Of disrespectful and petty Sri Lankans on Buddhist tattoo

The recent news about a British tourist being deported by the Sri Lankan authorities due to her Buddhist tattoo in the arm certain cause some of use to thing deeply what Buddhist teaching really represents.

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2014/04/24/sri-lanka-deports-british-tourist-for-her-buddha-tattoo/

A few statements coming out from the news feed that makes me question if Sri Lankan themselves really understand what it means to be Buddhist or what reputation they are giving to others about Buddhists or its teachings. Certainly I am no saintly Buddhist myself, but I am very confident of at least a few of its basis teachings. Continue reading

Can Buddhists celebrate Christmas?

A perennial question that pop up almost every year during Christmas, however for me, the question never popped into my mind. For me it is a given that there is no problems with Buddhists celebrating Christmas, going to mass or even singing along during services. I believe that this only becomes a question when people see Buddhism as a religion rather than a system of teachings.

I remember quite a long time ago, I was invited to a Christmas mass with another Buddhist friend, I was singing enthusiastically all the gospel songs and Christmas carols, but I noticed that the friend was hesitant to sing or perhaps he don’t really know the tunes well. Either way, for me even if you asks me to visit a mosque or Hindu temple and pray together with the believers, I will do it as well as any of them can and as enthusiastically also. I don’t believe that doing that makes me any “less Buddhist” or makes me believe in anything different. Continue reading

Animal release, a Buddhist tradition of convenience and unthinking

Bhante Dhammika recently posted a comment on the practise of animal release and I have to agree with him that in our modern society this has become a fast food convenient way to gain merit and promotes an “unthinking” attitude towards understand Buddhist teachings

http://sdhammika.blogspot.sg/2013/08/unthinking-tradition-distorts-dhamma.html

Many people are aware of my view point on Buddhist animal release rituals, basically, I am against the practise unless in a true insightful manner. Take the example giving in his article about a monk asking the woman to release birds to gain merit for the husband who recovered after that. I have a lot of problems with such simplistic and even harmful understanding. Continue reading

My Buddhist view on burning hell money and other objects

It is very common to see Chinese burning paper in the form of hell notes and objects like cars and mansions to offer to the dead. It is a believe that these offerings can be used by the departed in the underworld which works similar to the real world. It is even more common to see these sort of offerings during the lunar 7th month period which is believe to be the hungry ghost month, where wandering spirits are allowed to roam the world as the gates of the underworld is opened. Many people claim that they received visions or dreams from the departed to burn them more offerings or that they are very happy to “receive” so much offerings and can live happily in the afterlife.

To me, these are nothing more than cultural and social internalization. These visions or dreams only come to those who have been internalized to believe in such rituals and another Chinese person who grew up in America without such knowledge would probably have experiences closer to those of Western cultures. This is the same reasons why people see visions of Goddess of Mercy or the Buddha in the form that they are familiar with. Continue reading

A Buddhist non-response to Bodh Gaya bombing

Recently, some 10 bombs went off at Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya, one of Buddhism’s holy sites. 2 persons, monks, were injured according to report. Also according to the reports the reasons for the bombing was in retaliation for the sufferings of the Muslims in Myanmar. Some groups in India had accused the Indian government of helping the Myanmar government to get rid of Muslims there. The Buddhist world was in a shock because bombings very rarely happened in Buddhist’s holy sites.  However, I am glad that instead of responding like how US or many countries response to terrorist bombings, there was a prayer for peace at the site instead. Continue reading

Burmese should just stop calling themselves Buddhists

Its a shame that the violence in Myanmar towards the Muslim/Rakhine population has not stop and continues to be more violent over time. What is worst is to see report like the one below telling us that monks, yes Buddhit monks, are carrying knives and assaulting people!

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/22/world/asia/myanmar-clashes/index.html

Buddhist monks and others armed with swords and machetes Friday stalked the streets of a city in central Myanmar, where sectarian violence that has left about 20 people dead has begun to spread to other areas, according to local officials. Continue reading

Does being gay give bad karma and a bad rebirth in next life?

In one of the posting in Facebook recently, someone mentioned that his mother, who is a Buddhist, said that because he is gay in the life, he will have a bad rebirth in the next life because of bad karma.

This is unfortunately not an uncommon thinking among so-called Buddhists. I said so-called Buddhists, because I believe these statements are usually made by nominal Buddhists (Buddhists by name and rituals) but not some one who actually studies and understands the Dharma. Actually, sometimes we can even hear such things from so-called learned monks and nuns! Again, you know what I means by “so-called”.

Let’s try to understand how bad rebirth and bad karma can be applied here. Continue reading