever procures it at the expense of ten thousand desires makes a wise and a happy purchase. John Balguy
11 Man falls from the pursuit of the ideal of plan living and highthinking the moment he wants to multiply his daily wants. Manshappiness really lies in contentment. Mohandas Gandhi Riches are not from an abundance of worldly goods, but from a contented mind. Muhammad Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have. Unknown
12 The secret of contentment is knowing how to enjoy what you have, and to be able to lose all desire for things beyond your reach. Lin YutangContent makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor. Benjamin Franklin 11 If you are content, you have enough to live comfortably. Plautus
13 My crown is in my heart, not on my head, Nor decked with diamonds and Indian stones, Nor to be seen: My crown is called content: A crown it is, that seldom kings enjoy. William Shakespeare When we cannot find contentment in ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.La Rochefoucauld, Francois De The greatest wealth is to livecontent with little,for there is never want where the mind is satisfied. Lucretius
14 It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. Seneca Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both,and you wont have to hunt for happiness. William E. Gladstone The End May you find contentment in the mind 18
3 Coping With Stress 15I have come to know that, according to a world healthreport, the main health problem by the year 2020 will bemental illness, particularly mental depression. It is an ironythat, despite all our great scientific achievements andtechnological was a child of six, I used hasponder become Ever since I advancements, mankind to not on thehappier and more peaceful in exist in humanofconditions. It tremendous disparities that the mind. One my Dhammafriends, a on in my life, when I that theto learn and cases of was later psychiatrist told me started number of practisepeople with psychological problems and shed on these the Dhamma that some light was mental illnesseslike schizophrenia, depression, neurosis did a other mental philosophical issues. Some years ago, I and Power Pointdisorders seems to on on the rise and they strike more and presentation based be the thoughts that puzzled me when Imore young. The people inwas to help make us reflect on was younger objective their twenties and thirties.Stress appears the be one of are, The Four Noble Truths, the Dhamma – to Way things the chief factors triggeringmental illnesses and Orders, The Law of and this isEffect, The Five Universal health problems Cause and evenaffectingand Rebirth, The Sixhave a friend living in Kuala Kamma young children. I Realms etc.Lumpur whose son, a primary school student once sufferedfrom very severe gastroenteritis problems. The parentsbrought him to consult a prominent gastroenteritis specialist.The doctor told my friend that the causative factor for thechild’s terrible medical condition was stress and somethinggot to be done about this. The poor young child was leadinga most stressful life in a well-known vernacular school. Hehad to leave home for school early in the morning and couldonly return home past 6 in the evening. He had to cope withlots of school and homework, additional classes and manyextracurricular activities. Not all young children can take thestress and demands of a life like this.When the child was taken out of the school and placed in aprivate school where there was little pressure, his medicalproblems were solved and no medication was then needed.Dhamma learning and practice will certainly also help onecope with the many stresses and problems of modern living.
16 1 Develop Right Views• The way we see things and our attitude are very important in determining how prone we are towards stress. Understand important things such as these : Nothing remains unchanged. Nobody is perfect. Nothing is perfect. There will be always degrees of unsatisfactoriness, conflict, problems and pain. We can’t always get the things we want; sometimes things we don’t want do fall upon us.• Right Views certainly will help us face up with the stresses and pressures of modern life. 2
17 No two individuals are the same and they do not have the same DON’T SET capabilities, talents andUNREALISTIC potentialities. Targeting goals GOALS which are beyond us will set undue stress upon ourselves. Eliminate over-ambition and unrealistic expectations. Having set realistic goals, we just need to do our best. It does not matter if not all goals can be realized. It is not the end of things. We can always try again. 3 As long as we do our best to realize our potential, what others achieve or attain should not worry or trouble us. In fact, all feelings of jealousy, envy and STOP enmity are indeed stressful. It would be very good and positiveCOMPARING if we can rejoice at the success WITH of others. Learn to share with OTHERS them their joys of success. If we get inspiration from others’ success and achievements , then it is positive. 4
18 LEARN TO It is a fact of life that sometimes ACCEPT we meet with things we don’t want and don’t meet with thingsINEVITABLE we want. Everybody THINGS experiences this. Learn to accept things more wisely, with calmness and equanimity. Of course, this takes practice and constant reflection. Our thinking, reactions and attitudes don’t just change overnight. Have patience – allow time for our wisdom to grow and develop. 5 Make Decisions When You Need To Indecisiveness very often leads to states of tension--anxiety , restlessness, insomnia and other problems can set in. Have the courage to decide after having considered all aspects of the issue or problem, the pros and cons. Of course, there is always an element of uncertainty and we may err. Take that decision and be with it ! What is the worst scenario ? We make a mistake. So what ? We can perhaps learn a valuable lesson of life and we can rise again ! 6
19 No one is free from problems.Faced with a problem, take time THINK to think and analyze the PROBLEMS problem through. What is the THROUGH actual problem ? What are the causes of this problem ? What steps can I or should I take to resolve the problem ?Having come out with a strategy or plan, then we must ensurethat we ourselves implement or execute the plan. 7We can land ourselves into a realmess and get stressed if we don’t care to plan and organize the PLAN things we do. More mishaps, AND accidents and error are liable to ORGANIZE occur bringing regret, remorseand tension. When we learn to bemore neat, orderly, systematic andorganized , our work environment becomes better and our mental states improve. 8
20 Don’t rush, hurry and worry. TAKE ONE The mind cannot handle so THINGmany things at one go. Faced with many tasks at hand, AT A TIMElearn to do or take one thingat a time and doing that thing mindfully is important. Toomany people get stressed up because they try to do too many things at one time. Remember : Even supercomputers can and do break down. 9 9 Procrastinating things and doing things at the last moment generate unnecessary stress. We tense up if we have to work against the clock to meetdeadlines. Our effectiveness and efficiency can slide and our physical and mental AVOID health can be adversely PROCRASTINATION affected. Learn to schedule your time and work .Procrastination is a bad habit that needs to be got rid of. 10 10
21 When we are faced withproblems that we cannot DON’ DON’Tresolve, it is good to talk BOTTLE UP things over with our parents, teachers, FEELINGS friends and counselors. No man is an island. Sometimes we need to open up or get the loadoff our chests. We must learn to let go negative thoughts and feelingsthat weigh us down. Our minds will then become clear and our hearts light. 11 REST ADEQUATELY We are not machines. After hours of work orstudy we need breaks or rests. The body that is weary or exhausted and the mind that isfatigued cannot function properly or efficiently. A study program or schedule must incorporateinto it periods of rest. Rest allows the body and mind to be recharged and be ready to take on the coming tasks and challenges. 12
22 EXERCISE REGULARLYPhysical exercises are indeed great stress relievers. Be it walking, jogging, swimming or playing a game, a work-out can work wonders to make us feel fresh, alert, energetic and positive. People in sedentary jobs or students who do long hours of academic study in particularneed to do physical exercises regularly tomaintain their physical and mental health. 13HAVE RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES AND HOBBIES All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. How very true this is ! There is always a time for play no matter how busy we are. Take that holiday that you need and pursue that hobby you have always wanted. Stop making that excuse “No Time” when in actual fact we want to win that ‘Rat Race’ and just cannot let go. Beware ! There is a heavy price to pay. We may be stressed out of 14 action.
23 TAKE A BALANCED DIET Nutrition plays an important part for our physical and mental health. Rememberthe saying, “Health is more important than wealth.” When we fall sick , oftentimes we feel down, upset and depressed. Wehave to ensure that we take regular meals following sound nutritional principles. Beware of fatty, sugary and junk food . HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR If we develop a sense of humor, we can learn not to take things too seriously. This can greatly help to reduce tension. Laughter is indeed a tremendous stress antidote. Enjoyyourself reading a good humor book , watching a comedy movie or video and cracking jokes with your friends. You will be surprised that indeed “Laughter is the best Medicine for many an ‘illness’. 16
24 LEND A HELPING HAND Arnold Bennett once said, “ The best cure for worry, depression, melancholy, brooding, is to go deliberately forth and try to lift with one’s sympathy, the gloom of somebody else.” A reaching out to others in need reduces self- centeredness. The more we cut the ‘self’ the lessstress the self can feel. A great sense of peace andhappiness has come to many who devote their lives in selfless charity work for others. 17 THINK GOOD THOUGHTS Negative thoughts that arise in our minds should be constantly watched and cast out. They bring us down. Thoughts of greed, attachment should be replaced by generosity, charity; anger, aversion, ill-will by love and compassion. The habit of wishing others well and making positive affirmations such as I am happy, I am peaceful, I can succeed, I am well and healthy and so on can go a long way to improve our mental health. 18
25 PRACTICE RELAXATION TECHNIQUES From time to time and particularly when we feel stressed or pressured, the practice of good relaxation techniques can help greatly. Learn to watch your breath ; take deep breaths and exhaleslowly. Listening to music, reading, practicing Yoga, Tai Chi and so on are wonderful relaxationtechniques . Meditation and visualization techniques where we picture ourselves relaxed in peaceful, serene and beautiful places like a beach, garden or a mountain are proven methods to reduce stress. 19 May You Be Free From All Stress When You REALIZE What Is Best! With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin 20
26 4 o Charge…A Lesson To Ponder In LifeOn ‘gratitude The Buddha ( in Angutara Nikaya 2.31 – 32 )once said, "I tell you, monks, there are two people who arenot easy to repay. Which two? Your mother and father.Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder andyour father Ion theaother shoulder I used to ponder onwere Ever since was child of six, for 100 years, and theto look afterdisparities anointing, massaging, conditions. It tremendous them by that exist in human bathing, andrubbing theirin my life, when I started defecate and practise was later on limbs, and they were to to learn and urinateright Dhamma that some light you would not in that the there [on your shoulders], was shed on theseway pay or repay your parents…Why is did a Power Point philosophical issues. Some years ago, I that? Mother andfather do much for on thechildren. They puzzled me when I presentation based their thoughts that care for them, theynourish them, they introduceto them make this reflect on was young. The objective was help to us world.”Today in this ratthe Way things are,world, we read or Truths, the Dhamma – race, materialistic The Four Noble hear ofan increasing numberOrders, The Law of Causeor abandon The Five Universal of children who neglect and Effect,their aged parents. Some Six Realmsyear, a local Buddhist Kamma and Rebirth, The time last etc.monk asked me to put up on our notice board a newspapercutting of a terrible case of abandoned parents in Malaysia.The aged parents had transferred all their property andpossessions to their married son who subsequentlyabandoned them; the poor aged parents had to seek shelteron the ground area of an old flat not inhabited by residents.Shocking, but true. I knew of a family consisting of the oldmother who had six grown-up children. The father had diedsome years earlier. Sad to say, the aged mother was ‘kicked’around like a football from one child to another. Thechildren considered the mother a real burden and were mostunwilling to support or look after her. None wanted to givefinancial support. I tried to speak to some of the children butit was no easy task. They had all sorts of excuses.Reluctantly, some of the children ‘rotated’ the motherbetween their homes. Before long, the poor miserable anddejected mother passed away. Talk about filial piety…
O CHARGE A Lesson To Ponder In Life A mother was fixing supper for the family.Her little son came running in quite excitedly. He handed her a paper with words of writing. The mother took the paper and started reading.
The boy had written in big handwriting : “$2 for doing the dish washing. $ 1 for making my bed this week . For running errands, $ 2 I seek . $ 2 for sweeping the floor . My other friendsasked for much more .
$ 5 for my good report card , Mummy ! Clearing our garden - $ 3 is due for me. So Mummy, you can see very clearly You owe me quite a big sum of money.”The mother looked at him standing there expectantly.A thousand memories flashed through her mind instantly.
She picked up the paper and turned it over. The words she wrote would make you think and ponder. For the 9 months I carried you, growing inside me, O CHARGE.For the nights I satwith you, doctored you, prayed foryou, O CHARGE.
For the time and the tears, And the cost through the years, O CHARGE.For the nights filled withdread, and theworries ahead, O CHARGE. For advice and knowledge and the cost of your College, O CHARGE.
For the toys, food and clothes and for wiping your nose, O CHARGE.Son, when you add it all up, the full cost of my LOVE is , O CHARGE.” CHARGE.” When the boy finished reading, tears welled in his eyes. He realized one lesson in life – Love bears no Price.
To his mother, he said, “I sure do love you, Mummy. I’m sorry.”Then he took the pen and in big letters, he wrote“ALL PAID FULLY.” Brothers and Sisters : There’re more things There’ than just MO EY To live life meaningfully and joyously. The End May You Be Well And Happy ! With Metta, Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin
34 5 12 Causes Of DownfallWhen we meet with misfortune or any negative happening,we tend to think that the outside world or other people arethe causes. We often forget that when we extend out the Ever since I was a child of six, I used to ponder on ourpointer finger to blamethat exist in human conditions. It tremendous disparities others, three fingers are pointingright later on in my Oftentimes,I our ‘ill-luck’ orand practise was at ourselves. life, when started to learn downfall isdue to our own doing…sheer laziness, greed, heedlessness, the Dhamma that some light was shed on theseunwholesome issues. Some years vices I sucha as smoking, philosophical sensual pursuits, ago, did Power Pointdrinking, gambling on the thoughts that puzzled me our past presentation based and other bad habits. Of course, when Ikamma playsThe objective was to help make uslife. People was young. a part in determining our present reflect on the Dhamma – the Way things are, talents, Noble status,come into the world with differentThe Four wealth,Truths,health conditions and so on. But this Cause and Effect, The Five Universal Orders, The Law of is no excuse tocomplainand Rebirth, The Six Realms etc. for our lives and Kamma and lament. We are responsiblethe things we do now can and will change the Dhamma With understanding and some realization of these course ofthings. Ajahn Brahmavamso gives a very good analogy of points we can learn to live in righteousness, harmony andthe two women out withbakeNatural Laws. first woman, a peace in accordance to the a cake. Thewealthy one, lived all the good things to bake the cake: the A life that is has meaningfully within oneself and alsobest flour, butter, refined sugar, most worthy life. serving those in need, would be a excellent fruits and otheringredients. But this woman is careless and has a badattitude; she messes up the recipe, does a sloppy baking andher cake turns out horrible despite having all the bestingredients and kitchen conditions. On the other hand, thesecond woman, coming from a poor background has tomake do with second - rate ingredients for her cakebaking… coarse flour, rough sugar, mediocre fruits andcheap butter; she just has a simple oven. She sieves andsuns the flour; she pounds the sugar and puts in lots ofeffort, care and love in baking the cake. Her cake turns outto be a most wonderful one! The message is clear. We muststop blaming external factors for our sorry state of affairsand failure. Dhamma learning and practice entail patience,determination and effort. Only then will we see and enjoythe fruits when they ripen in due course of time.
Dhamrma Must Have! 1PARABHAVA SUTTA The Buddha’s Discourse on DOWNFALL The 1st Cause of Downfall Easily known is the progressive one, Dhamma easily known he who declines. He who loves Dharma progresses; he who is averse to it, declines.
The 2nd Cause of Downfall The wicked are dear to him, with the virtuous he finds no delight, he prefers the creed of the wicked. The 3rd Cause of Downfall Being fond of sleep, fond of company, indolent, lazy and irritable The 4th Cause of DownfallThough being well-to-do, not to support father and mother who are old and past their youth
The 5th Cause of Downfall To deceive by falsehood a brahmin or ascetic or any other mendicant The 6th Cause of DownfallTo have much wealth and ample gold and food, but to enjoy ones luxuries alone The 7th Cause of Downfall To be proud of birth, of wealth or clan, and to despise ones own kinsmen
The 8th Cause of Downfall To be a rake, a drunkard, a gambler, and to squander all one earns The 9th Cause of Downfall Not to be contented with ones own wife, and to be seen with harlots and the wives of others The 10th Cause of DownfallBeing past ones youth, to take a young wifeand to be unable to sleep for jealousy of her
The 11th Cause of Downfall To place in authority a woman given to drink and squandering, or a man of a like behaviour The 12th Cause of Downfall To be of noble birth, Must with vast be in Charge ambition and of slender means, and to crave for rulershipThe End Unskillful speech, action and mind will cause a person to decline. With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin
40 6 Twisted Thinking And Mental Suffering Our local Buddhist Association is non-sectarian; what is most important is the teaching and promotion of the Buddha-Dhamma, be it in the Theravada, Mahayana or Vajarana traditions. I have good Dhamma friends in theEver since I was aChanting, Sutta six, I and Chinese Chanting, Pali child of Classes usedtopondeonthtremendous the early 1990s, there were some Meditation Group. In disparities that exist in humanconditions. It was later on in my life, whenthe twisted and small nagging problems arising out of I started to learnand practise the Dhamma that some light of the different deluded thinking of some members was shed on thesephilosophicala Committee Member, Iago, I did a Power groups. As issues. Some years noticed uncalled forPointpresentation based‘Chinese thoughts that puzzled me remarks such as: “The on the Soldiers’ only chant andwhen I was young. The“The ‘English to help make us don’t help much”; objective was Soldiers’ arereflect on the think they –know Waythe Dhamma”; “The proud…they Dhamma the all things are, The FourNoble Truths, The Fiveother than sitting stillThe Law of meditators do nothing Universal Orders, like stoneCause and EffectJust because these critics might have statues” etc.Kamma and Rebirth,individuals with personal traits not to encountered some The Six Realms etc. their liking, they branded the whole group in a bad light. They failed to see the good points of other people. “It’s easy to see the faults of others but one’s own, one hides like a fowler in disguise.” This is a saying from the Buddha in The Dhammapada …how very true it is! Deluded or twisted thinking needs to be checked and corrected; it can bring much conflict and relationship problems. Much Dukkha arises in the person and also others. Twisted thinking oftentimes can be traced to poor habitual conditioning at an earlier age or in previous lives, ego, jealousy, ill-will, anger, enmity and a sheer lack of understanding and practice of Dhamma to see the way things really are. Through the practice of selfless charity, loving-kindness, Dhamma study and reflection and Vipassana meditation, one can gradually gain insight and one’s thinking becomes clearer and wiser and the heart grows to be more compassionate.
James Allen James Allen# 1 Thinking, regretting orfeeling guilty about the past. Reflection Train the mind to be more mindful of the Present. GUILT
# 2 Speculating and worrying about things in the Future. Reflection Watch the mind when it runs into the Future. Bring it back.# 3 Thinking of and seeing only the ‘black spots (faults ) of another and failing to see his ‘white spots’ FALLpoints) Abstracts (good 2006 Reflection In every ‘bad’ person there is Arial Font Family some good and in every ‘good’ person there is some bad. # 4 Reacting negatively to the criticisms or words of others. Reflection Why should one let others control one’s inner mental peace?
# 5 Thinking of and dwelling upon one’s mistakes or points of weakness. Reflection Acknowledge the mistakes, learn from them and move on. Let go of the negative thoughts. # 6 Expecting only positive things to happen all the time. Reflection Gain and loss, pleasure andpain, praise and blame, fame and dishonor are inevitable. # 7 Always thinking ‘Should be like this’, ‘shouldn’t be like that’, ‘I can’t accept this’. Reflection Acceptance of things positively reduces mental suffering. Learn to forgive and let go.
# 8 Labeling another as ‘bad’, ‘foolish’, ‘hateful’, ‘problematic’ Reflection It’s not the person who is ‘bad’, ‘foolish’ or ‘proud’ but it is his unskillful action. Cultivate forgiveness.# 9 Thinking centered on Ego and Self- interest ReflectionLet us learn to think less of ‘I’, ‘My’ and ‘Mine’ but more of‘We’, ‘Ours’, ‘Us’ and ‘Others’. # 10 Thinking JEALOUS jealous thoughts of others’ success and happiness. ReflectionLet us practice sympathetic or altruistic joy rejoicing at the happiness of others.
# 11 Thoughts of unreasonably highexpectations of people or things Reflection Thoughts of Compassion and Contentment bring peace and joy to the mind # 12 Always thinking and desiring things and having little spirit of charity Reflection Giving and Generosity will lead to spiritual joy and peace.The End Views, Thoughts and Aspirations of the Right Kind will lead to Happiness and Peace of Mind With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin
7 The Farmer’s Donkey 46 The life story of Helen Keller ( 1880 – 1968 ) is a most inspiringone. At the age of 19 months, she contracted an illness that lefther deaf and I was Despite all the oddsused obstacles she faced, Ever since blind. a child of six, I and to ponder on theshe rose above all the hardship and challenges to become It tremendous disparities that exist in human conditions. aprolific Americanmy life, awhen I started to learn and practise was later on in author, political activist and lecturer. She wasthe first deaf and blind person tolight a was shed Arts degree. the Dhamma that some earn Bachelor of on theseThere is a saying, “Quitters never win; winners never quit.” There philosophical issues. Some years ago, I did a Power Pointis a good life lesson we can learn from this. When faced with presentation based on the thoughts that puzzled me when Iproblems, obstructions and setbacks, many of us give up what weset out to do. We lament over was ‘bad luck’ or make reflect on was young. The objective our to help make us all sorts ofexcuses and rationalizationthings are, our failure. Noble Truths, the Dhamma – the Way to justify The Four Someone oncesaid, “Failure is not failure; failure is failing to Cause after Effect, The Five Universal Orders, The Law of get up and a fall.” Kamma A Edison, an American inventor, held more than 1,000 Thomas and Rebirth, The Six Realms etc.patents for inventions andhis name. Among his many quotes was With understanding in some realization of these Dhammathis: “I have notlearn to I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t points we can failed. live in righteousness, harmony andwork.” in accordance with the Natural Laws. peace He often commented that he started work where the lastman left off. lived meaningfully within oneself and also and A life that is Such an attitude of patience, determinationperseverance should be would be aby us. worthy life. thinking serving those in need, cultivated most His positivewas truly remarkable. Obstacles did not sink him into defeat.Over the last 24 years at our local Buddhist Association, I haveseen too many of our members and devotees slacken or giving upin their practice of Dhamma, particularly in outreach work, suttaor Dhamma study and meditation. Intellectually, many of usknow the importance and urgency of walking with diligence thespiritual path; we even voice out: ‘Life is uncertain; death iscertain. The Buddha urged us to strive on diligently withmindfulness.’ But the irony is that we do not find ourselvespracticing and sacrificing. We are ever so busy and caught up insensual pursuits. Our mind, so defiled with ego and delusion, is sogood in giving excuses. “Oh, I can never meditate.” ( This isdangerous negative conditioning!) “Oh, I am sorry…I am toobusy to help in the many Dana services and outreach work.” ( Butwe do find time for shopping, going for tours, watching TV forhours, hooked on the Internet, making money and so on. ) Mara isindeed ‘laughing’ at his conquests! We need to reflect seriously.
One day a farmers donkey fell down into awell. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out a way to get him out. Finally the farmer decided it was probably impossible and the animal was old and the well was dry anyway, so it just wasnt worth it to try and retrieve the donkey.
So the farmer asked his neighbors to comeover and help him cover up the well. They all grabbed shovels and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, when the donkey realized what was happening he cried horribly. Then, to everyones amazement, he quieted down and let out some happy brays. A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well to see what was happening and was astonished at what he saw.
With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was shaking it off and taking a step up. (Shifting)As the farmers neighbors continued to shoveldirt on top of the animal, he continued to shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, toeveryones amazement, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off! Moral: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.
Moral : Every adversity can be turned into a stepping stone. The way to get out of the deepest well is by never giving up but by shaking yourself off and taking a step up. Moral : In life, what happens to you isnt nearly as important as what you do about it or how you react to the happening. The EndIn the face of conflict and adversity,may we respond andact calmly and wisely. With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin
8 14 Steps To Conquer The Worry Habit 51Most people are affected by anxiety, worry or fear. Someworry household bills of all and one need to pay monthly. hefty about a thousand sorts we things…their health,studies, family, career, finance, unnecessary commitments, and When we are all burdened with relationships, sicknesses we have little time for so may important things that really matter indeath. Worry has driven many people to insomnia, illnesses, life – learning about and developing the mind, showing kindnessdepression and even suicide.the needy,anxiety and fear have to others, rendering services to Worry, spending time with ourtheir ones and cultivating our spirituality. following factors: loved roots in one or more of the* A wrong habitual if they will notconditioning since young We lead our lives as thinking and end; we fail to realize that* Being attacheddeath is certain. life is uncertain and to wealth, possessions and loved ones* Having the wrong attitude andtremendous.life’s meaning The gratitude we owe our parents is views of It’s indeed sad* Amany children abandon their parentsfear of losing attention that strong sense of ego leading to or give little name orpower to their parents. Reason? They are in deep ‘busy-ness’. and care* Having and gratitude are among the virtues we need to Filial piety an untrained or uncultivated mind that oftendwells if the past or projects itself and the future practice in we wish to realize true happinessinto peace.* Being too self-centered and lacking in a concern forothers’ welfare; there is little generosity and outreach work* Lack of spiritual development; there is strong delusionI have found the following bits of advice and thoughtsuseful in helping one to overcome anxiety, worry and fear:1 Why worry? It saps your energy. If there is a problem andsomething can be done about it, then why worry? If nothingcan be done about it, then why worry? The problem willcome and go and the wise one embraces it peacefully.2 othing is permanent; everything comes to pass, so whyworry? What’s the worst scenario? Death? Well, everyoneof us has to die one day and we will be reborn again!3 Worry arises when there is negative speculative thinkingabout the future. The mind has to be trained to bring it moreto the OW. Let go of the past; do not let your mind getsucked into the future. The future is uncertain for all.The late Ven. Dr K. Sri Dhammananda, wrote a most usefulbook “Why Worry!” (‘Practical advice from the Buddhistteachings to live your life without stress and worry’)
14 STEPS TO CONQUER THE WORRY HABIT 1Keep busy, so your mind doesn’t havetime to think about worrisome things. Don’t let small things upset you - they aren’t worth it
Accept the inevitable - don’t try to fight or change itConsider the real importance of the thingyou are about to worry about – nothing is certain in life we can’t be sure of the future Apply these common expressions - Don’t cry over spilt milk - Don’t saw sawdust - What’s done is done
Have the Right View and Attitude- There are ups and downs in life - Nothing is permanent- Remember: ‘This too will pass’ Count Your Blessings – not your troublesForget yourself by becoming more interested in others
Learn and practice some good relaxation techniques Associate with good, wise and positive friends Spend more time to reach out to others in need
Replace any negative thoughts with positive ones Do not allow your mind to dwell in the past or future. Be Present. Develop and practice mindfulness –observe mental states that arise and fall
The End DON’ DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY STAY HEALTHY With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin 16* Do not anticipate trouble or worry about whatmay never happen. Keep in the sunlight. ~Benjamin Franklin* That the birds of worry and care fly over yourhead, this you cannot change, but that they buildnests in your hair, this you can prevent. ~Chinese Proverb* There are two days in the week about which andupon which I never worry... Yesterday andTomorrow. ~Robert Jones Burdette* Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry inthe daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.~Author Unknown
9 Reflections On Gratitude 58Many of us have given some help to a person in need. Weshould not expect anything in return. On the other hand, it isthe duty of the receiver to have gratitude. Gratitude is animportant virtue to be taught and inculcated in the young fortheir good character and self-developmentto ponder on the Ever since I was a child of six, I used as they grow up.During my teaching years, I exist in human conditions. It tremendous disparities that stood as a financial guarantorfor a later on in my life, when Iwho applied for and practise was number of poor students started to learn scholarships the Dhamma that some light was shed on theseor loans to help them further their tertiary education.In the early 1980s, I Some years ago, Ipoor a Power in my philosophical issues. had a bright but did student Pointclass. I was the Form teacher. Afterthat puzzled he went on presentation based on the thoughts his STPM, me when Ito a local university. One evening,help make us phone call was young. The objective was to I received a reflect onfrom him telling me ofthingsfinancial difficulties and his the Dhamma – the Way his are, The Four Noble Truths,intention to quit the university. He had already and Effect, The Five Universal Orders, The Law of Cause completedthe first year Rebirth, The Six Realmsasked him to see me at Kamma and with excellent results. I etc.my home. He came the following day and I helped him toapply for a state study loan. His application was successful;he got a full loan and I stood as a guarantor for him. Soeverything seemed to turn out well; I got no news or contactfrom the student for four years or so. I gathered from acouple of his Form six classmates that he had graduatedwith brilliant results and was then working in a goodmanagerial position in a private company in a big city.A few years after the student had graduated and worked, Istarted getting letters from the state governmentlegal officers asking that I settled the loan as a guarantor for thestudent had not done any repaying and he could not be traced. Hishome address had been changed; I too could not trace him. Well,I thought I had no choice but to pay the owed amount.Fortunately, one day I chanced upon a classmate of the studentand managed to get the contact of the ‘errant’ student. Throughphone and letters, I eventually made him see that it was his moralresponsibility to settle the loan. I did not say he had no gratitude.
Reflections On GRATITUDEAt times our own light goes out and is rekindled by aspark from another person. Each of us has cause tothink with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the Albert Schweitzer flame within us. One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much Carl Jung necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.
A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. CiceroIf you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man . Mark TwainLets be grateful for those whogive us happiness; they are thecharming gardeners who make our soul bloom. Marcel Proust
Reflect upon your presentblessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some. Charles DickensMany times a day I realize how much myown life is built on the labors of myfellowmen, and how earnestly I must exertmyself in order to give in return as muchas I have received. Albert Einstein Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect. Rousseau
o one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude. Alfred orth Whitehead "Gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people" Samuel Johnson One can never pay in gratitude; one can onlypay "in kind" somewhere else in life.Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that thankfulness is indeed a virtue. William John Bennett It is anothers The End fault if he be ungrateful, but it is mine if I do not give. To find one thankful man, I will oblige a great many that are not so. Seneca* "Good men and bad men differ radically. Bad mennever appreciate kindness shown them, but wise menappreciate and are grateful. Wise men try to expresstheir appreciation and gratitude by some return ofkindness, not only to their benefactor, but toeveryone else." The Buddha* "Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didntlearn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if wedidnt learn a little, at least we didnt get sick, and ifwe got sick, at least we didnt die; so, let us all bethankful." The Buddha
10 Timeless TIME Quotes 64One of the reasons I dread attending a wedding invitationdinner is the utter lack of respect for people’s time. Rarelydo wedding Idinners start punctually used to what is printed Ever since was a child of six, I despite ponder on thein the invitation card. Guests exist in human conditions. as tremendous disparities that are made to wait for as long Itone to two hours before when I started to learn and practise was later on in my life, the first dish is served. Many sufferthe wait in silence, some light was shed on these the Dhamma that being unable to even carry outmeaningful conversations with friends I did asame table as philosophical issues. Some years ago, in the Power Point presentation based on the thoughts that puzzled me when Ithe karaoke blasts away in an atmosphere of din and dis-ease. young. The objective was could be put to better use. was Imagine the time wasted to help make us reflect onCertain people have the bad habit of notFour Noble Truths, the Dhamma – the Way things are, The being punctual forany functions or programs. Over the yearsCause and Effect, The Five Universal Orders, The Law of of Dhammadutawork at our Rebirth, The Six Realms etc. same members Kamma and Association, I noticed that theand students are habitually late for Dhammathese Dhamma With understanding and some realization of talks, chanting points we can learn to live in righteousness, harmony andor meditation, meetings, classes and other activities. Isn’t itan irony that, on one with the Naturalteachings emphasize on peace in accordance hand Dhamma Laws.being mindful and meaningfully within oneself and also yet A life that is lived having consideration for others, and‘practitioners’ in need, would be a most worthy life. on time? serving those are unmindful about being alwaysBad habits are indeed difficult to eradicate but that is noexcuse. Determination, discipline and making strongresolutions would be able to rid ourselves of bad habits.In my community guidance classes, I always stress on theimportance or punctuality. Of course, I too have to set theexample and I usually would begin lessons punctuallyaccording to schedules. To me, not to do so would be ratherunfair to those who practice punctuality. Why should theywaste their time on account of mindless ones who don’tseem to have respect for the teacher or their classmates?When one values time and manages it well, one can do somany positive and constructive things that benefit oneselfand others. Good time management would also enable oneto have time for recreation, ample rest and breaks.May we realize the importance of time and use it well.
1 Time is free, but its priceless. You cantown it, but you can use it. You cant keep it, but you can spend it. Once youve lost ityou can never get it back. Harvey MacKayTime is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time. Jim Rohn
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. Carl Sandburg Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity. Henry Van DykeDont say you dont have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur,Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away. Charles Caleb Colton All that really belongs to us is time; even he who has nothing else has that. Baltasar Gracian Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can bemaintained quite unaltered through the course of hours. Mark Twain
This time, like alltimes, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. Ralph Waldo Emerson I dont think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting present. W. Somerset Maugham Ordinary people think merely of spending time. Great people think of using it. Author Unknown
It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about? Henry David Thoreau It’s how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it. Marcia Wieder Realize that now, in this moment of time, you are creating. You are creating your next moment. That is what’s real. Sara Paddison
Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever. Samuel Smiles The End He lives long that lives well; and time misspent is not lived but lost. Thomas Fuller With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin* Time is what we want most, but what we useworst. William Penn* The common man is not concerned about thepassage of time, the man of talent is driven by it.Schopenhauer* Time = life; therefore, waste your time and wasteof your life, or master your time and master yourlife. Alan Lakein
11 Right And Wrong 71During my schooldays, I used to ponder a lot on the issue ofethics and morality. What is Right and Wrong? Is there aninnatesince I was a child us six, I is absolutely right and Ever conscience telling of what used to ponder on themoral? What are the consequences human conditions. It tremendous disparities that exist in of breaching morallaws…a punishment after death? I sought answers practise was later on in my life, when I started to learn and throughbooksDhamma that some and temples. I shedtaught about the and visiting churches light was was on thesesin and the laws of a Some years ago, I did a Power would philosophical issues. supreme heavenly Being who Pointjudge us afterbased on the thoughts that puzzled me Heaven presentation death…whether we would be sent to when Ior Hell in accordance with the sins help make us reflectThe was young. The objective was to we have committed. onideaDhamma – theone life and then be eternally rewarded in the of living just Way things are, The Four Noble Truths,Heaven or condemnedOrders, The Law of Cause and Effect, The Five Universal to everlasting Hell, to me, was not atall logical, reasonableThejust. It was only when I came upon Kamma and Rebirth, or Six Realms etc.the Dhamma, with and some realization of these effect and With understanding clear teachings on cause, Dhammaconditions, can learn to live in righteousness, harmony and points we the Five Universal Orders, Kamma, rebirth anddependent origination thatthe Natural Laws. about ethics and peace in accordance with all my questionsmorality were resolved. In the Kalama Sutta, and also my A life that is lived meaningfully within oneself one offavorite those in need, would be a most worthy life. serving Buddhist Discourses, the Buddha said, “When youknow for yourselves that, These qualities are unskillful;these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities arecriticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted andcarried out, lead to harm and to suffering — then youshould abandon them. When you know for yourselves that,These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless;these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, whenadopted and carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness— then you should enter and remain in them.”Any action of the mind, body or speech which is rooted ingreed, attachment, ill-will, anger, hatred, ego and delusionis unwholesome and would have its potential negativeeffects. Actions motivated by generosity, a letting go, love,kindness, compassion and wisdom would be wholesome andwould bear positive fruits in this life or lives to come.
RIGHT and WRONG When a Zen Master held a longMeditation Retreat, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. One day, one of the pupils was caught stealing by the other pupils.
The matter was reported to the Master with the request that the culprit be expelled. The Zen Master chose to ignore the case. The pupils were very disappointed. ot long later, the same pupil was caught in a similar act of stealing. BAG
This angered the other pupils very much. They drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating thatotherwise they would all leave altogether. When the Master had read the petition, he called everyone before him. “You are wise brothers,” he told them. “You know what is Right and what is Wrong.”
“You may go somewhere else to study if you wish,” the Master continued, “but this poor brother does noteven know Right from Wrong. Who will teach him if Ido not. I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave.” Zen Master A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished. All the other pupils chose to stay on with theZen Master. They had realized a good degree of Compassion and Wisdom. Zen Master Reflection 1 Great Spiritual Masters have real Compassion and Wisdom. Learn and grow from them.
Reflection 2Every sentient being in Samsara has the potential to become a Buddha…when he realizes his defilements and takes steps to remove them. Reflection 3 In walking the Spiritual Path, one needs to develop a non-judgmental, forgiving and compassionate heart. o one is a ‘sinner’ beyond redemption…only his actions may be foolish, unskillful or unwholesome. Reflection 4 Great Dhamma teachers practise patience, understanding, compassion and wisdom.
Reflection 5 Harbouring aversion, ill will, anger, hatred and enmity weakens one’s mind. The End With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin* Compassion is the basis of morality.Arthur Schopenhauer* For children to take morality seriously they mustbe in the presence of adults who take moralityseriously. And with their own eyes they must seeadults take morality seriously.William Bennett* I reject any religious doctrine that does not appealto reason and is in conflict with morality.Mohandas Gandhi* Teach a child what is wise, that is morality. Teachhim what is wise and beautiful, that is religion!Thomas Huxley* The true meaning of religion is thus, not simplymorality, but morality touched by emotion.Matthew Arnold* Truth is certainly a branch of morality and a veryimportant one to society.Thomas Jefferson
12 A Short Course In Human Relations 78One of the important factors in the Noble Eightfold Path isRight Speech. The practice of Right Speech entails avoiding Ever since I was a child of six, I used to ponder on the* Lying* Slanderingdisparities that exist in human conditions. It tremendous was later on in my life, when I started to learn and practise* Using Harsh or Abusive speech* Gossip or Frivolous Talk light was shed on these the Dhamma that someBeing polite, issues. Some years ago, I did a Power Point philosophical courteous and using wise speech go a longway towards based on the thoughts that puzzled me whenis presentation good human relations among people. This Ivery important at objective school, at themake us reflectany was young. The home, in was to help work place or onassociation or – the Way things are, The Four Noble Truths, the Dhamma society.IThe Five case in our Orders, The Law of years ago when a recall a Universal Association many Cause and Effect,couple who were ourThe Six Realms etc. angry and refused Kamma and Rebirth, members got very With understanding and some realization of these Dhammato come to the Association anymore. I gathered from themthat one of our Committee members was very rudeand points we can learn to live in righteousness, harmony andsarcastic.accordance with the Natural Laws.Association and peace in I apologized on behalf of theexplained some Dhamma pointswithin oneself and also A life that is lived meaningfully about how people, caughtin conditioning, need, habits be a most worthy life. wrong serving those in bad would and heedlessness, usespeech thereby causing hurt to others. The victims shouldlearn to forgive and let go; the offender should regret theunskillful words, apologize and resolve to be more mindfulthe next time, putting in great care and effort to practiceRight Speech in his interaction with other people.I often come across people, from students to working adultsin Government departments and the private sector who donot seem to know the basic etiquette and courtesy expectedof a civilized and cultured person. My greetings of ‘GoodMorning’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Excuse me’ etc have many a timebeen responded with cold blank stares. Some of my studentsdo not even know how to say “Thank you” when a gift isgiven to them or when a favor is done for them. They seemto take so many things for granted or they are so ignorant.May we all be more mindful and practice Right Speech.
1The SIX most important words (1) “I Admit I Made A Mistake”The SIX most important words (2) “May You Be Well And Happy.”
The FIVE most important words (1) “You Did A Good Job.”The FIVE most important words (2) “I Am Grateful To You.”The FOUR most important words (1) “What is Your Opinion?”
The FOUR most important words (2) “Have a Good Day!”The THREE most important words (1) “I Am Sorry.”The THREE most important words (2) “Can I Help?”
The TWO most important words (1) “Thank You.”The TWO most important words (2) “Take Care.”The ONE most important word (1) “ We ”
The ONE most important word (2) “Please”The LEAST important word (1) “I”The LEAST important word (2) “My”
The End May Our Patience, Love And Understanding Grow! With Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin 16* Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart,kind speech, and a life of service and compassion arethe things which renew humanity. Buddha* The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought,sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve. Buddha* We do not need to proselytize either by our speechor by our writing. We can only do so really with ourlives. Let our lives be open books for all to study. Mahatma Gandhi* Watch your manner of speech if you wish todevelop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day byaffirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudesand your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. orman Vincent Peale
13 The A – Z of KIASU 85I was a KIASU (“Afraid to lose”) type of person during myschooldays right from my primary school until sixth form. Idid well academically…I topped in all school examinationsbut that never really gave me real happiness and peace. Mymind sincefilled with anxiety,six, I used to ponder on that Ever was I was a child of worry and fear…afraid thesomeone else would beat me intoin human conditions. It tremendous disparities that exist second place. Oh, howmuch suffering my life, when I started to prayers in practise was later on in I had to go through. The learn and templesand churches didthat help. Looking back to my schooldays, the Dhamma not some light was shed on theseIphilosophical issues. Some years ago, I did a Power Point prayed foolishly…to be number one academically. I wasoften jealous of others’ achievements and success when I presentation based on the thoughts that puzzled meand hadeven young. The objective whento help make us reflect on was been secretly pleased was others did not do well! Atthe university,– Ithe Way things wereThe Four Noble Truths, the Dhamma realized there are, others who were betterthan me academically. I slowly began of learn life lessons. The Five Universal Orders, The Law to Cause and Effect Kamma and Rebirth, The Six Realms etc.It was my ‘discovery’ of Dhamma and subsequent practiceof the Buddha’s Teachings that my life underwent a deeptransformation. My attitude towards many things changedand I began to see the intangible things that really matter ina person’s life. Understanding and practice of Buddhistteachings like Dana ( Charity ), Sila ( Morality ) andBhavana ( Meditation ) will play a key role in bringing morehappiness, contentment and peace to one’s mind. I realizedthat a KIASU type of attitude and mentality would bringone untold mental and physical suffering. On the other hand,the cultivation of spiritual qualities like generosity, service,renunciation, sympathetic joy, loving-kindness, compassion,equanimity and ‘letting go’ will bring one real peace andfreedom. Undoubtedly, walking the spiritual way of theNoble Eightfold Path poses a challenge. Temptations to fallinto the trap of materialism and sensual pursuits are great.However the price we have to pay by NOT walking the Wayis even greater. Immense Dukkha will await us.
The A – Z Of KIASU Let us reflect on how a Kiasu person is conquered by Greed, Anger and Delusion “I must Always win, win!” How much stress will this bring ?“I always Borrowbut never return!” Life’s Principles Life’…When will he ever learn?
“Wah, I have to buy because it is Cheap!”Oh my ! She is hoarding things by the heap ! “Don’t trust on’ anyone …that’s my that’ philosophy.” Ha ! He will live a life of sheer misery. “Everything I must also grab fast.” With such craving how long will he last?
“Free ! Free ! Free ! I must have all these things !” Do you know whatsuffering this brings ? “If I don’t Grab first, don’ very soon there may be no more!” You see such ‘Hungry Ghosts’ everywhere – Ghosts’ a real eyesore!“I must Help myself to everything everywhere.”Will he ever realize the need to care and share?
“I want to be FIRST in everything.” There’s a price to There’ pay – real suffering.“I can’t waste my time – I must Jump queue.”He makes others mad with such a view. “I must Keep coming back for more and more.” more.” There would bepain and suffering in store.
“I must have a life of more and more Luxury.” He cares only for himself and his family. “Don’t you seethat I Must never ever lose face?” face?” He constantlyfeeds his ego inlife’s mad race.life’ “I ever give others a helping hand.” There are more such people in every land.
“I must Outdo and Outshine everybody.” How can such a person live life peacefully ? “I only Pay out of necessity, not generosity.”Do not expect him to perform any act of charity. “I will Quarrel to make sure I am ahead.” ahead.” He wouldn’t care if wouldn’ you were alive or dead.
“I have to Rush and push to triumph in the race!” It won’t be longbefore he’s crushed he’ at this pace. “I am always Suspicious of each and everyone.” He will suffer if he wants to be SECO D TO O E.“I believe in only Taking … not giving.” Such self-centredness self- will soon see him grieving.
“Unless I get some personal benefit, forget it.” It must have been ages since the last charity he did. “I Vow that I will beTHE UMBER O E!” E!”By hook or by crook he would get this done ! “I am the Winner … I take all, I take all.” all.” When will they know there’s gain and loss, rise and fall?
“This is not enough … I must have X’TRA!” TRA!” It does not pay to be so greedy LAH! “I will YELL to get what I desire.”Life’s Lessons are what such people require. Zebras are ‘KIASU’ ‘cause KIASU’ they want to be black and white at the same time. Conflicts and problems abound ‘cause too many stress on ‘ME, MY and MI E’ ! E’
The End Peace Comes Through Wisdom And Understanding. May We All Attain Life’s Greatest Blessing. Life’ With Metta, Metta, Bro. Oh Teik Bin* Whatever we treasure for ourselves separates usfrom others; our possessions are our limitations. Rabindranath Tagore* The greatest crimes do not arise from a want offeeling for others but from an over-sensibility forourselves and an over-indulgence to our own desires. Edmund Burke* Manifest plainness, Embrace simplicity, Reduceselfishness, Have few desires. Lao Tzu* Every man must decide whether he will walk inthe light of creative altruism or in the darkness ofdestructive selfishness. Martin Luther King, Jr.* The human being who lives only for himself finallyreaps nothing but unhappiness. Selfishness corrodes.Unselfishness ennobles, satisfies. Dont put off the joyderivable from doing helpful, kindly things forothers. B. C. Forbes
14 Unconditional Love - A Story To Ponder On 96There is an increase in divorce cases; jealousies, revenge,aggression and violence, murder and other sufferings ariseout of attached and self-centered love. Much of what weknow as ‘love’ is actually conditional love or love withstrongsince I was awhich of six, I used to pondera on the Ever attachment child of course can lead to lot of tremendous disparities that exist in human conditions. Itsuffering when things do not go according to one party’sexpectations or desires. When I startedor spouseand practise was later on in my life, when a lover to learn declares hiseternal love for his partner, actually was shed in his these the Dhamma that some light embedded on heartand mind is issues. Some years ago, I did a Power Point philosophical the attachment and thought: ‘I love youprovided you based on the thoughts or you do this for me…’ presentation do not do this to me that puzzled me when IIn a young. The objective was to help makeas opposed on was Dhamma talk on the subject of Metta us reflect toconditional love, Way things are, The Four Noble Truths, the Dhamma – the Ajahn Brahmavamso, shared a veryinteresting Universal Orders, The Law of Cause and Effect, The Five hypothetical situation on what Metta really is:‘Supposeand Rebirth,aThe Six Realms etc. blessings of your Kamma you go for long retreat with thespouse. At the end of the retreat you return home to findyour spouse missing. You find a note from your spouse thatreads: Dear Darling, remember you declared your undyinglove for me and would want me to be always happy underall circumstances. Well, I have eloped with your best friend;we are now truly very happy together. Goodbye. Take care.Now what will be your feelings? Would you be happy thatyour spouse has found happiness? You would probably beoverwhelmed by negative emotions and thoughts of anger,hatred, revenge, disappointment, sorrow, lamentation etc’So you see, we are far from spiritual cultivation. Ourattachments are strong and can lead us to much suffering.We need to strive on diligently in our Dhamma practice ofSila (Morality), Samadhi (Mind stability) and Panna(Wisdom ). Only then can we gradually reduce and cut ourattachments, clinging and grasping. True peace, happiness,contentment and freedom will then come upon us.
A Story To Ponder OnThere was a soldier who was finally coming home after having fought in the Vietnam War. He called his parents from San Francisco. Mom and Dad, Im coming home, but Ive a favor to ask. I have a friend Id like to bring home with me.
"Sure," they replied, "wed love to meet him.""Theres somethingyou should know,” the son continued, "he was hurt pretty badly in the fighting.” “He stepped on a land mine and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go, and I want him to come live with us."
“We are sorry to hear that, son.Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live,” both the parents said. " o, Mom "Son, you and Dad, I dont know want him to what youre live with us." asking.” “Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to live, and we cant let something like this interfere with our lives,” the father continued.
“I think you should just come home andforget about this guy. Hell find a way to live on his own,“ ” the mother said. At that point, the son hung up the phone. The parents heard nothing more from him.A few days later, however, theparents received a call from the San Francisco police.
The police told the parents that their son had died after falling from a high rise building. The police believed it was suicide. 13 The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son.They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didnt know - their son had only one arm and one leg.
How much of our love is conditional? We find it easy to love those who are good-looking or fun to have around, but we dont like people who inconvenience us or who do not do what we want.Unconditional Love is pure love with no strings attached …it is patient, kind and always positive.METTA is the true andpure unconditional love. METTA = Loving-Kindness + Goodwill + Friendliness + Love + Benevolence 18
To develop Unconditional Love, practise Metta Bhavana, the Meditation on Loving-Kindness The End May our Hearts be filled With Metta, with boundless Bro. Oh Teik Bin Loving-Kindness* To give and not expect return, that is what lies atthe heart of love. Oscar Wilde* The greatest gift that you can give to others is thegift of unconditional love and acceptance. Brian Tracy* The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn isunconditional love, which includes not only othersbut ourselves as well. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross* Love expects no reward. Love knows no fear. LoveDivine gives - does not demand. Love thinks no evil;imputes no motive. To Love is to share and serve. Swami Sivananda