Wednesday, September 30, 2009


These sessions are only opened to those
who have attended the Tuesday night course.

There will be sitting and walking meditation sessions at House of Inward Journey with Sis. Gavesini (Gin) every Thursday, starting 1 Oct 2009. These sessions are meant for those who prefer to practise in a group environment on an on-going basis. No talks or lesson notes will be given in these sessions as Noble Silence will be observed during the practice sessions. The details of the sessions are as follows:

8.00 - 8.45 pm Walking Meditation
8.45 - 9.30 pm Sitting meditation
9.30 - 10.15 pm Interview/Q & A


Lesson Three

Monday, September 21, 2009

Walkathon to Create More Welfare Activities

檀 香 爱 心 福 利 会

Than Hsiang Mitra Welfare Association
No.14, Jalan 1/3, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Than Hsiang Mitra Welfare Association was founded by Venerable Wei Wu in the year 1993. The Association carries out welfare activities with the aim of creating a peaceful, harmony and caring society and environment.

Aimed to raise fund for the commencement of more activities in Kuala Lumpur, the Association has decided to organize a Walkathon, which will be held on:

1st November 2009 (Sunday)
7:00am to 11:00am
Taman Jaya, Petaling Jaya

The Association would like to seek your sponsorship in supporting this walkathon event.
Your sponsorship to this event is very much appreciated.

For more information,
please visit the Association's website @
or call: 603 - 7782 6414 / 603- 7785 4143

Thank you.

Ven. Zhen Man

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Vipassana Meditation? What is that?

It was the second lesson of the Vipassana Meditation Course. Arriving yogis were filling up the meditation hall as the clock indicated five minutes more before striking 8. Everyone sitting in the hall was eagerly waiting for Sister Gin, the instructor, to break out the noble silence session by delivering her lecture for the day. Most of them came to this meditation lesson to satisfy their curiosity on two major questions ‘What is Meditation’ and ‘Why do we meditate’ playing in their mind.

A few minutes later, the lady instructor in white blouse and longy (sarong) made her way mindfully across the centre of the meditation hall towards the instructor’s seat. Finally, Sister Gin was in position and ready to clear out the doubts and qualms about the purpose for meditating. Despite that she had given a brief introduction on Vipassana meditation in the first lesson last week, yet some of the yogis still hold vague views towards Vipassana meditation is intended to create miracles and psychic powers.

She started her talk with some facts on ‘what Vipassana is not’ so that people could understand that meditation is not for gaining supernatural power, for praising the Gods and deities, for the ability fortune telling, for whispering to unseen beings. It is also not a skill to have perfect control over one’s mind nor is it to run away from reality and problems in life.

The proper sitting meditation postures were also taught in the lesson as the most essential basic knowledge for meditation practice, that is to keep the back (spine) straight and leg crossed as it is a very stable and conducive way for the development of deep concentration. Sister Gin also mentioned that Yogis with special needs may sit on the chair instead (back pain, spinal problems, pregnancy etc).

After providing clear descriptions of different meditation postures, Sister Gin went around to provide guided supervisions to assist fellow yogis in correcting their postures individually. Surprisingly, most of the first-timer yogis got their posture correct in the 15 minutes self practice and look forward to attend the next session next week.

Sobhana Tan & Hong Bian

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Introduction Class @ 8th September 2009

For those who are still interested to
attend this meditation course,
they may register on this coming 2nd class,
15th September, Tuesday.

Kindly take note that the whole course consists of 8 weekly lessons
(not 7 weekly as stated previously) and a one-day retreat.
The course is held every Tuesday from 8.00 pm to 10.00 pm and
conducted by Sister Gavesini (Sister Gin),
an experienced meditation instructor, who has been
practising for more than 25 years.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Insight (Vipassana)
Meditation Course

with Sister Gavesini (Sis. Gin)

@ House of Inward Journey
8th Sept 09 - 31st Oct 09
Every Tuesday (8pm - 10pm)


This meditation course is tailored for busy people who want to learn up the basic technique of Insight Meditation in a systematic way within a short period of time.

Interested participants are encouraged to attend the whole course, which consists of 7 weekly lessons and a one-day retreat, spread out over 2 months. To acquire the maximum benefit from this course, participants are highly recommended to practice at home on a regular daily basis during that period.

Instructions together with handouts and interviews will be given at every lesson by the Course Instructor.

  • Lesson 1 : What is Meditation? Samatha & Vipassana, Preliminaries
  • Lesson 2 : Sitting Meditation — Posture & Basic Principles
  • Lesson 3 : Walking & Standing Meditation
  • Lesson 4 : How To Report At Interviews & The 6 Temperaments
  • Lesson 5 : Mindfulness of Sensations — Sitting and Touching
  • Lesson 6 : Mindfulness of Consciousness
  • Lesson 7 : Mindfulness of Mental Objects — The Five Hindrances
  • (Retreat) 8 : Joy & Bliss of Meditation

Please come in loose clothing like track bottoms, slacks, sarong or long skirts and bring along your 'zafu' (meditation cushion) or even a towel/blanket will do.


Sister Gavesini (Gin) became interested in Buddhism in the early 70s. She started practising meditation with Ven. Sujiva in Malaysian Buddhist Meditation Centre, Penang, when he returned from Burma. Then for nearly 20 years she frequently travelled to Burma to practise intensive meditation with Sayadaw U Pandita and ordained as a temporary Tilashin (nun) in Mahasi Centre, Yangon in 1986. She also spent some time practising with Sayadaw U Kundala at Sadhammaramsi Yeiktha. Beside Vipassana meditation, she also practised Samatha meditation with Sayadaw U Pandita at Saddhamma Retreat in Oregon, USA. As a lay teacher she has taught meditation in various Buddhist Centres in PJ, Klang, Kajang and KL. For the past 8 years, since retiring from teaching actively she has been on self-retreat, mainly in Burma, Malaysia, Thailand (Chiang Mai), Australia (Bodhinyana, Serpentine) and New Zealand. She moved to Auckland, New Zealand in 2002. Since her return to Malaysia in September 2007, she has been on intensive self-retreats for a total of 11 months.

To register and for more information please call:

  • Sunanda Lim (012 4302893)
  • Hong Bian (016 4438594)
  • House of Inward Journey (04 2262893)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

How Teachings of the Buddha are preserved over 2500 years (Part 2)

Ashoka (Asoka) Pillar

Before we continue to Buddha’s teachings been documented in the Fourth Buddhist Council, let us go a little more to what had actually happened in the Third Buddhist Council. During the ruling of King Asoka (Ashoka) in India, there was a serious issue within the Sangha as a number of unworthy men who were greedy, faithless and held wrong views, infiltrated the order and caused the respect for the Sangha diminished. King Asoka put a solution to the matter by appointing the Elder, Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa to examine monks from different monasteries about the teachings of Buddha and those who held heretical views were expelled from the Sangha. After the reshuffle of the Sangha order, the Third Buddhist Council was called by Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa in order to ensure that the Dhamma was kept to the purest. At that time all the Three Baskets of the Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidhamma were recited and reconfirmed. King Asoka also ordered several missions of the Dhamma to be sent to the outlying areas of the Asoka Empire for disseminating the Buddha’s teachings to the respective local people in places, such as Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Gandhara (currently Pakistan and Afganistan), Greece, Himalayas and Suvannabhumi (currently Burma and Thailand).

Gandhāra (Sanskrit: गन्धार, Pashto:ګندهارا, Urdu: گندھارا Gandḥārā; also known as Waihind in Persian) is the name of
an ancient kingdom (Mahajanapada
located in
northern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan.

According to Buddhism history, there were two recorded Fourth Buddhist Councils. The first one was held in Sri Lanka in the 1st Century BCE. In this Fourth Buddhist council the Tipitaka was for the first time committed to writing on palm leaves after centuries been memorized and recited. The second one was held in Kashmir by the Sarvastivada school around the First Century AD.

The first Fourth Buddhist Council was held in Tambapanni (Sri Lanka) under the ruling of King Vattagamani. The main reason for holding this council was that the challenge for most of the monks to memorize and retain the entire Tipitaka, as a result passing down the complete could be a problem in the long run. Since the technique of documentation was available at that time, the best possible way to preserve the entire body of the Buddha’s teachings was to have them written down. In the council, Venerable Maharakkhita and five hundred monks recited the words of the Buddha and wrote them down on palm leaves. Later on, these palm leaves scriptures were taken to countries like Burma, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.

"Wars, famines and also the introduction of wrong beliefs
and wrong practice made it difficult to preserve the teachings.
Finally, in 89 B.C., the teachings were committed to writing.
Five hundred monks undertook this great enterprise
in the cave of Aluvihara (Alulena Vihara)...."

~ Nina van Gorkom (Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka) ~

The second Fourth Buddhist Council was believed held by the Kushan emperor Kanishka in Kashmir, about a century AD, however the adaptation of this council was not regarded as convincing in Theravada and all the scriptures compiled here can only be found in the Mahayana traditions. Emperor Kanishka gathered 500 monks to compile the commentaries on Sarvastivadin Abhidharma and produced an extensive compendium, known as the Maha-Vibhasha.

The Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries CE)
was originally formed in the territories of ancient Bactria
either side of the middle course of the Oxus River or
Amu Darya
in what is now northern Afghanistan,
and southern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan

For more than 2500 years, the Buddha’s teachings were still well kept and utilised till today although it might not be a full record of all His words. What we could get today is the essence that was commonly agreeable by all the members from the First Buddhist Council which was held 3 months after Buddha left. So His 45 years of teachings could be more complex and more absolute back in those days compared to what we have today are just the extracts from the previous council members’ memory, upon agreeable.

Tradition holds that the First Council was held in a hall erected
by Ajatasattu
outside the
Sattapanniguha Cave
Sanskrit: Sattaparnaguha) in Rajgir,
three months after the Buddha
had died.
Detailed accounts of the council can be found in

the Khandhaka sections of the canonical Vinayas.

is a city and a notified area in
Nalanda district
in the Indian state of Bihar.The city of Rajgir (ancient Rajagriha or
Rājagṛha; Pali
: Rājagaha)
was the first capital of the kingdom of Magadha
a state that
would eventually evolve
into the Mauryan

Less we forget, the Buddha’s teachings are all about challenging one to put everything one experiencing into question and test before accepting them as a direction of practice. People are encouraged by the Buddha not to simply believe everything he said to be true. As much as we know the Tipitaka or the Pali canon only offers as a valuable guidance towards ultimate truth, it is important to exercise our analytical wisdom for reasoning the truth rather than merely trusting in what the suttas and the scriptures documented.

In Kalama Sutta, Buddha cited:
Do not go upon
what has been acquired by repeated hearing;

nor upon faith or tradition;
nor upon rumour;
nor upon what is in a scripture;
nor upon mere logical reasoning;
nor upon mere philosophical reasoning;
nor upon mere outward appearance;
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over;
nor upon another’s seeming ability;
nor upon the consideration, “The monk is our teacher”.

But whatever, after due examination and analysis, you yourselves directly know, “These things are wholesome, blameless, praised by the wise; when adopted and carried out, they are benefit and lead to well-being, prosperity and happiness,” then you should accept and practise them.

In this sutta, Gautama Buddha passes through
the village of Kesaputta (in ancient Kurukshetra state and
presently known as Haryana state in India) and is greeted
by the people who live there: the Kalamas.
The Kalamas greet the Buddha and ask for advice.
According to the Kalamas, many wandering holy men
and ascetics pass through the village,
expounding their teachings and criticizing others'.
The Kalamas ask the Buddha whose teachings they should follow.
In response, he delivered a sutta that serves as
an entry-point to Buddhist beliefs to
those unconvinced by revelatory experiences.
~ Raj Kumar Oshora
(Lord Buddha: The Greatest Son of India
and World Peace Emblem) ~

Samurai Beng, the Dhamma warrior

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha)   The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching   Buddha's Teachings [With Headphones] (Playaway Adult Nonfiction)