Saturday, January 21, 2012

Buddhism Sets You Free


I N W A R D    P A T H 
wishing all Dhamma Farers and Fellow Yogis
A Happy Chinese New Year 2012!
May All Free from Mental and 
Physical Suffering!
May All be Well and Happy Always!
May Our Journey in this Samsara 
be Short and Sweet!

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

The Buddha's Way posters (above) are 
now available for FREE DISTRIBUTION at 

Lorong Burma, Penang.

This Poster is sponsor for 
free distribution by Aunty Jo Ewe.

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!


      upon what has been acquired by repeated hearings; 
nor upon traditions;
nor upon rumours;
nor upon what are in the scriptures;
nor upon mere logical reasonings;
nor upon mere philosophical reasonings;
nor upon mere outward appearances;
nor upon a bias towards a notion
      that has been pondered over;
nor upon another's seeming ability;
nor upon the consideration and thought,
      “This monk (contemplative) is our teacher.”

But whatever, after due examination and analysis,
you yourselves directly know,
   “These qualities are unskillful;
     these qualities are blameworthy;
     these qualities are criticized by the wise;
     these qualities, when adopted and
     carried out, lead to harm and to suffering”
— then you should abandon them.

By the same token, when you know for yourselves that,
   “These qualities are skillful;
     these qualities are blameless;
     these qualities are praised by the wise;
     these qualities, when adopted and
     carried out, lead to welfare and to happiness”
— then you should accept and practise them.

By gently asking them questions, the Buddha
guided the Kālāmas (the people of Kesaputta in
Kosala country) to understand that teachings
based in greed, hate and delusion are unskillful.

Teachings devoid of greed, hate and delusion
are skillful. By applying these criteria,
we can understand truth from falsehood.

~ T H E   B U D D H A
[ Kesamuttisuttaṁ, the fifth sutta in
the Book of Threes (Tika Nipāta)
in the Gradual Sayings (Aṅguttara Nikāya) of Tipiṭaka. ]


Buddhism Sets You Free

Copyright © 2012

Season Greetings and Happy Lunar New Year!

Religion imprisons our minds with beliefs, dogmas, rituals and guilt. There are also religions that do not or dare not call themselves religion, understandably. But the demand for unquestioning faith is there all the same.

Call Buddhism what you like, but there is something about Buddhism that is truly rewarding if we keep an open mind. No, there is nothing to believe here. Many find this to be one of the hardest things to do. All right, we can say that Buddhism does begin with some kind of beliefs, such as keeping the moral precepts so that our body and speech are in order for the sake of a harmonious family and society. But these are not beliefs: they are universal truths that make human communion harmonious and fruitful.

Then there is Buddhist mind-training or meditation, which even other religions are now adopting. This is because it brings inner peace and clarity. Ultimately mental stillness has no label. In fact, this is what the Buddha of early Buddhism is trying to tell us: truth does not belong to any religion, nor to anyone. It is liberating like the fresh air and space around us.

There are also Buddhisms that call for mere faith, or some ritual. If these work for you, use them. At any time, you find that there is something simpler or better, have the courage to rise to it. Buddhism is about change, and change is occurring all the time if we carefully observe ourselves and things around us.

The Buddha’s Buddhism teaches us to keep on letting go of beliefs once we understand them. It is like learning ABC: we first master them, and then learn to spell words and make sentences. Then we read interesting books, and even tell stories to others, and share with them the great wonders of learning.

Early Buddhism is about self-learning. It is like learning to walk: no one can walk for us. As toddlers, we crawled and tried to stand, we fell, stood again, and now we are walking effortlessly (until age catches up, that is).

Wisdom comes in a similar way. Our sufferings arose from various conditions we were not sure about, or we could not prevent them for some reason. But there is a lot to learn from our sufferings. First, we must accept that there is really no one to blame, except conditions: no sin, no fate, no demon, no God, no others. Study the conditions, and understand them, then we will be able to prevent such sufferings, or at least lessen their effects.

Religions that demand all kinds of beliefs and rituals are trying to own us. But such religions are nothing but cunning and desperate people who are trying to control our minds and use our bodies. If any beliefs do not benefit us (they usually don’t), we should let them go. If we are not sure what the beliefs are about, it is not benefitting us. The same with rituals: they should help bring some peace and wisdom to us. If not, we do not need to do them.

Beliefs and rituals are often nothing more than public relations and advertisements that money-priests use to hold their clientele and con the gullible. A belief often means something we are not sure about, and are not really helpful. If we care to recall our own past: it is a record of our abandoning belief after belief. That is how we grow, by shedding the onion-skins of beliefs when the sting of truth opens our eyes.

The rituals that religious professionals charge us for – such as funerals – can all be even more meaningfully done by us, our relatives and friends together. If we truly love the dearly departed, we should give him or her a truly loving friends’ funeral. True and good rituals are not public show-offs of guilt or wealth, but a powerful gesture of the heart that feels for others and a good feeling for ourselves.

When Edward Bernays, the “father of public relations,” made a great fortune selling his ideas to corporations and politicians, it really benefitted no one except the corpo­rations and politicians, and Bernays. People in the US were throwing their hard-earn­ed cash into investments, making a lot of money, and living like intoxicated hamsters in the cage of pleasure and plenty. They were all heading for the Great Crash of 1929, the beginning of the 12-year Great Depression. They started blaming everyone else, except themselves.

Now, the religions are using Bernays’ tricks in making us to feel guilty and sinful about ourselves as if we are not already suffering enough, and to desire for things (like heaven) that we do not need. Of course, these religions claim they have all the answers. But these are answers to problems that these religions themselves have conjured up.

Religions work best where ignorance and the class system prevail. Yet more evil had been done in the name of religion than much of the rest of history put toge­ther. Religion burdens us with the greatest of sufferings when they try to define good and evil for us, even against our better judgement and common sense. The more power­ful the religion the greater the damage.*

Better than any religion is an open curiosity for the healing truth and liberating in­sight; a relentless questioning that only brings joy and peace of helpful answers that fruit in self-understanding. And the best person to examine and ask such questions is we ourselves. For, if we do not think for ourselves, we will lose our minds; if we stop feeling, then we are dead. The chains are mind-made, only the mind can break them. 

*See eg this documentary on church abuse of children:  and its transcript .

Meditation courses and therapy with Piya Tan @ Singapore:
Sutta translation:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Monk Radio: Personal Interpretations Vs. Orthodox Buddhism

The Demise of Sayadaw U Kundala

Dana, Offering to 
Sayadaw U Kundala 
at Saddhammaramsi Yeiktha, 
on 14 Jan 2010

 The Demise of  
Sayadaw U Kundala
19 December 2011
(Age: 90 years)

Anicca vata sankhara
Uppada vaya dhammmino
Uppajjitva nirujjhan'ti
Tesam vupasamo sukho

Impermanent, alas, are all conditions
Arising and passing away
Having been born they all must cease
The calming of conditions is true happiness

Sayadaw U Kundala was born in Waw Township, Bago District, Myanmar in 1921 to U Tha Phyo and Daw Pu. He became a novice monk (samanera) at the age of nine at the Waw Monastery. He studied at various learning monasteries, amongst which are the two well-known Shwehintha Forest Monastery and the Maydhini Forest Monastey.

He received the title of Dhamma Lectureship (Dhammacariya) in 1956, and another title of Dhamma Lectureship in 1958. On 4th January 1998, the 7th Waxing of Pyatho, 1359 M.E. (the Golden Jubilee Independence Day of Myanmar) he received the higher title of Meditation teacher, Agga Maha Kammatthanacariya vide Union of Myanmar State Peace and Development Council Notification No. 2/98.

The Sayadaw taught Buddhist Scriptures to about 200 monks daily at the Maydhini Forest Monastery for 20 years. After having meditated under the tutelage of the late Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw for a year, the Sayadaw decided to teach vipassana meditation. Had conducted meditation retreats and given Dhamma talks in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, France, United States, Australia, and Japan.

Sayadaw founded the Saddharammaransi Meditation Centre in 1978. The centre now cares for an average of 200 yogis daily. The Centre has four branches:
• Sukhapatipada Saddharammaransi, Kyaukkon, Yangon, 1993
• Viveka-Tawya Saddharammaransi, Nyaunglebin, 1994
• Khippdabhinna Saddharammaransi, Indyne, 1995
• Dhammadayada Saddharammaransi

The Sayadaw is also a prolific writer and has published several Dhamma books, mostly in Burmese. He is a member of the Sangha Supreme Council of Advisors at the main Mahasi Meditation Centre in Yangon.

Below are some of the English books
published by 
Inward Path Publisher:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Who Lives By The Dhamma

Talk Broadcast
by Venerable Yuttadhammo on
The Buddhist television channel
in Sri Lanka
The sort of person who truly lives
by the Dhamma.