Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Kung fu kids – out of Africa

By WANI MUTHIAH, The Star, December 28, 2008

KLANG, Malaysia -- Enock Belo is every inch a Shaolin kung fu exponent. He throws flying kicks, jumps over obstacles and delivers his strikes smoothly. Belo is 10 years old. And he’s African.

The Malawian orphan, who is a resident of the Amitofo Care Centre (ACC) in Blantyre, southern Malawi, is one of the 200 children in the orphanage being trained in the ancient Chinese martial art.

ACC founder, Taiwanese Buddhist monk Hui Li, said Belo and the other children are being trained in the martial art form by three monks who are Shaolin kung fu masters brought in from China.

“The children are trained for three hours a day, six days a week by the Shaolin masters,” said Hui, who is currently here with 20 children from ACC.

The trip was made possible with sponsorship by several local Buddhist organisations, including the Ti-Ratana Welfare Society.

The monk and the children are putting up several shows around the country to raise funds.

Hui, who is known as the African monk within Buddhist circles, said he introduced the martial art form to the children to build their self-esteem.

“Most of the children here are either orphans or have only one parent and they come from very poor backgrounds.

“When they came to ACC, they were all very timid with very little confidence in themselves, and training them in Shaolin kung fu helps us counter this problem,” said Hui.

When asked why he liked Shaolin kung fu, Belo, who is the star of the troupe, said it helps him keep fit.

“Shaolin kung fu makes me strong and keeps me disciplined,” said the orphan, who has been living in ACC since it started operations in 2003.

Ti-Ratana Welfare Society founder and adviser Ven Rev K. Sri Dhamma­ratana said the group will be performing at the Buddhist Maha Vihara in Brickfields on New Year’s Eve.

“The event starts at 8pm and there will be dinner followed by the group’s performance, and a blessing ceremony starts at 11pm,” said Ven Rev Sri Dhammaratana, who is also the Buddhist Chief High Priest of Malaysia.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Letting Go, Moving On - Photo (selected)

Dear all,

As promised, here is a link to an album where selected photo taken during the camp has been uploaded...


p.s: due to some technical error while uploading, some of the photos have been uploaded twice. Will clear it somehow soon.... but until then, my humble apologies....

2nd p.s.: will bug kuan wei for the rest of the photographs.... hope to upload it soon....

with metta,

Bro. Wei Han

A very Buddhist Christmas

by Jennifer Moreau, Burnaby Now, December 24, 2008

Burnaby, Canada -- In the midst of Christmas spending and a national recession, one Burnaby family is keeping it simple for the holidays.

Yi Ling Chen and her husband, Brandon Lin, are among Burnaby's 9,360 followers of Buddhism, the city's second most common religion next to Christianity. But for Yi Ling, Buddhism is a philosophy of living that carries a message of simplicity during the holidays.

"A kind of philosophy of Buddhism is to reduce what we want," Yi Ling says.

"If we have desire, we always want more," she says, adding this leads to emptiness and dissatisfaction. "It's a bad cycle."

That "lowering of desire" cuts down on insatiable materialism and helps one lead a simple life.

"(We) just think of getting what we need ... and living an eco-friendly life."

Yi Ling and Brandon moved to Canada from Taiwan and later met through the Tzu Chi Foundation, an international Buddhist volunteer group founded and led by Cheng Yen. Yen believes that suffering is caused by material deprivation and spiritual poverty and that a lack of love for others lies at the root of many worldly problems. Yi Ling and Brandon now have a baby girl, Chloe, and a boy on the way.

As Buddhists, they wouldn't normally do anything for Christmas, but, since they are in Canada, they partake in family dinners and exchange presents.

But even gift-giving is carefully examined.

"We just buy what we need," Yi Ling says, a practice they follow every day. "We have to ask ourselves: Are we really getting what we need or are we getting what we want?"

Rather than giving each family member presents, they think about who really needs something replaced.

For example, they bought relatives a TV to replace their aging set. They also bought it and delivered it in November to take advantage of sales - much more practical, Yi Ling says.

"That's another way we do the gift exchange," Yi Ling says. "That's one way to save money and really give something they really need." And that helps reduce desire and lightens the load on Mother Earth. Many worldly problems, such as global warming, are caused by people's desire, Yi Ling says.

The family gets together for a hot pot dinner on Christmas Eve. Since Buddhism promotes compassion for all forms of life, both husband and wife are vegetarian. Dinner is usually tofu, vegetables, fruit and a lot of soy-based food. They also donate old clothes to charity.

"We believe it's time to give and time to share," says Brandon.

For Brandon, the message from Buddhism is to appreciate and give back to society.

"The idea is a lot of us are new immigrants, and we believe we are consuming (resources from) this society," he says. Volunteering is part of the Buddhist philosophy, and the Tzu Chi Foundation gives back to local causes, Brandon says.

According to Yi Ling, the Buddhist Christmas message is not that different from any other day: We should appreciate the day, the whole new start and the fact we are privileged to live in a country free of war, disease, political unrest and terrorism.

"In Christmas, we take the appreciation and turn it into compassion and sharing and respect towards others - not only human beings, but everything on earth."

'The Day the Earth Stood Still' in Shock

by Jianxie, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 24, 2008

Dharma-Inspired Movie Review: www.thedaytheearthstoodtillmovie.com

Singapore -- In the 2008 version of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', the alien Klaatu, who represents an intergalactic congregation arrives from outer space to deliver his final judgement on humankind. In a cool and composed manner, he asks for a discussion with Earth's leader(s), so as to deliver his last warning.

If unheeded, the entire 'parastitical' human race would be wiped out to preserve the planet. But it becomes ambiguous as to who can truly represent Earth when 'leaders' vy for rights to be involved. Does this conflict represent a hopeless Earth?

The original 1951 movie was a not at all subtle take on why the Cold War and the rise of the atomic arms race was senseless. Klaatu was a 'Christ-like' figure with his 'human' name being John Carpenter. Note his initials and occupation! He was accompanied by a giant robot called Gort. An obvious allusion to God? The trinity is almost complete! It was literally a case of 'Believe in Klaatu's message to be saved... or thou shalt perish.' It was either his way or the highway... to unearthly 'hell' on Earth.

To show how serious he was, the dispassionately portrayed Klaatu brings the mechanised powers to a halt, but is seen as a serious threat instead. A natural reaction, albeit not definitely wise? Colder still is the silent but threatening Gort. Klaatu's reasoning is direct... a little too 'black or white' in fact - 'If the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the Earth survives.' A dire warning still, on why much humans should stop terrorising one another and the environment. Technology is clearly not in lack, but human will to change is.

Did Gort and company exhibit appropriate 'tough love'? Well, the value of the planet was seen as greater than that of human lives. As the story progresses, we see Klaatu becoming increasingly 'humanised'. He learns to be genuinely compassionate and generates faith in the good side of human-nature. Eventually, he gets Gort to call off the process of destruction. But isn't the 'trinity' one in essence? This is reminiscent of the 'paradoxically' (or contradictingly) wrathful God in the Old Testament versus his much gentler 'son' in the New Testament?

Klaatu learns to empathise, to be compassionate. He learns to not just be a 'friend of the Earth', who came to save the Earth from us; he learns to befriend Earthlings too. However, his very presence was cause for much panic, 'urging' the masses to rush madly to evacuate UFO occupied cities, clambering for food and fuel. In the end, there is only one race - the human race... racing for 'salvation'. The film is still a good wake-up call for our times. Then again, the backlash of environmental mayhem should already be warning enough?

A fellow resident alien who had been assessing humans for 70 years decides not to evacuate from the planet, even if Klaatu's verdict is to obliterate the human race. This is so as he had learnt to love humans, with warts and all. Is he more evolved than Klaatu, now that his compassion had widened to include those with shortcomings? Was Klaatu really an advanced being in the first place? In Buddhism, advanced Bodhisattvas, who are Buddhas-to-be, 'hang out' with the unenlightened as they do their best to enlighten them; they are not judgemental.

Klaatu says that his body is human, that it feels pain; but he isn't human. Doesn't that give him less rights to judge us? He is surprised that humans consider the planet theirs. Good point - we are merely guests; the planet will outlast us. But it's also surprising that he lords over humans' fate when it's not 'his' either. In the 1951 film, Gort was created by a race of robots to maintain peace throughout the galaxy. But how can peace be created by unforgiving 'hellfire'? That said, Gort was really a fictitous concoction of the human mind.

Did Klaatu save humanity in the end? Not exactly. One particular human saved the day - the one who care for him, who showed him that not all humans deserve to be annihilated, that there is a better side to humanity. It was this single human who tipped the scales back, who changed his mind, who helped to urge other humans to change their minds too. Our planet is near the environmental tipping point towards total chaos. Civilisations either collapse or make a (r)evolutionary quantum leap at this point. What will it be? We decide; not Klaatu or Gort.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Photographs from Jing Wei

Tuck Long with his pose...


xyen chyi

The group Youth

Photographs courtesy of Jing Wei...

If you want you photo here... e-mail it to kcbadyc@gmail.com

Monday, December 22, 2008

Photographs from ShinD

Shin Dhee, Bro Khoo Nee Wern and those from SJBA...

During hymn singing section

Shin Dhee with many lengchai...

Dunno what to say...

Beh, didnt know you are like this... (kidding)

yoga... good for health...


Shin Dhee: I get to splash you Donovan: Wait and see... I will get my revenge... (kidding again)

I am so cold...

give me a post...

Everyone from the camp...

posing for one last time...

All photographs are courtesy of Sis. Shin Dhee... Thank you very much...
Caption prepared by Bro. Wei Han...

For those who want to get their photographs uploaded here, please send it to kcbadyc@gmail.com

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Early Christmas Gift to all...

What do you know... Santa Claus drop by and uploaded some random photographs of the camp... Enjoyed!!!!

Committee members before the starting of the camp


more participants...

even more participants...

Uncle Vijaya...

group discussion

another group

yet another group...

one more...

waiting for their turn...


pass me the plate... we need to win...

singing Santa Claus is coming to KCBA...

group performance...

leonie and mandy

shin ling and her cucu...

weihan and regina...

first in the history... GA and Cucu for each other...

guess who is this fella...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Photographs of 13th KCBA English Dhamma Youth Camp

Special feature 13th KCBA English Dhamma Youth Camp.

The one that makes it happened. Seriously...

Them again. Not so serious.

And again... going crazy. haha

One of the group during an activity

Meeting each other for the first time

During an ice breaking activity

the committee members waiting for the participants to come...

*Photographs from my camera (except for the first one, which is courtesy of Bro Song.)

For those who have taken photographs during the camp, please share it with us. please e-mail a copy of the photographs to kcbadyc@gmail.com. Thank you.

with metta,
bro. weihan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Upcoming Activities

Even though THE CAMP is over, that does not means that nothing else can be done about it... Here is a list of activities that we are planning.

Christmas Eve's Party
Date: 24th December 2008
Venue: Jessy's Place
Time: About 7.00 pm - 12.00 pm (maybe longer)
Bring something worth at least RM5 as part of a gift exchange.

We are not Christians but that wont stop us from celebrating Christmas.

Ho... Ho... Ho...

Skytrex Adventures
Date: tbc (in January 2009, around 17th)
Venue: Skytrex Adventures in Taman Pertanian Bukit Cahaya Seri Alam, Shah Alam
Time: Morning (time tbc)
Fee per person: RM35 (if less than 10 person going), RM31.50 (if we have more than 10 people)
Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours...
What you will do: Climb trees, going through obstacles in between trees, flying fox...
Wear sport shoes and bring hand-gloves [available for rent at RM1 per pair (limited)]

Please let me know (post a comment or e-mail me at kcbadyc@gmail.com or eztoyou@yahoo.com with your details: name, mobile no.) if you are interested...

2009 Chinese New Year House Visiting
Details to be announce here soon... interested to get updates, please provide me (e-mail me at kcbadyc@gmail.com or eztoyou@yahoo.com) your contact: name and mobile no.

It may be over but the memories stays forever

The 13th KCBA English Youth Camp is finally over yesterday.

Hope everyone enjoyed the camp!!!

For those who wish to share their photographs taken during the camp in this blog, please send it to kcbadyc@gmail.com. Please include details such as your name in the mail.

Photographs taken by the committee members would be upload into this blog as well soon...

With metta
Bro Wei Han

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Buddhist answers to common questions

Kuensel Online, November 28, 2008

Timphu, Bhutan -- Lam Shenphen Zangpo answers basic questions that every Buddhist man, woman, and child on the street wants to know.

What is the difference between Buddha and god?

A god by very definition is a creator. In the same way that you cannot be an artist if you do not paint or cannot be a mechanic if you do not repair vehicles, a being cannot be a god without creating. In this way, a god exists only in relation to his creations or, to state it in another way, without creations a being cannot be a god.

To take this logic a step further, if a being does begin to create, then he is only recognized as a god at the moment the creation is born. Before that he was not a god.

Furthermore, anything that is created by joining together a number of components has a point in time when it was first formed. Take for example a table. It needs a top and four legs. When these are separate entities, there is no table. However, once they are joined together, a table is created. In the same way, a god is formed from the joining together of the two components of creations and faith.

Continuing this line of reasoning, anything that has an identifiable point in time when it began, obviously has a time of staying and then finally ending. Think about it. Everything that is compounded, whether it be something as simple like a flower, which is formed from such things as seeds, moisture and warmth, or a complex structure like the universe, it all had a point of beginning and will end. Therefore, in this respect, a god is impermanent.

A Buddha, on the other hand, does not create. He awakens to the truth and points the way for other to follow. The historical Buddha was a man, and in this form he realized the truth and became a Buddha. So, like a god there was a point of beginning and so there is a point of end. Therefore, we can say that the physical form of Sakyamuni ceased upon his death in Kushinagar.

However, ‘the truth’, or to call it by its other titles, ‘basic goodness of heart’ or ‘Buddha nature’, to which Sakyamuni awoke has no beginning. It is like space. It is all pervading. Buddha did not invent it, nor was it created by other beings or through the gathering of elements. Therefore, the essence of Buddha, which is our own minds is not impermanent. It is for this reason that Buddha, or the Buddha nature, is accepted as an ultimate refuge.

To summarize, a god exists only in relation to his creations. A Buddha does not create, and therefore dies not exist in relation to anything. He is beyond permanent and impermanent. In fact, just after Prince Siddhartha gained enlightenment and became the Buddha, he was asked by a passers-by, “Are you a god or perhaps a holy man”? The Buddha replied, “I am neither. I am awake”.