Buddhist Publication Society Newsletter cover essay #35 (1st mailing, 1997)
Copyright 1997 Buddhist Publication Society
For free distribution only
Ideally, education is the principal tool of human growth, essential for transforming the unlettered child into a mature and responsible adult. Yet everywhere today, both in the developed world and the developing world, we can see that formal education is in serious trouble. Classroom instruction has become so routinized and pat that children often consider school an exercise in patience rather than an adventure in learning. Even the brightest and most conscientious students easily become restless, and for many the only attractive escape routes lie along the dangerous roads of drugs, sexual experimentation, and outbursts of senseless violence. Teachers too find themselves in a dilemma, dissatisfied with the system which they serve but unable to see a meaningful alternative to it.
One major reason for this sad state of affairs is a loss of vision regarding the proper aims of education. The word "education" literally means "to bring forth," which indicates that the true task of this process is to draw forth from the mind its innate potential for understanding. The urge to learn, to know and comprehend is a basic human trait, as intrinsic to our minds as hunger and thirst are to our bodies. In today's turbulent world, however, this hunger to learn is often deformed by the same moral twists that afflict the wider society. Indeed, just as our appetite for wholesome food is exploited by the fast-food industry with tasty snacks devoid of nutritional value, so in our schools the minds of the young are deprived of the nutriment they need for healthy growth. In the name of education the students are passed through courses of standardized instruction intended to make them efficient servants of a demeaning social system. While such education may be necessary to guarantee societal stability, it does little to fulfil the higher end of learning, the illumination of the mind with the light of truth and goodness.
A major cause of our educational problems lies in the "commercialization" of education. The industrial growth model of society, which today extends its tentacles even into the largely agrarian societies of South and Southeast Asia, demands that the educational system prepare students to become productive citizens in an economic order governed by the drive to maximize profits. Such a conception of the aim of education is quite different from that consistent with Buddhist principles. Practical efficiency certainly has its place in Buddhist education, for Buddhism propounds a middle path which recognizes that our loftiest spiritual aspirations depend on a healthy body and a materially secure society. But for Buddhism the practical side of education must be integrated; with other requirements designed to bring the potentialities of human nature to maturity in the way envisioned by the Buddha. Above all, an educational policy guided by Buddhist principles must aim to instill values as much as to impart information
It must be directed, not merely towards developing social and commercial skills, but towards nurturing in the students the seeds of spiritual nobility.
Since today's secular society dictates that institutional education is to focus on preparing students for their careers, in a Buddhist country like Sri Lanka the prime responsibility for imparting the principles of the Dhamma to the students naturally falls upon the Dhamma schools. Buddhist education in the Dhamma schools should be concerned above all with the transformation of character. Since a person's character is molded by values, and values are conveyed by inspiring ideals, the first task to be faced by Buddhist educators is to determine the ideals of their educational system. If we turn to the Buddha's discourses in search of the ideals proper to a Buddhist life, we find five qualities that the Buddha often held up as the hallmarks of the model disciple, whether monk or layperson. These five qualities are faith, virtue, generosity, learning, and wisdom. Of the five, two-faith and generosity-relate primarily to the heart: they are concerned with taming the emotional side of human nature. Two relate to the intellect: learning and wisdom. The fifth, virtue or morality, partakes of both sides of the personality: the first three precepts-abstinence from killing, stealing, and sexual abuse- govern the emotions; the precepts of abstinence from falsehood and intoxicants help to develop the clarity and honesty necessary for realization of truth. Thus Buddhist education aims at a parallel transformation of human character and intelligence, holding both in balance and ensuring that both are brought to fulfillment.
The entire system of Buddhist education must he rooted in faith (saddha) faith in the Triple Gem, and above all in the Buddha as the Fully Enlightened One, the peerless teacher and supreme guide to right living and right understanding. Based on this faith, the students must be inspired to become accomplished in virtue (sila) by following the moral guidelines spelled out by the Five Precepts. They must come to know the precepts well, to understand the reasons for observing them, and to know how to apply them in the difficult circumstances of human life today. Most importantly, they should l come to appreciate the positive virtues these precepts represent: kindness, honesty, purity, truthfulness, and mental sobriety. They must also acquire the spirit of generosity and self-sacrifice (caga), so essential for overcoming selfishness, greed, and the narrow focus on self-advancement that dominates in present-day society. To strive to fulfil the ideal of generosity is to develop compassion and renunciation, qualities which sustained the Buddha throughout his entire career. It is to learn that cooperation is greater than competition, that self-sacrifice is more fulfilling than self-aggrandizement, and that our true welfare is to be achieved through harmony and good will rather than by exploiting and dominating others.
The fourth and fifth virtues work closely together. By learning (suta) is meant a wide knowledge of the Buddhist texts which is to be acquired by extensive reading and persistent study. But mere learning is not sufficient. Knowledge only fulfills its proper purpose when it serves as a springboard for wisdom (paa), direct personal insight into the truth of the Dhamma. Of course, the higher wisdom that consummates the Noble Eightfold Path does not lie within the domain of the Dhamma school. This wisdom must be generated by methodical mental training in calm and insight, the two wings of Buddhist meditation. But Buddhist education can go far in laying the foundation for this wisdom by clarifying the principles that are to be penetrated by insight. In this task learning and wisdom are closely interwoven, the former providing a basis for the latter. Wisdom arises by systematically working the ideas and principles learnt through study into the fabric of the mind, which requires deep reflection, intelligent discussion, and keen investigation.
It is wisdom that the Buddha held up as the direct instrument of final liberation, as the key for opening the doors to the Deathless, and also as the infallible guide to success in meeting life's mundane challenges. Thus wisdom is the crown and pinnacle of the entire system of Buddhist education, and all the preliminary steps in a Buddhist educational system should be geared towards the flowering of this supreme virtue. It is with this step that education reaches completion, that it becomes illumination in the truest and deepest sense, as exclaimed by the Buddha on the night of his Awakening: "There arose in me vision, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and light."
Today is the first day of the Lunar New Year, on the 12 February 2021 of western calendar. From the faraway Germany, I have had the honor of being invited by the most Venerable Master Hui Siong, abbot of Beel Low See Temple in Singapore and other temples in Malaysia and Indonesia, to have a talk online with you all today. First, I want to thank Master Hui Siong for the invitation, also his secretary miss Jackie and all of you for this opportunity.
Buddha has taught us that everything arises with conditions, and the true nature of everything is emptiness. I am sure, as Buddhists, you are familiar with this teaching. He also taught us other teachings, according to Theravada traditions such as: impermanence, suffering and non-self or according to Mahayana traditions: impermanence, suffering, emptiness and non-self. No matter which traditions, these teachings are the common guidelines for us to practice Buddhism. So, when things as sufferings arise, how do we approach and deal with i
Hungry Ghosts is a suspenseful, character-driven ghost story with heart, humour and scares. Set in contemporary Melbourne during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, when the Vietnamese community venerate their dead, four families find themselves haunted by ghosts from the past. As these hauntings intensify, they threaten to unleash their deepest fears and expose secrets long buried.
Through an ensemble of characters, both Vietnamese and Anglo, Hungry Ghosts explores the concept of the inherent trauma we pass down from one generation to the next, and how notions of displacement impact human identity - long after the events themselves. Can you ever really leave behind the trauma of your past? Is it possible to abandon both spiritual and physical culture, or does it form part of your fundamental DNA?
To free themselves and those they love, each character in Hungry Ghosts must atone for their sins and confront their deepest fears or risk being swallowed by the shadows of their p
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is not over yet. We need to keep looking after ourselves and our community to stop the virus spreading.
Due to increased cases in Victoria, some restrictions have changed. From 22 June 2020:
· You cannot have more than five visitors in your home
· You cannot gather outdoors with more than 10 people
· Schools, libraries, places of worship and businesses remain open
· Stay close to home and do not travel if possible
Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero (Sinhala: අග්ග මහා පණ්ඩිත බලංගොඩ ආනන්ද මෛත්රෙය මහා නා හිමි;23 August 1896 – 18 July 1998) was a Sri Lankan scholar Buddhist monk and a personality of Theravada Buddhism in the twentieth century. He was highly respected by Sri Lankan Buddhists, who believe that he achieved a higher level of spiritual development through meditation. Sri Lankan Buddhists also considered Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Thero as a Bodhisattva, who will attain Buddhahood in a future life.
Dr. Gagan Malik Interview: Mother Nature's Fury with Human Beings | 4 ways to 'overcome' Covid-19, With the rapidly rising number of covid-19 cases in the world's second most populous country, India, and the world's largest lockdown still continuing, I caught up with my friend who is a Bollywood actor, UN Peace Ambassador for South-East Asia and a passionate Buddhist, Dr. Gagan Malik.
In this fascinating 47min interview, he shares his various concerns about the covid-19 situation, such as the lack of clear information available on how covid-19 patients are being treated in hospitals, the wastage of time during the lockdown, our mistreatment of Mother Nature/Earth, and also addresses his Buddhists friends on some concerning matters. He also provides some wise suggestions to everyone from a Buddhist point of view on how we can make the most of the lockdown and how collectively as a human race, we can do something about our current dire plight.
Thank you so much Dr. Malik for al
In June of 1957, the senior members of the Youth Circle of the Penang Buddhist Association formed a committee to explore the possibilities of forming a Dharma school to convene each Sunday morning for the systematic instruction of Buddhist children in the truths of our religion. Fifteen members of this committee volunteered to prepare themselves to take over teaching duties. This group of volunteers found no great lack of material suitable for instructing adults in the Dharma, but when they turned their search towards lesson material for children, they found a most startling lack of anything remotely approaching the needs of a modern Sunday school. A certain amount of Buddhist literature for children was found in Chinese and Japanese language presentations, but there are few Chinese in Malaya who are completely at home in written Chinese. Moreover, even the children enrolled in the Dharma classes are well versed only in colloquial Chinese, in Penang usually the Hokkien dialect, and the
Hòa Thương Thích Như Điển đã làm lễ khánh thọ lần thứ 70 trong năm qua. Thầy đã mang truyền thống dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam sang nước Đức và là người truyền thừa có ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Phật Giáo tại đây. Đồng thời, Thầy đã đóng góp triệt để cho sự hội nhập của người Việt trong nước Đức – và do đó cũng là một đoạn đường quan trọng cho tính đa dạng của Phật Giáo trong đất nước này. Trong bài tiểu luận này, ông Olaf Beuchling đã vinh danh cuộc sống và những Phật sự của vị Pháp Sư đồng thời giới thiệu tổng quan dòng Thiền Lâm Tế Việt Nam.]
Người ta đứng chen chúc trong khuôn viên an bình của ngôi Chùa Viên Giác tại Hannover: Có hàng ngàn người khách hiện diện trong những ngày hè của tháng sáu năm 2019. Họ đến hỷ chúc 70 năm khánh thọ của Hòa Thượng Phương Trượng Chùa Viên Giác – Thầy Thích Như Điển, vị Tỳ Kheo người Đức gốc Việt.
The Book was first published in 1942. The present edition has been revised and expanded. Though primarily intended for the students and beginners rather than scholars, the reader will find it an extremely valuable handbook, offering a sound foundation to the basic tenets of Buddhism as found in its original Pali tradition.
I consider myself to be one of the extremely lucky ones to study the Dharma at the Phap Bao temple every Sunday with awise, caring and compassionate teacher like Ven. Bhikkuni Giac Anh. The classes are like an endless supply of cool and pure water from a gentle stream that my Dharma friends and I can always drink from to quench our thirst and purify our body and mind.Over the years, I have seen incremental improvements in myselfsuch as being calmer, learning and practicing the Dharma better and applying the practical advice from my Teacher to better deal with everyday challenges.