Sunday, May 30, 2010

Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness

About this talk

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

About Matthieu Ricard

Sometimes called the "happiest man in the world," Matthieu Ricard is a Buddhist monk, author and photographer.

After training in biochemistry at the Institute Pasteur, Matthieu Ricard left science behind to move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk -- and to pursue happiness, both at a basic human level and as a subject of inquiry. Achieving happiness, he has come to believe, requires the same kind of effort and mind training that any other serious pursuit involves.

His deep and scientifically tinged reflections on happiness and Buddhism have turned into several books, including The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet. At the same time, he also makes sensitive and jaw-droppingly gorgeous photographs of his beloved Tibet and the spiritual hermitage where he lives and works on humanitarian projects.

His latest book on happiness is Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill; his latest book of photographs is Tibet: An Inner Journey.

The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet   Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill   Tibet: An Inner Journey

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Significance of Understanding Sattipathana Sutta In Meditation Practice

From the last posting about Joseph Goldstein's Dhamma talks, there was a quote by a psychologist cum Dhamma teacher, Chien Hoong mentioned about 'Anyone who is serious about meditation should have a good understanding of Satipattana Sutta.' Let us go a bit more into why the comprehension of the Satipatthana Sutta or the Discourse of Four Foundation of mindfulness is so important in the practice of mindfulness meditation.

It is important to understand Buddhism as a discipline or process rather than as a belief system. The Buddha did not teach doctrines about seeing enlightenment by mere faith, but rather taught people how to work their way through gaining enlightenment themselves. Furthermore, Buddha taught satipatthana as the direct path to Enlightenment. 

Image from

The Satipatthana Sutta and the Mahasatipatthana Sutta are two of the most popular and important discourses in the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism. Both content of the discourses relate the meditation practice with the right approach to the development of 'satipatthana', which is a term for mindfulness or the awareness at the present moment. The only different between these two discourses are Mahasatipatthana Sutta is longer and more detailed. With the constant and proper maintaining of the moment-by-moment mindfulness, one can gain discernment through the direct experiences of his or her meditation practice based on the four foundations of mindfulness.

These four foundations are no other than mindfulness of the body (kaya), mindfulness of feelings (vedana), mindfulness of the mind or consciousness (citta), and mindfulness of mental objects or qualities (dhamma). Based on these four factors, one can contemplating any of these objects when they are practising meditation. By paying close attention to the present experience, one begin to see both inner and outer aspects of reality as aspects of the mind.

For example, one sees that the mind is successively having chattering communication with commentary or judgement. By noticing that the mind is successively making commentary, one has the ability to carefully observe those thoughts, seeing them for what they really are without aversion or judgement. Those who are practising mindfulness realise that 'thoughts are just thoughts.' One can be free to release a thought when one realises that the thought may not be concrete reality or absolute truth, thus one is also free from getting caught in the commentary. The purpose of such mindfulness practice is recognising different types of experience from the context or the mind within which they occur.

According to the Satipatthana Sutta, everyone is able to realise enlightenment through direct experience. It is through mindfulness that we experience directly, with no mental filters or psychological barriers between us and what is experienced. Any activity such as preparing food, cleaning floors or simply just walking which is done mindful can be a form of meditation, and mindfulness is possible practically all the time. So be mindful with your life, just a famous Zen saying 'If you miss the moment, you miss your life. How much of our lives have we missed?'

Samurai Beng


Inward Path Publisher 
would like to wish 
all Dhamma seekers 
'A Happy Vesak Day'

In conjunction of Vesak Day, Inward Path Publisher is releasing a book about mindfulness meditation based on satipatthana with the title of 'Comprehensive Instructions on Mindfulness Meditation' by Sayadaw U Silananda.

To order a FREE copy, please visit 
(postage charges apply according to your country)

We also have other new releases 
this Vesak Day for free


Towards The End Of Forgiveness: The Story of Angulimala
by Bhikkhu Bodhidhmma
(Book with audio CD)

Numerical Dhamma I
A compilation of Buddhist quotes from Anguttara Nikaya and other discourses
(Book only)

 Metta Meditation & Positive Attitudes
by Visu Teoh
(Book with audio CD)

Also find other titles on Mindfulness

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dharma Seed - Joseph Goldstein's Dharma Talks (Website Link)

About the speaker

Joseph Goldstein has been leading insight and lovingkindness meditation retreats worldwide since 1974. He is a cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, where he is one of the organization's guiding teachers. In 1989, together with several other teachers and students of insight meditation, he helped establish the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

Joseph first became interested in Buddhism as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand in 1965. Since 1967 he has studied and practiced different forms of Buddhist meditation under eminent teachers from India, Burma and Tibet. He is the author of A Heart Full of Peace, One Dharma: The Emerging Western Buddhism, Insight Meditation: The Practice of Freedom, The Experience of Insight, and co-author of Seeking the Heart of Wisdom and Insight Meditation: A Correspondence Course.

Follow the link below and listen to great talks from Joseph

'Anyone who is serious about meditation should have a good understanding of Satipattana Sutta.' - Chien Hoong

Other titles by Joseph Goldstein

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sila – The Foundation and Perfection of our Practice

by Chien Hoong © 2010

Sila or morality is a large part of Buddhist practice. It is often considered the bedrock of the Buddhist path and holds a very central role in all aspects of Buddhism. Often teachers would prescribe good morality as the first step in ones spiritual journey. Apart from being the foundation of practice, sila is also naturally an outcome of walking the spiritual path.

First of all, let us clarify what we mean when we say practising the Buddhist path. The goal of Buddhist practices is to be rid of our distress and afflictions which continue to arise over and over again in our life experiences. It is the purification of the mind so that it has the strength to overcome and transcend the obstacles that prevent a life of true peace and happiness. The systematic approach of the practice comes from the Noble Eightfold Path which emphasises the 3 aspects of morality, mental cultivation and wisdom. The entire path is largely reliant upon our ability to cultivate understanding towards the true nature of our life experiences. That is, through understanding arises wisdom which breaks through the chains of delusion and the grips of greed and hatred. To do this, a strong mind is needed to be watchful of our body and mind experiences from moment to moment.

So how does sila fit into this practice? As previously mentioned, it is one of the 3 aspects of the eightfold path and is often seen as the foundation of the entire practice. In a way, morality prepares the ground for planting the seeds of mental cultivation which gives rise to the tree of wisdom. A life with good morality enables a person to feel the basic level of safety and security that is a requisite for the practice of mental cultivation and wisdom. It helps create a state of the mind that is not overwhelmed by fear, anxiety, remorse and confusion. On the flip side, you can’t have peace of mind when you have gone against the Buddha’s advice on morality. Just take note of your state of mind the next time you tell a lie or take something that is not yours. Is the mind still bright and clear or does it become shaken and withdrawn?

As we progress in our practice, morality changes from something that is externally determined to something that we internalise. This comes from the understanding of our internal experiences. As previously mentioned, the aim of the Buddhist path is to cultivate an understanding of our life experiences in the deepest manner. We become more and more aware of how we are affected by our thoughts, feelings, intentions and actions. With this comes an understanding of what thoughts and actions are conducive for our peacefulness and which create more trouble in our lives. Very naturally, our lives are shaped in accordance with morality.

The basic morality in Buddhism is encapsulated in the 5 precepts. This covers the most fundamental codes of discipline which is needed for both a good life and for the development of wisdom. It is not something that has been laid down because of societal norms or the needs of a particular time and followed based on blind faith. They were not set for the purpose of creating order or social engineering but were laid down by the Buddha based on an in-depth understanding of the human body and mind. The precepts caution against actions that have the potential to create instability and stress in our minds and, therefore, are not conducive for a good life let alone any mental development.

When we grow in our spiritual path and understanding of life experiences, we start to realise for ourselves the reasons for the Buddha’s advice on morality. We see for ourselves how the mind has to be in a state of tension and stress in order to break any of the precepts. You can not harm or hurt another being, without first generating intense greed and hatred within the mind. As our practice deepens, we see this more clearly and start to realise for ourselves how these negativities cause our mind to fluctuate and suffer. We also begin to realise that the first person who is damaged by a life without morality is simply our selves. Therefore, very naturally as we progress in our practice, our lives will align with the precepts because our lives become instinctively inclined towards that which is beneficial towards ourselves and others. We naturally avoid actions that create distress in others which must first also bring harm to our own minds. When we can see clearly how our mind reacts and the outcome that follows, we simply could not harm ourselves and others any more. It is like a child who for the first time realises that fire burns, does not dare to get too near fire any more.

Sila plays such an important role in all Buddhist practices. It sets the foundation for what follows on our spiritual journey. As we gradually progress along our path, our conviction towards a moral life also increases. We understand and see for ourselves the damage that we inflict upon our own mind and body when we do not heed the advice on morality. We learn gradually to live a life that is in accordance with sila although along the way we may still make countless mistakes. As a Buddhist teacher used to say, we are only “learning sila” as we are growing spiritually. It doesn’t matter if we sometimes get it wrong and make silly mistakes so long as we are still growing. A life of the highest morality comes only from strong mental cultivation and the full maturation of wisdom. As we reach our final goal in our practice, it is then that we would have also perfected our morality. Until then, it is learning, observing and being aware step by step along the way.

Here are some titles that you might find them related to the article

The Noble Eightfold Path: Way to the End of SufferingFor a Future to Be Possible: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday LifeVirtuous Bodies: The Physical Dimensions of Morality in Buddhist Ethics

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Upcoming New Chinese Books 《止觀輔行》 ─淨治睡眠與經行利益─

Perfecting the Practice of Samatha and Vipasssana – Overcoming Sleepiness and the Benefits of Walking Meditation

About the book:

This book consists of two dissertations, 
one written by Rev. Kai Ren and 
the other one written by TK Wen.

1.   淨治睡眠的禪修傳統
      The Use of Traditional Method to 
      Overcome Sleepiness During Meditation 
      by Rev. Kai Ren  

This is a discussion paper about how sleepiness (middha) can be overcome during meditation, by using methods based on the Sutta and the Abhidhamma.

2.  初期佛教的經行  兼論當代上座部佛教的行禪
     Discussion on the Early Buddhist Walking Meditation          
     and the Theravada Walking Meditation in Present Day  
     by TK Wen 

This is a study on the theory and the practical aspects of the early Buddhist walking meditation, mainly based on the facts found in Nikayas and Vinayas and it then relates to the applications as well as the benefits of practicing it. There was also a brief introduction on the present Theravada Traditional meditation taught by Mahasi Sayadaw. 

For those who are interested to know 
more about the book or those who wish to sponsor the book, 
please visit our Chinese Blog @

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Poetic Gift ~ 'Metta'

Stemming from within
We all have a gift to share
A gentle smile
A comforting touch
Every moment,
Cultivating a boundless heart
Towards all beings
With Loving Kindness…

In the face of aversion
Confronted with old hurts
That is when
kindness eludes us most
As we put up barriers
we forsake others
We abandon love
And eventually, we forget…

Deep down inside
There are parts of us
We try to hide
Even from ourselves
The things we are not proud of…
Our mistakes, our fears
Our own vulnerabilities
Just as we shut them away
So too, do we close ourselves off
From those who remind us of our imperfection
We lose sight of our aspiration.

Loving kindness
In its purest form
Comes from acceptance
And embracing ourselves
For who we are,
and in that,
Learn to love others wholeheartedly
Unjudgingly and unconditionally
Without justification and condemnation

This way the barriers melt away
Allowing love and kindness
To shine in its entirety…


Copyright © 2010 by Inward Path Publisher. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Other Buddhist Poetries that you may find

 Call Me By My True Names: The Collected Poems of Thich Nhat Hanh   The Poetry of Enlightenment: Poems by Ancient Chan Masters    Zen Poetry, The Penguin Book of (Penguin Poets)

For the Chinese Version of A Poetic Gift  ~ 'Metta', 
please visit our Chinese Blog @ 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

'Benefits of Developing Metta' from Mettanisamsa Sutta

When loving kindness has been resorted to, developed or nurtured, constantly practised, made use of as a means of mental culture, used as a basis of spiritual growth, these eleven benefits are to be expected:
  1. One sleeps comfortably.
  2. One awakens from sleep comfortably.
  3. One sees no evil dreams.
  4. One comes to be loved by humans.
  5. One comes to be loved by non-humans.
  6. Divine beings offer protection.
  7. One does not come to suffer on account of fire, poison or weapons.
  8. One’s mind rapidly gathers concentration.
  9. The look of one’s face becomes pleasant.
  10. One dies unconfused.
  11. If one does not gain higher spiritual attainments, one would be born in the world of  Brahmas.
These eleven benefits are to be expected out of the release of the mind achieved through loving-kindness.
                      ~ THE BUDDHA (Anguttara Nikhaya 11.16)

What is Metta?
Metta, in Pali, has been translated as 'Loving Kindness', which usually describes a benevolence toward all beings, without discrimination, that is free of selfish attachment. It is a strong, sincere wish for the happiness of all beings.

Want to know more about Metta, come and join our Metta Meditation Sessions conducted by Visu Teoh at the House of Inward Journey, every Monday 8.00 pm - 10.00 pm. The address is 52D (3rd Floor) Rangoon Road, off Burma Road, Penang Malaysia 10400.

View Larger Map

Alternatively, you can check out our Inward Path Publisher books and CDs on Metta for free distribution at
Here are some of the free titles about Metta that we would recommend for a starter.

Also find other materials to learn more about Metta

Monday, May 3, 2010

新書出版 : 《任重道遠》- 對於出家與在家的認知 'New Chinese Book Announcement'




Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Booklet Dedicated to All the Mothers on Mother's Day

On this special Mother's Day, Inward Path Publisher is very pleased to present you a booklet, with the title 'A Rose for Your Pocket', written by the famous Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhah Hanh on his gratitude towards his beloved mother. We have enjoyed putting this tribute to motherhood as we hope that after reading this booklet, all of us will be awakened to appreciate our mothers more, to be more loving, grateful, and kinder to her. Also, we would like wish all the mothers in the world a Happy Mother's Day!!

To order a free copy of this title, please visit the following link

You can find other Thich Nhat Hanh books from the list below

Other books about mothers

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children   Dalai Lama, My Son: A Mother's Story   Buddhism for Mothers of Young Children: Becoming a Mindful Parent

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Your Religion Is Not Important

The following is a brief dialogue between a Brazilian 
theologist Leonardo Boff and the Dalai Lama. 
Leonardo is one of the renovators of the Theology of Freedom. 

In a round table discussion about religion and freedom in which 
Dalai Lama and myself were participating at recess. 

I maliciously, and also with interest, asked him: 
      “Your holiness, what is the best religion?

I thought he would say:
     “The Tibetan Buddhism” or 
     “The oriental religions, much older than Christianity

Dalai Lama paused, smiled and looked me in the eyes ….
which surprised me because I knew of the malice 
contained in my question. 

He answered: 
      “The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. 
        It is the one that makes you a better person.

To get out of my embarassment with such a wise answer, I asked:
      “What is it that makes me better?

He responded:
     “Whatever makes you
                         more Compassionate,
                         more Sensible,
                         more Detached,
                         more Loving,
                         more Humanitarian,
                         more Responsible,
                         more Ethical.”
The religion that will do that for you is the best religion

I was silent for a moment, marvelling and even today 
thinking of his wise and irrefutable response:
    I am not interested, my friend, about your religion 
      or if you are religious or not.

What really is important to me is your behaviour in 
      front of your peers, family, work, community, 
      and in front of the world.

    Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our  thoughts.

    “The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics.  
      It is also of human relations.
      If I act with goodness, I will receive goodness.
      If I act with eviI, I will get evil

    “What our grandparents told us is the pure truth. 
      You will always have what you desire for others. 
      Being happy is not a matter of destiny. 
      It is a matter of options.”

Finally he said:
   “Take care of your Thoughts because they become Words.
     Take care of your Words because they will become Actions.
     Take care of your Actions because they will become Habits.
     Take care of your Habits because they will form your Character.
     Take care of your Character because it will form your Destiny,
     and your Destiny will be your Life
     … and …

  “There is no religion higher than the Truth.

How to See Yourself As You Really Are The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace: The Essential Life and Teachings The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World