Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The meanings of the different colors of the lotus flower in Buddhism

The lotus flower has eight petals which correspond to the Eightfold Path of Good Law. It is one of the most common symbols of Buddhism and represents the stages of enlightenment. The lotus flower rises from the depths of a muddy river, blooms and thrives. This symbolizes the human who rises from the darkness of the world into a new way of thinking and living. It is a symbol of rebirth, growth and purification of spirit. The lotus flower also represents faith. The different colors of the lotus flower in Buddhism hold significant meaning.

White: This color symbolizes being pure in body, mind and spirit. It symbolizes the heart of the Buddhas, and also represents overcoming obstacles of the human nature.

Red: This color symbolizes emotional attachments of the heart. It represents love, compassion, passion and other heart-centered emotions. It is usually depicted with its petals open to represent the heart being open and filled with love.

Blue: As a representation of wisdom and common sense, the blue lotus flower is often seen as only partially open. It symbolizes knowledge, learning and intelligence. The blue lotus flower is never fully opened, and its center is not seen. This represents the continual need to gain wisdom, learn and expand the mind in order to reach enlightenment.

Pink: A representation of the Buddha himself, the pink lotus represents the history and legends of the Buddha.
Purple: This is the color that represents mysticism and spirituality. It is shown in several ways such as one stem or three stems. Its petals are shown both opened and closed. It is sometimes a bud and sometimes fully bloomed. All of these differences represent the different mystical and spiritual journeys taken on the path to enlightenment.

Gold: A symbol of complete and total enlightenment, the gold lotus often represents the Buddha. It represents having reached full enlightenment and having achieved all that can be achieved.

The meanings of the different colors of the lotus flower in Buddhism play an important role in the understanding and implementation of the Buddhist teachings. They are meant to be used as a reminder along the journey to personal enlightenment.


Source : Buddhist.org (posted by Shiva)

Monday, 23 October 2017

Animal Death Beliefs and rituals in Buddhism

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, also known as the Buddha or Awakened One. Followers strive to attain enlightenment through the Four Noble Truths and Dependent Origination. Buddhists also have specific beliefs related to animals, which are considered sentient beings with the potential for enlightenment.

Animals are thought to inhabit a separate world from people. Someone who is reborn as an animal is usually considered to be suffering an unhappy rebirth. The world of animals is seen as negative because animals live in fear of being attacked and eaten, must endure environmental changes and have no secure habitation. Even those who live among humans may be slaughtered, forced to work or suffer from human ignorance.

The Passing of an Animal
Buddhism bans the taking of any life, right down to the smallest creatures and insects. The Buddha taught followers that every sentient being possesses Buddha nature and can reach enlightenment through rebirths. That means every animal was a past relative and should never be harmed for any reason. Instead they should be loved just as we would love another human being. When an animal passes away, many of the same rituals and practices may be performed that would be performed when a human being dies.

Coping with Animal Death in the Buddhist Culture
When a beloved animal dies, Buddhist families may include personal rituals along with those outlined by their religious beliefs. Most feel it is appropriate to perform a traditional Buddhist funeral, or Sukhavati, as they would with a human being. There is some disagreement on the length of the Bardo, or state of mind that is halfway between life and death. Some think that animals pass through this state faster, so the traditional 49 days may not be necessary. Smaller animals may be carefully wrapped in cloth or put in a box and placed near a shrine for burial rites.


Source : Buddhist.org (posted by Shiva)

Sunday, 22 October 2017

【南無觀世音菩薩】

若有無量百千萬億眾生受諸苦惱,聞是觀世音菩薩,一心稱名,觀世音菩薩即時觀其音聲,皆得解脫。

Saturday, 21 October 2017

為什麼有人學佛後吉祥如意,而有人卻依舊貧困艱苦?

  阿難恭敬地向佛問道:有人接受佛的教導,就得到了富貴,並且事事如意;有的人學了之後,卻仍然貧窮下賤,並且做什麼事都很不順利。為什麼他們會得到不同的果報呢?請佛為大眾詳細地說明這個原因吧! (這個問題也是現在許多學佛人想問的)

  佛告訴阿難:有的人學佛,他是選擇有道德的老師,對老師所傳授的戒律深信不犯,他們非常認真,努力地按照老師所教導的去修行。這些佛弟子把佛像供養在明亮、幹淨的房屋中,早晨與晚上虔誠地去禮拜,在佛像前恭恭敬敬地點亮油燈或蠟燭。他們徹底將貪、嗔、癡布施掉,所以他們能在順境中不欣喜,在逆境中不煩惱,自在非常。那些不道德的事情不去作,對能使心地清淨的戒律不感到厭煩,並且覺得按戒律修行非常快樂。這些人常會得到很多善神的擁護,所作的一切都會順順利利,而且會得到加倍的福報,還會得到天龍、鬼神、眾人的尊敬。這些人將來一定能得道成佛。像這樣的善男信女才是真正的佛弟子。

  有的人學佛,沒有遇到好老師,又不按照經文上教導的去修行,只不過表面上或形式上受個戒、作個樣子,有名無實。這是因為他們糊塗不通達佛法,所以忽兒相信,忽兒又不相信,不能堅定。從而常去違反戒律。這些人對經像沒有恭敬之心,又不在經像前燒香,燃燈和禮拜,他們對佛教常懷狐疑之心,更有的人甚至還會憤怒地用惡毒的語言去謾罵。又不六齋。自己殺生或借他人之手殺生。在不看佛經的時候,隨便把經書放在床上不幹淨的地方,或者把經書挂、放在牆壁上,這是對佛經的不恭敬。還有得疾病的人,對佛說的感到懷疑不信,便請來巫師卜問、解奏、供養邪神,這樣天神就會遠離你,不來保護你,妖魔鬼怪就會上門糾纏你,使你所作的一切不順利,不稱心。或者是因你前世所作的惡事、所結的惡緣,今世又不去懺悔,不去止惡向善,這些罪人不是真正的佛弟子。由于他們造下罪業,所以今世會在貧窮、下賤中掙扎,所作樣樣不稱心、不如意。死亡後在惡道中輾轉,所受拷打,火燒等苦痛不能用語言來形容。那些愚昧無知的人,不明白現在所受的種種苦,就是往昔所作的種種惡而形成的,卻說是學佛使自己得到了貧窮,事事不如意。現在仍然去犯前世所犯的罪行,更不慚愧自己前世沒有修功積德,卻去怨天恨地,責怪諸佛、菩薩。這是因為世人迷惑,不通達佛法,所以心存懷疑,信的不堅固,從而進進退退就會作些違背道義上的事。這就辜負了佛的恩意,也就很難恢複本來清淨、自在,快樂的生活。于是就會被貪、嗔、癡所纏縛,這些罪業是將來在地獄、惡鬼、畜生道中輾轉受苦痛的根本。不能不去謹慎地對待呀!

  行十惡就好比是給自己找了許多怨家對頭,行十善就好比是自己結交了許多好朋友。要想讓自己身心安穩,獲得正道,都是從行善得來。善為大鎧甲,不怕刀兵戰爭,善為大船,可以載人渡水過河。如果你能夠遵守,能夠相信,那麼你的家庭就會和睦平安,福報自然得到,這是因你行善所得,而不是神授給你的。現在你如果仍然不相信,以後得到的惡報會更加惡劣嚴重。(這段開示,世尊教導我們想要獲得幸福,修行想提高,就要修十善,斷十惡。所以在平時,我們就要按照《十善業道經》、《太上感應篇》、《弟子規》去修持自己的三業。如此久久,就能獲得幸福)

  佛說:阿難,善惡果報,就像影子永遠跟隨著形體不能分開一樣,不要不相信,使自己墮落惡道。得罪獲福將由你所造善惡而定,不會出偏差。真誠地相信,不被外境所迷惑,這樣無論你在哪個地方都會身心安穩。佛說的非常誠懇,絕不會欺騙大眾。佛接著說:我明確地和你們說:佛世難遇到,經法難聽聞到,你們前世福報修的深,今天才能幸運地跟隨我,所以你們應該報答這個恩德,把我的教導記載流轉下去,讓以後的人民能看到,以便于去指導他們怎樣種下自己的福田。能夠相信的眾生,遇到我的教導,將會脫離苦海。阿難接受佛的建議,就記錄流傳了佛的教導,使以後普遍的眾生能夠聽到、看到。

  可見,我們想要有幸福美滿的生活,就要真真切切地落實十善,認認真真地持戒、供養。不能做做樣子。

  《佛說阿難問事佛吉凶經白話文 》節選

Friday, 20 October 2017

Is A Meat-Buyer Also A ‘Meat-Eater’?

Question: When I dine with my family in the same restaurant, I will be having vegan food while they have meat dishes. As I pay for all, am I considered to have ‘eaten’ meat? 


Answer: This is not considered (killing or) eating meat, but it does support (killing and) eating of meat. As this perpetuates the demand for more animals to be killed for more meat-eaters, it should be avoided. You should invite your family to wonderful vegan restaurants with food that they will surely like. Not only will there be no negative karma created, there will be positive karma created in offering compassionate meals, and showing them these kinder options.  
Source : Thedailyenlightenment.com

Thursday, 19 October 2017

A Checklist For Bad Gurus (Spiritual Teachers)

If a fresh banana leaf is wrapped around a piece of old fish, the leaf will acquire that fishy smell. Likewise, if you follow a nonvirtuous friend, you will acquire nonvirtuous tendencies. Negative habits are contagious. 

Here are some warning signs to watch out for. A guru who…
[01] lacks knowledge [of the Dharma]
[02] has no devotion to the Dharma [in learning and practice], his or her own guru, or the Sangha
[03] does not have a living [Dharma] tradition [while concocting a false, extinct or new one]
[04] takes you away from virtuous surroundings [or discourages going to them; such as Pure Lands]
[05] has an untamed body, speech and mind [unless before benefactors]
[06] is proud and hypocritical, [thus positioning oneself to be supreme or near supreme]
[07] is quite nasty and vicious to others [who are non-benefactors or ‘competitors’]
[08] has no pure perception [e.g. of others’ Buddha-nature’s potential]
[09] is judgmental [without enough information]
[10] is fussy about food, drinks, possessions and hotel rooms [e.g. is purposely not Maha-Vegan]
[11] does not abide by the Buddha’s rules of Vinaya [for monastics], Bodhisattvayana and Vajrayana
[12] praises oneself in speech though using words of ‘humility’
[13] subtly denigrates others [unfoundedly]
[14] does not fear wrongdoing [due to lack of faith in the law of karma, thus breaking precepts]
[15] has [weak or] no power of forgiveness

[16] has a very weak sense of shame [thus being very morally shameless in secret]
[17] gives teachings that provide no antidote [for the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion]
[18] has a self-cherishing [i.e. self-centred or selfish] agenda
[19] is annoyed by your disciplined Dharma practice [which is better]
[20] [does not answer important questions on his or her questionable conduct and teachings]

Source : TheDailyEnlightenment.com 

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

How To Spiritualise The Worldly Five Desires

As beings in the Desire Sphere (欲界),
we are all with the Five Desires (五欲),
for pleasing sights (
),
sounds (
),
smells (
),
tastes (
)
and touch (
).


These five sensory desires are
for wealth (and possessions) (
),
sexual (or sensual) pleasures (
),
fame (or status) (
),
food (and drink) (
),
and sleep (
),
which are also called the Five Desires (
五欲).

As long as with these Five Desires,
it will be difficult to be liberated
from the Desire Sphere,
what more all Three Spheres (
三界)
of Desire (
欲界) with gross desires,
Form (
色界) with refined desires
and Formlessness (
无色界) with subtle desires.


The easiest way to break free of these Five Desires
is by purifying greed for them, by seeing

wealth as funding resources, to propagate the Dharma further, sense pleasures as skilful means, to present the Dharma nicer, fame as vast connections, to share the Dharma wider, food as healthy fuel, to practise the Dharma harder, sleep as adequate rest, to learn the Dharma better.

Source : The Daily Enlightenment.com (posted by Shen Sh'ian)

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Buddha Images

Today, when we wish to envision the physical appearance of the Buddha, we rely on statues and paintings of him. Throughout the years, people have portrayed the Buddha in various fashions. Some carve images of the Buddha in wood or stone, others sculpt in metal, and still others prefer the use of paper and paint. Not only are the materials used different, there are also many varied poses. Sometimes, the Buddha is depicted in a sitting position, while at other times he is standing or reclining. Regardless of the material used or the posture chosen, we can generally feel his compassion, magnanimity, and greatness.

Why are some statues of the Buddha sitting, while others are standing? Each of these postures has a profound meaning, and symbolizes the Buddha’s spirit and noble characteristics. In some cases, the Buddha is portrayed as seated in the lotus position with his hands poised above his lap, as if he is deep in meditative concentration. This symbolizes his enlightenment. The Buddha became enlightened only by practicing over a prolonged period of contemplation, deep meditation, and knowing himself. At other times, we see the Buddha portrayed in a seated position with his left hand in his lap, with the palm of his raised right hand facing outward, teaching the Dharma. This symbolizes that the Buddha cultivates enlightenment not only for himself, but also for the sake of others. After reaching enlightenment, the Buddha began to teach the truth to all sentient beings, helping us to get rid of our delusions.

In some statues of the Buddha, he is standing with one hand down, receiving and guiding us sentient beings. When we feel lost in the sea of suffering, it is natural to feel overjoyed to see the Buddha extending a helping hand to us. In other statues, the Buddha is walking, as if hurrying somewhere to teach the Dharma. The fully enlightened Buddha is most affectionate in his efforts to help all of us; he is always there to be of service to us.

Some statues and paintings show the Buddha lying down, peacefully entering nirvana. This posture symbolizes the fulfillment of both merit and wisdom, at which the Buddha has ended the cycle of birth and death. The reclining posture also symbolizes a transition from active engagement to that of tranquility. When the Buddha was alive, he was always active, traveling everywhere to teach the Dharma. While all activity must come to an end, tranquility can endure. Upon entering final nirvana, the Buddha became one with the world and the flow of time. Thus, we say nirvana is a transition from activity to tranquility. The images of the Buddha entering final nirvana show us that he is always in our hearts, ever present like the earth, and enduring like the sun and moon.


Monday, 16 October 2017

海濤法師法语

隨緣並不是消極等待或放棄追求,而是要用平常之心看待身邊的事。

不要被表面的困難嚇倒,如果你真的去做了,你就會發現,事情其實沒有你想像的那麼難,難的是你如何突破自己的內心。

{ 海濤法師 }

Sunday, 15 October 2017

佛教故事:蛇頭與蛇尾

在某處有一條蛇, 一天蛇尾告訴蛇頭說:我應該走在前面。

蛇頭回答說:一向都是我在前面,為什麼你突然要這樣呢?

蛇頭說完便繼續往前走,完全不理會蛇尾。蛇尾見狀,便故意纏住樹幹,不肯繼續前進。蛇頭只好使勁地用力拉,拉扯了半天,弄得雙方都精疲力竭。

最後,蛇頭只好妥協,讓蛇尾走在前面。
蛇尾興高採烈,一心想著:總算讓我走前面了。

正當蛇尾得意時,全然忘了自己沒有長眼睛,根本看不見前面的路,一不留神便摔進路旁的大火坑中,蛇就這樣被活活地燒死了。

省思:
蛇尾無謂的爭執,其愚癡不禁令人莞爾,然而日常生活中,無謂的人我之爭,是否也漸漸地讓我們陷入危機中,而不自知?