An Introductory Course on Early Buddhism

...Compiled and published for free distribution by Bro. Chan Khoon San...

Over the last few years, several readers have indicated to me that the articles in the Introductory Course on Buddhism were too brief and should be expanded to provide more details. This new book entitled “Buddhism Course” is a carefully researched and upgraded version. It contains 17 chapters dealing with most of the relevant topics on Buddhism, such as: Life of the Buddha, Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Noble Path, Dependent Origin, Law of Kamma, Death and Rebirth, Five Destinations, World Cycles when Buddhas Appear, Ten Bases of Meritorious Action, Buddhist Vipassana Meditation, Recollection of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and the Three Baskets (Tipitaka) in Buddhism.

Buddhist Pilgrimage
...Buddhist Pilgrimage / New Edition 2009 - by Bro. Chan Khoon San

The idea of a pilgrimage originated from the Buddha twenty-five centuries ago! Before he passed into Mahaparinibbana, the Buddha advised pious disciples to visit four holy places the sight of which will arouse faith and religious urgency after He was gone, namely: Lumbini, Buddhagaya, Sarnath and Kusinara. The pious disciple should visit these places and look upon them with feelings of reverence, reflecting on the particular event of the Buddha’s life connected with each place. Since the Mahaparinibbana of the Buddha, these four shrines of Buddhism have become the focal points for pious disciples to rally around and seek inspiration. By the time of King Asoka, four more places, namely: Savatthi, Sankasia, Rajagaha and Vesali, that were closely associated with the Buddha and scenes of His principal miracles, were added to the pilgrimage itinerary. Together, they make the Eight Great Places of Pilgrimage.

A Photo Essay
Four Places of Buddhist Pilgrimage in India & Nepal - PDF - 5.97 MB

Letters from Mara
...A story by Punnadhammo Bhikkhu...

According to legend, the Buddha Shakyamuni was attacked by Mara as he was striving for enlightenment, because Mara wanted to prevent him from showing men the way that liberates from suffering. Mara first called up a horde of demons, but Shakyamuni did not fear them. Then he sent his most beautiful daughter to seduce Shakyamuni, but before Shakyamuni's eyes she turned into an ugly hag, where upon Mara admitted conclusive defeat.

Preparing for Death:
...The Final Days of Death Row Inmate Jaturun "Jay" Siripongs. An interview with Ajahn Pasanno...

Six days before Jay Siripongs was to be executed, his friend, attorney Kendall Goh contacted Abhayagiri Monastery seeking a Buddhist spiritual advisor. Two days later, Abhayagiri Co-abbot Ajahn Pasanno expeditiously received security clearance to enter San Quentin Prison and spent three extraordinary days with Jay Siripongs, the last three days of Siripongs life. Jay Siripongs died by lethal injection on February 9, 1999.

Towards A Global Ethic
...The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions...

Used throughout the world by universities, religious and spiritual communities and interfaith organizations, Towards a Global Ethic has emerged as one of the most significant building blocks in the continuing process of creating global ethical understanding and consensus.

An Inter-Buddhist Consensus on Buddhism...3/15/97

This document attempts to educate followers of Buddhism with a concise accurate statement of the basic teachings of Buddhism as discussed and agreed upon at the "Buddhism Across Cultures" Conference held on March 15 1997 in Los Angeles.

Buddhist Economics
...Middle Way and the market Place...

It is well known that the study of economics has up till now avoided questions of moral values and considerations of ethics, which are abstract qualities. However, it is becoming obvious that in order to solve the problems that confront us in the world today it will be necessary to take into consideration both concrete and abstract factors, and as such it is impossible to avoid the subject of moral values.

Buddhism and Suicide
...Damien Keown...

In his 1983 paper "The 'Suicide' Problem in the Paali Canon," Martin Wiltshire wrote: "The topic of suicide has been chosen not only for its intrinsic factual and historical interest but because it spotlights certain key issues in the field of Buddhist ethics and doctrine."

Buddhism and Eating Meat
...Ajahn Brahmavamso...

Buddha said: "Monks, I allow you fish and meat that are quite pure in three respects: if they are not seen, heard or suspected to have been killed on purpose for a monk. But, you should not knowingly make use of meat killed on purpose for you." [2]

The Time and Place for Eating
...Ajahn Brahmavamso...

For a monastic (a monk or a nun) food is to be regarded as medicine and not as a pleasure. In the spirit of the Middle Way it should be taken in just sufficient quantity to keep the body healthy.

Buddhism and the Morality of Abortion
...Michael G. Barnhart...

In other words, I am not so much concerned to show that Buddhism has, does, or will support the choice to abort or one's right to make such a choice as I am to show that such a choice can be made in a manner consistent with Buddhist principles.

Are There "Human Rights" in Buddhism
...Damien Keown...

Political events in the course of this century, however, have forced the issue of human rights to the top of the agenda.

Attitudes to Euthanasia in the Vinaya and Commentary
... Damien Keown...

The prohibition on taking human life is one of the cornerstones of Buddhist ethics, but there is often confusion about the interpretation of this prohibition in different contexts. In his commentary on the third paaraajika in the Samantapaasaadikaa, Buddhaghosa sets out to clarify the legal provisions of the monastic precept against taking life. The root text and his comments on it are relevant to the contemporary debate on euthanasia, and this paper considers what light Buddhist jurisprudence can shed on this moral dilemma.

...Death and Dying...

Spiritual Needs of the Dying
...Ven. Pende Hawter...

In order to gain an understanding of the shortness and preciousness of life and how to make it meaningful we need to reflect on the fact that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain. These points may seem obvious but we rarely stop to consider the truth of them.

Meditation for Pain, Illness, and Death
...Thanissaro Bhikkhu...

My topic today is the role that meditation can play in facing issues of pain, illness and death – not a pleasant topic, but an important one. Sadly, it's only when people are face-to-face with a fatal illness that they start thinking about these issues, and often by that point it's too late to get fully prepared.

Buddhist View on Death and Rebirth
...Ven. Thich Nguyen Tang...

As a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, working as a Buddhist chaplain at several of Melbourne's hospitals and as well as Melbourne assessment prison, I have witnessed many personal tragedies faced by the living and of course the very process of dying and that of death and many of these poor people faced their death with fear, with misery and pain before departing this world.

The Sick and Terminally Ill
...Lily de Silva...

"He who attends on the sick attends on me," declared the Buddha, exhorting his disciples on the importance of ministering to the sick. This famous statement was made by the Blessed One when he discovered a monk lying in his soiled robes, desperately ill with an acute attack of dysentery.

For the Aged and the Sick
...Ven. Thich Thanh Tu...

Today, my talk is especially addressed to the sick and old persons. The reason for this talk is that there was a Buddhist layperson who came and asked if I could give a small Dharma talk to his parents who were old and dying - and because he wanted his parents to be alert, clear-minded when the time came.

Zen Hospice... Being of Service
...Frank Ostasesk...

A long-time Buddhist practitioner, Frank uses his knowledge of both Buddhism and Western psychotherapy in his work of de-mystifying the care-giving process.

Passing Through Death
...Yvonne Zhang...

WHEN ghosts appear, it's like someone blowing cold air on the back of your neck, your hair stands on end and you breathe out cold vapour. So said the boy who could see "dead people" in the film, "The Sixth Sense".

Buddhist Reflections on Death
...Ven. V. F. Gunaratana...

To most of us, at some moment or another, the spectacle of death must have given rise to the deepest of thoughts and profoundest of questions. What is life worth, if able bodies that once performed great deeds now lie flat and
cold, senseless and lifeless?

The Los Angeles Buddhist-Roman Catholic Dialogue

The Los Angeles Buddhist-Catholic Dialogue is sponsored by the Buddhist Sangha council and the Catholic Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs. It was formed as an official, on-going, core group dialogue. Meetings are held every six to eight weeks, rotating between Buddhist and Catholic locations.

An Early Journey

The Buddhist Leaders of Los Angeles agreed to enter the dialogue in spite of some feelings of reticence. Fears and distrust of Christians formed during the colonial period still linger among much of the Buddhist population. Nevertheless, some of the Buddhist leaders had developed friendly relations with leaders of other religious groups, particularly with the Roman Catholics, and were able to assuage the fears of their colleagues. The Buddhist community saw this dialogue as an opportunity to help increase understanding and sympathy toward Buddhism, a process which could be helpful to the Buddhist community.

A Buddhist- Roman Catholic Retreat
...Malibu California...

The Setting: Serra Retreat rests above the Pacific Ocean on a hilltop in Malibu. With a gorgeous ocean view in front and the coastal mountain range behind, the retreat house provided an excellent setting for a retreat and dialogue between Buddhists and Catholics who came from across the United States to this spot on the Pacific Rim for an encounter between the spiritualities of the East and of the West.

...Dialogue Transcripts...

Sept. 1999

Ven. Karuna Dharma sent her email response on the Spirituality of Interreligious Dialogue document to John Borelli. Other responses were shared. Michael will provide them to John Borelli before he drafts a response to Cardinal Arinze. Michael will be seeing John in a few weeks. We said a prayer for Ven. Dr. Ratanasara that he may recover from his recent illness. We discussed the sutra on Maitreya Ven. Karuna provided last time.

Oct. 1999

We watched Rev. Kusala's interview on a television program talking about Buddhism and the visit of the Dalai Lama. We agreed that Rev. Kusala spoke well of Buddhism and was very telegenic. Reviewing the minutes of the previous dialogue, Gordon Gibb pointed out his comment on the "mythic understanding" of Christ was not accurately represented for, as the comment now stands, it would be something he would not say about Christianity.

Dec. 1999

Al Albergate reported on his the World Parliament of Religions in South Africa. where he was one of the representatives of Soka Gakkai International. The Parliament had about 5000 participants and was stimulating but overwhelming.

Jan. 2000

Fr. Fredericks: Our topic, "I seem to be a verb," refers to the ideas of the "true self" in Buddhism and "soul" Christianity. Where Buddhists differ from the Christian idea, I have something to learn. Our society is dehumanizing in some ways. Christianity needs to stand up for human dignity and social justice. "Soul" has been developing in the Christian understanding for two thousand years.

March 2000

John read a poem by the 13th century Persian poet, Rumi. We discussed rootedness in our traditions and transcendence. In terms of Buddhism, is Christianity a dharma gate? Can enlightenment be achieved without Buddhism? When and where is Nirvana?

May 2001

The Heart Sutra teaches that form is emptiness and emptiness is form. If you put anicca and anatman together you get sunyata. Everything is constantly changing so there is no permanent essence to anything. That is the basis of sunyata. From a phenomenological level we can see this. On earth Newtonian physics apply but out in space, quantum physics does.

August 2001

Daniel Reinke formally present copies of his master’s thesis, The Buddhist-Roman Catholic Dialogue in Southern California: An Historical Overview, to co-chairs Ven. Karuna Dharma and Dr. Michael Kerze. Dan had worked on the thesis for several years, researching the records and publications of the Dialogue, attending dialogues, and interviewing members of the dialogue.

September 2001

Prof. Oyama is a minister at a Shin Buddhist temple in Chikushi and specializes in the thought of Shinran. He has experience of interreligious dialogue at the conference of the Society of Buddhist Christian Studies, at conference at Harvard, and at a Christian Buddhist Dialogue held at his university.

December 2001

Rev. Kusala reported on the conference on Benedict’s Dharma which met in Indiana with several of the contributors to the book on a Buddhist view of the Rule of Benedict. He reported that the next Gethsemani Encounter will take place in April of 2002.

January 2002

Ven. Samahito reported that he has an interreligious dialogue going on in New Zealand where he opened a temple. Ven Karuna Dharma brought copies of Zen Buddhism and Nationalism in Vietnam, written by her late teacher, the Ven. Thich Thien-An, for background on our day’s topic. Michael brought copies of a short paper about the history of the Catholic Church and ant1-Semitism.

April 2002

Michael: We agreed last time to share the story of our spiritual journey that ended up with us here, today, at this dialogue. A good process to make sure everyone has a chance to speak is the “mutual invitation process” which I was taught as an interreligious dialogue facilitator for the Interreligious Council of Southern California by the NCCJ.

May 2002

Sr. Thomas Bernard: I’ve always been Catholic. When I was young it was a tough time, the Depression, but my family got through. As soon as I saw my first grade teacher, a nun, I knew I want to be one. In high school I was interested in drama. To save money for college I got a job driving army trucks for the army.


...Special Interest...

Word and Silence

The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue held its second Buddhist-Christian Colloquium at the Benedictine monastery of Asirvanam in Bangalore, India, from 8 to 13 July. Eighteen persons from various countries took part, seven Buddhists and 11 Christians.

Meditating in a Cave

The caves house Buddha images, some ensconced in roomy chambers, others sitting in solitary recesses. In former times they were home to hermit monks, who have a unique understanding of pilgrimage. They share the view of our own latter-day American hermit, Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who wrote, "Our real journey in life is interior; it is a matter of growth, deepening and an ever greater surrender to the creative action of love and grace in our hearts."

Developing Dialogue

A definition of dialogue: Before presenting some reflections on how interreligious dialogue can be developed, it may not be out of place to recall what is meant by this term. This is how it is defined in the document Dialogue and Proclamation: In the context of religious plurality, dialogue means "all positive and constructive interreligious relations with individuals and communities of other faiths which are directed at mutual understanding and enrichment", in obedience to truth and respect for freedom.

Dialogue- A Proposal

Dialogue, as we are choosing to use the word, is a way of exploring the roots of the many crises that face humanity today. It enables inquiry into, and understanding of, the sorts of processes that fragment and interfere with real communication between individuals, nations and even different parts of the same organization.

From Conflict to Dialogue

"How sad it is when members of the same family no longer speak to one another, avoid looking at one another, avoid meeting! How sad it is when Muslims and Christians, who are part of the one human family, ignore one another, no longer exchange greetings or, even worse, quarrel with one another!"

A Journey into Buddhsim

The themes of the talks are rooted in my journey, as a Christian, into Buddhism. In the mid-1980's I felt the need to "let go" of my own religious conditioning to enter the world of another faith.

The Virgin Mary and Kuan Yin

Kuan Yin Bodhisattva's compassion for all beings is so vast and inconceivable, our gratitude cannot comprehend nor fully express the magnitude of her blessings. Her body and garments of brilliant, translucent White Light. Her adornments, a white vase of Compassionate Water in her left hand, The Sacred Willow Branch in her right hand.

The Death Penalty: Choose Life?

"...the nature and extent of the punishment must be carefully evaluated and decided upon and ought not go to the extreme of executing the offender except in case of absolute necessity: In other words, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend society. Today, however, as a result of steady improvements in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically non-existent.

Interfaith Dialogue a Buddhist Perspective

Interfaith Dialogue a Buddhist Perspective an Examination of Pope John Paul II's Crossing the Threshold of Hope a talk given at the Intermonastic Dialogue Gethsemani Monastery, Louisville, Kentucky July, 1996 by Ven. Havanpola Ratanasara, Ph.D.

Paradigms for a Feminization of the Chruch

To prepare for the International Women’s Day (March 8th) we offer a paper by a Professor of Theology and Sociology at the Diocesan Seminary (St Pius College, Aarey Road, Goregaon East, Mumbai 400063) and National Ecclesiastical Advisor of the Catholic Women’s Council of India (CCWI).

Women Who Pray: Voices From the Past

At prayer, at work and at play, a woman's experience of the divine is distinctive. What is changing, according to four new books on women's spirituality, is that voices silenced for centuries finally are being heard.

...Food for Thought...

Judeo-Christian and Buddhist Justice

There is no mystery as to the cultural origins of the much invoked concept "justice" in the Western world: it came directly out of the Judeo-Christian biblical tradition and teaching. The word "just" occurs eighty-four times in the Judeo-Christian scriptures (Bible), and its derivative, "justice," occurs twenty times. And what was the meaning of "justice" in this context?

More Contemplate a Monastic Calling

In the stillness of a balmy spring day, as a breeze floats through the Joshua trees and a clanging bell summons the men to prayer, the presence of God is palpable.

Nostra Aetate- Second Vatican Council

Again, Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination.

The Vatican Statement... Dominus Iesus

The Lord Jesus, before ascending into heaven, commanded his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to the whole world and to baptize all nations: “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.

...In Los Angeles...

Ordination of a Bishop

The Variety of culture that is Los Angeles was as evident as ever on March 26 in the ordination of Bishop Edward W. Clark at St. John Chrysostom Church in Inglewood, California.

Preaching the Power of Tech

Mahony's interest in high tech was apparent the day he and 23 other church officials were installed as cardinals. Thousands in the overflow, invitation-only crowd at the Vatican ceremony watched it on a wall-size television lent by the L.A. diocese.

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