a lot of nonsense

I sometimes wonder if people just write for the sake of arguing a point that does not really exist.

Or maybe it exists but only in their own warped minds most apt to be taken away to the nearest mental hospital.

For those not in the know, this is about something minishorts linked to, about an introduction to an e-book so devoid of understanding, research, research and more research.

So ludicrous the idea, words and sentences that I am going to de-myth the boldy written ‘facts’.

Throughout the world, but especially in America and Europe, some individuals have been intrigued by Buddhism, spurred on mostly by the superstitious, secret, and awesome qualities they perceive in this religion.

Dude, we are not accountable for Richard Gere. I’m sorry he ended up gay hence crushing your childhood fantasies but really, there is no need to be nasty.

As a belief, Buddhism is contrary to logic and intelligence.

I guess I must be stupid then.

No wait, my mom said that I am not. Mothers are always right.

You insulting my ma or something?

Countries where it has been adopted have mixed it with their own idolatrous ideas, traditions and local customs, joining it with myths and deviant ideas until it has evolved into a totally godless philosophy.

I am sorry I have to bring this up, but how do you classify this then?

When the incident came to the notice of the council, it ordered that she marry her father-in-law and change her relationship with her husband to that between a mother and son.

It also ordered her to leave her home and stay away for seven month and 10 days to become “pure”.

It may seem weird that I have so much faith in Malaysia but I am positive that if something like this happens here, the aftermath would be different. Bye bye father-in-law, see you in jail.

And we are an Islamic country! Race preferential based on the official religion is stated in our constitution!

But give me one orthodox religion that has not changed over the years to adapt to the local culture and I’ll post my naked photo. Oopppss that’s deviancy. Guess I’ll see you in hell.

To ignore Buddhism’s mindless aspects and espouse it just to be trendy and go along with others will result in great loss.

Kalama Sutra? Hello? It’s there for a reason, you know.

Bla bla bla bla bla…. I’m going to skip to Chapter 1.

Since Buddhism is an atheist religion that lacks any belief in God, it also rejects the existence of angels, the eternal afterlife, Hell, and the Day of Judgment.

Lacks? I think the word should be DO NOT. Buddhists Do Not believe in a monotheism god but like the Hindus we believe in polytheism ‘gods’, only that we call them ‘bodhisattvas’. What is a bodhisattva? Well Wikipedia is your new best friend.

FYI the term ‘Buddha’ means The Enlightened One, and the fourth buddha in this kalpa is called Gautama Buddha. Why Gautama? Because that’s his family name, duh.

Some people call bodhisattvas ‘deities’, and the way they help people is something like what angels would do. I wouldn’t call them angels but what’s in a name, right? Oh… no… I guess that concept wouldn’t go down well either because everyone is too pre-occupied with status and what-not that they forget the real meaning of things.

On that same note, we do believe in Hell. That’s right, we believe in burning people for evil deeds that they have done, only that they do not get burnt for not believing in a god. Some poor souls get their hands chopped off until their bad karma runs out, some lucky souls get reincarnated to right their previous wrongs, some roam the many worlds as lost or hungry souls (in the Chinese version, they eat candles! So economical!).

But let’s take NOW as an example, after all you are living here NOW, not before not later. As you are reading this you are breathing the PRESENT air. Right NOW. I am very angry so I am in Hell. But wait, I’m not dead! Of course it is a matter of time but how could I be in Hell now when I am alive and breathing?

The Buddhist concept of Heaven and Hell applies to the present. If you are happy at this moment then you are in Heaven. If you are miserable, angry and what-not then you are in Hell. Why wait till your last breath to enjoy both worlds? Wake up dudes, you are missing out on what is around you.

There is no Day of Judgment but what judges a Buddhist? KARMA. You get judged everyday based on your own deeds. Who determines whether you go to Heaven of Hell? YOU! Yes, you yourself are responsible and WILL be held accountable for your own deeds, be they good or bad. How do you know if karma exists?

Easy. Get someone to slap you on your face; you feel pain don’t you? The slap is the Cause, the pain is the Effect. That’s karma in kindergarten form for you.

Buddhists hold Buddha in a heightened sense of love, deep respect and fear, even accepting him as a god.

Yeah because He was smart enough not to let idiots like you offend him. Me on the other hand am not that enlightened nor generous.

So, fuck you.

And in time, those who nurtured an excessive love towards Buddha came to worship these idols and consider him a god.

I have an excessive love for my dad. I worship my dad. My dad helped create me. So… my dad = god?

The most frequent question I get asked is why do Buddhists bow to the image of the Buddha. Allow me to quote from the book “Good Question Good Answer” by Venerable S. Dhammika.

Question : If the Buddha is not a god, then why do people worship him?

Answer : There are different types of worship. When someone worships a god, they praise and honor him or her, make offerings and ask for favors, believing that the god will hear their praise, receive their offerings and answer their prayers. Buddhists do not indulge in this kind of worship. The other kind of worship is when we show respect to someone or something we admire. When a teacher walks into the room we stand up, when we meet a dignitary we shake their hands, when the national anthem is played we salute. These are all gestures of respect and worship and indicate our admiration for certain persons or things. This is the type of worship Buddhists practice. A statue of the Buddha with its hands rested gently in its lap and its compassionate smile reminds us to strive to develop peace and love within ourselves. The perfume of incense reminds us of the pervading influence of virtue, the lamp reminds us of the light of knowledge and the flowers which soon fade and die, remind us of impermanence. When we bow, we express outwardly what we feel inwardly; our gratitude to the Buddha for what his teachings have given us. This is the nature of Buddhist worship.

Question : Why do people do all kinds of strange things in Buddhist temples?

Answer : Many things seem strange to us when we don’t understand them. Rather than dismiss such things as strange, we should try to find out what they mean. However it is true that Buddhist practices sometimes have their origins in popular supersition and misunderstanding rather than the teachings of the Buddha. And such misunderstandings are not found in Buddhism alone but arise in all religions from time to time. The Buddha taught with clarity and in detail and if some fail to understand fully, the Buddha cannot be blamed. There is a saying :

If a person suffering from a disease does not seek treatment even when there is a physician at hand, it is not the fault of that physician. In the same way, if a person is oppressed and tormented by the disease of the defilements but does not seek the help of the Buddha, that is not the Buddha’s fault. JN 28-9

Nor should Buddhism or any religion be judged by those who don’t practice it properly. If you with to know the true teachings of Buddhism, read the Buddha’s words or speak to those who understand them properly.

This point reveals Buddhists’ idolatrous understanding, as do many others. Buddha’s followers regard him as all-seeing and all-knowing.

I am sorry but the Buddha does not see me. He is dead. It would be scary if the Buddha could see me right now because I am typing furiously, as naked as the day I was born.

Is god seeing me right now? Perv.

Buddha was a powerless servant whom God created and tested in this world; he had no ability or will of his own to influence people. It was by God’s will that he spoke, and he lived the life that God gave him, according to the fate that God had determined.

Maybe. But since the Buddha is dead, I guess he can’t tell me if he was really God’s messenger. And seeing that Buddhists do not believe in a monotheist god, well there goes your belief.

The Buddha was a man, not an idiot.

Buddhist philosophy denies the existence of God, but bases itself on a few aspects of human morality and on escaping from sufferings of this world. Without any intellectual or scientific support, it rests upon the twin concepts of karma and reincarnation-the idea that human beings are continually reborn into this world, that their subsequent lives are shaped by their behavior in their previous ones. No Buddhist scripture considers the existence of a Creator, much less how the universe, the world and living things came to be. No Buddhist text describes how the universe was created from nothing; or how living things came into being; or how to explain the evidence, to be seen everywhere in this world, of an incomparable creation. According to the Buddhist deception, it is not even necessary to think about these things! The only important thing in life, Buddhist texts claim, is suppressing desires, revering Buddha, and escaping from suffering.

As a religion, therefore, Buddhism suffers from a very narrow vision that keeps its believers from considering such basic questions as where they came from, or how the universe and all living things came to be. Indeed, it deters them from even thinking about these things and presses them into the narrow mold of their present earthly life.

Chapter 3 of “Good Question Good Answer”:

Question : Do Buddhists believe in a god?

Answer : No, we do not. There are several reasons for this. The Buddha, like modern sociologists and psychologists believed that religious ideas and especially the god idea have their origins in fear. The Buddha says:

Gripped by fear people go to sacred mountains, sacred groves, sacred trees and shrines. -Dp. 188

Primitive humans found selves in a dangerous and hostile world, the fear of wild animals, of not being able to find enough food, of injury or disease, and of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes were constantly with them. Finding no security, they created the ideas of gods in order to give them comfort in good times, courage in times of danger and consolation when things went wrong. To this day, you will notice that people become more religious at times of crises, you will hear them say that the belief in a god or gods gives them the strength they need to deal with life. You will hear them explain that they believe in a particular god because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. All this seems to support the Buddha’s teaching that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration. The Buddha taught us to try to understand our fears, to lessen our desires and to calmly and courageously accept the things we cannot change. He replaced fear, not with irrational belief but with rational understanding.

The second reason the Buddha did not believe in a god is because there does not seem to be any evidence to support this idea. There are numerous religions all claiming that they alone have god’s words preserved in their holy book, that they alone understand god’s nature, that their god exists and that the gods of other religions do not. Some claim that god is masculine, some that she is feminine and others that it is neuter. They are all satisfied that there is ample evidence to prove the existance of their god but they laugh in disbelief at the evidence other religions use to prove the existance of another god. It is not surprising that with so many different religions spending so many centuries trying to prove the existance of their gods that still no real, concrete, substantial or irrefutable evidence has been found. Buddhists suspend judgement until such evidence is forthcoming.

The third reason the Buddha do not believe in a god is that the belief is not necessary. Some claim that the belief in a god is necessary in order to explain the origin of the universe. But this is not so. Science has very convincingly explained how the universe came into being without having to introduce the god-idea. Some claim that belief in god is necessary to have a happy, meaningful life. Again we can see that this is not so. There are millions of atheists and free-thinkers, not to mention many Buddhists, who live useful, happy and meaningful lives without belief in a god. Some claim that belief in god’s power is necessary because humans, being weak, do not have the strength to help themselves. Once again, the evidence indicates the opposite. One often hears of people who have overcome great disabilities and handicaps, enormous odds and difficulties through their own inner resources, through their own efforts and without belief in a god. Some claim that god is necessary in order to give man salvation. But this argument only holds good if you accept the theological concept of salvation and Buddhists do not accept such a concept. Based on his own experience, the Buddha saw that each human being had the capacity to purify the mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted attentio from the heavens to the heart and encouraged us to find solutions to our problems through self-understanding.

Question: What does the Buddha say about the origin of the universe?

Answer: It is interesting that the Buddha’s explanation of the origin of the universe corresponds very closely to the scientific view. In the Aganna Sutta, the Buddha describes the universe being destroyed and then re-evolving into its present form over a period of countless millions of years. The first life formed on the surface of the water and again, over countless millions of years, evolved from simple into complex organisms. All these processes are without beginning or end and are set in motion by natural causes.

An Oppressive, Enslaving Religion

Talking about yourself again? It gets boring at times.

In short, Islam is a liberating religion that saves people from useless customs and prohibitions, social pressures and worries about what other people may think. It calls them to lead calm, peaceful lives with the purpose of gaining God’s approval. So it is that our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), in many of his sayings, advises us to make religion simple and easy.

I do not doubt any of that. I have great respect for Islam and I probably have a better understanding of Islam than you ever will. So maybe one day you will finally head the Prophet’s words and stop trying to decipher non-existance points.

Buddhism enslaves its devotees in misty monasteries and forces them into a life of suffering and poverty. Strangely, it discourages good food, cleanliness, comfort-the blessings that God has created for human beings-accepts suffering as a virtue and advises its devotees to lead a miserable life.

If your only source of Buddhist monasteries come from a lonely mountain in the middle of nowhere, then I suggest you take a trip around the world. See more things, brighten your horizons, get your facts straight.

For Buddhist monks and nuns, life is full of all kinds of difficulties. They are forbidden to work or own property, obliged to feed themselves by going from door to door and begging among the people, with their bowls in their hands. For this reason, Buddhist priests are even called bhikkhus (beggars) by the people. Buddhist priests are forbidden to marry or have any kind of family life; they may own only one robe, which must be of poor quality yellow or red cloth.

First of all, a bhikkhu or bhikkuni is a fully ordained Buddhist monk or nun. Here’s a fun fact for you; they WERE called bhikkhus by the Buddha, not just the people. And it DOES mean ‘one who begs’. It ALSO has other meanings, one of which is “one who discerns the fears of the round of rebirths.” And despite the beggar reference, bhikkhus do not beg, but live on what others freely give them.

If you are serious about this whole dirty, uncouth, unsocialised bhikkhu thing, why not actually try to learn more about why they behave as such?

Download A Lay Guide to the Bhikkhus’ Rules by Bhikkhu Ariyesako and read all of the 93 pages.

What, I’m not the one writing an e-book on the lacking of Buddhism.

According to Buddhism, hunger, misery and pain guide the way to the truth.

Errr… huh?

When Gautama Buddha was 29 and still Prince Siddharta, he left his palace and sought knowledge from highly-revered teachers of his time to end life’s sufferings. For 6 years he practised austerism and self-mortifications as practised by a group of 5 ascetics. As we know today it led to nowhere but still he perservered, refusing food and water until he was in a state of near death. He said later that the 6 years of practise caused such severe effects on his physical body that when he touched his belly he could touch his back skin.

One day a peasant girl called Sujata (some people believe that Sujata was actually a bodhisattva coming in aid of the Buddha) took pity on Siddharta and offered him some of her milk-rice. Siddhartha realised that enlightenment could not be reached with extreme practises; but perhaps it could be reached when one in the middle between the extremes of life luxury (remember he had that when he was an ignorant prince) and the life of extreme austerism. After consuming the milk-rice, he took a shower (yes, cleanliness gets you everywhere) and then sat under a tree to contemplate. The rest as they say is history.

But I suppose the hunger, misery and pain part were in reference to the 6 years of practise, which the Buddha later denounced. And the photo of a stark thin bony monk accompanied by those words was someone’s artistic portrayal of the Buddha during that time. And I suppose you are forgiven for your ignorance.

According to the theory of karma, those who are poor, handicapped or ill are paying the price for evil deeds committed in a previous life. Therefore, they deserve their present misfortunes. This perverse understanding results in prevalent injustices in societies where belief in karma is widespread.

Hear me now, for I am a Buddhist :

YOU ARE ONE SICK BASTARD.

Karma is based on the belief in reincarnation…

No.

This idea of a “wheel of rebirth” supposes that every life influences a subsequent one. But this belief fails with one single question: how does this karma operate? If Buddhism doesn’t accept the existence of God, then who judges a person’s former life and sends him back into the world in a new body? This question has no answer!

I just did.

Those who accept the idea of karma believe that their cycle of rebirths will never end-that they live again after every death, until they attain nirvana. And so, they assume that before them lie countless possibilities. Therefore, if someone decides to commit sin, he may think he will be able to atone for it in a later incarnation, even if his very next life is worse than his present one. An understanding founded on such an erroneous foundation cannot restrain a person from committing evil.

If someone chooses to misinterpret karma that way, then it is that person’s fault. Similarly if you choose to use karma in this illogical manner, it only goes to show your shallow understanding of the basis of the law of karma. Weirdly enough, Buddhists I actually KNOW and MET choose to do good instead of bad to accumulate good karma, if you will. Knowing that the law of karma works that way inspires them not to do evil for fear of retribution.

You should probably get new friends or something.

Attachment to this world is most people’s major weakness. They believe in a perverse idea like reincarnation chiefly because they want never to give up earthly temptations.

Oddly enough, the ultimate ultimate ultimate Buddhist’s aim is to detach themselves from worldly temptations and achieve Nirvana, thus freeing themselves from reincarnation.

Bla bla bla bla bla, on to the next chapter.

Bla bla bla bla, in relation to major Hollywood stars and their undertaking of roles to propagate Buddhism in various movies and media appearances.

Bla bla bla bla bla, next chapter talks about the coming of Maitreya Buddha, the next ‘messiah’ who could be another messenger from God.

Again, this is based on our current kalpa which is actually a period of 1,728,000 solar years. Are you going to live that long to find out the truth?

Not that I am avoiding the question of whether or not Maitreya is the next Buddha and not a messenger of god.

Maybe I am but for a good reason. I just don’t know! If I were to devote my entire life to read all the scriptures and trying to find out the ‘truth’ I would definitely need an immortality pill. You can’t decipher everything there is, or everything there is not. Why are you still here then? What is the purpose of your life, your current one or only one if you do not believe in reincarnation? I am glad I am not you.

If something does not make sense to you, then you can choose not to believe it and walk away. Likewise, I do not believe that when the Buddha was born he walked 7 steps of blooming lotus then proclaimed something about heaven and earth. I do not believe that a massive snake was shelter for him when he meditated under the Bodhi tree. They may or may not happened, who really knows? Even if you knew, how would it change your life? To re-enforce your belief in Buddhism? That is sweet but the belief must have been shaky in the first place, coming from a lack of understanding of what Buddhism really is.

Somewhere between ‘an all-merciful, the most merciful’ god and “if only you could see those who do wrong at the time when they see the punishment, and that truly all strength belongs to God, and that God is severe in punishment”, you lost me.

When I was writing this, Edrei asked me if I were writing in defense of Buddhism or prejudiced idiots. I can safely say now that I wrote in defense of Buddhism against prejudiced idiots in mind.

He also scanned through the article in question and apologised to me on behalf of his religion. I told him that it was not necessary at all because he was not the one who wrote all that. There are a lot of people out there who call themselves Buddhists who are most pig-headed – I am not about to apologise for any of them. All I can say is that I feel sorry for them that they did not have the right guidance nor understanding of Buddhism.

*Feels sorry for Harun Yahya*

There is no wrong, there is no right, there is only ignorance.

Harun Yahya is the most ignorant person I’d ever had the misfortune to read. I don’t really mind that you think Buddhism is a deviant practise, but the fact is that you are dragging the good name of Islam and Christianity down the gutter with you. People like you make things worse not better.

A Lot of Nonsense
by Bhikkhu Khantipalo

“A lot of fuss
A lot of people
A lot of time
A lot of trouble
A lot of tears
A lot of money
And all for what?
A little body!

A blob of proteins
Fast unwinding
A little corpse
Quick decaying
No longer is it
Dear Father, mother
Or any darling other.
In spite of this
We must have
Consolations and coffins
Processions and Tombstones
Parties and mourning
Rites and rituals
Buried or burnt
Embalmed forever.

All for these little
Bloated bodies
Sons remember
Grandsons little.
And after them
Are the dead forgotten.
Stones and bones alone remaining
So is this not
A lot of nonsense?”

Just like your e-book.

Run along now.

kalama sutra – the buddha’s charter of free inquiry

Seeing that it was the Buddha’s birthday and all, I would like to share my favourite sutra, The Kalama Sutra. Since young I figured that if I needed faith, at least let it be something I have certain control over.

So the Buddha was tripping along the dusty roads of India with his disciples in tow when He reached Kesaputta. The people of Kesaputta were called the Kalamas, like how the people of San Francisco were called hippies and people of KL jakun.

Now the Kalamas were a confused bunch, not unlike drivers today who can’t make up their minds whether to turn left, turn right, go straight or not go at all. They asked the Buddha,

“Dude, you look so smart and enlightened and shiny and all. Maybe you could show us the light on an issue that has been bothering us?

You see, there have been many other teachers, monks and what-not here in our town before you. Each tells us that their teachings are the real Haagen Daaz and the others are plain Walls. If they were from Amway or Cosway selling detergent we could easily slam the door in their faces, for we know that Dynamo is the best. But we figured that since we take our lives quite seriously, maybe we should not dismiss all these preachers condemning other preachers.

So who among them are telling the truth? Who among them are lying? Is it true that the one that shouts the loudest screams no lies?”

To which the Buddha replied,

“Yo listen up! It is true that the powers of marketing and branding are strong. Yet thou shalt not unnecessarily waste your hard earned money on inferior products. Who said that Dynamo was the best? Did you? Did you? Have you tried all the other detergent available in the market?

Myself, I prefer Attack.

Likewise in life, it is easy to be misguided by the mindless dribble frothing at the crooked mouths of unscrupulous agents. All of them want a commission in some manner or the other. But what has it got to do with you, O Kalamas?

Here forth I shall spout a few chosen words, which after I die shall be known as the basis of the Kalama Sutra.

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
Rely not on the teacher or person, but on the teaching.
Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words.
Rely not on theory, but on experience.

But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

So my young padawans, what think you?”

The only thought that was formed in the Kalamas’ minds was, “Damn Dynamo”.

.::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::.

What is the point of this story being told the way it was?

My point of view is that people being people will continuously hold on to something for the sole reason of it being baseless.

Emotions, facades and so on; you believe just because you want to believe.

Even in Malaysia, a lot of people still hate the Japanese for their past atrocities. Children are taught to hate with passion; your grandmother/father/mother was brutally raped/killed/humiliated, it robbed you of someone you could have known, never mind that s/he would probably die of diabetes/cancer/heart attack long before you were born.

Similarly on home ground, a lot of kids were not allowed to play outside their own races. “The Malays are perverts, the Chinese are uncouth, the Indians are dirty, and everyone else is a bad bad bad stranger who would do unspeakable things to do because you are a Malay/ Chinese/ Indian/ Lain-lain.”

And so the cycle continues.

Tolerance is a virtue, understanding is a necessity.

Feel free to expound on this.

HKG day 3.1 – the Buddha beckons

Woke up around 0900, showered and had breakfast at the hotel. Pretty much your standard everyday hotel breakfast serving sausages, eggs and the lot. After a solitary breakfast (sniff) I went back to room, got ready and went out.

Took the MTR to Central and walked to the Star Ferry. Got confused for a bit – there were no signs to Pier 6 where I could take a ferry to Lantau Island. Tried asking a guy who looked local but didn’t really understand what he said. In the end I decided to follow a couple of tourists who seemed to know where they were going. Walked quite a distance, passing by the bus station and finally reached Pier 6. I could see the magnificent Four Seasons Hotel which would be completed in 2005.

Bought a ferry ticket to Lantau Island, it costs HKG$21. Bought another bottle of a 500ml mineral water for HKG$5 before boarding the ferry. On the way I could see lots of small islands – nice view for sure but I decided to take a short nap instead. Woke up 35 mins later at Mui Wo (Silvermine Bay) and queued up for Bus 2 to get to Po Lin Monastery. The bus ride costs HKG$16 per journey; you have to have exact change. I didn’t want to end up like a few tourists in front of me who had to get off the steps to get the change so I used my Octopus card.

The bus ride itself was an experience. I sat next to the window; very beautiful view but also felt very unsafe. We were going up a mountain and the roads were small and winding and the bus driver wasn’t exactly driving slowly. We passed by the Shek Pin Reservoir, very blue water and from there we could see the back of the Giant Buddha atop a mountain.

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery- Giant Buddha
Tian Tan Buddha from afar

We reached Po Lin Monastery around 1200, there were quite a few people around. I was already feeling very calm and serene. I headed for the temple first. Bought a handful of incense for HKG$18, lit them with difficulty for 3 of the incense were rather huge, prayed for a bit then stuck them to the few pots. Or at least tried to. Of course I got burnt by the falling ashes; one week later I still bear the marks.

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery 03
Temples temples temples

After offering the incense I went inside the first area and made a small donation. There and in a couple more temples there were large and beautiful figurines that included Gautama Buddha, Avalokitesvara Boddhisattva and a few of her manifestations, the four cardinal deities and Amitabha Buddha. I could recognise some of the Buddha’s disciples though I couldn’t name them then. One of the figurines was definitely Manjusri.

At one of the areas you could do stick fortune telling. Never done it before and it wasn’t easy, trying to get one stick out and keeping the others in. So maybe it’s either luck or your own fear – the stick that stood out the furthest, please fall out so I don’t have to embarrass myself by doing it all over again.

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery 04
Where I stuck my incense

I got Lot 29 and asked the woman what it meant since I couldn’t read Chinese. I didn’t understand her Cantonese so she led me to a younger guy sitting nearby, who showed me a translation book of all the lot numbers. Twenty-nine… twenty-nine… there you are. Something about a sword and bravery and a play and… stuff. I think it said I would be successful in my undertakings but would have to watch out for my family members’ safety and health. Love life would be good. I peeked at Lot 30 and decided that Lot 29 was a heck lot better.

Walked out of the temples, there were the impressive archway and a giant incense burner.

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery 01
Said impressive archway

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery 02
Giant incense burner for the giant Buddha statue?

Bought a HKG$23 pass to visit an exhibition which was not open to the general public; unless you pay of course. I had no idea what the exhibition was about, but what the heck.

Hence began the climbing of the many many many steps (all 286 of them) to reach the Giant Buddha. Was a bit exhausting, then again I know I am far from fit. Overheard a girl from China telling her partner she couldn’t climb anymore. Her partner started to meanly berate her in a very rude manner about her fitness and how she should exercise when they get back home. What a man bitch.

At the very top, the Giant Buddha wasn’t very huge… duh. There were a few statues around, female deities offering flowers etc to the Giant Buddha. Walked around the inside hall, saw a plaque in memory of Anita Mui and there were flowers and bears and stuff left behind by her fans.

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery - Giant Buddha close
Tian Tan Buddha, as close as I could get

The general exhibition was basically large paintings about Gautama Buddha’s life. I went upstairs to the paid exhibition; on the second floor there were a lot of paintings of Buddha and generally about Buddhism, calligraphy and stuff. Another floor up was 2 of the Buddha’s relics. According to the information board, when the Buddha passed way there were 84,000 relics in the form of tiny crystals and today Po Lin has 2 of them. I couldn’t actually see the relics; it was roped off so you couldn’t get too near. Luckily the understanding committee of the temple decided to take a large close up photo of the relic and place it at the altar. I have heard of people breaking down and cry upon seeing the Buddha’s relics. I think they are either dramatic or overly emotional. Of course it is an important thing in Buddhism history but it was never an important thing in Dharma. A relic just reminds you of the Buddha, that he lived and taught, just like all the figurines carved in memory of the Buddha in their various representations. All this… holding on to an image thing is pure nonsense. In the same way we bow to the Buddha because we respect Him and His Teachings, because we aim to be like Him and free ourselves from Samsara. And all your Boddhisatvas are elevated beings, they do not really have a form, a self but only mind. When we recite a Boddhisatvas name the effect was to connect our minds with the particular Boddhisatva’s energy so s/he could assist etc.

I am not making any of this up. There IS a connection between different realms in form of energy and connectivity. For example I have never seen a spirit or if you like, a ghost before in my life. That could be due to that my ‘vibes’ are not too much in tune with their vibes. It’s really all physics, one way or the other. The best person to explain this would be OYW, one of the most logical and practical Buddhist speakers I know.

Of course being human we are naturally weak and more often than not need a god-like memory to hold on to, be it your assorted gods and deities, power, status or money. And I’m not saying that it is a bad thing; in a way it builds and inspires faith. So long you don’t harm other people and make their lives absolute misery or distorts the real purpose of learning the Dharma, you can jolly well do anything you want. We all need something to hold on to at times.

I can feel spirituality anywhere — in a Christian church with the choir praising the Lord or in my room alone by myself contemplating life. The reason I take on Buddhism philosophy was because it proves to be more scientific, logical, responsible and sensible.

The Buddha was a very logical man.

I don’t mean to diss the relics; it’s just a culmination of how I feel about such things and never got to writing them. In his book ‘Funny Monk’s Tales’ Venerable Sujiva related an incident with Venerable Dr. K Sri Dhammananda:

“So one day I asked the Venerable Dr K Sri Dhammananda what he thought of relic claims. He gave me a distant look and with bulging eyes said, “These are things concerning the devotional aspects of Buddhism. We do not need all these to study and practise the Dhamma.”

That jolted me up a bit. So it’s not so important after all. It’s true, as the Buddha himself said: “He who sees my teachings sees me.” What is important is that we follow the Buddha’s exhortation and practise the Dhamma. So the Venerable Dhammananda’s answer was a good one but I wonder how I can get the message across to those people who still get frenzied over relics. Ah, faith, good faith, you should always come with wisdom, otherwise it can be dangerous.”

But it was a great honour for me to be able to see the Buddha’s relics, even though it was quite a distance away from the roped-off area.

Walked out of the exhibition and it was quite windy. After all we were at a peak. The view was breathtakingly beautiful, oh the surrounding mountains just took my breath away! Not that the steps didn’t do the job but this was in awe rather than exhaustion. I could recognise a couple of the mountain elements, thought to myself, hey that’s a fire mountain. Wished I had paid more attention in my Feng Shui classes.

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery 05
Very beautiful view

Then began my descend to catch a bus back to Mui Wo.

Hong Kong December 2004 - Polin Monastery 06
Don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look…

As the bus had yet to arrive and there was already a queue I decided to look around at one of the stalls selling post cards, souvenirs and such at high prices to unsuspecting tourists. I approached an old woman and in my broken Cantonese, asked if she had anything for my burn marks. She was rather nice and toot-toot, and handed me a small jar of something which I was quite sure would do the job. The Chinese always has these ointments and stuff for cases like mine. As I was applying the balm, a Caucasian female was asking the price for the displayed postcards. The old woman asked me to relay the price information to the female which I willingly obliged.

Since the old woman was so nice to me I decided to stick around her stall a bit longer, pretending to be interested in the dusty souvenirs of qilin and Chinese fans and played interpreter for her and the Caucasian female. When the female left I too decided to take my leave and queue up for the bus. I asked the old woman if I could take a photo of her and she laughingly but adamantly refused, claiming, “hou yok shun ar” (not presentable). Finally I gave up, said goodbye and made a beeline for the queue.

The journey back to Mui Wo was just as scary. When we reached Mui Wo (in one piece) I bought a ticket back to Pier 6 on Hong Kong Island. Basically the ferry journey was uneventful but the sight was pretty nice.

Read more:

Day 1 : To Hong Kong
Day 2.1 : In Search of Tin Hau
Day 2.2 : The Octopus Strikes Back
Day 2.3 : Flower Crazy
Day 2.4 : Central; A Different World
Day 2.5 : Night Time, Light Time
Day 3.1 : The Buddha Beckons
Day 3.2 : To The Peak and Back
Day 3.3 : This Girl Needs a Beer
Day 4 : Leaving Hong Kong
Some thoughts on Hong Kong

Sariputra – The Wise and Humble Disciple

This article was originally published in Feng Shui Times on 25 October 2001.

A long time ago there was a rich man who lived in Varasani in ancient India. He was wealthy but miserly. So tight with his gold that he refused to spend a single cent to see a doctor when he was very ill. After his death, he was reborn as a poisonous snake and guarded all the gold he had amassed during his lifetime, which he had buried in a secret underground chamber.

After 5000 years, the snake died and was reborn as the same species of snake as before. He watched over the gold for another 5000 before finally realizing that in order for his to be reborn in another realm, he had to give away his gold for charity. Thus he approached an old man on the road. The elderly man was at first afraid and tried to escape but the snake assured that it would not harm him, for it would only add to its bad karma.

The snake led the old man to a rundown house and asked him to dig into the earth. The old man dug out a pot of gold and handed it to the abbot of a monastery, as instructed by the snake. He also took the snake to the temple so that it could pay homage to the Buddha. The snake then told the abbot that there were other pots of gold buried in various places. After the pots of gold were recovered and used for propagating the Dharma, the snake died and entered Trayastrinisa Heaven. In his next life, he was reborn into a noble family in ancient India and was named Sariputra.

Life of Sariputra

As mentioned earlier, Sariputra was born into a noble Brahman family in Magadha (southern India). He was a very bright and intelligent child, being able to fathom and memorize all the books he had read. During a banquet, he impressed a king so much that the king awarded a village to eight-year-old Sariputra.

At the age of 20, Sariputra left his home in search of the Truth of Life. He studied under a scholar and became best friends with Mogallana (known also as Maudgalyayana in Sanskrit). Both were extremely smart and knowledgeable and after a while, they left their teacher for they felt that there was nothing more he could teach them.

One day while walking on the street, Sariputra met Assaji. Assaji was one of Gautama Buddha’s first 5 disciples. Sariputra, who was very much impressed by Assaji’s calm and dignified demeanor approached the venerable and respectfully inquired his name and the name of his teacher.

Assaji told Sariputra his name and that of his teacher, Gautama Buddha. He also describe a little of the Buddha’s Teaching, which filled Sariputra with delight. He went home excitedly and told Mogallana the incident. Mogallana was so happy to know that they have found a worthy teacher at last that he shed tears of joy. The following day they gathered all their students (about 200 of them) and went to the Venuvana (bamboo) grove, where they became Buddha’s disciples.

Cultivation of Past Lives

There is a famous incident written in Buddhist scriptures about one of Sariputra’s previous lives. This happened during the early stages when Sariputra first vowed to become a Bodhisattva.

One day, a deva (Buddhism equivalent to an angel) came down to earth to test the young Sariputra’s determination to achieve Bodhisattvahood. He turned himself into a young man and cried when he saw Sariputra walking towards him. Sariputra asked him what happened and the man told him that his mother was suffering from a terminal disease. The doctor said that she could only be saved with a concoction of some herbs mixed with the eyeball of a monk. “Of course the herbs are easy to get but to obtain a monk’s eyeball? That’s impossible!” he lamented.

Sariputra, feeling extremely sorry for the young man decided to offer his eyeball to him in order to save his mother. On the spot, with much pain and difficulty, he dug out his left eyeball and gave it to the man. However the young man exclaimed that only the right eyeball could be used for the medicine. Sariputra was shocked to hear this, but only blamed himself for not asking the young man before digging out his eyeball. Without hesitating he dug out his right eyeball and handed it to the man.

The young man took the eyeball and smelled it. Ungratefully he threw the eyeball to the ground and scolded Sariputra, “This eyeball smells horrible! How can you expect me to use it as medicine for my mother?” With that he used his feet to squish the eyeball into a pitiful mess and walked away.

Sariputra thought, “It is not easy to save all beings and be a bodhisattva. I better concentrate on self-cultivation than saving others.”

Then several devas appeared in front of Sariputra and told him, “Don’t be discouraged. That was an arrangement by us to test your determination to become a bodhisattva. You should go forth and continue your efforts.”

By this, Sariputra’s will and compassion to save others returned. Thus for the next few kalpas he never stopped his spiritual practices. He finally achieved enlightenment in the lifetime that he met Gautama Buddha.

The 10 Great Disciples of Gautama Buddha

1. Mahakasyapa (first in asceticism)
2. Ananda (the first to hear the words of the Buddha)
3. Sariputra (first in wisdom)
4. Subhuti (first to express his feeling of impermanence)
5. Purna (the first to explain the guides to good laws)
6. Mogallana (first in possessing supernatural powers)
7. Katyayana (first in teaching the Dharma)
8. Aniruddha (first in attentiveness)
9. Upali (the first to take the precepts)
10. Rahula (first in esoteric practices and desire for instruction of the Dharma)

Sariputra is noted for his quickness and intelligence. His wisdom surpassed many and he was also good at observing and preaching the Dharma. It is said that he was fortunate to be trusted enough by the Buddha to lead a large number of disciples. When Rahula, the Buddha’s son joined the Order of Sangha, he was entrusted to Sariputra.

Sariputra is featured many times in certain sutras. Perhaps the most famous sutra in which Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva answered Sariputra’s question is the Heart Sutra, explaining that form and emptiness are the one and very same thing.

When the Buddha entered Nirvana at the age of 80, Sariputra is represented standing on His right hand side and Mogallana on His left. In kalpas to come, Sariputra will be reborn as Padmaprabha Buddha, meaning the Flower-Light Buddha.

Amitabha – The Buddha of Infinite Light

This article was originally published in Feng Shui Times on 11 July 2001.

Origins of Amitabha Buddha

A very long time ago during the period of Vairocana Buddha, there lived a king who abdicated his throne to become a monk. Dharmadatu was his name and after hearing Vairocana Buddha’s words, he made 48 great vows to save all beings from suffering.

After much difficulty and many rebirths, he attained Enlightenment and was named Amitabha, meaning ‘infinite light’. In the Amitabha Sutra, the Buddha stated that 10 kalpas had passed since Amitabha became a Buddha.

The Amitabha Sutra

The Amitabha Sutra was translated to Chinese by a famous monk, Kumarajiva (344-413 CE) during the Later Qin Dynasty. The contents of the sutra spread widely and it soon became very popular. It was not long before every Chinese family learnt the words of the sutra and practiced the ways of Buddhism. I took the liberty of summarizing the sutra into a few paragraphs and more comprehensible words.

“Once the Buddha was at Shravasti in the Jeta Grove preaching to a large gathering of Arhats and Bodhisattvas. At that time, the Buddha told Sariputra about a Buddhaland in the West called the world if Utmost Happiness located billions of worlds away. It was in that particular Buddhaland where a Buddha called Amitabha teaches the Dharma to numerous beings He had saved from eternal suffering. That land is called Sukhavati, or known as Pure Land or Western Paradise.

The Buddha described the Western Paradise as a land of pure happiness with jewels and treasures located everywhere. Bright lights, fragrance and music filled the air and the ground was made of gold. Every morning, mandarava flowers would fall like rain, enveloping the land with its sweet scent. Rare and unusual birds in various shapes and colors created by Amitabha Buddha fly freely everywhere, adding to the picturesque of this ultimate heaven. Their clear singing of happiness proclaim the joy of Dharma

Evil does not exist in this land; hence the meaning of it lost upon its blessed inhabitants. The lifespan of Amitabha’s disciples and the beings He had saved stretches to several kalpas. Many among these being will dwell in Buddhahood in this very lifetime.

The Buddha then told Sariputra that anyone who, upon his time of death, think of Amitabha Buddha and recite His name sincerely with a clear mind, would be quickly reborn into the Western Paradise.”

More on Amitabha Buddha

Amitabha Buddha’s most important vow (vow no. 18) was to create a land of boundless joy and happiness, accessible to those who give up unwholesome actions and recite His name with a clear and calm mind. When the time has come for the person to die, Amitabha Buddha will appear before him to take him to the Western Paradise where he would never again have to go through the 6 realms of rebirth.

Amitabha has 2 assistants by His side – Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva on His left and Mahastamprapta on His right. Avalokitesvara, better known as Kuan Yin is a disciple of Amitabha. Her willow and vase is said to carry a person’s soul to reside in the Western Paradise. Mahastamprapta (Bodhisattva of Universal Strength), although not as well known as Kuan Yin is also responsible in welcoming loyal devotees of Amitabha to the Western Paradise at the time of their death. She represents Amitabha’s wisdom, just as Kuan Yin represents His compassion.

It is said that when Amitabha speaks, the fragrance of the vipala flower exudes from His mouth. Every pore on his body gives off the sweet scent of sandalwood. Wonderful treasures of many kinds could be brought forth with His hands. He is currently residing in His Western Paradise, teaching the Dharma to those He had saved.

The school of Buddhism taught by Amitabha Buddha is mainly based on pure conviction and faith. It is known as the Lotus School of Buddhism, a wing under Mahayana Buddhism practiced mostly in China. One of the reason it achieved so much popularity is because of its simple requirements to attain a stepping-stone to Nirvana. In ancient times, Buddhism texts and scriptures were studied by top scholars and learned laymen. The large population of China was poor farmers who had no access to such luxuries. Hence the simplicity of avoiding unwholesome actions and reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name with a clear and sincere mind was easy for many people to follow.

The 48 Great Vows

1. If, when I attain Buddhahood, should there be in my land a hell, a realm of hungry spirits or a realm of animals, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
2. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should after death fall again into the three evil realms, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
3. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be the color of pure gold, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
4. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be of one appearance, and should there be any difference in beauty, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
5. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not remember all their previous lives, not knowing at least the events which occurred during the previous hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
6. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the divine eye of seeing at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
7. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the divine ear of hearing the teachings of at least a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddhas and should not remember all of them, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
8. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the faculty of knowing the thoughts of others, even those of all sentient beings living in a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
9. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not possess the supernatural power of traveling anywhere in one instant, even beyond a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
10. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should give rise to thoughts of self-attachment, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
11. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not dwell in the Definitely Assured State and unfailingly reach Nirvana, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
12. If, when I attain Buddhahood, my light should be limited, unable to illuminate even a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
13. If, when I attain Buddhahood, my life-span should be limited, even to the extent of a hundred thousand kotis of nayutas of kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
14. If, when I attain Buddhahood, the number of the shravakas in my land could be known, even if all the beings and pratyekabuddhas living in this universe of a thousand million worlds should count them during a hundred thousand kalpas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
15. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should have limited life-spans, except when they wish to shorten them in accordance with their previous vows, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
16. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should even hear of any wrongdoing, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
17. If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the land of the ten directions should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
18. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, aspire to be born in my land, and call my Name even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excluded, however, are those who commit the five gravest offences and abuse the right Dharma.
19. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten directions, who awaken aspiration for Enlightenment, do various meritorious deeds and sincerely desire to be born in my land, should not, at their death, see me appear before them surrounded by a multitude of sages, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
20. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the lands of the ten directions who, having heard my Name, concentrate their thoughts on my land, do various meritorious deeds and sincerely transfer their merits towards my land with a desire to be born there, should not eventually fulfill their aspiration, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
21. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not all be endowed with the thirty-two physical characteristics of a Great Man, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
22. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the Buddha-lands of other directions who visit my land should not ultimately and unfailingly reach the Stage of Becoming a Buddha after One More Life, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment. Excepted are those who wish to teach and guide sentient beings in accordance with their original vows. For they wear the armor of great vows, accumulate merits, deliver all beings from birth-and-death, visit Buddha-lands to perform the bodhisattva practices, make offerings to Buddhas, Tathagatas, throughout the ten directions, enlighten uncountable sentient beings as numerous as the sands of the River Ganges, and establish them in the highest, perfect Enlightenment. Such bodhisattvas transcend the course of practice of the ordinary bodhisattva stages and actually cultivate the virtues of Samantabhadra.
23. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land, who would make offerings to Buddhas through my divine power, should not be able to reach immeasurable and innumerable kotis of nayutas of Buddha-lands in the short time it takes to eat a meal, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
24. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be able, as they wish, to perform meritorious acts of worshipping the Buddhas with the offerings of their choice, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
25. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be able to expound the Dharma with the all-knowing wisdom, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
26. If, when I attain Buddhahood, there should be any bodhisattva in my land not endowed with the body of the Vajra-god Narayana, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
27. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings should be able, even with the divine eye, to distinguish by name and calculate by number all the myriads of manifestations provided for the humans and devas in my land, which are glorious and resplendent and have exquisite details beyond description, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
28. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land, even those with little store of merit, should not be able to see the Bodhi-tree which has countless colors and is four million li in height, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
29. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not acquire eloquence and wisdom in upholding sutras and reciting and expounding them, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
30. If, when I attain Buddhahood, the wisdom and eloquence of bodhisattvas in my land should be limited, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
31. If, when I attain Buddhahood, my land should not be resplendent, revealing in its light all the immeasurable, innumerable and inconceivable Buddha-lands, like images reflected in a clear mirror, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
32. If, when I attain Buddhahood, all the myriads of manifestations in my land, from the ground to the sky, such as palaces, pavilions, ponds, streams and trees, should not be composed both of countless treasures, which surpass in supreme excellence anything in the worlds of humans and devas, and of a hundred thousand kinds of aromatic wood, whose fragrance pervades all the worlds of the ten directions, causing all bodhisattvas who sense it to perform Buddhist practices, then may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
33. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten directions, who have been touched by my light, should not feel peace and happiness in their bodies and minds surpassing those of humans and devas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
34. If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten directions, who have heard my Name, should not gain the bodhisattva’s insight into the non-arising of all dharmas and should not acquire various profound dharanis, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
35. If, when I attain Buddhahood, women in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten directions who, having heard my Name, rejoice in faith, awaken aspiration for Enlightenment and wish to renounce womanhood, should after death be reborn again as women, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
36. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten directions, who have heard my Name, should not, after the end of their lives, always perform sacred practices until they reach Buddhahood, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
37. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in the immeasurable and inconceivable Buddha-lands of the ten directions, who, having heard my Name, prostrate themselves on the ground to revere and worship me, rejoice in faith, and perform the bodhisattva practices, should not be respected by all devas and people of the world, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
38. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not obtain clothing, as soon as such a desire arises in their minds, and if the fine robes as prescribed and praised by the Buddhas should not be spontaneously provided for them to wear, and if these clothes should need sewing, bleaching, dyeing or washing, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
39. If, when I attain Buddhahood, humans and devas in my land should not enjoy happiness and pleasure comparable to that of a monk who has exhausted all the passions, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
40. If, when I attain Buddhahood, the bodhisattvas in my land, who wish to see the immeasurable glorious Buddha-lands of the ten directions, should not be able to view all of them reflected in the jeweled trees, just as one sees one’s face reflected in a clear mirror, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
41. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other directions who hear my Name should, at any time before becoming Buddhas, have impaired, inferior or incomplete sense organs, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
42. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other directions who hear my Name should not all attain the samadhi called ‘pure emancipation’ and, while dwelling therein, without losing concentration, should not be able to make offerings in one instant to immeasurable and inconceivable Buddhas, World-Honored Ones, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
43. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other directions who hear my Name should not after death be reborn into noble families, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
44. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other directions who hear my Name should not rejoice so greatly as to dance and perform the bodhisattva practices and should not acquire stores of merit, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
45. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other directions who hear my Name should not all attain the samadhi called ‘universal equality’ and, while dwelling therein, should not always be able to see all the immeasurable and inconceivable Tathagatas until those bodhisattvas, too, become Buddhas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
46. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in my land should not be able to hear spontaneously whatever teachings they may wish, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
47. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other directions who hear my Name should not instantly reach the Stage of Non-retrogression, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.
48. If, when I attain Buddhahood, bodhisattvas in the lands of the other directions who hear my Name should not instantly gain the first, second and third insights into the nature of dharmas and firmly abide in the truths realized by all the Buddhas, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

Praise to Amitabha Buddha

“The Amitabha Buddha’s body is the color gold. The splendor of His brilliant light is beyond mind. The light of His brows illuminates a hundred worlds. His eyes are pure brilliant light, limitless like the oceans. In Amitabha’s realm of infinite light, all beings are transformed And Enlightened into countless Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. His Forty Eight Vows ensure our liberation In Nine Lotus Stages we reach the ultimate shore of Enlightenment. Homage to the Buddha of the Pure Land, Compassionate Amitabha Buddha.

NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA!
NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA!
NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA!”